The chapter will initiate soon, it is said. A mysterious dream catcher has aroused even more of a spirit of inquiry, now that it has been linked to a spider and an alarming entity through vigorous research. What is the chapter that awaits?
Signs and revelations
The deserted blackness suddenly became a blackboard for a playground of different visual signals. The rocketing of fluorescent orange beams of light began first, which turned into raining incandescent balls, in all different directions, like a game of 3D space invaders.
Soon after, brushstrokes of a jester’s laughter echoed from different directions. Everything was arriving in flashes. A flash here, a flash there, like intermittent spotlights but not without revealing something that resembled string-like textures each time it flashed. The only possible effort here was to see through the flashing.
The rhythm of the light barrage just kept increasing and so did the feeling of danger and urgency. In a quick moment, a glowing peach-coloured wolf charged through the chaos towards a direction unknown. It was a welcome distraction from the crossfire, until the wolf was nowhere to be found in the direction it was running to.
The flashing just wouldn’t stop and the snickering sound was becoming more frequent and deafening by the second. Turning away from the nauseating light storm, one of the flashing spotlights revealed a glimpse of a contracted and hairy hind leg of a spider, ready to sprint. The logical pieces all joined at once and Evan needed to get out of there.
A choke on air, almost apnoeic.
Then, a scream.
The sweat and the furrowed brow on Evan was instantly noticeable, aside from the vocal chord tension and the dry cave that was his mouth. The conceived reality in the form of a dim bedroom stitched itself together in no time, which was when he covered his mouth.
Hardly ten seconds after, Evan’s mother rushed into the room in a hurry of dimensions.
Stalled in place, with her arms and fingers tensely spread out, she barked in her southern twang: “What the Devil is going on here son!”
Evan, also frozen in space, stuttered “N..n..nightmare.”
Evan’s mother sighed. “Oh, son. You really shook my ticker. Look at your darn hair, you look like a scarecrow. But this time the scarecrow looks like the one that’s scared!”
Evan retraced the events that occurred during his head-trip. There was something suspicious about it, so much so, that it was necessary to not lose sight of the main features he could at least attach to memory: darkness, light comets falling on him, a running wolf, a jester’s laugh and…
The truth had to be faced. Whether it was the contents of his dreams or his momentary interpretation, there was no denying an awareness of a spider-like figure. And that unnerved the young Evan, given that there was no telling whether this had anything to do with his trip to the library the day before or just a weird coincidence.
Truth to be told, the more he had read about Iktome, discovered to be known as the trickster spirit, the more he hated the idea of spiders or spindly objects, and maybe that translated into fear and nightmare fuel. This thought process was quick to stress him out now.
For a moment, while the boy was sitting in the disinhibited mindzone that comes with waking up in a rush, a ruthless contemplation happened, which urged him to communicate with his mother.
“M..mom. Sit down with me.”
“No, son. I came up here for nothing and besides I got things to do-”
“No, mom. Sit down, I need to say something” He insisted.
“Nay, I’m not sitting darling, just tell me”
After a laboured swallow, Evan went into a kind of confession mode:
“First, please can you check in the bag. The gift bag over there on my desk. I..I can’t do it.”
“Oh, you squirrel.” She was about to protest in her usual fierce self but stopped herself “Can’t be that bad, what is it?”
“Minda’s dream catcher”
“Ma Minda got you a dream catcher, how sweet”
“Well…yes and no. You won’t believe how much of a strange distraction this has been for me this weekend”
“Well, that’s because you’re just mesmerised by its beauty. Minda makes such wonderful things”
Evan was about to say something else until it registered what his mother said.
“Also, I don’t understand, why do you keep praising Minda like she is constantly watching over you?” He questioned.
“Don’t you ever question that in my house, Evan Francis Reyes!” She promptly replied.
“Exactly, my point mom. Now you’re being defensive. Just explain what it is. What is this reverence towards Minda? You dodged my question two days ago, what excuse do you have now?”
While Evan was delivering these words, his mother tasked herself to pick up the bag she was instructed to check and reveal to her very own eyes what was inside. She widened her eyes at the dream catcher
“This is beautiful…but very warm…”
This time she tugged on the edge of the larger central ring of the dream catcher , so she could appreciate its colour, until she had to let go of it in an impulse.
“Hell’s bells! This stuff is burning! I didn’t come here to fall for your horrible pranks, kid!” she said in a raised voice while shaking her hand away.
