This very short story was the birth of my Spherecasters characters. My story “The Seventeenth Sphere” is a companion story to this one, giving the back story and alternate point of view. “The Seventeenth Sphere” is available as an ebook, but “Where Are You” can be read free online right here!
Where Are You?
by Inanna Gabriel
Where are you? The pendulum moves, but it tells me nothing. Nothing. You’ve learned the trick of hiding from me. Of course you have. That was the first thing I taught you, wasn’t it, how to hide? Taught you how to evade the gaze of the wrong eyes. Now, it seems, my own eyes have become the wrong ones, and you’ve managed the trick of concealing yourself from me.
Where are you? Still the pendulum swings over this cryptic chart, this tangle of lines and sigils and ridiculous symbols that tell me nothing. Nothing. It tells me nothing of your whereabouts, nothing of why you’ve gone or why you’ve chosen to repel my perception.
But I will find you. I will. It is my Will, and that was the second thing I taught you, wasn’t it, that my Will would always be done? Always. You can sit out there in your circle of salt, hiding, but I will find you. You are trapped in your circle, don’t you see? Trapped, because I am looking and if you step outside that safe haven then I will find you. So, you see, your safety is your cage, your trap, because you can’t leave it if you wish to continue to hide.
I watch the pendulum move, swinging with mute purpose, telling me things in its ancient language. It is a language I understand as well as identical siblings understand their own twinspeak, and yet to me, now, it means nothing. Nothing. Its dance is meaningless to me; my dowsing is for naught. Is it some trick that prevents me seeing, or is it that I don’t truly wish to see? I didn’t teach you that trick, did I? I know you’re out there, and it is my Will to see you, yet I can’t. I know the movements of this pendulum like the beating of my own heart but they are gibberish to me. Abracadabra. Nonsense. This is your magick, I can feel it. The more it continues the more I am sure.
What is this? My mind’s eye is opening, yet still I don’t understand the visions the pendulum inspires. I see myself inside a sphere of golden energy, the circle I cast before I sat before my pendulum to divine your whereabouts. But I see it from the outside, from above and beyond, from a vantage point not my own. I am watching you watching me.
Where are you? How are you doing this to me? I sit in here in my circle, where I should be protected and concealed, and still you can see me. How is that? That was the first thing I taught you, wasn’t it, how to hide? How can you see through my veil, through my Will? You surround me, watching. I feel your eyes upon me, feel your presence in this very room, though of your whereabouts the pendulum still tells me nothing. Nothing.
The pendulum shows me myself, sitting in this room, in this circle, in this cage that has grown out of my own Will. The movements are no longer meaningless, no longer a foreign tongue, and yet what they tell me can’t be valid. I see you, seeing me. I see the sphere in which I reside and I see you, holding this sphere in your open hand. The image comes clear to my mind, just like the pendulum images always do in the end, but what I see can’t be true.
Where am I? I see you holding the sphere, the power woven into a solid ball, a trick I didn’t teach you, because I don’t know the trick of it myself. But I see you, holding the sphere. I see inside of it. I see the person inside, dowsing, sitting before a cryptic diagram of lines and sigils and ridiculous symbols that are telling him nothing. Telling him something. Telling him that he is tangled, ensnared. Telling him that he is overcome.
I see inside the sphere, and I see outside the sphere, outside where you hold it, speaking your words of magick to seal it, close it up, finalizing the working. I see you place it on a shelf, I see you smile. You see the person inside the sphere with his pendulum, seeing you. Seeing everything. I see the other spheres on the shelf. On all the shelves. I see all the souls you’ve collected, all the teachers, all the masters. Did we teach you any tricks at all? Was it a ruse? Where is the apprentice I believed I’d found? Believed I’d groomed, raised, loved? Where is that person?
Where are you?
This story has a companion story called “The Seventeenth Sphere”, available as an ebook. Learn about it here.