(Based on the Writer’s Digest creative writing prompt If You Look Back Far Enough, You Can See…)
“But what do you see?”
I stare into the darkness in the orb, a black so deep that it confuses the senses. There’s no reflection. No perceived depth within. It’s just…nothing. Nothing that has been trapped into a magical sphere that my guardian and mentor now teaches me to use. I had “the sight” he told me, back when I was a small child. Ever since the destruction of my family’s small farm, he’s looked after me.
Ever since the death of my parents and older brothers.
“Nothing,” I reply, my eyes struggling to focus on the orb, but failing.
“Stop trying to see with your eyes, child.” His voice is stern and I can hear the frustration edging the words. “The Void is a tool. It’s you that has the sight.”
I roll my shoulders, feeling tension starting to gather with the anxiety of failing. It was hard, hearing that I was so special for most of my life when that’s never a reality that I saw. I sit up straighter and stare at the orb, willing something to happen. I can feel the scowl on my face as I concentrate.
“Don’t glare at it. Just…relax. Listen to it. Look back. What do you see?”
I bite back the sigh of frustration. We’ve been at this for days now, always with the same results. “Relax,” I murmur to myself as I exhale a deep breath. I release the tension in my hands, then my arms, followed by my shoulders. With another deep breath I relax my legs and feet, until my entire body is at peace. Finally, I relax my eyes. My vision blurs as I no longer focus on the orb, but instead look through it.
My fingers begin to tingle as a light seems to flash behind my eyes. “Yes!” I can hear my mentor exclaim, but his voice is fuzzy. Distant. Images and smells flood my senses. I see myself as a child, reading books by the Oracles about the sight and how to use it. His voice comes to me again, even fainter than before. “Look back, child. As far as you can. Look, and tell me what you see.”
“I see myself. Maybe about eight years ago.”
“Farther. The Oracles wrote of one with the sight able to go back to the beginning of time and commune with the Gods. Through that the Gods bestow great power on the Seer.”
I come out of the trance, blinking. I don’t recall that being anywhere within the books he had me read. “What has that got to do with me?”
“Don’t you see?” He leans down, he face a mere inches from mine. I can smell the ale on his breath as he speaks excitedly. “You are that Seer! You shall speak with the Gods and together we shall rule with the power they bestow upon you. We shall make these wretches give the Gods the respect they deserve and restore the Old Ways!”
His eyes flare with a zealous light I’ve never seen in him before, and I can’t help but feel trepidation at this unexpected revelation. “Again!” he orders, waving his hands between me and the Void. “Again! Go back further. The beginning of time!”
I look back to the Void, now feeling its pull. I watch my life in reverse. Suddenly, I see my parents. My brothers. I stop, emotion choking me. “Farther!” he continues to urge. “If you look back far enough, you can see…”
The Void continues to pull at me consciousness, and I reach my hand toward it. As I touch it, I’m there. I’m back with my family, but they can’t see me. As they gather for the evening meal, I see him approaching. Unlike my family, he does see me. I see the recognition flash in his eyes just before he starts to cast. A powerful blast of energy shoots out from his hands and swallows my childhood home.
Magical flames that can’t be extinguished by mundane means devour the structure, destroying it far quicker than any normal fire could. I hear the tortured screams of my family inside, until the house collapses in silence. I feel the tears flood my eyes, and vaguely hear him screaming.
“No! What are you doing! You mustn’t touch the Void!”
I tear my eyes away from the death before me, looking at him with an anger and fury I’d never known was possible. I can feel the power of the Void still crackling within my veins. My hair flows in the air, pushed by a wind that isn’t real. I point at him, and a black mist swirls around my hand. I can see the realization dawning in his eyes as he knows that I know.
“If I look back far enough,” I repeat his words coldly, “I see…you.”