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The Visitors (part 12)

The company thought they were making improvements to the population. They created chemicals that created a strong psychic ability in lab monkeys. After that, it was simple to add the chemicals to breakfast cereals for kids. Sure, they had to cover up the taste by adding more sugar, but it seemed like a good trade-off. Clairvoyance for a few extra pounds, perhaps?

They didn’t imagine the kids would stop playing outside, stop exercising almost entirely. Their parents were terrified of strangers kidnapping and killing them, so they plopped them down in front of the TV and let Bugs Bunny do it instead. The effect was the same – their minds erased by hours of TV, their health gone from years of inactivity.

The children ate the colorful cereal, marketed to them with cartoon characters just like those on the TV that served as a surrogate parent. Their parents thought it was good for them because the cardboard box said it was fortified with vitamins and minerals. They just didn’t know what else it was fortified with. Over the course of a few years, the chemicals in the cereal altered the DNA of the children enough so that when they were old enough to have their own children, they had the trait the company was hoping for. The only problem was that society wasn’t ready for it.

The children were almost too sensitive. They knew far more than they should have at early ages, because their brains were closer to crystal radios than carbon-based structures. They received all sorts of signals, all the time. They were flooded with information, with no way of filtering it or turning it off. Everything was too much. All of their senses were working overtime.

Some went mad. Some had to be institutionalized. The company managed to get some of its researchers hired on as aides at the long-term care facilities across the nation wherever the cereal had been sold. The worst cases came from parents who had eaten four times the serving size of the cereal as children, or had continued eating it into adolescence and adulthood. They were beyond hope, of no use to anyone.

Some of the others were very sensitive, but without too many adverse effects. Regular doctors labeled some of the children as having autism, or Asperger’s, or simply sensory processing disorder. The children’s difference was seen by them as a disease rather than an enhancement. The medical professionals kept trying to medicate them or assign therapy to make them act like regular children. The company never said a word, never let it be known that they’d dreamed of this day.

The company began hiring these children once they reached 18. The public and the press were delighted. Finally there was a business that not only was willing to make accommodations for this new and unusual generation, but actually seemed to want them. Little did any outsider realize but the company wasn’t being enlightened. They actually sought them out, not to appear benevolent but to further their own secret project.

Under the guise of new employee orientation, these unusual workers were assessed for their psychic ability. Those that had the highest scores were given up to three hours of specialized training every day. The other employees simply thought it was because of their special needs. Like all other employees, these new hires were sworn to secrecy. They had no idea that what they were learning wasn’t normal.

It wasn’t normal at all. In fact, no one had even tried to tap into the psychic ability of a group before. Each employee was trained to link up with each other, in series, creating a synergistic effect. The net result was far greater than the sum of the parts. It turned out to be more than the Overseer could have ever imagined or dreamed. It turned out to be the worst nightmare ever.

Strong emotions concentrated the results. The teachers had the group focus on their parents, thinking that they would have nothing but love for them. They were wrong.

They had not accounted for years of suppressed rage of being ignored, discounted, and ridiculed. They hadn’t realized that the vast majority of those in this group were seen as a being a burden to their family, an embarrassment. It was worse for the boys.

They were expected to carry on the family name, to provide grandchildren to dote on. The latent feeling of grief that their parents felt, especially their fathers, was profound. It was never talked about to the children, of course. It didn’t matter. The parents never knew that their hidden resentments were being broadcast directly to the very people who would most feel hurt.

Unknown to the researchers, the boys as one force shaped their rage at their parents into a ball of hatred, and then reached inside, shaping it. Like how a potter expands a vessel on his wheel, it became ever larger until it surrounded all parents, not just their own.

In a blink of the eye, all the parents were gone.

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