Monday, September 15, 2014

In Plain Sight -Chapter 17

Phoenix
It was another hour or so before the concert began. Out on the floor, the companies who were sponsoring the event were doing a show-and-tell for their special guests before letting in the general seating guests. Michael took off to find a quiet corner; Ninah was told that he usually took time for himself, to gather his thoughts and get himself centered.
The family was taken to their private table at the front of the stadium floor where the twelve-person tables held ‘reserved’ signs. Emily was back with her friend, and seated with the family. She was introduced to Ninah and politely shook hands.
At the reserved table next to theirs, familiar faces filled the seats; actors that Ninah recognized from movies. They must be from the movie he was working on, she surmised.
Ninah’s sister, Laura, was present and seated next to her, wiggling with excitement with her friends and unabashedly getting autographs from the table next to them. She grabbed at Ninah for a hug, and Ninah had to shush her and remind her of the speaker on the stage who gave them a look.
The rest of the tables on the floor were filling up with local ‘Red Book’ people, elected officials and other VIPs, who paid a lot of money to the charity. Along the bowl of the floor, in the stadium seating, certain people were still trying to decipher her attendance with the family at the reserved tables.
Ninah’s phone buzzed and she took it from her pocket, prepared to turn it off. A text was sent to her. She read it, frowning, and followed the link to the news article online. Someone with a telescope happened to be pointing it in the right direction at the right time, and caught an image that was unmistakably a ship that didn’t look familiar to any known shuttle or rocket designs. Ninah handed the phone to Aaron. He looked at it and then back at her.
Ninah had a feeling she knew exactly whose ship it was. She responded to the text with an acknowledgment and a sign-off for the next couple of hours, and then forwarded the text to Rick’s cell phone.
>Be more careful< she typed.
Minutes later, >viruses are a great invention<.
Ninah tried to follow the link again, and discovered that the page was now missing. Whoever he had on his AI team was really good. The only people who would have those articles and pictures were people who had downloaded them to a computer or printed them out. By then, with no way to trace it, there was no way to prove that the person didn’t invent the images.
The clan needed to discuss their alien sheriff.
*
After the concert two hours later, Ninah waited for the crowds to thin; she didn’t feel like getting trampled. Aaron snuck up behind her and took her arm, pulling her aside as the crowds clamored loudly for more.
“The director of the movie needs you on the set,” he whispered urgently. “Now. Michael and Malcolm are on their way now.”
Ninah got her sister and her friends, and sent them home with taxi money, much to their disappointment, while Aaron told the family that something had come up on the set. They understood, it happens, so they decided to head back to their hotel for a late meal before turning in.
“I don’t want you there, Aaron,” she told him as they hustled out of the building through one of the doors under the stage.
“Too bad,” he responded.
“You are not an exorcist,” she informed him. “I can’t protect both of us if something sniffs out your energy. You don’t know how to shield, yet.”
“Ninah, I’m not leaving Michael in that mess,” he insisted.
She ground her teeth and got into the car with him.
“Alright,” she snapped. “Quick lesson; your Talent works with ley lines, right? When we get there, I want you to find one, dig deep if you have to, and stand on it. Make sure it comes up and covers you just like Shara taught you in grounding and shielding. That’s the best I can do until we get you trained.”
Aaron promised. He was afraid for his partner; whatever was going on, it was serious enough for the director to call Michael and his manager out in the middle of the night. He was dialing Michael’s number on the cell phone.
“What’s going on?” he asked the moment the line was picked up. He listened before turning the speaker on. “It’s on,” he said.
“Ninah?”
“I’m here,” she said. “Describe what’s happening.”
“Well, things are being tossed around the set,” he said. He was hanging on hard to his wits, but the fear was coming through his voice. “Whenever someone gets close, something is thrown at them. Looks like that Poltergeist movie in here.”
“What was being rehearsed or filmed today?” she asked.
“Setting up for the incantation scene tomorrow,” another man said. Probably the director, she thought.
“Was someone speaking the lines?” she asked. There was a loud bang.
“That was a chair hitting the wall over us,” the man said. “No, the lines weren’t part of it.”
“I rehearsed them yesterday with my co-star,” Michael interjected.
Ninah pinched the bridge of her nose. “Okay,” she said with a wince. “Do you have a script with you?”
There was a rustling of paper. “Got one,” Michael said.
“Good. Give it to someone else!”
“I have it,” the director said.
“Tell me what the incantation says,” she requested. “Don’t let Michael say any of it! Just… quickly, what are the words?”
The director read the words, his voice pausing now and again as something crashed nearby. He stuttered and stumbled his way through the scene with Ninah listening carefully. She was beginning to see why they were having a problem. If anyone else had spoken the words, nothing would have happened; Michael, however, had magic in his voice. Literally.
“Okay, I got it,” she said. “Do you have a pen?”
“….Got one!”
“Good. Write this down, exactly word for word.”
Ninah gave them the words as they spilled from her head. If she was there, she’d speak them herself, but over the phone wasn’t going to cut it and they were still several miles from the site.
“Well, that doesn’t really sound….,” the director began to pick over her words.