Evan gasped. “No, mom. This isn’t a prank, this is why I need to talk to you”
“Alright, spill, kid” She exclaimed, tapping her feet and hand on hip.
Evan cleared his already dry throat. “Okay, this dream catcher is a bit of an odd one, and if it wasn’t for the things I read, I’d be just about throwing this away. Now you’re gonna know why I was so long at Tehama, mom.”
“Don’t go spreading your theories, E!”
“No. This is none other than a Shasta dream catcher, what Minda told me. There is history behind these, and I have notes to prove it, to prove I am not joking when I say that something is cursed in this.”
Evan then proceeds to unzip his backpack lying next to his bed. He takes out the raggedy notes and skim reads, picking out information.
“First, Mount Shasta, where this thing was built, is incredibly sacred for some reason I do not know yet. Secondly, there has to be a tribe still operating there, carrying hundreds of years of wisdom, and Alice can probably vouch for that, she met them I think. Thirdly, these Shasta people and other natives believe in spider divine figures that communicate to the tribe. Again, Alice can back me up here.”
“Wait, Alice? The girl who has gone all quiet now? What does she have to do with this?”
“Well, a few years ago she went on a camping holiday and met an isolated Shasta-based tribe that made her see this terrifying spider figure through what I believe to be some species of ayahuasca trip”
“Oh, so you’re telling me she was drugged?”
“That is up for interpretation, mom. But I am intrigued by what she saw and what it means. Because this thing that burnt you is also referred to as a spider in several native cultures.”
“Baby, these are just delusions and a whole lotta hot pot of crazy, you can’t just keep trying to connect dots like this!”
“The natives of this land would disagree with you, and I might want to be on their side, if only you knew that this thing you dropped so far has changed colour, started fires after daybreak and affected phone signals. Minda can tell you.”
“Hold on, boy. Minda knows this?” It was undiscernable to tell if Evan’s mother’s face was one of disbelief or pity.
“I called her about it and she knows and expected all these strange things, but other than that I don’t know much else because I can’t really interpret her high and mighty wisdom crap. Y’know, she talks in riddles.”
He sunk his head into his clammy hands, and from this position he set free the one question that was bothering him.
“Please mom, who is she?”
His mother appreciated his desperation, sat herself down on the end of his bed, took a gulp of air and couldn’t restrain a façade of both concern and shame. After a tut, she said:
“Oh son. Heck, I don’t know how to put this but… I know you deserve to know, but I can’t tell you. A long time ago I vowed to Minda to not to tell you and I think only Minda is authorised to tell you who she is and why she’s in your life.”
“Mom, stop with the secrecy, please” He said in a tone of despair, head still down.
“I have no choice. Minda is the one who can only tell you about this. But all you need to know for now is that…”
She sighed as she was awakening some memories she wished not to awaken.
“Evan…Minda is kind of a life saver. There was an event before you were born, well, when I was pregnant. We had a wedding photoshoot down in the sticks, me and your father, and-”
Suddenly, Evan’s mobile rings, adding more layers of chaos into the room’s early morning ambience.
At that odd and off coincidence, Evan’s eyes became quizzical and darted towards the ringing device only to read “Caller Unknown”. Either way, he picked up.
“My boy, it’s me Minda. Do not worry. I understand how you may be feeling right now. Before anything, can you check what colour the spider has taken now?” Evan was suspicious about that timing, just when his mother was about to reveal something confidential.
“Yes, uhh” As he was deliberating, the mother mouthed “what”.
“Please hold Minda” He finally said.
“Mom, can you throw me the dream catcher?”
“Why? Who’s that?” She whispered.
“Nothing to worry, it’s Minda – just throw it please”
She obeyed despite being disconcerted.
It was only a matter of seconds for Evan to reveal to himself a new unusualness presented by the dream catcher. The mobile was gripped anew but this time with a quiver.
“Uhh, Minda? It’s like a darker shade of orange now, and some kind of short black stripes are showing up around the circle’s edge, like fading in by the second…it looks like a tiger’s back. The wood is really burning hot, is that normal?.” As he was saying that, his mother was realising how unexpected this was all appearing to be.
“Ah, ah, okay, okay” It didn’t sound reassuring from Minda’s end. It did nothing to quell the apprehension that Evan was feeling at that moment.
It seemed as though Minda was hushedly discussing a matter with somebody in the background, before she replied with words.
