A long, tense silence followed.
Margot kept her gaze squarely on the Captain with a clenched jaw, furrowed brow, and tightly balled fists at her sides. She had never seen anyone else with the same abilities as her, let alone use them with such poise and control.
“I said you can relax, child.” Captain Baptiste said in a dark, but reassuring tone.
“Who and what the fuck are you!?” Margot snapped back.
Captain Baptiste tilted her head forward slightly and made full eye contact with Margot for the first time.
Margot boldly returned her gaze and stood her ground. Her breathing was heavy, but under control. Her vision and hearing were hyper focused. Her heartbeat was like an earthquake. She felt a high adrenaline rush at fever pitch.
The Captain had a cold, stoic expression. She slowly answered Margot’s question:
“I . . . am the big . . . bad . . . wolf, around here.”
Another long pause followed. The Captain began chuckling to herself. Her laughter slowly grew louder and more boisterous until she sounded maniacal.
This went on for an uncomfortably long amount of time.
Captain Baptiste finally ended with a sigh, while wiping a tear from one her eyes.
“I crack myself up sometimes. Now, where were we?” The Captain said. Her words faintly echoed against the hard walls.
“Right, so . . . you wanted to see Agent Jackass’ manager?” the Captain went on with a smirk, while glancing toward Agent Banks, still laying bloody and unconscious on the white, tiled hallway floor outside of the room.
“You had asked to speak with me, is that right?”
Margot remained in full ‘fight or flight’ mode. She stayed silent. She didn’t move an inch, apart from her chest rapidly rising and falling.
“So. I understand you’re unhappy with the progress – well, lack of progress, really – that our team has made with you and your. . . condition?” the Captain inquired with her eyebrows raised.
Margot stayed still.
The Captain’s pupils slightly expanded.
“Let’s talk.” said the Captain.
Margot’s hospital gown tightened around her. Her legs and torso were suddenly wrapped like a mummy. the top string of the gown had closed in and knotted around her neck; she began to choke and gasp for air. Her arms were crossed and pinned to her chest – she now resembled an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus. with one wrist over the other, as if she had handcuffs on. She began levitating, helpless, unable to breathe.
Within 10 seconds the whole room moved back into place. The mess of the bed sheets, mattress, and bedframe all gravitated back together until as neatly as it had looked before Margot had thrown it at Agent Banks.
“Have a seat,” Captain Baptiste moved Margot into a seated position on the bed.
Margot’s gown loosened around her neck so she was able to breathe again. She let out a deep gasp and began hyperventilating. She was still paralyzed and bound from the neck down.
“So, like Agent Banks said,” the Captain began, “oh, that’s right! Agent Banks! Where are my manners!? “
Baptiste held her hand up and snapped her fingers several times.
SNAP! SNAP! SNAP! SNAP! SNAP!
Margot heard a small, but explosive pulse of a sound with each snap of the Captain’s fingers. In her ghastly telepathic voice, she bellowed:
“CLEAN UP ON AISLE SIX!“
The Captain’s pupils were still abnormally wide. She went on, now back in her normal voice:
“So. We have a few different ways we can go from here. You’ve seen how the hard way goes. Right now, this is the easy way. I like to do things the easy way, Ms. Posseduto.”
Out of the corner of her eye Margot saw two tall, muscular orderlies lift up and roll away Agent Banks on a wheeled stretcher down the hallway outside of the room. He laid face down on the stretcher, bloodied and bruised. His right arm dangled lifelessly as it hung off of the side.
“So . . . what’ll it be?” the Captain asked while slowly approaching Margot.
Margot kept her mouth shut. She was still bounded by her hospital gown, and anchored into a seat on the hospital bed.
Captain Baptiste now stood directly in front of Margot. The Captain slowly leaned in toward Margot until she was at her eye level and they were nearly touching noses.
“You know you can speak now,” Captain Baptist declared, whilst leaning forward, face-to-face with Margot, with just a few inches separating them. Her eyes looked like miniature black holes as she leered directly into Margot’s normal, honey brown irises.
A staring contest ensued.
