55: Jack


Her next words seemed to answer his thoughts, as if he had spoken them to her. “Our scientists have had several millennia more time than yours, and have long abandoned such primitive ideas. They accept that the mind lays outside the physical. Do you remember what I told you earlier? The part of you, of anything alive, which lays in the spiritual existence and not the physical, is what we call in our scientific language Rhyuin. All physical senses come to it externally, through the body, but sensitivity to flux arises directly within the Rhyuin. The sensation comes directly into your mind rather than passing first through your nervous system and brain.

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“It is neither sight nor sound nor any other physical sense, but only a very few rare minds learn to comprehend flux directly and only after great effort. The rest of us, incapable of that extreme, must feel it in the terms and symbols we learned as babies through our nervous systems, as an imitation of the physical senses from which our minds originated.”

She was delivering the lecture with gray eyes remaining locked on his and her hand pressed against his forehead. The intimacy was becoming embarrassing.

“Some artists develop sensitivity mirroring multiple senses, but the majority of artists perceive flux as one sense, usually odor or flavor. Those persons have little of the difficulty you are having, but also have little potential to perform more advanced arts. They must mostly rely on flux tools. Higher up are those who perceive sounds, or dim sights that can be seen only with the eyes closed. But those of us with strong perception receive it in the shape of senses with more exacting terms. Those like Rogan with very high capacity for detail feel it as a sense of touch, at a highly sensitive level, as if through the fingertips. He gets both great advantages and  great disadvantages from that. But from the way you react, I can see that the flux-sense is overwhelming your vision. You perceive flux in the same manner as I do, as a parallel of your vision.”

Gray eyes regarded him for a few moments, then she ordered, “Try again, Jack. Your focus is on my palm, your eyes are on my eyes.”

She waited as he struggled to do whatever it was she meant him to do, to look at her palm without turning his eyes that direction. After several frustrating seconds, he demanded, “What am I not doing right?”

“Separating the light seen by your eyes from the flux seen by your mind. As I told you just now, they are two different things. The problem is, your mind is blending them together, as it does the separate images seen by your left and right eyes. When the data comes only from the direction your eyes are focused, you are fine, but when your mind receives sensations from directions that your eyes cannot possibly see, it overwhelms you. The two no longer blend successfully. You must learn to perceive the two visions independently, in the manner of animals which see different views out of their right and left eyes.”

“You expect me to see two directions at the same time?”

“In essence, I expect precisely that. A bird does it all day, Jack. Its eyes largely point in opposite direction. It cannot be too much to ask a human mind to do what a bird mind does with no effort. What is within my palm?”

He frowned and forced himself to look into her eyes while thinking about her palm. She had mentioned that Rogan perceived ‘flux’ as touch. He felt her hand on his forehead and focused on that sensation, then tried to extend out from it somehow. To his shock, the clear vision of an intense point came to him immediately.

“A… small shining thing?”

“Well done. Without moving your eyes from mine, keep your attention on that thing as it travels.” She dropped her hand to her side, and he followed it in his mind.

Something about it gave a different feel than everything around it. “What is that thing?”

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“Figure that out for yourself.”

He frowned. There did seem to be something there, like a drop of energy, but he could associate it with nothing he knew “Forget it. I’m doing good just to see it.”

The thing disappeared. “But you still see it?”

“Not now. It went away all of a sudden, right before you asked.”

She brightened and backed away. “Excellent! You’re right, of course, that you were unlikely to figure out what it was on your own, but I was curious if you could. For future reference, I simply channeled a tiny bit of flux-flame, too small to hurt a gnat, much less my hand. But it was just dense enough for you to perceive if your flux-sense were as strong as I suspected.”

The forest still stood arrayed around him in three hundred sixty degrees of something similar to vision, but at last he could see a difference between it and his eyesight. Nam had forced him to separate them. He experimented with moving his head around, turning to see into the woods in various directions. It still made him queasy.

Rogan stood and began closing pockets on the backpack. As he worked, he wondered, “Should he try walking again?”

Nam bit her lip. “I would like to say it is too soon even for that, and he needs to just sit still and practice but… we have company now. Behind us, from the direction of the kriojjin.”

- my thoughts:

Part two of three part scene: Jack's first lesson finished. It will be some time before he gets another.

Check out my other novel: Substitute Hero

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