tagMind ControlThe Empath

The Empath


The Sound of the 11 o'clock hour on this first mild Saturday evening of spring is a thin, shrill wail, almost bird-like in its musicality though it comes from no bird, impossible to locate and barely audible above the low hum of traffic cruising the bars and clubs that line Central Avenue. To me, it's pleasantly supernatural.

The Magical Image that accompanies this Sound at this particular time and place appears to me as a slim young woman with long dark hair, dressed in white briefs and tee-shirt and seated in a high-backed wooden chair, holding a yellow ball between her knees, a red rose in one hand and a lit candle in the other. Her look is one of frustration and impatience, as she wants sex and is not finding it.

That's a portent, and I step back from the window with some surprise.

I know these things because I'm a synesthesiac empath, so I'm aware of all sorts of things that normal people just can't see or hear or sense at all. Actually, I'm a synesthesiac Super-Empath, but that sounds more like a boast than a way of being, so I usually just omit the superlative. A Super-Empath is a person whose sense of empathy is so freakishly over-developed that he can perceive and feel other people's emotions as if they're his own-- can feel them more strongly, really, than his own feelings--and not just as simple emotions, but as physical objects and images not of this world. And because all thoughts carry emotions, I can read people's thoughts too, with a clarity that would be terrifying to someone not used to it and inured to the shock and strangeness of being in someone else's mind. Because that's very usually where I end up: in another person's mind.

Plus, in my case, as Super as I am, I can reverse the process and make people feel and think pretty much whatever I want them to, simply by injecting thoughts and emotions into their heads. I can implant memories of things that never happened, understandings of things you've never encountered, sudden fears or hatreds or compulsions. And to top it off, being synesthesiac means that all my senses are cross-wired and interconvertible, so I can easily change sensory modalities and thus hear colors and taste sounds, and see moods and emotions as pictures and images.

That's how I know the sound of 11 o'clock on this particular night, as well as knowing that the hours of every day each have their own sound that speaks of the mood, the possibilities and potentials and energies of that portion of infinity. That's how I can perceive the Magical Image that expresses its secret occult spirit.

As you might expect by now, I'm nowhere near normal, and I don't lead a normal life. And as this story begins—the story of my seduction of an extraordinary young woman, as you will see—I'm hanging out at my apartment with a group of other non-normals we call the North Side Supernaturals. We often meet at my place, which they call, half-jokingly, the Empath's Castle, though it isn't a castle at all but a third-floor walk-up overlooking the strip of clubs and restaurants on Central near Gilmore on the North Side of the City. It's the first nice Saturday of the new spring and the windows are open wide. We're lounging around the living room amidst the rinds of pizzas and cans of beer and Red Bull, getting ready to begin our Saturday night hunt.

There's Caveman the Wer-Hominin; the transsexual Time-Alien Twins known as GirlyGuy and GuylyGirl, mixed gender-blenders from the future; Count Nathan Larry the Suburban Vampire; and, outside the apartment and plastered against the building's side so he's barely visible even from my window, my old buddy Vince, the shadow-strider.

Plus, tonight we have this new guy called the Fuckable Jerk, a friend of the Caveman who claims to be a shape-shifter, but who so far has only managed to shift his legs from about the knees down, which he's doing now with much sweating and grunting, kicked back in the recliner and changing his feet from human feet to goat hooves and back again. He's trying to convince Nathan Larry and anyone else who'll listen that this is scary enough to get him laid in the upcoming Saturday Night Street Feast, but no one's especially buying it. And in truth, the Fuckable Jerk doesn't seem to be a real shape-shifter so much as a Dimlighter, one of the new generation of urban monsters that are popping up all the time. A Dimlighter is a kind of male bar-scum that looks great in a bar, but in the watery light of morning reveals himself to be some sort of awful scurrying gutter nightmare. He's apparently part of this trend we're seeing for monsters who only come out in the daytime.

Even so, the ranks of the Supernaturals have grown so thin lately that I think we should include him in on the Saturday Night Feast, as long as they don't stick him with me. Besides, the FJ paid for the pizza so we can't really turn him out. We may be monsters but we're not rude.

