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Author Topic: I'm Thinking of a Number  (Read 6475 times)

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Slimebeast

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I'm Thinking of a Number
« on: 03:37:50 AM 05/09/13 »
It's not often that the shiftless barflies at the local pub get off of their stools willingly. We had an Earthquake a while back, and all involved insisted it was just a mild tremor right up until the bottles dropped off the wall, along with the titanic mirror. That was probably the only thing that had been hanging around longer than us.

So imagine my surprise one evening when I arrived to find the entire place huddled toward the back, near the restrooms.

"Hey!" I shouted upon entering, expecting the usual disinterested grunt of acknowledgement from the glassy-eyed regulars.

Not a single one of them turned to greet me. I looked to the bar and saw it empty. Curtis was usually on duty those nights. He was a real tough guy who wore a ridiculous salt-and-pepper mustache from ear to ear and expected you to keep quiet about it.

We kept a tally on the wall in red pen. One line for every newbie who made fun of the mustache and left bleeding.

"Hey," I insisted, making my way across the stripped and weathered floor, "You guys find a rat with two heads or what?"

Fat Bill, the guy named Bill who was also fat, turned and shushed me. Following that fleeting interaction, he turned back into the huddle.

"Don't shush me, you fat bastard!" I laughed, only to be met with silence.

Now I was determined to see what all the fuss was about. Elbowing my way past Hump Maggie and Dale, I was finally able to force myself into the tightly grouped drunks. The smell of ten different adult beverages mingled with four awful perfumes and a choking haze of cologne.

At the center of the group, there sat a small, bearded man. He wore tattered and soiled clothes that looked like an Army Surplus shop had collided with Good Will. He was balding around the crown, and looked emaciated. It was clear to me now that the center of attention was this homeless bum who had hobbled in off the streets.

What was most interesting about the man... whose nose-twisting odor was now dominating all others... was the long, reddish scar that ran across his forehead. It was similar to that of Frankenstein's Monster, though there were no stitches to be seen and it appeared to have healed decades prior.

"Who the Hell is that?" I chuckled.

Fat Bill shushed me again.

Obediently, I watched in silence as the homeless man, seated in one of the bare wooden chairs, seemed to stare as if in a trance. Only at this point did I notice the spoon placed on the floor between his grubby, duct-taped shoes.

This strange, quiet anticipation lasted for a few more moments until the small metal utensil moved a half an inch across the floor.

All at once, everyone around me erupted with a cheer. Hoots and hollers filled the pub, and a few of the folks begrudgingly paid others. As the crowd broke a bit, I finally spotted Curtis on the other side of the hobo.

"Curt, what's going on?" I shrugged at him with a perplexed expression.

"He's a psychic!" Curtis boomed like a low-rent Pavarotti, his voice trouncing the excited yelps of the patrons.

"Oh," I frowned, "What a bunch of crap."

The hobo looked up suddenly, shooting me a cold, icy stare. His pale green eyes... like sea foam... seemed to be accusing me of some great injustice. I realized that he was the sort who stuck to his scam and didn't like any skeptics ruining the fun. I wondered how many drinks the others had bought for him before I showed up.

"Better watch your mouth." he warned in a hoarse, dry growl.

"Oh, sorry." I smirked, "It's just that I've never seen a real psychic before. Well, I mean a real charlatan, that is. How'd you move the spoon? Magnets in your shoes, right?"

"I moved it with my mind." the hobo turned away from me again, and his expression dissolved into a textbook thousand-yard stare.

"Okay, sure. So how'd you do THAT, then?"

"MKUltra."

"So that's some sort of book or class? Envisioning yourself doing amazing things and whatnot?"

Hump Maggie put her hand on my shoulder and asked me to be nice to the old man. I told her to shut up, Hump Maggie.

"MKUltra. Government experiments. Psychics. Mind control. Telepathy." the hobo droned, sounding like a grizzled old game show host giving a quick-fire series of clues.

"Things that are Bullshit!" I answered.

Now Fat Bill and the rest were urging me to be quiet. It was like that moment where your friends are trying to hold you back from a fight, but you know you have to get another few licks in despite what they think is best.

I decided to give the guy a test. One where I'd definitely know if this shtick was for real.

"What number am I thinking of?"

The hobo leaned forward with his head in his hands.

