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The Roses We Conjour
"There are those who can enter the flesh again..."
Patra sits at on a desk and turns to us. For some reason she gets my full attention. I am fascinated by her for a moment. Funny...I would be though. She seems not to belong in this room. Her personality from what she's shown clearly strikes her as the weakest thinker among all of us. She is hidden in her own character. I don't know what it is that keeps her so trapped, but I had been inspired to forget about her many times.
She is a girl with flawless beauty if you pay close enough attention, but not many realize it. I see through her walls of silence and see such a girl that could be quickly maturing to a woman without the slightest clue of this happening.
"What are you talking about?" Auster stated shaking his head, "Where is the teacher?"
"The water must
have scared her away," Patra stated, "I flooded the room early this
morning. I felt it was important to talk
to you all. What better place than
this. She knows my element and it
wouldn't be wise for her to be in my element."
"What are you talking about?" Auster asked.
Patra shook her head, "I'm talking about reincarnation. Many religions believe in it. They believe that it is the continuous existence of a soul that is detached from memories. However some other religions believe in an afterlife. What if I told you both existed..."
"Great...a history lesson," Nick laughed jokingly.
"What's your point Patra?"
She surprisingly turns to me, "When someone dies they are supposed to die and cross over. . You know anything about the four elements? All the elements in the periodic table fall under one of those classical things. The earth and life are composites of those things. There are solids, liquids, gases and plasma according to the Philosopher Aristotle."
She switches up her tone, "Each time a someone dies they leave behind their elements for another soul and their soul moves on to the other life."
It sounded more like religion then history to me. I look over at Nick. He is barely interested. Auster is paying attention though. He is fully aware of whatever she is saying. I am in the middle somehow trying to find a reason to stay while all in the while fighting back the urge to leave and do something better with my day.
It isn't until she says something strange that gets to me, "Have any of you recalled what you did last summer?" she asks and then turns her head, "Victor, surely you do? Oh...no wait...let's hear from the smart ass over there Nick. What did you do this summer?"
Nick doesn't answer. He just sits there and kind of crosses his arm. The truth is I don't remember either. It was how it all started. I remember the blank slate that had formed. I remember what I did before this summer. I didn't remember what happened after the summer though.
"Oh come on Nick. What did you do? What about you Auster?"
"I don't remember," he says.
My mouth remains open. Auster looks over at me. I wonder what he's thinking. Why haven't we discussed this before? He never did ask me how my summer was. I never questioned him about his. I'd swept it under the rug out of embarrassment.
I am fully interested now.
"We remembered this summer."
"A story. It's about four selfish people who a long time ago found a way to make reincarnation real. They figured they could steal life. We remembered a story of four people who found a way to live forever."
"They were necromancers," she explained to us, "They played with dark things. When we die, we leave our elements behind. Earth, water, fire and water are the classic elements. What if someone could do something to interrupt leaving your elements? What if you took your elements with you? What if instead of dying...you live in someone else..."
"Who would do such a thing?" Auster stated shaking his head.
"Exactly. They got away with it for generations...until last summer."
"What happened last summer?"
"That lady came around. You remember Ms. W? She's not a teacher. She is a representative of the spirit world. They've come to collect. You see when people die and they don't die...the other side sends spirits. It's just like a bounty hunter. She is a soul hunter.They are hunting for what they are owed and they won't stop till they get it.
Auster was feeding into all this. He was the main one asking these questions and keeping this little thing going. Nick and I seemed a little bit out of the conversation. It was a lonely conversation between Auster and her.
He questions her immediately, "What are they looking for?"
Patra shrugs again, "Patra Ladin, Victor Boos, Nicholas Podarge and Auster Ignacio are dead."
We remain silent.
I could hear Auster's breathing getting deep. When she said my name it didn't sound like mine. It was almost believable. I took it as Victor Boos is dead not as YOU are dead. It was such a strange emotion.
Was someone knocking at the door?
I don't know for sure. Patra ignores it as well.
"My name isn't Patra Ladin," she explains, "We are body snatchers."
