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The Imagineer

A Novella

Empathy taken to the extreme- a British teen is able to enter the minds of others. Then he can't get out, and must solve his own kidnapping.

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     It was so odd, to see his small house and his parents through the eyes of someone else.

     Poor mum, a bit hefty she is, miserable as miserable can be, don’t envy her, no I don’t, or this sad bubble of a husband, wouldn’t be surprised if he raised a hand to her now and then after a few pints- never know, might have stuffed the little sod in the closet and claimed he’s missing… don’t see the mum that way, but the dad’s got a mean glint in his eye like a pit bull, he does. Don’t trust that one. Trapped in this god-awful place, drab as the undertaker’s it is, at least I’ve had enough sense to keep from the family way…

     A bobby, stiff as an upright corpse, stood at the door. She was all business, periodically peering through the sheer curtains, making sure the now tired dozen or so members of the press kept their proper distance.

     Mum sat on the couch, and the couch itself looked both sadder and smaller now that Sean saw it from a greater height, yet he still missed it and that small drab room and especially his mum. Even, a bit, his dad.

         TICK, TOCK, TICK... HUMPH, HUMPH...

     The wall clocked ticked, and, besides his mum’s heavy breathing- for what seemed like many long minutes, these were the only sounds. His dad, in one of his few shared stories, had once told Sean the clock had been brought over from Ireland when Sean’s father was just a boy. It was a simple bank clock with a dark wooden frame the size of a doormat, a dull brass pendulum swinging inside, and a plain white clock face like an encased moon. His father always kept it wound and on time, but had to fuss with it obsessively to make it run properly, as ‘the springs are older than time’ as he liked to say. Family lore had it that Sean’s great-grandfather had pilfered it from a British bank when the Brits still ruled Ireland, and to have it here in the house unbeknownst to the police was a point of pride.

     Maybe if Nigel had known this he might have attributed the gruffness of Sean’s father to this family secret. But this was not the cause of his father’s ever-present foulness. This was due to his father’s own fix-less mechanics.