The Other World

Going solo with spelling errors

GPFriday: Children of Legend: Chapter #14: End of Summer — August 11, 2017

GPFriday: Children of Legend: Chapter #14: End of Summer

Enjoy!

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Chapter #14: End of summer

 

Greeley Colorado

August 12th, 2020-CE

 

Summer was drawing to a close and Lone Wolfe’s friends had returned from their summer vacations after a long break. It was a last chance for the four of them to enjoy a swim at the public pool before they had to go back to school. Since Scarlet’s school started later than the younger ones, she didn’t feel the urgency that the kids did but she went with them anyway. At this point, after several more trips to the pool with her bathing suit, she didn’t mind going in it anymore.

Lone Wolfe Jumped into the pool first, enjoying the cold-water wash over his body, taking the heat away. It didn’t matter if they had power now and it had been a couple of weeks since the last of the power outages, nothing took away the feel of the oppressive heat like the water did. Jena slipped into the water a little bit at a time, she was used to the warm water on the beaches of Florida at this point so the cold water was a bit jarring for her. Her efforts to acclimatize to the water was thwarted by Curtis who jumped in as eagerly as Lone Wolfe, he spent the summer in southern California so he was used to the water being colder than the pool.

Scarlet slipped into the pool last. She didn’t splash in like the boys but she didn’t make an attempt to slowly adjust to the water either. She didn’t see the point in splashing everyone with water. When she was in the water she found Lone Wolfe, Jena, and Curtis soon enough and said, “I have an idea for a game. It is a variation on one called Marco Polo.”

Lone Wolfe and Jena seemed interested. They turned to Curtis who knew of the game but had played it a lot with his sister and cousins over the summer, “How do we play this game.”

“Instead of the person being it closing their eyes and calling out Marco and the others replying. We all float in the water and close our eyes. We try to clear our thoughts. The one who is it has to listen for the thoughts of the ones who are not it and try to find them,” Scarlet suggested.

Curtis frowned, “It is a game for your kind. I don’t have your gifts. I can’t play this.”

Scarlet cocked her head in confusion, “I thought you had some telepathic abilities. Maybe they aren’t as strong as Lone Wolfe’s and Jena’s. This might help you out as well.”

The suggestion that he might be more like Lone Wolfe and Jena seemed to perk up the blonde-haired boy more, “You think so?”

Lone Wolfe shrugged, “She seems to be pretty good at picking up if someone is like us or not. If she says you have something then you might have something.”

Jena nodded in agreement, “It never hurts to try.”

Curtis nodded and smiled. This would be something that he could play and that his sister would not be able to participate in, “So who is it?”

Scarlet shrugged, “I suggested the game so I can be it.”

Lone Wolfe nodded, “So we just close our eyes and float in the pool.”

Scarlet nodded, “And try to clear your thoughts. If I can hear you, I can try to find you. If I find you and tag you then you are it and we start the game again.”

Jena nodded, “Sounds like fun.”

They all closed their eyes and started to float in the pool. All of them were fairly good enough to float in the pool like Scarlet suggested. When they started to float, the four of them all tried to clear their minds. Scarlet then set out to listen for just the three others playing the game. It was as much a lesson for Lone Wolfe as it was a game. It would both teach him to control his accidental projections and allow him to home in on other psychic’s projections as well.

Scarlet could instantly hear the thoughts of Curtis as he floated around in the pool. By all rights and accounts, she should home in on him and tag him to be it next. She thought, after a moment, of saying something to the other boy about trying to keep his thoughts to himself but figured it would be good for Lone Wolfe to have someone easy to home in on.

Lone Wolfe and Jena were much quieter by comparison. While telepaths were louder than others, they had learned how to quiet their minds when needed. It made for what could be a one-sided game, if Curtis got tagged too quickly. Being a training exercise instead of just a game, she focused on just finding Lone Wolfe, making sure she wasn’t too loud in her mental search as well. While the stated purpose of the game was for the one that was it to find others and tag them, if the one that was it was too loud, the others could pick up on it and try to move away from it. With all of their eyes closed it would be prudent to try to track the person who was it.

After a few minutes of floating calmly in the water, she found Lone Wolfe. While she was patient and waiting for someone to slip up, Lone Wolfe had lost awareness of his surroundings and bumped into someone. He apologized and felt embarrassment for doing so. He went from being drowned out by all those at the pool to sticking out like a sore thumb, worse than his friend, Curtis.

She quietly kicked with her legs and arms, sending her in his direction. In a moment, she reached out with her arms and touched him on the arm. She opened her eyes to make sure it was him and not someone else and said, “You’re it, Lone Wolfe.”

The four of them stood up in the water and looked around. Of the four of them, only Lone Wolfe seemed to venture very far away from the group. Scarlet wasn’t sure if this was done by design or if he was just lounging around and happened to drift so far away from the group. There was something else that had his attention, though.

