Until that moment in the back office of the metaphysical shop in Bridgeboro, I understood that time was an illusion, but I didn’t fully appreciate what that meant. Well, I should more accurately explain that I understood it as best I could from a purely academic perspective, but I had never truly experienced the concept expediently. While I could tangibly understand that everything was made of energy, being as I had manipulated the personal energy of more than one physical body at that point in my life and had broken it down to its purest form, the concept of time was more of a struggle for me. I had read about the illusion of time repeatedly in the pages of my favorite occult book, Sacred Magick, in the hopes that I would be able to have a true comprehensive understanding of it, but I was unsure if I believed the suggested idea that all of time is occurring congruently in one moment. I experienced life in a linear way; all human beings do. Each experience is delineated by the hours, minutes, and seconds of each day and how long we’ve lived is counted by years, months, and weeks. It was difficult for my mind to grasp that this rigid structure was a construct by human beings and was in effect simply meaningless, but after experiencing the vision I had when Elizabeth Bennet held my hands that day – I unquestionably understood.
Each night when I crawl into bed and allow my conscious mind to drift from wakefulness to slumber, I am aware of the subtle transition of one state of consciousness to another and often wonder if other people are able to identify that moment, as well. I am easily able to shift vibrational frequencies and align myself with other realms of existence and prior to acknowledging who and what I am, I would listen to the midnight whispers of the women of my bloodline and dance to the dark voices of the composers as they shared their intentions, dreams, and visions with me. Those nightly excursions would leave me drained both emotionally and physically as if I had never slept. Restfulness was elusive to me, and while lingering within the state of true exhaustion, I assumed sleep would only come as Death’s seductive companion; so, often nights just before the transition I prayed for death. She did not answer my prayer. She never came to visit; instead Dr. Worth brought me Klonopin. We had a beneficial relationship, Klonopin and I, and she brought me the restfulness I desired, but it was a relationship that I chose to sever not too long ago so that I might discover who I was, my true identity, a task that seemed mystifying and never-ending.
As I stood there in the back office of Luminosity, I felt myself drowning in the confusion of my mind as the chaotic storm of vivid images of Aunt Rachel, my cousin Christian, the goddess Syn, and a funnel of energy swirling above a reflection of me collided with the scattered fragments of my perceived understanding of the past and present. My intellect was threatened by the twisting insidious doubt of lucidity and the wildness of my imagination as the edges of my sanity began eroding away. The pieces of the puzzle gently fell into their rightful place as my intuition reconciled the shared understanding of reality and the smallest fraction of the greater truth that my human mind was capable of comprehending. I saw the resolution.
I knew the cause of Daniel’s and my lost memories. I hadn’t blanked them out because I was unable to deal with traumatic events that had occurred. I didn’t have a new mental health issue. I was not suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder. I was complete. I was whole and I was and had always been in control of my body. In fact, I was beginning to wonder if I was mentally ill at all regardless of what my parents or Dr. Worth believed. It was possible that I would never be able to prove to them that I was sane and they might live their lives with the conviction that I was mentally ill, but I knew better. I knew what was happening with me even if they did not.
I was aware that those lost five days filled with memories that I was missing had been washed away, stolen from me as well as from my brother, though admittedly I had no understanding as to why.
“She did it,” I said. “Mr. Stokes, she took our memories.”
“Elizabeth?” he shot up from his chair, glancing from me to the shop owner. “How?”
“I didn’t,” she protested. “I couldn’t. That magick is beyond me.”
“No, no, not you,” I shook my head as I waved her off. “Syn. It was Syn.”
My tutor dropped back down into his chair as he touched his forehead and began massaging the old scar with his fingers.
“Gerald, you knew this was a possibility,” sighed Elizabeth as she walked behind the desk, putting distance between us.
