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THE WOLF INSIDE THE MAN
Dr. Svetsky and Tom sat in Tom's apartment. It was late in the evening, about ten o'clock. Dr. Svetsky was drinking coffee while they talked. The doctor had brought a large briefcase with him.
"As I told you earlier," said Dr. Svetsky, "I've read of cases with symptoms similar to yours. Some of your symptoms point towards a sleep disorder like catatonia. Others point towards a multiple personality disorder. Since these two problems are rarely related, I look to other possibilities."
"Like I'm an Omega," said Tom.
"That is one possibility. But, I have a feeling about you, and I have learned to listen to my feelings."
"Doc, you said you were more than a psychiatrist. What did you mean by that?"
"I have studied the mind for many years, possibly longer than you've been alive. The thing I have seen time and again is that there is more to the mind, and to life, than we really understand. It may be that we will never fully understand."
"You're losing me here, doc. I'm just a poor little mechanical engineer."
"I have seen evidence of psychic powers. Telekinesis, channeling, many other powers. I have in fact personally experienced having my mind read. It can be very disturbing."
"OK, so I'm channeling some sort of wolf spirit?"
"No, channeling involves human spirits. I believe that your soul was tied to a wolf archetype at some time; possibly even before you were born. Tell me about your parents."
"Well, my dad died was I was very young. He was in a car accident. I actually don't remember almost anything about him. My mom said I looked a lot like him though. I've seen pictures, I suppose I sort of do."
"And your mother?"
"She just died a few years ago, while I was in college. Breast cancer."
"I'm very sorry. I hate to bring up bad memories, but often those can tell us a lot." Dr. Svetsky seemed genuinely sympathetic.
"Like I said I was very little when my dad died. My mom, though, that really broke my heart. She'd been my whole world for all of my life. She wasn't diagnosed until I was at college, and it had already spread through a lot of her body. She died a year after the diagnosis. I was a junior. It screwed me up so bad, I took a semester off to decide if I even wanted to go on. I decided that if my mom was willing to scrimp and save just to send me, I couldn't let her down. I had to finish school."
"It must have been very hard. You show a deep character to have accomplished what you have."
"Yeah, I guess. I had a lot of friends and relatives that helped me get my head straight. I had a year to prepare and I was right there with her when she went and it still hit me like a hammer. Sometimes I still can't believe she's gone."
"Any brothers or sisters?"
"Nope, lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. My dad had a really big family. We used to get together with them and with my mom's family almost every holiday. It seemed like it was always somebody's birthday, or Christmas."
"So you never felt a lack of family support."
"No. I don't want to seem like some kind of whiner. You know, 'poor little me, never had a dad.' My mom and I were tough and we made through just fine, I think."
"I think your mother and father are very proud of you and what you've done since they left you."
"You said you could find out if I was an Omega, doc. How can you do that?"
"Actually, I can't find out if you're an Omega directly. What I intend to do is observe your dream and see if there are magical overtones that I can detect."
"Are you a magician, Dr. Svetsky?"
"A magician is a person who performs illusions on stage. I am what you could call a mage, though not a very powerful one."
"What exactly is magic?"
"Spoken like a true engineer," the doctor laughed. "Things are not so black and white in the world of magic and the mind as they are in the physical world, though that line seems to be fading with the recent explosion of Omegas around the world. Magic, I believe, is at least two things: it is an ability to tap the hidden powers of the mind, and it is the ability to use those powers to direct external energies we can not normally use using the generally accepted physical laws."
"How is magic accomplished and what makes it different than Omega powers?"
"I have not studied Omegas much. I believe that their powers are in-born, perhaps some genetic anomaly. Magic uses ritual and chant to tap the hidden recesses of the mind. A mage who is not properly prepared is a regular person. I think an Omega's powers are instinctive. It would be as easy for an Omega to use his power as it is for you to swing a punch. Magic can be used that way, but it must be prepared ahead of time. Then it can be released easily."
"So how do I fit in to this? I don't know anything about magic and don't have any powers."
"I will know a lot more after tonight. Here's what I plan to do: after you go to sleep I will use a spell to enter your dream. I hope that my presence will be invisible, both to you and to who- or whatever is in the dream. If I see the dream as it happens, I can learn a great deal from it. I should at least be able to tell if it is magical and I may even learn how to stop it."
"Sounds great to me. I'd do almost anything to get rid of this so I can get on with my life."
"Now, Thomas, you must sleep so that I can follow you onto the great plain that is your mind."
Tom was in his bedroom getting ready for bed. He could hear the doctor out in the living room, mumbling or chanting. He'd had some weird stuff in that briefcase: books, cards, things Tom couldn't even identify. 'This is nuts. I've got a crazy psychiatrist in my apartment and he wants me to sleep. Then he's going to enter my dreams. I can't decide if he's crazy or I am.' There was no denying it though. Tom was tired; if he didn't get to bed right now, he wasn't going to make it across the room in time.
Dr. Svetsky was seated at Tom's kitchen table. He was chanting while shuffling a deck of cards. They were just normal poker cards. The doctor found that shuffling them cleared his mind better than anything else. His first chant was a short, simple spell. It would temporarily wash his need to sleep away. He needed to be up all night, or at least until Tom's dream was over. He'd pay for it tomorrow, probably by sleeping all day. Tomorrow was Sunday though, he didn't have much to do anyway.
During the chant he had pulled the King of Clubs out. This was the card he always used to represent himself. He placed it face up on the table.
