A Power Untold
Zenith- the point in the sky or celestial sphere directly above an observer.
Margaret Lo sat beside her window looking out at the grey sky. She didn’t know just how to begin. Her therapist Dr. Kaix asked her another question. The first she still had not answered. “How do you feel”? His slick black hair sat numbly on his head. “What do you mean”? she asked. “Tell me what you are feeling at this moment, in general, good, sad, mad…” “Mad” Margaret answered, she put down the scarf she had brought with her to the rehab center and looked back outside. On the second floor of the nine-story building Margaret watched a blue bird building a small wooden nest, the bird took two small branches and placed them vertical to one another, building a safe home in the long branches of elm. “I wasn’t the one who started the fire, why am I getting punished”? Her blue eyes welled with tears as she placed her palm on the window pane, the small white pane opened. She could feel cold air blow past her. “Dr. Kaix, you have to understand I once was normal…” Dr. Kaix wrote a quick note in his large brown leather note pad. “Margaret what do you mean by that”? “YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN BEFORE I CAME HERE, I HAD A LIFE, A FAMILY, I WAS NORMAL”!! Margaret screamed as she flung a crystal figurine at the Dr’s head. He shielded himself by holding up his notebook, then ran to open his office door. “We need help” he yelled down the hall. Two guards appeared in white uniforms. “We’ll take it from here, Dr.” Said a tall bald guard. Dr. Kaix watched as one of the guards grabbed Margaret from behind and the other one quickly introduced her arm to a thin syringe. “This will sedate her for about six hours” The bald guard told Dr. Kaix He nodded quietly and watched as they dragged a half-asleep Margaret back to her room.
The Ruovex Treatment and Healing Facility sat in the middle of Grand Rapids Michigan on a tall hill covered in roaring snow. The brick building of healing had been there since 1970. “Armstrong came here once” Jill said to Margaret as they stood in line for their pills one day. “The astronaut”? Margaret asked “No the jazz player” Jill said swiping up her pills and vanishing into her room. Margaret Lo had been at the facility three days. It was not going well. “What do you think is the problem, Dr. Kaix”? The head nurse asked him as they listened to Margaret’s soft snoring. “Well, she is in bit of a state, still in shock from the fire…she lost many things…you have to remember just two months she had set fire to her house while her daughter was still inside of it and-“ he was cut off by Nora the head nurse. She shook her head; her short black bob did not move. “Do you think we need to up her dosage”? He glanced at her and frowned. “You know I don’t like to but in this case we might considering all she has-“ he was cut off again. “Gone through” Nora said curtly, she flipped Margaret’s medical folder after jotting down a new dosage shut and sauntered down the unfeeling hallway into her office.
Margaret dreams were full of ash. It was falling everywhere, like snow. She couldn’t see anything but grey globs of hell’s remains, everyone is gone, everyone has flown away…. The high-pitched chant reverberated around her. Suddenly she saw, Kora her oldest daughter, she was sixteen. Margaret yelled out for help, but Kora stood still. Then they were in her bed room and Margaret was beside Kora, the bed caught on fire Margaret tried looking for water but she couldn’t find any the flames grew higher she looked back for Kora, she saw her face melting, hideous pieces of flesh dripped down as bone became more and more visible with each passing second. Margaret kicked in her deep sleep. Outside the snow fell under the pale moon.
The next morning Margaret woke. She felt as naked as the trees in winter. A hollowness that couldn’t be filled was beginning to grow inside of her. “This can’t be real” she murmured to herself. Flipping over to look up at the ceiling she noticed a small thin crack. Tilting her head, it looked like a smile. “Stop it”! She hissed. Hiding her head under a lilac scented pillow she replayed the night her world fell apart once more.
“Why would she do such a thing”? This was the most murmured line out of the middle-aged thin lady’s lips of her private gated neighborhood. “She seemed so normal why would she set her own house on fire”? She heard as the police shut the door of the patrol car.
