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Short Story: Zelda's Initiation [Magician]
Part I of the archetype series
This is part of a series of short stories that cover the archetypes. These are the nucleus of all of human being’s “collective unconscious”1 that govern our psychology, behavior, development and fantasy. This is all towards a bigger effort of writing a novel that inspires better mental health. If you are not subscribed, click below to get our weekly posts in your inbox.
Part I. Zelda’s Initiation [Magician]
Ravens2. Must be two or three of them. They have been disturbing his sleep since she left him three years ago. They were a daily reminder of his loneliness. Every Persian carpet, Dali painting, China cup and chiffon curtain has the same effect. Their dream home has become his house of terror.
Zelda groans in his King-sized bed, as the sun rises to the East of the 100-acre land. Its rays penetrate the floor-to-ceiling windows of the master bedroom. He sits up and looks down at the land that had stopped producing vegetables and fruits since she left. She must have cast a spell on it! Another raven croaks. "You fucking thief of sleep!" he tells it.
He watches the gardener play with his son out on the field and wonders if they are happier than he is. He resents life in that moment, and feels it in his chest. He puts on his checkered purple robe and the fuzzy slippers that say "World's Greatest Dad" on them. He walks down the spiral stairs, and pushes the magical button.
“Good morning Zelda. How would you like your coffee today?”
“Double espresso, light roast, extra strong.” He said. It is his only sure way to put his morning demons to rest. The smell of coffee starts filling the kitchen and living room.
“Activate morning news.”
The hologram recites news about cryptocurrency inflation and the water crisis in Africa. Bad news makes him feel better about himself. He swipes right, and a health coach avatar now appears guiding his morning exercise. He snaps his fingers to mute the hologram, and takes his coffee to the rooftop.
The roof is his heaven. He tucks himself away from noises and responsibilities of the land. He tries to ignore the four gigantic winged flamingos that she had chosen to decorate the top of the house with. He sips his coffee and smokes a cigarillo, before hearing the electric gates open. Who could this be?
A green mini-cooper makes its way towards the giant house. Sandra! It must be her! He rushes through the attic, down the spiral stairs, and into the kitchen where the entrance is. The avatar is still doing silent jumping jacks.
“Happy Birthday Dad!” she said. She is wearing a hippie, mandala-like, red and yellow dress. She carries a purple helium balloon that says 65 and a tiramisu cake in the other hand. I forgot my sixty-fifth birthday! He thought to himself.
"Sandra! I missed you baby girl!" He hugged his youngest daughter. She was his favorite, and he felt his grief dissipate the tighter he squeezed her. He was in love with the dimples of her smile, which felt like a divine intervention for his withering old soul. He remembered how she was a saving grace for a life otherwise full of regrets. A life force that gives back for all the years of hard work. They spent a couple of hours catching up about her travels. She recited her magical tales about beaches in Brazil, trees in Argentina, and dance in Colombia.
"I wanted to get you something special for your 65th birthday, Daddy"
"Oh you didn't have to, Princess, it is enough that you are here…"
She starts talking about healing ceremonies that she attended in Peru. "It cured anxieties that I had for ages!" she said.
"Sandra, as a reputable psychologist, you don’t believe the quackery of these Shamans do you?"
"What if I told you that life is a hallucination? And that psychedelics were the only way to see the actual fabric of reality?"
"I would say that my daughter has gone completely insane!"
"Well we both know who I take that from."
"Yes of course, your mom!"
She laughed with a snort and he felt a lot of pride in still being able to make her laugh.
"Mom is still at her bank job. You are the maniac who lives alone on this 100-acre ranch. You are the one who drives buggies into the game to hunt wild boars and climb insane mountains."
"What is wrong with that?"
"Dad, I look up to you. You have done everything in this world. What I am proposing to you is an internal journey this time!"
"So the gift is a therapy session?” he said.
"Kinda! It is a psychedelic experience.Tribes have been using these medicines for a very long time."
"You want to give me drugs, Sandra?"
"Pops, you take 15 different self-prescribed drugs everyday."
"Well, I have at least 15 self-diagnosed conditions! You are not going to make me a patient of yours, are you?"
"Of course you are my patient, Dad! You have been sooo patient with me and my reckless behavior growing up. I want to give you a day of your childhood back. That is the gift. An adventure with magic mushrooms! '' she said. "These psychedelics allow you to go outside of the washing machine that is life. To witness it, rather than tumble inside it."
