The Perils of Power
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
I'm not sure why I'm writing this. You won't believe me, even if I tell you. Who would? Even if I provided irrefutable proof, the average person still wouldn't believe me. It goes against what we've been taught in school. It flies against common logic. Besides, people don't like to hear the truth; they would rather take comfort in a blanket of lies, spread by a censored media. So why bother?
The truth needs to be heard. Even I didn’t believe in such things. I'm not saying that I didn't dream about such a concept. It's like knowing that dragons don't exist, but secretly wishing they did; only to find yourself staring into the eyes of a real dragon someday! I should start at the beginning. All good stories need a beginning. Mine, was no different. The main problem, is I was a nobody, from the middle of no where. Seriously, find a map of Ontario, and locate the furthest place in the middle of no where, then go West a couple more hours. I had a normal childhood, growing up in the country. It was a life of insignificance; I grew up, got married, had children, and got a divorce. Life moved on, and I soon found myself questioning everything. I only tell you this, to explain how things changed. I was ordinary, until that fateful day.
Where to start?
I was sitting at my computer desk. My, how this feels so long ago, as I sit here and try to remember such details. I have to laugh about the computer I was using, 586-SX166; mostly due to the fact, that computer was considered to be the "top of the line" for it's day. My cell phone is 4000X faster than that archaic pile of junk. How proud I was to own such a powerful machine, at the time. It makes me laugh.
Sorry for the extraneous details; you must understand, I have an eidetic memory. I can recall places, people, events, and even run whole length "movies" in my head. Which is the main reason I have a tendency to ignore what goes on around me, as the superfluous information becomes overwhelming. If I can't remember something, it's because I am choosing to ignore the details.
As I sat at the brown wooden desk, I ferociously pounded the keyboard as I was responding to a cybertroll about the United Nations, and I was quite enjoying running proverbial circles around the obvious fake. I paused, and absently reached for my beer.
It fell over.
I jumped up quickly, and lifted the keyboard to safety, then attempted damage control with a dirty shirt on the floor. Satisfied that I could get something more appropriate without further damage, I grabbed the foaming can of beer and headed towards the bathroom. I put the can in the sink, and grabbed a towel. It took me a few minutes to clean up the sticky mess. I took an extra five minutes to tidy up the house as well, since my train of thought was already broken.
Satisfied, I grabbed a fresh can of beer out of the fridge. I remember how it made me smile to drink from a "regular size" beer can, as I am used to drinking "tall boys". My friends and I still call a 355 mL beer can, "One-Hitters". I shuffled over to my desk, replaced the keyboard and mouse, and cracked my beer. I took a long drink from the can, and went to set it down, when I had a strange thought.
I had NOT touched that can.
Now, the first thing that went through my head, was the childish notion that my "will" or some sort of unseen energy force coming from me, knocked it over. I've always toyed with the notion that I had some sort of power, since I was a young child. I quickly dismissed the idea as usual, and looked around for some logical explanation. No visible reasons presented themselves, in the way of an errant cord laying the desk I might had bumped, or some other plausible reason the can had fell over.
I stared hard at the fresh can of beer and reached for it.
Nothing happened. My fingers touched the cold metal can, and I picked it up. I shook my head, and shrugged, and went to set the can down, when I realized that if I was already holding the beer, I may as well have a drink.
I set the can down, and quickly found my spot where I had left off in my rebuttal. I began to type, and rattled off a brilliantly crafted debunking of the topic. I hammered the "Enter" key and grinned with pleasure as I reread my witty riposte. I reached for the mouse.
It flew off the desk.
I stood up, stunned. This time was no accident! I had clearly seen the fact, that I had reached for something, and it flew away from my grasp! Chills went up and down my spine, as I considered the possibilities, including supernatural presence. I recall forcing myself to laugh out loud and make a comment regarding poltergeists, "Is that the best you can do?"
Hearing and seeing nothing, I stood for what seemed like minutes, frozen on the spot, my mind reeling. I got goosebumps as one clear fact stood out in my mind, I had made those objects move!
I reached out with my right hand, and focused hard at the mouse on the floor. I stared hard, unsure of myself, or what I was even doing. Nothing happened, not even a wiggle.