There was a time when the North Side Supernats could flood the night with vampires and lycans and other eroto-spookies of the night and give real meaning to all that darkness and frustrated sexuality, but times have changed and monstering isn't what it used to be, and now you never know who's going to show up on a Saturday Night.

With the pizza finished and everyone lying around with the bloat, Caveman's the first to speak.

"Well I gotta get laid," Caveman says, and everyone pretty much agrees.

As I said, Caveman's a Wer-Hominen. That is, he's normally a dog--a Bichon-Frise/shepherd mix, we think--but at the new moon he turns into an early primitive man, a "hominin." Homo habilis is our best guess, but no one's really sure. It's one of those really scary fuckers with the big jaws and teeth and beady little animal eyes.

I bet you probably thought humans were the only creatures that turned into other animals under the influence of moonlight, of you even thought about it at all. Well, not hardly.

Anyhow, the new moon is tonight so Caveman's already pretty much turned into this hulky gorilla figure and is muttering and scratching himself. (Shape-shifting makes you itch something fierce for a while.) He's at the point where he doesn't know whether to sit in a chair or on the floor, and his restlessness is infecting everyone in the room. Everyone's starting to squirm and scratch a little as the clocks get closer to midnight.

And I'm not immune. My powers are much more refined and sophisticated than the rest of the 'Nats, who mostly rely on brute strength and shock to get what they want. They realize this and so tend to treat me differently, not quite sure what to make of me or my talents, and wary of dealing with a creature who can mess with their minds so easily. But the excitement of Saturday night hits all creatures, and with my sensitivity to emotions I'm well aware of the call of the wild and the sexual buzz rising from the throngs of innocent humans out strolling in the spring night. There's people out wandering around, or gathering in bars and restaurants, restless, lonely, seeking to quench the springtime itch. The air is rich and soft with just enough of a warm breeze to ripple tee-shirts and make girls grab at their hair as they cross the street. It's shorts-and-sandals night with guys taking off their shirts, and all that flesh on display makes spirits high. The scent of cologne and shampoo and perfume is clear to, even up here on the third floor.

I may be a freak and a monster, but I'm happy to say that I don't share my friends' taste for the blood and bodies of my ex-fellow humans. Rather I feed on the thoughts and emotions of human beings, and not necessarily in a bad way. I'm something like a kind of spooky hummingbird the garden of human mentation. And even "feed" is too rough and ugly a word to describe what I do, because I don't really devour or bite or consume in the usual sense. I'm too evolved for that. It's more like I inhale or savor the emotional aura or vibration, and draw my sustenance from that surprisingly rich and nourishing brew. Nor is it to feed my body, which is quite happy getting by on veggies and pizza and an occasional burger or plate of sushi. It's to feed my soul and spirit with the intoxicatingly delicious pastiche of normal humans' hopes and fears, excitements, and experiences, their pleasures and pains.

And here it is, Saturday night, that weekly dinner time for us predatory freaks, and there's that desperate Saturday Night excitement coming up off the street below. This stretch of Central is where the clubs are, and so there are crowds down there basking in the weather: guys and girls, couples, lovers, loners, people of all sorts and ages. And despite the essential non-carnality of my diet, I'm not going to suggest to you that the pleasure I take from my feeding is somehow non-sexual or absent of erotic content. Because it's far from that. Way far.

As an empath, I'm drawn to strong emotion, especially strong positive emotion, and it's hard to find a more intense and readily available source of emotion than what's experienced during physical sex.. Sexual feelings run deep, run rich, and run hot, and permeate almost every area of the mind in one form or another, so are readily available. That, and I suppose my natural personality and predilections have made me a connoisseur of the human sexual experience and its attendant emotions, especially those of the female.

Oh, men's carnal emotions can be very intense and even intoxicating, but essentially they're very simple and rather uninteresting. A man wants sex: and that's pretty much the end of the story. He wants it so badly that he'll stick his penis in any sort of receptacle, no questions asked. It was the male, after all, who came up with the idea for the Glory Hole: a hole bored in the wall of a toilet stall where he'd gladly stick his yosh and hope for the best. That's about as basic as you can get.