The swimmers right around them all appeared to be startled by the four of them floating there playing some mutant game of tag. No one other than the four of them seemed to understand the rules. While they were silent and only gave the four children odd glances, their minds broadcast much more detail about what they were thinking than their looks.

It was those momentary thoughts, impressions, that all telepaths could pick up on with ease. Those were surface thoughts, and while most people didn’t mean them, it was their first method of blowing off steam. If pressed, most humans couldn’t even begin to remember all of the impression thoughts and momentary thoughts they produced throughout a typical day. The calm person could be inwardly yelling obscenities at a slow driver, the conscientious one could be judging everyone around them at a moment’s notice just to forget about it or revise those impressions later.

Combine all of that with the phrase, “First impressions can’t be taken back,” and life becomes very confusing for a telepath. Jena was used to these momentary thoughts and thought nothing more of it than the people thinking them thought. Curtis either couldn’t hear the thoughts or was very adept at blocking and ignoring them. Considering his display during their game, Scarlet thought it was the former.

Lone Wolfe was normally used to ignoring the momentary thoughts but it was the fact he and his friends were the subject of those thoughts that caught him off guard. He wasn’t used to so many people thinking about him and his actions before. He froze in place in the water. Scarlet was used to being the subject of attention and debate both verbal and sub vocal as well. She approached him carefully, “Lone Wolfe, it’s okay. Just ignore them.”

He focused on her after a moment, “Not used to the attention.”

Jena approached him and nodded, “better get used to it now. All eyes will be on you when you get into public speaking in high school.”

Scarlet chuckled, “That’s the truth.” She glanced around, those that had given them attention had gone back to other things, “See, they already lost interest in us. Let’s keep playing. Don’t give them any notice as to what they think as they will lose interest quite quickly.”

Lone Wolfe nodded, “We stick out like sore thumbs.”

“We always will,” Jena stated in response.

Scarlet glared, for a moment, at the younger girl before Curtis swam over to them, “So are we going to play the next round or are we on to something else? That wasn’t a long game.”

Scarlet shrugged, “I don’t think we should.”

Lone Wolfe shook his head, “No, let’s play. I was it right?”

Jena nodded, “yes you were!”

The three of the younger children started floating face up in the pool with their faces up just like before. Scarlet shrugged and knelt down in the pool before floating on her back. As she had done before, she made sure that she was not broadcasting her thoughts to everyone else but making sure she could hear everyone else as she floated. She could hear Curtis clear as day. She wondered how long it would take for Lone Wolfe to find him.

Not that long, “Tag, you’re it, Curtis!” Lone Wolfe stated.

The four of them stood but Curtis had a frown on his face, “You could have waited until I got away. I didn’t even have a chance to make sure I was clear.”

“What do you mean?” Jena questioned in response, “We all had plenty of time to get away. You keep broadcasting yourself. I am surprised that Scarlet didn’t tag you right away.”

“I was searching for Lone Wolfe,” Scarlet stated in response, “But Jena is right. You are broadcasting your thoughts which makes you easier to find. Try to quiet your thoughts when you find us.”

The four of them closed their eyes and started to float around the pool again. This time Curtis was it and had to find one of the other telepaths in the pool. Unlike the other three, he didn’t have the range of sensitivity of the other three. To him, there were no other voices to scour for. There were no other voices to search for. He grumbled and reached out for his hands. He touched someone and opened his eyes but he found that he startled another swimmer. The others were nowhere near him. This went on for nearly fifteen minutes before he sat up and growled, “This is nonsense! I quit!”

Jena started to say something but Scarlet placed a hand on her shoulder, “Let him go. He may not have been sensitive enough for us to play. I am sorry that we made him feel bad.”

“Maybe you can train him?” Lone Wolfe suggested in response.

Scarlet shook her head, “I can only train someone to control their abilities. I cannot make their abilities better.”

GPFriday: Children of Legend Chapter #13: Building Defenses — August 4, 2017

GPFriday: Children of Legend Chapter #13: Building Defenses

About Chapter 11: During the communion scene I have been told that things get a little confusing and a little hard to track. That was intentional. That was a joining of two minds. Not only that; you have a 14 year old and a 7 year old sharing memories with the 7 year old having touched memories of another 7 year old. I had it intentionally confusion as the deep bond was unstable.

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Chapter #13: Building Defenses

 

Greeley Colorado

July 25th, 2020-CE

 

Scarlet shook her head. She didn’t know the correct words to say to her charge to get him to understand what she was talking about, “No, no, no! You can’t just block with barriers and walls in your mind. If you are to block an attack brought on by surprise then you need to have something different. You can’t maintain those walls and barriers all the time. If someone wanted to get into your mind and you didn’t have those walls up at that point, you will be wide open! Another telepath could read you like a book. The only difference between you and a normal at that point is you would detect them in your mind.”

Lone Wolfe shrugged, his gold eyes conveyed his confusion to his mentor, “If I would feel them in my mind then why would I need to worry about maintaining walls and barriers? I could just bring them up when I feel someone come in.”