I sighed and walked over to the mouse on the floor, stopped, bent over and picked it up. Shaking my head in disbelief, I set the mouse down the desk. I didn't sit down, as I couldn't get over a nagging feeling. I wandered into the middle of the room, and just stood there, with my hands at my sides.
I can't explain it; it's like trying to describe an orgasm. How did I know? I squinted and pointed at the light switch. The lights went out. It was an eery feeling, standing in my living room, with the computer monitor as my only source of light. I cocked my head to the side slightly and merely imagined where the light switch might be, and turned it on in my mind. The lights flickered to life.
"Whoa", I chuckled, as suddenly the hair on my arms stood on end. I was excited, and scared witless. I remember sitting down on the floor, as my legs suddenly buckled under me.
The room began to swim, and little black edges crept into my peripheral vision. It was a good thing I was already sitting on the floor, as my head bounced off the tile when I passed out.
I was cold when I woke up. I remember the sun was starting to rise, which meant I had slept through the night, shirtless, sprawled out on the ceramic tile, in the middle of the room. The computer was still turned on, as were the lights. I was exhausted. I groaned, and rolled over on my stomach, trying to push myself off the floor. My head pounded like I had a hangover. Taking considerably longer than it should have, I finally stood up.
I was weak.
I knew what had happened, and was contemplating testing myself again, when something deep inside me warned of such an action; it's akin to the sensation of being too full from eating, you just know you can't do that anymore. I limped to the shower, and stood in the blistering hot water, leaning against the wall in the shower. The steam billowed and rolled out from under the curtain, caught between the gusting drafts of the cold air, and the battering blast of the hot shower spigot.
I could feel the other person in the room.
I whipped the shower curtain open, and stared. The hot water ricocheted off my body, and sprayed the small room, as I stood there naked, my eyes darting back and forth, trying to see what my mind told me should be there. The small room was empty, other than myself.
I KNEW there was someone there!
I could feel them - Although, saying it like makes no sense to the normal person. Query; are any of us normal? Forgive my digression. I can't describe the sensation, anymore than the average person can describe how they see with their eyes. To suffice, it can only be described as a warmth, I suddenly felt; I knew that a sentient, being was there. I say it like that, as I now realize that the entity in the shower with me that morning, was NOT human.
EDIT: If you are actually reading this, I need your help. You will have to forgive my rambling thoughts, but, the things I have seen and heard were not meant for mortal eyes. At the moment I am hiding, safe, and trying to reach out to anyone that might be able to help me. If you haven't heard about any of these events I am going to describe, it is because the media and our government is covering it up!! Everything you know, right now, is a lie! The truth is so twisted, that even after I tell you what I know, it will be dismissed a mere fantasy, and labeled with some sort of disclaimer. This will make the third attempt to get a message out to the world, and I am using the publishing rights of an online fantasy genre to sneak out the truth.
Everyone wears a metaphorical mask. Some of us have the ability to wear a veritable plethora of distinct identities. It's what helps us adapt to changes in our lives. One of mine for example is what I call, "The Daddy Filter"; an adaptation that personifies me as a father figure. There are other types of identities, or masks that I wear. Quickly, I collected myself, withdrew into the shower, and calmly closed the curtain. I pretended that nothing was wrong, but, my senses went into overload - the shower was drowned out, as I held my breath, and closed my eyes. I could still feel the warmth coming from the other soul in the small tiled bathroom, and now, I could hear their breath; slow, rhythmic. I couldn't see them, but, I knew they were there.
That's when it occurred to me, and once again, it was instinctive; I've never had these kinds of realizations before. Somehow, from out of absolutely no where, a random strange thought entered my mind, and a jolt of adrenaline shot from my head to my toes, from the wash of fear, "Some creatures, are not visible in the mirror! "
I turned around.
"It", for the only description I can give you is ambiguous at best, was clinging to the top of the shower. The blood-red eyes seemed to float in a coalescing, airy, black smoke, shaped with two arms and a head. It was featureless, and the shape wafted and billowed in the steam. When it realized, I was staring at it, the eyes narrowed.
