Jessel was always trying to tell Philip what to do. He couldn’t keep his mouth shut to save his life, so he used that like a super-power to try to motivate his friend, even when he was annoying the piss out of him. But in this case, he was really pushing Phillip to get the balls to talk to the psychic shop owner’s son..
They were college boys, newly minted as freshmen, and that meant they still didn’t know the difference between high school and real studying. They were in that grace period, and they were reveling in it. At least Jessel was.
Phillip was the more serious of the two, and he had developed an interest, seemingly overnight, in the occult, the strange, the mystic and the supernatural.
And it all turned out to be related, once Jessel badgered him with ceaseless questions, to revolve around the boy that lived in Madame Strassa’s House of Mysticism, a little occult shop, where the Madame and sometimes her son, Wynn, would do palm readings, psychic viewings, séances, and the like.
Of course at first, Philip had thought it was all bunk. But that was before Wynn had grabbed his hand, one day, after class, and looked into Philip’s eyes. Wynn’s eyes were golden, and looked like seething flames inside for a moment, as he leaned in and touched his temple with his other hand, brushing back a lock of Philip’s hair, then whispered in his ear a warning. “If you go into Car 12 on the subway tonight, Death will come for you. “
As it happened, Philip missed the train because he stayed late in the computer lab to complete an experiment, and he’d taken a cab instead. Later, he heard on the news The subway train derailed, but the only car that suffered a calamity was Car 12, which unhitched from the rest of the train, went off the tracks, and smashed into a gas main. The 4 passengers that had been in that car had perished in flames
Ever since then, Philip could only think of 2 things. 1 – that if he’d gone on the subway, he could have been in that car, and 2 – the feeling of Wynn’s fingers on his temple.
Wynn had avoided him after that, or so Philip had thought. And that had made Philip mope around. So Jessel had made it his mission to get Phillip closer with Wynn.
Maybe that was an ambitious goal, but he really thought that’s what Phillip wanted, in the end.
They approached the old house, with the colorful signs of “Palm reading!” from a neon glowing hand and some astrological signs rotating in a circle, accompanied by “Crystals, Candles, and Candy for sale”, and “Tarot Readings, Psychic auras, and séances, by appointment only!”.
It was a 2 story house, built earlier in the last century. It might have been a funeral parlour at one point. It had an exterior of gray and white stones, and slate roofing. The house seemed to have many windows, except down in one end of the house, where it looked more like a delivery/ shipping area.
A rod-iron fence surrounded the house at waist height, and there was a gate with an arch way, leading to the main entrance of the house. The door was a soft blue, with the sign of the pentacle on its front. There was an “open” sign on a string suckered to the window beside the door. When they pushed it open, there was the tinkling of a bell, and they moved inside.
Jessel was about average height and build, not particularly athletic, but he had a nervous energy that kept him on the skinny side. He was red-haired, and pale of skin, and he had just started his tattoo collection with a Celtic knot and a sword on his right forearm. He wore black horn-rimmed glasses, and a hooded sweatshirt, maroon in color, that he had zipped up all the way. He wore black jeans and leather loafers, and had a daypack slung over one shoulder.
Phillip was slightly taller, with black shoulder length hair, pulled into a ponytail, tied with a blue rubber band. He wore steel rimmed glasses, with blue tinting, and a silver crow figurine dangled on a leather cord. His skin was pale and flawless, suggesting he didn’t get a lot of sun. His face was handsome, with high cheekbones and wide-set grey eyes that looked almost tilted and exotic. He was lean and thin, with several tattoos of the celestial kind- constellations, planets and comets on his arms, back and chest. He sported a goatee that was hard fought but not too scraggly. He wore a black leather bomber jacket, black jeans, and a “Sisters of Mercy” T-shirt, with the electric ‘Eye of Horus’.
When they entered the shop, it was lit well enough, but there were shadows cast everywhere, except on the display cases. It was a tight-packed, with space at a premium. Candles of various sizes and shapes were on display on a table to one side, crystals on another, and decks of cards, incense and appliances for burning them in yet another. There were bookshelves set up in an adjacent room, packed with every book you could think of dealing with the commercial occult retail circuit.
There was a section near the door, that was more sparse. This table/stand was accompanied by a bulletin board with note cards, and postings, hand-written index cards and printed sheets with people looking for specific things, places, companions, room-mates, lovers and groups. There were pamphlets for religious groups, fringe and mainstream, and there was a support group or 3 mentioned. One posting was for “Paranetters” and Phillip had to grin at that one.
