by Timothy Potter
Jamie stopped packing his suitcase and walked over to Linda, who was sitting on the other end of their king size bed. He dried her tears with his thumbs and raised her head; so, he could look into her eyes. Her beautiful blue eyes were the first thing that he noticed from across the room when they met five years ago.
He said softly, "I know this will be our first time away from each other, and it is hard for me, too. We have been married for three years now, and I love sleeping beside you. But the specialist said I have to stay in their facility while they run the tests. He thinks he can stop my headaches."
Linda replied, "I know, and I really hope he can help you. You have tried everything else. I'm not trying to be a baby or make you feel bad...it's just that since the accident, you are all I have. I -"
Jamie interrupted, "You don't have to justify your feelings; I understand."
It had only been six months since Linda's family had all been killed in a tragic car accident. Linda was driving and thought she saw a deer in the road. She slammed the brakes, and the car skidded out of control. Linda was in the hospital for a month and was the only survivor.
Jamie continued, "I don't want to leave you either; I wish I could take you with me, but they said I would be so busy with all the tests that I wouldn't even see you -- they are even testing me in my sleep."
Jamie walked back to the suitcase, put in a few more items and zipped it shut. He looked at Linda and said, "Look, while I am gone, you can work on the kata you have been struggling with. You said your mom always wanted you to get that second black belt."
Linda flung her hands out in disgust and said, "I will never be able to master the Flying Swallow! I know the other three, but..."
Jamie interrupted, "Seriously? With a name like 'Flying Swallow' how hard could it be?"
"You would be surprised," Linda answered. She paused for a moment and then added, "I would like to see you try it."
"Hey, you know that me and Shotokan don't get along; I am not a violent person."
"You don't take it to fight; you take it so you won't have to fight, because you know you can kick their tail if you need to."
"Look, I like the idea of you being able to defend yourself, but I just don't think it is for me. You know I am a pacifist, and I will always be a pacifist."
Jamie walked over to Linda and kissed her.
"I would really like to stay and have this discussion for the umpteenth time, but I have a plane to catch. I love you, but I have to go."
Jamie grabbed his suitcase and started out the door. He loaded his suitcase into the car and left for the airport.
Once he was on the plane, his mind wandered from subject to subject. He thought over his life and how he had been bullied. He thought of his parents fighting all the time and their eventual ugly divorce. He tried to decide what made him choose pacifism. He finally decided that it was the sum total of his life; he had never seen any real proof that violence accomplished anything. Yes, he was a pacifist because, based on his experiences that was the best way to strike a blow against violence, to avoid it altogether.
Jamie climbed into the taxi and gave the driver the address of the clinic. As the taxi approached the building, Jamie thought it rather odd that every window in the building had been painted black. He puzzled with it for a moment and then decided the darker windows must help with their sleep studies.
As Jamie walked into the front door rolling his suitcase behind him, he noticed keypad locks by the internal doors and armed guards in military dress uniform standing beside the doors. The guards made Jamie nervous. "I hate when I get this nervous," Jamie thought. "I stammer and sound like an idiot." He walked to the desk and stood there for a moment, waiting for the young girl at the desk to acknowledge him. As she continued writing on a notepad as though Jamie did not exist, Jamie felt more and more awkward. Finally he said apologetically, "Excuse me."
The girl kept writing. Jamie said a little louder as though the girl might actually not have noticed him, "Excuse me. I'm here to see Dr. Jodi." The girl continued writing on her pad. Jamie stood there for a moment wondering what was happening. He thought, "Maybe this isn't the right building after all."
Jamie left his suitcase, walked out the door and looked up at the numbers on the building. "Yes, this is the right building," Jamie thought. He walked back into the building and sat down on the floor by his suitcase. "I know she heard me; I guess they will let me see the Doctor when they are ready."
Jamie hadn't been seated very long when the girl stood up, walked around the desk and stood in front of him.