"Do I look like a tumbler to you? I do not need to hallucinate and escape my life!"
"Quite the opposite of escaping, Daddy! Do you know how you say, that mom caused you so much damage?"
"Yes, now we're talking."
"Well that trauma she has caused you has stayed with you even after she is gone, right?"
"Oh yes. Your mother continues to cause that harm."
"Ok so you can beat around the bush for the next ten years, or get to the heart of that matter with a few mushroom sessions."
Efficiency. He couldn't argue with that. She had penetrated his heart of steel. She sealed the deal.
"Get into something comfortable, dad."
Another raven flew by. "Kroaaakeespireeet!". Zelda groaned again.
He put on his thick green alien socks and joggers and went back downstairs. Sandra had moved every scrap of paper, open book, sticky note, coffee mug and whiskey glass. She pushed the living room table away from the large, fuzzy, white fur rug that they’ve had ever since she was three. She had two pillows, a blindfold and several candles arranged in a circle around the carpet.
She handed him what she said were ‘five grams of Penis Envy mushrooms’. How rude, he thought, and he gulped them down. She smiled.
As he lay back on the white fluffy carpet, he started losing touch of where his body ended and the carpet began. He felt a sense of static; an electric blue forcefield running around his body. He watched Sandra continue to sway her hips and smile. He got lost in her baby blue eyes…or were they green? What is that between her eyes.Is that…a third one? Huh?! And now a fourth one is growing from her mouth! Her eyes multiplied into a kaleidoscope of horror that had him recoil back away from her in fear.
The fuzzy white carpet threads towered over his head. Was the carpet growing? Or was I shrinking? he thought. He heard her say "Oh my God!" and that was the last thing he heard before the carpet started swallowing him into its under belly. He felt like an insect on the back of a white rabbit.
First the wooden floor, then the gray granite, and then the soil beneath the house. He descended between the roots of the trees, and found himself in a dark underground tunnel. The relief from the taunting eyes is short lived. He hears a ruffling sound that gets closer, and closer, and…holy shit! Winged bats with hyena teeth? Tens of them! They are making donkey-like noises that turn into croaking like ravens! “Greaaat Spirit! Greaaat Spirit!” they sing. He kneels down on the floor, terrified, in a prayer position. Then...silence!
He looked up and saw the comforting glow of an electric blue globe rising around him. The winged beasts hit the blue orb and got deflected until the whole herd had passed through. "Welcome to the underworld!" a high-pitched and squeaky voice said. "We have been waiting for you, Zelda! Breathe!" He looks above to see a silver wrench with oval blinking eyes and a smiling mouth. Huh?
“There is not much time to explain, I need to take you to the Magus of the Underworld. He is waiting to see you.”
“I am very confused.”
“Great! That means you are getting closer”
“The secrets, Zelda.”
“What? Who are you! Who is behind this virtual reality!?”
The wrench rolls its eyes and sighs. “Virtual reality. That is as far as your imagination goes…”
“Who are you?!”
“Well if you must know…I am your Higher Self, Zelda! Soon you will remember. I am your light here, and there is a lot of darkness to face. Now let's skip the small talk and get to business. We must go!”
He looked at the talking wrench again. Very clever Sandra. How is she doing this?
The blue wrench leads the way over puddles of water. Fluorescent fruit dangled from shrubs growing in the darkness. Colorful phytoplankton whistled and danced in the puddles of water. Spring blossom, and the small he had so desired for the land, filled the air of the underground.
The wrench stopped and scanned the rocky caverns of the tunnel. It finds a knob, and turns it clockwise. Bright light shone as the cavern walls opened up into a cistern. Glowing fireflies and sparkly micro fireworks lined the path into the cistern.
“You may enter Zeldaaaaah…" a deep and thunderous voice commanded. "It is time to meet your destin-ayyyyy”.
The fireflies led him to a blue creature with a tail for legs. It wore a purple dress and a large wizard hat studded with crystals. "Welcome to my cave" the genie-looking thing told him. "I am Osiris3, Ex- Egyptian God, current Magus of the underworld and Great Spirit."
"Impressive resume." Zelda said "What are you doing below my house?"
Ahh..haha..ahh.haha..huhuhhaa. Osiris' eccentric laughs echoed in the walls "It is you who has disturbed my roof, young man."