I stumbled out of the shower, tearing the curtain from the rack, and slipped on the cold tile floor. I grabbed the sink to balance myself, when suddenly, the creature roared. I remember staring at the blackened maw of this abyssal denizen, unable to tear my eyes away. The noise it made cannot be described without making reference to "Hollywood" movies. There is no creature in our known reality that roars like that, unless you are talking about some demonic creature mentioned in Folk lore.
I felt helpless. I couldn't move, or look away. The black mass, writhed in the steam from the shower, and it's growing maw of deep black was coming closer. I kept growing weaker, the longer I stared into the red eyes. I felt myself let go of the sink, and I slipped on the bare tiles, my body hitting the hard floor, collapsing at the foot of the tub. My cheek was flat on the floor, but I couldn't look away from the blood-red eyes, as they floated closer, and closer. Darkness began to take me, and I started to pass out.
I woke in my bed.
I was moderately dressed, and the covers were pulled up around my chin. I sat up quickly, and looked around my bedroom. The sun was pouring through my window. I threw off the blankets and ran to the bathroom. The shower was off, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I'll admit, I stood there for a couple minutes, trying to make sense of everything. "Was it a dream?", I kept asking, although it felt too graphic to be a dream. Finally I walked into the bathroom, and looked at the top of the shower. It too was normal, except that I realized the shower was still wet - It had been used fairly recently.
I started walking through my house, trying to see if there was anyone else in the building. I even tried to reach out with my mind, as I had in the shower, but, felt nothing like I had earlier. I checked the kitchen, the basement, and even the spare room. It was only when I walked into the living room, that I spied the envelope tucked under my mouse.
Frowning, I walked over to the computer, and picked up the envelope. It felt like there was a coin or something in the letter. The stationary was my own, and I glanced at the box of unused envelopes on the shelf above my desk - It was moved. I looked at the sealed envelope in my hand - It had my name on it.
I tore open the envelope, and l dumped the contents in my other hand. A single silver ring fell into my open palm. The corner of a letter poked out of the envelope, so I pocketed the ring, and opened the letter. It too was addressed to me. I quickly read the brief, scrawled handwriting.
"Get out of that house!
Put the ring on your left, middle finger.
Gather only what you need, and meet me before dark.
Talk to no one.
A roughly drawn map detailed the derelict section of highway I was to take, with the crossroads circled. I muttered, "That's twenty-five Kilometers away....". I dug into my pocket and pulled out the slender, silver ring. I looked at the tiny band of silver, and then at my finger, "There's absolutely no way that is going to fit on my pinkie, let alone my middle finger", I kept thinking. I remember it felt like it was going to break somehow, just by handling it. I held it up to have a better look with my left hand, crooked between my thumb and my middle finger, trying to comprehend the turn of events.
The ring flashed silver, and I was forced to blink!
I felt the ring on my finger; foreign, and clumsy. When I tried to stare at the ring on my hand, however, I couldn't see it. Dancing spots from the sudden bright flash, sparkled and twirled, making it hard to see. I blinked several times, trying to adjust my sight, and my eyes welled up with tears. I wiped my face, and ran my right hand over the much-larger ring, sitting comfortably on the middle finger of my left hand. Using my fingertips, I played with the ring, spinning it around my finger, and toyed with the edges. It had somehow become bigger to fit perfectly on my hand! I began to take it off, when I got a nagging suspicion that it might be a bad idea, so I readjusted the invisible ring back on my finger.
I glanced at the letter. Scrawled in smaller print at the bottom of the page, were the words; "Forgot to tell you to close your eyes when you put the ring on. It rather smarts, if you don't. Leave the ring on at all times. You should let go of the letter now."
The paper exploded into tiny bits of confetti! I coughed and hacked, because I had been startled by the sudden explosion, and accidentally sucked in a few errant pieces of paper.
"NOT funny", I hacked and coughed. I shook my head, in mere wonderment at the moment. "Think you're a funny fucker do ya?", I chuckled as I realized, that whoever had somehow saved me and was still offering me help, had a twisted sense of humour. I sighed deeply, "This feels like a real-life version of Alice in Wonderland". Spitting out the last remnants of the paper I had inhaled, I looked around. It was nearly 5 O'clock. "Pack what I need?", I mumbled, starting to walk towards the bedroom to look for a suitcase, "What do I need?"
