Meet Mark: Story #8 (30 Stories in 30 Days)
by Cherie Ann Turpin
The yellow card sat in a drawer surrounded by papers, pamphlets, and other cards gathering dust. Nondescript in design and rather boring, it was one of many cards Mark gathered from his pockets to throw into a bin, a drawer, or maybe a file cabinet (when he bothered to use one). He would show up to an office party, a networking event, a play, or a reception, only to find himself acquiring business cards, flyers, hand-written notes with names, numbers, email addresses, even websites. As a political writer he gained access to many prominent people, and as he grew to prominence in his own right, he found himself gaining access to even more people of importance and fame. If he showed up at the right time at the right event, he would be well-fed for many weeks.
Mark was a collector. He collected people and drew out their energy. It wasn’t his fault–it was in his blood and it was amplified due to emotional abandonment by the adults in his life as a child. Born with empathic abilities, he later developed a gift for absorbing not just emotions, but the energy they produced. Orphaned at seven years old, Mark’s adoptive parents were mystified at his abilities, and soon shipped him off to boarding school rather than build emotional bonds with this odd boy who frightened them with his strange stare that seemed to reach into their souls. As a result, he grew to adulthood without developing the ability to exchange, share, and connect with others. The gift drove him to consume as a way to abate the thirst to fill the hole that never healed in his psyche.
He attracted a variety of people who assumed him to exist for the purpose of being known and being present at the right moment. Their business cards were leads-he could siphon out thoughts and emotions from a distance, never interacting with the person. On rare occasions he encountered one that impelled him to seek out face-to-face meetings and eventually, trysts. There was no exchange of emotion. This about was about feeding his insatiable appetite.
But he met his match with her. It began with a card and a greeting from afar.
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