Jamie looked up at her and asked, "Am I in the way?" The girl stood staring at him for a moment, and Jamie added, "I could move somewhere else. You see, I'm just here to..."
The girl interrupted him, "Yes, I know. You are here to see Dr. Jodi."
Jamie stood and said, "Yes, that's right. I'm here to...to see...Dr. Jodi."
The young girl looked at Jamie and smiled, "You truly ARE a pacifist." The young girl extended her hand for a handshake and said, "I am Dr. Jodi."
"You? You are Dr. Jodi? I was expecting..."
"You were expecting someone who was not only much older, maybe even with white hair or partially balding. Oh, yes, also a male."
"Well...well...well," Jamie stammered. He finally took a deep breath and replied, "Yeah."
"I get that quite often. When people think of specialists in my field, they always assume male and really old."
Dr. Jodi laughed, touched Jamie on the arm and said, "Don't worry about it." Dr. Jodi turned toward one of the side doors and said, "Get your suitcase and follow me."
As Jamie grabbed his suitcase, Dr. Jodi scanned her ID card, entered her code and opened the door for Jamie. Jamie walked through the door into a long white hallway with doors on each side. Dr. Jodi closed the door behind them and walked beside Jamie. They started slowly down the hall as Jamie followed Dr. Jodi's lead.
"I know there are at least two questions on your mind," Dr. Jodi said. "You want to know why there are armed soldiers here and why I didn't answer you when you first arrived."
"Uh, Yes. I would like to know that, both of them."
"To answer the first one, this is a top-secret research facility. The studies we do here are classified. In fact, I may not even be able to tell you everything we learn from studying your headaches. Everything is strictly on a need-to-know basis. I will, however, help you get rid of those headaches. You are not the only one we are studying; so, you will encounter other civilians here. Do not discuss your case with anyone other than myself."
Dr. Jodi stopped walking and looked at Jamie. "Do you understand," she asked him.
"The second answer is very simple. Because of the nature of our study, we require every test subject to truly be a pacifist. If they lose their temper and shout and get aggressive when I don't answer, they then are disqualified from the study. Every other test subject had a response similar to yours. You are surrounded by people who believe like you do when it comes to violence."
Jamie smiled and said, "That's great. I was beginning to think I was the only one."
Dr. Jodi turned and continued to walk down the hall. "As you see, each door on the right has a corresponding door on the left. The doors on the right are the dorm rooms where the test subjects will be sleeping. Each dorm room has the equipment necessary to perform our tests. You will be visited by two doctors each day you are here, one medical and one psychiatric. In each case, I will be the attending psychiatrist."
Dr. Jodi stopped in front of room number six and opened the door. "This is your room," she said. "As you leave your room, go to the right and at the end of the hall you will find a dining hall and recreation room -- no television or radio, and I must ask that you surrender any phone, mp3 player, or other electronic device at supper tonight. Failure to do so will result in dismissal from the program. You will find feeding and recreation schedules in a basket on the inside of your door. Make your call to your wife to notify her you arrived here and that you will not be contacting her the rest of the week."
Dr. Jodi turned to walk away and said as she left, "Make yourself comfortable, but do not leave your room except at the scheduled times. See you at supper."
Jamie walked into the small dorm room and closed the door behind him. It definitely looked like a hospital room. There were machines, wires and electrodes everywhere. There were so many machines around the bed that Jamie wondered if it would make him claustrophobic at night. Off to his right were two doors. One door led to a huge closet with a dresser where Jamie unpacked his suitcase. The other door went to the restroom and shower.
In the corner across from the bed, a reading area had been arranged. There was a sitting area with two chairs and a small table with a lamp. The table had several magazines and two or three books. Jamie recognized some of the authors: Peter Brock, Brian Orend and Thomas Paul Socknat; these men were the experts on pacifism. Jamie sat down, picked each of these books and thumbed through them. When Jamie picked up the last book and read the title, "Understanding Jungian Psychology's Shadow Aspect," he laughed and said, "Now, that is what I call light bedside reading."
