The overcrowded city of London had been Yulik’s home for the past three years now, and still, he never missed his natal village in the vast open Siberian tundra. He was the son of Yarev Mechlanev, Shaman and Chief of the Ha’oash tribe, in the Krasnoyarsk Krai district of Russia. He was predestined to follow in his father’s footsteps and become the representative of the spirit that had been guiding his people for as long as they could remember, and yet, here he was, alone, in a sea of concrete surrounded by strangers who had never experienced the cold air brushing against their faces while their hearts pounded in their chests from the rush of a hunt. Yulik had been taught the shamanistic ways since his youth by his father as it had been done by his ancestors over the centuries while forced to receive a more appropriate education by the local government. One that fitted the times we lived in.
Yulik had battled his first evil djinn when he was nineteen years old armed with a sword and shield crafted in the most traditional shamanistic ways giving them the particularity of following their bearer into the spiritual realm, a feat only accessible to confirmed shamans. An old woman had been possessed by an evil entity and was unable to find rest with thoughts of murders invading her mind, barely able to resist them. Yulik, in a ritual dated to the New Stone Age more than 10,000 years ago, entered the spiritual realm armed and vanquished, or simply repulsed, the demon in the woman in an incredible show of force and valor. It was then that he felt the presence of his tribe’s guiding spirit in him and truly understood its might forever changing his understanding of the world. Yulik had been embraced into a higher level of being by an inexplicable force that had accepted his people as its own and him as its voice. Yarev, filled with pride, knew at that moment his tribe had found his successor and their guide in his son to lead them into the new century.
Unfortunately, Yarev’s joy was short lived. The young shaman quickly grew tired of his spiritual battles and slowly lost faith in their utilities. Modern men and medicine invaded his area with out of reach knowledge and powers. To add to it all, as if mocking him, they could cure the deadliest of ills with a simple pill and appease even the most violent of evil spirits, or so it seemed. Yulik’s enthusiasm for the old ways turned into obligation and his heart, once filled with awe, was now full of shame. His father, guided by his tribe’s spirit and sensing his son’s turmoil, sent Yulik to study environmental science in a nearby modern college under the supervision of an English professor researching the area for specific Siberian plants with potent medicinal properties.
Seven years passed since Yulik’s graduation and he was now working as a researcher under the same English professor who had taken him under his wings. He still sporadically carried his duties as Shaman of the Ha’oash tribe, but more in a ceremonial way than anything else. His father’s teachings, once bringer of truths, were now primitive wisdoms of a distant past, of a memory, of a dream. Yulik devoted almost all of his time to modern science and was very gifted at it. So gifted in fact, that he was offered a full time position in London, a position he accepted. Yulik, with a heavy heart, announced the news of his departure to his father, You can run as far as you want my son, you will never be able to escape your destiny, was all that Yarev said before bidding his son farewell.
Martin woke up with cold sweats on that day, he had the most unpleasant dream of his life in his luxurious flat on Adam street, in London. He felt his body being completely paralyzed while he was awake. He yelled and struggled but to no use, his eyes and mouth were shut and wouldn’t move. His body would not respond to any of his commands and his calls for help remained unanswered. The most terrifying part of it however was when he felt an incredible pressure being exerted on his chest, as if tiny hands were pushing him downwards suffocating him. He felt helpless and vulnerable and as if about to die so sparse his breathing had become. The experience lasted for what seemed to be hours until it suddenly stopped. He quickly got up breathing rapidly, passed his hands over his body and checked every single one of his limbs. Once satisfied with his scrutiny, he went to the kitchen and made himself a cup of coffee. He thought about the incident for a good half an hour and blamed it on something he ate the previous night before preparing himself for work. However, the incident repeated itself every night over the next three days leaving Martin no choice but to see a shrink one of his friends had recommended. His doctor explained to him that he was the victim of sleep paralysis and of its side effects. It was a common state experienced at least once by most of the population. It was a rare event for it to occur four times in a row but was not unheard of. The main cause was probably a change in his stress levels as a consequence of his grandmother’s poor health and of the prolonged absence of his wife and kid who had to stay by her side. In addition, his inability to visit her himself because of work aggravated his mental pressure. Martin was pleased and convinced by the diagnosis of his doctor and agreed to take a benzodiazepine derivative drug that would help him relax before he went to bed. He was to swallow a pill of Valium every night till he felt better.
“Why do you want to kill this one?”
