Jericho eyed his hands. He flicked it back and forth. He snapped hoping for a spark but found none. In a fit of anger, he slammed his hand against the chair. His therapist sighed.
“Jericho, these things take time.”
“Take time?” He yelled. Jericho was not one to lose cool or to yell for that matter, but Dr. Yohan recommended he express his emotions. Still, Jericho knew within his mind that he was angry and bitter about his failures, even if he did not like to admit it. “I should have unlocked my abilities by now!”
Dr. Yohan’s eyes darted back between Jericho and his clipboard.
“These things take time,” he said again.
Jericho eyed the man, hoping to instill some fear, but that was impossible. This man was a master of thoughts, his own and others alike. Jericho scoffed knowing this man knew his thoughts at this very moment. This man could pry so deep inside Jericho’s brain that he probably knew about things even Jericho did not know.
“Something you want to tell me?” Jericho said. He assumed his thoughts were triggering off Dr. Yohan’s abilities.
Dr. Yohan, visibly strained by the session, put down his glasses, and rubbed his eyes. He sarcastically said, “Shouldn’t I be the one asking you that?”
“I fucking hate you.”
“My mom wastes so much money on these sessions.”
“What kind of therapist are you?” Jericho scrutinized.
“The one that makes money talking to shitty teenagers like you. Too bad I don’t have the powers to shut you up.”
Jericho looked at the clock. There were still 55 minutes left in the session, all he accomplished in the past five minutes was moving his hands around like a person with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Dr. Yohan spent the next 55 minutes attempting to extract an ability trigger from within Jericho’s brain, a practice the therapist started two months ago. The first five minutes was always mindless chatter and Jericho releasing his pent-up emotions. Dr. Yohan did not explain why, but even Jericho knew that words would be put to waste at this point. He allowed the doctor to work, even if most of the time he just sat there brooding the entire session.
Dr. Yohan had explained that he was searching Jericho’s mind, traveling through his brain to awaken his latent power. Dr. Yohan was known for unlocking many late bloomers, those who were considered ungifted. The title of gifted was not one entering Jericho’s life anytime soon.
This was the sixth month, and all the other ungifted took four months max to awaken their abilities. Not to mention that Jericho was already nineteen, and soon to be twenty. All of Dr. Yohan’s clients were in their early teens, the oldest being sixteen. Jericho was an anomaly, and every passing second made him hate his life even more.
What was he to do without powers? What job could he possibly get? Sure, he could work in retail, at a restaurant, but he would be ridiculed for not using his non-existent powers. He would be taunted, mocked, given crappy tips just for being unfortunate. A small percentage of people live without superpowers and the ones that manage to scrap by do not live long.
We are moving forward as a species. Evolution was the motto of society, and that motto meant to break down anyone else that was not like the rest.
Even Dr. Yohan liked Jericho at one point until he realized he could not cure the cursed child. He spent a lot of time scolding Jericho for being a disgrace, even at the four-month mark Jericho could tell he was losing patience. Healthcare privacy exists to protect the patient, but after five months news got out that a teenager under the care of Dr. Yohan could not unlock his abilities. Dr. Yohan spent the past month taking care of the mess and improving his PR. He still has backlash, and probably will have it for the foreseeable future.
His mom worked hard, enough to pay the bills, but also enough to cover the therapist session fees. Jericho had worked up the courage to ask if he could stop going, but she told him that that was not an option. Jericho shrugged if off at the time, but inside his blood boiled.
Dr. Yohan tried many exercises with Jericho but to no avail. They even went back to archaic methods and talked about his childhood life and any trauma he experienced, but they could not find anything. Jericho lived a good childhood, at least until he turned seventeen when the bullying began.
The bullying would have stopped if he had unlocked his ability within the next year because sometimes people really are late bloomers, but that did not happen, and the bullying continued.
He applied to colleges hoping to leave the past behind him, but he was rejected at every single one. They probably do not regret the decision. A failed superhuman would tarnish any university or even community college. The money does not come in with ungifted students.
Jericho had to be his own therapist for most of these sessions now. Dr. Yohan would not speak to him directly after the four-month mark passed. It had felt like the doctor was speaking through him, and not really catering to his client’s needs. Today was a peculiar day, and perhaps Dr. Yohan was opening up again. Jericho even felt he added an extra minute today. Still, he probably has said way less than what one would expect from a therapy session. He had explained to Jericho that it was because he was the type to search and gather thoughts through his abilities, but the first four months of his therapy had obviously proved otherwise. In one of the more earlier sessions, Jericho remembered how Dr. Yohan spoke an entire monologue in a space of 45 minutes, with Jericho only able to drop in yes and uh huhs into the conversation.
Jericho assumed the real reason was so Dr. Yohan could swindle his clients out of more money. Jericho had made an entire conspiracy in his head that the League of Evil Therapists (or LET for short) would withhold on providing treatment so that they could cash in on a few more months of easy money and months three or four was when they would start seriously working upon unlocking the ability. At least that is what he thought. He read it in an online forum somewhere.
Well, month four came around for Jericho and things did not go as planned. It turned out Dr. Yohan had to work hard for once in his life. Still, it made Jericho even angrier that his mother was giving her hard-earned paychecks to this creep.