Jamie went to put the book back on the table when he noticed the author's name, D.A. Jodi, PhD. He thumbed through it, stopping to read a paragraph here and there. "Wow," he thought. "Who would have believed a girl that young could have enough b.s in her head to fill a book that thick?"
Jamie placed the book back on the table and called Linda to tell her he would not be calling the rest of the week.
At supper that night, Jamie ate a quiet dinner with five other civilians and three doctors, including Dr. Jodi. It was quiet because the civilians were all scared to talk and the doctors chose not to. After supper, Dr. Jodi stood up and addressed the group.
"On behalf of the Shadow Aspect Program, I would like to welcome each of you. Let us make ourselves more comfortable in the recreation area for a short orientation. I hope each of you brought your electronics as instructed. As we enter the recreation area, you will notice lockers that correspond to your room numbers. Place your electronics into the lockers. We will secure the locker and return your items to you at the end of the week. Leave your trays on the table; the staff will take care of them for you"
The group went to the recreation area. Jamie thought it looked more like a small gym than a recreation area. It had two or three treadmills, a weight machine, a stair stepper and some free weights. In the center of the room was a circle comprised of folding chairs. When Jamie noticed a pool table and a checker board, he thought sarcastically to himself, "They really spared no expense on this one." Each member of the group placed his or her items into their corresponding lockers and then took a seat in one of the folding chairs.
Once they were all in place, Dr. Jodi began. "I appreciate your willingness to follow instructions. Congratulations, you have passed the second part of your test and are now considered full participants. I instructed each of you to not talk about your case. You complied by not speaking at all for fear of violating that instruction. I now remove that restriction. You may talk freely with each other about your situations. In fact, I am sure you noticed your schedules listed two times for therapy each day. The second therapy session will be a group session. I would like each of you to give a brief introduction of yourself, first names only and no names of family members. My colleagues will begin the introductions."
The first man, who had to be in his fifties, introduced himself as Dr. Meda. He was the medical doctor. The second person, whom Jamie had assumed was a doctor because of the lab coat, actually turned out to be an engineer by the name of Peppercorn.
Then it was time for the group.
Jamie went first because he was seated next to Mr. Peppercorn, and that followed the pattern.
"Hi, my name is Jamie. I have been married for three years. I am here because I have really bad headaches and nothing seems to help."
Dr. Jodi interjected, "Each of you has similar issues with headaches, although Jamie's seem to be the most severe and most frequent."
Paul was next. Paul was obviously from the northeast. His thick accent was a dead giveaway. Jake was a surfer dude, obviously from California, and Roger sounded as though he was from the Midwest. Mary was definitely from Louisiana, and Stephanie's feminine southern drawl sounded almost soothing, capturing immediate attention whenever she spoke.
The group sat through about fifteen minutes of "here is what is going to happen to you" before Dr. Jodi dismissed them from the session.
"You have thirty minutes to get to know each other and relax. Then go to your rooms to be connected to monitors for the night."
The group spent time chatting, with each one afraid to say too much. Jamie seemed drawn to Stephanie; he was fascinated by her accent. At the appointed time, they dispersed to their appointed rooms where they were hooked to their monitors.
Jamie's mind was racing from all of the events of the day. He thought of one thing and then another. He thought of the so-called recreation room. He thought of his schedule. "Why do we have to have therapy? Twice a day? Are they saying our headaches are all in our heads?" Jamie laughed out loud when he realized how funny that sounded. "Of course they are in our heads, they are headaches. Maybe they think it is just psychosomatic...well I guess it's worth a try. I've tried everything else." Jamie finally drifted off to sleep.
After breakfast the next morning, Jamie returned to his room to be poked, prodded and asked millions of questions about his medical history. Dr. Meda then copied several readings down from the sleep monitors, excused himself and left the room. As soon as he left the room, Dr. Jodi entered.
"I trust you slept well," Dr. Jodi said, as she motioned to the sitting area indicating she wanted him to join her there.