" We inherit the bodies of innocent children who have died from so-called accidental causes. We are nothing more but possessive souls born onto innocent children. We reincarnated ourselves into dead bodies. We manipulate the elements of the physical world . We conquer the flesh. We've done it four almost three times so far."
Auster falls to his knees.
He believes what she is saying. I can tell he does. I don't know what has gone on in his life. He hasn't told me any details of strange occurrences. I try to fit it into my own life and it easily slides through. The idea that I couldn't remember anything before a certain age makes sense. Auster is actually in such a shock right now that I'm a little concerned for him. The way he is taking this news is heartbreaking.
"You watch too much television," Nick states and laughs.
He thinks it's a joke. He's amused by it. Auster is the complete opposite. He is horrified by it really.
Patra shakes her head, "It's just how you responded last time. Auster taking it the way he is now is just how he responded as well. Then there is Victor...it makes sense even though you don't want to admit it."
"What's the point?" I ask.
Patra seems confused by my question, "Of what?"
"What's the point of it all? So I possess the body of Victor Boos and then what. Why would anyone do that?"
"Life and power. We keep the elements with us. We move on from body to body. The entire world is made up of those elements. We never gave ours back. Life and power. Isn't that the meaning of anything."
"Ok, so Victor, I understand that idiot Auster falling for this but not you," Nick states.
It's sad it's probably the nicest thing he's said to me. I don't know what to think though. It was obvious my life wasn't what I thought it would be. My life wasn't all flowers. Things were happening. Winds were all around me and sometimes I felt like I had something to do with their presence. Maybe I did keep the winds.
Patra counters him immediately, "Nick, be real. The fire. You said yourself you didn't start that?"
"How do you know about that?"
"I've been watching you all...waiting for you to start coming back to yourselves and find those elements we stole. You took fire. Auster took Earth. I took water and Victor took air. Now tell me the chances of that?"
Nick asks the question we all wonder.
"Why don't I remember?"
Patra shakes her head, "We aren't supposed to. We take the elements not the memories. When we do the reincarnation, all of us reincarnate except one...the one stays to remind us all of what happened."
Nick shakes his head, "So what happened this summer."
"The spirits caught on to us. I got afraid. I reminded you all of everything and we tried to reincarnate to new bodies. It didn't work. I don't know why. The three of you lost your memories of the entire summer. Now I'm back to remind you of it again. But we can't jump bodies anymore. Something's wrong and I don't know what. We can't perform the ritual and jump to a different body and they've caught onto us. The spirits are closing in on us."
Auster looks over at Nick then looks over at me.
I shake my head, "Say you are telling the truth. What would a spirit do to a bodysnatcher..."
There is something about her. I can't put my finger on it yet. I am trusting some things she is saying because it is really adding up to all the strange things that have been happening. I was the human embodiment of the wind. That was who I was.
Auster shakes his head, "How do you jump bodies? What went wrong?"
"I am not completely sure."
Auster gets up off his feet, "What do you mean you aren't sure?"
"Something horrible happened. We had a bulletproof plan forever except something happened. Something went horribly wrong. There are things missing from our memory and I don't think they will ever come back."
"How do you know something went wrong if you can't remember anything?" I ask.
Patra gets silent again. She is so weird when she just shuts off like that. She is panicking over something and I'm not quite sure what it is. She is just out of it. Patra looks so different. I am completely not understanding what is going on.
Auster is the one who actually explains it, "It's because she isn't telling us the whole truth...she knows things"
Patra doesn't answer and the fact that she doesn't answer is more than consistent with what we are saying.
I hadn't noticed Nick getting closer to us. We were forming something of a circle now and I didn't notice it. "You guys need to stop with all the creeper shit. This is bogus!"
"If you don't believe in it, leave!" Auster stated at the top of his lungs, "There's the door!"
I hadn't noticed before how forceful Auster could be. He was serious here. He was so serious that I was kind of lost with it. Patra was shutting down over and over it seemed like Auster was the more serious one. He was the one who was so committed to finding out the truth and I didn't quite understand why.
" Too many coincidences to leave," Nick stated, "I just...I don't get it. If the spirits gave us these powers then..."