Margot continued to try and regulate her breathing – as much as she could manage, while tied up like a mummy – but didn’t take her eyes off of the Captain’s.
The mutual gaze of both women intensified. The acute absence of sound emitted a faint, high pitched ring that hummed throughout the hospital room.
Margot’s breathing had slowed down to a normal pace. Both Margot and the Captain were incredibly still.
Margot broke the silence with a deep inhale and exhale. She paused, inhaled again, leaned back slightly, threw her head forward, and spat directly in the Captain’s face.
The Captain’s face was stoic. She slowly wiped her mouth and nose off with her blazer’s sleeve. She looked again at Margot with her entirely black eyes and blinked – just once. Margot instantly lifted upwards, again choking while suspended in the air, and then suddenly backwards, violently colliding into the wall behind her, yelling in pain. She was pinned to the wall by the Captain, unable to move at all below the neck, and barely able to breathe.
“You silly, silly, silly girl,” Captain Baptiste said, with an even wider maniacal grin.
“You’ve got some balls, kid,” she went on, while slowly nodding her head, “I’ll give you that.”
Margot was straining with all of her will power to move, but it was no use.
“Hmm . . . let’s try . . . something different,” The Captain said, with an ominous tone.
She snapped her fingers.
Margot found herself sitting alone in the middle row, middle seat of an enourmous IMAX movie theater. She was wearing 3D glasses, an Incubus band tee, skinny jeans, and black Chuck Taylors, and had a small bucket of popcorn on her lap.
She was as cool as a cucumber. All Margot remembered was that she had waited a long time for this movie to hit theaters. She could finally relax, unwind, and focus entirely on the highly anticipated film.
A 3D animation began playing on the screen. The vantage point was behind a silver and metallic blue spaceship – more like a ‘space motorcycle,’ actually – mounted by a motocross-astronaut in a sleek, form fitting space suit, matching the metallic blue and silver of the vehicle. It shot out of a tunnel along with a dozen other racers onto an outer-space race track, resembling a sci-fi racing video game. The outer-space raceway had digital billboards along the way, displaying the usual PSA messages before the feature presentation started.
Green neon lights were mounted on an asteroid floating along the side that read:
‘GO ALL IN! SILENCE YOUR DEVICES AND TURN OFF ALL SCREENS DURING THE SHOW.’
The spaceship went through a long, upside down loop – a large blimp could be seen floating high above the outer space race track, displaying a digital marquee that read:
‘EMERGENCY EXITS ARE LOCATED ON BOTH SIDES IN THE FRONT OF THE THEATER.’
The spaceship bobbed and weaved down the track until it crossed the finish line in first place, just inches ahead of the other racing ships. Hundreds of tiny firefly-shaped drones formed into a floating banner above the finish line that read:
ENJOY THE SHOW, AND THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING
where dreams come from.
The screen faded to black.
Words in a plain white typewriter font appeared in the center of a black screen:
The text faded, replaced by a quote in the same font:
"Who does this ungrateful little bitch think she is?"
- Captain Séléné Baptiste
Director of Supernatural Intelligence, NSA.
The quote faded into black.
The song Monster by Kanye West, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and Nicki Minaj began to play –
“IIIII’ll turn the lights out . . . hiiiiiide ’til it’s bright out . . . oooooh just another lonely night . . . are you willing to sacrifice your life….”
The song continued as the black screen faded into an overhead view of a vast, healthy green swath of forestland. The tops of trees and cloudless bright blue sky soon gave way to the modest, but beautiful skyline of Jinn City.
Jinn City’s skyline was minimal, but unique, featuring three landmark houses of worship:
One on far South end of the skyline was a church, on the far north end was a mosque, and a synagogue on the eastern end of the city stood in the center of the city’s silhouette. The three structures dwarfed all the other buildings in between. All three had sky piercing spires, erected to the exact same height. From these three towering houses of worship, a trident shape formed along the skyline.
The film title appeared in a modern style font, in blood red, and in all caps:
The scene cut to a view of Duševno Boulevard, one of the city’s main avenues.
