Orphic Phantasia

33: Three Eyes Open

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“Maybe we’re going about this wrong,” said Emily. “I’m not exactly an expert at this, after all. Now, if my dad were around…” She looked away, bit her lip. “Or Shelley! She can do this better than anyone I know outside of Seelie.”

Dante frowned. He couldn’t imagine Shelley extending an offer of help after all the years he spent dismissing her. Arided had played him well. With just a few words and a promise, she had cut him off from the very people who could have nurtured the talents she claimed he did not have. Talents he could have used to save his mother.

Emily must have sensed his anxiety, because she smiled and said, “But let’s just keep this to ourselves for the time being. You want to try something a little different?”

For the next attempt, she ushered him into a medative state, then teased his imagination with descriptions of the world about them, of the gondola’s interior and the island below. Each time, Dante constructed the image from his memories, and each time he failed to accept it as anything but a figment of his imagination.

“Okay,” said Emily, after about an hour of failed attempts, “there’s one last thing I want to try, and if that doesn’t work out we’ll head back down and see if we can find Ms Espinosa.”

Dante settled into the pattern again — it was almost second nature by now — and waited for Emily’s guidance. Beyond the outside world, beyond the touch of her hands, beyond the beat of his own heart, he floated through the unknown and the improbable, casting aside his doubts and disbeliefs as he would have once cast aside the murmurs of his intuition.

“I want you to picture your friends,” came Emily’s distant voice. “Where are they? What are they doing?”

Without thinking, his thoughts turned to Katrina. He tried to imagine where she might be, what she might be doing, to reach out across the unknown distance between them and see the world as she did. In that moment, and for that moment alone, he found himself standing in a skyless street lined with incandescent lamps. Ahead of him, Katrina wove her way through an early morning crowd.

Something struck him in the shoulder. “Watch where you’re standing,” snapped a voice. “People these days—”

And then he was back in the gondola, back beneath Avalon’s illusionary sky.

~*~

If you believe you are there, so will other people. Well, most of the time. There are always exceptions and workarounds.