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Jenny was cradling Tom's head in her lap. She'd done that since she'd gotten him home. He seemed OK now, but he had really scared her.
Tom turned over and looked at Jenny's face. Her blond hair framed it perfectly. She was pretty, even in the morning. "Did you get any sleep?" he asked.
"Not after midnight. Do you remember what happened?"
"Kind of. I had the same dreams, about the wolf pack and running and all of that. Then I was in the park with you. I probably scared you to death, didn't I?"
"Yes, it was very scary. But it's fine now. How long has this been going on?"
"Just the last few weeks, since that nutcase came on TV claiming to be a god or whatever. At first I thought that and all the other crazy stuff that was happening was causing the dreams. But they've gotten more intense and more real. Now I'm running around practically naked through the park, under a full moon. I'm either a werewolf or a lunatic."
Jenny leaned down and kissed his forehead. "You're not a werewolf or crazy. You'll be fine. Have you talked to anyone about this?"
"Just you. Everyone else would think I'm nuts."
"Well, I think you're nuts, too, but in a good way." She kissed him again. "My dad knows this guy, Dr. Zhivago or something weird like that. Anyway, he's a psychiatrist. Maybe he can help you."
"I don't know. If I'm not crazy, why see a psychiatrist?"
"Do you want to find out what's wrong with you, or not?"
"OK, I'll talk to the guy. What's his number?"
"I don't know. Get off my lap and I'll call my dad to find out. Plus, I have to call work and tell them I won't be in today."
"I like it here. It's comfy." He wrapped his arm behind her and started to stroke her back.
"Get up and make breakfast. Be useful for a change."
"Oh, alright." Tom rose and went into the kitchen. Jenny went to the phone.
Late morning sun shone through the window, revealing the dance of dust in the air. Vincent Aurum looked from his suite atop the Ponchatrain Hotel in downtown Detroit. He could see the sun reflected off the Renaissance Center's towers. He looked over the Detroit River and could see Windsor and other parts of Ontario. Vincent mused at the vitality he saw here. He knew that if he walked half a mile in some directions he'd only find abandoned buildings. 'Americans are so wasteful,' he thought, 'there is no city on the Continent like an American city.'
His thoughts were invaded by a knock at the door. He looked outside the door clairvoyantly and saw his assistant. The young man was one of his most talented acolytes and also an able administrator. Aurum ceased the spell he was preparing and said, "Come in, Michael."
Michael Erion entered the bedroom of the suite. "Teacher, I have very interesting news."
"Last night there was some sort of mystical display. Did you detect it?"
"No, not me. One of the sleepers felt a new presence on the astral plain. Actually, she said there were several spirits gathered but one was new to her and to all the others she spoke to about it."
"Yes, I felt the gathering. Such things are rarer now than they used to be, so they pique my interest more. My gifts do not lean that direction though. I would like to speak with this acolyte."
"I thought you would." Michael waved out the door and Conchita Juarez entered the room. She was a young Latino woman, pretty but with a slightly fearful expression. She had only met Master Aurum a few times and always with a large group of students.
"My dear, please, do not look so concerned. I am not the ogre that students normally assume." Vincent could be very charming when he wished to be. "Michael, would you please get Miss Juarez and me some coffee." Michael left, making sure the door was closed behind him.
"Ha-how did you know my name, sir?"
"I try to keep track of all of the students, particularly the most promising ones. You seem to have great ability. Now, please tell me what you saw last night."
"I was asleep. We were supposed to attempt a brief astral projection last night. I performed the ritual Professor Rose- Smyth taught us and felt myself loosened from my body. It was quite extraordinary." to you."
"Really, I just assumed that you were so skilled that such things would be child's-play."
"My greatest skills lie elsewhere. Please continue."
"At first, I just drifted through the ether, but then it changed. Fromnothing sprang a whole scene. It was dark, but lit by a bright moon. Below me was a plain and wolves were running on it, chasing someone. But I could feel that these were not wolves, but people. Then the ritual time ran out and I was drawn back to my body. I spoke to Professor Rose-Smyth about it and I guess she told you."
"Actually, she told Michael and he told me. Thank you, Conchita. You should return to class now. I will call you if I need to speak to you about this further."
Conchita left and Michael returned. "Michael, call Elizabeth Rose-Smyth and ask her to join me for lunch, if it's convenient. I need to speak to her before tonight."
