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June 6, 2013
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Everyone’s been there. As a child, your mom would take you to Wal-Mart, Target, or, if you lived near rich people as a kid, Toys-R-Us. Anywhere with toys. And being a child, you wanted to pick them up, play with them, put them in the buggy in hopes that your mom would buy them. Heck, at that age, you didn’t get the concept of money or buying things with money. You just wanted to play with it. And you wanted Mom to let you take it out of the store. If she said no, some of the braver ones among you would sneak it in the buggy anyway. Maybe mom didn’t notice. Maybe she did and bought it anyway.


But typically, what would happen? Your mom would catch your greedy hands and say what?


“No! You can look, but you don’t look with your hands!”


That phrase has always held a special kind of irony for me.


I can’t remember specifically when it started. Used to be just a feeling. I would pick up something and just have a feeling that it belonged to someone. Or I would touch something and have a feeling about something about it. Nothing concrete, but innate. Like knowing that you can slide down a slide but not up. Just not something you question. Multiply that by the fact that this feeling was always right. For a long time, I thought it was something normal. It was useful, too, at that age. Like when my fellow kindergarteners tried to ‘borrow’ my crayons. No pulling the wool over my eyes there.


It grew stronger as I got older. I began to see actual things. Faces. The object’s past. What the person thought when they had it in their possession.


For example, I saw my first drug deal at the age of nine. I had paid for a drink with a five dollar bill I had gotten for mowing the neighbor’s yard. In the change I got was a worn and limp dollar bill. In an instant I saw a skinny, shaky hand holding the limp bill and a host of other one dollar bills. The hand gave the stack to a beefy guy who was probably in high school or his freshman year of college, slick-faced and wearing a baseball cap. The beefy guy took the bill and handed the wax colored hand a small bag full of flour. I later learned that it wasn’t flour. The bill went in Beefy’s pocket. Hours in Beefy’s world flashed by in seconds. Later the bill was taken out of the pocket and used to buy a giant bottle of something at the convenience store I was standing in now. The bill went in the register. Darkness. Time. Light. Bill taken out and handed to me. When it was over, I looked down and saw the bill crushed in my fist. The pretty girl at the register asked me if I was about to have a seizure.


There were unwritten rules, which I learned by trial and error. For example, public items held shorter, weaker memories than personal items, but held a higher volume of them. In that case, it was more of an overall sense of the object and its users’ emotional and mental state at the time. Think of it like this: personal versus public is like a stream of water from a nozzle versus a flowing river. I learned this particular rule when using a public bathroom. Even through the numerous disposable paper seats, I got a reading on a toilet that was apparently most popular one in that particular restroom. I try not to think about the things I learned that day.


Around age twelve, I took an empty spiral notebook from my dad’s office and wrote down what I knew up to that point. I began experimenting.


Big mistake.


I learned things that I probably shouldn’t have found out until I was at least twenty five. I can’t, in good conscience, mention all of it in mixed company. A lot of you would think I made it up if I did. But I can say this.


HUMANITY.
IS.
B
E
 N
  T.


I began honing it. There were some parallels to drug use; I avoided people (to focus on my talent), I stayed out late (touching objects, seeing if it only worked through my hands, taking notes, posing questions, experimenting further).


And it felt like a drug. Like a trip. I have never done drugs. Based on experiences high school buddies of mine have had with drugs, I am not inclined to ever try them. If it will do those things to them, then God only knows what it would do with this ‘talent’. But experimenting with my strange skill felt like how people described acid trips to be. It was unexpected at first; one never quite knew what would happen. I would see things. Hear things. Feel things. All from the past. Sometimes they would be wonderful, like touching a watch and feeling the elation of the wearer asking the girl of his dreams to marry him, seeing her beautiful face blush and tear up, hearing her say yes over and over almost hysterically, feeling him swing her around in the air held tight in his arms.


Other times, it was awful. Like the crushing despair of a young boy whose father’s instability made him and his mother flee for their lives and hide here, four hundred miles from where he grew up. What this guy felt was indescribable. Like being at the bottom of the ocean, being crushed and unable to move and yet still drowning. Slow, torturous rotting of the heart. God, that was terrible. The despair. Anguish. Feeling his tears crawl down his cheeks as he scribbled vitriol into a journal that I now held, that I had found left on the ground at school. I gave it back to him the next day, and assured him multiple times that I hadn’t read it. It felt like I was lying. Because since I had touched it, I didn’t have to read it. I saw the things that cast the shadows which took the form of the words in his journal. I didn’t have to read it; I had lived it with him.


