Challenge #01727-D266: Special NeedssteemCreated with Sketch.

in #fiction7 years ago


The concept is fairly vanilla. Not so very long ago historically, say a generation or three, people started occasionally randomly developing superhuman abilities. But the twist was that it was in a world with no assumed behavior of putting on tights and fighting crime. So for the most part, powers are more of an embarrassing social condition, roughly between genital herpes and Tourette's Syndrome, depending on the ability in question.
But who is to say a new ability will automatically be cool? Or useful? Or even dignified?
Examples from the dream: One person can hear the thoughts of lice within about a fifty yard range. Another can lift immense weights of corn. A third can rip sheet metal with her eyebrows. But only sheet metal. And only with her eyebrows. If one DOES develop a cool sounding power, it is often quickly fatal, or nearly so. Flight is cool. But how much experience do you have with steering your body through the air, or accelerating, or decelerating, or landing, or any of that when you suddenly fling yourself up off the sidewalk at roughly mach 0.5 in a crowded neighborhood ?
Like that.
Thanks. -- Bard2dBone

My name is Claire, and I'm a Floater. I'm one of the point one two percent of people afflicted with Floating Syndrome. For me, gravity is optional. I'm grade three, which means I have some control over when and how I float, but... it's not all the time. People think it is? But, it really isn't.

Like, they have some control over whether or not they're an asshole. But they don't, you know?

People see my warning bracelet and immediately ask a whole bunch of questions. I've been thinking of making up some FAQ sheets. Give them all the answers before they can bother to come up with the questions. But I've been told by my therapist that that sort of behaviour is hostile and we need all the tolerance we can get. All I can think about is how, not too long ago, Floaters were automatically saints. Now? We just have to have the patience of them.

I know you know all the questions. It's... easier... when they come out of little kids. They don't know better and they're just curious. But when it's adults? I don't want to be patient with them. I want them to do their own googling and let me get on with my life.

Questions like, "if you can float, why are you fat?" Because every single Floater alive tries putting on weight before they realise that it's irreversible. Because it's hard to go jogging when you can randomly bob along in the breeze. "Are you a balloon?" Do not ask this if you are over seven. Grow up. "How are you doing that?" Oh God, I'm doing it again. Thanks for pointing that out in front of everyone and their kid brother's dog. Not. "Can you get the stuff off the top shelf while you're up there?" Hardy har har. You're so not funny. I have to resist the temptation to drop that stuff on your head, asshole. "Do you know Mr Goodyear?" Yeah sure. His number is One, Five hundred, Fuck Off.

And everyone's classic, "It's just a joke. You should lighten up. Oh yeah, you already did."


No class three Floater is allowed to have kids with another class three. There's an increased risk of having a class six baby. And they never live long. They don't just float, they can fly. And the human body is hardly aerodynamic. Their first experience with flight is usually rocketing off the ground at high speed and into imminent death. Suffocation in the stratosphere, annihilation in a jet intake, or high-speed human body versus building. It's not pretty.

There's others who can do different stuff. It's just the Floaters that are the most visible and the most objectionable. I have a weight belt to stop me floating up in the office. And that classes me as 'special needs' and entitles my boss to dock my pay for reasons that nobody can explain. My strangeness is limited and not inherently useful.

There's no way to market my Capability. That's what they call it now, that larger group of people with strange, quote-unquote gifts. Others are luckier, but I bet they're just as tired of it all as I am. There's one person who can create hypersonic vibrations with their hands. They have a job in their local hospital, treating kidney stones. Another can smell cancer. They work as a receptionist at a General Practitioner's. There's a few out there who can tear steel with certain body parts. They always find work at scrap iron yards.

But there's nothing useful about floating. They keep talking about genetic testing, but there's only two ways people react when they're told that their kid is Capable. They either figure out how to make money out of it, or they reject their kid in any of a million ways. If they knew the moment their kid was born? Or before? It could well be a global massacre.

And I'd rather not think about that, thank you.

I just want to be part of a world where nobody asks me the same silly questions all the time.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / ribah2012]

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