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Adara led Paul by the hand through the monastery. It had been a long time since Paul was this excited about something. Today was the day his life was about to change. He wondered what the process would be like. Maybe they had some kind of special ritual, or a cure-all medicine.
After they walked for quite some time, Adara helped Paul sit down, and sat down across from him. “Now, what troubles you? I know that you did not tell me everything the last time I asked you, so now that we’re alone, please leave nothing out.”
Paul nodded. He was surprised that Adara knew how much information he was holding back, but then again, these were magic monks in a hidden monastery. He supposed they would be able to tell things like that. “Alright. My vision has been getting worse. I know I was already blind, but there’s degrees, ya know? I used to be able to tell the blobs apart, as different objects, but now they’re all blending together.”
“Yes, I understand. What else troubles you?”
“Well, to be honest, I’ve been having some pretty horrific visions.” Paul really didn’t want to relive them, but he figured if you go to the doctor, you should let them know about the issue so they can help fix it.
“Yes. What things are you seeing?”
“Well, I keep seeing my own death. Every time, it’s at the same place, and by the same hand, even though the people around change. I’m not really sure where it is, but it always ends with a shot to the chest.” Paul shuddered.
“What you see, are different things that may come to pass. If you are having visions of them, I have no doubt of that. Is that all that troubles you?”
“Well, yeah. Pretty much everything else stems from my visions of the future. It’s hard to look at someone the same when you’ve seen them kill you and your friends over and over again.”
“As far as what to do about the visions, that is a puzzle you will need to solve for yourself.” Adara stood up. “I hope, however, to give you greater control over these visions, so that you may better discern the correct response.”
“Alright, what do I need to do?”
“I want you to sit and meditate. Start with trying to induce a vision of a friend, then move to whatever the cosmos draws you to.” Adara began to walk away. “I will return in two hours, and you may update me on your progress.”
“Okay…?” Paul wasn’t expecting this to be what the monks told him to do. He did make a point of putting the most important problem out there first. He didn’t figure it would help any to complain, since they’d probably just tell him to trust them. He may as well give this a try, and they’ll probably get to that later. This was only the first day after all.
He took a deep breath and tried to focus. She told him to focus on a friend first, and there wasn’t much point in doing Anastasia since he could just see her whenever. He turned his mind to Vanessa. He’d been weird around her before he left, and she seemed to be taking it pretty hard. It was just difficult to be around her, after Jamal, and with his vision. He concentrated as hard as he could on Vanessa’s face. Adara wasn’t especially helpful in her instructions, but he figured he’d probably have to work this out himself.
Suddenly he was in a small room. It looked like a prison cell, and Vanessa was there with another girl. There was a commotion and someone was tugging the other girl. Paul couldn’t hear clearly what they were saying, but it looked like the girl was begging for help, and Vanessa was frozen. The man tugged the other girl out of the room.
Paul was now in a different place. It was some kind of prison yard, with rows of people sitting on the ground, watching some kind of spectacle. He looked towards whatever held their attention, and saw Vanessa fighting a teenager. The teenagers hands and feet shot out fire as he fought, but Vanessa kept blocking his blows. He saw the girl from a moment ago standing off to the side, watching in horror.
Paul found himself back in the cell. It seemed to be the same vision from earlier. He wondered why he was back here. It wasn’t really typical for him to have the same vision twice so close, but he supposed he had never tried to induce it before. The scene was almost painful to watch, though. After the girl got hauled off, Paul was expecting to find himself somewhere else, but instead his hearing clicked in. It was like he was there. Vanessa ran over to throw up, and Paul bowed his head. It was natural that she’d feel bad after freezing up like that. He wished he could say something to her. Something about how she could make this right.
Vanessa looked around the cell, as though she had heard something, then fell back crying. Paul’s heart raced. He wondered if she’d heard him. He had to try again.
You’ll know what to do.
Vanessa looked around again, and called out, “How?!”
Paul was about to reply, when he found himself in a different place. He was in a bedroom, and there was a girl on the bed. She had short hair, and didn’t seem to be doing much of anything. He looked around the room and realized he saw some of his own things. His keyboard was here, as was his computer. He decided to try to say something again.
Can you hear me?
The girl sat up. “Yeah? Jude is that you?”
Paul thought that was strange. This had to be his room, since he saw his stuff, but this girl didn’t recognize his voice. Perhaps she just knew he was out of the house.
Paul saw Jude standing in the doorway. “Did you say something, Arte?”
Paul was about to say something again, but he found himself in a different place. This was a darker room. A man sat crosslegged on a white rug, with light shining down on him, also illuminating a bunch of notebooks. He had his eyes closed, and seemed to be meditating. Paul started to look at one of the notebooks when he heard a voice.
“Ah, you’re finally here.”
He looked around and saw nobody else in the room, and he didn’t see the man’s lips move.
Can you see me?
“Yes, Paul. I can see you, and I know who you are. I’m unsure when or where you are, so you may not know me. You will certainly make a worthy adversary.”
Paul gasped, and found himself back in the monastery.
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