Warning: None (but set before TSBBS)
The bloodstains had never gone away. They bled down into his bone and hid there, but they never went away. In his imagination those finger marks, like a crude child's hand painting were seared into the white bone beneath his skin, throbbing and burning.
He'd scrubbed at his wrist for hours afterwards. Somewhere in the back of his mind he'd wondered about disease, not about shamanic markings, not about blood debts and spiritual quests. Scratch his excitement and find fear. He wasn't supposed to be involved. He was the observer, not the observed. A single touch of a dying hand had dragged him relentlessly out of his safety, and, like an observed particle in dizzying flight, no longer knew where he was going, only where he had been.
He had ignored it. Had dabbled with meditating. Had read up on shamanic rituals and trance walks and vision quests. And he still felt like merely Blair, a man who knew less than he pretended, and faltered under the burdens the universe seemed to think were his due. He lived through each day perennially astonished that he had not been found out, looking back to try to find some hint, some tell tale sign that he was on the right path.
He had no visions. Saw no jungles in his dreams. Ayahuasca remained just a word, not the vine of death that would guide his soul into higher planes.
But that was okay. Ellison was the special one. He was the special one. Not Blair.
He fitted his hand to the ghostly stain. And let it burn.
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