There was the sound of boots on the hardwood floor, as Wynn came from behind a beaded curtain. He was wearing a black tight fitting cotton shirt, that hugged his lean physique, with black tight fitting fishnet hose that clung to his lean legs, and Doc Martens on his feet, and a lacy black skirt that hung below mid-thigh. His hair was long and dark, but purpled, and his ears were partly hidden, but had some modification to them, the least being piercings of several kinds. He wore a choker of leather and black cord at his neck, and he had a dreamy expression on his face. His eyes were golden, and shimmered in the low light.
“Good afternoon, boys,“ Wynn said, as he came out, and folded his hands in front of his stomach. His fingertips were painted black, and his lips were curved into smile of soft serenity that seemed to unnerve Phillip, but Jessel just smiled and stuck out his hand.
“HI there, Wynn!” he said. When Wynn didn’t take the proffered hand, he relented and continued talking. “We thought we’d come by and see how you were doing, and maybe shop around a bit – get to know you and your little business here, a .. ummm little bit.“ He stopped, lamely, and grinned sheepishly at his clumsy conversation.
“How thoughtful of you,” Wynn said, as he arched a dark narrow brow, and cast his gaze over towards the silent Phillip. Those golden hues were locked on the other young man, and he smiled, and swallowed. “Hi, Wynn. Really, I wanted to thank you for that bit of advice you gave me the other day. About the train. I think you saved my life.”
Wynn’s brow furrowed, and he looked sidelong at Phillip and shook his head. “It wasn’t really me that warned you, but you are welcome. Sometimes, I am just the vessel that the ‘others’ chose to speak through. I don’t always remember what is said through me. I do remember your cologne, though, and that way you were .. looking at me, afterwards.“ The boy said that as he contemplated the college boy, and reached up with a hand to rub the front of his throat. “You looked so confused, I think, when I told you, but I’m glad that you believed me.”
Jessel huffed, and tried to re-insert himself into the conversation. “Wynn, that’s something I’d like to hear more about. How is it that you knew the train was going to crash? And what brought you to tell Phillip? I don’t want to sound like I’m accusing you of anything, but why not warn the train engineers? Or the other people getting on the train?”
Wynn looked at Jessel with annoyance, and then narrowed his amazing golden hues. “As I said, I didn’t know that would happen, but someone, or someTHING, did. And it used me as a conduit. I’m a medium – sometimes, a powerful enough spirit can channel themselves through me and convey messages. Someone ‘on the other side’ was looking out for Phillip that day.” Wynn smiled, almost roguishly, “It was only a bonus that I got to meet him, and form a connection with him as part of the deal.”
Philip blushed, and Wynn smiled at that, and did a little shift and wiggle, very pleased to have elicited such a reaction.
Jessel wasn’t satisfied, and he moved up to take hold of Wynn’s upper arm, and turned the purple-haired boy to face him. “Now, stop flirting with my friend, and give me a straight answer!” The young man huffed, looking perturbed. Jessel was red-faced and wasn’t believing this ‘spirit conduit’ nonsense.
Wynn’s eyes seemed to flash, with the unwanted touch and hostile grip, and his small, lean frame crackled with an unseen energy. There was a sudden gust of wind that seemed to flow around Wynn, and circle around Jessel, and the young loudmouth was suddenly flailing around, like bees were stinging him in a swarm. “GET THEM OFF ME! GET THEM OFF!” He turned and ran for the door in a panic, and burst outside, into the sunlight, until he was at the rod-iron fence and gate before whatever it was let up.
Phillip looked on in alarm, not seeing anything, and starting to follow his friend, when Wynn’s small hand took hold of his arm, gently, and he felt compelled to look into the beautiful boy’s eyes. Those golden eyes seemed warm and simmering with some kind of deep-probing energy that Wynn could see right down into Phillip’s soul. He gulped and Wynn said, “Don’t worry about Jessel. He’s unharmed. He just has to learn you don’t bully someone that doesn’t give you the answer you want.“
Phillip shook his head, and laid a hand on Wynn’s that was on his arm, and squeezed, “He’s not a bad sort, but he does try to defend his friends. He was the one that insisted we come here, so I could.. you know.. talk to you.. Find out why you warned me, and if there was something to this whole .. psychic thing.”
