In the early hours of morning, a stranger crept into Janet’s room. Andrea responded to her shouting and intervened moments before security charged in and subdued him. Janet still felt unsettled after breakfast. She tried to convey what she was feeling to Jagathy, nervously chewing her bottom lip. “When that man crept into my room, the hairs on the back of my neck stood straight up and I…I panicked. If a man frightened me that badly then what hope do I have of facing down ghosts and demons?”
“Your heightened senses detected the presence of evil. The man was possessed. It’s natural to be fearful in a situation like that. Shows a healthy respect for danger. From what you said over breakfast, you didn’t surrender. You fought back. You should be proud of yourself for facing down your fear.”
“I feel like my fear made me weak.”
“That stab of fear you felt was the amplification of your emotional reaction to the intruder. Recognize that psychic attacks are designed to provoke and then intensify a negative emotional response. As soon as you feel yourself reacting, you must calm yourself and turn your focus away from your feelings outward. As the seer, your job is to read your opponent, probe for weakness and hot button the sensitive area.”
Jagathy paused in order to gauge her comprehension, “that will enable you to provoke and amplify a negative emotional reaction. If you are successful then your partner can quickly gain the upper hand while your opponent is distracted, with less risk of injury and less energy expenditure.”
Janet looked at him doubtfully. He covered her wringing hands with his and continued gently, “right now, you are fearful because you are uncertain about your abilities. The best thing that you can do is hone your skill set. Confidence will come with experience. I will show you a way to harness the power behind your emotions and use it as a weapon.”
“I don’t understand.”
“If you think of fear in terms of energy you can understand just how powerful a weapon it can be, particularly if you can project that energy outward. Thoughts are waves of energy which can be transmitted. The normal laws of the physical realm do not apply to the spiritual realm. If you can conceive of something, you can manifest it. The first step is to learn how to calm yourself quickly in order to regain and sharpen your focus.”
“How do I do that?”
“By controlling your breathing. Take slow, deep breaths to help slow your heart rate and refocus your attention on the task at hand. You may have to engage in a little self-talk. We will focus on meditation and breath control today. It may seem unimportant but it is crucial. It is only through mastery of your emotions that you will be able to open your third eye at will and use it to access your psychic abilities.”
“And then what?”
“With your third eye open and under your control, I will show you how to use the talisman to augment your powers.”
* * *
In a hospital twenty miles away, Ethan’s eyes slid open to reveal fully dilated, empty pupils which gradually constricted as his soul seeped back into the empty vessel of his body. The sedate beeping of the heart monitor machine attached to his chest jumped into to a frantic pace as his vital signs see sawed before leveling off and stabilizing.
Hospital staff came boiling into the room with the crash cart and stopped in their tracks, amazed to find Ethan quietly regarding them. He coughed and sat up slowly, waving them away. His nurse thoroughly assessed him and fussed over him until he demanded that she leave him be.
Alone again, Ethan sat up slowly and marveled at the myriad physical sensations which he had previously taken for granted. His hospital gown spread open and goosebumps stood out on his back where cold air gently blew down from the vent above his bed across his exposed skin. His shiver felt almost orgasmic.
Ethan used the controller to raise the head of his bed and leaned back, pulling the sheets up to his chest. The sheet sliding along his legs and thighs felt positively sensuous. Tears flooded his eyes and Ethan made no attempt to wipe them away. He never thought he would make it back to his body.
He felt his chest. What bloody agony! One minute he was laying on the kitchen floor of that abandoned house, unconscious from the roofies Andrea had forced down his gullet and the next he was jolted back into consciousness by a sudden, searing pain in his chest.
It felt as though his heart were being twisted and wrenched through his ribcage. He opened his eyes and looked into the void inside the hooded cloak of his assailant. Rage and hatred blasted him in waves, like heat from a fiery furnace.
He struggled feebly to free himself from the creature’s clutches as it separated his soul from his body. The stress and strain were too much for his drugged body, which began to convulse. The pain was so intense that he knew he was dying.
When the shadow creatures dragged him down through the floor, he was sure they were going to hell. In those moments, Ethan’s life flashed before his eyes. Instead of the deluded version he’d created for himself, he was forced to view the stark reality of all his wasted years.
Ethan thought about the diminishing time he had left and suddenly realized how badly he wanted to live. He shook his head over the cynicism of his youth. All those years he had lived recklessly, subconsciously believing that his cunning made him damn near invincible.
Ethan had always been able to talk his way into things he wanted and out of the things he didn’t want. His luck had finally run out. He was enmeshed in a world he did not understand. With no frame of reference, Ethan was at a loss for a means to extract himself.
Charles had summoned Ethan as a display of the power he wielded over Ethan’s life. He wanted to drive home the point that he owned Ethan’s very soul and would not settle for less than complete obedience. Charles used telepathy to communicate his anger over Ethan allowing the talisman slip through his fingers. He was of a mind to discard Ethan and find someone else to complete the task.
In that moment, Ethan realized that his life was in peril. He was important to Charles only insofar as he was able to secure the things that Charles wanted. The second he could no produce results, he was of no further use to Charles. Better to dispose of Ethan then to loose a potential enemy into the world. Ethan begged for his life, knowing an egotist like Charles would get off on the submission.
Ethan made promise upon promise and enduring round after round of torture. The thought occurred that if Charles let him live, he might decide to keep Ethan in that glass receptacle, like a lightning bug in a jar, for an eternity unable to make good on his end of the contract and earn his release from it. Charles read Ethan’s thoughts and brayed laughter, informing him in no uncertain terms that his contract would remain unbroken for all eternity.
Laying in his hospital bed miles away, the memory made the rage and desperation well up in Ethan all over again. He tried to stand and his weak legs immediately buckled. He needed to get busy but his body was forcing him to rest for a little while and get something to eat. Ethan lay back against his pillows and stared at the ceiling, marveling at his stupidity.
How the hell did I get myself into this bollocks? He had rushed headlong into the deal, on the advice of his high roller buddy Brad, wanting something for nothing. His friend had promised easy money and Ethan was strapped for cash at the time.
If some git thought he could buy Ethan’s soul then who was Ethan to stop him from trying? Brad took him to meet the buyer, whose name was Charles. He was a professor in the department of near eastern languages and civilizations at a university in Chicago, Illinois.
Ethan took one look at the genial, bespectacled, rotund man and quickly sized him up as a mark . If I play my cards right, I can come back and milk this cash cow again, thought Ethan with a barely concealed smirk. The ritual seemed harmless enough and the tattoo was barely discernible among all his other tattoos.
Ethan had to admit the ceremony had seemed a little over the top, but who was he to complain if the man wanted get dressed up and play witches and warlocks? As long as Charles came across with the duckets, he would play along with him.
Truth be told, Ethan had done stranger things for a lot less. Afterwards, the glow in Charles’ eyes was fanatical. He talked a mile a minute about an invigorating jolt of power until Ethan began feeling uncomfortable.
“I hate to disappoint you pal, but I didn’t feel any jolt of power,” Ethan demurred.
“Well, of course you wouldn’t. You’re the bondman.”
“Yeah, ok whatever. I kept up my end of the bargain. Now It’s your turn. Make with the duckets.”
“All in good time, I want to make sure you understand the terms of our little arrangement.”