Tom and Jenny left the reception area and entered the inner office.
"Hello, Mr. Victor. I am Dr. Svetsky." The doctor shook Tom's hand.
"Call me Tom, doctor. I always look around for one of my uncles when people say Mr. Victor." Tom took an instant liking to Dr. Svetsky. He seemed to be a guy you could trust and talk to easily.
"Oh, pardon me. Good morning, Miss Waled. How are you and your father."
"Just fine, doctor. He's the crazy one."
"Now, let's not be hasty. Crazy is a highly technical term in my profession." Dr. Svetsky laughed. He was a big man, tall and heavyset and he had a laugh to match. "Please sit down, Tom. Jenny, would you wait outside for a minute, please."
Tom sat down in the plush chair. "Don't I have to lay on a couch or something."
"Only in the movies. What seems to be the trouble?"
"I haven't slept well in the last couple of weeks. It's gotten worse in the last week and last night I went sleepwalking."
"Not sleepwalking. Everybody wakes up to bad dreams once in a while, I suppose. But it's always the same dream, or at least the same theme. I dream I'm a wolf, usually running with a pack, but sometimes alone."
"These dreams frighten you?"
"Not really. But I wake up more tired than when I went to sleep."
"Interesting." Svetsky went to the door. "Jenny, could you come in here please." She entered and sat down. "Now, what happened last night."
"Well, Tommy had kicked all the covers off himself. I pulled him back toward the middle of the bed and covered him back up. A few minutes later, he made this horrible howling noise and ran out. I followed him to the park. When I touched him, he woke up and didn't know what had happened."
"That's basically it, doctor. I have no idea how I got out there."
"Interesting, very interesting." Dr. Svetsky appeared deep in thought. "Unfortunately, I have other patients today. I would like to see you Monday. Free of charge; your case intrigues me. Jenny, please keep an eye on him over the weekend." He got a business card from his desk. "If anything happens, page me. I'll get back to you as quickly as I can."
Jenny and Tom left the doctor's office.
Vincent Aurum arrived at Fishbones about one-thirty. He was shown to a table. A few moments later, Elizabeth Rose-Smyth joined him. Vincent stood as she approached and waited until she was seated. "Hello, Elizabeth."
"Hello, Vincent, sorry to keep you waiting."
"Not at all, I had just arrived. Have you eaten? The food here is excellent."
"I've eaten, thank you."
"Perhaps a glass of wine." Vincent ordered a carafe. After the waiter poured two glasses and left he spoke again, "You have a student, Miss Conchita Juarez, correct?"
"Yes, she's very talented. If properly taught, she will be a powerful astral mage. You spoke to her?"
"One of the weakest astral spells, really. It would only last half an hour at the longest and keep her centered on her body, practically fixed."
"Then whatever she saw would have to be local?"
"Yes, unless it was projected by a very powerful telepath or astralist, or several working together perhaps. What she describes doesn't sound like that kind of manifestation."
"Very interesting. Somewhere nearby there must be a potentially powerful mage who may not even realize it. I need you to help me find him. I want him for the Cabal."
In the car Tom said, "I don't want you to spend the night tonight."
"Dr. Svetsky said to stay with you. I'm not letting you out of my sight until you see him on Monday."
"Jenny, I'm really scared of whatever is going on. I don't want you there if something bad happens."
"What if I hurt you?" It made Tom feel sick just to think about it. "I don't know what's wrong, but I know I want you safe."
"And I want you to be OK too. But to make sure of that, I have to watch out for you. I'm staying with you or taking you to my apartment. Which is it going to be?"
Jenny was determined, Tom could hear that. He wasn't going to talk her out of watching him. "We'll stay at my place then."
Jenny drove to her apartment first. "Come on up. I just need to get a few things." They went into the apartment and Jenny headed for her bedroom. Tom sat down in the main room to think.
About a half hour later, Jenny came out of the bedroom with a small bag. Tom had dozed off on her couch. "Wake up sleepy," she said.
Tom looked up. "That's it! I am so dumb! You know how I'm going to beat this? I'll stay up all night. Whatever happens is part of the dream. No sleep, no dream. I can't believe I haven't thought of it before."
