Captain Curtis has been possessed. Neil and Cynthia drive the evil spirit away, leaving him shaken and puzzled. They gather in the kitchen to eat sandwiches and have some restorative tea, while they try to explain to Curtis what happened.
Neil and Cynthia exchanged a look. Normally, they wouldn’t have said anything, but this man had become an unwitting player in their drama.
“We don’t know exactly who, but why should be obvious. Somone wants me dead and used you to do it.”
“Yeah, but why?”
“John, what we’re going to tell you must be in the utmost confidence. This isn’t something anyone else can ever know. If there were some way to make you forget it all, I would. But they might try to use you again. I can’t risk that.”
“Just don’t say anything until I’m done.”
Neil and Cynthia told him about the Circles, being descended from Druids and having taken up the mantel of the Circle leadership. John listened quietly, far more calmly than they had anticipated. When they were through, he nodded, lips compressed in a tight line.
“My brother is the one from our family,” he said simply. “He’s a couple years older than me and he sent word, asking me to come see you. Not to kill you,” he explained quickly. “I’d still love to know how the hell they did that. I can’t imagine it was easy.”
Neil’s mouth dropped open. “You’re—one of us?”
“I’m what you were,” John explained. “The one left out. Only, unlike you, I’m relieved as hell I wasn’t chosen. My brother’s Circle has had some bad shit happen the last couple years. Their kids, though….” He shook his head. “They don’t all have children, so that Circle isn’t complete. They’re weak, vulnerable. We’re appealing to other, stronger Circles, for help. That’s why Roy sent me. He sensed that you had some troubles, too, with your Inner Circle.”
“How would he even know?”
“Roy sees things—in dreams. He’s got a rare talent….”
“He’s a Dreamer, too?” Cynthia yelped.
“The Voice of our Inner Circle is a Dreamer. We thought he was the only one.”
“They’re rare, but there’s never just one,” John explained. “Roy sensed something was happening here, but I don’t think he knew that. It would explain a lot of what he’s seen, though. There’s trouble brewing and it’s closer than any of us would like. Unfortuantely, yours isn’t the only Circle involved. Ours is too. We need your help, Neil. Can I talk to this Voice?”
“He’s at school,” Neil said. “Probably won’t be home until after three. But yes, we’ll make arrangements.”
“He’s in college?”
“So, a real kid.” John huffed out his breath. “Shit. I was hoping for a more mature viewpoint.”
“Don’t underestimate Brian,” Neil cautioned. “He can do things I’ve never seen done, and I’ve been around this my entire life. Even my grandfather couldn’t do the stuff that Brian does, and he’s the most powerful of us I’ve ever known.”
“We can call the Center Circle members,” Cynthia said, pulling out her phone. “And they can bring their children. I think we all need to be in on this.”
“What about your Outer Circle?” John asked.
“They’re scattered,” Neil said. “And some, like my dad, aren’t well.”
“Your father would be very useful,” Cynthia said. “He’s Voice for his Circle,” she explained to John. “I’m going to make those calls.” She got up and walked to the dining room to call so the men could talk.
“Interesting. Doesn’t often become a generational thing.”
“No, but our Circle was in flux for a long time,” Neil said. “It settled on me when we filled in for Cliff and Dora. I hope the Powers That Be know what the hell they’re doing, because I’m completely clueless.”
John put his hand on the back of Neil’s neck, squeezing gently. “I think they know exactly what they’re doing. I’ve never seen anyone as capable as you, or as readily adaptable. You can walk into a situation room completely cold and give an in depth briefing. You take the least explicit directions ever and make a perfect battle plan. I wish I’d been able to convince you to take a higher rank. You were a hell of a Marine, Neil.”
“Thank you, sir, but I liked where I was, still down in the mud and guts with my men.”
“You an earth shaper?”
“Fire and water.”
“Interesting combination. My brother is Earth and Air.”
“So is Cynthia.”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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