It’s one day from the official publication of my upcoming novella, Eventual Revolutions. Here is an excerpt from the story, lifted from the first segment.
You can’t stare down a pile of bills. They won’t blink. They won’t back off. They won’t go away. Only way to get rid of them is pay them. Which is an increasingly difficult bill to swallow.
It’s not that I can’t pay them, but I’d have to dig deep into my savings. Business has been slow. Very slow. Barely enough to hold back the tide of expenses. If this keeps up, I’ll have to close up shop and move out of here. And going back to my parents is not an option.
But I am a magician, and magicians have more options than most people.
I sit in seiza – legs folded under my thighs, back erect – close my eyes, and breathe. On the inhale, pure energy from the cosmos fills my lungs, clearing it of waste energies. Breathing out, a dark cloud leaves my open mouth, taking with it the anchor the bills had dropped on my heart.
In seiza, I release myself into my breath, becoming my breath, then fading into – becoming – the universe.
The voice fills my mind with warm, deep reverberations and pulses of white, blue and gold. Taking my time, I pull myself back into my body. My brain registers my palms on bare knees, the rough nylon of my shorts, the soft cotton of my shirt. I take a few breaths more, open my eyes and appraise my visitor.
If you saw him, you’d think he’s an old man who has miraculously retained a thick beard, bushy moustache, and a full head of hair. But he is no human. He’s a being that transcends the material plane. To see him, you’ll need a powerful ajna chakra, commonly known as the third eye. And if you could see him, you’d also see the corona of gold-tinged white light that perpetually surrounds him.
He likes changing his appearance often. I’ve seen him in smartly tailored business suits and in the robes of a warrior-king. But today he wears blue jeans and a white shirt. His clothes are plain, so devoid of brand labels and markings they are a brand unto themselves. His clothes nudge my eyes away from their plainness and centre them on his face, and in my peripheral vision I see his aura in its unfiltered glory, with its promise of warmth and Creation.
‘Hi, Yahweh. Just came from visiting some hippies?’
The god erupts into laughter, doubling over and clutching his sides. I laugh too, taking myself out of seiza and coming to my feet. Never let it be said the gods do not have a sense of humour.
‘Oh, Michael,’ he says finally, drawing himself back up. ‘Why do you think so?’
Yahweh’s gentle gaze meets my eyes. I suspect it’s a courtesy more than anything else. So I smile. Strictly out of courtesy.
Yahweh’s current form is no more substantial than a beam of sunlight, very much like a hologram. His body is composed of subtle energies. It’s the closest term the English language has that can describe the substance. It’s been called qi, ki, prana, and other names by other cultures and philosophies. It‘s basically the underlying essence of the universe. Like all other metaphysical beings, the material plane is not Yahweh’s native environment. He lives in some higher form of existence, what laymen would call ‘Heaven’. Once, I asked him how he visits the material world in person. He told me he projects a part of himself into a given location, though magicians can and often do smooth the process or magnify what does cross over through effective magic. It’s as good an explanation I’m likely to understand for a long time.
‘You could at least knock. When a man meditates, his mind goes to strange places. If he’s interrupted, not all of him comes back at once. Or intact. It could be detrimental to his wellbeing.’ And, consequently, yours, I don’t need to say.
Neither he nor I am speaking out loud. We’re sending thoughts to each other telepathically. It’s very useful for communicating with beings without physical speech organs.
Yahweh nods. ‘Agreed. And if he were interrupted by a loud, piercing sound, such as a telephone ringer, his mind would take even longer to come back.’
‘I’m going to get a phone call?’
The god smiles benignly. ‘Yesterday, you petitioned a certain Ceiling Cat for money sufficient to cover your bills. He listened.’
I raise an eyebrow. ‘That wasn’t exactly supposed to be taken seriously.’
Yahweh chuckles quietly. ‘Be careful what you wish for, and to whom. Especially if you follow through with a magical working that attracts money to you.’
I sigh, shake my head. Trust a being born from a meme of humour to amuse himself this way. ‘What can you tell me about the client?’
‘Why don’t you ask yourself?’
My iPhone rings. I turn around, walk to my table and answer the call.
“Yeah, Sam,” I say.
Sam Ang was a repeat customer, and therefore a favourite customer. Usually, he hires me to work over his advertising agency. I like him enough that I conduct business with him over telephone and SMS instead of e-mail.
“Hey Mikey,” he says. “Got a couple of minutes to talk?”
“Let me guess: you’ve got a job for me.”
My mind’s eye sees Sam trying not to spit out a mouthful of mojito. “Hey, how did you know?”
“A cat told me.”
A long meow descends from the ceiling.
“Never mind. What’s the job?”
“My uncle has a problem. His daughter, Anna, ran away from home three weeks ago. My auntie and uncle want her to come back.”
I sigh, shake my head. People have a lot of misconceptions about magic. In my experience, only people who seek to understand the true nature of reality – the reality that lies beyond the physical senses – can come close to understanding magic. Magic is the manipulation of reality through metaphysical means, and nothing more. Magic isn’t a panacea. It doesn’t make money grow on trees, induce cockroaches to spill out of your enemies’ mouths, or let you shoot green death rays from a stick. And it sure can’t teleport a missing girl home.
“Have they filed a police report?”
“Yah. He lodged a missing persons report. The police said they’ll look for her, but nothing so far.”
“I’m a magician, Sam, not a private detective. I can’t bring the girl home; I don’t have the training or contacts to do that.”
Plus, my status in the eyes of the law is a little blurred, and I don’t need the clarity that comes from being on the wrong side of a prison door.
As my words leave my mouth, Yahweh sighs, and shakes his head.
“Can’t you do something? They’re getting desperate. And sixteen-year-old girls shouldn’t be out on the street so long. You should know that.”
Yeah, I know that too well. Sixteen. Christ. When I was sixteen, I spent some time on the streets of Singapore too. Look where I ended up now.
So I say, “I can cast a spell or two. They’ll make it more likely that she’ll come back home, or someone will find her and take her home. But I’m not going to look for her, know what I mean? I can’t.”
“Yeah, it’s fine. They’re at wits’ end, and they could sure use help like yours.”
Yahweh smiles, nods, and walks through my door.
I take a deep breath. “Set me up with them.”
Eventual Revolutions will be available through Smashwords at USD $3.99.