Getting The ‘Feels’.
Tammy sat in the corner of her cell and listened intently. She could feel the guard’s excitement and hyper energy, even through the thick brick walls and blast doors. It made her heart hammer in her chest and her palms begin to sweat with apprehension. Being an empath wasn’t a gift or something she found particularly useful. It didn’t have any perks, couldn’t help her with everyday life and was merely a drain on her energy. People would think that picking up on others emotions would make it easier to socialise and to understand human nature better. But it didn’t. It was a virus, constantly overwhelming her and making it difficult to distinguish what was her own emotions and what was someone else’s. It was a pain in the arse in the frankest manner of putting it.
Especially in this place. It’s the pit of despair. And I get the magical gift of sensing everything everyone feels day in and day out.
It wasn’t unusual for Tammy to pick up on the guard’s emotions without needing to concentrate, especially as of late. As time got on they were becoming more careless. In the early years the staff were conscious that pushing the inmates was dangerous and that they could get into a world of trouble if there was any sign of abuse. Soon enough, however, it became obvious that the strong fist of the law wasn’t about to slam down on their heads. Due to that they became more confident and brazen about their antics. They had limited training in defending themselves against Tammy’s abilities and definitely didn’t care to try and hide their intentions either. It was an added bonus for them if they could torture her at the same time as reaping their childish need for power over everyone else. This time, she could sense the extra rowdy nature seeping into the cell block before they were even close. The energy was intoxicating, making her fidget and shudder with a disgusting thrill. They were enjoying themselves but there was also an edge of unease from the younger guards mixed in. That would fade over time, once they got acclimatised the way things ran in the building. The joy from the more experienced, however, meant only one thing.
Looks like someone new is about to join us.
The petite blonde closed her medical book and shoved it under her mattress, not wanting it confiscated when she was only three chapters in. If she was caught with a book, especially without earning the privilege, they would instantly throw her into solitude. They’d possibly interrogate her on how exactly she had managed to sneak the luxury item into her cell in the first place. Solitude was bad enough, the place being much worse than the slum she already lived in, without the addition of humiliation being inflicted on her. They would also take away the only connection she possessed to her previous life and, as much as she had made peace with the prospect of never getting out, she couldn’t afford for that to happen. The book she stashed was the only thing keeping her grounded.
Tammy had been in the prison for almost five years, but before that she had been studying to be an orthopaedic and trauma surgeon. The job had taken up most of her waking hours. It gave her little time for outside influences, which meant there was nothing she really missed about normal life. Unlike others, who would speak of friends and their social lives, she didn’t have many stories to look back on with fondness apart from her time studying. Even though there was no chance of ever seeing a surgical instrument again, she still kept up her studies with books she stole from the prison library.
Or more to the point, I sent Lucas to steal them for me. Guess it’s rather handy having someone nearby who can literally walk through walls.
Reading was a good way to pass the time and block out everyone else’s lingering emotions which filled her like an over spilling pint glass. At times she felt overwhelmed, not being able to distinguish which of them were her own and which were the feelings of others around her. It often caused her to resort to anger and stress headaches, unable to tell everyone to stop feeling so intensely. The emotions which swam around the place only varied slightly, as everyone was miserable and bored in the prison. No one had moments of pure joy or anything else which could dull her senses. So it became normal for her to feel bitter more intensely than most. Reading medical texts were calming and kept her focused, giving her something else for her mind to obsess on. There was nothing emotional between the lines of scientific explanations. The text filled the page with mere cold observations and stone like facts written by men and women who she had once dreamed of being.
That’s why I like surgery. No having to take care of the patients feelings. They’re unconscious, which is a bonus for me because unconscious people feel less.
Her reading time, however, was rudely interrupted by the sudden wave of new toxic emotions coming from outside of their block. As much as she hated it, Tammy couldn’t deny that it was refreshing to feel anything but misery, even if she would hate herself afterward. The guards were on the move and they were uncontained. The prison hadn’t had a new occupant in almost two years. Tammy got to her feet and wondered to her cell door, resting her arms through the gaps between the cold iron bars. She could sense her twin sisters’ nervousness from the cell beside hers, clearly hearing the degrading thoughts of the men who were on their way. Tammy could feel the steadily increasing knot in her stomach, mixed with the emotions of sickening joy and delight.