"I guess I slept as good as possible under these conditions," Jamie answered as he sat down.
"Our time here is short; so, I will get straight to the point, but first, I have to ask you a question."
"Jamie, have you ever thought you saw something out of the corner of your eye, but when you looked again, it wasn't really there?"
"Yeah. In fact, it's been happening so much lately that I actually thought I was losing my mind."
"There is a notion in Jungian psychology that could possibly explain why this happens. I am carrying his theory a step further, and that is the basis of the tests this week. This is very complicated, but I will try to explain it without taking too long. I know you are very intelligent, but if I use a term or phrase you do not understand, please let me know. It is important that you understand, okay?"
"Your life, your understanding and who you are is all the result of your experiences since birth. Different people react differently to the exact same stimuli, simply because of their previous experiences. Very often, our reaction is due to something from our subconscious mind. For example, a person who was abused as a small child will very often have a strong emotional reaction when they hear about or observe another child being abused. They may not understand the connection because they have buried that painful memory deep in their subconscious mind. They may not consciously recall their personal abuse, but they do in their subconscious. Are you with me so far?"
"Good. These subconscious reactions form who we are. Sometimes, they give us strength and sometimes they hinder us."
"Excuse me, Dr. Jodi, but how does this apply to things appearing to be there and then disappearing?"
"I'm getting there. Jungian psychology calls these subconscious influences the 'shadow aspect' of our decisions. It can influence everything from fear to creativity. These things you are seeing that disappear are actually your conscious mind trying to recognize the shadow aspect of your own subconscious. For example, if you think you see a person and you feel startled and then you look to find nothing, that may indicate that someone past or present is negatively influencing your decisions more than you realize. It works the same way with other things. Let's suppose you see an animal and when you look it is gone. What type of animal was it? How do you feel about that animal? Is it an animal you like or dislike? All of these considerations help unmask the reason your conscious mind is trying to locate your shadow aspect."
"How does that relate to my headaches?"
"I believe the headache is caused by the stress of your conscious mind trying to comprehend the shadow aspect, but being frustrated in its own inability to perceive the shadow aspect. Sometimes, people will even project these shadow characteristics in their interactions with others, making them take on the same characteristics as the shadow itself. The shadows will eventually find a way to the conscious mind. Sometimes, the situation or person doesn't fit the need of the shadow; so, your subconscious mind 'projects' the shadow in such a way as to be perceived by one of your senses as a way of allowing your conscious mind to comprehend it. It isn't just limited to sight. People often hear things that aren't really there or feel a touch when no one is around. These are all methods of the conscious mind trying to comprehend the shadow. It is my contention that if we identify the shadows you see and confront the issue at hand by describing the shadow and the feelings associated with it, we can help uncover the cause of the shadow. Once we can identify the event that caused the shadow, we can address the issue and help heal the wound. Once the wound is healed, the shadow will disappear."
"That is a lot to chew on."
"I know it is a bit overwhelming, but I wanted you to know why we do what we do. Now, the first step of your treatment is to get your conscious mind to accept that the shadows really DO exist. I don't want you to just see or feel them for a moment. I want you to be able to focus on them and recognize that they are real parts of you. Since our time is limited, the easiest way to accomplish this is for me to place you under hypnosis; so, I can implant the gateway for these shadows to pass from your subconscious to your conscious. I want you to keep a record of everything you see, hear, feel, taste or smell over the next 24 hours. These will be the shadows that are causing your headaches."
Dr. Jodi had Jamie lie on the bed as she began the process. She told Jamie that the shadows were real and that all the things he thought he had seen really did exist. To Jamie, it seemed almost instantaneous. He felt as though he had just climbed onto the bed when Dr. Jodi was asking him to sit up and tell her how he felt.
"But you haven't..."
"Yes, I have, Jamie. You have been on the bed for 30 minutes. Feel your pillow to see how warm it is."
Jamie reached over to his pillow and it was warm where his head had been.
"I never knew it would seem to go so quickly."
