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Destiny on the wind.

Cranky Dog

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Serge-Jean thought he was leading an interesting life. Just ask anyone who knows him.

The day he met his father, he realized how mundane it was.

It was late spring when it happened, at the Canadian Forces Base Valcartier just north of Quebec City, Serge-Jean just finished his shift and was about to hit the showers when he got the message he got a visitor in one of the officers’ meeting rooms that overlooks the woods.

“Weird,” he thought to himself. “I’m not supposed to meet anybody today at this hour. Most of the staff personal is already off duty”. He went to the office building where he found it to be unsurprisingly quiet save for the secretary that was working overtime.

“Sergeant-Major Sol-Hâteur reporting for a meeting” he said to her.

“Good afternoon, sergeant-major, your visitor is awaiting you in room 312.”

“Thank you. By the way, I haven’t been informed of who it is. Can you tell me please?”

The simple question seemed to puzzle her. “I’m sorry sir, I do not have that information.”

“Weird,” he thought to himself again. Then again, she didn’t look like the usual secretary, so she might be lost in the regular one’s notes.

“Oh well. Who knows how important this must be since it’s all of a sudden” he said to her as he was reaching the staircase. “It’s been on the agenda for weeks sir, and approved by the base commander” She replied, making Serge-Jean pause in his step and looked back at her, himself with a puzzled look. He slowly turned back towards the staircase and went up. No sense in reproaching the lack of communication now. He’ll do it after his meeting.

As re reached the third floor, he found it quieter than usual. Walking along the hallway, all of the office doors were open where he could see outside through the windows, yet no one was there. The only closed door was the meeting room at the other end.

One thing that caught his attention was sweet smell of tobacco even before he reached the door, but not that of cigarette. Someone was recently smoking a pipe or a cigar. He knocked on the door “Sergeant-major Sol-Hâteur reporting.” “Enter,” said a heavily accented voice from the other side. As he opened the door, into what turned out to be an officer’s lounge instead of a boardroom, he saw its single occupant, a husky man of African descent with a darker skin than his own, probably in his late forties or early fifties and a few inches shorter than himself. He was dressed in a foreign dress uniform that he could not identify its origin, though he could easily identify that it was obviously representing a very high rank. On his head, he wore a decorated red and white kufi, a west-African cap. A cigar butt was in the ashtray, clearly his.

“Sergeant-Major Serge-Jean Sol-Hâteur,” said the man with a wide smile. “Come in and sit.” Serge-Jean complied as the other man sat across the room from him. “You are a man with an interesting career path. But I would like you to tell me about it and yourself in your own words.”

Serge-Jean noticed that the man hadn’t introduced himself yet. But he felt oddly at ease in front of this man and compelled to answer him.

“Serge-Jean Sol-Hâteur, I’m 32 years old, I’ve been in with the army for the past ten years. My chief function is training the new recruits and making sure that everyone is at their best. I’ve toured in Afghanistan for thirty months in Kandahar, training the local forces and militia.”

“Good,” answered the man. “But that information is easy to know. Tell me more about yourself personally.”

Serge-Jean leaned back in his seat, letting himself become more casual. “I joined the army after graduating from college. I tried university, but just didn’t see myself doing a career in engineering, even though I may have a knack for it. Having a purely office job just wasn’t what I wanted. Though my mother would prefer to see me safely behind a desk.” The man cocked a half-smile when he mentioned his mother. “I wanted a career with more physical activity, but I wasn’t interested in simple labor work either. The army is always on campus at the beginning of each semester, so I easily got the information I needed, and since the base is right next to home, I knew I wouldn’t leave my mother very far behind. I’m an only child, and I know she’s always worrying about me.”

“She’s a caring woman is she?” asked the man. “Quite,” replied Serge-Jean. “If it wasn’t for her perseverance, I’d probably be in jail, without an education or a future. She highly values education and we lived right next to where they built the big library downtown, the largest public library in the region, and she insisted we go there regularly when I was young.” His listener simply nodded.

“Anyway, I didn’t spend much time there of my own free will,” he continued. “Like most kids, I spent my time watching TV, playing with my friends outside or with video games. I was lucky that even though I was practically the only black kid in the area, it was about as the same time that Micheal Jackson became a superstar. Because of that, I looked cool in the eyes of my friends. The downside of it all was that we lived in the Quartier St-Roch. It was a tough neighbourhood in those days. Lots of crime, drugs, abandoned buildings with squatters and other homeless people. So with my kind of friends, trouble was something we were all expert at.”

