The sisters worked with me on quieting the myriad voices that played in my head. I had moments when I could push them back enough to ignore, but I could still be caught off-guard by their presence. Though the ability was nothing more than a simple mediation, I was relieved to feel like my brain was my own again. Emily and Julia seemed to be impressed by how quickly I picked it up. I quietly thanked my grandmother for the psychic training she provided; I’m sure I wouldn’t have made this much progress otherwise.
We stopped to have lunch, and Hannah brought me the bowl of ramen I requested. I couldn’t help myself; it seemed to be the only thing I wanted to eat these days.
“You know, I have heard that every Conduit gets a strange craving during the Channeling,” Emily said as we all sat in a circle to eat.
“Yes,” she nodded. “The running theory is that since the goddess used to be a human, she can’t help but obsess over the food when she inhabits a body.”
“I guess that would make sense. My grandmother told us that Katherine ate a slice of cherry pie almost every single day.”
“Are you able to eat other forms of food?” Julia asked.
“Yeah, I—” I paused, realizing that since these events started, I couldn’t remember eating anything other than ramen.
“I… don’t know, actually. I’ve only eaten this. And I don’t have a taste for anything else,” I said, taking another bite.
“Well, once you’re done eating, Krystal, I’d like to try another exercise with you. I’d like to test more of your psychic abilities in public. Would you be okay with that?” Emily asked.
I paused, mid-ramen slurp.
“Uh…” I thought back to last night’s unexpected clairvoyance trip. Being in public would definitely put me at greater risk of that happening again.
“It’s okay if you’d rather not push yourself. We can stop early,” Julia added.
“I want Liam to be there,” I said.
“Well…there’s really no need—” Emily began, but Julia held up a hand.
“I think that’s a great idea. Let’s bring him with us.”
About an hour later, the four of us were walking toward the main street, past the large statue of Amali with offerings at its feet. I wondered what would happen if the residents knew about me being the Conduit. Would they then try leaving offerings for me?
I scowled at the thought. I’m sure some women wouldn’t mind being treated like Goddesses, but this situation was a bit of a stretch.
The Main Street wasn’t as full as the Farmer’s Market, but there were a good number of people out. It was an unseasonably warm day for being the middle of September, and many were taking advantage of it, sitting on the patios and chatting outside of stores. Conversations were overlapping and noisy, as if I had been sitting in a sports bar:
“…Marlene needs to do better in school…”
“–cancel this doctor appointment…”
“—to remember to pick up bread at the—”
“—this barista is just droning on and on—”
“A bit noisy, isn’t it?” I said,.
“What?” Liam asked, turning to look at me.
Then the realization hit me: these were people’s thoughts.
“Oh, wait. Shit.”
Emily placed a hand on my shoulder, smiling.
“So the clairaudience is obviously not an issue for you.” She led us to a nearby bookstore that was empty and sat at a group of chairs near a window.
“Try the meditation you learned earlier.” I nodded, and closed my eyes.
I counted backwards from ten. With each number I imagined a light emitting from the crown of my head, and pouring out into an orange, oval shaped dome around me, slowly making its way down to the ground until I was fully enclosed in a protective circle. I took a few more breaths to ensure that I could visualize it with no gaps, and then opened my eyes.
Slowly, the voices began to fade into the background, like distant conversations streets away. It was more like white noise; easy to ignore.
“It’s working,” I said.
“Eventually you should be able to block them completely,” Emily said.
“Or… focus on a particular person’s thoughts!” Julie said, with a glint in her eye. Emily swatted at her.
“Pay her no mind.”
“Considering it has only been a couple of days since the Channeling began, you have already progressed this far. That’s rare,” Julie said, turning to look out the window. Just like earlier, she seemed to be holding back information.
We left the bookstore and continued down the street. I worked on controlling the volume of the thoughts in my mind, until I suddenly had a sharp pain in my chest, similar to the night before.
I groaned, holding a hand to my chest. My knees grew weak, and I dropped to the ground.
“Krystal, what’s wrong?” the sisters asked. I closed my eyes, and vision came to me. I was in the body of a man—was it the same one as before?— and he was on the phone, sitting on a patio. He dropped it, grabbing his chest. He looked around, and I saw the sign of a bread bun with the words “Le Pan” underneath.
“The bakery, heart attack, he’s across from Le Pan,” I gasped, opening my eyes. Quickly, Emily got up and hurried away. Julie stayed, holding my forehead.
“Just try and breathe,” she said, but the pain was only getting worse. She tried placing her hands on my chest and back, but it still wouldn’t work. I closed my eyes again, and it took me back to the man in pain. I could see Emily hurrying up to him, and on the phone “this is severely advanced,” I heard her say. She hung up the phone and leaned in to ask if he was okay, and then the vision dissipated. My stomach lurched. I thought I was going to be sick.
I shook Julie off, and grabbed Liam’s arm.
“I can’t—Liam, I—” he held my hand and placed his other hand on my back, and warmth immediately began to radiate throughout my body.
“Uh…is it working?” he asked. The warmth faded, and I squeezed his hand as the pain returned
“Just focus. Send the energyto her,” I heard Julie say.
The warmth increased again. Within a few moments, the nausea and chest pain subsided. I opened my eyes, and looked up at Julie and Emily through my fuzzy vision. Their mouths hung open as they looked from me to Liam.
