The bare, blackened skeletons of trees surrounded him. Naked, with only a few scorched scraps of clothing hanging to him, he pulled himself from the ground. Now in a sitting position his eyes adjusted to the scene around him. He glanced briefly at the trees. They were all leaning away from him, whatever had happened, he was the epicentre of it all. He looked to the sky with wondrous and inquisitive eyes, his left iris was a dull grey, evidently blind, but etched on his eyelids were four black markings surrounding his eyeball, four jagged spikes forming an 'X'; forming a glyph.
Isaac continued to repeat the process at work whenever he was there, it made the whole time there bearable and far more enjoyable than it ever had been. College was just the same, reading minds helped alleviate the boredom, but a day came when something was out of the ordinary.
His teacher, Mr West. He had always been depressed during classes, you didn't need to enter his mind to figure that much out, but Isaac discovered there was more too it than that. There were far more layers than he ever could have anticipated. The roots coming from childhood abuse, the roots then being cemented during years of bullying an mockery in school had led to the growth of a mindset where he believed himself worthless and undeserving of any form of happiness.
This particular day was worse than ever however. He had found solace in his wife, and children, and for years he had managed to fool himself that he could finally be happy, until his persistent pessimism drove them away. That drove him insane. Now he was in a state of frenzy. Considering everything, Isaac couldn't help but admire his strength and determination that was required to put on the front he had whilst teaching.
His mind was frantic, pulsating with anger, self loathing, hatred, misery and malice. Consumed by his flurry of negative emotion, one image flashed through his head, over and over, becoming clearer and clearer with every second. The three of them; dead. Him, his wife, and his daughter. Dead.
The class ended, and the college would soon begin to exhale students and teachers alike. Mr West was going to return to his home, pull out the knife from the wooden holster in the kitchen and pay a visit to his family. They were settled in a nearby hotel. Isaac wasn't going to allow this to happen.
He dialled for emergency services as soon as he was able. He asked for the police.
"Hello, what is the nature of your emergency?"
"My teacher is about to murder his family! It sounds ridiculous- insane I know- but I- I heard him!"
"Do you know where your teacher is at this moment?"
"He will be heading home right now, but his family are staying at a hotel on Reston Avenue, you need to send someone down there- now!"
"Alright, we will get someone to the site as soon as we c-"
Isaac didn't wait for him to finish, he needed to get to that hotel, he needed to warn them! But he didn't have a car, he had no spare change for a bus or a taxi. He ran.
By the time he reached the hotel, he was sweating all over and panting heavily, the day was darker now, and the air cooler, but Isaac was unable to feel the chill through the exertion and exhaustion. Isaac looked up.
There he was.
Mr West. He seemed possessed, his eyes manic and bloodshot, his hand trembling. He slipped his hand into his coat pocket and began to toy with something inside. Isaac caught a glance... A gun! Where the hell did he get a gun?
He entered the building. Isaac didn't follow, what could he do? He was powerless. So what? You're gonna let a couple of innocent people die? Who am I kidding, I'm not a hero, I'm nothing. Woah, I'm starting to sound like...
The thought scared him, so he erased it from his mind, the idea that he had been influenced by Mr West's mind was something he didn't even want to consider.
There was a disturbance. Isaac could hear shouting. Manic, almost incomprehensible, and fuelled by fear. He backed out of the door he had entered. The gun he held in his pocket pointed at his own temple.
"Put the gun down, sir!"
Several police officers emerged from the hotel, all of them unarmed, evidently thinking better of pointing weapons at a man contemplating suicide.
"What's the point? What's the point in any of this?"
Speaking those words Isaac felt all of the pain Mr West had suffered, all the years of torment had amounted to this, and Isaac was overwhelmed with pity. That pity caused something inside to unlock, suddenly Isaac's fears were no more and he knew he had to stop this before everything ended in tragedy.
"JONATHAN WEST!" Isaac's voice rang out across the street and echoed through the adjoining alleys.
He turned, his eyes staring hopelessly at Isaac. He penetrated his mind, and screamed a thought into his brain, so that nothing else could be considered. Three words:
"Don't do it."
The gun fell to the floor with an unremarkable 'clunk' and a police officer took advantage, tackling the teacher to the ground and handcuffing him as a precaution, not that it was needed, Jonathan West would never consider suicide again.
Isaac stood frozen in disbelief. What had just happened? He watched the scene unfold before him, he watched his teacher be bundled into a police car that emerged from the corner, he saw an officer walk up to him.
"You're going to need to come with us"
"You're a witness, plus you helped stop a man from taking his own life, and his families, don't worry, you're not in any trouble." For some reason Isaac wasn't reassured, something told him that getting involved with the authorities was not a good idea in any regard, it could only lead to trouble.
What followed was a series of questions in a series of different rooms from a series of different people. He was forced to lie on several occasions, the most common being 'and how did you know Mr West was about to commit murder?' The answer being 'I heard him muttering under his breath, I didn't catch all the details, but I heard what he was planning.'
There was woman who seemed to be present throughout it all however. She had a cold expression on her face every time Isaac looked at her, and she would often throw him a suspicious glance, though she never said a word. Her hair was jet black, she had a fringe which covered the entirety of her forehead, but ended just before it covered her eyes. It was several hours before he was released. When he stepped out into the lobby, he found his mother waiting for him, her face red with fury. She had spent all of her time at the station shouting at any officer that walked by, asking why her son was being kept so long when had done nothing wrong- when he had actually been heroic. She was also mad at him however-
"What the hell did you think you were doing, running in to save the day like that? You could have been killed!" she embraced him and squeezed so hard he could hardly catch his breath. Isaac understood how worried his mother had been about him- but he also knew that she was proud- she wouldn't show it right away, she may not show it all, because she wanted to convey to him exactly what he had put her through, but Isaac knew she was proud.
When Isaac returned home he was left- once again- to ponder on his power. How far did it go? He now knew he could manipulate people's thoughts, but to what extent? It began to scare him, he knew all too well that people with too much power easily become corrupt, he didn't want to be that person, I won't be that person.
He resigned himself to not use his power unless absolutely necessary, to avoid becoming mad with it- lest he become the menace he feared was inside him.