The main title disappeared.
The date and location in the same font style quickly appeared and faded:
JINN CITY, NEW JERSEY
The date and location faded from the center of the screen.
It was a quiet, sunny afternoon on Duševno Boulevard, one of Jinn City’s main streets.
A younger looking Orlando Jackson came into the main view as he walked down the street.
He wore dark grey khakis, a black belt, black Prada sneakers with navy blue accents, and a navy blue school uniform polo with the letters ‘JCHS’ embroidered in a light grey on the top left. A pair of large, all-white, studio quality over-the-ear wireless headphones covered his ears completely. Monster was still playing in the background. Jackson had a totally different, more energetic, and happier demeanor.
Jackson stopped when he reached a small, kitchy storefront on Duševno Boulevard. He took a quick selfie with flash on to make sure that his eyes weren’t bright red, like they were before he faced an L on the way out of the house. He walked into the storefront.
It had a purple neon sign in the front window that read:
– Psychic – Tarot Readings – Fortune –
– Manbo – Vodou Priestess –
Jackson took his headphones off when he walked into the shop. Monster stopped playing in the background.
There was a mini foyer – kind of like the man trap in a jewelry store – with another front door to the immediate left. This door had a digital doorbell mounted on the left doorframe, about 4 feet high.
Jackson rang the bell. He had an odd look on his face when he heard the chime. It sounded eerily familiar. The door’s several heavy duty locks all began to click and clack while they all unlocked at the same time. The door opened inward.
There stood Captain Baptiste. But not really.
She answered the door wearing an elegant, but simple, traditional white dress, and had her wrists and neck covered in dozens of beaded bracelets and necklaces. Her silver locs were wrapped atop her head and covered by a plain white cloth head wrap, resembling a crown or headdress.
“Hello, my child,” she greeted Jackson.
Jackson was still way out there. The scent of incense emitted from the inside of the shop, giving Jackson’s high a second wind.
“Uh, hi, good morning, miss-“
“It’s three in the afternoon,” she cut him off, plainly.
“Oh, right, sorry. I’m looking for, uhh . . . Miss . . . Suhleen?”
She corrected him.”That’s Miss Séléné. Say it with me, child – Seh – leh – neh.”
“Miss Seh-lah-ney,” Jackson repeated.
“Close enough,” Miss Séléné was like. “What can I do for you today, young man?”
“Can I do a fortune telling?” Jackson asked.
“Twenty dollars, cash or credit, for a half hour sitting,” Séléné replied plainly.
“Uh . . . okay.” Jackson said.
“Step right in. Shoes off, please. Leave your backpack at the door,” Miss Séléné instructed Jackson as she locked the front door. It took her several seconds longer to close the door than it did to open it, as she locked each lock, one by one.
“Right this way.” Miss Séléné led Jackson inside the store to an area sectioned off with floor-to-ceiling white curtains.
He pulled back one of the curtains and found several seat cushions surrounding a large metallic black obsidian basin, filled nearly to the top with water. Sticks of incense slowly burned throughout the sectioned off space.
“Please have a seat. Cross your legs, back straight, breathe slowly and deeply,” Miss Séléné guided Jackson.
Jackson got into a lotus pose on one of the seat cushions and began to take deep breaths.
Miss Séléné sat across from him. In her hands she had a white, metallic Zippo lighter, a fresh stick of incense, and a small glass vial sealed with cork, containing what looked like very fine, opaque salt, with a few grains of dried white rice mixed in.
“So, Mr. Jackson,” she said,”Quiet your mind’s eye. Maintain your breathing. Open your eyes and lean a bit forward.”
Jackson opened his eyes. “Wait. I didn’t tell you my name,” he replied.
Miss Séléné had a familiar-looking, sinister smile on her face.
“Well, that’s how you know I’m good at what I do, child. Keep your eyes on the most central, deepest point of the water in the basin, until I say so. Maintain your breathing. Set an intention and clear your mind.”