They had fun with the prisoner before bringing them here to meet us. The bastards are going to make me feel giddy about it too.
She spotted Lucas moving in his own cell diagonal from hers, getting restless but not bothering to stand and witness the show which would no doubt horrify them. After a few times of witnessing it, Tammy was convinced she’d become cold to it. Not care like a lot of prisoners did. Yet she always felt the same way and it didn’t simmer into nothingness each time. Everyone knew what to expect when the main doors opened. No one arrived to the unit in perfect unscathed condition. Most of the time newbies were knocked unconscious due to a vicious beating or were so weak they couldn’t walk by themselves. Yet Tammy could feel something new in the mixture of emotions emanating from the nearing group, finally hearing the jangle of keys and heavy footfalls in the corridor.
Fuck me, the prisoner is awake and walking?!
The prisoners all watched silently as the buzzer sounded into the block and the doors opened to reveal three guards and a woman. Compared to the giant men hauling her in, the woman looked like a mere child in size. She was small, with a curvy figure, auburn hair and a subtle olive tone to her skin. She was wearing the standard orange jumpsuit, which they put on all the new prisoners in as a good old fashioned joke between them. It was all a show and the humiliating factor which gave them a rise.
Oh they do like a good laugh. Fucking bastards.
The girl staggered into the room, her shackles around her ankles causing her to slam down onto her knees. She gave a small hiss but when she lifted her head she had a wildly defiant scowl on her features, her brown eyes burning into the guard who laughed at her. Instantly the lack of care for how he would react to her expression, sparked Tammy’s interest. She felt power radiating off the woman, a sense of anger and defiance she rarely felt anymore. After a few years the prison often squashed the outrage in the inmates, forcing them into a calm resolution instead. There was little point fighting after constantly being beaten down and told there was no hope. Freedom was a dream, the idea of things getting easier or calmer was also naïve.
Although I have a feeling this woman isn’t like most people. She’s different. She’s stubborn and powerful. I’m liking her already.
As if responding to her thought, Tilly coughed and made a sound of agreement.
Get out of my head, Tilly. You know I will start singing the Kris Kross song again.
At this Tilly sighed heavily from her cell and the pair stared ahead at the new woman in the room. Threatening frustrating songs was the only way of keeping her nosy twin out of her mind. Unfortunately she had always been the victim of Tilly’s constant probing and there were limits to what Tammy wanted to share with her sister. At a time like that one, it was best her sister didn’t start prodding around, especially when the thrill coming from the guards was messing with Tammy’s emotions.
“While your down there love,” one of the guards heckled, nudging his mate with a sneer as they laughed at their own joke. Fucking comedians.
The woman tilted her head and smirked suddenly, no longer looking angry but almost playfully amused by the insult. It was enough to throw everyone off, no one expecting her to be so brazen and confident in her reactions. Still the anger was bubbling underneath the surface, her smirk hiding the want to kill them where they stood. Tammy felt the want to inflict serious harm on them surge through her body like a craving for heroine.
This woman is dangerous. Let’s hope the idiots don’t push her too far.
She winked at the guard who had spoken to her and grinned. The smile was bordering on something a wolf would have before devouring a field of sheep. There wasn’t a trace of genuine amusement behind her actions and Tammy found herself shifting uncomfortably.
“I’m allergic to Twiglets,” she breathed, eyeing his crotch fleetingly. “Sorry.”
The guard suddenly flushed crimson with anger and embarrassment at the slack comment. Tammy felt his overwhelming outrage at her words, his impulse to hurt her for being so insolent despite his want to show her who was boss. The conflicting emotions only made him even more furious. Yet the woman didn’t care and she merely continued watching with cool indifference. Tammy noticed Kian moving inside his cell, his interest sparked by her ballsy smack talk in the face of imminent danger. Without needing Tilly’s gift to read minds, Tammy already knew what must have been flowing through his mind at the arrival of their new neighbour.
Either she has a death wish or knows how to handle herself. Either way she’s playing with fire.