Part 26

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PART TWENTY-SIX:

Magical Mystery Tour

SILENCE SUDDENLY CUT through Charmian's mind and she stopped screaming, gasping for breath and kneeling upon the floor of Tal Natha's cave.

"I knew it would be too difficult for you," Tal Natha said quietly.  "You're not used to it.  There are too many voices, too many thoughts for you to handle."

"I...could...get...used..."

"No, human.  It takes a long time if you weren't born with it.  Plus you are not my kind.  It comes more easily to us than it does to you.  I've made another mistake thinking you could possibly handle it; forgive me for this."

"No..."  Charmian tried catching her breath and pushed herself to her feet.  She nearly fell over and had to lean against the wall.  Her head spun and throbbed at the same time; she couldn't remember if she'd brought any aspirin along, but supposed it didn't matter, as this was a dream and she didn't have her backpack with her anyway.  "I'm...okay.  It was...just too much at once.  If there was a little less of it..."

"I've told you there are many dreams on this Island.  If you wished to find the person you seek, you would have to search through many dreams."

"I know...but...maybe you could...I don't know...filter them for me or something?  So they aren't all coming through at once?  You must be able to do that, right?"

Tal Natha looked perplexed.  "Filter..."

"Yeah, you know.  Just give them to me a few at a time.  I can handle that.  It'll take longer, but I'll be able to get through them.  You just tried to give me everything at once and of course I can't handle that."

A slight sigh.  "Well...I suppose it's worth the try.  You're certain you can do this so soon after that?"

"Yeah, I think so...it's just a headache now.  I can handle it."

"All right, then...we'll try this again.  But the moment I sense you becoming overpowered I'll draw back.  I won't subject you to that again."

Charmian sighed inwardly but said nothing.  Tal Natha pressed his forehead to hers and his voice came in her mind again:

My dreams to yours.  Your dreams to mine.  The dreams of all.  The dreams of everyone.  Their dreams to your dreams.  Their dreams are yours.  Accept.  Accept their dreams as your own.

I accept them.  Their dreams are mine.

At first it was still silent, only her own thoughts, and she wondered if Tal Natha had decided against it after all.  But then she heard a faint murmuring, seemingly in the distance, and it slowly grew closer...she gritted her teeth and steeled herself as the strange thoughts entered her mind, and they did make her head throb from their unfamiliarity, but it was nowhere near as awful as it had been the first time...

She hadn't been able to make out any distinct thoughts the first time, with how everything had struck her at once; but now she could catch a fleeting glimpse of a dream here and there, each of them different.  She frowned and tried to see them more clearly.

You think too hard.  Tal Natha's voice came to her from outside the vision.  If you truly wish to find that which you seek, you will not have to concentrate.  Trying to see everything more clearly will only trip you up.  Let it come to you, if it exists.

All right...I'll try.

She backed away and started "skimming" the dreams instead.  They flowed past her in a steady stream, rather than engulfing her in a drowning tide.  Once in a while, here and there, she saw a face or a vision she recognized, and felt that that must be the dream of someone she'd met on the Island so far.  A brief possible vision of Silver Eagle Feather made her think of Black Elk Horn; of course he would be worried about her, not having seen her in so long.  She saw someone tossing something into a fire and thought of either Stick-In-The-Dirt or Old Mother Manitou; no telling what they were up to now.  A view of the sky and the Island far below brought to mind Pakwa or one of the other GeeBees; then she saw blades of grass rising high over her head, and realized she must be in the dream of a mouse or squirrel.  These were only a few that she managed to see; the rest streamed past too quickly to make out, a blur of colors and faces and sounds and emotions that she tried to stay above.  What would the dream that she sought look like?

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