Orphic Phantasia

45: The Hardest Word

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Once again, he stood in that place he did not know, where titans towered in deathly silence and a pale, luminous figure hunched over a computer console, a twelve-winged shadow anchored to her shoulder—and then he was back where he started, back in his hotel room, snapping awake with force enough to shatter his newfound vision and scatter its pieces to the aethereal winds, never to be seen again.

Just like a dream.

He sat up, swallowed a mouthful of water, and marked another failed attempt on his cellular. Even if he could remember everything he saw in vivid detail, there was nothing to prove it anything more than wishful thinking, a personal fantasy where Emily had hidden herself away where no one could find her. His overactive imagination.

It would have been easier to prove otherwise if he could hold his astral form for more than a moment, as he had the night before, when he’d inadvertently eavesdropped on Katrina and their friends, but common sense was intent on denying him that chance. The idea that he could witness events hundreds of metres away, if not thousands, just by closing his eyes and thinking about them was absurd, the stuff of fantasy stories, not scientific studies!

Rubbing the cramp from his neck, he headed downstairs. Maybe Chris had been right to offer him those research papers after all.

Chris, however, was nowhere to be found and, not wanting to leave his apartment without something to back up Katrina’s faith in his abilities, Dante turned to the pile of empty pizza boxes Joel had left behind and started shovelling them into the kitchen vendor.

He couldn’t ask Chris for help. Not now. Not after he turned his back on him. Chris would never let him hear the end of it. He needed to find somebody else who understood this whole projection thing. Somebody with first-hand experience.

Captain Espinosa! She was skilled enough that Dante had seen her in multiple places at once, each one of her projections acting independently of the others.

He jammed the last of the boxes into the vendor. As if someone of her calibre would have time for an unscheduled lecture, especially with a student who had always treated her meditation lessons with disdain. No, Dante only had one choice. He had only ever had one choice.

Shelley Eoghan.

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There’s an old draft of Dante struggling with a meditation lesson somewhere.