Scarlet shook her head, “You are assuming that you will feel them before they get to your secrets and you would be able to kick them out. Your mind is your own domain but you cannot protect it with walls and still function normally as a human the rest of the time.”

Lone Wolfe glanced at her with a funny look, “I don’t see what the problem really is. Why would another telepath attack me or probe my thoughts without my permission?”

Scarlet shrugged, “Some do. That is why it is important to protect yourself from them.” The room air conditioner in her living room stopped at that point. She glanced around and saw that the power had gone out again. “Just great! The power went out again!”

“It’s been a hot summer,” Lone Wolfe stated, “maybe everyone is running their AC’s and the grid just can’t handle it anymore.”

She sighed, “Two years away from having a driver’s license. This couldn’t have waited for another couple of years?”

He cocked his head in confusion, “I don’t see why that would make a difference.”

“Because we could hop in the car and have AC,” Scarlet noted, “Maybe even go somewhere like Estes Park or Carter lake where it is cooler.”

“But you can’t train me and drive at the same time,” Lone Wolfe stated in response.

She nodded, “You are right, we would just talk and figure out a place to go.”

Lone Wolfe’s face lit up, “We could go a public pool. Is there one close by?”

Scarlet shook her head, “Nearest one is about two miles away and it isn’t open yet.”

“Well, we could walk there,” Lone Wolfe suggested, “I am sure you can walk and train me at the same time.”

“Sure, did you happen to bring swimming trunks with you?” Scarlet questioned in response.

Lone Wolfe shook his head, “No, I only just thought about this.”

“Well your house isn’t too far from mine,” Scarlet stated, “wait here while I get my swimsuit on and clothes thrown over it and we can go to your house. I will also need to call your mom and make sure it is okay that we go.”

Lone Wolfe nodded. Scarlet rose and disappeared. He waited there with nothing to do for several minutes. He wondered how long it would take for her to change and come back out. She also wondered if she would be able to get ahold of his mother. When ten minutes passed by, he projected, “Are we going? What is taking so long?”

“It won’t be long. I called your mom and she is okay. She’d rather you be swimming than sitting in the house as the heat rises. I just have to find some sunblock and…” Her projection trailed off at that point.

“What else do you need to find?” Lone Wolfe questioned in response.

“Nothing. This will do, I guess,” He thought he could hear her sigh from where she disappeared to.

After a few minutes of waiting, she appeared in the Living room with a backpack and a bottle of sunblock in her hand, she tossed it in her back pack. Her clothes were the same set of black clothes and fishnet over clothing that she usually wore. He didn’t see anything different but the slight flush on her face meant that something was wrong. He missed it as he still wasn’t used to reading people’s sub vocal expressions. He smiled and said, “Are we ready?” He asked.

She nodded and sighed, “Yeah, let’s go.”

They strolled out of her house and headed for his house. With the speed he walked, it didn’t take them that long to get there. He unlocked the door and made his way into the house. He left the door open for her to follow. She stopped in the living room, “I will wait here for you while you find your trunks and change. Remember to grab a towel and a backpack. Another change of clothes might help too.”

Lone Wolfe nodded and ran into his room. He grabbed an empty backpack and shoved a change of clothes into it. He fished through his dresser and found a pair of red swimming trunks. He pulled off his shorts and underwear and pulled it on and tied it tight. He ran out with the backpack and grabbed a towel from the bathroom on the way back to the Living room. He smiled and said, “Okay, I’m ready.”

She nodded, “I can see that. Let’s get started. Don’t forget to lock the door.”

They marched out of the house and started their walk toward the public swimming pool. As they went, Scarlet fished out the sunblock from her back and handed it to Lone Wolfe, “Lather yourself up with this while we walk. You don’t want to get sunburned.”

“Don’t you need to as well?” Lone Wolfe questioned in response.

She shook her head, “I already did most of me. I will need your help with my back once we get there. I will help with your back as well.”

“Do you have your swimsuit on underneath your shirt?” Lone Wolfe asked, “I can do your back now.”

“Absolutely not!” Scarlet hissed, “I am not taking my clothes off before we get to the pool.”

“It’s hot out here and you are wearing a lot of black. If you have your swimsuit on then you would be a lot cooler with at least the shirt off,” Lone Wolfe suggested.

She shook her head again, “I have my swimsuit on but I will not take my clothes on before we get to the pool. End of that discussion. Now put on your sunblock before I do it for you and make you look like a kid on this street.”

“But I am a kid,” Lone Wolfe replied.

“Keep it up, smart Alek,” Scarlet spat.

Lone Wolfe squirted on sunblock and covered his arms and face as they walked. They had to stop a couple of times as he covered his legs with it. After that, he handed the sunblock back and they kept walking. They got close to his school when he asked, “Are we going to continue my training until we get there?”

Scarlet nodded, “Yes, defend yourself, I am going to probe your mind.”

Instantly, Lone Wolfe threw up a mental wall to block her probes. She shook her head, and said, “I don’t think you were listening to me. If you are prepared for an attack you can throw up a wall but if you aren’t then you are going to be defenseless. You will need something else to defend yourself with.”

