Jared the Paramedic III ~ Redemption
Copyright © 2018-2019 Snowblind. All Rights Reserved.
Chapter 20: Sinking into Darkness
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Liam was sitting in a rocking chair looking through the huge windows, drinking a fresh cup of coffee and watching the sunrise. He slept well and felt more relaxed than he had in a few weeks. The yellow sun was peaking up above the hills, once again giving strength to everything touched by its pure light.
His mind was blank as he looked into the sunrise; that itself was a miracle. Liam had been stuck in a rut since the police had interviewed him about Beau. He had become fixated on his actions, or as he now thought, his lack of actions which had inadvertently caused the death of his brothers Darren and Josh. As time had progressed, there were times Liam had the thoughts under control and he would almost feel normal. His emotions and fears were like riding a never-ending roller coaster. There were times he felt as if he was climbing the steepest height on the coaster, not sure if could finish the journey. It was hard for him on those days, especially when he was in the places where he remembered sharing good times with Darren and Josh. Liam fought hard and always managed to hide what he considered to be his betrayal from his family members. Then, just like reaching the top of the hill, the roller cars or train would suddenly take on a power of their own and start a journey downwards. Liam felt close to normal during these times but he never knew when the almost normal or manic state would end. There was no pattern to his ups and downs, just like there was no pattern or consistency to the length of time for the journey on each side.
He finished his coffee, stood and went to the kitchen to put the empty mug into the sink. After putting on a jacket, Liam left the cabin for a walk long along the quad trail. The trail was basically clear of snow, but there was still a significant amount in the tree line. Liam noticed the tracks of deer, elk and even moose in the mud of the trail. Many were tracks which crossed the trail from one side to the other; he could see some had been a leisurely walk while others were running.
Liam's mind was wandering, but not in memories. It was picking up the sounds of birds in the trees, branches hitting each other in the light breeze, and even small animals running on the snow just out of his sight. He stopped, turned his head to look into the scrub brush just as two prairie dogs came bouncing out onto the trail. They sat and stared at the human, waiting for him to do something. After staring at the human, the two little animals embraced each other, their eyes never leaving Liam's face.
Liam watched the little animals on the pathway. Each of their movements was quick, but with purpose. He was surprised when the two of them embraced but thought they were probably from the same coterie within a colony.
The two little animals separated and bounced up the trail to within an arm's length of Liam where they once again embraced. Neither one of the prairie dogs ever broke eye contact they had made with Liam. Finally, they broke their embrace only to sit on their haunches once again staring at Liam.
"I wish I had some treats to share with you two little guys," Liam finally said.
The two little animals looked at each other, sharing a single thought between them. "He doesn't get it."
The one on the right added, "He's shut down his reception."
The prairie dog on the left answered, "The messengers need to be told of this development, it was unexpected."
"Yes, we must get through to him before its too late," replied the prairie dog on the right. With that exchange finished, the two little animals appeared to wave towards Liam before disappearing into the long grass on the side of the trail.
Liam smiled at the two little animals as they disappeared as he returned to his walk.
Darren and Josh were out of Liam's sight behind him; they had watched the spirit guides attempting to pass a message onto their brother with no success.
"Now we know how deep he's withdrawn... he's closed his mind," Darren stated with exasperation.
"I didn't think it possible for anyone to shut down like that Darren. He's not even receiving the messages or information from his gifts."
"I know I was a little thick at times, but this is ridiculous. The prairie dog spirit guides were perfect to communicate with him; to wake him up."
"We were both a little slow on the uptake at times, but not when our wolf senses were active."
"I agree Josh. If he was even thinking or his gifts were passively available, he would've got it. He didn't even speak to them other than offering an apology for not having any treats. He missed they were spirit guides sent to convey a message."