"Bro, I am 65." Zelda said.
“Bro, I am six thousand.” Osiris said. "This piece of land has belonged to the Gods since the dawn of time. The crops always grew here. The drought that you experience is new. You can have the land, but you will have to help us fix it. That is your legacy. This is why you are here"
"Look, I have a birthday party with my daughter to attend." Zelda said.
"Unleash the testiculares!" Osiris said, raising the two fingers of his right hand in the air.
Two large beetles came shooting down towards Zelda. They had thorns on their heads. One of them scratched his head and the other thrusted into his chest. He fell backwards, slamming his head to the wall.
"Zeldaaah...."Osiris said with a voice that sounded like Mufasa from the Lion King. " You have come here for a reason. You live on this land for a reason. You are the descendant of a long chain of Magicians. I have not much time to describe your task, but it is great."
The two winged beetles came back swinging at him.
"Those beetles are your shame and guilt. You will have to command them, otherwise they will kill you." Osiris said. “I will help you find the right guidance, pull a wisdom card!”
A deck of cards appeared in the air. Zelda reached out and pulled one. It revealed itself as “The Fool”4 with a jester holding a stick and a bag of clothes.
“Ahhh, the first card of the deck! The fool is here to remind you to be open to your new journey, Zelda. Divine guidance is here to help you find your path. Be open, be curious and take the first step towards your destinn-ayyy!”
The wrench smiled and blinked at him, making a Twing! Twing! sound. He opened the palm of his right hand and it floated straight into it, like a magnet to a fridge. The blue glow started extending itself like a line of electric veins around Zelda's body. He oscillated between feeling empowered and overpowered. The blue force lifted him off the ground...and he was now floating in the cave among the fireworks.
"Guiltus testacularis! Attack!" Osiris said. Zelda heard whispers of his wife's voice blaming him for her sadness.
Zelda's right hand generated a blue ball of light from the wrench. He directed it towards the beetle's head. The guilt beetle's flesh lit up in shock. Its skeleton shone through, and then descended to the bottom of the cave. It dissolved into ashes.
"Great work Zelda, now watch what happens to Shamus Testacularis!" Osiris said.
Zelda turned towards the other winged creature. The flying beetle shrieked. It seemed exposed, and weakened. It was as though this shame monster was itself ashamed of its own existence. It ricocheted and went back into hiding. Zelda hovered down. He felt more in command of his hovering powers.
"Great Work Zelda." said Osiris. "You will not be able to unsee these guilt and shame monsters. Congratulations, you are now ready for your mission. Soon you will be able to return the crops onto the path of fertility. You shall no longer hide on your rooftop, and shelter yourself from the land. You must walk in the garden yourself, with bare feet and an open heart. "
"I don't know who you think I am. Is this all a dream?"
"I have no time for such frivolous questions. There is a black sorcerer that will infuse you with more shame and guilt to keep you locked inside of your house. Instead look beyond Zeldaaa, and everything will make sense in due time. You will understand why the soil has been so weak, and why your heart has been so sad.`` Osiris said. “For now, keep using your Higher Self. It will guide the way. That is enough for one day, I must sleep now.”
Osiris disappeared into the rocks of the cave. The sound of thunder struck from the outside, and water started filling the cave. Two ravens descended from the cistern’s opening where the light came from. Their wings were a bouquet of green leaves and orange flowers. ‘Great Spirit Great Spirit’, they chanted in concerto. Each raven flew to one of Zelda's shoulders, and carried him up towards the light. They went through the roots, into the soil, and above the ground. Zelda saw patches of green grass above him transform into the white hairs of the rabbit's back.
He smelled the incense and knew that he was back home with Sandra. He opened one eye, and Sandra removed the blindfold with her smiling dimples. He was ecstatic to see her two eyes. He recited the whole deal to her over a light dinner that she cooked.
He couldn’t sleep that night until sunrise. He had not done that in decades. He walked out barefoot into the garden. He admired how beautiful the golden arrows of sunshine were as they rose. He looked into the house, and by the window, lay an old wrench flat on the wooden shelf. The sun rays trickled through the window and created a golden aura around it. He smiled with a sense of contentment and possibility.
Dr. Carl Jung is the one who first described this idea of a single nucleus, a collective unconscious, that unites us.