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“Conscious decision. Life without fear. Masterful influence over the mind. This is what the Divine has written for you.”
“Adrien. Stay with me.” Tilly. We were meditating. She said:
“Breathe Adrien, this only going to feel mildly uncomfortable. I promise when you open your eyes, things will be easier for you to see.”
I do as told; following Tilly’s advice in perfect syncopation.
I can’t move. I can’t. “Tilly, I can’t move.”
“Take another deep breath for me, Adrien, and focus. Feel my hand.”
She has her palm open faced against mine. My body is lunged forward. My left arm stretched in front of me towards Tilly. I follow her lead and open my palm to hers. I can feel my right arm outstretched the other way with my chest flush with both. My legs are also stretched. Left leg forward, naturally following the lead of my arms. My front toe pointed in the same direction as my chin; over my shoulder.
But I can’t move anything. Focus Adrien.
I inhale sharply. I can see it. A large triangular lavender door. I walk through to see Shaman.
I hear a voice come through the door as if it’s crashing in on mountainous waves. “Not everything you see is as true as it appears.” I turn my head. There is no door behind me. Just a vast field—
A peach-tree grove.
I turn my head back to the bronze-toned pedagogue. Hundreds of years old, yet, she doesn’t look a day over 60. Her legs and arms folded like the skin on her face; with purpose.
I feel so heavy. “Shaman, I’m—sorry.”
“You could have spoken with me, Adrien.” She uncrosses her leg and stands up. She stands and underwhelming six inches shorter than myself; yet, when she places her hand arms around me I feel small again. The same way I did when I was eight. The day I first met her; shortly after my mother had been killed in a search following an anonymous tip. She runs her palm along the top of my head. “Do you remember when we met?”
“I had been hiding in mom’s prayer room.”
“Such a sweet woman.”
“I don’t remember much about her honestly. Just that she was a devout woman.”
Shaman smiles longingly. “Long after Intellectualism reigned in, most of the world’s citizens decided it best to fall in line with changing norms. The world had—for a brief time—been a truly free place. That changed the moment the Republic of Carmita Fellaheen finally fell. It was a nation of people that spanned from one sea to another; with only neighbors above and below its natural borders. The country boasted an unusual sense of joy in isolation; only entertaining the world’s audience, as it was seen as the Rose Standard of balance and health. It was a melting pot of people—and the only country developed to allow the practice of all ideologies freely. The Republic had been teetering on collapse under the weight of its own reputation; yet, it was A.D. Dillon and his now infamous reign of terror that slowly brought the country—and the world—to its knees.”
“Who’s A.D. Dillon?”
“Once a face seen everywhere; a decline in fame and a long life of entitlement led to a natural thirst for power and he had the ability to pull it off.”
“So what happened to him? His reign clearly ended.”
“Yes. But only for a worse one to begin. A group of scientists and scholars known only as the Einstein Collective, formed of the world’s most intelligent, hatched a plan to put an end to Dillon. By time they had seen their plan to fruition, he had nuked three countries; even wiping out an entire village, making it easy for most citizens to easily accept what came next. The Intellects, how they are now referred to, decided it would be best to disband the world’s current governments and restructure based off of ‘Quirks’. Based on an algorithm ran you would be placed in the most peaceful community possible. ‘Quirks’ could be hunting, swimming, science, engineering, law, education, and even history; but it could never be religion, myth, or magic. Anyone found to have an affinity for these quirks were to be immediately executed upon the confirmation of practice.”
I remember my mom used to tell me we weren’t a religious family, but her Grammy gave her a cross when she was a little girl. Told her the Divine is always watching. She would stay in her prayer room all day, praying—for my safety. I guess she forgot to ask about her own. They never checked the prayer room. Only set fire to the building.
Shaman was walking by when she says she sensed my energy in the building.
“Calm. Focused. Unafraid. I brought you back to my home. A small pocket of space-time inside Adenvale. A void. You disappeared and joined me, and Adenvale forgot about you. Adenvale’s lost son.”
I blush from anger. These memories are growing more painful. A tear falls down my cheek slowly.
“So why did you leave me?”
“A dream—I had a dream.”
“A dream—or a prophecy.”
“I watched you die.” My voice shaking now with sadness. “I walked into your study. You were being ripped apart by a beastly creature. I didn’t help. I ran. I hid.”
“You couldn’t do anything, my son—”
“It wasn't just once. I had this dream every night for a year. You showed me how to control my dream-state when I was ten. I should have been able to do something!” I clear my throat and take a deep breath. “And at the end of every dream, I would be visited by a shadow, telling me to find the girl with the flower name... that was the only way I could save you.”
“I never lied to you. Have I?”
“When you started your astral training, I told you I needed you to help me stop a war that was coming. You have always been destined for so many great things. I have never distrusted your instinct. If you needed to go, then you needed to go. You made your decision, don’t let fear cloud you any longer.” Her voice fades along with everything else around me.
No! Shaman! I still need you! I’m not done talking to you.
I see nothing but the blank space of my mind. I hear nothing but an ocean running. That’s quickly interrupted by a familiar voice and—
“Adrien, open your eyes.”