But a woman's sexuality is rich, deep, and complex: a shifting medley of desire and trepidation, physical pleasure and excitement seasoned with a bit of worry or guilt; a pinch of trust and a hint of incipient love, and a kind of sweet-&-sour sauce made from inhibitions vigorously shaken with the deep urge to let one's self go. That's not to say that there aren't times when a woman's attitude towards sex is no more complicated than a man's, but on the whole, her emotions are more profound and involved. Her body and indeed her very self are more tied up and entangled with sex to the point where it's very difficult from an empath's point of view to drill down to the fundamental source of her sexuality

Ever since I realized this, I've been on a quest for the deepest, most profound mix of female sexual emotions. My special quest is to follow those emotions to the very source of desire, those most primitive and primal energies that seem to drive the very engine of life. I've not found it yet, but my search has made me quite adept in the exploration of human female sexual feeling, and skilled in the exploration of the elements of womanly desire.

And tonight my search begins anew. Behind me, the crew's arguing about their plans for the evening, but I've already got my empathic radar switched on, and I cast my attention out the open window and down into the street like a fisherman casts a lure, scanning the crowd in survey mode, getting the feel of the general buzz and letting it filter into me. Each Saturday night is different, depending on the weather and the phase of the moon and the general mood of the city and so many different things, and every hunter worth his salt has to know the mood of his prey as well as the lay of the land and the general vibe before he starts out on his hunt. Are things calm? Relaxed? Tense? Threatening?

Back behind me in the flat, GuylyGirl agrees with Caveman's assertion about getting laid, and Caveman's trying to scratch his right ear with his right foot in annoyance, but he's already too humanoid.

It's a sick crew, but you know, living out here on the edge of reality is no bag of Oreos. You kind of hang with whomever fate throws your way.

Count Nathan Larry gives up on the Fuckable Jerk and turns to me: "What about you, M? You up for some action tonight?"

As I mentioned, I'm with these creatures but not of them, and they're used to that. The general consensus is that I'm really weird and don't fit any of the classic monster stereotypes, so there's no telling what sort of things I might be getting up to. They're used to me just kind of drifting away from the conversation or disappearing altogether in search of whatever kind of pixie dust keeps me going.

So I just hook Count Nathan's eyes for a moment, long enough to send him the image of me ghosting down dark streets alone, and he understands what I'm saying. I let them talk and drift back to the kitchen, turn off the lights and open the window wide to the old iron fire escape and the spring air and extend my metaphorical antennae out and down to better scan the street below.

This is my feeding ground. Those people are my livestock, my herd, and my corner grocery. They're all feverishly looking for something—sex and love, mostly--and to an empath the roar of all that hunger sounds something like waves crashing on a rocky shore, throwing off droplets of iridescent emotional spume. It's a twisting, writing, multicolored heap of arrows of attention and curiosity, from eyes to ass to face to body, all searching each other out like a mass of snakes, all looking for connection.

My attention goes off sniffing along like a bloodhound, tasting the emotional tones. This one's drunk and this one's hopeful and that one gives off a faint whiff of self-satisfaction. There's excitement and caution and anger and regret, and soon enough I'm rubbing my tongue against the roof of my mouth, trying to scrape off the bitterness of resentment, the greasy taste of envy and the noxious sourness of jealousy. It's not always pleasant.

But then I hit it: outside a certain bar in a loose crowd of people hanging out and smoking, I detect the divine musk of a young woman's sexual desire, remarkably clear and unusual in its purity and brightness, untainted by the usual contaminants of guilt or worry or nagging insecurity. It's coming from a graceful dark-haired beauty standing casually alone outside the club in a skirt and top, holding her elbows in a loose hug and swaying contentedly to the music spilling out of the bar. She's radiating a pure, unexpected, unadulterated joy, as effortlessly as a candle radiates light.

Although no one in the loose crowd around her seems to take any notice, there's something so singular about this girl that for me she stands out like a beacon in a sea of emotional confusion. There's this feminine purity about her, a seamless melding of body and spirit that's entirely natural and effortless, yet suffused with a beauty and clarity that goes far beyond the physical. To my empath's eyes she seems to glow and cast no shadow, and she appears to hover just above the pavement like an angel, but strangely, no one seems aware of her. She's surrounded by people but not connected to any of them, dressed casually for going out but not to impress, and she's there quite alone, as I can tell instantly from her vibe.

