Empathic Outcast

Even though you may feel alone, there are many like you.

Empathic Outcast

The majority of those who walk the winding path to occult understanding are considered outcasts in one form or another.

Many straddle the thorny hedge between sane and something far darker, hiding the burning need to know behind forced and imperfect smiles. And this is especially true in my case, because while some magickians are born, I was most definitely made.

Growing up withdrawn and folklore obsessed in a working class slum that had little time for myths and even less for magick my school years were typified by a grungy and disinterested aesthetic, one that saw me prefer the library to the sports field and urban legends to playground gossip.

While this eldritch calling may have been in the youthful sense of those whose age forces a limited understanding of the wider world, I have no doubt that an eerie and unsettling cloud hung over me like a shroud even then.

And ever have the herd instinctively attacked the monster in their midst.

Looking back I am willing to admit that I was indeed bullied within an inch of suicide, the violence so pronounced that some of the scars of their heavy handed actions still dance upon my flesh to this day.

Worse, it became a constant struggle to stop the curse of empathy from robbing me of the very ignorance that other victims of repeated beatings shelter behind.

The ability to see deep into the hearts of those why hated me so forcefully was a weight almost as impossible to bear as the bruises and bloody cuts they gifted me in a pointless attempt to force me to be normal.

When you can smell what the vile little Neanderthals are planning to do to you, if not exactly when it will happen, every day becomes an exercise in skulking between shadows.

In that at least my wounds served to teach me well, my mind turning from capitulation to manipulation and the very empathy itself becoming my most powerful weapon.

Survival is a primal evolutionary force, and as with the shamans of old I instinctively realized that the only way I would outlive my enemies was to wear their skin.

Eventually I mastered how to shield myself from their hatred and return it, embracing the cultural streams that they slaved under and weaving them around me until only what I wanted them to see remained visible.

Adopting a memetic mask of mirthless smiles I dared my detractors to try and tear it away.

It goes without saying that they would not have liked the seething Fox caged underneath.

Soon my less than stellar school life came to a close, and I succeeded in holding the very people that had previously sought my destruction at bay, exuding both charm and malice as the situation required.

Culture became a tribal costume that could be worn and discarded at a moments notice, foreshadowing my future life walking beneath the eight pointed star.

I thought the problem was solved.

Convinced myself that I could now live a normal life.

And then the dead arrived.

Be it some quirk of empathy or just violence induced hypervigilance, time spent dodging the fists and feet of my peers left me with the ability to sense the emotional spark that denotes a living person in my general vicinity, plotting them on an internal map for future reference.

It was when I moved on to college and left the schoolyard violence far behind me that I realized not all sparks had an obvious physical shell, a point that had been lost on me when I was only concerned with survival as opposed to exploration.

Consensus reality crumbled around my ears.

I guess in hindsight my long slide first into witchcraft, then chaos magick and eventually necromancy itself were inevitable. As was overlaying my previous distrust of social groups onto interactions with the discarnate.

Some people seem to look into the spirit world with rose tinted reading glasses, spreading messages of peace and love without any real notion of the true intentions of the beings which they come into contact with.

Frankly, they are fools, because despite what the memes may say the monsters are not always human.

The dead are rarely happy, honest or even particularly pleasant. They know hunger, feel want, and in that are no different than the people that they once were.

Godforms are little better, each capable of as much darkness as light, and never as honest about that duality as their followers claim.

And few of the myriad other entities that inhabit the aether are exclusively altruistic either.

Perhaps I should thank the people who drove my light inward, and forced it to pulse in secret within an outwardly normal shell. The years of violence did not break me. My enemies simply forged me into a colder blade, one better suited to the role I would later adopt within the realms of the weird.

While I was not born a magickian, I make an extremely good one, no doubt due to my origins among the slums of my home town.

I bled for my sorcery long before I even knew it coursed through my veins.

In the face of their anger I became whole.

And standing among my fellow outcasts, I know now that I am not alone.

Gavin Fox’s Gravehound Press
<p>The digital home of Gavin Fox, author, chaote and necromancer.</p>

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