Story (c) 2000 by Keith Dickinson. All rights reserved. Characters Sabrina the Skunkette, Amy the Squirrel, Tabitha, Carli, Tammy Vixen Shiela Vixen, Clarisse, and Carrie Squirrel (c) Eric W. Schwartz. Character Roxikat (c) John Barrett. Character Thomas Woolfe (c) Michael Higgs. Characters Chris Foxx, Susan Felin, Cindy Lapine, Debbye Squirrel, Clarence Skunk, Mr. Canis, Dexter Collie, Angel Collie, Sarge and Endora Mustelidae, Wendy Vixxen, and Wanda Vixen(c) Chris Yost. Character Florence Ambrose (c) Mark Stanley. Character ZigZag (c) Max BlackRabbit. Character Cyberhorn (c) William Morris. Character Terl Skunk (c) Rodney Stringwell. Character James Sheppard and Marvin Badger (c) James Bruner. Character John Silverback (c) Himself Character Kittiara and the restaruant "Callahan's" (c) "Kittiara" Character Katja (c) Herself Character Mark the cheetaur (c) Mark White Eric W. Schwartz (c) Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz. Arden Eastridge (c) Keith Dickson. All rights to additional characters reserved by their respective owners.

Identity Crisis - Chapter 18
Information is power, but so is electricity.

  Listening to Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, I was reminded of just how close I had come to death, again.

  Closing my eyes and relaxing, I tried to allow my mind to float with the music, but something was stopping me. It was like hearing two different radio stations at once. After a few minutes of this I suddenly realized I was hearing Nanuk's song. Turning inward, I sought the path.

  Standing in the clearing I took a deep breath. The smell of wild flowers was in the air again. A small flight of songbirds took off from the trees, circled around and landed again, all the time chirping their songs. Nanuk was obviously in a good mood.

  Walking inside the hut, I saw her standing there before me. Stepping forward into her embrace we held each other, savoring the life I had been granted again. "I almost thought I had lost you there my child."

  "I too thought I was lost mother."

  "Things are not entirely as they should be my son. The one of whom I will not speak has caused far more damage for you than I had originally thought." Releasing me, she walked me to the fire pit and indicated I should sit.

  "It is too soon for you to be learning these things, but I must. He tasks us and without what I shall teach you, all may be lost."

  As she sat down I tried to digest what she was saying. "I don't quite understand mother. What is it that you must teach me."

  "You have heard my songs, and answered my call. You have also heard my song and been healed by them. It is time I teach you to sing your own songs." A storm of emotions flooded into me, shock, confusion, amazement, and anticipation. Most importantly was anticipation. Seeing me finally latching on to that one last emotion, she continued. "By bringing you across the boundaries that separate worlds, he has allowed you to touch the vale, and thus he had given you powers that you do not yet know of."

  'Whoa Nellie,' I thought to my self, 'I've got powers?'

  "Yes child. And don't call me Nellie." Chuckling at the surprise on my face, "I am part of you as you have now become a part of me. I know what goes on in that mind of yours. Believe it or not you have power. In this world they are very limited. Indeed almost exclusively to your self. Walking the path of the bear means that you walk the path of a healer, and thus that is where your power lays. In this one area you can effect others, but not to the degree in which you can effect yourself."

  'Healing! She had sung her song to me that first night, and I awoke healed. No wonder!' Seeing the comprehension on my face she nodded, "You're abilities have a drawback. Healing will always task your body, especially healing of another. Also being a healer you must try to avoid physical conflict."

  This I didn't understand. "But mother, bear is strong and fierce. What have I to fear?"

  Sadly she shook her head, "Bear is strong and fierce, but it also has a blood thirst my son. Once conflict is initiated, bear seeks to destroy that which threatens it. Only when bear has rendered its prey dead, or believes it's dead will bear relent. You must guard from this lest it control you and destroy you."

  Swallowing I understood what she was talking about. I had seen television documentaries that talked about bear attacks, and the best way to survive one was to play dead. I was a walking contradiction in terms. I had the ability to heal, but also to kill. It would be a very sharp edged blade.

  As I came to grips, Nanuk began to teach me her songs, preparing me for the future.