It made sense to Jenny. "So we'll stay up all night. Just like a slumber party in junior high." They left Jenny's apartment and
At ten Elizabeth Rose-Smyth prepared her ritual in a small room in her basement. Incense filled the air with exotic spice. Foreign writing covered the walls. She took off her robe and sat nude on a small rug on the floor. She began meditating. A woman who was perhaps the most powerful astralist in North America projected her mind onto a level unknown to most people, seeking out the wolf pack her student had described.
It was midnight. Tom felt wide awake, courtesy of caffeine. They were sitting on the couch. Jenny had fallen asleep on his shoulder. He got up slowly. She woke up and said, "Tommy, where are you going?"
"It's OK, I'm just going to the bathroom. I'll be back."
Tom looked at the mirror when he walked into the bathroom. Nothing like staying up all night to help you look your best. He caught a glimpse of some shape in the mirror. It looked like some kind of animal. He looked at where it should have been in the room. Nothing was there. The shape in the mirror moved, appearing to merge into his reflection. Tom fell to the floor.
Jenny heard him fall. She came running in. "Tommy, are you alright?" He was just lying there. "Tommy?" She reached down to him.
Tom was on a black plain under a full moon. Something was wrong, but still familiar. He heard a howl nearby and replied, making a noise no human possibly could. He was the wolf again. 'Oh no!' his human mind thought, 'I'm here again.' But the thrill of pure freedom quickly overwhelmed that thought.
The call sounded again. The pack called to him. It was irresistable. He loped towards them on all fours. He could smell them as he approached. "Hunt!" came the new call, "Pursue!" The pack began to move and Tom followed.
He was young and strong. He moved to the front of the pack. He could smell the prey before he could see it. "There it is!" he howled. The others joined him.
The prey was a man. Tom knew he could run it down. He dashed after it. It ran away, but wasn't fast enough. Tom pounced. As he leaped, the man turned around. Tom saw his own face. The man caught the wolf in his grasp. The pack had faded from the dream. It was man versus wolf. pack, but it was himself. Tom-man threw the wolf aside and faced it. Neither moved for several seconds. The wolf began to circle, and the man turned, watching it.
The pack slowly faded into view again, like ghosts. "Kill the man!" howled one. "Free the wolf! Join us!" Tom-wolf pounced again, but Tom-man was ready. He spun aside and struck the wolf across the neck. It slumped to the ground.
"Not this time! Never!" The pack began to dissolve from view again. Tom thought he heard one of them say, "Soon, very soon."
"Not this time! Never!" he shouted. Tom awakened in the bathroom. Jenny knelt next to him, holding his hand.
"Tommy, what happened?"
"I fought the wolf and won. That's what I've been doing every night. I need to talk to Dr. Svetsky. I think he knows more about this sort of thing than he let on yesterday."
Rose-Smyth returned from her sojourn through the ether. 'Vincent,' she called telepathically, 'I've found them.'
'Perfect,' replied Vincent Aurum, 'tell me everything.'
'I can do better than that. I'll show you.' Rose-Smyth projected her memories of the chase to Aurum.
'I must have this man. Did you find out who he is?'
'No, but he must be nearby. His powers are far too uncontrolled to allow him to project. We can find him.'
'Thank you, Elizabeth. I'll speak to you about this tomorrow.'
Early on Saturday morning Tom met with Dr. Svetsky. Jenny was in the waiting room. "Describe exactly what happened, Tom. All the details you can."
"OK, doctor, I was actually awake when it started, so I remember everything. This is what happened...." Tom described last night's encounter.
After Tom finished, Dr. Svetsky said nothing for several minutes. He was deep in thought.
"I don't think so. I didn't before and this encounter you had last night helps confirm that. I've read similar cases before. That's partly the reason your case interests me so much."
"Well, of course I want to help Jenny. Her father is a good friend of mine from a long time ago. Primarily though, it is so intriguing because I am not just a psychiatrist."
"Do you know anything about psychic phenomena or magic, Tom?"
Tom gave the doctor a blank look. "Nothing except what you can see on television, and that's just special effects."
"Tom, the mind is an amazing thing. We probably don't understand a tenth of it. I have two hypotheses to explain the phenomena you are experiencing. One, you are a recently-triggered Omega and your powers have not fully emerged. Two, at some point in your life, your soul was magically bound to a wolf spirit, an archetype. I am inclined to believe the second and I know how to find out, tonight."
NEXT ISSUE: The Wolf Inside The Man
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