“That’s the part I don’t understand,” Lone Wolfe commented in response, “You want me to use something else but you haven’t given me a description or a word as to what it is supposed to be yet. The only thing I know how to do is throw up barriers to keep you from coming in.”

Scarlet nodded, “You are right. I haven’t been very good at describing that to you.”

“Maybe we can communion and that will show me what you are trying to get me to do?” Lone Wolfe suggested.

“No, none of that,” Scarlet stated, “Your mom will kill me if we try that again. Also, I will not do that out in the open.” His suggestion did give her an idea, “There is something else we can do. I have been trying to describe it to you the entire time but I can show you. Try to probe me.”

“Isn’t the problem that I am prepared for the probe in the first place?” Lone Wolfe questioned in response, “If I probe you and you know about it, won’t you just throw up a wall?”

Scarlet shook her head, “Not if I want to show you something. Go somewhere, anywhere. You will see what I have for a first line defense.”

Lone Wolfe concentrated on probing her mind as they continued to walk. He was unsure of what he was doing as he had not attempted to probe someone’s mind before. At least he hadn’t tried to do it on purpose. He did what seemed to come naturally to him, he sought out her voice amongst the numerous voices he could hear and then attempted to dig deeper into her mind. Her thoughts became clear as crystal for a moment and as he tried to dig into her memories, the ones that were familiar to him from their communion, something kicked him out. It was lightning quick and it didn’t feel like Scarlet at all.

He glanced at her and asked, “What was that?”

“That was what I was telling you about,” Scarlet stated, “A different defense than a wall and it doesn’t require your attention.”

“It didn’t feel like you, what was it?” Lone Wolfe asked as they continued to walk.

“You could call it a watchdog I guess,” Scarlet noted, “A stray thought that you can give a life of its own. After it has a life of its own, it protects its home.”

“Can you have only one?” Lone Wolfe questioned.

Scarlet shook her head, “I have many of them but you will need to devote some attention to them at first so start off with one and start creating more as you can leave them on their own.”

“Do all of them roam your mind or do they sit in different spots?” Lone Wolfe asked after a moment of thought.

“They usually sit where you put them, or are in charge of certain areas. When you create your first one, you will want to set it in your memories, it will protect them. You must have attempted to probe my memories if you were kicked out so fast,” Scarlet noted in response, “If you chose other things I would have felt it before you got kicked out. My oldest ones are the strongest ones and they protect my memories.”

He nodded as they approached the parking lot to the library. Behind the library was one of the public pools. This one was one of the closest ones to them. He glanced up to her and said, “You should teach me how to make one as we swim.”

“It is pretty simple,” She said, “Think of something important to you and the word protection and let it run around in your head like a song that gets stuck. After a while it will start to take on a life of its own and start to guard that area. So, choose a memory that is important to you and think of protecting it and keep it active in your thoughts.”

Lone Wolfe nodded as they got in line. The line was starting to get long already considering that this was far from the first power outage in the month. She sighed and waited for the line to move. A short while later the line started to move. In the power outage, most of the people waiting in line did not have cash and couldn’t be processed so they had to leave and come back with cash later.

Considering that both of them were minors, Scarlet didn’t have the problem with carrying plastic instead of cash. She had cash on her. Lone Wolfe’s mother would pay her back later so she wasn’t so concerned with that. The line moved forward at a quick pace but she was surprised with how many people, how many adults, were carrying cash. This must have been far from the first time they had to go through this as well. Even with all of the people leaving to either get cash or find somewhere else to cool off, it would be busy.

It took them about fifteen minutes to get in. Lone Wolfe took off his shirt and stuffed his backpack, minus towel, in the locker and locked it shut. He then waited in the hallway between changing rooms for Scarlet. In a few minutes, she came out holding a bottle of sunblock. He didn’t recognize her at first as she wasn’t wearing black. It was her hair and face, as well as the familiar bottle of sunblock that she carried that clued him in. The hot pink bikini was something he didn’t expect, “Scarlet?” He muttered.

She flushed, “yeah?”

“Pink?” Lone Wolfe questioned, “I thought you would have had something black? You always wear black.”

“This is all I could find,” She sighed in response.

“But…Pink?” Lone Wolfe asked in response.

“Do you want to swim or not?” Scarlet questioned sternly.

Lone Wolfe nodded. She tossed him the bottle and said, “Lather yourself up with what you can then pass it back to me and I will get your back. After that you can get my back and we can go swimming. I’m a ginger so I will burn if I don’t go out there protected.”

“You don’t look like a root to me,” Lone Wolfe stated.

Scarlet chuckled, “Don’t lose that sense of humor. You will need it someday. Ginger is another term for a red head. I have a tendency to burn if I go out without sunblock.”