Intrigued as ever, Jackson calmly did as he was told. He tried to clear his mind, but could only think of how he was going to miss his best friend, Margot. They were days away from high school graduation, and that Autumn were set to head off to different colleges on opposite ends of the country – Jackson would be off to UCLA, Margot was headed to Yale.
Miss Séléné closed her eyes and began softly reciting an indecipherable language. She opened the white zippo lighter, lit the incense stick with it’s flame, and with her left hand, began slowly moving the incense in a counter-clockwise circle just above the rim of the basin. With her right had, she poured some of the ‘salt’ from the small glass vial into the water.
Ripples began to form in the middle of the basin. Her cantations grew a bit louder, yet still just a bit softer than a whisper.
“Long ago,” Miss Séléné said, in a familiar-sounding growl, “This world was better. Humanity was different.”
Jackson began to have a vision. Miss Séléné continued to narrate.
“Human beings respected life in all its forms. They took what they needed, and were taken as they were needed as well. All life moved in harmony with the source, and with one another.“
In just a few seconds, Jackson saw an immeasurable number of scenes come and go of ancient peoples around the world throughout different eras of time. The environment around them looked, brighter, happier, healthier; plants and animals were abundant and thriving. No matter the era of time, the humans of the remote past had a vast respect for life on earth. They took only what was needed of wildlife, hunted sparingly, and had a strong, loving, spiritual energy amongst them. Jackson saw entire lost civilizations that had thrived for millenia, with superior technology to the modern day and a much better approach to living alongside nature.
Miss Séléné continued: “Balance. Peace, life, and death, for all beings were all maintained, and well aligned. A small, sacred society of the spiritually gifted humans – the shamans, protectors of this realm and bridge to the spirit world – the Children of the Moon, maintained the balance of the world, and watched over humanity, as one.“
Jackson saw the spiritual leaders of the ancient world entering trances. They were all from different places, but the ritual was the same:
Scattered all around the world, these spiritual guardians would stare at the moon, all chanting the same prayer; it was the same language that Captain Baptiste / Miss Séléné and Margot had recited. Their eyes would turn completely black. They would begin levitating in a lotus pose for a few moments while feverishly reciting their spells. They would see a vision of the future, or begin travelling through an astral realm, and then slowly float back down to earth.
“One night on a bright, full moon, they all encountered a mysterious, deadly force. A dark, impenetrable fog, that only the shamans could see, swept across the world. The fog brought disease, madness, and death to all who breathed it in. There were many names, across many peoples and languages, given to this horrible curse, but they all translate to one thing: ‘black . . . air . . . force . . . energy.’“
Jackson saw piles of dead bodies across the world in a lost, advanced, ancient era of humanity. Men, women, and children were thrown into mass graves. Ones who had not yet died were covered in hives, or behaving strangely, as if they were zombies, or possessed by an evil spirit. Above them was a bright, sunny sky, but through the eyes of the shamans he saw a horrifying, pitch black cloud covering the world as far as he can see, with bolts of lightning suddenly erupting within the deadly fog.
“The shamans tried to clear the skies with protective spells and rituals, but to no avail. The dark cloud affected all who breathed it in, and all who came too close those already affected. Black air force energy was as contagious as it was relentless. All in its path were destroyed.“
Jackson saw the endless purge – black are force energy would surround its victims, penetrate their bodies through their mouth or nose, and leave them either dead, possessed, or dying and disfigured. Survivors would cover their faces, or even entire bodies to escape the invisible, deadly cloud, and avoided anyone who seemed to be affected. Brave ones who tended to the sick did not last long before they were also infected.
“The shamans of the earth communicated through their mind’s eyes. A last resort of defense was proposed: on the next full moon, they would combine their efforts all at once, and engage in spells to rid the world of black air force energy. Many of the shamans had already died of its effects. The remaining ones resolved to come together and fight.”
Jackson saw a full moon in a night sky, with millions of these spiritual protectors across the entire ancient world, levitating high in the air. A clear, opaque aura surrounded each shaman as they chanted their prayer in unison.
