Standing behind the doorway, Drina took a few deep breaths. This was it, it was the moment she had been dreading since agreeing to the terms of her contract. When was the last time she willingly let her power flow without restriction? Other than her loss of control of her emotions, this had been different. To be able to let it truly loose and to stand like a horse trainer in the center of the ring while directing the flow with a whip, making it turn and twist as she pleased was a concept she had never dreamed of. And to top it off, to do it while others watched in awe as she showed them her unpracticed skill in hopes to give them a show of a lifetime. Maybe Drina had bitten off more than she could chew. Alas, it didn’t matter much now. There was no turning back. Opening her eyes, she swallowed hard. Time for the show.
Releasing her control, it was like a flow of water letting go from a clogged creek. It was refreshing as the air began to suddenly cool around her, causing an unnatural fog to form along the floor. Spreading it further, she held fast to the presence of the ghosts, waiting until she was ready before calling them forth. Their whispers gnawed at the back of her mind with eagerness, knowing that soon they would be allowed to pass through the barrier of the plains. Wait, she mentally pressed, wait a little longer. The ghosts had no sense of a dramatic flare. Waiting a few moments to listen as the crowd began to make comments at the sudden chill in the air, she smirked. Grabbing unto the flow of the energy, she placed her voice into the ether. With it now detached, it spread throughout the air in a distortion, breaking it up to hide her true presence as she spoke. Spirits unable to wait, joined in adding an eerie undertow of whispers. Some spoke different words, others mimicking Drina’s own.
“So, you have come to speak with the dead? Loved ones long past, waiting on the other side to reunite by your side? A daughter, brother, cousin perhaps?”
Drina paused a moment, taking a moment to revel in the sound of her voice bouncing around the room before her. With a melodic chuckle, she continued to build the tension.
“Very well. But be warned, the spirits are restless tonight.”
Pulling her voice back from the flow, she reached into her small pouch at her hip, pulling out a white powder. Gently she pulled back the curtain at the entrance and blew on the powder. It connected with the breeze, catching the drift into the room and spiraling wildly about, filling the room as they grew into tiny sparkling stars that hovered about the room. Inside the tent now looked like the night sky, the only piece missing was the moon. Drina didn’t have the parlor trick to create something that big so this would have to do. Now ready to walk inside, she released the spirits from the wall. Whispers began to fill the air as the chill grew ever more around her. Shadows began to creep along the corners of the walls and floor, darkening the light of the candles and torches. Holding the curtain sides, she took one more deep breath in before pulling them apart to step in.
No one had noticed her at first as they looked about to see what was to come next. Only a few that had been looking behind had spotted her with a gasp. Like a spark, it set a flow of heads turning to face her while she slowly began to walk to the front of the stage. In her peripherals, she spotted Ocan sitting beside Hestar and Lulu, her eyes lit with wonder. Don’t look, Don’t look, Don’t look! It took everything in her to not make eye contact and to look past everyone as if she was not on the same plan as them. The crowd began to whisper amongst themselves with curiosity as she stopped midway. Pressing her finger to her lips, she shhed them softly. It was hard not to laugh as they stopped suddenly, all listening in as hard as they could to hear what she could. Releasing her control, she looked about the room to spot the now visible spirits floating about.
With a smile, she lifted her hands at her sides as if she was feeling the rain against her skin. Using her sigils on her hands, she tapped her ether into them as they gave a dim red glow. With a wave of gasps, the ghosts were now visible out of nowhere for everyone to see. They danced, flew, and even interacted with the crowd as she waited for them to make their way around her. It was as if they were puppets with a mind of their own, her string tethering them to keep a safe distance from touching anyone. A few people reached out in hopes to feel them, which caused them fad out by her will to avoid contact, only to reappear out of their grasp. Softy cries and wails could be heard from the dead while they drifted towards Drina, which she had been accustomed to. They didn’t like it when she policed them from reaching out to the living, yet she needed to make sure she kept everyone safe. Who knows what would happen if they had.
Once the ghosts had made their way above Drina, they began to orbit around her while swimming about in the air. Continuing her way to the stage, Drina allowed them to fade from the view of the audience, where only orbs or shades could be seen. Finishing the steps she turned around to face the crowd and took a small bow. Time for her introduction, she thought.
“Good evening, thank you all for coming on such a special night. It is my honor and pleasure to hold such a seance for you at the Steaua lunii festival. I am Ma’dam Drina Forest.”
There was a small pause as several people began to clap. With a playful frown, she jested with them. “Save your applause, I haven’t done anything impressive yet!”
With a small burst of laughter from the audience, she held her hands out in front, palms upward while she waited to continue.
“Tonight is the fading of the veils, where the spirit world and the earthly plans are closely connected. You may hear things that will spook and frighten you. You may also see things that may be gruesome and terrifying. I cannot control the ghosts as they appear and they may not listen. All I ask is for you to stay calm. They are as scared of you as you are of them.”
The last joke only got a few chuckles. She expected it as much since they wouldn’t be able to tell if she was being serious or not. With a devilish smile, she looked at someone in the front of the crowd. It was a younger child clinging to her mother with bewilderment and wonder. It was a change of pace she was not used to seeing. Leaning in her direction, she raises her eyebrow.
