From The Ashes by Jo Ramsey
Reality Shift Book 5
young adult metaphysical urban fantasy novel (about 55K words)
Cover Art by Winterheart Design
Shanna’s finding it hard to adapt to her new life, and now, Ken has begun to show more than a friendly interest. Shanna always thought Ken only liked her because they were neighbors, but now he’s taking her to the Harvest Dance and wants her to be his girlfriend. Shanna wants to trust him; she isn’t sure she can. She fears he wants more from her than she’s willing to give.
Meanwhile, Shanna becomes aware that the other-worldly entity she and Jonah know as EDD once again seeks a portal into our universe. The entity finds a potential portal in a substitute teacher dismissed from the school for assaulting a student. That’s not the only troubling thing about the woman; she’s also hiding a dangerous secret about her own abilities.
It’s up to Shanna and Jonah to persuade the former-teacher that she’s in danger and allow them to help.
I hated nighttime, especially late at night after I’d gone to bed. That was when the nightmares came.
Even on nights like this, when I’d stayed wide awake to keep the images away, they appeared. Not as nightmares, but as thoughts that invaded my mind. Well, I’d stayed mostly wide awake. I’d tossed and turned for almost three hours now, unwilling to let myself slip into sleep. When I’d lived with my parents, sleep had been my friend, an escape from my daily life. Now sleep had become my enemy. But being awake didn’t keep the images of my past from filling my mind. I wanted to throw up when I thought about everything that had happened to me. I wanted to forget it all, at least for a little while.
I turned from my left side to my right, careful not to jostle the cast on my arm too much, and accidentally kicked the cat that had decided she lived on my bed. “Sorry, Patsy,” I whispered.
Patsy meowed and rubbed her face against mine. Her long fur brushed soft and cool against my face. I petted her, and the soothing repetitive motion relaxed me so much that I almost fell asleep. I jerked myself back to full consciousness as my eyes tried to drift closed. “No way,” I said out loud. “I’m not having those dreams again.”
You have to sleep sometime, Mason, my guide, said.
No, I don’t, I argued. Not as long as those dreams are there. Every time I close my eyes, I see Mom. With her hand raised to hit me. I didn’t want to share that part with Mason. Since he was one of my guides and seemed to spend a lot of time in my head, he probably knew anyway.
You can choose not to see that, Mason replied firmly. You control your own mind. You control your thoughts.
How can I control my mind if I’m asleep? I demanded.
Meditation would be a start, he said. He sounded way too reasonable. I hated it when he did that, because it meant I couldn’t argue with him. You’ve been letting that slide lately. If you meditated for just a few minutes every night before you lie down, you’d raise your vibration and your mind would be focused on something positive. The nightmares wouldn’t be as likely to happen.
I don’t understand why they’re happening now.<./i> To me, I sounded like I was whining. I didn’t care. My guides had become used to me whining, and unlike my mother, they didn’t yell at me when I did it. I’m away from Mom. I shouldn’t still be thinking about her. There’s nothing to be afraid of anymore.
The nightmares are a release, said someone who definitely wasn’t Mason.
Accompanying this new voice was a sense of calmness, a warm sensation almost tangible against my skin. The voice bathed me in light, which gave me a pretty good clue about the speaker’s identity. I asked anyway. Who are you?
You know who I am, Ganatram. He sounded amused.
Only one person—or, rather, being—called me by my spiritual name. The being who’d given it to me. The being I’d believed was speaking. I just didn’t understand why he’d shown up to talk to me. He wasn’t one of my guides. Shiva?
Indeed, he replied. You appear surprised.
A being of light wondered why I’d be surprised about his talking to me. He didn’t know me too well, apparently. If he had, he’d have known that I didn’t consider myself worth his time. Um, yeah. I didn’t think I’d hear from you again. Why are you speaking with me?
You asked a question. I was able to provide the answer, and chose to do so.
I hadn’t wondered why he’d spoken at that particular moment. I wanted to know why he’d spoken to me at all. I was pretty sure he knew what I meant. A lot of people knew him as a Hindu god, and I had trouble letting go of thinking of him as a deity. According to my friend Jonah, Shiva was also a being of light, a being with an extremely high energetic vibration and who had never existed in physical form. Since beings of light had such high vibrations, they usually only dealt with humans who had comparative vibrations. As far as I knew, I didn’t qualify.
Shiva had helped me save a friend of mine from a dead spirit that wanted to possess her. I still didn’t know why he’d agreed to assist me. Jonah and his guide Tethys, another being of light, had suggested I ask Shiva for help, and since they usually knew what they were talking about, I’d asked. I hadn’t expected him to respond, and someday I hoped to understand why he had.
Even more confusing to me, Shiva had kept speaking with me after the dead spirit had been sent to the other side. The night I’d succeeded in helping my friend, Shiva had spoken to me while I meditated and had given me the name Ganatram. Since then, he’d shown up to have conversations with me from time to time, and it always surprised me.
I’d become used to other beings talking to me. Jonah had explained that my so-called imaginary friends Mason, Simon, and J were actually guides, beings who chose to work with a specific human to help with things in that human’s life. After a while, I’d been able to wrap my mind around that idea. It had certainly explained a lot. Mason, Simon, and J had been with me since before I’d even started school, and they weren’t beings of light, so it didn’t seem strange to me that they would work with me.
Shiva definitely wasn’t my guide. I didn’t think I’d ever have a high enough vibration to have a being of light as a guide. So he didn’t have a reason to spend so much time with me.
I wanted to ask Shiva again why he spoke to me, but I knew he wouldn’t give me any more of an answer than he already had. Instead, I asked, If the nightmares are a release, what am I releasing?
Over the course of your life, you have built up a large amount of negative energy, Shiva explained. You already know the effects that this has had on your energy system, and you know that it lowered your vibration. Each time you experienced a negative event at the hands of your mother or another, that energy increased. Now you are away from those events, away from the low vibration that surrounded them, and are in a positive environment. Your energy is shifting toward a higher vibration, and your system is releasing the negative energy.
My exhaustion-blurred mind tried to comprehend. I guess that makes sense.
Indeed. The concept is something you must think on and process. You perhaps might also discuss it with—
A mish-mash of voices and noise obscured the last word. That happened a lot when I talked to Shiva. It sounded like an AM radio signal: sometimes clear as a bell, sometimes fading in and out, and sometimes nothing but static. The static frustrated me. I always wondered what he’d said and had no way to find out.
This time, despite the garbling, I could fill in the missing word. Jonah was the only one I dared to discuss something like this with, and I sometimes doubted I should even tell him. He didn’t know Shiva talked to me regularly, and I worried about how he’d react if he found out. He might not believe me, or worse, he might think me arrogant for believing Shiva would talk to me.
Shanna, pay attention, Mason commanded.