Each of the hovering spirit guardians began to strengthen and expand their forcefield, forming clear, opaque beams of light that connected one other. The light beams began connecting these spiritual warriors from greater and greater distances. Black air force energy began to lighten, and even fully dissipate when surrounded by the growing network of auric connections formed by the levitating mediums. The brave shamans looked like another layer of stars hovering in the night sky, eliminating a darkness only they could see.
The tides suddenly turned. In an instant, some of the opaque light beams and auric spheres disappeared. Thousands of these spiritual guardians began free falling, already dead before brutally crashing back down to earth.
Miss Selene went on: “Black air force energy had penetrated their defenses. Shamans began to fall, as if they were fireflies, swatted out of the sky. Others had a much worse fate – they were not killed, but infected and bewitched, while in their higher state of consciousness.”
Jackson saw a chaotic scene unfold – thousands of possessed shamanic warriors began to wreak havoc on their brothers and sisters.
“Their minds were corrupted, and their powers exploded with newfound strength and abilities. A battle ensued. Generations of spirit guardians were destroyed. The healthy ones could not compete – the violent, rogue shamans begot chaos, and could only be subdued when heavily outnumbered. Many on both sides were killed. The remaining unaffected ones had to retreat to protect themselves.”
“When the morning sun arrived, the possessed spirit guardians were back to normal, and did not recall anything from the night before. They were rounded up, restrained, and burned before nightfall by their own brothers and sisters. The common people then turned against the rest of the shamanic guides, torturing and killing them, seeing them as the purveyors of death and destruction. The remaining healthy shamans were forced into hiding, while trying to weed out the infected ones of their own kind.”
Jackson saw another time lapse throughout tens of thousands of years, progressing up to the present day. Miss Selene’s unreal-sounding voice continued:
“At the First Battle, this mysterious, malignant force was greatly weakened. Throughout human history it has grown and diminished again in strength – entire civilizations have been entirely wiped out by its effects, while others have grown immune, or resistant. Many of the ambitious and power hungry have tried to harness this force, only to be met with their own demise, or undoing. Though small in number, shamans plagued with black air force energy have remained as humanity’s most powerful, deadly, and unpredictable force. They are usually not aware of their gifts, until their curse presents itself. Some have been said to have been ‘cured,’ or ‘taught’ to harness their awesome powers while ridding themselves of ills of the disease. Others do not believe that this can be done, and vowed to vanquish the cursed shamans on sight. The fight goes on today against the ills of this black air force energy. The search for shamans, both healthy and afflicted, lies at the center of humanity’s survival. Every time the moon is at its brightest, the battle reignites.“
Jackson’s view changed again.
He began to hear an airy, beautiful harmony of a song playing with magnificent acoustics; it was as if he were hearing the music live at a concert hall, or in a spacious night club. It was The Girl with the Tattoo, by Miguel:
“Those innocent eyes . . . that smile on your face makes it easy . . . to trust you . . . if they only knewww . . .”
He saw Margot. She was suspended in the air, hovering toward the ceiling of the Jinn City High School gym. The gym was fully decorated for prom; she was levitating so high that the gym’s large disco ball was rotating directly above her head. She was wearing the powder blue dress she had picked out a few weeks ago, but was covered in blood. Moonlight flooded the gym through it’s long, rectangular windows and reflected off of the disco ball, along with the DJ’s strobe lights, blue and white stage lighting, and other visual effects. Dozens of dead, mangled bodies were strewn across the dance floor, blood soaking their prom dresses and tuxedos. The lone survivor was Margot. Her eyes were fully black and her head was tilted upward, as she gazed directly at the disco ball above her. She smiled contently as the moonlight reflected from the disco ball directly into her view.
The song Girl With the Tattoo continued: “ . . . just don’t looose yourself along the wayyy . . .”
The disco ball began to shake, on its own. Margot gazed with sheer bliss into the hundreds of tiny glass pieces on the disco ball – it suddenly and violently dislodged from the ceiling and its wires, and now hovered directly in front of margot, a few inches away from the center of her chest.
