Panda Bears

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"What would it be?" The short, dark-haired barista asked me.

"Just a flat white, please," I say, grateful for the thick, dark sunglasses shading my black eyes from everyone's view.

In the barista's mind, I was handing her the money for my drink, she placed it in the cash register and handed me the receipt. In reality, however, I gave her nothing. After getting my coffee I wiped my face from her memory as an extra precaution. The police were still looking for me, though they hadn't mentioned Doctor Miller's death again. I presumed it's because they fully believe that he committed suicide. That didn't stop them from putting my face on TV almost every day. They even brought out a spokesperson from the ACU, who stated that I was an escaped convict and that I was armed and dangerous. News stations then began showing special segments in which they tried to dissect my life, saying that I had always been a troubled child who had a love for chaos. That made me wonder if my parents agreed to an off-air interview.

I sighed as I lifted my drink to lips, taking a small sip of the hot liquid. With a smile, I stepped out of the coffee shop and into the bright light of the morning sun. I looked around me at the buzz of people, it was Saturday so the business suits and worried expressions were now replaced by graphic t-shirts and faded jeans. Saturdays were my favorite, mainly because of the farmer's market. About 20 stalls were speckled throughout the large park, voices calling out deals and special prices filled the fresh air. I took a deep breath as walked towards the crowd. Time to do some shopping.

Minutes turned to hours as I made my way from one table to the other, my backpack getting heavier with each stop. Today's trip had been very successful, as I was now fully stocked on vegetables, fruits, some dried meats, and interesting smelling cheeses. I had found that farmer's minds were slightly trickier to get to than most other people, a fact I believed had to do with the hard work they put into their produce every day. After that night at the Reynolds's household, I had begun to realize that some minds needed a little bit more attention than others. Until that evening I was going on instinct alone, using my abilities as easy as it was to breathe. But after I started using them without actually being forced to by hunger or desperation, it had become slightly more challenging. 

"Fresh strawberries, only half price just for today." I heard a voice call out to my left. A tall, muscular man with scruffy blonde hair stood behind a table covered with an array of fresh produce. 

I slowly made my way through the crowd towards him, but once I arrived at his table I kept my head down and pretended to inspect the various fruits laid out in front of me. I glanced up at him and gently invaded his mind, I had learned the hard way that doing it too forcefully was a great way of getting caught. I once tried forcing my way into a waitress's mind, only to have her grab her head and start screaming. They called an ambulance when she wouldn't calm down and I had to sneak out between the crowd of people that had gathered around her. I checked up on her a few days after that, she was fine. Luckily the doctors thought it was a very severe migraine brought on by stress.

 I slowly searched through the man's thoughts and memories, making sure that his farm was doing well. One rule I had given myself, besides never killing anyone again, was to ensure that I only stole from those who could afford it. I smiled as I saw that he was very financially stable and had no issues or worries surrounding money. 

"Could I please have one container of strawberries and a bag of those peaches, please?" I asked, sending the instructions to his mind. When I first started stealing out in public I didn't use any words, instead, I only sent them thoughts through the link between our minds. This only worked well for about a week, until a customer at a bakery grew suspicious when he saw this happening. He questioned why I wasn't talking or giving any money, his loud voice made every other customer and employee stare at us. I had panicked and tried forcing myself into his mind, but it was sloppy and desperate and he easily shut me out. He started yelling about me being an Abnormal so I made a break for it. Needless to say, I didn't return to that bakery ever again. Luckily it was on the other side of town so I had no reason to do so in any case.  

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