Dr. Jodi smiled and handed him a journal to write in. She then excused herself and left the room.
Jamie sat there for a moment wondering, "What kind of mess have I gotten myself into?" He put his hands on the bed beside him and went to hop out of bed. Just as he pushed from the bed, a giant hole appeared in the floor beneath him. He screamed and grabbed for the side of the bed as he fell into the hole. He managed to catch part of the bed railing and keep from plummeting down into the darkness. There was no light coming from the hole, nothing but darkness. He hung there with his feet dangling into the darkness, trying to pull himself back up to the bed.
Then Jamie heard a raspy voice coming from within the darkness, "Why..." as he felt something touch his foot. Now in a panic, he fought harder than ever to climb back onto the bed. He finally managed to get back onto the bed, and he turned to look back at the hole. He could see a small dark figure climbing inside the hole. A bloody child's hand began to protrude from the hole. Jamie screamed, "NOOOO," as he scooted backward across the bed. Just as the bloody hand came up over the edge of the bed, Jamie closed his eyes and said, "You're just a shadow. You're just a shadow. You're just a shadow." After a few seconds, Jamie opened his eyes. The hand was gone. Jamie inched to the edge of the bed and glanced over. The hole was gone, too.
Jamie thought to himself, "Let's see what she thinks when she sees THIS in my journal." Still staring at the floor, Jamie reached back for his journal. Just as Jamie grabbed his journal, he felt something cold touch his hand. He turned to see the bloody hand of a child touching his hand as the blood-covered little boy was dragging himself onto the foot of the bed. Jamie jumped up out of the bed and stood on one of the chairs in the sitting area.
He noticed the child was not using its legs. Both legs were broken and one side of the child's skull appeared to have been smashed.
The child looked up at Jamie and reached out for him. The child kept asking "Why...". Each time the child talked blood gurgled from a hole in his throat making a rasping sound. The child looked hurt and confused; Jamie, in spite of his fear, felt compassion for the child who was obviously suffering.
Jamie stepped down from the chair and stepped slowly toward the child. "Why what?" he cried in desperation. "Who are you? What do you want from me?"
The child immediately appeared without injury and the blood disappeared. The child stood on the bed and said, "Why don't you ask yourself that question, Jamie?" The boy's face seemed to fade away revealing only a skull. The mouth of the skull opened and made an evil hissing sound as the boy jumped at Jamie. Jamie screamed, threw his hands up for protection and cowered onto the floor. As he looked up, the child was gone from the room.
Jamie made his entry into his journal and sat in the chair staring at the bed. Over the next few hours, Jamie saw a roaring bear, a clown with sharp pointed teeth, a man jump from a ledge, an alligator-pirate, and a knight in shining armor.
"What a day," Jamie thought. "They are liable to never let me out of here when I tell them all of this."
That night at group therapy, Dr. Jodi instructed them to bring their journals. Once they were in the circle, Dr. Jodi asked if anyone had written anything in their journal. Every one of the test subjects had made an entry.
"Since Jamie went first last night, let's reverse the order tonight. Stephanie, let's start with you. Remember, these shadows will give us insight into what troubles you and is causing your headaches. The shadows must be confronted and overcome, and then you will be freed from your headaches."
Stephanie described a terrifying clown with sharp teeth. Mary described being chased by an alligator-pirate. Roger described a roaring bear, and Jake described falling in a hole and being terrorized by a bloody child. Paul described seeing his father jump from the ledge of a building. With each entry read by the others, Jamie became more and more restless. He could barely believe his ears. He began to squirm in his seat.
When, at last, it was Jamie's turn, Dr. Jodi turned to him and said, "It is finally your turn, Jamie. You must be very anxious to share with us; you haven't been able to even sit still."
"Dr. Jodi, it isn't that I was impatient. I saw the same things everyone else saw."
"Now, Jamie," Dr. Jodi scolded, "You can't just take their shadows and pretend they are yours."