Margot closed her eyes. The tiny glass pieces that surrounded the disco ball began to lift off of it, floating peacefully in the air around Margot as she levitated, forming a heavenly aura of bright, reflected moonlight around her.
“The girl with the tattoo . . . I used to know . . .” the song continued in the background.
Margot closed her eyes.
Fire alarms began blaring throughout the building. Several muted bangs could be heard coming from the cafeteria kitchen – directly below below the gym.
The building’s ceiling sprinkler system went off, but not a drop of water hit the floor. Margot remained levitating with her eyes closed and a Mona Lisa smile. The water released by the sprinkler systems formed a sheet of liquid water, floating above the gym ceiling.
Red and blue lights began flashing outside of the gym, visible through the gyms tall, rectangular windows. A cluster of police cruisers, vans, armored SWAT team trucks, fire trucks, and and ambulance surrounded the gym / cafeteria building. Dozens of car doors begin to open and closed. A helicopter was hovering in the distance, with a spot light shining along the perimeter of the gym/cafeteria.
Margot started slowly spinning, still airborne appearing to be in a euphoric state.
Every building window at Jinn City High school burst into small, jagged, shards of glass, all at once. The countless shards were suspended in the air.
Smoke bellowed out of the cafeteria’s broken windows. A hellish fire was now ablaze throughout the cafeteria, and was spreading quickly to the gym on the floor above.
Margot held both arms above her head, and pointed her toes downward. She started spinning a little faster, as if she were a ballerina. The disco ball shards began spinning, forming a rotating shield of tiny mirrors around her.
The sheet of sprinkler water hovering along the gym’s ceiling began to quickly separate. The water split up into six equal streams, each one shooting out of the gym’s long, broken windows, catching the floating glass shards with it’s sudden force. The streams of glass and water all shot towards the sky and combined into a massive, double-helix shape floating above the gym. The glass within the floating mixture reflected the strong beam of moonlight that illuminated the night sky. The floating water emitted a bright, opaque hue of refracted moon light off of the glass, capturing its power and energy were within it’s spinning double helix shape. First responders were taken aback. Many of them appeared to be stunned, maybe even mesmerized, by something that none of them had seen, or even imagined before. Unusual, terrifying, and unreal; but overall, it was a truly beautiful sight.
The mixture of water and glass slowly twisted and turned upward into the sky, as if it were a snake, dancing to the flute of a snake charmer. Like an airborne school of fish, the stream of glass and water quickly changed directions and completely engulfed the police helicopter above. The glass and water was now a violent cloud, enveloping the helicopter, sending thousands of pieces of glass and thick streams of water shooting into the engines powering its blades. The blades of the aircraft slowed and sparked electricity. The helicopter swayed to the left and begin to lose altitude. It began to free fall in a tailspin, before crashing along with water and glass directly onto the rooftop of the main classroom building of the school’s campus, exploding on impact. A nasty fire erupted in its wake.
“CODE RED! SHELTER IN PLACE!”
The first responders at the scene were frantic, scrambling for shelter and calling for backup on their radios.
Margot was still twirling in mid-air over the gym. The hardwood floorboards began caving in, giving way to the deadly fire rising from the cafeteria below. Piles of promgoers’ bodies began sliding into the gaps of the gym’s floor, falling into the cafeteria, burning along with everything else. The smell of charred human flesh began to permeate the area.
Margot hovered out of the gym along with the disco ball’s mirrored glass that orbited around her through one of the long, broken windows, and floated upwards.
Margot was floating high above Jinn City High School. She suddenly stopped spinning. She breathed deeply gazed at the moon, while chanting a prayer in the ancient shamanic language.
All of the debris from the helicopter, broken glass, and gushing sprinkler water from across the entire school campus merged above her and slowly turned, counterclockwise. The horrifying mass resembled a powerful tornado. the dark, ghastly spiral suddenly shot up toward the sky until it was out of sight.
A few seconds passed. Law enforcement on the ground were shouting out conflicting orders to each other of whether to take cover or fire at the blood-soaked, floating girl in the sky.
Guns erupted. Bullets were shot toward Margot, but curved directly upward and flew into the air above her when they got close.