Lone Wolfe nodded and squirted some of the white substance from the bottle over himself and rubbed it on all parts he could reach. She was surprised that he could actually reach most of his body including most of his back without any assistance. Afterwards he glanced over to her and squirted some more sunblock into his hand, “If you turn around and kneel, I can put it on you now.”

She nodded and bent down and turned around. He lathered up her back and rubbed it in. As he did, she made the comment, “I know a lot of high school boys who would love to be in your position right now.”

“Why?” Lone Wolfe asked, confused.

She smirked and shook her head, “Nothing. You will figure it out in a few years.”

Lone Wolfe shrugged and handed her the bottle of sunblock. They walked out to the swimming area where they found a place to set their towels then proceeded to the swimming pool. They had more fun at the pool than they would have retreating to the basement of her house. They reapplied the sunblock during the adult swim moments and swam around until the pool closed. At that point, the power had been restored to the city. They were able to walk home and cool off in an air-conditioned house.

IWSG: What are my pet peeves when reading/writing/editing? — August 2, 2017

IWSG: What are my pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

Good morning everything, it is the first Wednesday of August which means it is time for another Insecure Writers Support Group blog post. It is a very friendly site with very friendly people: you can find them here: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

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I feel like I answered the first question before. I go it easy when I see grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Not everyone can afford an editor and even the best editors can mist stuff. It doesn’t matter how many eyes are on it, it will be missed. As long as the story is good, I will keep reading. I have a hard time reading on a computer screen so I prefer a kindle. It is easy on the eyes like paper. I can read for longer on those screens than a computer, tablet or phone screen.

Writing: That one is pretty simple: music and chai tea followed by copious amounts of other caffeine sources. Preferably, some peace and quiet too but that isn’t always possible.

Editing: That is a hard one. Persistence. That is the best practice for me. Just be persistent and keep working at it.

That’s it; see you next month!

 

GPFriday: Children of Legend Chapter #12: Perception of Energy — July 28, 2017

GPFriday: Children of Legend Chapter #12: Perception of Energy

As this story draws down on the site, my own story starts a new. I intend to have Children of Legend up for free on amazon about a week after chapter 15 comes out on the site. I can’t use KDP as they won’t do it for free so I will be releasing this one through smashwords.

It is impossible to find a picture of a girl with silver eyes and black hair but I always imagined kid Angela fishing at a pond like the below graphic for today’s chapter. Enjoy!

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Chapter #12: Perception of Energy

 

Greeley Colorado

July 9th, 2020-CE

 

Angela glanced downstairs. She was usually not allowed down there very often. Her room was on the main floor. There was only one room on the main floor. Angela thought it was odd that she was on the main floor. Usually, with one room on the main floor and her nearing adolescence she figured her grandmother would have put her downstairs. Such was not the case. Her grandmother had taken the downstairs room since before her mother was born. Her room was her mother’s room when she was Angela’s age.

Today, she felt adventurous. Her grandmother was tending to the store and she was curious as to what went on down there. Her mother always forbade her from going down to the basement. She never could figure out why. While her grandmother never forbade her from going down, she did ask that Angela respect her privacy and leave her room alone unless her grandmother was there.

July was a warm month. The upstairs living room and her room each had a room air conditioner. Considering that it had managed to reach 108 today, everyone in the city had their AC’s running which caused a power outage in their area. The inside of the house was already starting to heat up. She needed to escape the heat in the power outage. The basement seemed like the logical conclusion

She was right. The basement felt nearly thirty degrees colder than the upstairs. She wished she grabbed a glass from the upstairs kitchen on the way down. She shrugged and figured that she would go back up into the furnace that was the main floor if she got thirsty enough.

She also wished she remembered to take a light. Despite her new sight, it was far darker than she expected in the basement. She caught movement out of her left eye as she started to turn back to the stairwell, “Mentor, is that you?” She questioned in response.

“Yes. You have been keeping up with the exercises but it will still take you some time to adjust to the darkness down here,” Mentor replied, “This place is older than you, of course. It is also older than your grandmother. If you extend your Nwyfre, you can feel it.”

“Is that why it is so dark down here?” Angela questioned in response.

“That was how they constructed root cellars in the early twentieth century. There wasn’t so much a need for windows. Windows let light in. Where there is light, there is heat. People used to have store food down here so it wouldn’t get cold. They also used to store coal down here. Sniff the air, you might still be able to catch a whiff of it, if you are careful,” Mentor explained.

Angela took in a deep breath through her nose. She didn’t smell anything out of the ordinary at first. She caught the strong scent of sandalwood and sage grass in the air from previous rituals her grandmother must have performed in the basement. The smell of many different incense clung to the wall and formed a cloying scent that wouldn’t leave her nose no matter how many breaths she took in through her mouth and out her nose afterward.

She didn’t catch the smell that Mentor was talking about. She didn’t know if she was being taught another lesson or if this was a trick that the spirit was pulling on her. Her gray eyes looked around. When mentor didn’t move, Angela could hardly spot her. In the darkness, she was next to impossible to see unless she was moving. At the moment, Angela surmised that the spirit was standing still and studying the human.

