This is a short story I finished a few months ago. I’ve been over it many times but would like a fresh view and feedback if possible.
It’s about a man who has lived all his life with a high pain thresh hold. This means he doesn’t feel the cold or the heat in the same way that everyone else does. He can feel these things but only at the last minute. He has felt trapped and lonely for most of his life so far. Until he decides to go for a run one Saturday morning…
The doctors have never been able to fully diagnose his condition. They settled on an extremely high pain thresh hold but it did not explain why he could not completely feel hot or cold temperatures. He is twenty nine years old, six foot tall, has short blonde hair and a nice looking face. His name is Oliver. There is no known cure for him.
“They won’t treat you differently.” his pixie like mother said one Friday morning in the kitchen.
“How do you know?” He replied. She looked around nervously and then back into his eyes. He gave her a kiss on the cheek but before he could leave she gave him a warm hug.
Oliver’s job was to distribute work to the employees of a small administration company. None of them knew about his condition. He and reluctantly his parents decided that only they would know. Oliver consequently only let a few people into his life at any given time through fear of being looked at or treated differently. He thought some people might find it cool but he didn’t want to take that chance.
“I can’t come out after work mate; I’m cooking dinner for my Mrs” His Italian looking friend Peter said. Oliver nodded and said they’d do it another time. He always felt lonely when Peter did anything with his other half. He felt the same way whenever he saw a couple holding hands. He quietly made his way home.
“Oliver!” his dad said from the bottom of the stairs. He had fallen asleep in the bath again which to him felt like he was wrapped in a slimy blob from the neck down. He only got out and got dressed after seeing how shrivelled up his body had become. “What’s that on your hand, son?” his dad said as he got to the bottom of the stairs. His dad was a short, portly, overly concerned man who fussed over him a lot. Oliver knew he was just trying to be his friend so he didn’t object.
“Oh, I burned myself the other day. It’s alright now though.” He said looking at the red mark on the outside of his right little finger. He burnt it whilst frying some bacon and as always only moved his hand when it was too late. He’d felt the pain but only at the last possibly second. He did like being able to withstand high amounts of pain but what he really wanted was to be mindful of going near a fire or being out in the cold for too long.
The following morning he decided to go for a run. As he was running on a clear Saturday morning he spotted a fire engine up the street. Getting closer he saw the wild flames climbing up the house next to it and remembered to stay back because of the heat. He looked up and saw a room and heard the cries of a baby inside.
Oliver knew he had a good chance of saving the baby. He quickly ran into the house and climbed the now almost completely fire ridden stairs. He knocked the door down and grabbed the baby as the smoke began to build. It made him cough ferociously as the stairs collapsed with an almighty bang. He went back into the baby’s room and shouted down to the firemen. They quickly sent up a ladder and brought them to safety.
“Can’t you feel that?” the mother said after taking the baby and hugging the life out of him. A news reporter and camera had appeared just behind her. Oliver looked down and saw numerous red marks on his legs and arms. He had briefly forgotten he was wearing shorts and t-shirt.
“Not completely. I can’t feel hot or cold.” He said without thinking. He’d never felt happier than after saying those six little words. It was as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
In the following weeks he became a local celebrity. He received an invitation to attend a nerve damage conference and accepted it for his mother’s sake. Peter insisted he go along with him. They sat down and waited for it to start.
“Hello, I’m Michelle.” A cute brunette girl with a flower in her hair said as she sat down next to him. She put out her hand and he was reluctant to shake it. “It’s ok. I can’t feel hot or cold either.”