A few moments later, a monsoon of sprinkler water, filled with broken glass, debris from the school’s roof, helicopter blades – everything that was just in a massive spiral above Margot – came crashing down.
Screams of anguish followed. Dozens of first responders were hit and killed by the falling wreckage. Bullets fell from the sky with the same velocity as they had been fired. The gym’s roof caved in. The flames eating away at the school’s buildings intensified. Margot laughed maniacally to herself in mid air as death literally rained from the sky.
Jackson’s vision changed. He saw another time lapse – snippets of Margot and himself after high school. Graduation was cancelled. Jinn City made international news. A memorial was erected to those who died. Margot woke up in a psychiatric hospital, chained to her bed. Jackson saw himself at his father’s funeral, holding a folded American flag as hundreds of uniformed police officers saluted his coffin. A 21 gun salute sounded off. He saw Margot walking up to his door in giant, boxy sunglasses, again and again. He saw himself in distress – crying, burying his face in his hands every night, smoking cannabis constantly to numb his emotions. He saw himself, dying, at Margot’s possessed hands.
At last, he saw a middle-aged Margot. She was floating in a lotus pose with her eyes closed, wearing a glistening, silvery robe. She was part of a circle around a bonfire of a dozen others, floating just like her, wearing the same garb; a much older-looking Miss Selene / Captain Baptiste was amongst the circle of floating shamans in a lotus pose. They were in the same exact spot where he would die – their usual smoke spot in Rondspoken Park, near the baseball fields and tennis courts – in the dead of night. “Jackson . . . Jackson . . . Jackson, Jackson . . . Jackson . . .” he heard the whispers of everyone in the circle, calling his name. Margot’s eyes opened. She looked directly at him.
Everything faded to black.
A strong, comforting sense of peace and reassurance came along with the last scene of his vision. Jackson now found himself in a dark, empty space. He again heard the voice of Miss Selene:
“As you see, my child,” she said, “Your friend is one of the ‘powerfully cursed’. She is of the rare bloodline and spirit of a shaman with black air force energy. She knows not of her power.“
“But . . . this doesn’t make any sense,” Jackson’s voice echoed throughout the void as he replied to Miss Selene. “None of this magic shit is real. And prom is still a few weeks away – and we’re not staying in Jinn City – we’re going to different colleges in the fall-“
“I, am the fortune teller here, young man,” Miss Selene affirmed. “Make no mistake – these times will come. Whilst you are not a shaman, you are charged with a sacred, important duty – you will be her lifeline, her confidant, her best friend, her bridge toward harnessing her abilities, and using them to better the world. You will be, as the ancients called, her EY-WUN.”
“Are you deadass?! So let me get this straight. . . I’m her ‘A1,’ and she got ‘black air force energy’. . . you sure you’re not just taking my money and making this shit up while scrolling through Black Twitter?”
Miss Selene laughed heartily in response.
And if I just don’t buy any of this and go on with my life, then what?” Jackson was like.
“You will only recall what you need to, when you need to, of these visions. You will largely forget and dismiss them, for now. When the time arrives, your actions will forge an important path. She will need your help until you die by her own hands. If you do not rise to your duty, not only will you die in vain, but your friend will wreak havoc until will she is hunted down and killed by those who do not believe she is worth saving, and will suffer immensely along the way.”
“What the fuck, lady?! I don’t believe any of this!” Jackson yelled into the void.
“. . . says the boy in the middle of an astral vision of the future, drooling on himself in a vodou priestess’ shop . . .” Miss Séléné replied, while laughing at him. Jackson looked terribly confused. She continued to laugh heartily, echoing into the void.
DO DO DO, DO DO, DO-DO-DO-DO.
Miss Selene’s iPhone alarm rang.
Jackson returned back to the present moment. He looked down and saw drool on his shirt.
“Well, that’s our time. Here you go,” Miss Selene handed him a business card and a tissue.
“Come back again sometime! Please leave me a good review on Yelp!” Miss Séléné said.