Her eyes slowly adjusted to the light as she walked to the back corner of the basement. There she saw a room that had a dirt floor. The rest of the basement had a concrete floor. She was confused why this room had a different floor than the rest. She wondered if the rest of the basement once had a dirt floor and this room was left unfinished for some reason.

She knelt down and touched the soil on the ground. At that point, she finally smelled the faint carbon of coal on the ground. She didn’t see a trace of it on the ground but she could smell it, “Do you know what this part of it is?” Mentor questioned, “Why the floor with this part of the basement is bare?”

Angela shook her head, she sensed a trap, “I do not.”

“That small window in the corner faces the street. It used to be a coal chute. This part of the basement has never been paved,” Mentor replied.

She felt the ground. It was cool to the touch and hard. She expected it to be soft instead of firm. She glanced around to see if she could see the spirit but she could still see nothing. Instead, she heard Mentor’s voice again, “While you could perform Telluric Nwyfre cleansing while standing on the concrete floor, there are many who prefer standing on the ground.”

Angela glanced around, trying to see where Mentor was, “So grandmother Nwyfre cleanses? How come I have never seen it?”

“How early to do you get up in the morning? She is down here when she cleanses her Telluric Nwyfre so you don’t know when she would do that.” Mentor replied.

“There is nothing else for you to do here,” Mentor stated, “As you would state; the power is out. It is way too hot to play outside. Nothing else to do but to cleanse.”

Angela rose to her feet, “I don’t have any shoes on and I don’t want to run upstairs.”

“You don’t need to have shoes to cleanse,” Mentor stated, “In fact, some would argue that you should have your shoes and socks off when you cleanse. In either case, the room with no floor is a perfect place for your cleansing, don’t you think?”

Angela nodded and placed her feet on the dirt. She could feel the cool temperature of the dirt soak into ankles and legs as she stood there. She spread her feet along the bare floor to take her stance. She held her hands at her side and closed her eyes. She breathed out then took a slow breath in after a moment. As she took the breath in, she raised her hands up over her body. She breathed out and threw her hands into the air and back down to her side.

The cold of the floor spread through her body as the Telluric Nwyfre washed through her body. It made her feel calm. It made the remaining sweat clinging to her body feel cold despite the heat around her even in the basement. She took a few more of these breaths, each slower and calmer. Each with her eyes closed and her mind clear of thoughts.

When she was on the ninth cycle of cleansing, she heard Mentor’s voice, “You must be getting thirsty. I have some other exercises for you to try.”

Angela opened her eyes and glanced around, “Should I get some water first?”

With her eyes adjusted, she could just barely make out the outline of a figure leaning against the wall. Mentor shook her head, “I don’t think you have to do that. There is plenty of cool water in the ground beneath you.”

Angela arched an eyebrow and asked, “Who am I supposed to get to this water and what am I supposed to store it in?”

“Not many people can do this but I think you can it,” Mentor commented, “Your goal will be to fashion a cup out of the sand, make it as hard as rock and polished. After that, pull the water through the ground and place it into the cup. You should be able to drink it after that. It will be filtered by the sand if you do it right. If it doesn’t look clear then ask me for next steps and I will help you out.”

“Assuming I get that far,” Angela commented in response.

“Well, you won’t get very far with that attitude. You have to be determined and you have to perceive that you will succeed. There is a movie where they make a good comment about the difference between doing, not doing, and the myth of trying.” Mentor responded.

Angela nodded and her gray eyes glanced down at the sound beneath her feet. She knelt down and held her hand over the sand. She pulled with her Nwyfre and hoped that the sand would move or start to pile up below her hand. She cleared her mind and focused on channeling her energy through the ground and into the soil then back up through her hand again to attempt to accomplish it. She opened her eyes a moment later and saw that nothing changed.

She glanced up at mentor, “I can feel the energy moving into the earth and back out of it but I don’t see anything happening. I can feel myself picking up some other energy as I do it. I don’t understand why nothing is happening, however. What am I doing wrong?”

“There is more to it than just drawing energy. Your body is also the channel, not just the mind and the energy. You can direct most of the flow of Nwyfre with a disciplined mind but the rest of it You will have to offset with movements. Try moving your hands like you are fashioning a cup from clay. Only the wad of clay is much bigger than the up you are fashioning.” Mentor explained.

Angela thought about what the spirit teacher meant. She had worked with clay on a pottery wheel in class once. There were slow and subtle movements that helped shape the clay. In this instance, the sand was like water without the clay. The difference was once someone added water to the dirt down here, it would remain dirt and just turn into mud.

She placed her hands down and by the ground. She envisioned that the Nwyfre she controlled and channeled was the spinning wheel and the clay was the dirt beneath her. She tried to mold the dirt upward but the dirt refused to bend to her will. She heard a slight chuckle from her teacher, “What are you trying to do?” She asked.

“You told me to work the dirt like clay, that’s what I was doing,” Angela answered.