“Or at least we hope.”
Dropping her hands, she slowly turned to face away from the crowd. It gave her a moment to take a small breather before moving to sit on the small cushion provided for her. It was surrounded by candles by her request, giving her a small welcoming aura. Drina walked past the wall of candles, standing in front of her seat before wiggling her fingers. Closing her eyes, she made a small prayer.
“Please let this work.”
Spinning around, she sat quickly without wasting more time. Crossing her legs and posing in a meditative state, she closed her eyes.
“There will be a brief moment of silence as I conjure the spirits to listen. If there is a person you wish to speak to, stand up and call out their name. The staff will keep you in order to speak.”
Pacing her breath, Drina began to shift her energy flow. Instead of spreading it across the room, she pulled it into a sphere around her. It flowed swiftly like a current as spirits swam in and around it. The onslaught of voices began to call out to her at once as she built a wall from the outside world, keeping them close to her. Next, after she had set the perimeter of which they were allowed to summon, she moved a small steam of her ether to flow towards her eyes. It worked the same way as throwing her voice, yet this allowed her to see the spirits better. Instead of their decayed and withered appearance, she would see them for who they were. It was easier to project that image for the viewer’s sake, causing less panic and distress. Almost ready, she had several spirits who wanted to speak waiting in front of her. The onslaught of their wails raising while she tried to focus. With a bit of frustration, she spoke to them.
“Can you be a little quieter? It’s almost your turn.”
There was laughter under the cries of the spirits that reminded her that she was not alone. Chuckling at herself she addressed the living. “Sorry, I forgot you were all here with me.”
This time, the laughter boomed as Drina took a few deep breaths to finish directing the flow of her energy. Making the connection to her eyes, she felt the cool refreshing flow rushing past them. Opening her eyes, she blinked a few times to adjust to the sudden change in the room. From the audience’s point of view, she knew her eyes were glowing a greyish blue as the spiritual film had developed within her iris. Within her view, the darkroom had become lighter and all the color dimmed. Standing around her were several ghosts all waiting for her to begin. Looking to the first one in front of her, the ghost brightened up as he stepped forward. His mouth began to move, yet the words only came out in unearthly wails and cries.
With a bit of a hum, she furrowed her brows to focus on splitting the flow in two directions. Keeping her eyes connected, she tried to also attach her ears as well. If in order to see them with her ether she had the flow directed to her eyes, she wondered if adding her ears would do the same. It was either going to work or have the worst outcome. Thankfully none of the adjustments were permanent and she would just eventually run out of her soul well, undoing all the tiring work to make this happen. It was a fear that had already crossed her mind. Thankfully the cooling flow sprung forth from her ears, and the words of the man began to ring True.
“Ma’dam Drina? Ma’dam? I want to tell my wife, I miss her.”
It was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time that for the first time ever, Drina could actually hear what the ghosts had been saying to her.
“What’s your name, Sir?”
Drina nodded gearing to begin the hard work she had been setting up for. Pushing aside all the other voices of the ghosts eagerly yelling at her, she concentrated on her sigils to focus on him. It flickered for a moment, reminding Drina that she had forgotten to say his name.
“Patrick Stumbles, show yourself.”
With a shimmering silver flicker, he finally appeared before the crowd. With a cry of awe and a single woman crying out with shock, Drina knew she had done it.
“What’s your wife’s name?”
“Magenta, your husband wants to tell you that he loves you. Do you have anything else to say Patrick Stumbles?”
4 thoughts on “Whispering Death (part 9)”
..and maybe enter writing contests, like with Inkitt for exemple.
I understand your challenges, and your strategy is brilliant. Writing in sections is less exhausting than writing an entire novel and stressing about it. I must confess that I only publish short stories because I know I can finish them and they are more likely to be read:-) But, hey, you’ve gotten this far in the story, so why not edit it and add more colors and shapes to make it a good novel? It could be a teen illustrated novel or something like that.
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We finally got to see Drina’s power! They appear to be quite impressive. My only comment is that there should be more graphics in the beginning to help the reader feel the atmosphere: Where is the action taking place? What does the environment look and sound like? How many people are there in total? Is there a set? And maybe, just maybe, a description of other gypsy powers so I can compare them to Drina’s and understand why her powers are so impressive. That’s it. Otherwise, I’m intrigued by where the story could go.
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I like the suggestions! Originally when i was writing the story I didn’t think it was going to go on for as long as it has. I thought the idea wasn’t strong enough to be a full novel and was worried that I was adding unnecessary information, so I will admit I did cut a lot of the environmental descriptions and world building lore out.
I also did shorten my word count to try and keep each chapter into smaller chunks of 1500-2500 words so people would be more inclined to read it. Having large chapters from past experience cut my return readers out quickly. So, my goal became to keep each chapter short and simple. I also was battling with the idea that I wasn’t suppose to have any passive writing and trying to use Lan’s writing prose to challenge my writing and editing.
Now that you’ve inspired me to go back and edit, I find that I want to lift those restrictions from rushing through story to the end and build more on it.
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