Josh thought about what had been said, and then replied, "These were very, very powerful spirit guides sent to give him a message. The prairie dog signifies isolation, withdrawal, distance from friends and family. The community of which Liam lives has been severely disrupted by his actions although he believes he has everyone fooled. He is hurting his husband, his brothers, those he works with and those he is destined to provide help."
Darren continued, "It was the prairie dogs touching each other and hugging another prairie dog which should've jolted him if he was receptive through his gifts. Those are strong signs to show he had withdrawn himself from his friends and family. He failed to get the message of the time to free himself of guilt, shame and the sense of disappointment."
"Darren, I don't get it. Liam was always the one who brought joy, love and the innocence of a child with him where ever he went. Now we are sending the spirit guides to him to tell him that he must reclaim the innocence that he left behind as a child. His heart is closed, and it must be opened to those things that gave him joy as a child; to bring back into his life good, love, fantasy and imagination."
"I believe Liam has done the same as many others in the emergency services world. They get caught up in the chaos of the world, where fear, greed and suffering are commonplace. They get caught up and can't break out of it."
"I'm getting very concerned for Liam's mental health."
"Josh, now I understand why we were sent to monitor him until he returned home. He wasn't to be left alone and we were to immediately message Nimanitôm if there were any problems." Darren paused for a moment before continuing, "Are we here to prevent him from suicide?"
Josh felt the impact of the word suicide as soon as Darren had spoken it. "We're here to protect him from all threats. That would include threats from himself; that would include... suicide."
Josh stopped, closed his eyes and raised his chin into what would be called a sniffing position. Slowly, he rotated his head back and forth left to right. "Do you smell it on the wind?"
Darren began to do the same thing as Josh, and after a moment spoke, "It's here."
Josh's face contorted as he smelled it in the air. "The smell of decay, mould, and death."
Darren opened his eyes and began scanning the tree line. "It's been here, or is here and hiding."
"We're in a race against time now."
Darren looked at his boyfriend, "We don't have as much time as we thought. If we don't get Liam to change his path as quickly as possible, he'll be dead."
The two men stood and watched their brother walking up the trail, wondering what to do next to get the message through to Liam. They followed him, keeping a watchful eye over the one they must protect.
There was another entity watching what was going on from the safety of the large spruce tree it had climbed. Its red eyes followed Liam as he walked by until he disappeared. The two messengers were also being observed by the entity. It could smell the human, but these ones had no smell; that meant extreme danger to him. The entity now realized he had competition for the shaman called Liam.
In the beginning, he had been punished by the tribal Shaman after being caught eating human flesh. Not just for consuming it; but for the enjoyment of it. He enjoyed it raw or cooked over an open fire. The shaman was a very skilled and practiced lycanthropist, and he used those powers to punish the consumer of flesh. Now, he had a chance to end the spell if he could consume the flesh and possess the body of a shaman while he died. He was not allowed to kill the shaman by his own teeth, but every other way was acceptable. In the spiritual world, the entity was known as a Windigo by some, as Chenoo by others, but in this area, he was known as a Rougarou or Loupgaru by the Metis people. The translation of this means man-who-transforms-into-an-animal. Although he has the ability to shift into any form, he is the most powerful as a wolf.
He needed to consume the flesh of the human to nourish his body, but he also needed the spirit for the dark one as a gift.
The Loupgaru transformed into a large black crow and flew in the direction Liam had disappeared on his walk. The entity now realized he had to keep this shaman in sight and under control because other forces were now trying to alter the path which had been chosen for the human. He would have to make the kill faster than he had planned to prevent the shaman from getting away.
After his walk, Liam sat in front of the fireplace with a cup of coffee. For the next couple of hours, Liam kept replaying what had happened in his mind. He considered various possibilities which he could've taken as opposed to the one he had chosen. Liam accepted the fact that he had made a poor choice which had set of the tragic series of events. Once Liam accepted that fact, he felt better than he had for the past few weeks. He gathered his clothes together, locked up the cabin and headed back to the village.
End of Chapter Twenty
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