You know those moments in life where you realize that you will never be the same again? They stand out, as a beacon of clarity in our memory. While other thoughts, and occasions will fade into the past as we age, these singular rarities linger on. Many, will never experience this phenomenon.
I laugh now, at my ridiculousness in the moment. The things I felt were important, now seem so trivial, as I rushed about the house, grabbing items as I packed in a hurry to God-knows-where, for God-knows-how-long, "Oh, if I knew then, what I know now", is what we all say. How prophetic those words ring to me now, not that they will make any difference. In hindsight, there was nothing in that house I needed, and I should have simply walked out with calm determination.
I worried about the fish tank. How long was I going for? Would I be back? Who would feed my fish? These questions and many more, flit through my mind. I felt as if I was walking in a dream; going through the actions of some perverse nightmare. I remember pinching myself a couple times in jest, at the notion that I was perhaps dreaming. How naive I was.
It was nearly dark when I stopped the vehicle, and climbed out at the side of the road. The intersection was a short distance away, and the single street light created a bubble of light, surrounded by a wash of growing blackness. The gravel crunched under my feet as I walked towards the metal pole of the street light, finding comfort in the light.
"It took you long enough!"
Oh, how I wish I could hear those words spoken again. It was the first time I met my mentor. The quiet spoken voice carried across the street, and I looked around trying to find the source. The road was vacant of vehicles, except mine. I peered into the growing darkness, trying to see if someone was trying to sneak up on me.
Hovering directly above me, just out of the range of the street lamp, was a man dressed in black. I was naturally shocked and took a few steps back. I felt foolish, cupping my hand attempting to block out the glare of the street light and have a better look at this person, who was apparently floating in mid-air. I recall stammering, "Whoa! Uuum.....How are you.....I mean, how can you...."
It was a tingle, and certainly not unpleasant. I will admit, however, I was pretty freaked out when suddenly my shoes lifted from the pavement, and I rose up into the air. I can't describe the sensation. It feels so alien, yet so normal, at the same time.
Soon, I too was floating above the street lamp, and standing (can it be called standing, if there is nothing but air under your feet? I always wonder that now) in front of me, was a man I can never forget.
"My name is Xzakeeda", the well groomed gentleman smiled. His hair and goatee were raven black, as were his tight fitting black jeans, and shirts. He bowed low, "You may call me Xak, as all my friends do".
I loved the quirkiness of my mentor. His flair for dramatics, thrill seeking, and lust for adventure. I always felt so practical compared to his whims, and whit. I instantly felt at ease. Now dear reader, I could recant a verbatim recollection of the meeting between my friend and I, however, I feel it would be much more important to fast forward twenty minutes later, to where I find myself perched at top of a giant white pine. I remember that night vividly. No wind, a few insects singing in the gently rolling grass, and the stars dancing in the twilight; that moment where the inky blackness of night chases the remnants of colour from the sky. The moon was large and bright, and I could see for a vast distance, perched so high. The bark was rough and sticky, breaking off in small bits and sticking to my clothes and hands. The deep scent of pine was mixed with the lingering summer smell of grass, and wildflowers.
Xzakeeda was in a great mood. In retrospect, I would have been too. I didn't understand his exuberance at meeting me. Or the importance. "Now that we have a bit of privacy, I sure you have a few questions", he asked with a huge smile. He held up his hand to silence me, "Allow me first", he winked. Clearing his throat, he took a large breath and continued, "Yes, I was the one who rescued you. Those are called soul leeches. Yes, it nearly killed you. This is not a dream. You can cast magic, and yes, I will teach you how". Xzakeeda paused, and winked again. "And", he finished, "I will teach you how to stay alive"
Oh, how naive I was.
He drolled on into the night, "Soul leeches drain your spirit. They feed on the souls of living creatures, and the more powerful you are, the more of them you will attract".