I was annoyed, actually I was beyond annoyed. I was furious with Elizabeth’s retreat as well as with the realization that every time I came to a point of self-revelation I discovered that it shouldn’t be; I should already possess the knowledge. It should’ve already been revealed to me, but someone had made the decision to keep it from me, and it seemed, as of late, that Mr. Stokes was the gatekeeper.
“You knew and didn’t tell me?” I glared at him. “Why? Why are you keeping secrets? Why aren’t you telling me things like this when you know they’re important to me? I don’t understand. I thought you were supposed to be helping me, but you’re not. You’re not helping … at all. I mean, you know how fucked up things are right now. You know this and still you say nothing when you know things … important things that could help me fix this colossal fuck up.”
My tutor remained silent and continued to massage the line near his temple.
I was enraged and disappointed and scared. I felt myself tremble as the emotions coursed through my body.
“Angie, I don’t get it,” my brother’s voice was just above a whisper. My outburst at Mr. Stokes clearly distressed him. “If Syn is the goddess that our ancestors worshipped, then why would she do this to us?”
“I defied her when I rescued Aunt Rachel,” I admitted.
I had been cautioned that my actions carried consequences, but I disregarded the goddess’ warning and directly worked against her, so I knew that she would claim retribution from me, but why Daniel?
“But I didn’t,” grumbled Dan cradling his head in the palm of his hands.
I was troubled that he had been caught up in the mess of my life. It was unfair for Syn to punish him for my disobedient behavior.
“I know,” I reached over and rested my hand on the top of his.
As the flesh of my palm touched his hand something deep within me snapped. My mind sprang alive. A collage of images flashed through with a speed that caused me to lose balance and tumble to the floor. I lost focus as my psyche was embraced by the thick feverish liquid of emotion; it covered, encased, and suffocated me. The fount from where it originated gush forth, hemorrhaging power. As this ocean crashed over me, the dark bloody undertow dragged me deeper and deeper within myself. I was sinking.
Was this Syn’s plan all along? Is this how my fate had been written thousands of years ago? Was my destiny was to lose all hint of sanity in the back office of a metaphysical shop owned by a descendent of Sarah Osborne who had died while imprisoned on charges of witchcraft, accused by Abigail Williams, my own blood relative? Was I the blood price for Sarah’s life? My life for hers, was that it?
Cohesive thought became difficult to structure as my essence merged with the formless void of alizarin crimson that churned within me. My mind released its grip on reality and slid further …
My parents had won.
I would be the daughter they always expected of me.
I would embrace my fate.
Embody the paranoid schizophrenic that they morbidly desired.
… downward and inward …
… as I surrendered.
I was not a coward. I was a warrior, a Valkyrie and I wouldn’t allow myself to give up without a fight. I dredged myself through the steady flow of overwhelming emotions, sorting through them and identifying which were mine and which were outside influences; dissolving the later into nothingness. I diligently searched for my center, the genesis from where this surplus of emotional energy sprang and once I located it, I coiled my mind around it; a viper, lithesome and crafty. I sank my venomous fangs into the succulent fount and gained control of the surging power, spindling it, allowing it to swirl before I forcibly pushed it through my body.
The sound of breaking ceramic and glass in the room around me startled me. My head pounded, my body felt numb, and I was certain I had a fever. Had I come down with the flu? I blinked numerous times as I slowly sat up.
“You alright?” Dan was crouched over me, looking and sounding concerned.
“I have a headache,” I admitted. I was unsure of how to tell him what I uncovered about his memory loss. I wasn’t going to withhold information from him. I refused to be a hypocrite. I pointed to the fresh wound on his brow. “What happened to you?”
He gingerly touched the bleeping cut with his fingertips. “I must have been tagged by something.”
I glanced around the room as my brother helped me to my feet. It looked as though a storm had whipped through the place; paper that had been neatly organized in piles on the wooden desk was strewn about, the shelves were toppled over and their contents was broken and scattered around the room. Mr. Stokes was helping Elizabeth to her feet across from me.
“What happened?” I questioned aloud even though I already knew the answer.