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Fantasy Drama Inspirational

There are days when I wonder if everyone else sees what I see. If they felt what I do, they would get no peace. I know I don’t…These fantastic visions can’t be real, can they? It started on a fateful day in September I’m sure all of you remember, but not like I do. I heard the screams, felt the terror of each person on those planes. The sounds will haunt my nightmares all my life.  I can’t get the faces or the voices out of my head. I feel like I’m going insane an inch at a time. When those towers went down, I knew it the instant it happened.

I didn’t see it on the news or read about it in the next day’s paper. I feel as if I was there, trapped and about to be part of history. I don’t know why this is happening, but it’s driving me crazy.  Or maybe I already am. Who knows? I’ve never told a soul about this before, and I hope now you will understand why I came to this wall to speak with you every day.  I am trying to make peace with the lost souls who changed my life. I know you’re on the other side, but it helps to have someone to talk to, even when you can’t reply.

I need to know what is happening to me. Am I psychic in some strange way that appeared out of the blue, or am I losing my mind? I don’t need to ask how you felt, I felt it inside my bones. Like a memory ripped from the headlines and tossed into my head just to shake things up. But as I said, that was only the beginning. I wish I could say it was the awful sights and screams that keep me awake. What truly haunts me are the thoughts…’I’ll never go to my daughter’s wedding’ or ‘I wish I could kiss my kids one more time’. It’s as if the group consciousness of an entire plane full of doomed souls was downloaded into my brain and won’t go away. 

I don’t know if my imagination is running wild, or if this is even real. Sometimes I don’t know if what I see and hear every day is just the ravings of a disordered mind. Who wouldn’t feel sympathy for those innocent victims of a war they never signed up to fight? Every time I read about a natural disaster like a hurricane, my heart sinks, for I know what will fill my dreams that night.

It is a curse to feel the burden of each life lost, the helplessness and pleading as they face an untimely death. I feel as if that day ripped the lid off Pandora’s Box and threw the whole mess into me. If I hear a child scream or the voice of a frightened woman, I feel what they feel, and see what they see. Can you imagine the weight of that many souls on your back?

I never see it from the point of view of the storm, the crash, or the war. I only feel the minds of the lost and the weary, like frightened children crying in the night. My therapist tells me that I need medication, that this is just a delusion invented by my psyche trying to deal with the loss. I never knew them, after all. It’s impossible, he reassures me, trying to soothe. It doesn’t help much, nor do the medications he suggested I take.

Is there a medication to take away the ‘second sight’ (that’s what my Scottish grandfather called it. He said it came to every seventh generation). If I could only ask him how my ancestors dealt with this, but he died 20 years before it happened to me. Like a boat with a leak in the middle of a storm, I find myself sinking slowly. I can’t seem to make it stop, nor do I know why it began so suddenly. I only know that I can’t take much more of this, or I will lose what’s left of my sanity. It’s feeling the pain and fear of each one of those people that tortures me.

Is this the beginning of a horror story that will never end? Will it ever get any easier to hear the pleas and the prayers, and not be able to do anything to help? One day I ask my therapist why the medicines never seem to work, why the visions get stronger every day. He has no good answer, and I feel myself slipping away. Drowning in the tide of sorrow, unable to find any rest or release.

In desperation, I sent a letter to a cousin who still lived in Scotland. I  began with the words, “I know you’ll probably think I’m crazy, but I have to ask. Do you know any female relatives I could talk to about the so-called ‘second sight?’   Either I have it, or I’m insane, but either way, I need help.”

When I received an email from Edinburgh, I opened it and began to read a letter that would change my life. It was from a third cousin of mine. She explained to me that she had the power too and knew it could be overwhelming if you didn’t know how to handle it. “What you saw and heard that day, and every time after, was real. Don’t ask me to explain how it works, or why some people are born with it. Why it grows slowly, and then blasts onto the scene. What you’re really asking is how to make it go away, but that won’t happen, sorry. You can learn to control it if you’re trained as I was from infancy.”

