This story begins with Masked – The Fortress (1). To access installments in narrative sequence, click on an entry title, then click on “Next” at the end of that installment.
By the time John got home to the apartment, his roommates had already retired to bed or night-owl video stream bingeing. He turned on the light in the kitchenette, ran cold water over a small dish towel and pressed it to his aching head. The sharp pain in his left temple seemed unlikely to abate. He made a sandwich from cold cuts and opened a can of soda. He sat at the table and thumbed through the mail Rich or Ed had brought in. Tiredness prevented him from throwing out the auto sales adverts or the previous tenant’s bills. He turned out the light and ate in darkness, his weak hand pressing the cloth to his forehead.
Considering how long they had been together, John would have thought he deserved more out of the breakup from Carlye than a voicemail left while he stalled at work with a flashlight. She thought she could do better with someone who lived in the area. A team member had caught her eye at some point in the long hours and now her time with John was done. Sewn up. Done deal. He had hoped so highly for their future. Tears tugged from behind his eyes as he sat in the kitchen chair, and he let them out slowly. He had cried too many times in his life to pretend male invulnerability, but neither did he need to make a sound and raise questions from Ed or Rich. More likely Ed.
Three bites from finishing, as he considered fumbling in the dark for a chip bag, he heard a male voice. It rumbled, and he could not locate a direction for it. “You are not going mad, John. You will trust me when I tell you I am contacting you from another plane of existence.”
Fight, flight or freeze? John felt his body lock up and his breathing became shallow. Where had that voice come from? Who had spoken to him, and how?
“I can hear your thoughts, John. There is no need for you to speak aloud. I am contacting you from Aum, a place of the spirit outside of your existence. I am speaking to you in your mind. My name is Bloodwater, and I am going to bring you to me now. I have a proposition for you that I know you will accept.”
Before John could think through the blind panic to coherent refusal, Bloodwater snared John’s consciousness through the barrier of manifestation and brought his mind to the world between worlds. John’s body wouldn’t even have time to slump over before his mind would return with a diamond companion.
Thank you for reading! Coming up next week: A little knowledge about Aum is a dangerous thing.
Previous Aum stories include Globe Without Goodbye .
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