Imagine being able to look inside a person and without ever having met them before or knowing anything about them, you could tell them what ailed them. Would that be a gift or a challenge? Would you be welcomed by those you sought to help or vilified by those who did not understand the ability you possessed?
Parry had the gift of second sight, although he regarded it as anything but a gift. For many years nobody believed him when he claimed he had an ability to look inside a person and tell them what ailed them. Nobody wanted to hear his advice and his predictions. He was called ‘Freak’ at first behind his back and then openly, to his face.
A grey mist would come across his gaze as he looked at someone and then he could see inside their body as clear as if they were stood in a 3D CAT scanner. Muscle fibres glistened pink, hearts beat rhythmic thrums, brain impulses sparked from the head and down into the rest of the body. And when something interrupted the perfect flow and balance of the body, Parry could identify the cause and location of the blockage with greater accuracy than many doctors, and usually far earlier too.
OK so it wasn’t exactly a grey mist, more of an instant feeling, but grey mist sounded more mystical and Parry thought people may be just a bit less freaked if they thought it was a spiritual gift. Maybe it would sound like a fairground attraction or a gypsy sideshow but at least he wouldn’t be the Freak. And eventually someone believed what he said and his ascent to medical marvel began.
Parry hit the front pages of the tabloids, the media darling and latest next big thing. He ‘read the mists’ of the rich and famous although he preferred to spend his time with the poor and in need. The Freak was the dinner party guest coup of the season and found himself sat opposite a perpetual queue of new friends eager for his insight and attention.
When he had some time off, Parry spent it using his second sight to help those who might otherwise miss out on treatment. He sat in Salvation Army hostels whilst the town’s homeless trouped in for a night out of the chill, then handed out hot tea and diagnoses before sleep. He volunteered in a soup kitchen and provided medical advice alongside chunks of bread. He became a regular visit at local residential homes, singing old-time tunes whilst examining before letting caring staff know who might need some extra help.
As he amassed a wealth of experience in looking deep into people of all kinds he discovered a disruption in the flow of energy he hadn’t anticipated, one that may be inoperable and resistant to any form of treatment. Parry learnt that those who came to him in genuine need and without fuss may recover well with treatment or may succumb sometimes, but were whole people. Those who even now viewed him as a Freak, a popular and semi-celebrity Freak, had a dark hole inside themselves that could not be cured with any conventional medicine.