“I guess I was lucky again that I never got caught doing anything stupid that would’ve put me in juvie. But I wasn’t going anywhere. I dropped out of high school and probably gave my mother more than a few wrinkles.”

“Dropped out?” queried the man. “Yet you were to go to university weren’t you?”

“I think I was 16, or maybe 17, when I stumbled upon some posters for an open-air African student talent show on campus. I’ve never really been on the campus grounds, even though it’s only 15 minutes from our home. I went there and it was the first time I saw, and I mean *really* saw some other black people like me but who were all very highly educated. Some were from Africa, others from Haiti or the Dominican Republic, a few from France. All of them smart and from very diverse backgrounds. Some were from very well off families with ties to their own governments. others were here on scholarships, getting educations that wouldn’t be possible from their home countries. And here I was, a local high school dropout that was just hanging out doing nothing productive from morning to evening.” He paused for a moment. “I don’t know exactly why, but it just suddenly clicked that I all of my time was being completely wasted.”

“So you went back to school?” Interjected the man, with a smile expressing pride. “Yeah,” replied Serge-Jean. “I took some convincing the principal and school counsellors, but I went back. I sort of had a new drive to always be active. If I was tired of studying, I went to the gym or the sports arena. If I was tired of physical activities, I studied. I spent more time by myself at the library and spent less and less time with my street friends. In the end, the grade I got more than made up for the lousy ones I had in the past.”

“From there, you graduated and became yourself an instructor in the army. That is correct?” said the man. “That’s basically it sir,” answered Serge-Jean. “I found that I like teaching people to use practical skills. Skills you can really use. Soldiers need to know their stuff and I’ve been told on several occasions that my cadets usually turn out to be above average once I’m done with them.”

“What are your hobbies?” asked the man. “My… hobbies sir?” he replied. “Well, I like to keep fit, so I play sports a lot, mostly exterior sports. So in the winter I ski a lot a play hockey with colleagues.”

“The cold does not bother you?” asked the man.

“You get used to it pretty quick when winter comes. Especially if you’re active.”

“I cannot say that I’ve ever been in this situation myself.”

“Yes sir. My mother herself never really was a fan of winter.”

“Continuing, I also keep up on science and technology literature and I like to spend time with the gear heads. But something else I do that you could call a hobby even though it’s part of my trainer duties is skydiving.”

“Skydiving?” the man said, lifting an eyebrow.

“Yes, I just love the feeling of it. The feeling of flying while hurtling at over a hundred kilometres per hour. I’ve done over 800 jumps since I joined.”

“But you’re not a pilot.”

“Have you ever been in the cockpit of a plane? It’s always cramped. You can’t feel the wind the same way you do when skydiving.”

“You like the sensation of riding the wind.”

“Love it. The only downside is that it’s never lasts long enough. We don’t need to go that high for training, but it’s never high enough for my personal tastes.”

The man let out a laugh with a smile. “So you really like the feel of the wind.” Serge-Jean smiled back, feeling more and more familiar with the man. “I do. I’m not afraid of heights, and I’d probably do a lot of cliff jumping if we had any that were high enough. And I’d get in trouble jumping from the top of the Quebec Bridge,” he said laughing back.

“Ah, Serge-Jean,” the man said slowly. “We are so alike, so alike.” He chuckled to himself. “You truly are worthy of being my son.”

“Sir?” Serge-Jean stopped smiling and was quite confused. Was this man, who still hadn’t introduced himself, trying to adopt him or something? A strange African general trying to make him his heir? “I’m sorry Sir, I don’t think I follow your meaning.”

“Serge-Jean, I am telling you that I am your father. Your real father.”

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Serge-Jean didn’t say a word for a few moments, in shock at the announcement and trying to make sense at the man’s words.

“That’s, that’s impossible,” he finally said. “You can’t be my father. First of all, if you were my father, you should be far older. My mother always told me he was at least ten years older than she was. So you should be in your sixties at least.”

“Oh, I am far older than I seem Serge”, he replied. “I never told Hélo my true age, but she wouldn’t have believed it anyway.”

Hearing his mother’s nickname, short for Héloïse, made him suddenly stand up from his seat. Serge-Jean was now scowling at the man, not liking the joke this conversation had suddenly become. “Seriously, who are you and what do you want from me and my mother?”

