“So you can learn.” The leafy voice Melissa had only heard once whispered in her mind. “It’s hard to distinguish memories, visions and fantasies from reality. Some have wasted considerable energy to change things that can’t be changed, and they hurt the people they loved.”
Melissa felt caught and blushed. “Who are you?”
Shrill beeping interrupted her and shocked the nurse from her dreams. Immediately, the nurse pushed a button and drew up a syringe. Doctors and nurses stormed into the room. They brought a defibrillator like the ones Melissa had seen on TV.
“Look closely,” the voice said. A doctor held the electrodes and waited impatiently for the defibrillator to charge. The others prepared the patient for the resuscitation. They threw back the blanket, tore the shirt and pulled up more syringes. Finally, Melissa gathered the strength to look at the patient in the bed. She expected to see the death throes of her mother. Instead, she stared into the hollow face of her uncle. Although she did not mean to get underfoot, she couldn’t move. No-one took any notice of her. The rescuers did what they could; every gesture was precise and practiced a hundred times.
“Hold on, Uncle Herbert,” Melissa whispered. “Please, don’t die.”
A paramedic said, “Heart rhythm back to normal! We got him.” He turned and walked right through Melissa. She froze.
The voice spoke to her again. “This is real. This happens right now … in your world … There, you can still change things …”
Melissa’s heart missed a beat when she found herself in the middle of a battle-field; around her nothing but the clang of arms, sweating bodies, blood and death.
“… or here,” the voice continued as if nothing had happened . “Look closely.”
“Do we have to change places so fast? It makes me giddy,” Melissa said.
“We don’t have much time. Look!”
Melissa looked around obediently. Not far from her, an old man leaned against a tree. Melissa could see his chest lift and sink. So, he wasn’t dead. But his face was hollow, and he seemed very tired as if he suffered severe pain. Melissa wanted to go and help him but the voice urged her into the fight.
“He is a magician in Ceres’ service. Look closely to see what he does.”
Hesitantly, Melissa walked between the fighting. Her heart raced, and sweat ran into her eyes while she tried to evade the weapons. Many men with King Gregor’s coats of arms on their shields and chests fought against few men in black leather. Amazed, Melissa noticed that the wounds of the Dark Warriors closed during the fight. The edges of a bad cut grew together in seconds, and only a faint scar remained. She looked back to the old man who still sat close to the tree with his eyes closed. “Does he cure the warriors?”
“Yes, but that’s not all. Look over there.”
Melissa stood on tiptoes to see over the heads of the fighters. She rejoiced when she discovered the dragon. He flew an attack, but bounced back in the middle of the air. Also, a group of goblins and unicorns stood at the edge of the forest and couldn’t get any closer. Something invisible stopped her friends from entering the fight.
“They can count themselves lucky that the magician is tired. If he were well rested, he could make your worst nightmares come alive.” The voice sounded sad.
Melissa clenched her hands to fists. “If he doesn’t break off, we will lose. I must stop him.”
A sword sped toward Melissa. She only noticed when it had almost reached her left side. She jumped back, but the sword drove through the upper part of her body relentlessly. The blade cut her chest as in slow motion. Melissa stared at the man who swung the sword and was surprised that she did not feel any pain. She looked down but there was no blood. She seemed to be as unsubstantial as in the hospital. Relieved, she took a deep breath.
“This is Djarret. Study him closely, so you know whom you’re up against,” the voice said. More than ever, it sounded like the rustle of leaves in the wind.