“My boy, the chapter…Please meet me at the Dutch Burger car park, can you? In 40 minutes tops please. I will be there in my black car. Please bring something of significance to you, but not the spider. I repeat, do not bring the spider. And then, what you must do is put the spider inside a bowl of water.”
“But Minda, why?
“The chapter, I will explain. You have time for questions when you see me, my boy. ”
She put the phone down.
At last, Evan’s mother gave voice to something that would change Evan’s perspective of his life.
“I knew this day would come”
Apprehension: what is the chapter?
The hour was eight o’clock in the morning, the sky clear of clouds. Evan Reyes was stepping onto his front yard, about to say his goodbyes to his mother, who felt compelled to speak her mind:
“Dad’s at work right now but I can take you, you sure you don’t want me to? You look too nervous to drive.”
“I’m good, still freaking out, I don’t know what Minda wants. Are you sure Minda will explain all this to me?”
“She is the only one who can, besides she’ll do a better job at it than me. She did save your life and mine, so I trust her, and that means you have to trust every word she says too. When you were born, she prepared me for some event, although I didn’t want to believe in any of that crap. She referred to it as some kind of a new…stage. Maybe today marks the day, if that is something you want to believe. Just go and see her, make her happy. She’ll protect you.”
“The chapter…” Evan said under his breath, with a questionable half-smile and wondered how much good or bad the chapter could mean. Everything happened so quickly and yet there was so much to unravel and replay in his head.
Was he prepared to acknowledge all of this as a reality or a myth? Or even a conspiracy? The chapter could well be some kind of word bait that Minda had originally sold to his mother when she was pregnant with him. Regardless of what the chapter entails, the only hope was that Minda would be honest and make him feel safe, at least as safe as the snowglobe he was carrying in his hands made him feel, the object he chose of significance to him, as Minda requested.
Evan parallel parked next to the only other car there in Dutch Burger’s car park. Minda was on the driver’s seat, visibly waiting, but not patiently.
As soon as he stationed the car, through the layers of car windows, it captured his attention that Minda was staring at him with her head turned ninety degrees. His godmother gestured for him to come over, but why wasn’t she moving to greet him or something? Did she expect Evan to get in her car? It all seemed fishy, and it didn’t escape his scrutiny that the place’s climate resembled one appropriate of a drug deal.
His willpower pushed him to take his snowglobe and move his legs, ready to face Minda in her passenger seat yet tense. It was concerning how much his mother trusted Minda whereas he didn’t, since he hadn’t been exposed to her enough. What if she isn’t to trust at all and it was all make-believe? This could all be a scheme to kidnap him, Evan thought, but was soon to shake it off.
At last, he closed Minda’s passenger door behind him, without a word, or eye contact, but loaded with tension.
He looked up and noticed Minda’s evident tender grin, a sign of family recognition.
“Thank you for seeing me in such short notice, Evan. It may be hard for you to understand but I can assure you, this is for your best. This is something we call code orange, where your life force may be in danger from something that we thought we defeated in the beginning. The spider charm that I gave you was meant to save you from it, but it took a very different turn, you will know why.”
Evan stayed quiet, heeding his mother’s advice to trust every word of Minda. Staying quiet and motionless was his way of allowing his trust to sink in, and in turn, allowed Minda to speak uninterruptedly.
“But for now, we want to prepare you for the chapter to come, because without it, I can only think the worst. It’s in the signs, Evan. This, the chapter, was defined before you were born and only I can help you in this. From now on, you will call me Asibi Minda.”
Somehow, Evan was lost for words but observant of every minute word and action that came from Minda’s being, searching for answers that way, while distrusting the freedom to pose questions, despite having so many. It may have been intimidation stopping him.
Even then, Minda didn’t look like she had time to spare to accept any questions, contradicting what she had said over the phone earlier. There was definitely a sense of rush, a need to move forward, because what she did next meant that there was no time for distractions.
She opened the glove compartment. Inside it, her hand pinched something unidentified from a bag in view.
“Time isn’t on our side, I need to condition you first. I am sorry I have to do this.”
Within a split second, she blew the contents in her hand towards Evan’s confused face. An explosive powder accelerating, raining towards him, but then, also floating and reflecting the light of the sun. The floating powder glowed, like gold dust, exposed to the Californian sun. It could have been a deja vu.
Or an illusion, as he was drowsily drifting into a peaceful state of sleep
“The chapter will initiate soon.” Minda whispered, being the last thing that Evan assimilated.