“I’ve already told you,” he said calmly, still seated across from Serge-Jean. “I am your father. And I am in need of your help. Though I’ve loved Hélo back in the day, she cannot do anything for me now.” He slowly stood up from his seat. “Know this that Héloïse was for a time my wife, and you are her and my son. You are the blood of my blood and after being gone for many years I’ve come back to you because I need you, son of Shango!”

Serge-Jean wasn’t sure what to answer. But the more the man talked, the more Serge looked at the man’s features, seeing physical traits in him that were like his own. His repeated mention of his mother’s name just seemed to make it more confusing. This man, named Shango apparently, kept mentioning specific details of his relationship with his mother over thirty years ago. Enough details to dispel nearly all doubts.

“So you’re genuinely my father?” asked Serge.

“Yes,” replied Shango.

“My true father whom my mother loved?”


“The father who I’ve always desired to have?”

“Yes,” he answered again, smiling as the conversation seemed to be going the way he desired.

“Then… father,” Serge-Jean said with hesitation, slowly walking towards him. “Father, there is something I’ve… I’ve always wanted,” he said, clearly holding an outburst of emotion.

“Yes, my son?” he answered. As Serge walked right up to him. Shango extended his arms, ready to greet his son into a welcoming fatherly embrace.

He punched him! Solidly into the jaw.

Shango fell back into his seat, knocked the seat and him over on their backs.

“You bastard!” cried Serge angrily. “You fucking bastard! Do you have any idea what you put us through when you left her!? Do you know what my mother went through when we were forced to move to this country? She had to leave Haiti because of that bastard Duvalier and his Tonton Macoutes just because she was too vocal about their fucking regime. We had no money when we accepted here as refugees in the late 70s. Her education wasn’t recognized here so she couldn’t find proper work. We were sent to Quebec City instead of Montreal where there’s a large Haitian community so we barely knew anyone around here. We had so little money that there were days where we couldn’t afford any food and we had to go to the soup kitchen. She never told me when I was young of all the times she wouldn’t eat herself just so I could have food. If it weren’t for the friends she made that helped support us, we’d probably be living on the street. I still have early memories of waking up in the middle of the night, hearing my mother weep, though she would always say I was imagining things the day after. We were in a country far away from home, knew barely a soul, had no money and we’ve always believed you were dead!”

Serge was pacing back and forth in front of him. “But look, just look. My long missing father suddenly reappears and he looks like he’s had a very pleasant life just by the looks of you. Where the fuck were you?! You weren’t even there when I was born. Oh, I think I can guess. You were part of Duvalier’s regime, but your girlfriend was turning out to be too much trouble so you shipped her out. Then when the regime fell you ran away to some banana republic where you could scam your way to the top of the military power. And now? Now he wants his “son” to help him with who knows what kind of revolution. I don’t know what’s you’re thinking but there is no way I’m letting you get away with it.”

Shango rose up while Serge was speaking and felt his jaw with his hand where Serge struck him. “Impressive,” he said. “It’s not easy to catch me unawares like this. But I have a soft spot for my family.”

“I am not your family!” retorted Serge. “I don’t care if you really are my father. I don’t want to have to do anything with you.”

Shango pondered Serge’s words. He talked and walked slowly in a circle around him. “If you’ll let me explain, you’ll see that you don’t have much a choice.”

“I am not interested in your words,” said Serge.

“It is unfortunate that you will not listen.”

“Unfortunate? We’ve had enough misfortunes because of you. Listening to what you have to say will only make it worse.”

“No. I’m saying it is unfortunate because of this.”

Shango punched Serge back.

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He was never sure how long he was out cold. But when Serge woke up, the sun was starting to set. “Wha… where am I?” Just saying the words hurt his jaw.

Serge was lying on the ground, in the woods. He sat up trying to get his bearings. He could see what he thought was the office building maybe less than a hundred meters away. There were a couple of broken branches lying around him. Looking up, the nearest tree, it looked like something big fell through it. Himself? “Can’t be,” he told himself quietly.

“You’re finally awake,” said Shango’s voice from behind him, startling him. Serge looked at him and he seemed different. He couldn’t tell exactly what changed in the man, but Shango now had a towering presence that felt almost crushing.

“Whu… what did you do to me.”

“You punched me. I punched you.”