Jamie stood to his feet and handed Dr. Jodi his journal. "It's true," he said. "Look for yourself. I have written almost word for word. Although I didn't know the man was Paul's father."
Dr. Jodi reluctantly took the journal and opened it. There on the pages before her she saw every story the others had described. "This is incredible," she said as she scrolled through the pages. She leaned over to show Dr. Meda and said, "This has never happened before."
Dr. Jodi quickly forced her own composure to return and addressed the group. "This would explain why Jamie's headaches have been so severe and frequent. It seems as though his subconscious mind has been perceiving the shadows aspects projected by the minds of others." She turned to Jamie and said, "Your mind has not only been struggling with your own subconscious, but you have been struggling with the projections of others. No wonder your head hurts."
Dr. Jodi addressed the group, "That will be all for tonight; take a little extra time for recreation while I check into this."
The group sat for a few minutes trying to pretend that the events that had just transpired didn't really happen. They finally decided to go ahead and return to their rooms. Jamie sat down in his chair and thought for a minute.
"Wait a minute," he thought. "No one mentioned the knight in shining armor. That must make that one actually mine. What could that possibly mean? Maybe it means I am supposed to be a hero, but I don't want to be. I don't like violence, but heroes have to be violent to beat evil. But what if my being a hero takes place through the shadows -- shadow against shadow. I wouldn't be the one being violent -- my knight in shining armor is."
Jamie stared at the floor for a minute thinking. "Nah, I would still feel responsible for the violence. But you know, these things are tormenting these people. Linda has been telling me I need to be more assertive. Maybe my knight in shining armor is my way to help with physically being violent. But maybe I have been given this ability for a reason. Remember that quote about power bringing responsibility. This is just too much thinking. I'm going to bed." Jamie went to bed and drifted off to sleep still pondering his situation.
BANG! CRASH! Jamie was startled awake. There in his room was Roger and his roaring bear. The bear was standing and moving toward Roger as he cowered in the corner.
"It's not a person, it's a bear trying to hurt a person," Jamie thought. Jamie thought of his knight in shining armor shadow facing and overcoming the bear. Suddenly, the knight appeared, sword in hand. The knight ran forward and confronted the bear. A fierce battle ensued with the bear and the knight striking one another . When the battle was over, the bear fell at Roger's feet. Jamie stood and walked over to Roger who was just sitting on the floor staring. "I took care of your bear for you. Your headaches should be over now. You can go back to your room."
Roger did not answer Jamie. Roger just sat there staring. Jamie finally gave up, waved his hand dismissingly at Roger and went back to bed.
A few hours later, Jamie was awakened by Stephanie screaming as she was thrown onto his bed. Jamie looked up to see the evil clown banging his chest and snarling at Stephanie. Jamie thought of his knight facing the clown. The knight appeared and hacked the clown to pieces. As the clown fell, Stephanie stopped screaming and just sat on the bed staring.
"You can go back to your room now; your clown is dead."
Stephanie just sat there staring.
"Look, Stephanie, I love your accent and everything, but I am married. You can't stay here."
Stephanie just sat there staring.
Jamie tried to grab Stephanie by the arm, but she faded away as he reached for her. "Hmm. I guess she projected herself in here, too. She knew I could help her. I can have the best of both worlds. I can help people with my knight, and I can still be my usual pacifist self in reality." Jamie climbed back into his bed and went to sleep.
The next morning, Jamie couldn't wait to see Roger and Stephanie to talk about how he had helped them, but neither of them came to breakfast. In fact, none of the staff came to breakfast, just the test subjects. They ate breakfast and returned to their rooms. Jamie sat there thinking of how he had helped Roger and Stephanie; maybe they had sent them home because their problems were over.
Jamie decided to help Mary and Paul. He concentrated on Mary until he saw her alligator-pirate chasing her. He used his knight to fight and kill the alligator. Mary, just like the others, sat down when the alligator died and began staring. In a few minutes, Mary faded away just like Stephanie.