“Be more forceful. This isn’t a pottery wheel at the moment, a lump of clay, you have to work it before you can get into the precision stuff,” Mentor advised, “Pulse your Telluric Nwyfre down to your hands and punch down at the ground when you do that. Imagine a block of dirt rising to the surface when you do that to guide the Nwyfre.”

Angela thought about what the spirit said for a moment. She bunched up her hands into fists and reared back to punch the ground. She punched the ground, just before her fists connected, she pushed her Nwyfre forward mentally. The result was a small square slab of the dirt rising up out of the floor. Angela was disappointed with the result, she wanted an entire cube of dirt to rise out of the ground, not a small square lob of it.

Mentor, however, became slightly more visible with the result. There was excitement and joy on her face, “Not bad. I didn’t think you would be able to get that much so quickly. A few more pushes like that and you should have enough to work with to make a stone cup.”

Angela shook her head and pondered what went wrong, “No, that wasn’t right. It only bent to my will because I forced it. I should have been able to do much more than that with the amount of energy I put into it.”

Mentor glanced up at the young shaman, “What do you think would be a better way?”

Angela shrugged and was asking herself the same question when she thought about her science class in school a few months ago. They did cover plate tectonics and how the earth moves. Earth quakes happen when a point along the fault line between two plates becomes stuck. As the plates continue to move, the plates store up energy along that point until it reaches a breaking point. That was when an earthquake happens.

With everything she had been taught so far, shamans channel energy and that energy was supposed to work with nature to help bend it to the shaman’s will. While what Mentor suggested did work, it seemed too forceful which was why the result was so weak. She had to rush nature, not counter it.

She was surprised that Mentor was not pestering her as she sat there in thought. She wondered if the spirit could sense that she was working the situation out in her mind. In either event, she was close to an answer. Earth was supposed to be solid and unmovable in most situations. Time allowed wind, water, and its own forces to eat away at it and change the landscape. What she needed to do was to speed up and control that process, not force a mound up through sheer will.

She spread her arms out and held the back of her hands parallel to the ground. She mentally pulled the Telluric Nwyfre in the ground into her body mentally. She envisioned a heavy load in her hands, she wanted to lift it up. In doing so, causing a shift to make that column of dirt come up to about cube level.

She didn’t move until her feet and legs felt like they were made of stone and unbreakable from the Nwyfre. Slowly, she started to lift. The ground beneath the entire house, and she was sure the entire area, started to shake. Her eyes opened wide when she stopped and the shaking stopped with it. She glanced at Mentor. She was more visible now than she had been before, “I think you reached too deep with that one. You might back off on whatever you are doing.”

Angela nodded, “For a moment there, it felt like I was the Earth.”

She pushed some of the Nwyfre that she collected back into the ground. Her legs didn’t feel unbreakable anymore but they still felt like they could support the world. Again, she concentrated on lifting a heavy weight. There was no shaking, this time, as she pulled up but the square slab moved up slowly becoming more cube shaped like she hoped.

Mentor was mostly visible now, very clear to see compared to before. She leaned in to inspect the cube, “Nice. Now the easy part is done. You have to shape the cube into a cup of polished stone now.”

Angela glanced at the spirit in disbelief, “You call that easy?”

“Well turning that cube of hardened dirt into rock without rushing it into a pile of sand first will be a lot harder than brining the hardened dirt to the surface like that,” Mentor stated in response. She put her hands around the edges of the cube, “You will have to turn this into a circle and then compress it. Make it a vessel. This would be where that clay working like method you tried might come in handy.”

Angela nodded but her face carried some annoyance, “Why didn’t you tell me to make it circular from before I started this?”

“I thought you knew what you were doing,” Mentor replied, “You can still make it work, you will just have to re shape the cube now.”

Angela glanced down at the block and tried to figure out how she would plan this next part out. She would have to turn the cube into a cylinder then compress it down into a hard rock. After that she would have to hollow out the inside and make sure it was water tight. The final part would be polishing it. She had to do it quickly.

She placed her hands around the cube. She started to circle her Nwyfre between her hands and started to work her hands as if the cube of dirt was clay. The cube started to obey and slowly started to transition into a cylinder. It was slightly taller than before but that would work when she started compressing it down.

When it was to the point where she was satisfied, she envisioned a cylinder of energy around the column of dirt. She pressed her hands up to the cylinder of energy and willed it to compress and tighten around the cylinder of dirt. She placed one hand over it to compact the top so it would not spill out of the top of the field.

As she worked, surrounding the column with energy on all sides and compressing it, the column of dirt shrank and looked more like a carved small stone column. It didn’t take her long to finish. When she released it from the Nwyfre she used, she could suddenly feel the heat coming off of the stone she had made. She reached back with her hand and started to pool some Nwyfre into her hand when Mentor reached out, “Stop! What are you doing?”

“The stone it hot, I was going to blast it with air to cool it off,” Angela answered as she reversed the flow of Nwyfre in her body.