“But…but…but why bring me outside?”

“Bring you outside? This is where you landed after I punched you.”

Serge’s head was still throbbing and had difficulty gathering his thoughts.. “You… you punched so hard that I flew all the way here?!

“So hard? Serge, if I punched with all my strength, you’d have flown clear across the St-Lawrence river.” That river was 25 km south of their position. “To see that you’re alive is further proof that you are indeed my son. I’d like to see Ogoun’s children take a punch so well.”

“You could’ve killed me!”

“Not with that punch. I’ve already told you earlier, your blood is my blood, and that will make you stand out from all the other mortals.”

“Mo...mortals? What do you mean mortals?”

“I mean those who are not immortal like I am.”

“This… this is crazy. Everything’s is crazy right now.”

“Now will you listen?” After a moment, Serge slowly nodded.

Shango went on to explain until well past the moment when the sun set who he really is, who the Loa are and the current war with the escaped titans. Serge barely said a word the whole time.

“This is just too much to swallow,” said Serge. “You’re an ancient king turned voodoo god of thunder. Not just a crazy witch-doctor in uniform, but a god.”

“Yet it is the truth. I didn’t want to leave Hélo. I had to leave her, everyone and everything behind.”

“Because of the war?”

“Correct. Rare are the days where I can allow myself to leave Ville au Camp, our home.”

“Again, what’s all of this got to do with me? I’m a good soldier, in good shape, probably smarter than your average Joe but I’m not Superman. All of what you’re saying is way out of my league.”

“You are my son. That alone is enough.”

“You already said that. I’m the son of a god. Sorry, but I can’t make miracles.”

“Then it is time I teach you. Stand up”

Serge stood up, uncertain of what was about to happen. He shook off some dirt from his suit.

“How high can you jump Serge?”

“How high?” it reminded him of the old drill sergeant expression “If I tell you to jump, you answer me “How high Sir?””. “Uhm, with my arms I can sometimes reach a 12 foot hoop.”

“Not your arms, your feet.”

“Oh, uhm, just under four feet from a standing position. If I’m not lifting them up.”

“Come here, away from the branches.” He led Serge towards a small opening between the trees where the sky could clearly be seen. “Now try jumping as high as you can.”

Serge was unsure of why he wanted him to stay away so far from the branches. They weren’t that low after all. Serge hopped a few times in place just to warm up his joints. Then he gave himself a final bigger hop, half crouched with his arms swung back and heaved himself upwards.

The next moment was almost dreamlike. His jump took him nearly as high as three stories. He felt as if time was slowing down as he reached his apogee when just as suddenly he was falling back down fast. He landed in a crouched position with a noticeable “Thump” sound. He stayed in that crouched position for a few seconds, surprised at what just happened. He wondered if he was dreaming or not as it was a common theme in dreams. His still aching jaw was proof enough that he was still alive. He stood back up. “How did that happen?”

“I have awakened your blood and the gifts within you. You are now, stronger, faster, smarter and wiser than the others.”

“So I really am like Superman? So I guess that means I’ll be fighting those titans?”

“Hardly. You are still mortal and if you come with me, you’ll be squashed within an instant.”

“But, what you said earlier.”

“I still need you, but I need you here. Just as I my scions exist in the world, so are the titans’ spawns.”

“They have kids too?”

“Most evil creatures of myths and legends are their offspring or descendants. They are good as staying hidden, but that doesn’t make them inactive. When the titans escaped, their spawns took arms and try to change the world into something that’ll give an edge to their parents.”

“Oookay. So what I’m guessing here is that my job is to find them and knock their blocks off?”

“You can put it that way yes.”

“Do they punch or bite as hard as you did?”

“Not all of them are warriors. But some of them could rip your head off.”

“Joy,” said Serge sarcastically. “Though they can’t be that bad since I haven’t heard of rampaging monsters in the news.”

“Like I told you. Hidden does not make them inactive. You recall what happened in Port-au-Prince.”

“The big earthquake in January?”

“That was their doing.”

“What!? But earthquakes are tectonic plates sliding against each others, and... ”

“It was the work of the titans!” Shango cut him off with in an angry tone that took Serge aback. He continued. “Just like myself, the titans are busy fighting us, but sometimes they make themselves be felt and rouse their spawn into action. Much more than in many, many years.”

“What else have they done?”