When Jamie concentrated on Paul, he saw the man preparing to jump from the ledge. Jamie thought to himself, "If this is a projection of my subconscious, it comes from the same place as my dreams. When I was a kid, one time in my dream, I flew. I bet I can make my knight fly." Sure enough, Jamie's knight was able to fly and catch the man from the ledge and put him back into the window. The little man turned into the room and attacked a little boy who was in the room watching. Unable to watch the violent attack on the little boy, Jamie sent his knight to kill the man from the ledge. When the man died, the little boy sat down and started staring. The boy then faded and disappeared.
Bang! Bang! There was a banging on Jamie's door. The door opened, and it was Dr. Jodi. She appeared almost frantic. "Come with me," she ordered. "Hurry." They went to the recreation room where Dr. Meda, Mr. Peppercorn and Jake were already waiting.
"Something has gone wrong," Dr. Jodi said. "We are sending you both home before anything else happens."
"What do you mean?" Jamie asked her. "What's wrong?"
"Last night Roger and Stephanie each went into a catatonic state. We can't get them to respond. Today, Paul and Mary both did the same thing. This has never happened before, and we don't know why. Get your things together and leave. For your own safety."
"But this can't be," Jamie said. "I helped them. They should be going home."
Dr. Jodi stepped toward Jamie and asked, "What do you mean? What did you do?"
"Last night, Roger and his bear projected into my room. I panicked and had my knight in shining armor kill the bear to help Roger -- after all it isn't real violence, just shadows. Then Stephanie and her clown woke me up, and I helped her. Today I helped Mary and Paul with their shadows."
"NO! That's not how it works! Can't you see? They must face and overcome their own shadow aspect through therapy. Enabling you to see them was only a way to help your conscious mind accept what your subconscious mind already knew. I don't know why you were able to see the shadow aspects of others. It's a fluke!"
Dr. Jodi paced back and forth for a moment and then said, "Return to your room, and I will have to hypnotize you to reverse the process and stop you from seeing the shadows."
"NO!" Jamie protested. "My headaches are gone. This is what I am supposed to do. You see, with my new abilities, I now know why Jake has his headaches. It's guilt." Jamie turned to face Jake and asked, "Isn't it, Jake?"
Jake squirmed, shook his head and said to Dr. Jodi, "No...I don't know what he's talking about."
Jamie stepped toward Jake and said, "Don't give me that crock. I had another chat with your shadow. It turns out that you and your friend, Carlos, were going to try cliff diving like you had seen on television. You went to a cliff you thought would work, but there were a lot of people around; so, you and Carlos decided to come back that night and try the jump when no one was there to stop you. But when you got there..."
"NO!" Jake screamed.
"When you got there," Jamie continued, "Carlos was scared to jump. SO you PUSHED him over the cliff. In the darkness, you couldn't see that he didn't clear the ledge when you pushed him. He hit the ledge with his head, which caved in one side of it. Then he landed on the rocks below and broke both of his legs. You looked down into the darkness, but you couldn't see him. He wouldn't answer when you called; so, you ran home and left him there. YOU ARE A MURDERER!!"
"NOOOO!" Jake screamed. Suddenly a large gash appeared across Jake's chest and then his head fell from his body onto the floor.
Dr. Jodi screamed and backed against the wall in horror. Dr. Meda and Mr. Peppercorn ran to stand beside Dr. Jodi to protect her.
Dr. Jodi looked at Jamie and said, "But you are supposed to be a pacifist."
"Doctor, doctor, doctor," Jamie said as he turned to walk toward their little group. "I AM a pacifist...but my shadow isn't. You see, he doesn't mind hurting people at all; in fact, he rather enjoys it."
Jamie pushed through two of the chairs separating him from them. "I know that you won't stop until you take away this wonderful power I have discovered. Doctor, I see the strangest thing. There is a small kitten sitting on the floor beside you; looks a little flat though." Jamie continued in a mock-child voice. "Did the itty bitty kitty get runned over by a mean old car?" He returned to his regular voice and glared at Dr. Jodi. "Let me get this straight...If I kill the cat, you become "cat" atonic." He laughed an evil laugh.
