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Special thanks to author, Mary Enck, for contributing this chapter.
Chapter Five–Po the Priest
By Mary Enck
He sat by the well in contemplation, where the shade that was offered by the tall palms caressed him. It was only when he needed to peer off into the distant sand dunes that he was compelled to shield his eyes from the noontime glare. Even with his altered vision, nothing stirred out across the vast empty landscape except an occasional puff of air that whirled in a circle making a small dervish of the sand. Then it was gone, leaving nothing of itself behind.
Po thought that this place he had chosen to draw forth the waters of the well to the surface should have been remote enough to discourage the most intense adventurers. The mystical properties of the water had slept far beneath the sands for centuries. There was nothing grand about the little pool of pure water. It was so clear that, at a certain time of day, it shimmered as a crystal in the sun. The taste of it was sweet, as if a hint of honey had been filtered in and settled in the enclosure. Po smiled with an enraptured gaze toward the source and marveled at his own clever talent of summoning anything he desired.
“Why not?” His whisper was barely audible but he knew the power that he could manifest to bring forth the one called James to this very spot. After all, wasn’t his time worth a great deal more than just the passive act of waiting? Yes, indeed it was. He stood and smoothed his robes around his spare figure and, breathing deeply, he lifted his arms toward the never-ending blue of the sky. As he uttered the words, his face grew red. Covered with a film of moisture, his entire body vibrated to the mysteries that only he could discern. He focused on the object of his attention and, within the time it takes for water to evaporate in the heat of the sun, he could see the shimmering of the image he sought. It came in gradual manifestation until James stood before him. He wore a bewildered look on his face as if struck by a bolt of something otherworldly.
“What the devil?”
Then he looked at Po, who was standing behind him. He had whirled around at the sound of laughter that was in no way pleasant.
“The Devil indeed. I don’t believe I can take that sort of credit at all.”
Po just stood there with that amused expression he had, when the corners of his mouth nearly trembled in his attempt to restrain himself from an out-loud burst of laughter. It was a sound that grated on the raw nerves of the mystified James, who then frowned in anger at being pulled about as if he were a puppet.
Regaining a small measure of composure, James looked around with the understanding that his vision might not be revealing all that surrounded him at this moment.
“All right. Now just what have you done to me this time? How did you bring me here and why?”
Then the sun took a wobble in the sky and it was just enough to capture the radiance of its reflection in the well. Before he could say another word, James was struck by the possibilities of what he saw before him. The nondescript and very small pool of water shimmered as if laughing at him. He fancied it was saying, “well here I am, now what do you intend to do about it?” His puzzlement over what had just happened to him was immediately displaced with the realization that here and now his journey could have come to an end. As he walked toward the water, he told himself that this was just the way of things, sought for with such intense determination. At times, they could appear at the speed of light.
“Hold on there for a moment, James.” Po had stepped alongside him and grabbed his arm. “Not so fast. There are things we need to discuss before you go plunging into something you do not understand.”
Word Count: 679