The Mutant

He’s long forgotten the skill of shaking someone’s hand in greeting, or even waving goodbye. He finds that holding out his hand made most people cringe when they tried to wrap five fingers around six of his, and he’s learned to hate any and all different kinds of reactions.

As a consequence, he develops the habit of reacting first. While training in the army, he’s learned that pre-emptive strikes are the most effective form of offence and defence, so he teaches himself the best way to insult others. A good insult is more difficult to come up with than he first thought, because he has to be observant enough and deduce what the other cares about the most. It’s the way people get angry. So he studies anger, and finds that strangely enough, it gives him a great capacity to understand others – even those he’s never met before.

His fellow soldiers have often warned him that his poking and prodding would be his downfall, so when he goes as far as insulting an entire nation, he expected that something interesting would be stirred enough to take action. But even though he can’t hear the sound of death’s arms closing around him, he still pauses before charging recklessly towards the enemy, and wonders when his instincts had betrayed him.

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