The next spell was a sleep spell. He pulled the Jack of Hearts from the deck. He decided to use it to represent Tom. It had his youth and the heart represented great strength of character. He placed this card face down. When he wanted the spell to end, he would simply turn it face up. The two cards were several inches apart. He continued to shuffle the remaining cards without chanting.
He glanced at the clock. It was about eleven thirty. He began to chant again. As midnight approached he began to deal cards, face down, between the King and the Jack. He dealt three cards to connect the two and then placed one below, at the center, like the balance of a scale.
Midnight came and he turned over the three center cards. Touching the King of Clubs was the Ace of Spades, a card of great power. It was an auspicious beginning or a dire warning. The center card was the King of Hearts. The King of Hearts was often interpreted as signifying a person of control, either over his own life or that of others, but its possible tie to the Jack blurred the meaning. The final card of the trio was a eight of clubs. Clubs was the suit of earth and the animal kingdom. The eight signified no great strength, nor weakness. It is the card in the middle of the suit.
The doctor and Tom were now connected. He could feel himself slide into the landscape of Tom's dream.
It was night but not dark. A full moon bathed the plain in radiance. The doctor was a ghost here, a breath of night wind. He saw shapes move on the plain. 'The wolf pack.' He willed himself closer. He could see several wolves ranging at the edges of the pack.
A cry went up and the chase was on. He could see the man running and the pack pursue. Dr. Svetsky propelled himself next to the man; it was Tom, as he knew it would be. One wolf separated it self from the pack after they had surrounded Tom. It was young and strong, but not the leader. It might be one day, but it was not yet.
It pounced and the man dodged. It would try again and again. Tom evaded every time but never had a chance to counter-attack. He was beginning to wear down.
Most of the other wolves would fade in and out like ghosts. They weren't real. 'They're constructs of Tom's dream,' thought the doctor. Only a few were constant. These were other spirits, in wolf-form. 'Who are they?'
He turned again the battle. It was still a stalemate, though in a way the man was losing. He appeared more tired and slower. The wolf pounced. As it clawed him lightly, he caught it. He was going to try to choke the life from it.
'That's it,' thought the doctor, 'each night he kills this thing. Each night it gets stronger. Eventually, it will defeat him. He must change tactics.'
The man dropped the wolf's limp form to the earth. The other wolves faded away and then the landscape disappeared.
Dr. Svetsky was at the table. He turned over Tom's card so he would awaken.
Tom came out of the bedroom. On his chest were three long scratches. "Did you see what happened? The little bastard nearly got me!" He walked over to the table.
"Yes, Tom, I was there. I saw everything. Every night you fight him?"
"Yes and no. I feel like I am both of us. I run and I hunt. I leap and I dodge. It's like there are two sides of me fighting for control of the whole and one has to die."
"There are two spirits here and they are connected. Look at these cards." They were still laid out, with only the balance card face down. "I am the King of Clubs; it is a powerful card of earth and I flatter myself by using it to represent me, but that's not important. You are the Jack of Hearts. I chose that because of your strong character. In between us I build a connection with three cards. The Ace of Spades indicates great power, in this case, powerful magic. The King of Hearts is a person with power over life. Someone is trying to control you or use you to wield great power. The card touching you, the eight, is another earth card. I believe it represents the wolf archetype, a part of nature."
"What's the last card?"
"I don't know yet. It is the balance card. On it, this whole venture may rest." Saying that, Dr. Svetsky turned it over. It was the Queen of Hearts.
"That's got to be my mom!"
"It could represent her. It could also represent someone else in your life or who will enter it soon. Some great good will come of this power in you, Thomas. All these cards of earth and life imply that. But the Ace warns us that powerful magic is involved and must be dealt with carefully."
"Dealt with, how? We don't even know what's going on."
"But I do know how you can stop the dreams and access the power the wolf is trying to give you."
"What? He's trying to kill me."
"Yes, in a way. He knows more than you think but cannot use the knowledge. He is a force of nature, reacting to his instincts. You are a rational man. You must combine instinctive passion with rational thought. The wolf is not your enemy. He just thinks he is."
"Umm, OK. So what do I have to do?"
"There's nothing you can do until tomorrow night. Tomorrow night is the fullest the moon will be this month. That is when the wolf will be his most powerful. Do not fight him."
"What! I should let him kill me? You're nuts!"
"No, I'm not. Remember, he is in you. You feel his emotions, you act out his passions. You are him and he is you. Do not fight him but do not let him kill you either. Tomorrow night you must accept him. Embrace the wolf inside you because he is part of you."
"Hang on, doc. You're losing me again."
"I'll try to explain. Each night you allow yourself to be swept along with his passions. It attacks your soul, your ego, your rational self. Instead, take control of the passion with the ego but do not crush it."
"How can I do that? I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Actually, I think you do. You started to tonight but you overwhelmed it. When you caught it you could have embraced it but you tried to destroy it again. Tomorrow night embrace it and then imagine it blending into you. Absorb it, draw it into you. In a dream like yours, will is power. You can do anything you can imagine. Imagine you and the archetype are one, stronger than either of you alone. Make it part of you."
"Will you be there, or here, or whatever?"
"I can be, but I don't think I can interfere. I'm not powerful enough. Even if I were, I don't think it would be wise. This is something you must do alone."
Rose-Smyth emerged from the astral plane, leading Aurum's spirit back to its shell and then rejoining her body. They were in her meditation room. "Well, Vincent, do you know any more now?"
"Yes. I know that young man, or more appropriately, his father. Robert Victor tried to stop one of my plans. I killed him. It appears that Robert was craftier than I thought. He has set his son up to replace him."
NEXT ISSUE: Daytime Nightmares
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