"What do you mean, by more powerful", I stammered. Half of the things he was trying to explain to me, made absolutely no sense whatsoever; concepts of rifts, and alien spirits. Other topics made me laugh at the sheer absurdity - Magic exists. Psionics exist. Illuminati, conspiracies, and government control, all exist.
Xak happily chirped, "The more powerful a magic the creature posses, be it in their mind", he pointed at his head, "Their heart", pointing at his chest, "Or their skill," he flourished his hands, "Can determine how powerful of magic they do".
My mind swam. I remember getting dizzy, and gripping harder on the trunk of the tree, suddenly feeling like I needed to get down. Too many things flooded my mind, and I began to feel smothered.
Xak chuckled and floated over to me, "Easy big guy", he crooned, "You've had a long day". He folded his arms, and shot me a look of concern. How well he knew me, even then! "You OK?" he asked with genuine concern.
I was exhausted, and needed sleep. I really wanted to get down from the tree. I mumbled something about needing fresh air, which of course, made Xak laugh - 30 meters in the air, clutching a tree trunk, and desiring "fresher air". He teased me about it, and did for as long as I knew him. I wish he was still here to tease me.
How did I get out of the tree?
"Simply imagine it, and it occurs", Xak chirped. A broad smile broke his face, "It is not a riddle my friend. If you think it, it happens. The same is true, however, if you do not believe in in yourself, your magic cannot work". He crossed his legs and pretended to sit atop the tree like some sort of Christmas-tree-topper. In a mockery of some zen-like pose, he posed the question, "What happens if you throw a ball into the air?"
Like any natural human who has ever played sports, and attended physics classes, I responded with, "It falls down".
"WRONG!" Xak giggled, and pretended to fall out of the tree. Flailing and kicking, he rushed past me, and then suddenly stopped! His laugh was infectious, as he rose back up to where I sat perched on a branch, and clinging for dear life. He reached his hand out, and calmly said, "Come on".
I remember vividly, still holding on tight to the trunk of that tree. I think of it as the very last vestibule of my innocence. "What if I fall?" I asked.
Xak pulled his hand back, and crossed his arms, "Then, you have already fell", he declared. He waved his hand in annoyance, "You don't understand the simple part of magic, is that in order for it to happen, you have to make it happen in your mind", Xak tapped his head with his finger. He began to float away from the tree, and he called out, "If you are asking about what will happen should you fall?" Xaq clucked, and shook his finger, scolding me, "Then you will fall, because my friend, in order for your mind to make magic work, you have to believe". He stopped, and at 35 meters in the air began to spin in circles. He spun faster and faster, and trails of sparks started to pinwheel from his feet and hands. Soon, the whole sky was aglow with the sparks and snaps from the fizzling man, who was now a blur. Suddenly, the whole countryside was rocked by an explosion of light and a booming sound! The night became day, and I had to shield my eyes. Even before I lowered my hand to see again, I heard the laughter of Xak, as he flew by me at great speed. "Come on my friend", he called out, as he sped off again into the night, "You have to let go of the branch to fly".
I sat there. A slight chill creeping up my spine, clinging to the cold, sticky bark of a large pine tree trunk. I couldn't climb down, although, for a very short time I did consider it. I stared up at the stars, and felt scared. The night wind, slightly whistled through the needles of the giant tree, and the branches began to sway. It was now too dark to see the ground, as the last sliver of light disappeared on the horizon. I heard a rustle in the branches beside me and I turned my head to see a large black raven, perched on a branch, staring at me.
It let out a shrill cry, and jumped from the branch, clipping my head with its wings as it flew away. I have to admit, I looked pretty ridiculous flapping my arms at this large bird, trying to chase it away, but, I'm willing to bet, I looked even more stupid, when I realized I was not in the tree anymore.
I screamed. I'm not proud. You would too. [Read the rest!! Available on Amazon]
Author's note: In the duality of nature, I designed the picture, where I show myself as a good man, struggling hard to do what's morally right, and the monster on the right, where I easily give in to my absolute desires.
This is an interesting writing style, and I'm enjoying the challenge. Be prepared to second guess yourself, and I wouldn't recommend finishing the book if you dislike someone playing with your head.