I Don’t Think So

The other day, I nearly passed out in class. We were having a conversation about gruesome wounds and surgeries, and though it’s a topic that usually doesn’t bother me, it seemed to be too much that day. My brain decided it didn’t want to hear any more and so it started to shut down. My only thought when the world started getting fuzzy was, Oh great, not again.

I’ve passed out before, twice, and both times I was seriously unprepared for it. This time, though, I knew what not to do (trying to get to a door is a bad idea), and so I just sat in a corner with my head down until I stopped sweating and my head stopped spinning. I was glad that I had at least managed to keep myself from fainting, but was still kind of embarrassed by it. I don’t like feeling “weak” or powerless, especially not in front of a bunch of classmates, and so I wasn’t very happy that I’d almost passed out like that.

Even now,  I still don’t understand it. I love doing biology dissections, I can watch videos of heart surgery no problem, and I sometimes look at pictures of horrible wounds for writing research, so I clearly don’t have any problem with graphic subjects. And yet, something about that conversation had pushed me to the edge, and I don’t know what it is. That frustrates me, the fact that I don’t understand it, and all I can think of is that I was weak.

Anyways, it’s been driving me crazy for the past few days, so I’ve decided to do something about it. This is my version of what really happened.

***

I was sitting through a boring class on military strategies and political tactics, doodling dragons and ogres on the corner of my page and wishing I was outside training. I could see other knights-in-training sparring in the yard outside the classroom window, running through a series of complicated drills with short swords and shields. What I wouldn’t have done to go out and join them…

I started drawing a little knight on the top of my paper, holding a big spear above its head, aimed at a fire-breathing dragon on the other side of the title. I gave the knight some long hair and bulging muscles and labelled it “Alex”. The dragon I called “Homework”. I was about to doodle an image of the dragon lying defeated on the bottom of the page when my fingers started tingling.

Slowly putting down my pencil, I flexed my hand, trying to work out the pins and needles. My fingers kept tingling, though, and the sensation soon spread to my other hand, and then up my arms and to my head. The teacher’s voice grew indistinct, sounding as if it came from far away, and the edges of my vision darkened. Trying to keep calm, I focussed on breathing. In, out, in–my breath caught in my throat as the world suddenly lurched and I heard a menacing voice echo in my skull.

“Tell me where it is…”

My heart pounded and I blinked furiously, unable to even see across the classroom anymore. I thought I might have heard some of my classmates shout in alarm, probably noticing that I wasn’t feeling very good, but I couldn’t be sure. Everything felt like a vague and blurry dream. I could sense the world around me, but I couldn’t reach out and touch it.

“Where is it?”

The voice echoed again, rasping and harsh. I didn’t recognize the voice, but I did recognize the feel of magic. It was a foreign and powerful magic, shutting down my body, forcing its way into my head, and it terrified me. There was no way this was going to take control of me–not without my permission.

“Where is the stone?”

The voice was louder, more insistent this time. I knew what it wanted–the same stone it was talking about was tucked safely in my pocket–and it was this that would protect me. Fighting to hold onto my last desperate grip on consciousness, I reached for the power of the stone and begged it to defend me from this intruding magic.

Humming, beginning to warm up in my pocket, the stone happily responded and started sending waves of protective, shielding magic through my body. I channeled the magic, trying to push the voice out of my mind, and my vision began to clear as the stone worked harder and harder. Sweat beaded on my skin as the stone’s heat washed over me. I felt control returning to my limbs. The tingling stopped, sounds started rushing back to normal volume, and I could see things now. The stone was protecting me, bringing me back from the dark place I’d been sent, and I was going to escape whatever malicious magic was pursuing me.

“I’ll come for it,” the voice hissed, able to feel the stone’s magic and craving it.

“I will return. I will have the stone.”

Just as it finished its last statement, the stone pulsed and the last of the intrusive magic was driven from my body. I exhaled shakily, all my senses returning to normal, the sweat cooling on my body. I’d managed to fight off that dark force for the time-being, but now it was certain that I had the stone with me, and it would come back.

I would just have to be ready for it.

***

A lot of stuff happens that we don’t like. Weakness, sickness, powerlessness–it happens at one time or another, and there’s not much we can do about it. But we can always change our thoughts and our perspectives. Did dangerous magic really touch me and cause me to almost pass out? Nah, probably not. But it’s more fun to think that it did, and it’s something I understand, so why not pretend? It doesn’t hurt.

Any dark sorcerers visit you lately?

May your thoughts always be under your control even if reality is not.

-Alex

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