“Oh my god,” Emily muttered. As my vision cleared, I could see a small crowd had formed around us.
“Is she going to be all right?” one voice said.
“I called an ambulance!” another one said.
“I think it’s time for us to go. Can you walk?” Liam asked. I nodded as he helped me to my feet.
“The man…is he going to be all right?” I looked at Emily. She smiled tightly and nodded. “Yes, the owner of the cafe called emergency. They showed up shortly after I got there.”
We returned to the main building, and Liam walked me back to our room, where I immediately took a shower. I felt weighed down, like I was covered in a layer of slime. I knew without a doubt it was because I had taken on the energy of everyone on that street, carrying their worries and ailments with me.
As I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, detangling my freshly washed hair, Liam yelled from the other side of the door.
“Hey, your phone’s ringing,”
I walked out to pick up my phone off of my bed. I didn’t recognize the number, but answered anyway.
“Yes, is this Ms. Krystal Cabot?”
“Yes. Who is this?”
“Uh…it’s Doctor Brendt Lucas.” I quickly swatted Liam, who had gone back to reading a book. He looked up at me, and I pointed at the phone. He raised his eyebrows and shook his head. I rolled my eyes and muted my phone.
“It’s the hot Doctor from the other day.”
“Oh, did you want some privacy?” he asked, grinning.
“Shut up. Why is he calling me?”
“Why don’t you uh…talk to him and find out?” he said, pointing back at my phone.
“Hello? Ms. Cabot?” Dr. Lucas’ voice cut into the air from my phone. I unmuted it.
“Sorry, got interrupted. Um, was there something you needed from me?”
“Well, I—I know this is pretty unorthodox, and I am a little embarrassed…” Was he about to ask me out?
“…but I uh…I released you before getting you in for that CT scan. And I just knew I wouldn’t forgive myself if something had happened because of my gross oversight.”
“Oh! I’m perfectly fine. I appreciate the follow up call. And don’t worry about your oversight. I think…that was a weird day for all of us.”
“Yeah, it certainly was… And you’re sure you’re okay? No more headaches? You’re not dizzy? No strange sensations?”
“Nope. Nothing strange.” Except for this entire fucking day. Oh, and the day before that. And the two days I was unconscious. And the day before that.
“Okay, well I’m glad to hear it. I still can’t believe I let you walk out like that,” he said, sighing.
“We’ll see each other again soon.” I heard the words leave my mouth, but that wasn’t my thought. Liam looked up at me, his mouth agape.
“Uh…well…I mean, I’m just so clumsy. So I’m sure I’ll be back in the hospital soon. Er—uh…”
Liam started waving wildly at me, gesturing to hang up the phone.
“Oh! Well, next time I promise not to commit malpractice. Wait. That’s…that’s not funny at all.”
“Uh, so again, I appreciate you calling. I’ll see you around maybe?”
“Sure. Have a good night, Krystal — er—Ms. Cabot.”
“Krystal is just fine. Good night, Dr. Lucas.”
I hung up the phone and groaned out loud, falling back onto my bed.
“What the shit was that?” Liam asked.
“I have no idea. I’m so awkward.”
“That was so painful, Krys. And what the hell did you mean by ‘we’ll see each other again soon‘? That was just…psychic creepy.”
“I think we can assume that my current natural state is psychic creepy. God, it was just like when I had that reading with Paul. So, yeah. I really am going to see him soon.”
“Well, let’s not focus on your impending 2nd head injury.” He tossed a bag onto the bed. “I found some really cool books today.”
I dug into the bag and pulled out two brown hand-made leather bound books filled with meticulous handwriting. I ran my fingers along the pages, feeling the indentation of the pen marks, tempted to bring the books up to my nose for a quick sniff.
“More journals,” I said.
“Records. These are first hand accounts of the Sisters who were with our great grandmother, and the one who came before her. Apparently there was a 4 generation gap before Katherine was chosen.”
“Wow. And these are just…available in their library somewhere?” Liam squirmed.
“Uh…well, they’re…available to us. For a very limited time.” I squinted at him.
“Like… we should read these tonight and then maybe return them without anyone noticing by the morning?”
“Damn you. Fine. Grab the other book and get going. I guess we can just take pictures of any pages of interest.” I turned to the first page of one of the journals, the pages crinkling between my fingers.
May 3, 1937Farrah
Sister Marian woke the entire house at 5 in the morning. She had a vision that the Great Goddess Amali had chosen a new Conduit. After over 100 years, the Goddess is returning. I couldn’t believe my ears! It is finally happening! I will get to witness and tend to the goddess in my lifetime! I almost wish I had family to share this news with.
The house has been abuzz ever since. Sisters are preparing the Conduit’s quarters, refreshing the candles at the goddess’ statues, and scrubbing every building from foundation to roof.
I was even able to witness the scrying process they use to search for the new Conduit. It is said that when Amali chooses her vessel, they can be found by taking a clear crystal bowl, and filling it halfway with blessed water and placing it over a map. The blessed water will allow us the ability to “see” where the Conduit lives. And sure enough, as the bowl hovered over the town, you could see a peculiar red glow if you viewed the map through the bowl. Not that I wasn’t a believer before, but to receive such validation after only hearing second-hand tales, well…
That’s all for now. I must pack. We are on the first train tomorrow morning to receive the Conduit. Her name is Katherine. What an adventure!