"They didn't give us powers. We stole from the spirit world. We stole our elements and we hid from death," Patra corrects him almost immediately.
"Whatever. It's a spirit. How can it hurt us?"
"They take human form, just like we did. Once someone dies, a spirit can enter their body and possess them. She was the one who came to us this summer and explained who we were and what we had done. I just wish I could remember what happened. It's almost like déjà vu meeting in this classroom months later."
"If you are right and we are necromancers. I want to know how...how is it possible..."
"That's what I've been trying to figure out. But the spirits know about us already. They are gathering and they are getting stronger. Ask Auster..."
We both looked over at Auster.
"What happened?" I ask.
"Ms. Widow came at me earlier this morning. She came at me with a knife. Luckily Patra was around. Something happened. I'm not sure, water came out of no where and Ms. Widow slipped. I ran away. Now all of this can't just happen."
"The spirits can possess anyone at any time. Once someone dies, their soul leaves their body and a spirit can take over them.
"This isn't getting anywhere. This is pointless. We don't remember who we are or what we did last summer. Patra could be feeding us anything."
There is knocking on the door suddenly.
We all turn at the same time. Patra is nervous by it. She isn't the only one. Whatever Ms. Widow did to Auster really had him shaken up. I was weary though with the whole idea. Patra was shaking her head as she looked over at us. She wasn't saying much. The knocking continued. This knocking was so strange though. It was so aggressive. It was almost as though whoever it was thought they belonged in there with us.
"I'll go get it," Nick stated.
"NO!" Patra shouts.
She is almost in tears. As she cried I noticed the water on the floor was moving. Was this Patra. I tap Auster on the shoulder to get his attention. I wanted to make sure I wasn't seeing this. He nods though. I'm not seeing things. The water is moving.
"You think it's someone possessed by a spirit?"
"They won't stop until we are all dead. I didn't tell you guys so because I thought we had a hope. I thought you guys because I felt like I owed you at least that. We all knew it'll stop sooner or later. We couldn't do it forever."
The knocking on the door is getting much louder. It is getting harder. Whoever is at that door wants nothing more than to get in. It seems that they are no longer trying to knock at the door but trying to break the entire door down.
Nick crosses his arms and repeats the words, "Pointless."
He walks to the door and gets to it. I hear Patra screaming. She is screaming for him to stop what he's doing. A part of me wants to see what's behind the door but a part of me wants to listen to Patra. I don't know exactly which to chose.
He opens it.
No one is behind it.
Patra isn't calmed down by this.
"They are on to us. I believe they are fully aware now of what we've done and who we are. I've made a mistake reminding you all," she states.
She starts to walk out of the room. I am not completely sure what happened but she looks afraid. Yes, Auster was right. I knew the face of someone hiding something. I had grown up looking at Saccharine's face and how she hid her true feelings every single day.
Auster is the one trying to stop her. I am just watching her though. When she turns around to respond to Auster her body is shaking. It is completely different from how I had seen her before.
"Did you see the look on her face? She's lying about something you know?" Auster says.
Nick isn't speaking. He looks like he's seen a ghost which is actually something like a pun in our circumstance. He just sort of is fading into his own mind and doesn't even seem really aware of our presence at all anymore.
I shrug, "She can be lying about all of for what we know. It's not like we have any evidence in the first place."
"Look at the floor..." Auster replies.
The water had dried when Patra walked out of the room. It was an impossibility that didn't seem so impossible any longer. The floor was dry as if she was never there. She had taken all sort of happiness from the room with her water. Now we were sitting here confused. Patra had gone and left us there thinking.
"How did Victor die?" Auster asks me.
He has completely accepted Patra's explanation and I don't blame him. With a life like mine, forgetting what I had forgotten it was something that I knew deep inside the truth. Even with no memory of any of it there was something in my soul that knew she had told the truth.
