Calfuray smiled. Her legs straddled Von’s waist pinning his back to the damp ground, the tip of her dagger trembling an inch from his heart. She could feel his strength weakening, his hands and arms straining with the last gasp effort of desperation. He had been a worthy adversary, but there were more prey to hunt. Leaning forward, her weight shifted the balance.

“Concentrate Von,” said Zeke, standing to the right of the chair, his hands folded behind his back such that his head appeared to float above his ubiquitous white tunic. His stance gave the contradictory appearance of solidity and fluidness. “The fire can only touch an unfocused mind, a mind deluded in darkness,” repeated Zeke.

Von was nothing if not determined. Sweat rolled down his long angular face, carried away by the creases of age worn by time under his eyes and along his high cheeks. The chair hummed lightly as bolts of fire moved closer. His hands, strong and agile, struggled to articulate the controls, which oddly felt heavy and sluggish. The fire intensified and the rate of rotation increased. The orange and yellow flashes blurred as if forming a solid wall of fire.

“Darkness seeks darkness. Neither resist nor engage. Seek the light Von. Close your eyes. The light you seek cannot be seen, it must be felt. Search your heart my friend. There you will find the light. And stop trying so hard—effort is always the sign of the wrong path. You cannot swim against the tide. Let go and follow the light.”

Damn the platitudes thought Von. Why did everything have to sound like a cheap postcard? Light my arse. The only light I see is the damn fire from this Janus forsaken contraption.

The chair slowed and the fire subsided. “That’s enough for today,” said Zeke. “Until you are ready to concentrate, to allow yourself to believe, to trust the flow to take you to higher ground, well, until that time, we are just wasting our time.”

“I don’t see the point of this exercise Zeke. What is a chair bound in this blasted fire going to teach me?”

“At this point in your life—nothing. Grab your stuff. We’re done here.”

“Zeke.”

“I thought you might be ready. I was wrong.”

“Sorry to disappoint you,” offered Von.

“No disappointment Von. What is, is. I fully accept the reality. Otherwise, I would be as lost as you. Now cheer up. You might be confused, but I know exactly where we are; and just as important, where we need to go.”

“Would you like to share that information with me?”

“Von, don’t take this the wrong way, but you have not experienced enough pain in your life. There are two keys to the door of light. One is Love and the other is Pain. You are not ready for Love, but pain is definitely an option. If you want to graduate into the special Blue Onyx division, it will be through the fires of pain. The option is yours. You can let me know in the morning.”

“Let go my friend. I promise my dagger is sharp, its poison swift and my aim true. You will feel no pain. Close your eyes. Stop resisting. Sweet slumber awaits,” said Calfuray, the purple slits of her eyes growing wide and narrow.

Von let go. Like a boulder he had been carrying uphill, his resistance tumbled away and he felt an incredible sense of lightness. Calfuray never saw it coming. Those that were there said night turned to day for one brief moment and, as if nature had bowed its head, silence reigned.

“Von, do you read me?” asked Kyra.

“Von, are you okay? Von?”

Von stood, scratching the itch on his head. Pain my arse he thought. I’d still kick Zeke’s butt if he were here. “Kyra, I hear you loud and clear. I’m feeling a little warm but otherwise I think I’ll live. Be there in a sec.”

Categories: Story, Von, Calfuray, Zeke, Kyra

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