Dr. Jodi shook Dr. Meda and Mr. Peppercorn by their shoulders and screamed, "HELP ME!!" But as she shook them their heads rolled from their shoulders and onto the ground, and their bodies collapsed onto the floor beside her.
Jamie knelt down and reached out his hand. "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty."
The shadow cat walked over to Jamie and the shadow knight sliced it in half. Dr. Jodi collapsed onto the floor and went into a trance.
Jamie walked over to his locker, had the shadow knight knock it open, and Jamie removed his things. He went back to his room, packed his suitcase and started home.
As he went through the airport, Jamie could see the shadow aspects of everyone he met. He saw shadow aspects knocking things from the hands of people, tripping them, whispering into their ears and doing many other things to the people they belonged to. He finally made the connection as to how shadow aspects could interfere with the lives of the people who sheltered them. Sometimes, if someone was rude to him, Jamie would send his knight to destroy the shadow aspects of that person. He thought it rather funny how those people fell into trances, and no one -- but Jamie -- knew why.
When Jamie arrived home, Linda flew into his arms and screamed, "You're home early!" She gave him a big kiss and said, "So, how are the headaches? Are they gone?"
He picked Linda up, swirled around and said, "They are absolutely gone -- for good."
"So, how did your practice go? Did you obtain perfection in your kata?
Linda looked at the floor. "No. I can't seem to get past the flying spin-kick."
"Come on. Show me"
They went downstairs to Linda's practice mats. She performed what she knew of the kata, and when she got to the flying spin-kick, she tripped while landing.
"OOOOH! I get tripped up right there EVERY TIME!"
Jamie knew why. As Linda landed, her shadow aspect -- in the form of her car-wrecked mother -- would trip her.
Jamie sat down with Linda and talked to her about her feelings about the crash and how she felt responsible for her mother's death. He made her realize her feelings of guilt about her mother. After Linda had a good cry about the whole situation, Jamie talked her into trying the kata one more time. This time, free from her feelings of guilt, she nailed it, perfectly.
As they sat down to supper that night, the news showed Jamie's picture and said he was a fugitive wanted for murder and was to be considered armed and dangerous. "But you are a pacifist. Why would they say you killed those people?"
"I have no idea. I haven't killed anyone!"
Just then the SWAT team knocked open the door and came in with their guns focused on Jamie. Linda raised her hands in surrender and was thrown to the floor.
Jamie screamed, "Leave her alone!" He conjured the shadow knight and made it swing its sword at the neck of the officer holding Linda.
The man's head toppled to the floor, followed by his Kevlar-armored body.
Jamie blinked in surprise. The knight could affect the material world, not just other shadow creatures. So much for claiming to be a pacifist...
Linda jumped up screaming and was shot by one of the other officers in reflex.
Jamie turned to the officer who shot her and had the shadow knight behead that officer as well. Confused and unsure of how he was killing their comrades -- they couldn't see the knight, even as his blade tore through them -- the SWAT team opened fire on Jamie.
As the bullets tore through his flesh, all he could do was stare at his beloved Linda lying in a pool of her own blood. He watched her die with her eyes open as though in a daze, her body shuddering as breath and life hissed away.
He fell to the floor beside Linda, reached for her and died with her just out of reach.
© 2012 Timothy Potter
Bio: Timothy Potter says: "I write simply because I enjoy writing. I get ideas when I listen to songs, and I try to put them into writing the way I picture it in my head. I am a bi-vocational Pastor in Valdosta, GA. (I work at a warehouse during the week.) I have been married for almost 22 years, and I have two children starting college next month.
I have a BS in Broadcasting, and I wrote for the college paper. I have had several poems published in different publications."
Mr. Potter's novella Dreamweaver appeared in the August 2012 edition of Aphelion.
E-mail: Timothy Potter
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