"There's always one." he muttered.

"Nope, it wasn't one!" I said triumphantly.

"I mean there's always one of you guys. Some snot-nose civilian who wants to pick a fight with the freak."

"So... what number?"

"Three."

Damn! I'd been thinking of three, and by random chance he guessed it. I decided to play with him a bit, however.

"Nope, it was -"

"Eight."

That's what I was going to say. Quickly, I thought of another -

"Seven," he hissed, "Six, fourteen, eight, three, sixty, two hundred and ten, one, zero, infinity, zero, twelve... A googolplex, whatever that is."

Every number he said echoed the digits flashing through my mind as I tried to decide what to say I had been thinking of in the first place. I had even thought of a googolplex and immediately wondered what that is.

"Wow." I shook my head, "Okay, you're good. I don't know how you did that."

"See?" Fat Bill gave the man a golf-clap, "See, now? Psychic!"

I knelt by the hobo, nearly knocked flat by his stench, and studied his craggy face in wonder.

"How did you..." I whispered, "Can I do something like that?"

"Nope." he shook his head and fixed those hateful eyes on me again, "You wouldn't do no good with it. Bad enough I got it."

From this, I inferred that I theoretically COULD learn whatever trick he had used... it's just that he didn't want to share it. Disappointed, I rose to my feet again, thrust my hands in my pockets, and sneered.

"Fine, then. What else can you do? Show everyone some more tricks."

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, the group began to mumble and whisper. Soon, they were all repeating what I had said.

"Yeah! More tricks! More tricks!"

The hobo's hands flew to the sides of the wooden chair and grasped hard. All at once his body became rigid and his expression dropped.

"Thay ain't tricks, god damn it!" he howled, "What they done to me ain't right! It ain't holy!"

Curtis stepped forward from the group and stood at my side.

"Well, Mister," Curtis took a deep breath and cocked his head at the strange little man, "You've had your run of the place for most of the night. Free drinks aren't really free, if you know what I mean."

"Yeah," I added, "So what ELSE can you DO?"

The hobo thought for a moment, his eyes rolling back and forth in his head. For a few seconds I thought I'd seen them roll completely back into the sockets.

His next words emerged in a chilling monotone tenor.

"I can kill you with my mind."

The men laughed. The women gasped mockingly. We all exchanged smirks and disbelieving glances. Fat Bill broke from the group and walked back to the bar as if he was done with the whole spectacle.

"I can kuh... kuh..." the hobo stammered, then let out an ear-splitting shriek, "KILL YOU WITH MY MIIIIIINNNNDD!!"

"Alright, now. Keep in civil." Curtis chided.

Suddenly, Fat Bill returned to the scene with a full pitcher of beer. It looked as if it had long gone flat while everyone had been enamored with the dime store mentalist. Before anyone could lift a finger, there was Bill... Cherubic, grinning, dumping the pitcher over the hobo's head with all the flourish of a Magician's Assistant.

"Ta-Daaaaa!" Bill called out.

Some laughed, others were horrified. I wasn't quite sure how to take the whole thing, as I was no fan of this character. Curtis, always a man of action, moved to give Fat Bull the bum's rush for the fifth time this month.

"I CAN..." the hobo squealed as if he was in pain, "I CAN..."

The entire building began to shake. Bottles flew from the wall and smashed across the floor, leaving a rainbow of glittering shards.

"Earthquake!" Hump Maggie called out.

"I CAN... I..." the hobo began to gurgle and sputter. Thick, deep-red blood spurted from his mouth like squeezes of ketchup, one after the other.

"OH GOD..." Fat Bill screamed, "LOOK AT HIS HEAD!"

I got the worst case of cotton mouth as it felt like all the blood drained from my body and settled in my feet, making them unable to move. The hobo's head... the SCAR on his forehead... began to split, issuing forth more and more of his life fluid until his entire face was painted crimson.

The room shook even more violently.

"I CAN KILL YOU..."

The top of the hobo's scalp peeled back like shriveling melted plastic, exposing the red-stained dome of his otherwise off-white skull. With a resounding CRACK, that bone separated like an egg that was about to hatch.

"WITH MY MIIIINNNNNDDDD..."

It emerged from within the man's head, and all at once we knew what was about to happen. The throbbing, sickeningly vibrant contents of the hobo's head raised itself on twisted spider's legs made of torn, braided nerves. Each leg attached to the slick, pulsating mess in ways no normal brain would be aligned.