That in itself catches my interest, because women out alone are not at all common, despite what the horror movies would have you believe, and this one especially has a strange, serene grace more suited to a nymph or goddess than to a Saturday night club-goer. She's not trying to get into the club, she's not leaving it. She's just standing back near the shadows and swaying to the music, perfectly content within herself.

If I soften my focus and kind of squint a little, the emotions in most crowds appear as hills and heaps of dull brownish stuff with little shifting lights and images of especially strong individual concerns sticking out like barbs—someone's wrecked car, a boss's angry words, a lover's slammed door—but the vibe coming off this girl is clean and translucent, unpolluted by the ugly streaks and splotches of worry and anxiety that always taint human beings' streams of thought. So now I stop and really give her my attention, because I know very well that in any given crowd there are very, very, few people who give off an aura like that, so pure and pristine, and so highly sexual yet unaffected.

The hunter and gourmet empath inside me is already wondering what it would be like to dip my tongue into that sweet stream and savor such a sublime and concentrated taste of untrammeled sexual emotion. And the human part of me is wondering: just how is she able to project this kind of laser beam of emotional purity? Is she some kind of yogin or Zen master? A Secret Archon or Self-realized Saint? Perhaps some demi-spirit who's avoided the attention of the North Side Supernaturals?

But remember, I'm still at my kitchen window three flights up, down the block and across the street, just surveying the crowd. So I focus in, shutting out my guests arguing in the other room and the noise from the street, and right away I'm struck by her remarkable beauty. It's not a beauty that the other people on the street might notice, though she's certainly pleasant enough in appearance, but beautiful by my lights, in which I look for unity between body, mind, and spirit, a kind of integrated harmony that gives a woman a sense of depth and quietude. She is, in my terms, beautiful through and through.

And she's radiating, quietly and unintentionally, this deep sense of peace and pleasure and profound satisfaction in her identity as a woman, and broadcasting the loveliest, most generous ache of female horniness I have ever encountered.

In my mind I imagine taking off my survey glasses and bringing down my analytical headset. Neither of these actually exist, but in my business, creative visualization is one of my primary techniques, and so I can imagine lenses and optics sliding into place, scopes turning on, my focus closing in on her and shutting everything else out.

I connect with her aura and the first thing I get from her is this feeling of ecstatic relief and liberation that washes over me like a clean, fresh breath of air, so unexpected it makes me catch my breath. I realize immediately that his wave is the result of her just now recovering from a major emotional shock involving a lover who left her in a most hurtful and totally ass-holish manner, hurting her so badly that for a few weeks she'd been seriously thinking about suicide and ending it all. There's a wall around her, hastily assembled as these walls often are, as a way of protecting herself, but it's just a flimsy stack of good memories and salvaged hopes and I can penetrate it easily. But just brushing up against it is enough to make me slightly woozy, as it communicates to me that sickening purple-red miasma of self-directed violence.

Something had happened to her recently—very recently—some kind of thought or change of mind that had changed her way of thinking with the force of sudden revelation, and she'd gone quickly from darkest despair to this feeling of relief, hope, and simple elation. I tried to see what this thought had been but, as is so often the case, this change of heart had been caused by something so trivial and personal that it escaped my efforts. All that remained was this flood of quiet happiness.

Whatever it had been, it was a transformative event that had just happened this morning, and by the time evening came the urge to celebrate became too strong to resist, and so she'd thrown on some clothes and brought herself down to the clubs here along Central Avenue, just to listen to music and be among people and revel in all the possibilities of spring and the joy of life all renewed.

She was wonderful to read, so open and honest, and so lost was I in exploring all this from my window across the street that I let my mind drift a bit too close to hers, and a portion of our auras physically overlapped. Instantly the clouds of soul-glow began to fuse like two soap bubbles and some of her energy started flooding into my sensorium. I started feeling her much too closely, much too personally, and her thoughts, feelings, sensations poured into me till I started to actually become her, by a process we empaths call fusion: a dangerous condition in which you experience another person's total existence as if it's your own.

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