“I found it!” Dr. Yohan popped out of his chair and stumbled back toppling over his many trophies.
“W-what?” Jericho stammered. His heart rate elevated drastically as his hands gripped the sides of the armrests.
“I am sorry for everything I said,” Dr. Yohan said. He took Jericho’s hand and shook it.
The past was behind Jericho within seconds. He had forgotten the scorn and animosity he felt from the man before him. Jericho perked up into a smile and shook back Dr. Yohan’s hand.
“W-well,” Jericho could not hold his excitement. “What is it?”
“Quiet!” Dr. Yohan said. “Sorry! I need to concentrate.”
Jericho understood. He sat back and sunk into his chair happy that Dr. Yohan had come through a breakthrough.
Dr. Yohan furiously scribbled on his clipboard. His eyes raced across the pad, he ripped off another page and tossed it to the side. Jericho tried to neatly organize the accumulating papers, but Dr. Yohan yelled at him not to touch them, so he went back and sat eagerly in his chair.
The man’s thoughts had to have been racing a million miles an hour, so much going on his head. Jericho sat in awe. He had seen scribblings of the notes Mr. Yohan was making.
“Hand me that other notepad.”
Jericho did as he was instructed, and Dr. Yohan began writing with both his hands. They looked to be coming from two different bodies, the flutters of each hand scribbling from one line to the next, each stroke different from the opposite hand. It was an amazing feat to Jericho, but probably just another day for Dr. Yohan.
Jericho wondered what his new ability was. What amazing ability would he obtain after all these years of torment? Wait. Thoughts of doubt poured into his head. What if his ability was something stupid like making his head twice its size? What was he supposed to do with something like that? He could imagine the conversations now, and people asking to display his new power, only for his head to expand and that would be all he had to show.
No, he had to stop thinking like that, he thought. After an uncomfortable minute of silent dread, he mustered up the strength to be appreciative of any ability he was given. He forced himself to think positively, that even if the ability he was given was trash, he would love and cherish it and use it to his advantage in whatever way he could. Even so, he did not know what he could do with an expanding head.
No matter what he did, he could not shake up the thought of having a stupid ability. It only made him bitter and angry.
“Stop that.” Dr. Yohan said.
“You’re brooding—” Dr. Yohan scratched his head. “Go stand outside!”
Jericho followed orders, but before he could touch the handle another order came from Dr. Yohan.
“Actually, stop!” Dr. Yohan said.
“Do you want me to leave or—”
“Just be quiet and stop brooding!”
“Okay.” Jericho sat back down.
He thought of positive things like the endless abilities that would be useful. Flames would be cool. Dr. Yohan had probably probed Jericho’s mind enough times that arson was not a possibility to count out of Jericho’s list of things he would do. Dr. Yohan probably acquainted the sentiment to his bitterness of not having powers though. He was in the clear, or at least he thought.
Between the positive thoughts he was forcing himself to have, he thought about the things that Dr. Yohan knew about him. He wondered about the deepest darkest thoughts he had, and how Dr. Yohan probably knew every single one of them. It bothered Jericho that a man could possess such a power, one so invasive and daunting.
The contracts he and his mom had to sign took an entire day to complete. From the medical jargon and to the law jargon, he was glad to have that stack of papers out of his sight. Their lawyer had spent time prepping, looking over every page carefully. His mom had hired a long-time friend of his late father to help, so they knew they were both in good hands. Jericho had overheard his mom talking with the lawyer. He went by Samuel. They talked about how all the information would remain confidential, and that Dr. Yohan’s abilities were so tempered and strong that he would not take responsibility for the things he happened to come across, be it a personal memory or a secret taken to one’s grave. It was his job to probe minds being a therapist, after all. Still, Jericho did not like how Dr. Yohan knew certain things about him, especially the deep, personal things. But he has grown to trust the man, or at least trust him enough to maintain professionalism and confidentiality. The doctor obviously wanted to help people, but he also obviously wanted money and fame. There was no shame to that.
Jericho started to wonder how news of him being unable to unlock his ability went around. No way would Dr. Yohan jeopardize his reputation.
“I think I’m done, Jericho” Mr. Yohan said.
“I constructed a path inside your brain, and I think I can extract it.”
A beep sounded from the digital clock. It was now 2:00 P.M.
Dr. Yohan glanced at his watch, despite already knowing the time. “It looks like our time is up, Jericho. I need to review my notes, which should take a week, then I am going to follow the path again. If I can reach your ability through that same pathway, then we can begin a discussion about extraction. I need to bring a few assistant’s up to speed, but we should be able to unlock that ability of yours in just a month if we’re lucky, but I wouldn’t doubt if we could trigger your ability sooner.”
Jericho merely stared, unsure of what to say. He stared as Dr. Yohan collected his notes together. They were just as thick as the contracts he had signed with his mother.
“Thank you, sir!” Jericho slightly bowed.
“No need to thank me,” Dr. Yohan said. “I should be thanking you.”
Jericho wanted to give his thanks again, but instead, smiled and finally left the room.