“I don’t care!” Ninah yelled in frustration. “Don’t change the words! If you want the crap to stop, deal with the cadence as it is! Michael!”
“Here,” he said.
“It’s a short incantation, so it should be easy to memorize,” she said. “Do you understand it?”
He poured over the two sentences. “I think so,” he said. “Containment?”
“Yes,” she nodded, somewhat surprised at how quickly he grasped the meaning. But then again, words are his medium. “You can’t get rid of it, yet, but you can contain it until we get there.”
“How does Michael contain an evil spirit?” It was Malcolm who was asking; he couldn’t imagine his star artist with a wizard’s cap on.
“No such things,” she said. “It’s just energy that’s been given a direction. Like pointing a gun. A very unhealthy direction, but there it is. Michael is going to put it on pause so it doesn’t escape its borders.”
“Michael, I want you to intone those words I gave you and direct it toward the energy. Just think of it as a person who is ignoring you. But you need to intonethem, not sing them. Keep it steady, give it an almost sensual feel, as though you were singing it to a lover. Yes! Pretend it’s Aaron! Shut your eyes, if you need to, but the energy is Aaron, and he’s really upset at something you did, so direct the words at him to calm him down.”
“I understand,” Michael assured her.
The studio site was several blocks away.
Michael’s voice came over the speaker; the intoned words to her binding spell were bringing the hairs on her arms to a standing position. He got through five rounds before Aaron stopped with a screech outside a warehouse door, next to several other cars.
“It’s working!” Malcolm shouted in the background.
The door was opened for them and they ran in, following close behind the crew person who let them in. They zigzagged through a maze of hallways and doors crowded with movie production equipment. Ninah could feel the air becoming more and more electrified as they came near to the set where Michael had the energy trapped. The noise from the energy was tremendous as it spun around within the cage.
“What the hell is that?!” Aaron shouted over the noise. A cyclone spun in mid-air, the blast of wind whipping up paper and light-weight objects around them. The sound was deafening.
“A trap matrix,” she told him. She moved up to Michael, letting him see her so that he wouldn’t be startled. “I’m going to take it from you,” she told him. “You’ll feel it fall away. When you do, don’t fight it, just get back. We are a duet, and it’s my turn, understand? And get everyone out of here, this isn’t a spectator sport!”
“No argument from me!” he said. His eyes were wide and his voice was stressed, but he stood his ground and held the trap firm.
Ninah felt for the trap key, set with Michael, and took over carrying it. Michael took several large steps backward until he was next to Aaron at the door. They took a couple of cleansing breaths before grabbing shirts and arms, yanking the other men out of the room.
The trapped energy continued to spin, the sound of it almost as loud as a tornado. There was no entity within it; the sound came from the movement of the energy, like wind rushing through tree tops. Little by little, Ninah calmed the energy until it was no longer screaming in her ears. When it was no more than a gentle breeze, she dismissed the trap and grounded the energy, dissipating it back into the atmosphere where it originally came from.
The idiot screenwriter used air energy to build the spell, instead of earth energy. She supposed they could all be lucky he didn’t use fire. The spell wasn’t good enough to work on its own, except that it was spoken by someone with real magic in their voice.
She gave a look around the set, making sure all the energy was gone, before heading back outside the building where the men were waiting.
“Well?” they asked when the door opened.
“It’s gone,” she said. “Michael, can we talk?” Without waiting for a response, Ninah strode off beyond the hearing of the others. He followed her.
“You know that magic stuff we were talking about with Aaron?” she asked. He nodded. “You have it, too.”
Michael took a step back, tossing a hand up in protest.
“No one else could have brought that stupid spell to life,” she told him. She caught his blue eyes and held them. “It’s your voice. We don’t know why, but something is bringing a few of us together. People with these weird talents. Why do you think you and Aaron are so strong together? You found each other.
“Something is happening, Michael, and we need to train ourselves before it hits us. If you don’t get trained, that kind of thing will happen again and again because you have no conscious control of it. What if the spell came from a fire elemental instead of air?” She waited for it to sink in.
He was pale as he crossed his arms, shoved his hands under his pits and nervously paced. “I started reading the script at my parents’ house,” he said. “I was babysitting my niece and nephew there. Oh, my God.” His hands went to his face.
Ninah put her hands on his shoulders. His muscles were hard, strong, although not overly built up. He had a dancer’s body, used to lifting his dance partners. “It’s okay,” she said. “You had no power in your voice while you were on a first read. Please, Michael; come to our clan and learn, like Aaron has begun to. We’re not a cult or anything; we’re just magicians, as confused as you are, and it has nothing to do with who or what we worship. We’re learning, though.”
Aaron was walking slowly toward them, pausing until Ninah gave him a nod. He came close and put his arms around his lover.
“We’re not pagan,” Michael protested. “How can this be happening?”
“I just told you, magic has nothing to do with religion,” Ninah told him. “It’s the manipulation of energy for a specific purpose. Anyone can do it, with training. We have a few of Abraham’s children in the clans; Aaron has their contact information. Talk with them.”