“Because I feel like it!”
“Because I fell like it!”
“You know what happens when we are so obvious in our deeds, don’t you?”
“Shut the fuck up! They won’t do shit to me!”
“What? What makes you so special?”
“I have his protection…”
“What the… Impossible! You… a lowly spirit roaming the Earth have his protection?”
“Screw you! After this, I am going up the ladder bitch!”
“Yea… right… like this ever gonna happen… I am getting as far away from you as possible…”
“Yea run… that is all you do and will ever do!”
Yulik was having his morning coffee at his favorite shop on this beautiful spring day. How much he loved the paved city with its tall stone structures. He even enjoyed the fumes that the many cars coughed up. It reminded him of where he was and each time it brought a smile on his face. The memories of his nights spent in the freezing winds of the Siberian plains were long gone, forever behind him. He still sensed the spirits all around him but barely paid them any attention, just tricks of the mind. He hadn’t practiced any of his shamanic teachings for over three years now, he didn’t need to anymore. He was able to function like any other man, without the help of a benevolent spirit. He was forging his own destiny based on rational thoughts and decisions, and he was good at it. Nonetheless, Yulik was not his usual radiant self on that day. Prophetic dreams had been invading his mind for the past weeks. They kept telling him that something bad was to happen, that he was to stop it by any means necessary. He didn’t believe in them anymore and yet he was unable to make them stop, no matter how hard he tried. His shamanic years were behind him, yes, but these visions could not be denied. Yulik knew he had to answer them. He was to hear the call of the spirit of his tribe once again.
Martin slept the next couple of nights without incident to his relief, or so he believed. He praised his doctor every morning and the benefits of modern medicine, and more particularly, that of Valium. His wife and son were to arrive the next day, and he was glad at the news. He missed them dearly.
“Enjoy your rest you bastard, tonight you die!”
A powerful dream woke up Yulik in the middle of the night. He saw an evil spirit of the Earth claim the life of an innocent for no other reason than its pleasure. He quickly got up from his bed, in his little studio on Cromwell road, showered and undusted both his shield and sword. He never thought he would have to ever use them again, especially not in London. He had only taken them at the explicit request of his father, so that he always remembered who he was and where he came from. He placed them in a bag and grabbed a cab. He didn’t know where to go, but, helped by his spirit, he was able to direct the driver. They reached Adam street in less than twenty minutes.
Martin woke up to find himself once again completely paralyzed unable to even open his eyes. He at first smiled, convinced that since now he knew what was happening he could control it and, maybe, turn the experience into something pleasant. He felt tiny fists pushing him downwards making his breathing difficult. He quickly calmed his fears in order to regain some control of his body and forced himself to think happy thoughts. To his dismay the tiny fists grew in size and in strength. Martin was barely able to breathe. He tried to yell, to wake up, but to no avail. Panic overtook him then hysteria when he clearly heard a voice say ”Die you bastard!” Martin’s heart was ready to give up under the stress when the pressure suddenly stopped never to return. He woke up, got himself a glass of water and ingurgitated another pill before going back to bed.
When Martin was fighting for his life, Yulik was on the sidewalk, on Adam street, in front of the building, chanting and dancing to enter the spiritual realm. Once the deed done, he banged his sword on his shield in the shamanistic traditional way forcing the evil spirit to answer his call, if there was one. The demon had no choice. It stopped tormenting Martin and went to face Yulik. The djinn laughed at the sight overly confident in its innate abilities. The shaman, inhabited by his tribe’s spirit, with a single strike of his sword, sent it back from where it came from. Just a lowly one, was all that Yulik could think before going to a nearby coffee shop for a well earned sandwich. He stayed at the Coffee Republic until 11AM not understanding why he had been called after so many years for such a trivial task. He even believed for a moment that he was going mad, that he had imagined it all. It was not until he saw a taxi arrive that he realized how important his actions had been. A woman accompanied by her young son, he was no more than 6 years old, were unloading their luggage. They were welcomed by Martin whom Yulik recognized from his visions. Terror could still be seen on his face. Yulik smiled and decided at that moment to return to his natal tundra to fulfill his destiny as Shaman and Chief of his tribe and lead his people into the new century, his true and only calling.
When Yulik’s eyes met with the boy’s, he immediately recognized him for what he was, a child of light. They saluted themselves as kindred spirits would before parting each their own way with renewed faith in their hearts.