Palin helped Jagathy and Daksha into the second row of SUV seats as Janet and Andrea climbed into the rear seats. The bulb of the street light illuminating their vehicle shattered with a loud pop that sounded like the report of a gun. They all reflexively ducked and nervously looked around, straining their eyes against the sudden darkness surrounding them.
Janet reluctantly leaned out and groped for the inside handle of her passenger door. She started pulling it closed when the door was suddenly wrenched from her grasp with such force that she was pulled off-balance. Janet began tumbling helplessly out of the SUV.
The acrid odor of sulfur assaulted her nostrils and stung her eyes as the talisman’s chain sawed at the back of her neck. Janet’s eyes began to water and she blinked frantically trying to clear her vision. Someone or something was attempting to pull the talisman’s chain over her head as she fell.
Janet closed her eyes and held onto the necklace with her left hand wincing as it raked against her palm. She opened her tear soaked eyes and shrieked at the dim sight of the sidewalk rushing up towards her face, realizing she couldn’t pull her right hand from the door as the weight of her tilting body pinned it there. Andrea acted reflexively, lunging sideways and catching her sister by the left arm.
She pulled her back inside moments before Janet’s forehead connected with the curb. Janet pulled the door shut and leaned against it with her hand pressed over her heart. She was thanking her sister when a sudden thump against her window fractured the glass next to her head. Janet screamed, defensively throwing up her hands and ducking away from the door.
Outside, Palin felt his way around the front of the SUV with the fingers of one hand splayed on the hood. He moved beside the vehicle and was reaching for the driver’s side door when unseen hands shoved him backwards into the path of an oncoming truck. He shouted and leapt forward slamming up against the SUV as the truck passed within a hair of smashing into him.
Palin hurriedly climbed into the driver’s seat, slammed the door, threw the SUV into gear and shot off away from the curb. Janet nervously glanced towards the rear windows and did a double take, her eyes widening with horrified disbelief as a dark form rapidly pursued the vehicle, seemingly growing in size on approach until it blotted out the window.
Is that thing flying? It suddenly collided with the back of the SUV, rocking them forward in their seats and shattering the glass inward. Again, the overpowering stench of sulfer assaulted their nostrils. Palin sped up and swerved, weaving around the slower vehicles until the creature was dislodged. They were fortunate that there were very few cars on the road.
Janet gasped and looked over at her sister. Andrea appeared to be oblivious to the attack. She sat huddled in her seat, staring into space repeatedly shaking her head in disbelief. Janet anxiously turned back towards the rear windows and was relieved to see only cars behind them.
She sank down in her seat and waited for her heart rate to return to normal. She couldn’t seem to stop shaking. They merged onto the highway, leaving the storefronts of downtown St. Louis behind. The group rode in silence, comforted by the whisper of tires against the road. At length, Andrea spoke up.
“Where are we going?”
“We are going to a doorkeeper compound in Frontenac,” explained Jagathy.
“Why do we have to drive so far away? We’re vulnerable in this car. Can’t we just stop at the nearest hotel? If I don’t get some rest I’m going to pass out,” protested Janet.
“Do not worry, Palin is a skilled driver. We would be even more vulnerable in a hotel full of unsuspecting souls. Our adversary is quite powerful. If we stayed in a hotel then we would be under constant attack from emissaries taking possession of the bodies of staff and guests alike. The doorkeeper compound is our best option. It was formerly the property of a church, so it is on consecrated ground.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means the compound has been liturgically blessed. In other words, a rite was conducted with the authority of the church conferring upon it a sacredness that cannot be turned to profane use.”
“So it’s like a spiritual safe house,” said Andrea.
“Exactly, so why don’t you ladies sit back and relax?”
“That’s easier said than done with the hounds of hell nipping at our heels. Why is this talisman so valuable? It’s pretty but to me, it just looks like a harmless trinket,” said Andrea.
“I’m sure your sister doesn’t share your sentiments. She just got a little sample of the power the talisman wields.”
“I…I don’t know about that Jagathy. I think maybe I’m still experiencing some side effects of the roofies Ethan put in my drink. It was probably just another hallucination.”
“Was the nosebleed also a hallucination? How about the creature that just smashed the rear window and attempted to climb into the back of this vehicle?”
“No, I’ll grant you those things but I don’t understand what if anything happened with the talisman. I held the stone up so that I could make out the engraving in the center of it. I felt a stab of pain in the middle of my forehead and saw Dorian surrounded by these multicolored lights. It was kind of like looking through a prism. That’s all I saw before the pain became too intense.”
“The symbol you saw was they Egyptian ‘Eye of Horus’. Some call it the ‘All Seeing Eye’. Those who would use the stone for nefarious purposes recognize it as the ‘Eye of Ra’, a powerful and destructive force. The pain you describe was the talisman prying open your third eye.”
Andrea interjected, “Now, you’ve lost me. What do you mean by a third eye? I hope you’re not trying to say there’s another eyeball sprouting from my sister’s forehead.”
“No, of course not. The third eye is a chakra. It’s one of the meeting points at which channels of spiritual energy in the body meet. The third eye is located in the head. What your sister saw was Dorian’s aura.”
“So that thing is nothing more than a glorified mood ring,” sneered Andrea.
Daksha sighed peevishly and turned in her seat to face Andrea. “Don’t be stupid. Do you really think everyone would be going to such extreme lengths for a mood ring,” she snapped and turned back towards the front shaking her head with disgust.
“Now, now Daksha, we must be patient. Andrea is trying to learn about the spiritual realm. The third eye is responsible for things like intuition, spirit communication, visions, premonitions, remote viewing and astral projection. The third eye helps one to peer into the spiritual world. If one does not know how to open the third eye and use it in conjunction with the talisman then you might say for them it is nothing more than a glorified mood ring.”
“Will you show me how to use it,” asked Janet.
“Of course my dear, we will all get some rest tonight and then tomorrow I will work with you. Daksha will work with your sister.”
Andrea snorted and crossed her arms over her chest, glaring contemptuously at Daksha. “What could she possibly teach me? I already know how to fight. She let her partner get killed and I was able to take the talisman from her, so she can’t be much of a warrior,” sneered Andrea.
Daksha twisted around in her seat, about to deliver a blistering retort when Jagathy lay a restraining hand on her arm and subtly shook his head. Reluctantly, she turned back around muttering obscenities under her breath. Jagathy looked reproachfully at Andrea.
“That is not fair. You were not there Andrea. There were multiple adversaries. Remember, Daksha had to contend with an attack in both the natural and supernatural realms. Have you ever experienced a psychic attack?”
“I don’t even know what that is so, I’m gonna say no.”
“A psychic attack is the manipulation of supernatural energies and forces sent from one life force to assail the life force of another. This can be in the form of a spirit, an evil thought or blast of energy. Do not assume that because Janet is the seer that none of the psychic attacks will be directed at you. Your attackers will resort to any means necessary to defeat you.”
Andrea fell silent. Jagathy had given her a lot to think about. She needed time to digest it all. Janet appeared to be in a similar state. The rest of the trip passed in silence with each passenger lost in their own thoughts. They arrived at the compound under cover of darkness.
Janet and Andrea gazed distractedly about them and vaguely noted the large brick buildings nestled on the six acre campus. They allowed themselves to be ushered into separate sleeping quarters with an adjoining door, too tired to care about much beyond the comfort of the beds. The sisters slept deeply.