"I was 6 years old, I was supposedly taken to a carnival by my mother. It was my birthday and she figured the carnival would be something nice. We supposedly were planning on spending the day there with my father. I don't remember any of those things. The first memory of my life was feeling cold. Paremedics were surrounding me. The paramedics said that I fell unconscious in the pool of water that people are dipped into at carnivals. You know? That pool of water that sits underneath the pedestal and a target. You hit the target and the person on the pedestal gets thrown in the water. I guess I was playing around there and no one was around to see. I didn't need to hit the target to be thrown into the water. I...I don't remember being thrown into the water anyway. So, what happens is that I'm found and she is doing her whole mother thing, but she notices that my personality has made a complete 360. They say I don't remember anything because of brain damage. I didn't know what happened that day until now. Victor Boos died and I replaced him."
"Something like that happened to me as well," Auster began to talk, adding in as though remembering a long forgotten memory, "I was six as well. I don't remember when it happened. They said I was lost for about two months. Some people say that I was kidnapped, but my family had almost given up on me living completely. Then all of a sudden the cops find me at the bottom of an old family well that is on my Grandfather's property. No one knows how I survived that fall and stayed alive that long at the bottom of a well. I can't remember anything before then, but the doctors used to say it was probably just trauma from the blow.
"What about you Nick?"
He looks around as though watching to see if anyone is listening to the terrible secret that he is about to expose but he just whispers, "No. Nothing."
I shake my head. He is so lost in it. The look on his face gives him away. For a moment I'm almost sick with being around him. I quickly move away turning to the door and start to walk out. What's the point of being around someone like that anyway?
"Where are you going?" Auster stated, "We should be together right now talk this through?"
"Nick doesn't even believe it. If these are my last days I'm not going to spend it arguing on whether or not something I know is real exists."
"Wait don't leave," Nick says.
"So what happened to the REAL Nicholas Podarge?" I ask.
He looks at me but he doesn't answer. He just doesn't answer. It's almost like he can't. I leave the two of them there and walk out. It wasn't some place I wanted be. It wasn't a circumstance I wanted to be in any longer.
He looks around as though watching to see if anyone is listening to the terrible secret that he is about to expose but he just whispers, "No. Nothing."
I go home by the evening time and continue to live in this constant regret on how I've lived my life. I can't believe I've turned out to be such a bitter person. The worst part of it is that I know that I have regret for being this kind of person but there is nothing that I am willing to do to change it. I have long accepted who I was. I have long expected the infernos of hell whether it is in two days or eighty lifetimes. So why am I so sad all of a sudden? I move about the house as though I am in mourning.
Saccharine is standing in the kitchen and she is spying on me as I make my way to my room to close the door behind me. I am not sure but I believe that Saccharine turned into an atheist when she praised God to see that her son was alive only to become hit with the realization that I wasn't her son. She seems to blame God for my personality corrupting the body of her son. She has a photo album of my baptismal and pictures of her church when I was younger, but I don't recall ever hearing Saccharine speak of religion. I have heard her talking to herself and thought they were prayers. I used to imagine that she was praying to God that whatever mistake occurred at that carnival could be made right. She still prays for her son to return and I want to tell her that isn't going to happen, but I know the time isn't right. Maybe it is good for her to keep hoping. I believe that her hope is the only that thing that is keeping her from dying of a broken heart.
I am sitting at my piano in my room, playing a song. It's a song that I've never heard before. My fingers have created it just this moment from a space in my mind where there was nothing but a void. It isn't a slow song, which I probably expected to come to the piano and play. It is a song where every sound holds a purpose. I don't understand what the purpose is and I know that the purpose cannot really be put into words. It's just a song after all. When everything is put into perception, this is just a song that I am playing because I am allowing my life to become dramatic.
I stop playing and start crying.
I have forgotten that I left the door open and Saccharine is still spying on me from the next room. She sees my tears and hears my whimpers. I guess she feels like it is a moment for her to reach out to me. I guess she feels like she can finally have a chance to be my mother now that I am in such a weak and battered state. I won't let her! I jump off the bench and run across the room tripping many times. I hear her pleas but still slam the door before she can enter past the threshold of my room. I lock the door and immediately dry my tears before it gets out of hand. I let my tears completely dry before I open the door and stare at her.
"What?" I ask her.
I look at her and notice that her eyes are watering as though she had been expecting some kind of theatrical scene flooded with confident exposure and new understandings.