“In the past, they were the cause of the African slave trade.” Serge frowned at those words as he knew that slavery still existed in several fashions across the world. “It took much work to overcome the chains of fate upon our people. And you should know that that battle is still far from being won.”

“So now I’m supposed to fight monsters and be a civic movement activist?”

“You task is to protect humanity, from the titans and from themselves. You must be a defender and a guide.”

“So I’ll go play in the next Olympics. With this power, I’ll be a superstar in no time flat.”

Shango scowled at him. “That is wasteful and it will lead to your death.”

“Why? Do I have a time limit on all of this?”

“The titanspawn will easily find you and kill you. Being my son does not mean becoming a show-off.”

“So I can’t be a role-model?”

“What you must do is guide humanity towards a better world, not lead it there.”

“What’s the difference?”

“I have walked besides great men of the past century and was good friends with them. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Ghandi. I was there with them, but the actions that made them great men that left their mark on the world were their own.”

“Weren’t they all assassinated?”

Shango clearly didn’t like the insinuation and didn’t answer immediately. “Fate has an odd way keeping the balance when I get to close to mortals, even discretely. I never knew if it was because of my presence, because of rivals of mine or titanspawns, but ultimately their deaths became as important as their lives, so it is of some consolation.”

“I don’t want to be the cause of deaths of good people,” replied Serge.

“It was my fate that caused their deaths. You fate is your own.”

“You keep talking about fate. Do you really believe that?”

“It exists, it is inevitable. Beings like us are destined to be led by fate. And our very existence will affect the fate of mortals. So be weary of how you use your gifts.” He paused, as he seemed to be reminded of something. “Speaking of gifts, I might as well give you yours.”

“My gifts?”

“Your birthrights!”

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“What do you mean my birthrights?” asked Serge.

“Some items of special significance to me that I want you to have. The essence of fate flows in them, and with them your powers can give them an unexpected turn.”

“I’m not sure I follow you.”

“Look at my kufi.” He removed his cap from his head, uncovering his short dark hair. “It was my crown when I walked among men.”

“It doesn’t look like much of a crown now,” noted Serge.

“That’s because I changed it for you. The great feathers that adorned it and allowed me to roam the skies were a bit excessive. So they got weaved within the fabric itself. It’ll help to keep you warm in this land.” He handed the kufi to Serge who examined it and did indeed see that colourful feathers could be seen beneath the top layer.

“Put it on.” Serge complied. And as soon as he put it on, he felt different. The evening chill that was setting in didn’t feel uncomfortable.

“Does this mean I fly now?” asked Serge.

“No. At least not yet. Your powers will grow with time as you help the world. But for now, try jumping again.”

Serge unsure why, jumped again, expecting the same result. He was surprised again. Not only did he jump as high as most of the trees, this time he felt as if he was pushed up. Even his landing seemed smoother than the first time. “It… it felt like I was almost flying this time.”

Shango continued. “Wind and sky are your allies now. With your blood and your soul, you could even force the wind to push you even higher and never need fear falling. But do not overdo it. Fate does not like being manipulated by ones who are insignificant.”

“What do you mean?” asked Serge.

“Fate can be imagined as a person. It creates a path for you to follow. For most people, they are small on that wide path, and no matter what they do, it is difficult to stray from it. But as people become greater, the path seems smaller, you sometimes overstep the bounds by shear force of will, and fate will find a way to push you back on your path. Beings like me are huge, and the path becomes minuscule. So we stray away from it all the time, with or without or knowledge.”

“I guess,” replied Serge.

Shango continued. “The danger is that the path of every being criss-crosses with others at some times. Great beings overstep onto the paths of others and draw them on their own, for good or ill, their fates can become intertwined. And fate does not always appreciate it.”

“I suppose.” Serge didn’t want to admit that he didn’t really understand the whole path analogy.

“So tread carefully on the path.” Shango concluded.

“This might help you avoid some mistakes,” said Shango. He removed from his belt what looked like a horse rider’s crop. As Serge took it, he felt that it was thicker and heavier than those of horse riders. It looked like a short whip made of braided leather. On the end of the handle, a thin strip loop had a tag attached to it with the numbers 6-1-9. As Serge ran his finger over its length, he noticed a strange sheen that he could barely notice in the increasing evening darkness. Almost liquid like and reddish.

“That sjambok has a special emotional significance to me,” explained Shango. “It was used on my friend, Steve Biko during the Apartheid.”

