Previously on Blessed Inversion Soul…
Jey Connors has been suffering from a reoccurring nightmare involving a monster of unknown origins. While at work with his boyfriend, Hal Sharp and hero Black Ice, Jey finds himself transported to a mysterious cove. There he meets the mysterious spirit Sylvanus who needs his help safeguarding the World against the Angels. When Jey returns he tells Hal he too is an Inversion and that he’ll receive training from the vigilante SWAT-Spider…
Pro-Gamer, magical Inversion
Spirit of the Astral Plane
Henry “Hal” Sharp/Black Ice
Superhero & boyfriend
In my nightmares, I’m drifting in a sea of blackness. All I can do is look around and hope to find something else. I stare into the darkness and it stares back at me. But I know this isn’t just a nightmare. I know I’m astral projecting into a place I shouldn’t be. I know it isn’t just the darkness staring back at me. I know it’s an Angel…I know it’s waiting for me…and it terrifies me. I feel the darkness closing in on me but I’m pulled into the Astral Plane. But it changed from the first time I came. The sky still shimmered with Aether but it wasn’t a cove or a tower. Instead, I fall from the sky into a lake on top of a spire. I don’t feel any pain and I don’t even need to breathe. I swim to the surface and see the mossy stone towering high into the sky, a series of waterfalls run down its side leading into stacking lake plateaus like the one I lay in.
“Hello, Jey. Astral Projecting in your sleep again?” Sylvanus asks as she appears standing on the water.
“I can’t wait to start training and be able to sleep again.” Jey sighed as he somehow stands up on the lake in an attempt to make himself float. “How am I doing this?”
“You’re finally ready to accept my help?” Sylvanus smiles.
“What? No, Hal’s friend is helping me.”
“Oh…” she says almost with a hint of sadness.
“Sorry, but I feel more comfortable training with this other guy.”
“What has he done that makes him more reliable than I?” she inquires.
“He helped Hal save the world. It’s not that I don’t trust you. But we just met and it was a pretty rough first impression. Besides, if I train with him and it goes well you won’t have anything to worry about.”
“If that is what you wish. Remember, the fate of this World and countless beyond are depending on you.”
“No pressure or anything.” Jey tries to jest.
“No, this is a monumental task of paramount importance. The Angels aren’t a threat to be taken lightly. Nor any other beings who wind up trapped in this foreign World. Do not forget that fact.”
Before Jey can respond he awakens alone in his bed. The anxiety and weight of what he had to do bearing down on him without the Astral Plane to keep it at bay. His heart beat in his chest like a jackhammer and his thoughts ran wild.
< What if you’re not good enough? If you can’t defend yourself in your nightmares how can you while you’re awake? If you fuck up everyone dies. You’re nowhere near ready for this. Just leave it to the real heroes. >
*Any dialogue within brackets are Jeys thought controlled by his anxiety
“Get a grip Jey. You haven’t even started yet. Don’t go giving up now.” Jey thought aloud as he sat up and tries to relax.
< If you give up you can’t fail. You can get replaced and someone better can do it. If she gave you the power she can take it away. >
“But Hal’s so excited. I should at least try for him.”
< If he’s meant to go evil then maybe you shouldn’t fight it. Let destiny take its course. >
Jey takes a deep breath and finally gets out of bed. He walks over to his dresser and begins to get dressed. If he was going to be he was going to wear the appropriate attire. His Black sneakers with white highlights and the Moon Fox logo on the sides, black sweatpants red muscle shirt would do the job. Jey walks downstairs into the living room where Hal sat in his Black Ice costume.
“Hey Jey, sleep well?” Hal asks standing up to face his roommate.
“Not really, I…”
< Don’t tell him the truth, you’ll just worry him. You can’t always just rely on him. Don’t be a bother. Stop dragging him down with you. >
“I think I slept on something wrong.” Jey lies to not bother Hal.
“Sorry, I know I shoulda stayed in bed but I got a phone call and decided to just stay up.” he apologizes.
“Yeah, Ro’ wanted to see me for something…in costume. So that’ll be different. Looks like the most I can do is drop you off.”
“Oh…” Jey says disheartened.
“I’m sorry, I know it’s your first day of training but you’re in good hands. I already called SWAT-Spider to make sure it was all cool.”
< You’re on your own this time. Don’t fuck up and leave a bad impression. What if he can’t help you either? >
“You’re sure about him?” Jey asks somewhat concerned.
“Of course. But if he does anything you don’t like I’m turning him into an ice sculpture.”
“Heh, thanks.” Jey smiles at the somewhat violent but well-meaning sentiment. “So, where do I meet him?”
“The Superstar Fitness off of Balrog Avenue.”
“That’s what I said too. I was thinking he had…like…a Spider Cave.”
“…Spider Cave?” Jey stares at Hal blankly.
“What? Some spiders burrow underground.” Hal defends himself.
“Why do you know that?”
“I was up for a while okay. Just like, eat something and we’ll go.”
