Monday, September 15, 2014

In Plain Sight -Chapter 16

New Babylon
The men sat around the dining table at Sev and Shara’s home. Pizza boxes and beer bottles littered the table.
“Vocals? I’ve been to a concert, and while he’s really good, I didn’t get anything special from his voice.” Terry dipped his crust into a small bowl of melted butter and garlic.
“You went to a Michael Black concert?” Irra paused in bringing a beer to his lips and looked at Terry. The man frowned at him.
“Yeah, what of it?”
Irra chuckled. “Nothing,” and drank his beer.
“It was a date, jerk. With Karrin.”
Since he was sitting to Severance’s left, Sev gave his shoulder a rub as the smile left Irra’s face.
“Hey, man, I’m sorry.”
Apology was accepted.
“So we should all admit that, while we’ve always been among the strongest, something more has been happening, lately,” Severance said after a moment. “And it seems as though people we come into contact with are also dropped into the deep end. Take Aaron, for example. And now, if what Ninah says is true, and her judgment isn’t colored by her friendship with Aaron, Michael has also come down with a case of magicitus.”
Irra scowled and tossed his napkin to the table. “And I have something to say, since you’ve brought her into this; since when is Ninah the leader of this merry little band?” He pointed a finger a Severance. “And don’t tell me we don’t have a leader, not when everyone looks to you as our de facto Gandolf. I certainly have no problem with you as our leader, you’re fair and equitable. But suddenly everyone seems to be bowing to the queen of the desert. In case you haven’t noticed, she’s a shaman, not a high priestess.”
“She’s a Middle Eastern shaman, but that’s beside the point,” Sev told him. “She isn’t the leader any more than I am. She has natural leadership instincts and she runs with it. You are free to decline whatever it is she wants to do. And I might point out to you that she’s as new to this higher form of magic just as we are.”
“You’re biased,” Irra told him, pointing a pepperoni at him. He then slid it under the table to the cat.
Severance sighed and held his hands out. “What do you want from me, Irra?”
Shara shook his head. “Time out, guys. I think you’ve all missed a larger point.”
“What?”
“She hasn’t once agreed to be part of our little ‘clan’; we just all assumed she was. She hasn’t even been vetted. She is with us on the say-so of Wolf and his reindeer bones. Now, I have no problem with Wolf’s bones, they’ve never done us wrong. I accept Ninah even without the vetting process. As far as I’m concerned, she’s already proven herself. Also, coming from a matrilineal tribe, it’s natural for me to see her as the head of our ‘household’, if you will.”
“You saw Karrin as our head of household, too,” Sev commented, giving a small smile. Shara acknowledged him with a nod.
“I think you are having a different issue with her,” Shara told Irra. “And I don’t want you to take this as an attack. I love you as my own brother, and I say this in all light and love.” He waited until he got a nod from the brooding man. “Ninah is the first exorcist we’ve had with us since you came to join us. How much of what you are saying comes from a place of jealousy and insecurity?”
Irra threw his napkin to the table. “I am not jealous OR insecure!”
“I didn’t say you were,” Shara told him, staring intently into the man’s eyes. “I’m asking you to search yourself and find a better response than ‘she’s new and we don’t know her’. Because while I grant you that she is new to us, what does your spirit tell you? Mine tells me that she completes us.”
The table was silent for several minutes, only the clinking of bottles and the sound of eating breaking the thickness of the air.
Irra scrubbed at his face. “Crap,” he groaned behind his hands. “I need to go down to Phoenix. We worked well together at the temple and at the old house. She and I can speak the same language; so maybe we can work together on this.”
“If you don’t kill each other first,” Terry snorted.