As an adult, she told me, the visions can be intense if you’re not prepared for them. She said it was the psychic cries of 3000 people that day so long ago, that made my power manifest the way it did. All she could advise was to seek out the help of a woman in Kentucky. She included the name and address, apologizing in advance for the lack of technology. 

Having no better ideas, I drove all the way from New Jersey to meet her, hoping that it wouldn’t be useless. Hard to imagine what some stranger could do or say to make it any easier, but it was my last hope. I knocked on her cabin door, half expecting a wild-eyed witch from some Halloween movie I had seen.

A woman with flowing red hair and gentle blue eyes answered the door. Before I said a word, she smiled at me in a sympathetic way. She told me after shaking my hand that she knew why I had come. I supposed at first that she had received a letter from overseas in the two-week interval. She told me, with a curious glance at the dark circles under my eyes and my general air of panic, that there was nothing to be afraid of here.

“Your aura told me all I had to know.”  The first words I had heard her speak, and they reminded me of some line from an H. Potter novel. Auras now? Can’t these people speak plain English?

“Don’t insult powers you don’t believe in.” Had she heard what I was thinking? Had I unwittingly said it aloud? She laughed merrily and told me that she could help me. But it would take time and dedication, and faith in powers that modern science could neither explain nor refute. If I didn’t think I could have faith in this process, she told me, it was better if I just turned around and left. She wasn’t planning on wasting her time or energy. “At sixty, I have little patience with non-believers who come in here expecting a sideshow attraction or a gypsy fortune teller. I can tell you have doubts, so I thought a little ‘mind-reading’ was in order. Forgive an old woman’s eccentric sense of humor. Sit down and tell me about yourself and why you came.”

I thought to myself, “Don’t you already know?” but when she gave me an insightful glance, I didn’t express the sentiment aloud. I had enough problems already, and I didn’t want to alienate the one person I had been told could help me make sense of this. My next thought was that she looked damn good for sixty, could have passed for thirty-five at most. “I attribute my youthfulness to living right. Don’t expect some magic fountain of youth.” Again, she had eerily responded to something I had not said aloud. I began to think that this wasn’t a total waste of my time, after all. Maybe she could help. Hope bloomed that I had not felt for years. A weight lifted off my shoulders that I had been carrying far too long.

The training began in earnest the next day, and as the weeks passed, I learned that the voices and faces that had tortured my existence for so long weren’t expecting me to save them, as I had thought. They just needed assurance that their journey to the other side would be peaceful. They needed someone to hear them and tell them not to be afraid. As I learned meditation, to listen to my inner voice, and how to give these lost souls the peace they needed, I began to feel an inner calm I had never expected to know again.

I won’t tell you her name or where she lives. She guards her privacy. But this woman with the flame red hair glowed with an inner light that showed me how to find my own. I knew then that my imagined insanity was no such thing. I just didn’t know the first thing about a subject condemned by ‘science.’ I realized that now I could tell the difference between reality and fantasy again. Now that I know what she has taught me, I can help the ones who come to me. I don’t feel powerless or adrift anymore. I owe it all to her.

October 07, 2022 22:57

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3 comments

AnneMarie Miles
04:30 Oct 12, 2022

Hmm interesting concept, and a good choice for this prompt. I may have changed some paragraph breaks here and there, but I enjoyed the inner dialogue. I understand the desire to keep a story short but this felt like a quick ending, maybe not enough closure? It ended with the mystic woman being the focus, so I think it would make for a stronger story if the woman was foreshadowed somehow in the beginning or maybe even in the title of the story. I'm a pantser so most of the time I never know what's going to happen in my stories, and some c...

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Dawn Kaltenbaugh
10:29 Oct 12, 2022

I did write the redhead in late in the story, but she had been on my mind from early on. The reason her character is so lightly sketched is because I wanted to story to focus more on the MC. Will consider rethinking that. thanks for your comments!

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AnneMarie Miles
12:59 Oct 12, 2022

The focus is definitely on the MC and there's a lot of insight into her thoughts and "second sight" which is wonderful. Even adding something as simple as your MC thinking, "I am so grateful to that redhead woman who changed my life" somewhere early on would set up the ending really nicely. I look forward to reading more of your writing!

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