Dreamt of sitting in a classroom with a written test to complete. The analog clock did not show the hour, but did reveal I had nine minutes left to finish the essay question. The proctor walked slowly around the perimeter of the room. His bright yellow billowing robes looking like they more belonged in a museum of medieval fashion than draped on a portly modern man.
The essay question was fifty percent of the grade, and I was sure I had failed the test already as I could not think of a single word to write.
“How has this course benefitted you?”
I looked at the proctor as he passed in front of my desk yet again. “How can I answer the question when the course isn’t even finished yet?”
An alarm sounded, ending the dream.
Upon waking, I recognized the proctor at once. Birto appeared to me in those same yellow clothes and body shape. His attitude during those workings were academic in nature in that he was participating in a group demonstration and leading me to [Patient Caller].
These games have layers of intrigue.
Nothing deviated from what is now my new normal as I prepared and performed the ritual. I did not expect the spirit to appear in any fashion. So, of course, he made his entrance to my perception as dramatic and deliberate as possible. First the great increase in scent from the unlit candle, then the feel of warmth from the unlit candle, then the appearance of the false flame in my mind’s eye and the false smoke from said flame bending to move over the table and into the amber piece, followed by the stream of false smoke looping to form a ring, through which the little finger of his right hand emerges as the rest of his form solidifies and settles on the other side of the table.
“… G’morn. I’m not saying you’re up to some shit, but that entrance was entirely unnecessary after the past twenty days so now I’m wondering just what shit are you up to.”
He spread his hands to show they are empty. «I do not conspire against you.» He clasped his hands behind the shewstones again. «But I do conspire.»
“Have you a reason why I should grant you access to me via the Hierophant card?”
«Did I not say that you would receive such before your obligation ends?»
“Yea, you did. Okay. I’ll drop that. What other topic shall we discuss, then? Because I’m out of ideas. I’ve already accomplished what I had set out to do. I know better than to ask what cache of information you downloaded into my head yesterday. Or to ask who or what holds the other key. I have a guess that is dependent on if I continue on with this art and in what capacity.”
«It is information you will need later. The circumstances are not complete to fully unlock it, this is true. But it is there.»
“… I’m not up for games today. Have you anything of immediate importance that I should know or prepare for?”
«I have not.»
The spirit said nothing, but only nodded. I gave the Apophenia Invitation and the License to Depart. The ritual ended as uneventfully as it started, though I did note removing the amulet as the final act felt like I was removing a comfortable coat and was now chilled.
Total ritual time: 31 minutes.
Towards the end of today’s forty-five fifty-five minute drive to work, the memory of my voice giving the Apophenia Invitation sounded hard in my ears. I hate the way I sound on recordings, and avoid listening to myself as much as possible. The invitation was repeated three times before I caught on to what the forced replay of the memory could represent.
“You have my attention.”
In my mind’s eye, as if I was remembering a show I had watched this morning, I saw myself laying a Hierophant card on my small table, face up and upright in the middle of an already on-going ritual summon of [Patient Caller]. The spirit and I both picked up his small polished amber piece, our hands overlapping as our fingers pinched the nodule, and placed it on the card. Clasping my hands in prayer, I spoke words I did not recognize in a language that eluded me. The amber piece melted into the surface of the card, covering the image completely before being subsumed by the same image. I watched the amber soak into the very lines of the image and then it was gone.
In the creeping traffic, I sighed in frustration of the lack of both vehicular and spiritual progress. “I figured that would be the how. But, my dear impatient spirit, you still have yet to tell me why.”
The mental movie changed scenes. I was attempting to advance my plans, but I was stymied by an obstacle I could barely perceive. As such, I could not move around it, and the obstacle threatened to destroy what progress I had already made. In the scene, I knew the obstacle to be spiritual in nature, but outside of my usual spheres of influence or reach.
The scene continued. I sought a place where I would not be snooped on, and withdrew the Hierophant card. While the deck from which the card was drawn could not be identified, the card itself was still recognizable. Holding the card to my face with the left hand, I made a gesture between my face and the card with my right hand, and spoke a shortened version of the prayer said in the previous scene. The prayer ended with a request in English. “[O Patient Caller], intercede for me and by the power of your office, remove this obstacle from my path. Amen.” The movie scene ended with this alternate me putting the card back in the deck and tucking the deck back into my purse before leaving my private space with confidence. The assumption being that the spirit, now summoned and tasked, would complete the assignment and my progress would resume.
My car crept forward another quarter of a mile before the edge of my disbelief allowed me to speak without expletives.
“How do I know you would follow through with that? Did you not say that I have no control over you as it is? What could I possibly say or do that would ensure you would abide by that to the best of your abilities?”
In my mind’s eye, I was seated back at the small table as if for ritual. The spirit was seated across the table from me. No candle was present in this false sight, but his amber piece glowed brilliantly next to his right hand.
«If you have not followed the logic of what I am offering, then telling you plain will not educate you further.»
Up ahead I could see something was blocking a freeway lane half a mile away from where I was literally inching forward from.
“… If I ask why, you’re gonna bullshit me and I’m not gonna catch it cuz I’m already hella distracted. So instead, I’ll just ask plain, when things start after the first [of October], things are going to go to hell, aren’t they.”
«If you did not fear as such, you would not have made the agreement. Your desperation is not clouding your judgement, but it does leave its scent upon you.»
Maybe not clouding, but hella influencing. “I’ll think about it. Besides, I wanna know what the words that are said to tie you to the card and the words that pulls your ass out of it means in English.”
I passed the stalled vehicle without glancing at it and focused on getting up to cruising speed as soon as I could. As I continued my drive to work, I reflected on the request I heard my alternative self make. It is not outside of the spirit’s rank were he be a living person in that office.
If something feels too good to be true…
I had intentionally not asked close associates to be involved in this endeavor. Mostly because I was afraid they would talk me out of it. But at this point, I believe it is necessary for trusted third-party woo slingers to investigate the matter and give me their opinion.
[Patient Caller] has repeated many times that the only reason I am having this level of “success” with him, is because he has been waiting for me to make the attempt. Even with all I have received and done thus far, he has stated that if I were to attempt this art with any other grimoire spirit, at best it would be an absolute failure and nothing would happen.
I’m not going to test that conjecture. I’m going to test him.