In the police car Margaret saw the charred remains of her house, a white two-story house with tall green shutters, the front door was hand crafted in Italy, the windows were hand painted stained glass. Her house was furbished by a European designer when she and Mark her husband were still newlyweds. Mark had been a stock broker in New York he left his job when Margaret found out she was pregnant and became a hedge fund manager in Grand Rapids. Kora was their only child. She was born in 2001, swaddled in pink they brought her home on a bright spring day. Since both of their parents lived in New York, they would not see Kora til Christmas time. Charities had to be run, parties must be attended. The world doesn’t stop for a baby, was the final email Margaret had received from her father. She was twenty-three when she gave birth to Kora. She was without a job and stayed home with the baby five days a week. Margaret loved her daughter, raising her was a true gift, she felt. Mark had helped, but mainly it was Margaret who took Kora to soccer practice and helped her with her homework. Kora was a beautiful girl, at age sixteen she began modeling. First it was for small shoots, GAP, J.C Penny’s, then it became larger roles, a headshot was sent to Fenti in New York and she got asked to do a shoot for their fall campaign. She was one of many models there but stood apart from them, her lips were pouty, her eyes were narrow but wide her nose was small but straight, her cheekbones were so sharp you would have thought Michelangelo chiseled them himself. She was contracted with her mother by her side. Margaret couldn’t have been happier but was leery of Kora’s plan to move to New York, which she unveiled to her mother in a taxi on the way back home. “Kora you are sixteen years old, you don’t even know how to do your own laundry and you think dropping out of school is going to look good on your transcript? Models don’t make that much money what are you going to do, live off us forever”? Kora remained calm and placed her headphones in as her mother continued her debate on why she would not be moving out.
In the end Margert had won. She was upset that Kora couldn’t see her own future. She had never understood people who answered they didn’t know where they would be in five years or so. Margaret had always known where she would be. It was a magic no one understood. Margaret stopped talking about her visions when she was eight, after her father’s business partner suggested she was crazy. She locked herself in her bedroom after the insult had been flung at her, and her father said nothing. Margaret vowed it would be her own secret, even after she married Mark. Ever since she was about five, her thoughts would be stopped by a force, it was invisible. She would feel nothing, and her vision would be taken from her only to have a film of her life in the next moment be playing out. This lasted usually about two to three seconds but to Margaret is felt like an hour, after it was over, she would blink opening her eyes to the present.
The force (she had named it Zenith in college) told her what was coming next in her life and the loved ones around her. She could go years without Zenith coming to her, or sometimes Zenith came to her twice a day, usually Margaret could see only small events, what Mark would have for lunch or how busy the supermarket was, when she would drop a dish accidently or when Kora would bring home an A. On Margaret’s her birthday Zenith came to her once more.
Her world went black as a squid’s ink. In her vision Margaret saw the sky was red, clouds of dryness hung low as Margaret stood in front of her house, the lawn was brown, and unkempt. The house looked old and abandoned, she stepped inside the air, was thick with a sour stench. She heard a moan, it was male. “Mark”? she said aloud, no one in her future could ever hear her. Margaret cursed and walked upstairs a loud creak was heard up the door to Kora’s room, her eyes were closed. A man dressed in black jeans and a dark blue hoodie looked towards her then back again. “Get away from her”! Margaret screamed. The man did not see Margaret. He only saw Kora.
Margaret was shaking when she came back. Her neighbors were singing happy birthday, the candles danced in front of her, she stood up and searched the flood of faces for Kora. Her daughter was singing along clapping her hands, her long dyed red hair was fading after many washes and her natural color blond was starting to show through. Margaret stood up and grabbed Kora’s arm. “What’s wrong”? Kora repeated frantic as Margaret pulled her into the bathroom and locked the door. “Kora honey listen to me ok, I just had a vision, now you are going to think I am crazy but what I am saying to you is GOING TO HAPPEN, do you understand”? Kora stared at her mom. After a minute she nodded. Margaret continued. “A man is coming for you Kora, he is going to break into our house when you are sleeping and….” “NO, stop” Kora screamed. “Kora these visions don’t lie, I have to stop him I need you to tell me if anyone has been following you, are you seeing anyone Kora”? Kora shook her head, “Mom, please don’t worry nothing bad is going to happen, no one has been following me, I promise please listen to me, I am going to be OK”. Kora held her mothers head gently in between her hands making her look into her blue eyes. “Everything is going to be ok”. Kora said speaking softly. Margaret nodded. She understood and it was up to her to prevent Zenith’s vision from happening, any way she could.