So here I am now, a high school graduate who grew up way too fast, unsure of what to do with my life, who doesn’t touch certain things in a room for some unknown reason that makes me a freak to others, and who is only nineteen but who was the eyes of a fifty year old.

My name is Arthur Maddox, and I do look with my hands.
EDIT: OMG guys thank you so much for giving this piece DD status!! I'm humbled by the honor more than words can say!

The story of Arthur Maddox, a character of my own original design. First reviewed by :icongtmouse18: , now we go to you guys. More to come on him soon.

Abuse that comments box, y'all. Talk-- er, type my ear off.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-10-20
Looking With Your Hands by ~DyskoDelThunderback combines a character introduction with insight into humanity. ( Suggested by RedRevanna and Featured by neurotype )
:iconintroverted-ghost:
introverted-ghost Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2014   Writer
My goodness. This is excellent.
Reply
:icondyskodelthunderback:
DyskoDelThunderback Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2014
Thank you so much! 
Reply
:iconintroverted-ghost:
introverted-ghost Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2014   Writer
My pleasure! :heart:
Reply
:iconobelisk-light:
obelisk-light Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2013
He's an interesting and captivating character. Congrats on the DD; you deserved it. :)
Reply
:iconstarwarrior4ever:
Starwarrior4ever Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Wow.. amazing!  This is a really interesting concept, and your writing skills are superb!  Looking forward to more!  :D
Reply
:iconinkblot-101:
inkblot-101 Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is amazing.
Reply
:iconmikodoescosplay:
MikoDoesCosplay Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is absolutely amazing!
Dude, you have to novel it! :D
Reply
:iconkalcifire:
kalcifire Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Wow, incredible work. You have a new watcher-- I'm thoroughly impressed. Keep it up! 
Reply
:icon88pixiegirl88:
88pixiegirl88 Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
He'd make a killer detective.
Reply
:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013
Very well done.  It conveyed the feelings of the individuals, through the eyes of the person.  It certainly kept me interested, and was not at all what I had expected.
Reply
:iconhapaforever:
HapaForever Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Student General Artist
This is incredible. I want to meet this person so badly.
Reply
:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on your well-deserved DD!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconlainloveplz::iconflyingheartsplz: :clap::clap::clap:
Reply
:iconsparrowwrightheart:
SparrowWrightheart Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I wanna know more about this character. :D
Reply
:iconsunrisehill:
SunriseHill Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"...and who is only nineteen but who was the eyes of a fifty year old."

Should this read "who wears the eyes of a fifty year old." ?
Reply
:iconluted:
Luted Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have no words for this.
Reply
:iconkarmachael23:
Karmachael23 Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Love it. Intriguing, I read it really fast like how a dog eats a hot dog....
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Enjoyed the concept, and yes I'm curious as to what happens with him P:

I'm not sure you need the next to last paragraph—I think the ideas there come up nicely in the rest of the text—but good stuff.
Reply
:icondropyoursword:
DropYourSword Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013
good night man that was brilliant! please tell me you've submitted that to as many contests you can reach! this would make a fantastic concept for a movie. i absolutely loved it! the concept, the flow, the voice, the profound truths running as an undercurrent, the subjects you touched on...

i could go on. 

hats off to you, hats off!
Reply
:iconrustyironmonger:
rustyironmonger Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Love it.
Reply
:iconaquagalaxy:
AquaGalaxy Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013
congrats to your DD! >w<
this is very amazing and deep
Reply
:iconc-a-harland:
C-A-Harland Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Student Writer
This is such an interesting story. I love how you began with the childhood scene that every kid has been through and then took it down such a unexpected lane. I also loved how you included the impact that it has on him, especially as a child, seeing and experiencing things so far before his time.
Reply
:iconimaginary-paradox:
imaginary-paradox Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013
Really love the concept (and execution) of this story. Reminds me of the graphic novel 'Chew'.

To be more specific about the things I liked, I found the introduction was great at drawing the reader in because it was so relatable. It also set the tone well. I liked how the basic premiss for the story was established quickly and concisely, giving a solid foundation for the premiss to evolve from. I also enjoyed the contrast between the good and bad experiences, particularly given how vivid the description was for both. I also thought the very last line was great.