“What happened to him?”

“He died while in police custody.”


“The police maintained for a long time that he died from being on a hunger strike, but it was intensive head wounds and other injuries that killed him. The police were never convicted because of political manipulations. Biko’s crime was wanting his South African brethren to free themselves of apartheid and become greater than they were.”

“That’s horrible.”

“It is his blood that will forever stain that sjambok. It was in room 6-1-9 that it was used on him and where he died. And do you know on which day he died?”


“September 12th, 1977.”

Serge’s mouth nearly dropped. “That’s… that’s my birthday.”

“It is.”

“Does… that make me his reincarnation?”

“I do not believe so. You may have been born on that day, but you were conceived far earlier than that, and Hélo will agree that you had your own distinct personality long before your birth.”

“Then it’s a coincidence?”

“A twist of fate.”

“Fate again. It looks like fate is what’s really pulling the strings.”

“We can change it, but with nearly seven billion souls in the world, so are there are seven million fates, and changing one fate can change all of them. So we must be careful. But like I told you, the sjambok will help you. As it was used unjustly on an innocent, so will you know when an innocent is being involved as it will shed blood.”

“I have to hit people to know that?”

“A thirst for justice is enough to elicit a reaction in Biko’s blood. With it, you will avoid involving many innocent on your path.”

“My final gift is one that will give you the most insight into your fate and those of others.” He pulled out a keychain that looked like a big marble. He removed the metal fixings on it tossed it to Serge. The marble looked exactly like a big snake eye.

“It belonged to one of my seers in ages past. We could see what was to come for ourselves and others and ride the cheval with it.”

“Cheval?” asked Serge, not understanding the meaning.

“We can ride on the minds of others. See and feel through them from their point of view. It is a cherished power, unique to us of the Loa.”

“Sounds creepy. Especially if you’re into voyeurism.”

“That is not why we are gifted with it! We can help many with it.”

“If you say so.” Serge had his doubts.

“Do you want to try it?”

“What? Now?” Serge wasn’t sure he liked the whole idea.

“Put it in your mouth,” Shango said, with a grin.

“Wait what?”

“Put it. In. Your mouth.”

Serge complied after wiping it clean first. As soon as he popped it in his mouth, the hard marble became soft and slimy and felt it move. He spat it out instinctively, as Shango laughed.

“What the hell!”

Shango was still chuckling. “I’m sorry, I should’ve told you, but it’s always funny to see someone try it for the first time.” His tone became serious again. “But you really do have to put it in your mouth and keep it there.”

“It’s disgusting!”

“It is an eyeball after all.”

“A real eyeball? Really real?”

“Yes. It was from Damballa’s first snake companion and warned him of many things to come.”

“Damballa? Oh right, the lord of the Loa, you said his name earlier.”

“Do you have anything of Hélo on you?”

“I… have this braided bracelet she made me long ago. Why?”

“Excellent. You shall go and visit her. It will be easy since your bond with her is strong. Now sit. You don’t want to fall when it happens.”

Serge sat and Shango retrieved the eye and gave it back to him. They eye was like a marble again. Except that now it was stuck with the dirt that stuck to his spittle. He wiped it clean again. “This is really the only way?” he asked, as he recalled the sensation.

“With this gift, it is.”

He put it in his mouth again. Again he felt it change to something soft and slimy but resisted the urge to spit it out. The eye felt like it was moving around frantically.

“Now open your mouth and close your eyes,” directed Shango.

As he did both, he felt the eye move into position and could suddenly see again, with his eyes closed, but the perspective felt off. He then realized he was looking through the snake’s eye. He opened his eyes and his perspective was normal again. He closed and opened his eyes a few time to make sure and each time his point of view was changing like when he would alternate opening his left and right eye. He closed his eyes again and grunted his amazement.

“Now touch the bracelet and think of Héloïse.” He did, but couldn’t feel anything and grunted his confusion. “Now do not just think of looking at her, but think of looking within her. Try to use your essence to reach her.”

As he concentrated, he felt his surroundings fading from his sight and slowly being replaced by a familiar location. It was his mother’s kitchen. He could smell coffee and hear the television in the living room. He felt her moving towards her usual TV watching chair, sitting to watch one of her regular shows. Serge tried to look around but couldn’t move. The phone rang, and her body got up to answer it. It was one of her friends calling and Serge could hear his mother’s voice talking to her. Her head turned towards the hallway mirror and he could see her reflection, but without any sign of his own existence being there with her.

