Stealing Her Thoughts
Tzina is dying.
I transform myself into Tzina’s exact form, fire eyes and all.
Then I spread my listening body.
This lets me see and feel someone’s thoughts, feelings, and memories.
Shazira has never seen anyone do this.
Flow masters, like Shazira, use masks to change their shape, but never take the form of other Jiku.
It’s forbidden, too difficult, and too dangerous.
I’m not using a temporary mask, or even a flow transformation.
I dissolve my pattern body, and attach myself to a twin of her pattern body.
“What are you doing, Yagrin?”
“There’s no time to explain, Shazira.”
“This is what I need to do, to save her.”
“Watch over us, and don’t interfere.”
I lay down next to Tzina, and take her hand.
I’ve never knowingly done this with a living person before.
I can see every thought, and feeling she’s ever had.
No one would want to expose themselves like this.
I don’t know how she’ll feel about this, or feel about me when we’re done, but it can’t be helped.
I travel through her memories, and past thoughts.
Her mind reminds me of the Bizra.
She changes over time, but at any single moment, her mind moves clearly and powerfully in a single direction.
She knows that most people live with contradiction, but she won’t, or can’t tolerate much contradiction in herself.
Like the Bizra, she hates cruelty, and the conflict of violence.
I cry inside when I feel how much she loves Shazira and me.
I miss her so much.
I move through her memories to her time at the Dream School.
The Dream School works by connecting several minds into a simulation.
I don’t know how it works with others, but I can watch the connection in her.
Her waking awareness doesn’t connect with the simulation.
Instead, a copy of her personality connects with the simulation, to re-integrate later with the waking personality.
My guess is, that most minds adjust to the simulation, and merging without a problem.
In her, the simulation personality becomes something foreign.
It’s unacceptable to the waking Tzina, and is never fully re-integrated with her waking self.
A separate personality is born, and my Tzina is trying to destroy it, and she’s killing herself.
So too, the Bizra dreamers are trying to kill the cruelty that has invaded their minds, but they do it unconsciously by attacking the Jiku.
I have to find the Tzina I know.
I deepen the connection with Tzina’s mind in the present moment, and I’m back in the dome with her.
The beautiful garden is still there, but there’s barely room for the two of us to stand.
“Ina,” she says,”is that you, again?”
“Yes, it’s me.”
I tell her that the Bizra suggest transforming her, and I tell her what happened with the Dream School.
“You’re at war with yourself.”
“I don’t want to become Bizra,” she says, “but I can’t stop what I’m doing.”
“I don’t know how it’s happening!”
“Tell me what to do.”
“You can’t see those hidden parts of your mind, Tzina.”
“I’ll have to find the parts of you that are at war, and stop them.”
“If I can’t stop the war in time, I’ll transform you into a Bizra.”
There must be two selves at war.
Some unknown part of Tzina is trying to kill the Dream School self.
I’ve met her Dream School self, so I focus on memories of that self, and try to touch its current thoughts.
I find myself on top of a barren mountain, the world around me dark and broken.
There are random bursts of fire, that rise up from the world around us, like volcanoes, as tall as the mountain that I stand on.
There’s a large, beautiful house on the mountain top, surrounded by a small garden.
I walk up to the front door.
The house is made from some incredibly strong hardwood.
Visually, it looks like wood, but its energy patterns seem more like metal.
There are a few windows, that feel like crystal.
Their energy patterns also remind me of metal.
This house is a fortress.
The sides of the doorway are beautifully carved, but there is no knob on the door.
“Go away,” she says.
“I told you before.”
“I’ll never let you in, and you won’t stop me.”
“I’m not who you think I am,” I tell her.
“No one comes in,” she says, “not even you.”
There are small explosions at a dozen spots on the outside of the house, but it’s undamaged.
I see a dark figure, one hundred feet away on a horse.
She wears bright armor, and points a weapon at the house.
“Get out of here, ina!” says the one inside the house.
“You’ll be killed by the warrior!”
“I can’t leave,” I tell her, “without speaking with you.”
“Only the stories matter,” she says.
“I’ll be dead soon, and I have to finish a story.”
“If you stay here,” I tell her, “no one will ever see your stories.”
“The stories will die with you.”
The door quickly opens, and she pulls me inside.
There’s an explosion outside the door a moment after I enter.
“That last explosion would have killed you!” she says.
“I couldn’t bear that,” she says, surprised at her own feeling.
She tries to shake off the feeling, and her expression turns cold, as I remember it.
