Fool’s Hand: Part IV

Baethan’s parents search the forest

Fool's Hand: Part IV

BURKE BISCHOFF

His mind was split in two.

Baethan watched through his parents’ eyes as they walked into the chill of the night air. Darkness shrouded most of the field and the magnolia trees from their sight. All they had were two small flashlights to pierce through the darkness.

“Where could he have gone?” his mother asked. “I didn’t even see him wander off.”

“I don’t know, but I told him to come in before it got dark out,” Baethan’s father said. “We’ll find him. I just hope he’s not hurt.”

Shining their flashlights toward the forest, they could both see something through the dense trees that seemed to be blinking with a soft light. Once they saw the blinking light, Baethan’s parents started to walk toward the forest.

“No!” Baethan screamed. “Stop! Don’t go in there! Both of you will die!”

“Your words cannot reach them, child,” Charisma said to him. “You cannot control their actions.”

Baethan’s parents entered the forest and the blinking light became even stronger. They were now running forward, deeper into the dark forest.

“Charisma, make them stop!” Baethan yelled at Charisma. “Please, tell them to stop!”

“I cannot,” Charisma retorted. “His temptation has already been planted in them. They will not stop until they are in His clutches.”

Baethan’s parents halted when they reached the source of the blinking light. There, in the center of a clear patch surrounded by a circle of wisteria vines, was Baethan’s playing card necklace. The pendant was revolving slowly, wrapped around a single rose in the middle of the patch.

“Look!” Baethan’s mother shouted as she ran toward the rose. “He must be in this forest somewhere.”

“Let’s hope so,” Baethan’s father said. “Grab his necklace. We have to keep looking.”

As Baethan’s mother went to reach for the necklace, vines sprung out from the rose and ensnared her hand. She dropped her flashlight as the rose’s many thorns cut into her arm.

“Help!” Baethan’s mother screamed. “It hurts!”

Baethan’s father dropped his flashlight and rushed to her side. He pulled, but the vines only tightened around his wife’s arm.

Suddenly, Baethan’s parents noticed that something was staring at them, something with a pair of red eyes. They could only see what the thing was when it stepped into the feeble beams of their fallen flashlights: It was a person, or what was left of one, its skin drained of color, its eyes completely red with blood, its entire body covered with black veins.

Fear and panic shot through Baethan’s mother and father as the creature advanced ever closer to them and reached its hands towards their necks.

“Mama! Papa!” Baethan screamed.

But Baethan could not see the eyes anymore. The forest had faded away. He was not with his parents. He was back in Charisma’s realm.

“Bring me back to them!” Baethan demanded to Charisma. “I need to see through their own eyes what happens! They could still make it! Bring me to my world, now!”

“There is no need to be angry, child,” Charisma said, playing the soothing song into Baethan’s mind. “They are victims of the Corrupted now. You could not have done anything for them. Did you forget that you could only observe while you are in the body of someone from your world? Besides, why trouble yourself by experiencing death again through them?”

Mind numb with sadness and a strange sort of magic, Baethan weakly responded to Charisma.

“Is there any hope for my world?” Baethan asked.

“Your people certainly think there is,” Charisma answered. “No doubt they are already trying to respond to His actions, even though they may not truly understand. Poor beings. It will be a shame when they realize the truth.”

Burke Bischoff can be reached at

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