"Does anything look like it's wrong?" I ask her and smile with this bold expression in my eyes. The moment of weakness has passed and I stand stronger then ever.
"Victor, I saw you," she tells me and puts her hand on my face.
"Don't talk to me about acting like everything's fine."
I cross my arms and raise my hands signaling that her answer to "What" is all around her. This house alone is the crypt of her hypocrisy. This home of lies has long served to feed to her imagination that everything was wrong. What am I doing wrong but hiding just another fact in our chain of unhappiness?
"How dare you come to me in hopes of finding some kind of truth when you can't find the truth in yourself?" I ask her and point out quickly after that, "You and I are the same. We are both forever tragic. We close our doors and cry in rooms so that everyone around us can't see the cowardice that lies within. We march around with such a confidence that everything has been perfectly as we planned it. All the while, we are the victims of a cruel fate. How do you deal when you are given the worst cards? I would think that you would be able to relate to me, because we are both so tragic, but it isn't that way. Of everyone I know; you can see me the least. I am standing right in front of you!"
She is crying again. I look at her counting the amount of seconds before she runs crying into her room. I am counting slowly because she seems to stand there for so long.
"You think that I am just so worthless don't you?" she asks me with tears in her eyes and then looks at me, "I guess its true. You know...I've hoped things would get better but this is a house divided. You find it hard to say that everything is all right. So you accuse me of pretending, but when someone pretends for long enough, they begin to believe. Why won't you let me live in my fantasy?"
"Is that it?"
My body is tensing up and I am stepping away from the door. I guess this is what she has summed up to. She is finally admitting that she `chooses' to live in a world where everything in our house is fine. It's angering me that she wants to live like this.
She is reaching out probably to further explain what she means. She probably wants to extend the torture. I can't bear it though. My whole body is so tense and I am calling for some kind of obstacle. I raise my hands into the air and all of a sudden the presence returns. It seeps into the room and closes the door immediately. Saccharine is beating on the door probably because she feels like I am going to do something horrible. I can feel the fear in her each time she hits the door. If she felt like I was cold now...she has more to learn. The presence is surrounding me all of a sudden and I feel like I am being reborn. There are images in my head of when I continue to hint to her that her my childhood is unhappy. Saccharine is so stuck in the memory of the personality of her past son that she does not embrace the new personality that has taken over her body. No longer will I allow her to pretend that everything is fine. No longer will I be stuck in this body slowly allowing the leaps of my character to be suppressed by the propriety of man.
My love has come to me again. The presence once again comes to wed my body but this time I feel such a control over it. Where have you been all this time? It comes with me with affectionate arms and a tenderness that my mother could not offer. The piano is playing a melody of its own at this moment. Sheets of music fly across the room and dance in my love's manifestation. It braves my soul and all of a sudden I see why it has come back. I see the window that reflects so much of what has been. It is the first time that the window is so afraid, because he knows that it is the end. If things are to end, then I am to finally be awoken. The cracks in the window make it look ugly, but it is only because of those cracks that I realized how unwanted this window was. Now I want to take down the entire window. I demand the presence surround me and raise me from the ground. It complies with my wishes and I am floating above the rug. I take a look at the dreaded window. It is such an abomination to humanity and yet it is a creation of humanity. How can we put up a window that is so horrible as to steal away from the beauty of my black birds that perch outside of it? No more!
I stretch out my hand and in last command, my presence charges forward with all my new intentions exposed.
The glass breaks and a million pieces fall as the window comes crashing down. All the flaws break into a million pieces. Everything that humanity has put up to cloud my view has now been broken into a million pieces. It's all gone and so there is this smile on my face because of it. What are they going to do now? Come spirits...punish me...
I walk to the window and look out of it. The cool breeze flows into the room and I know that it is my presence still with me. I reach out of the window and look at the ravens. They are still there perched but at the sight of me as they begin to take flight. Its almost like they had just been there waiting for that damned window to come down so that they could go on with their lives without having to worry about such a horrible sight.