Serge opened his eyes and he was back in the woods with Shango. He spat the eyeball in his hand. “That… was very weird.”

“So you did see her. She is doing well?”

“Well yes. She was about to watch TV when her friend Cécile was calling.”

“If you have a token of any individual, something that can be identified to the original owner, you can ride just about anybody.” Serge nodded. “But now there is something more important that I need you to do. Will we see of what is to come.”

“What is to come? You mean the future?”

“A possible outcome of fate.”

“What sort of outcome?”

“I’ll lend you some of my power and ride so you can get the whole effect. But you will see what is to come if we do nothing.”

“I’m not sure I like the sound of that but here goes.” He put the eyeball back in his mouth again and closed his eyes while opening his mouth. He heard Shango’s voice as much from outside his head as from inside. “Now think of the world and think of it in several years if we do not act.” Like the first time, his surroundings faded, but what he saw then was surreal.

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He saw what looked like a dirt crossroad in an empty plain with an impossibly tall decorated wooden pole in the middle. Countless black people were chained all around it. People of all walks of life. Men and women; children and the elderly; rich and poor. It was raining. The rain was intensifying and he heard screams. The empty plain now looked as if water was filling it. The water level was rising quickly as the chained prisoners were standing up, trying to keep their heads above the water. It was only moments before the water went above their heads and all of them were holding their last breath.

Then the figure of a beautiful dark skinned woman was swimming among them. Stopping at each of them, whispering something in their ear. Some seemed to angrily reject her as they struggled to keep their breaths. Others in desperation seemed to agree with her and received her kiss. Those who rejected her drowned moments later. The others slowly sank to the bottom and quietly climbed a giant snake that appeared and followed the woman, still enchained.

After a few moments, another feminine figure with Caucasian features arrived among the corpses. A school of countless fish obscured the vision. As the fish left, only putrefied corpses remained. The woman gestured and those who resembled men followed in the same direction as the first group.

Finally, odd aquatic creatures that Serge could not recognize were swimming around the remaining corpses. Picking up some of them at random and where those creatures disappeared to in the darkness, blood appeared with the sound of devouring.

Serge’s vision pulled back from the scene, it followed the center pole that seemed to go on forever when all of a sudden it shattered with a loud crack into countless pieces. The water became darker and darker as light was fading. The last thing Serge heard was mocking laughter, mostly of women, in the distance, until total nothingness.

Serge opened his eyes, trembling, spitting out the eyeball and trying to catch his breath as he reflexively held it when he thought he was under water.

“What was that?” he asked, still shaking.

“A vision of the last day of Ville au Camp,” replied Shango. “The Drowned Road finally came out of its bed and drowned our home.”

“Who were those people, those women?”

“All the inhabitants of Ville au Camp, your kin, the other gods and spirits of our ancestors. Ultimately all captured by the Henrietta Marie and chained to the Poteau Mitan. The women were Mami Wata who wants the world to become her lover and slave. And Rán who wants to enslave the drowned. The rest were devoured.”

“Those creatures were titans?”

“The water is the titan. Those beings are its living manifestation.”

“But that place isn’t on Earth is it? What happened there?”

“If Ville-au-Camp is gone, then so is the world as you know it.”

“When will it happen?”

“Maybe soon, or never. It is only a possible outcome of fate.”

“Especially if we do nothing?”


“So what do I do, really? I don’t think scuba gear is will do it.”

“Have a vision again, on your own now, it will guide you.”

Serge sighed, he was discovering that the eye had an aftertaste he wasn’t fond of. He tried it again. This time his vision was much briefer.

He saw a wooded area, different than the one he was in, around the woods were stone walls, then stone spires. His vision moved towards one of the spires. Atop of it, figures were there, indistinct but human. He felt them greeting him as if they were waiting for his arrival. Then they all turned towards the horizon, weapons in hand and leapt towards an obscure foe.

Coming back to his senses: “That was it?” asked Serge.

“So it seems. I wasn’t riding you, so it for you to figure out.”

“It didn’t tell me much.”

“Sometimes it may take time to understand the full meaning of the visions. For now, that is all you will know.”

“I can’t do it again?”

“That is tempting fate. It will not reveal any more than what you’ve already seen. Without my power added to your own, the meanings of the visions are less clear, but in time they will become clearer to you.”

