The Doorkeepers-Chapter Thirty-Three

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Ethan wondered how long Enmerkar would keep him and Dorian holed up in the old school. The demon had proven to be secretive and suspicious of them.  Enmerkar kept Ethan and Dorian on a short leash, even when they ventured out for something to eat. Ethan was beginning to feel like a hostage.  He spent as much time alone, prowling through the building, as Enmerkar allowed.

Ethan found within the pages of the grimoire he carried everywhere, a spell which promised to bestow the power of second sight.  It was the only spell he could find that did not require obscure ingredients. Ethan was careful to practice the spell away from prying ears and eyes.  If Enmerkar got wind of what he was up to, then Enmerkar would destroy the grimoire and punish him in some horrific way. The memory of the Dorian’s crushed skull was still fresh in Ethan’s mind.

He poured the strength of his mounting fears and frustrations over his seeming powerlessness into working the spell. The first few times that he recited the incantation, nothing happened.  Ethan kept at it. He had nothing but time on his hands.  One evening, he spent hours, in an empty classroom, trying and retrying to cast the spell.  Night fell and a full moon rose high in the sky. It streamed through the dusty windows behind him.  Ethan lay in the middle of the floor to rest his back and closed his eyes against the moonlight. He had just eaten.  A pleasant sensation of fullness was relaxing him.

After a few moments, Ethan began drifting between sleep and wakefulness. He rested the back of his head in the crook of his right arm, took a deep breath and slowly recited the spell. Ethan had worked the spell so often that the words were etched into his memory.  Practice had resolved his previous hesitation in pronouncing the cumbersome words.  He had even managed to wheedle out of Enmerkar the meaning of the terms he couldn’t figure out. Ethan’s recitation had become smooth and assured. He chanted the incantation with conviction and focus on the meaning of each word.

Again Ethan uttered the last word.  He felt a sudden hard tug in the center of his forehead and the moonlight was suddenly dazzling.  Reflexively, he blinked his eyes and the light grew more intense.  He realized that they had actually been closed.  Ethan cautiously closed his eyes again and clearly saw the ceiling above him.  Realization came to him in a rush of elation.  The spell had finally worked! His third eye had opened.

He got up and roamed around the building with his eyes closed, marveling at the clarity of vision through his third eye. Things were clear, even in darkness and at a distance.  Ethan made his way into the boys bathroom on the first floor and peered into the dusty mirror.

By degrees, he became aware of a change in his appearance.  Something was different, but Ethan couldn’t quite put his finger on it.  Habit made him open his eyes for a closer inspection.  With average vision, he looked normal.  Ethan chuckled, shrugging off his initial impression.  Maybe the changes he saw were just a trick of the dim light.

He was about to turn away from the mirror when curiosity made him pause.  The urge to take a second look with his third eye was strong, but a sudden sense of foreboding made him hesitant.  Ethan wasn’t sure what he thought he might see.   Instinctively, he eased open his third eye by imagining a heavy eyelid lifting.  Ethan kept his eyes open and looked full on at himself, mentally focused on seeking out the changes within him.

The whites of his eyes glowed in the gloom of the bathroom, turning his brown pupils into black holes.  Something moved ceaselessly beneath the surface of Ethan’s skin.  He was transfixed by his reflection, unaware that the scream bouncing around the tiled walls of the bathroom was coming from him.

Enmerkar materialized behind Ethan in a defensive stance.  Footsteps sounded in the hallway and Dorian came bursting into the bathroom gazing around wildly, makeshift weapon raised overhead.  Realizing that the three of them were alone, he dropped the wooden table leg, grabbed Ethan by the shoulders and shook some sense back into him. The scream died away and Ethan’s horrified stare was replaced by surprise.

“What are you two doing in here?”

“You were screaming your head off just now.  We thought someone was attacking.  What the hell is wrong with you?”

“Sorry mate, didn’t realize I was screaming.  You’d scream too if you looked like this!”

“Looked like what?”

“Are you blind?  Look at my eyes and my skin!”

“Your eyes look the same way they always looked.  They’re a little bloodshot, but that’s because you haven’t been sleeping.  Your face is just breaking out from all the greasy food we’ve been eating.”

“You gotta be joking me.  My eyes are glowing like…”

“Save your breath Ethan.  He cannot see it,” Enmerkar interjected.

“What do you mean he can’t see it?  My eyes are bright as headlights.  How can he not see?”

“I’m guessing you cast some sort of spell.”

“I…yes, it’s called the all seeing eye.”

“So, you beseeched Ash Shaitan for the vision of a god?”

“What?  No, I didn’t beseech the devil.  It was a spell for opening the third eye,” blurted Ethan.

“Spell casting is just a prayer directed away from the heavens.  What did you offer in exchange for your new powers?”

“I didn’t offer anything.”

“There is always an offering.  Why else do you think your request was granted? You have entered into a contract,” Enmerkar yawned and turned to leave.

“What?  Where are you going?  How do I figure out what sort of contract it is?”

“Not my problem.”

“Oh, I get it. You’re pissed that I have powers now. Feeling a little threatened?”

“What you have are abilities. They only become powers if you know what they are and how to use them.”

“What does that mean?”

“Figure it out worm. It is not my responsibility to spoon feed answers to you. Humans are so lazy.”

“Yeah, well it takes one to know one. Weren’t you human once?”

“Was I?  How would that obligate me to tell you anything?”

“What’s the big bloody deal in sharing a bit of information?   Why do you always have to speak in riddles?  We’re supposed to be a team…”

“You speak of teams.  Yet you snuck off, cast a self-serving spell, and put us all at risk.”

“How did I put you and Dorian at risk?  The spell went off without a hitch.  If anything, I put myself on the line to make the team stronger.”

“Spare me the phony altruism worm.  Your pathetic, little grab for power may have put is in danger, all because you fail to grasp the most basic tenets of spell casting!”

“Now I know you’re full of it! If I’m such a bloody wanker, then I wouldn’t have been able to make the spell work would I?”

“Tell me something  worm.  Before you began weaving the spell,  did you mark out a sacred space?”

“A what?”

Dorian’s voice sounded concerned, “He’s asking if you cast a magic circle or pentagram to contain the energy generated by the spell.”

“I…no, to tell the truth…I didn’t think the spell would actually work…”

“Did you at least close the gateway,” interrupted Enmerkar.

“What?”

Dorian’s voice conveyed his rising alarm, “The portal Ethan! Did you close the portal you opened by uttering that spell?”

Ethan suddenly felt sick. He opened his mouth but no words would come. All he could do was shake his head no.