Wynn nodded, and leaned in, whispering close to Phillips ear, “Let me tell you a secret. Some of what happens here IS an illusion. Palm readings and some of the séance things. We don’t charge too much, and it’s no worse than going to a ball game and spending money on concessions, really. And we get to be theatrical and it’s fun. But some of this stuff.. like this,“ Wynn reached up and touched Phillip’s cheek, and a mark shimmered into view, briefly glowing yellow and orange, as if it were a flame seen burning beneath parchment, but faded almost as fast.
Wynn seemed startled, and took a moment to process. He then said softly, “You bear the mark of a practitioner, Phillip. What .. kind of game are you playing here?” Wynn backed off, and made a move with his hands that seemed almost like a defensive martial arts stance, but he could sense that it was more a mystical defense move.
“I.. I don’t know what you mean, Wynn.. I.. what do you mean, practitioner? “ he was genuinely confused, and those golden eyes of Wynn’s narrowed and glowed brighter.
After a few moments, Wynn lowered his arms, and took a step closer, touching Phillip’s cheek again. “You honestly don’t know, do you? You’re in more danger than I realized. You’re not Awakened to your power, yet. But it’s on the verge. Your life is about to get very interesting.“ He paused, and frowned, then added, “If you survive. Wow. And unborn mageling! I haven’t heard of one of you in my lifetime!”
“A whatling? Mage-ling? What in the world, Wynn. Now you’re just going from the strange to the bizarre. I don’t have any idea what you mean about unawakened anything. “ Phillip was confused, and swallowed hard, as he felt the cool fingertip touching his cheek, and he drew in a slow breath. Those eyes drew him in again, and he knew that whatever Wynn was saying was true.
Wynn seemed to make a decision, and reached down, and took his hand, firmly in his. “Look, I know you hear this in the movies a lot, but you’re just going to have to trust me. You’re in a lot of danger if you don’t have someone help you at this critical stage. I’m going to help you, as far as I can. “
Philip felt a sudden surge of something inside him, and his own eyes, the gray hues seemed to freeze over white. There was an electricity in the air, as the atmosphere in the shop got cold, and frost started to form on the crystals and object within 15 feet of the young man. But Wynn put a hand on either side of Phillip’s face, and made him look into his eyes, and said, “Take deep breaths.. Concentrate.. That’s it.. “ his eyes glowed even more powerfully golden, and once again it was like the light of the rising sun spilling from them.
Wynn pulled Philip’s mouth to his, and kissed him hard, their mouths merging, with a soft muffled gasps. Wynn seemed to inhale from Phillip, taking his breath, or something else. The temperature in the room normalized slowly as the kiss went on, and the frost slowly vanished. Wynn kept on kissing Phillip.
Philip’s hands slipped around Wynn’s narrow waist, and pulled him in tight, and the two pressed together in that embrace. Then finally, the kiss ended, and Wynn slowly stepped back. Phillip wobbled a moment, and reluctantly released the young man, and sighed. “What.. what was that? What did you just do to me?”
“I siphoned off your surge of mana – its what happens to those that are in the awakening stage – it was going to turn my parlor into an icebox, otherwise,” Wynn said with a soft huff, the effort of the last few moments seeming to show its strain on the smaller boy. He shivered and shook himself, and then smiled up at Phillip. “But the good news is, your awakening wasn’t explosive, as in fireballs and brimstone. But we have to get that under control, and quick. I’m afraid that your friend, Jessel, will be a hard one to convince. “
“No he won’t,” Said a voice from the doorway, the young man leaning against the wall inside the entrance. “I saw the whole thing. At first I thought you were making out, but I felt the energy.. that cold. It was going to freeze my nuts off. You just saved .. well me, and Phillip, Wynn. I don’t know what to say.“
“It’s mind over matter. I harnessed his power and redirected it. That’s all. “ Wynn looked into Philip’s eyes, and the boy looked back, and blushed like crazy. “I don’t know what to say either, other than.- Do you have to kiss someone to control their overflow like that?”
Wynn gave Philip a wiggle of his eyebrows and a roguish grin, ”Nah, but it’s more fun that way. I like you Phillip. And I want to help. Let’s take you into the back, and see about getting you a control bracelet or collar, to help diffuse your extra surges, until you can control them on your own. And Jessel? If you’re staying, don’t touch the merchandise. You break it, you buy it. “
Jessel frowned and huffed, but followed along meekly, as Wynn led them into the back of the shop.
Eyeshadow & Lipstick- Zibska ~ Sumiko & Shashi (Shiny Shabby)