Masked – The Fingerprints (16)

The 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.


In his scrying, Bloodwater loved to linger on this moment: the wink, Amica’s eyes widening, Amica’s mouth opening slightly in surprise. Bloodwater would leave five fingerprints on the history of Earth – at least, that he had found so far. He liked to think of this one as the mark of his right hand pinky finger. What followed in the life of John Kosearas interested him hardly at all. Nothing mattered to Bloodwater except leaving his marks.

He felt more stirred to action than he had in the span of a few million breaths. Perhaps he should converse with Sarabamoun about the experience with John. Bloodwater knew Sarabamoun took an interventionist stance toward Earth, flitting about the edges of the planet’s history like a wild animal both attracted to and fearful of firelight. Sarabamoun would even expend the spirit energy required to physically manifest on Earth! Bloodwater could not count the number of times that he had seen Sarabamoun’s severe Egyptian countenance peering back at him as the tahtib dancer participated in an event in human society. Sarabamoun liked to challenge humans. What would he think of the challenge Bloodwater had set before John?

Bloodwater focused the energy necessary to send a thought out into Aum when not in the “presence” of its intended recipient. Communicating across “distance” in Aum had a tricky aspect: one could never know how far the recipient had advanced in his or her personal experience, as “time” did not flow at a universal pace in the spirit realm. He had come to understand that when two minds encountered each other in what each interpreted as the space of Aum, the minds did some kind of delicate dance that allowed for a parallel flow. The minds did not negotiate this flow consciously; they did it by instinct, like so many actions taken in Aum. However, when a mind operated in isolation, the experience required only subjective logic. He wondered, not for the first time, what it would be like to exist natively to Aum, like the Ianu, unconstrained by linear chronology. His experience with those orbs when he first explored in Aum before settling in his cavern had left him completely mystified.

He pulsed out a thought: “Sarabamoun. Where can I meet you?”

Sarabamoun took a few breaths to reply. “Not now. A human has danced me to exhaustion. I must regroup. I will name a place to meet when I feel prepared to travel.”

“Received,” Bloodwater sighed. For now, he would continue to savor the satisfaction of his influence in John’s life, Amica’s life, Sean’s life, and therefore the lives of all in their future as the complex interconnections played out across the beautiful colored glass of history. He could see his fingerprints on that glass perfectly. No one else from the lowly village of his childhood had such a privileged vantage point, and yet he often felt dissatisfied. Soon, he would go to the vortex, ready to learn it all again, ready to be surprised; soon, he would re-enter the universe. But not quite yet. He had only played out three of his five marks that he had found so far on Earth’s history. He still needed to speak to the dolphin and to rescue the scout. If he found no more fingerprints before completing those two, he would go to the vortex after doing those deeds, and he would go with a smile on his lips.

He stood. Feeling the age he had given himself, he slowly walked to the mouth of his diamond cavern, and surveyed the landscape. As always, no sun or stars hung in the purple sky. He watched a luminous speck float over the canopy of the forest that carpeted the land below, and he knew that speck to be a wyvern that had crossed the barrier of the mountains. He frowned. Most of the exiled beasts had agreed to keep to the other side of the mountains, but stubborn wyverns sometimes broke the truce. What did this one want? No matter. He lashed out with his magic and exterminated the speck, then returned to his cushioned ledge, and summoned the image of John Kosearas’ wink to Amica Ferri one more time. Bloodwater had done well; he had marked the world.


Thank you for reading!  This concludes Masked.   In my next installment, I begin a new story, Topaz Bond.

The Aum stories include Globe Without Goodbye.

If you have enjoyed Masked, please support my writing on Patreon.