I am smiling but my smile is interrupted when I see a woman who has red hair outside. What is she doing there? She has no expression on her face at all. She is just standing there as though she has nothing better to do. She is looking out at the ravens that are flying away. Her appearance alone strikes it me. She has striking beauty with that long hair that is color of roses in the beginning of spring. She stands with lightness, almost as though standing by accident. She stands as though in any moment, she could move. Her stance was the only gentle thing about her though. Everything else, from her tight pink lips and hard jaw held a detachment from all thing good and kind. I thought for a moment on whether she was a lady of the night. Her tight-fitting black dress would be fitting for the case.
"Victor, open this damn door, right now!" I hear a voice, distracting from the red-haired mystery on the street corner.
The voice belongs to Ditch. He is banging hard with an open palm. He is hitting it harder then I've noticed him hit a door before. He seems to have this resentment in his voice. He's never spoken to me like this before. When he spoke to me, it has always been as though he was only barely acknowledging me. Now all of a sudden, he was acknowledging me a little too much. It was almost like he has finally become aware of my presence and he had become completely disgusted with it all. I walk to the door, hesitant at first but then I decide to open it. As I open it, I see this man standing there. Saccharine is standing behind Ditch and she seems so afraid. I stand aside for both of them to notice what I've done to their precious window. I have pride about it. Perhaps this is the reason that he's come home from his mistress. He probably sensed that his beautiful barrier was coming down, but he is too late to save it. He is far too late!
"What have you done?"
"Can't you see for yourself?" I ask him and present it by kicking glass that has fallen on the carpet, "I took it down."
He walks into the room and takes a better look at the glass. He is breathing heavily and no more words come out of his mouth.
"Tim, calm down," Saccharine tells him noticing his breathing, "It was bound to come down sometime."
He doesn't hear herI look at Ditch and he has become so much bigger in my eyes. He is no longer the harmless fool that doesn't know how to treat his wife and doesn't understand who his son is.
"You aren't Ditch..."
It is a jagged part of the glass and as he holds it, I see there is palm pouring from the fist he uses to grip it.
"What are you going to do with that?" I ask.
"Tim, calm down..."
It's too late for words though. Saccharine tries to stand between us in this one quick action but Ditch throw her out of the way. I am backing up with my back towards the front door as Ditch starts to slowly approach me. He has hell in his eyes and I have never seen a look like this before. My heart is racing all of a sudden and I feel so little. I open my mouth but still I can hardly take in enough air, but I am still moving almost instinctively. It seems like my body no longer needs air to function but it is functioning off of fear alone. This man that is called my father is now making an attempt to kill me. I know he is coming to try to kill me.
I turn my back and make a dash into the kitchen. The room seems so strange to me even though I've been in it a thousand times. I try looking for something that I can use to defend myself, but I can't find it. I don't have enough time! He appears out of the room and he is in such a fast pursuit. I make a circle around the kitchen cabinet in an attempt to evade his rushed walking. He is yet to actually break out and dart, but somehow still manages to keep pace with me. I try to look for something to hit him with, but I don't see anything yet. Where are all the dishes? I realize that Saccharine must have done them because she knew her husband was coming home. They must all be packed up in the shelves. I take a leap at the shelves, but immediately Ditch makes his dash for me. I trip over my own legs and completely abandon the shelves as he reaches out and swings the chard of glass at me. He manages to slash completely across my waist, but not deep enough to cause paralyzing pain.
"Ah!" I scream out and roll out on the kitchen floor, away from him until I hit a wall.
There is a loud thud as I hit the wall and I clench onto my waist and notice it is bleeding. The blood is not pouring, but it is enough to cause me to squirm. There is pain, but in all this fear, I don't mind. I can only see the blood. The sight of blood is sickening and the fact that it is my blood doesn't help either.
He jumps over me immediately and the chard of glass comes forward. He weighs more then he did before. I wonder why? He is much more stronger.
I can't even think to call my wind any longer. It has abandoned me after taking down the window out of exhaust. I am alone and I feel the class scratching my throat, rupturing it.
Am I dying finally?
Did they finally catch up to me?
No more jumping bodies any longer. I could already feel my life slipping away from me. Is this what death felt like?