By the time Jackson put his shoes on, grabbed his backpack, and left Miss Séléné’s shop, he could barely remember anything from the fortune telling session.
His phone buzzed on his way out. It was a text from Margot.
Margot: Bro last call if you want to be in our limo for prom! Btw I know it’s stupid but we’re all wearing baby blue. Same as the dress I picked. Lmk today if anything.
In an instant, a flash of memories ran through Jackson’s mind – he re-experienced the horrific scene of their upcoming prom night. Another glimpse he hadn’t seen before came to him – he saw his father, fall to the ground outside of the gym, with glass and metal sticking out of his back.
He blinked back tears, wishing that he had never set foot into Miss Séléné’s shop. He took a deep breath, and texted back:
Jackson: I told you I’m not going to prom bro.. nothing against y’all I just think this whole prom shit is corny
Margot: Laaammmeee. Fine. I tried lol
Margot: Let’s smoke one after
Jackson: I got u
Margot: Did you do the fortune telling thing? How’d it go?
Just as quickly, Jackson drew a blank. He had forgotten the vision of prom night that he had just seen. It faded away in an instant, like a dream soon after waking up.
Jackson: I forgot most of it already tbh. It had something to do with A1 steak sauce and a pair of NIkes. Black Air Force 1s, I think.
Margot: What a ripoff.
Margot: Maybe next time don’t go in there while you’re fkin stoned bro. lmao
The movie screen Margot was watching all of this on faded to black. A single word appeared:
She looked down at her bag of popcorn, it was empty.
Margot found herself back in the hospital, sitting on the same bed, in the same room, face to face once again with Captain Baptiste. Her hospital gown no longer restrained her. She felt no pain nor had any signs of injuries from her fight with the Captain moments earlier.
Captain Baptiste’s eyes were back to normal. She spoke with a kinder, almost motherly tone:
“So. What Agent Banks had meant to say was this: you are a shaman, affected by black air force energy. You are among the most powerful beings on Earth. I think you’re worth helping, mentoring, but most people in this world do not agree with me . . . if I hadn’t been cared for in the same way, my black air force energy would have gotten me killed, too.”
Margot blinked back tears. Her adrenaline had subsided.
“At the gas station, you willingly activated your powers to defend yourself. That’s impressive,” The Captain sighed, and continued: “You also caused immense destruction and took dozens of people to their deaths. Again.”
“This is not an easy path, my dear. But if you don’t work with us – with me, really – to control your powers, our enemies will find you, and kill you.”
“Who are my . . . our enemies, exactly?” Margot asked.
“The real question, Ms. Posseduto, is ‘who are our friends?'” Captain Baptiste responded.
“Think about it. Religions. Governments. Superstitions. People. Most people are afraid of people like us, and want us gone. The only friends we have our each other; people like us – the Children of the Moon. Not even all of our own kind thinks that we ‘powerfully cursed’ are worth the risk, and would rather stand by and watch us get wiped out . . . or even hunt us down themselves.”
“Do you understand, now, my child?” The Captain asked Margot.
“Yeah . . . I do,” she calmly replied. “I’m down. Let’s do it.”
“Good,” the Captain was like. “Get some rest, now. After that, we’ll get started. We have a lot of work to do.”
Margot quietly nodded. After the ‘film’ she had just seen, she felt a new sense of trust toward the Captain, in place of where her immense anger had been.
“One other thing, though,” Captain Baptiste added, “I’ve been working on my anger management lately. . . but if you ever spit on me again, I’ll beat ya mothafuckin’ ass, and I won’t heal your injuries afterwards next time, neither. Do you understand, Ms. Posseduto?”
“Call me Margot . . . bitch.” she retorted, with a rebellious half-smile.
The Captain laughed out loud.
“Oooh this is going to be so much fun! Okay, Margot. I guess the baby really needs a nap. We start tomorrow!” Captain Baptiste said, excited as ever.
“What time, tomorrow?” Margot asked.
“Oh, don’t worry, you’ll know.” Captain Baptiste replied with the same grin Margot had on. She held up her hand and snapped her fingers again.
(to be continued. . . )