Whistling air again, Mr. Jones slid himself onto the table, pausing for a moment as his feet came off the floor and his body settled back onto itself. He sighed, the lines at the corners of his mouth becoming shallower as the muscles beneath relaxed. Raising his head, he gave Master a smile.
When no further explanation followed, Master narrowed his eyes slightly and shifted his sight again, this time looking specifically at the stated area. The murky, brown aura swirled around Mr. Jones like a delicate dust storm. No area stayed motionless long enough for a visual assessment. In the seven years he had been professionally clearing energy paths and helping to open chakras he had seen several unusual behaviors in a person’s aura. This swirling was something new. He had no reference for it. His eyes flicked involuntarily toward the small mirrors then back to Mr. Jones.
“Can I lay down now?”
Seeing Mr. Jones’ eyes watching him, Master nodded and held out a hand, palm open.
“May I take your jacket, sir?”
It was a simple request that clients acquiesced to without question. Mr. Jones was no exception. Shrugging his shoulders the grubby, tan jacket dropped down his arms, landing in a pile on the table’s soft, blue cushion. Master tilted his head slightly to one side, surprised at the ease of the man’s movement.
Plucking up the garment by its collar he turned to hang it on one of the round wooden pegs by the door. When he turned back his foot froze in mid-step. In that small, two seconds of time, Mr. Jones had, without a sound, become stretched flat on the table. His hands were again folded, the fingers laced tightly together and resting on his stomach.
Finishing his step, Master made two more and stood again at the head of the table, behind Mr. Jones’ closed eyes. Every hair follicle on his body was erect. He could feel the energy gathering around him. Unable to help himself, he looked again at the small, reflecting discs hanging so carefully over his windows. They had been a gift from his mother the day he had opened his doors.
“Evil takes many forms. These discs only guard against one.”
Showing him how to measure the strings and make the knots, she patiently explained the significance of each one. He had never moved them from his windows.
Raising his hands he brought them together over Mr. Jones’ forehead, cupping them around the area commonly considered the third eye. With shifted sight he focused his energy. The response was immediate.
Mr. Jones opened his eyes and looked up, his blue gaze fixed on Master. The area of his third eye swirled deeply, the murky brown color of his aura sweeping together into a vortex.
Master’s hands became captives of the storm, trapped in the tidal pull. His own energy lashed out like a whip, violently looking for something to hold onto and finding nothing. The vortex opened wide, revealing an iridescent jaw filled with teeth, the upper and lowers showing large, canine-like fangs.
Struggling to pull his hands back, Master felt his wrists bind together. His personal energy poured out of him into the waiting jaws where it swirled away. Dizziness swept over him. His eyes rolled upward as the soft, hazy blackness of unconsciousness mercifully captured him in its waiting arms.
Master awakened alone, curled atop the blue cushion of his work table with his head pillowed on one arm as if he had lain down for a quick nap and fell deeply asleep. He blinked repeatedly, trying to recall how he had come to be there. Mr. Jones had been been laying here.
Memory jerked him upright and his head screamed with pain. Dizzy, he pressed a palm to his forehead where it hurt the most, the skin over his hands feeling thin and tender. He squinted at them, studying them through pain filled eyes, then looked at the peg by the door.
The tan, grubby jacket was gone.
Slowly he sat up. Every inch of him ached as his weight shifted from one part to the next. It took both hands pulling at his slacks to get his legs over the edge of the table. The step is still in place. Carefully he lowered himself down, wincing as his right foot settled on the step.
Behind the sideboard where he kept his crystals, acupuncture needles, incense and hot rocks, is a full length mirror hung on its side. He had hung it that way to increase the power of the candles he burned while he worked. The light was softer, more golden and easier on the eyes. Catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror he is numb with shock.
Black hair, once rich and thick, is now thin, peppered with gray and flat in color. The skin around his eyes has become creased. The brown of his irises are now flat and washed out, like he had been drained of his vibrancy. Knowing what was coming, he shifted his sight to see his aura.
Shuffling closer to mirror he peered at his forehead. An iridescent smear seemed to cover the area of his third eye. Bracing both hands on the sideboard he leaned in, his tired eyes trying to make sense of it even as his stomach seized with horror.
Bite marks surrounded a gaping, ragged hole where his third eye had been.
Mr. Jones had left and taken Master with him.