  Returning from my meditations, I opened my eyes and saw the world anew. All the colors were stood out in a vivid spectrum of pallets, each unique to the object yet a part of the others. I hadn't seen anything like this since doing some acid at a DeadHead concert ten years ago. I had an incredible sense of well being that I had never felt before. Taking a deep breath, I felt my ribs expand and contract with only a small twinge of pain. Nanuk had taught me her song well.

  Hearing someone outside the door, I looked over to see who would come in.

  It was the doctor. Closing the door again, he pulled up the chair. "It is good to see you awake my boy. You had a close call today." I noticed he had a notebook in his hand, the kind that college students use to take notes in.

  I removed the oxygen tube from my snout. "I no longer need this doc."

  As he reached to replace it I grabbed his wrist and held it. Fighting my strength he tried to pull away but could barely budge my arm. "I no longer need the oxygen. I've recovered. You need not worry about me."

  Releasing his arm he pulled it back. Rubbing his wrist slightly he gave me an odd look, finally reaching up behind me and turning off the oxygen. Sitting back down he asked, "What has happened."

  Pointing to the book I asked, "First, what is the book?"

  Remembering that he had it, he handed it to me. Opening it I saw it was actually two books that had been combined into one binder. On the right the pages were old, yellow and somewhat faded, while on the left the pages were new and bright. The text on the left was English, the right German. As I flipped through the book, I saw that it was his father's research on the Amulet of Lakesh. He had written a translation in English on the left of the original on the right.

  "Those are the notes my father made about the amulet and it's background.." As I flipped through the pages I saw the face of the amulet. Holding my hand up in front of the page I could see that his rendering of the design matched it exactly. Further in I saw that he had done the same for the back.

  "And now you my boy. What has happened?"

  Reaching inward, I looked for a sign from Nanuk, hearing none, I decided I was on my own.

  "What do you know of totems?"

  "Totems? Aren't those the posts that your natives had with faces carved on them to scare away evil spirits?"

  I chuckled silently. He was to be pardoned; his people had lost the way of the spirits long before the American natives. "Totems are far more than just faces on a post. The natives believed that each spirit took a form here that corresponded to something found in nature, the wind, fire, rain, lightning and also animals. There are spirits for every animal each with it's own unique strengths and weaknesses."

  Looking at him, I could see his interest, but it was in a detached sort of way. "The spirit of the bear is a powerful totem. Bear represents not only great strength and power, but also healing."

  Nodding, I saw that he didn't make the connection. "In my world I took what's known as a spirit quest to find my spirit guide, essentially to find what totem I followed. In that quest I met Nanuk. Nanuk is my totem."

  I waited while it sunk in. "You are telling me, that because you follow this bear spirit, that it is helping you to heal?"

  Good, very good, "Yes. When the amulet brought me over to this reality from my own, it had to change me. In the process it opened what you might call a conduit to the spirit realm. When I'm injured, I can call upon the power of my spirit guide to help me heal. That's why I had recovered so well that first night."

  He sat back, a slack jawed look on his face as he considered what I said. "To think that such a thing could be my boy. It's too amazing. All these years we have discounted these spirits as merely primitive superstition."

  Shaking my head, I tried to correct him. "These spirits aren't just of this reality! They exist in all the realities. The only difference is what form they take. The bear is not always a bear. Some worlds don't have bears, you see? The form is but an icon, representing the power, but not in and of itself the power."

  I could see he finally understood. "Thank you my boy. I understand now. This is a most intriguing discovery for me. I must think on this." Standing he put the chair away and went to the door. Turning, he took another look at me, "Thank you." Then left.

  Once again I opened the book, this time reading what the good doctor's father had written a lifetime ago.


  After being dropped off at her condo by Zig Zag, Sheila quickly unpacked her things and put the overnight bag away in the closet. Grunting with pain, she managed to put it up on the overhead shelf. Holding her side she walked over to her CD collection. Taking out a soundtrack of recorded forest sounds she put it in the stereo.

  Getting a cup of water from the bathroom, she took one of the pain pills the doctor had given her and headed over to her bed. With all that happened at the hospital today she was drained, emotionally and physically. Laying down she rolled over onto her good side and relaxed. As she slowly drifted off into sleep she thought she heard a bear singing on the CD. Smiling she closed her eyes, inwardly chuckling at the idea of Arden singing.

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