Margaret was in a counseling session with Mr. Kaix. “Doesn’t anyone believe me”? she asked looking at the middle-aged Dr. “Well no one has spoken to me about the incident I am looking at your file here, it says your daughter was the reason you started the fire”? he asked. “Yes, I had to protect her a man was coming after her, he….” She trailed off and regained the strength not to cry. Margaret had had enough of this place, initially she had checked herself in to evade jail time but now she just wanted to go home.
Fifty miles away Kora woke in her bedroom which was flooded with unpacked cardboard boxes. The new house was further away from her mom which saddened Kora, but they weren’t about to rebuild the old one. Kora had been dreaming she felt like it had been so real. The last thing Kora remembered was folding her clothes and putting them in her close when she felt a cool air blow against her cheek. Kora slowly turned around. She saw nothing. Suddenly her mind filled with an image. It was of her father and mother they were sitting on a bench outside the facility her mom was at. A nurse dressed in a white uniform and bright blue eyeshadow came up and exclaimed “Howard, is that you”? He answered polity no and turned back to their conversation the nurse apologized and left. Kora walked to the bathroom and pushed the memory away. What a weird dream, she thought.
Later that afternoon Kora and her father visited Margaret at the facility. Kora had been thinking a lot of how her mother had known someone was going to hurt her and when. Her mom had always been perceptive, but even from an early age Kora could tell her mom wasn’t like other people. She was special. She would see things and point them out a second earlier than they did, before the fire Kora had thought she was just slower than her mother at seeing them but now she wasn’t so sure. Kora sat alone inside the guest area while her mother and father spoke in the garden. They were talking about her, Kora always felt another wave of longing hit her, she took a deep breath and took out two pieces of twine to tie into a bracelet. Any distraction helped Kora forget her mother was in a psych ward. Then she noticed a woman in her mid-fifties pass her, she had on bright blue eyeshadow. The woman was carrying a tray of drinks, towards the kitchen when she stopped and walked backwards slowly looking out the window. “Is that….Howard” the woman asked aloud she then took off outside. Kora stared outside. It was exactly what she dreamt.
The visions kept coming one after another, if it wasn’t when her school bus would be late it was when her dad would be home or when a dog would get loose in their new neighborhood. Kora left school early one Monday morning and thumbed her way up to The Ruovex Treatment and Healing Facility. Her mother was eating lunch and was surprised and a little angry to see Kora walk through the doors. “I cannot believe you skipped school to see me, and riding with a stranger what on earth are you thinking”? Margaret pushed her plate towards Kora. “Please eat something you look so thin” Kora nibbled on soggy Carne Asada and explained she had been thinking about the future, specifically how long her mother knew she could predict the future. “Kora, I’ve known this about myself for a very long time. It comes randomly…why”? Kora looked at her mother and said “Well I have it too, yesterday I knew Mr. Toby my music teacher was gonna kick a kid out of his classroom way before he did it” she went on to explain the visions were constant and always right. Her mother was quiet wringing her hands under the table. She swept the room for any eavesdroppers. None. “Kora, you have a unique ability, what you use it for it up to you. I urge you not to tell anyone else, people don’t understand. Kora if you tell anyone else I’m afraid they’ll put you in a looney house like this one, just please keep quiet.” Margaret held her daughters’ hand. She was relived her daughter had come to her, she knew Kora might have some small amount of Zenith in her but it seemed she had a lot. Margaret further briefed Kora on what to expect when Zenith came and how to cope with her visions. “Just because you see something bad doesn’t mean it’s up to you to fix it Kora, look what happened when I did. Of course I would do it in a flash if I had to again but please don’t get into any trouble because if you think you have a super-power you are wrong! Super powers are given to people who are god like. We are human Kora, we can get hurt just like anyone else. We are NOT super heroes.” Kora nodded “Ok, I promise to be careful and not to let anyone know I can see….beyond.” She smiled. In the first time in a long time Kora felt like everything might turn out alright.