“So what do I do now? It looked like woods inside a prison wall with me joining other people to a fight.

“Perhaps companions to join you, others like you. When the time comes, you will know. But for now, return to your duties.”

“Right now? That’s pretty sudden. Don’t you have more to tell me? Those others, are they also children of Loa?”

“I could spend days, years even, telling everything I’d like. I already told you, I can’t allow myself to be away for too long. Know only that you fate has decided that you will not journey alone.”

“So what, you’re leaving already?” Disappointment was clear in Serge’s voice.

“It is not always my choice. Fate made sure of that.”

“So, when will I see you again?”

Shango sighed himself. “I do not know. Maybe soon, maybe not, this could already be our last meeting.”

“Nuhuh, I won’t accept that. You’re someone important and not just to myself. We will meet again, fate be damned.”

They parted ways. Shango insisted on a hug and to remain in the woods, saying he’ll head home in his own manner.

As he walked back towards the office building, he heard a crack of thunder and the flash of lightning behind him. He turned to look back and saw that the old man, his father, was gone.

As he approached the building, he could see the shards of glass on the ground and the broken window from which he flew out. He was wondering how he would have to explain what happened to it. He looked around him to make sure no one was watching and leapt upwards to the third floor. He overshot his first jump, and his second one, but by his third attempt, he got the hang of it and landed perfectly in the lounge. He closed the blinds and locked the door behind him. Heading back to the main entrance, he was still trying to invent a reasonable story. His guest has disappeared after all too.

“Good evening Sergeant-Major Sol-Hâteur,” greeted the secretary. “I hope your meeting went well?”

“Oh uh, yes, yes it did,” he blurted out. “He, the guest I mean, will, uh, be coming down later I believe.”

“Sir?” She looked at him puzzled again. “You guest signed out several minutes ago.”

“He did? When?”

“It must have been when I was in the rest room sir, but he signed his name and time of exit. Curiously enough, we seem to have very similar handwritings.”

“Really now. That, uh, that really us a coincidence. Uhm, by the way, we had an accident. Where we accidentally broke the lounge window. By accident.” Serge couldn’t believe how ridiculous he was sounding at the moment.

“Oh I wouldn’t worry about that sir. That window was already cracked and was going to be replaced tomorrow. Just leaning on it would’ve probably shattered it.”

“It was?”

“Yes sir. It’s on tomorrow morning’s schedule. The whole frame was to be replaced.”

“So we broke a window… that was going to be broken anyway,” Serge pondered out loud to himself. “Oh well, let it be.” He signed out his name and time of departure. “Still, talk about a coincidence.”

She looked over the signature. “Thank you sir. Guess it must have been that window’s fate sir. Have a good night.”

Serge froze at her words. “Uh, have a good night too.” He slowly turned away and left, heading towards his barracks.

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The next days felt hectic.

At first Serge thought he dreamed the whole thing, but he could still find bits of shattered glass near the office building, broken branches where he fell, and burn marks where the lightning struck. Even his jaw that hurt like hell that night was okay the following morning.

He found that he did feel stronger. That heavy metal door to the garage that always stuck without giving it a stiff kick nearly blew out of its hinges when he kicked it. His foot left a notable dent in it, and he barely felt it! Crossing the raised catwalks and rope bridge became ridiculously easy, as if his sense of vertigo completely vanished.

His training sessions went incredibly smoothly. The trainees were picking up everything he did and said just because he decided to word them differently. His pep talk before their final exam really seems to have motivated them. They all passed!

It's when the invited him out for a drink to celebrate that things got out of hand. He was no where close to having a buzz when some of them were suddenly calling him their best friend, others said they wanted to become drill sergeants too, one said out loud that he'd take a bullet for him right there and now. And then there were the mean drunks that started to break stuff. That's when the MPs showed a few minutes later, so did the brawl. A few of the guys of them probably ruined their military career that very night.

He thought back on his father's words about crossing paths and leading others astray and kept wondering if any of it could have been handled differently.

Though the weirdest that happened was off base, during the cookout on an old family friend's farm, where that black rooster kept following him around. It stayed around him even during that short thunderstorm at the end of the afternoon where the lightning fell really close to them.

"Looks like I'm attracting fanboys, chickens and lightning, can this get any weirder?"

The next day, he received an envelope from "higher ups".

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