Mentor shook her head, “If you cool it off to quickly the stone could fracture or shatter. You don’t want to do that, you have come so far. Take the heat out of it, swap the Nwyfre in your body for the Nwyfre in the stone, that should quickly cool it down without fracturing it.”

Angela nodded. She couldn’t put her hands near or over the stone. She placed her hands on the ground around it and rested on her knees. She started to mentally perform a similar cleansing ritual that she had done earlier. Instead of cool earth feeling filling her body, her entire body started to sweat as if she was put into a steam cooker. After a few minutes, she managed to sweat through her white shirt.

She stopped pulling Nwyfre from the stone and glanced up at Mentor, “Am I done yet? I feel like I am in a blast furnace!”

Mentor nodded, “You should be able to grab the stone now.”

Angela rested herself against the concrete floor of the rest of the basement. She was now too far away from the stone cylinder she made but she didn’t care. She needed to cool off first. She rested there for a few minutes before she felt like she was okay. Her clothes now felt sticky against her skin from all of the sweat. If she was thirsty before, she was definitely parched now. She couldn’t wait to finish this task.

She sat up and grasped the stone cylinder. It still felt a little warm to the touch but heat was not radiating off of it like it was before. It was about the size of a normal glass except that it was a solid column at the moment. She sat it back down and placed her hands high over it. The last part of this task was to make the glass hollow and polish it.

She pushed down, funneling Nwyfre down and into the sides of the cylinder as she did. The center was pushed down and the glass widened as she did this. When she was done, she had the rough image of a glass that needed to be polished. It was also radiating heat again.

She went to work using her Nwyfre to polish the glass, moving over it fast as if it were wind without it actually being wind. The outside of the glass became smooth and shiny in a few minutes. She placed a hand over the inside and did the same thing with the inside and bottom of the glass. Soon after, it looked like a professionally made but plain looking stone glass.

The heat was not radiating from it anymore. She carefully touched it. It was cool to the touch. She picked it up and looked at it, “I’m going to go upstairs for some water, I am exhausted.” She glanced around. None of the night lights along the lower outlets in the basement were on, “I am surprised that they haven’t gotten power on yet. It must have been over three hours by now.”

Mentor ignored the comment about the electricity being out, “You could go upstairs for water or you could learn how to draw it from the ground. The water in the aquafer is pretty good, you could also learn how to pull water from the water table and filter it through the sand.”

Angela shook her head, “It will have to be some other time. This task of making the cup, it has wiped me out. I need to rest or grandma may find me on the floor when she gets home from work.”

Mentor nodded, “Sometimes the best thing to do is to know your limits. I also wanted to see if you knew how to say no, that you have reached your limit. Let’s go upstairs for a drink.”

Angela took the glass and rose to her feet. She led the way upstairs into the 108-degree house. There, she crossed the short distance to the kitchen sink and filled the glass she just made with water. She took it to her lips but before she could drink Mentor cautioned, “You might want to take some sips. You could be dehydrated and the last thing you want to do is make it worse by making it go down then back up again.”

Angela nodded and took a couple of slow drinks. As always, her face blanched at the first taste of city water. She was suddenly thinking it might have been a good idea to learn how to at least filter it before drinking it. She took a few more sips and could feel the cool water sitting in the bottom of her stomach. She sat the glass down and glanced outside, “Why does it have to be so hot today?”

“It’s summer,” Mentor stated in response.

Angela walked over to the back door and opened it up. She walked outside. While it was hot outside, it was slightly worse inside the main floor of the house as the sun had been beating down on it all day. It normally wouldn’t have been too much of a problem except the power outage had kept her from running the air conditioners.

There was not a cloud in the sky, “If it would only rain…” she said to herself.

She glanced around to see if other people had the power out. She could hear that there was nothing running on the sparsely populated block but she wanted to make sure. She saw nothing as she stepped through the gate separating the front and back yards. Most of the cars had also gone since it would be cooler to drive around or find a place with running power as opposed to sitting in their houses that had turned into ovens.

“If it would only rain,” Angela stated.

She got an idea at that point. She went back into the back yard and closed her eyes. She reached out into the air and felt the hot air around her. She could feel the wind high above her head and the slight moisture in the air. She pulled on the wind and moisture. After a couple minutes of concentrating on that, she could feel the sun’s rays diminish as they hit her face.

She opened her eyes and saw that big, fluffy clouds were starting to form all around them. It definitely felt cooler around them now. The wind had started to pick up. A couple minutes later and the clouds became dark and gray. She could feel a couple of drops of cool rain hit her skin.

A hand touched her left shoulder. She glanced around and saw Mentor standing there, she felt solid now, “You must stop. The storm will get frighteningly stronger as you fuel it.”

The rain started to come down hard at that point. She nodded. Mentor glanced around as the rain started to come down harder, “You should go inside.”

Angela shook her head, “The rain feels nice and I already sweated through my clothes anyway. I think I will stay out here and enjoy it. If the storm starts throwing hail at me then I will go inside.”

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