The hobo's body slumped forward to the floor as the brain-beast skittered on its wobbling, stilt-like legs. At full height, it was as tall as any of us.

One by one, the patrons tried to flee as the floor splintered and the roof began to collapse. One by one, the hideous brain stalked them on its pointed ends. It strangled Fat Bill by unwinding one leg and coiling the nerves around his throat. Curtis and Hump Maggie were a bit luckier, having ducked behind the pool table. When the brain darted to them, it simply drove a pool cue through them both.

I remained the last one standing as the impossible thing ambled to and fro, surveying the carnage it had wrought. Gradually, the shaking stopped.

I hoped that my mysterious and sudden paralysis would keep me from being sensed by the thing, until its dangling eyeballs suddenly sprang to life. Like two ostrich heads searching for a hand-out, the eyes rotated and flopped and adjusted on their stalks until they met my gaze.

It was the same stare I'd seen before. The same foam green hue. The brain stalked toward me, as if it was wary of what I might do... then it unbraided one of its limbs again. Slowly, carefully, the nerve endings moved across my face and through my nostrils. I felt a slight twinge of pain, then an increasingly sharp headache.

That was the moment when I understood why I'd been allowed to live. It wasn't the brain that was alive, it was something inside. A thought. An idea. These things have to be spread to survive.

"Nine," I choked, breathless, "Y-You're thinking of nine..."
« Last Edit: 03:25:41 AM 04/13/16 by Slimebeast »
If I should live until I wake, I pray the web my death to fake.

Bogleech

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Re: I'm Thinking of a Number
« Reply #1 on: 01:51:49 AM 05/29/13 »
"Like ostrich heads looking for handouts" is the best description ever given to stalked eyeballs.

I loved every part of this story and what it ended on.

Slimebeast

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Re: I'm Thinking of a Number
« Reply #2 on: 10:40:27 PM 05/29/13 »
WHAT THE BOG! A wild Bogleech appears.
If I should live until I wake, I pray the web my death to fake.

sonjapasta

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Re: I'm Thinking of a Number
« Reply #3 on: 01:05:02 PM 06/23/13 »
WUT DA **** JUST HAPPENED:?! XD nice story! though I hate to be a critic it was not my favorite CP. it was very interesting but I always prefer a CP with huge backstory that explains everything. sorry for my criticism it was I very good story and left you wondering what happened ;D. is there any possible sequels? if the writer of the story sees this please reply I would love to hear more about the story!
 
PS the "criticism" I provided was actually not relevant to the story and was only obtained through my own likes but to me that's criticism I am very sorry if you are offended and if you are I owe you my deepest apologies  :'(

Sorceror Nobody

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Re: I'm Thinking of a Number
« Reply #4 on: 08:53:21 AM 03/30/15 »
*buemp*

Totally on a whim, I decided to make a reading of this story. Make of it what you will; the quality is less than stellar, not least due to the fact that my mic is built into my webcam and thus not a proper mic.

https://soundcloud.com/sorceror-nobody/im-thinking-of-a-number/s-ePW7Z

(also I guess this is my first post, hi. Been lurking for a reasonable while)

WellRed

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Re: I'm Thinking of a Number
« Reply #5 on: 11:39:48 PM 04/01/15 »
"I can kill you with my mind."  *cough-Firefly-cough*  :P

Fairly common sentiment though, as freaky deaky supernatural mind powers go. Not the whole story, I've never read anything like it, but the psychic murder part.
There's nothing wrong with me, there must be something wrong with the universe! -Dr. Beverly Crusher

Slimebeast

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Re: I'm Thinking of a Number
« Reply #6 on: 03:33:22 AM 04/02/15 »
I've never seen Firefly. :P
If I should live until I wake, I pray the web my death to fake.

WellRed

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Re: I'm Thinking of a Number
« Reply #7 on: 03:31:21 PM 04/02/15 »
Well, that solves that then.   ;D   :P
There's nothing wrong with me, there must be something wrong with the universe! -Dr. Beverly Crusher

3dultrasound.Wing

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Re: I'm Thinking of a Number
« Reply #8 on: 07:12:11 AM 08/20/16 »
WHADDA TWEEST!!!!








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