In about 15 minutes, Jey & Hal take their red van and drive to Superstar Fitness. It was a fairly popular gym franchise across North America. Its facilities were renowned for being large, clean, and welcoming. Though the welcoming was subjective. The membership was considered far too expensive by many but most felt it was more tailored to people already fit and healthy. Bodybuilders and weight lifters who wanted to keep up their lifestyle rather than an average person just trying to get healthy. After Jey finds parking, Hal escorts him to the entrance before skating off.
“I’m guessing you’re Jey?” a ginger haired man with a deep gravely Irish accent like a noir film asks as he sat by the front door. His hair was short and somewhat unkempt and his low beard hid what seemed to be small scars beneath. His eyes were a deep green and he stood at a muscular 5’9, making him noticeably taller than Jey’s own 5’5. He wore a tight muscle shirt with a diagonal divider going from the right shoulder to the lower abdomen, separating the top and bottom into cyan and orange sections. His Black Sweatpants and grey sneakers completed the outfit.
“Uh, yeah.”Jey says looking up at the man.
“I’m Steven but most people just call me Kessler.” he extends his right hand to Jey.
“Jey Connors.” he shakes Stevens’ hand. “Um…so…do we go in or?”
“We’re just meeting here.”
< Stupid. Not even five minutes and you’re already messing it up. >
“Come on.” Steven takes the lead in returning to the parking lot. Sitting in the driver seat while Jey gets in on the passenger’s side. “So what can you do?” he asks turning slightly to face Jey.
“Whatever Soul Magic is.” Jey replies.
“Soul Magic?” Steven says flatly before pulling out and placing a call on his cellphone. “Quick question Doc, ever hear of Soul Magic or any Magic being Inversion abilities? Had a feeling…That’s all for now. I was gonna come into work tomorrow if you guys needed me. Oh, okay then.” he hangs up with a confused expression.
“Everything okay?” Jey asks concerned.
“Yeah, I’ll just deal with later. Anyway, I hate to say this but I can’t help you much.” Steven sighs.
< You knew this would happen. You just wasted his and Hal’s time. Even when you get powers you’re useless. >
“As far as I know, you’re the first person on the planet who can do magic of any kind. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. But that doesn’t mean I can’t help get you on the right track.”
“Really? Thanks!” Jey smiles relieved.
“There are very few powers that are passive and you have no control over. Physical ones you control like any muscle. First, you practice and train it until it becomes second nature. If magic works like my powers or B.Is then it’s controlled by our thoughts and emotions.”
< You’re fucked. You’re barely keeping it together as it is. Just give up now. >
Steven pauses before continuing. “What do you want to do after you learn how to use your powers?”
“I…” Memories of his conversation with Sylvanus replays in his mind. The fate of Hal and possibly the multiverse weighing on his mind. “I want to help Hal.”
“He’s important enough for you to risk life and limb?” Steven asks with an intimidating stare.
“Of course.” Jey answers without hesitation.
“Then the first step is getting therapy.” his words were blunt but well-meaning. “I know that look you have. There was a girl I worked with in the Inhibitors, her name was Kathy. She was anxious, depressed, and her powers were far from stable because of it. She’s been through a lot and isn’t perfect. Still isn’t but she doesn’t have to be. Neither do you. You just need to have a firm enough grip on it to get by.”
“But what if I can’t?” he asks concerned. His mind racing like a terrified stallion.
“You’ll find a way.”
“Right…” Jey sighs to himself.
“I can’t teach you how to use Soul Magic but I can at least help you with Astral Projection.” he reassures Jey who gives him his full attention. “Astral Projection is, at least in all the cases I’ve seen, a psychic power. My Astral Manifestation, Guardian Aranea, works on the same principle.” Steven summons Guardian Aranea over his shoulder. The large brown hued spider was already see through at best, but now he went through the extra effort to keep it hidden from unwanted prying eyes. “It’s hard to explain but I try to think and feel where I want to go intensely. But at the same time letting instinct do its thing. I want to do something but I don’t actively think about doing it.”
“Kinda like muscle memory?” Jey asks as Guardian Aranea disappears.
“I guess you could say that. Guardian Aranea is a part of me but it isn’t me. Normally we’re two beings in one body. When I’m under intense stress it takes focus and concentration to keep it merged with me. But otherwise, it just comes naturally. But you’re Astral Projection, so it’s all you. For you, don’t focus on how to use your power but what you want to use that power for.”
“I’ll do my best I guess…” Jey replies hesitantly.
< You don’t know how far your powers can go, how will you know what you’re even using them for? >
“Um…was there more?”
“Not that I can do. If you need me…” Steven searches the glove compartment for a notepad and pen. He then writes a phone number down and hands it to Jey. “Call and I’ll do my best. Just don’t give up on yourself. It may take a while for you to get the hang of it.
With a final handshake, Jey exits Stevens car and returns to his own so he could head home. He didn’t expect his training to be something entirely non-physical. But it did give him food for thought. In his nightmares, he was always consumed in terror because of that unknown Angel. He had no control and confusion took hold easily. Even after discovering the how he never thought to ask why. Instead of fighting the nightmares…perhaps it was time to embrace them.