The house is beautiful, and filled with manuscripts.
This Tzina has aged years since the Dream School.
She’s still on Dream School time, and it’s eating up her life.
“You’re going to die soon?” I ask.
“I feel my life draining away.”
“I’ll be gone in an hour or two, and that’s if the warrior doesn’t find a way to kill me first.”
“Take my stories with you, ina, so they aren’t lost forever.”
“What about the other stories?”
“I don’t understand.”
“The ones you haven’t written yet.”
“If you die, those stories will never be born, and never be told.”
The Dreamer and the Warrior
Tzina cries, and the cold expression melts away.
“I want the stories so much,” she says, “but I can’t fight death!”
I explain to her what happened at the dream school.
“You want to join with the warrior to kill me, so your little girl can go on living her childish life?!”
“I love you, but your greatest stories will be born, in the midst of living, not in this Dream School!”
I show her my thoughts, and let her feel the love I have for her.
I also let her touch the love that the other Tzina feels for Shazira and me.
We cry together, and the cold face is gone.
In this inner world, I look like Tzina, but I wear the master’s robe with the four bands.
“You passed the artist’s test, ina?” she asks.
“And one of your arts was story?”
“You know how I love stories,” I tell her.
“Promise me that I’ll get a master’s band in art, and my great work will be a story!”
“I promise, Tzina.”
Tzina gathers the books and puts them in a strong sack.
She hands the sack to me.
“Get the stories out of here, and give them to the other Tzina.”
“You’ll give them to her yourself.”
The dreaming Tzina shakes her head, as the house dissolves around us.
“I don’t know how to stop the Dream School that I’m stuck in.”
“Let the warrior kill me!”
“Tzina has to live, so she can create more stories!”
The warrior launches several explosives at the dreamer, and I flow them into air.
The warrior gallops toward us, launching wave after wave of explosives.
None of them touch us.
She jumps off the horse, but I hold her in mid-air, bound to the energy web.
“Let me go,” says the warrior.
“She’s killing us, burning up our life!”
“I have to stop her, or we’ll all die.”
“I’m ina,” I shout, “and I won’t let any of you die!”
I connect my thoughts to both of them, and become a bridge, so their thoughts and feelings and memories can touch, and join together.
While I do this, my own thoughts, feelings and memories are open to them.
How much of my memories will they see and feel?
I strengthen the connection between the three of us with emotional energy, filling it with love, and the desire to live and create.
The two of them are glowing like fire.
Slowly, they reach out and grasp each other’s hands, and cry out in pain.
Then they join together, and become one.
Out of the Garden
This new Tzina looks something like my Tzina, but a bit older and stronger.
I see dreams above her head, like the Bizra.
Her smile is still the same, but she glows like the sun.
Her light spreads and touches the whole inner world.
The land is healed, and becomes filled with growing things.
She turns around and walks to where the house was.
In its place is the dome that imprisons my Tzina.
She touches the dome, and it melts away.
My Tzina is lying unconscious, on a small patch of ground, next to one flower that still grows.
I bend down.
She still breathes, but just barely.
“Connect us, ina,” says the strong dreamer.
I connect them as I did the warrior and dreamer.
“We are who we are, ina,” she says, “and who we choose to be.”
The glowing one reaches out, and takes the other’s hands.
She cries out, and my connection with the two of them is broken.
I get up slowly in the outside world, and return to my normal form.
Tzina isn’t moving.
“She just stopped breathing, Yagrin!” says Shazira.
“What did you do?!”
She’s not breathing.
I pick her up, and let vines of energy and light connect our hearts, and I let the energy of love pass between us.
She shakes in my arms, and breathes again.
Then she settles down, and opens her eyes.
She smiles and laughs.
“Put me down, ina,” she says.
“I’m all right now.”
Shazira hugs Tzina fiercely.
“Are you really all right?” asks Shazira, hesitantly.
“I’m fine,” says Tzina.
“Where are my stories, ina?” she asks me.
“Did you find a way to bring them out of my mind?
“The stories are safe within me,” I tell her.
I shape a sack from air, and fill it with manuscripts like the ones I saw inside her.
Then I shape the ink to match the words I’ve stored.
“A part of Tzina was writing stories for several years,” I tell the others.
“May I read them, Tzina?” asks Berek.
She looks at me with a mischievous expression.
Then she kisses him on the cheek.
“I’d love for you to read them, cousin,” she says.
She emphasizes the word cousin, and then looks at me.
She glimpsed the truth about Berek, when our minds were joined.