The Truth Is Hard To Swallow

I’ve kept this from my friends and family long enough, but with the events of two weeks ago, I can no longer keep it a secret.

A little over a year ago, I took some friends to Three Lakes. I demanded that they follow the traditional Gleason Ritual of Summoning the Yaqi Gods of Wisdom. This is a ritual full of Tequila, Salt and Lime. While everyone helped summon the Gods of Wisdom, three of us went for a walk towards the end of the road.

Something happened. There was a flash of light and we lost fifteen, maybe twenty, minutes of our life. As we walked back to the Cabin, the three of us had no idea how long we were gone. When the rest of the folks in the cabin asked us why we were down at the road for so long, we just said, “We were just appreciating the woods.”

The dreams started that night. They were vivid dreams, where spirits spoke to me in a language I didn’t understand. They weren’t nightmares, because the spirits were kind to me. They taught me their ways–how to see the world, how to read the intentions of people, how to fight, how to speak their language–and they blessed me with strength, but they told me to wait until Yaqi Herself spoke to me. They told me to prepare for her test.

She came to me on the 7/25, a year ago this very day, and told me that there were tasks to be done. My education wasn’t complete until I succeed at my rite of passage. At first, I dismissed her command. I laughed away the whole thing. I went into the field, the far south side of Chicago, visiting my clients. At Noon, when my shadow was just underneath my feet, I was standing in the Starbucks at 71st and Stony Island:

when my world fell away.

There was another man in the Starbucks–he was babbling incoherently and sipping and an iced-tea–but when my world fell away, he snarled at me. He was taller in this no-place, and he no longer looked human. His knees bent backward, and his arms had an extra joint. His hands ended in razor sharp claws. He spoke in the same language the Yaqi did. He held on to the ice tea he was drinking, but not with his hands. He had a tail that wrapped around his body, long enough to still pick up the tea.

The spirit thing rushed at me. I freaked out. I ran out of the Starbucks–away from the monster–and towards my car. It, or he, grabbed me and cut my shoulder. I spun around from the force. I did the unthinkable. I stood my ground and swung at the monster. It blocked my first punch, my second punch and a kick to its chest. It hit me with its palm and knocked me to the ground. It got on top of me and started to claw at my eyes.

I head-butted its mishappen nose. The monster roared back, and I was able to wiggle away from it. While it was on the ground, I ran away again. I didn’t get far. The monster recovered quickly and charged at me. I turned around, and with my back to the car, delivered a right hook to the monster’s face. It crumbled. The monster literally shattered, leaving behind the man it had possessed. I heard the Yaqi speak to me, saying I had survived their test. The police showed up shortly thereafter–not to arrest the guy, but to get their complimentary coffee. They arrested him, took my statement, and then bought me another coffee.

Since then, I’ve been living a double life. Every time I’ve been, “in the field” I’ve been scouring the south side for the nasty spirits that have inhabited the blighted parts of Chicago. The Yaqi gave me the strength and the sight to see these spirits, but their gifts have required me to do more and more. I’ve been able to keep my new superpowers a secret for so long. No one notices fights on the south side. The City itself gets the credit for making my neighborhoods safer and greener, but in truth, it is me and the Yaqi Gods that have kept my part of town safe.

What happened in the park, two weeks ago, was the first time anyone has seen me using the gifts bestowed upon me by the Yaqi. It is time I confessed.

That first day was the scariest day of my life. My powers came to me while I was sipping a venti coffee fortified with two shots of espresso. I became a superhero that day…but it is a power I never really wanted. They are powers that I just have to accept.