[Note: Link to Sonnets of Spring. Entry is on topic #3]
I stood gazing at the waves, contemplating on when my next Assignment would beckon me towards the realm of the mortals when I inexplicably started thinking of Taylor Swift’s new video “Style”. That made me think of Harry Styles and Haylor and whether they would be a thing again.
“Well that’s a weird thought,” I told myself, “I don’t even like Taylor Swift.”
And that too on this private island, unwinding from the hassles of my last Assignment with Rocko and Sissy, a human should have been the last thing on my mind. In fact, I was still carrying the scars of the last assignment, a body that I couldn’t get rid of. Curse that wizard Solomon, curse his magic.
If it wasn’t for his bloody magic, I wouldn’t still be trapped in this stinking human body and Rocko and Sissy wouldn’t be parading around in a make-believe human body, either. We can take any form we want. Dog, cat, mouse, human. You name it, we can be it. Some of us like sashaying around in human bodies though, it gives them a feeling of power (sham though it might be) to be able to play their masters. Not being great fans of playing human, Rocko and Sissy stuck to the charade, thinking it would diminish my distress, adorned in the same species as I was. I hadn’t told them much – nothing except the dismal fact that I was stuck in this odious body of Appu, the apprentice, and that they needed to keep me away from prying eyes.
“The waves are not the answer,” came Rocko’s crisp, assured baritone from behind.
I did not turn back, continuing to stare at the unending sea instead.
“You need to tell us, Jim. You have to let us in”, said Sissy intensely.
What was I supposed to tell them? That I felt trapped, suffocated, claustrophobic? They must already know that. They have never been Sealed inside a human before but they had possessed countless of them and that itself isn’t a very pleasant experience. It’s easy to extrapolate what getting Sealed in must feel like. Then what? That I feel impotent, incapacitated to land myself in this pickle. I, who had never botched an Assignment before, not only managed to fail at one but also managed to get himself Sealed inside his human host. Well, I could tell them that. They’ve been hitherto aware of every detail in my life, every embarrassing detail especially. They would assure me and instill some of my former confidence back into me.
“I was thinking about my impeccable record so far. Haven’t screwed up a single Assignment. Impressive, eh?” I said, turning back.
Wait, what? Where did that come from? I wasn’t planning on saying that. I was seeking assurance, where did this boastful gibberish come from?
“Impressive? What’s more impressive is how you managed to get yourself trapped like that”, quipped Rocko, pointing to my body.
“What would you know about impressive? You have failed more times than one can count. You are averaging a success rate of something around 30%, if I’m not wrong,” I retorted. Okaaaay. I did not mean that. I wasn’t even thinking along this line. Where is this sudden burst of bitter ego coming from?
“James Walter Richardson! Do not for one minute think that this rude chatter will distance us from you. We are in this together, whether you like it or not,” Sissy said heatedly. She goes all formal when she is agitated.
That evoked a tiny smile on my lips. She took it as encouragement.
“Please, Jim”, she said, grabbing me by the shoulders, “Tell us what happened.”
It was the earnestness in her eyes that finally got to me.
“Alright,” I sighed. “For my last Assignment I was hired by an anonymous human to spy on Solomon the Shrewd, that renowned wizard. The explicit instructions were to possess his apprentice, Appu, and extract information about the whereabouts of his silver sword, the one with an emerald inlay, which he had bought off from a bankrupt wizard at an exorbitant price. It’s supposed to have some formidable magical property, I’m not sure what.
“Anyway, I managed to find where the sword lay concealed – within a secret cabinet underneath his kitchen counter. But I thought that I could do the client a favour, since he was paying me and humans are not obligated to pay us for our services. A complete lie. Yes, my client was paying me. But I wanted to take the sword for the glory of it – for fooling Solomon the Shrewd himself.
“I managed to disable the protective charms on the cabinet and pull out the sword. As I stood admiring the sword in Solomon’s kitchen, he walks in. As soon as I noticed him, I attacked with the sword. But I was no match for a wizard. I ran from his house, bleeding profusely, ran till I reached Rocko’s human residence and he nursed me to health.”
I omitted the part where I lay in a ditch, semi-conscious for a week, eating dead rats and drinking sewage water due to the weak state of the body I was possessing and my inability to de-possess it. Was lying by omission lying? I guess so.
“And the next thing you know, you cannot de-possess the body,” completed Rocko.
“Yes, Solomon had successfully Sealed me in.”
“We need to take you to a Healer – one of the Elder ones,” said Sissy. I turned my head to look at her. She looked pleadingly into my eyes. Her nose was twitching slightly – another sign of her nervous, agitated state. The familiar tic somehow made me forget my newfound stubborn, egotistic stand and agree to seek help.
Rocko and Sissy arranged everything between themselves.They would take me to Peeves – a retired Healer now but famous for his research in the concept of self-possession. His research had led to a lot of interest in this concept or ‘monstrosity’, as Peeves had called it. We were to meet Peeves at his human address.
“His knowledge of Sealing is unparalleled and he keeps to himself. Some of these young new Healers like to gossip,” justified Rocko at Peeves doorstep.
I said nothing, and simply rang the doorbell. I wanted to scream, to shout, to tell them that I was scared out of my wits. But somehow, keeping a calm facade seemed more precious at that moment.
A short, stunted attendant opened the door and took us to Peeves’ bedroom when he was requested. I told Sissy and Rocko to wait outside. Peeves had the gift of Sight. I wouldn’t be able to lie to him, and I didn’t want them to know that I was lying. They nodded silently and I walked in.
“Hello Jim,” said Peeves, “tell me everything.”
The ‘man’ sure did know how to get straight to the point. Well, I had no intention of beating around the bush either – I told him everything.
“How weak was the body when you lay in that ditch?”
“Very weak. Moving a single muscle seemed like a Herculean task”
“How many days did you stay in that condition?”
“About a week, Master Healer.”
“And do you feel any changes in your self, child? Apart from the obvious, of course.”
“Well, um…” – I hesitated, but only for a moment – “Master Healer, I feel as if there’s this gap between what I think and what I do. You know when you possess a human and try to influence him you can only exaggerate an emotion, you cannot create one. If the person is happy and has no essence of sadness for you to pull on to, you cannot make him sad. But I feel as if I’m creating emotions.”
I stopped for a moment, frightened. ”What is wrong with me?”
Peeves looked at me with his penetrating eyes. Technically, not his eyes since he was only creating a camouflage of a human body he once possessed around his Essence.
“I don’t know, child. I can hazard a guess,” Peeves said.
“By all means, Master Healer, please make a guess.”
“When one inhabits an individual, the resulting cocktail is that of one body and two souls. However, the body’s original soul remains the primary soul. This soul is capable of creating emotions. When we possess an individual, we become the secondary soul. I don’t know what happens when the secondary soul is Sealed inside the body and the primary soul is extinguished but I would assume that the secondary soul would become the primary in this case.”
I stared at him nonplussed, reluctant to believe.
“This is your body now,” he continued, “because in that one week you spent in the ditch, your primary soul was extinguished. You are possessing your own body, my child. You are self-possessed.”
“Self-possession? The concept you termed as ‘monstrosity’ once?”
“Yes, the very same.”
“So I am going to be stuck in this body for eternity?”
“Humans don’t live forever, my child, genies do.”
“So I am a human now? But you said self-possession resulted in a monstrosity.”
Peeves looked at me for an interminable moment, his eyes grim and pitying and then said, “That’s right, child.”