There are a couple of things that could be improved. One is the part where he takes the spiral notebook from his dad's office. I thought he was going to get an impression off the notebook since the wordings was so specific. If you're going to be that specific in a story, it needs to be for a reason.

Second was the way 'humanity is bent' was written. For me, it could have been added to the end of the previous paragraph and still have the impact. The extra emphasis really disrupts the flow because nothing is done with it. Why would the fact that humanity is bent cause him to hone his skill?  

The last thing that needs some work is the second to last line. It's a long sentence that's a bit cumbersome. It also doesn't really add a whole lot. Not sure how I would change it, but it needs a bit of tweaking.

Over all, really good story!
Reply
:icondeluxxy:
deluxxy Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013
unique. never read anything like it, great job.
Reply
:iconnyanflower:
NyanFlower Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Student Writer
This was beautiful! :)
Reply
:iconliterature-lover:
literature-lover Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
amazinggggg
Reply
:iconlenslove78:
LensLove78 Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Student Photographer
hands...our second heart...beautifuly writed!
Reply
:iconsooty123:
Sooty123 Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That was beautiful :'D You're an amazing writer; you ever thought of trying out in competitions and stuff? :3
Also, you got any more writing? :D
Reply
:iconreeseisfunsized:
reeseisfunsized Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:iconepicclapplz: that was awesome!!!
Reply
:iconoviedomedina:
oviedomedina Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013
This is really well done and engaging.
Would be perfect as a first chapter of a longer story, since it really catches one´s attention.
Reply
:iconzerna:
Zerna Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh my god, this needs to be a book! D:
Reply
:icondracosphere:
Dracosphere Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This definitely deserves a DD! Good job! I love your style!
Reply
:iconhyperanimegirl4lyfe:
hyperanimegirl4lyfe Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013
one of the coolest OCs i have EVER read about!!!! amazing job!!! ><
Reply
:iconlostgryphin:
LostGryphin Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Congrats on the DD - well written!
Reply
:iconryua:
Ryua Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That was spectacular and haunting and beautiful. There IS a certain something you can get from touching objects, even if it doesn't get to this degree for most people.
Reply
:icontrellynorn:
TrellyNorn Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Student Artisan Crafter
This is bizarrely fascinating. Is it part of a book? Please say it's part of a book. I want to read a book like this. How did you come up with the idea?
Reply
:iconmemory627:
Memory627 Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Professional Writer
Interesting story. I'd like to see more. =D
Reply
:iconmizzmint:
mizzmint Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on having your piece featured as one of today's Daily Deviations! :love:
Reply
:iconmethusulacomics:
MethusulaComics Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013
WOW. this is great. I mean.. this MUST become a book !!!! :la:
Reply
:iconshadows-play:
shadows-play Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Waaa! Holy poop I want to read more. :D
This is incredible!
Reply
:icondenisecroy:
DeniseCroy Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This is such an interesting concept. I would actually love to read a whole novel about this young man. It must awful to be him, though. 

Your narration flows beautifully, it was a pleasure to read. 
Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
    Congrats on the DD! :dalove: Have a nice day! :heart:
Reply
:iconsmallsmiles:
smallsmiles Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013
Beautifully written. I'd love to hear more about his one. :nod:
Reply
:iconrainiila:
Rainiila Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This deserves every inch and breath of love it's got. Brilliant, beautiful. 
Reply
:iconshoora:
shoora Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013
great writing man ....must print your book.....loved every bit of it.
Reply
:icondaystar-art:
Daystar-Art Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Damn that's an awesome story! Reminds me of Stephen King, of course, but it's way differently written (not that crazy) and I genuinely love it!

I'd like to read more about that guy :)
Reply
:iconkida-neechan:
Kida-neechan Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013
Congratulations on the fabulous Daily Deviation! :iconfabulousplz:
Have an awesome day! :iconprussiaplz:
Reply
:iconjlundhart:
jLundhArt Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
A spectacular read, and I can't wait to read more.
You're going on my watchlist buddy!
Reply
:iconlesiasdemon:
lesiasdemon Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2013
Wow. I want to hear more of this guy. Incredible skill there.
Reply
:icondyskodelthunderback:
DyskoDelThunderback Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2013
Thank you. :) Any way to make this better?
Reply
:iconlesiasdemon:
lesiasdemon Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2013
There was, but I don't remember. I know I liked how you broke up the sentences; it adds... ... ... intensity, I guess would be the word. Very nice. It makes it seem more real.
Reply
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