Jersey was a High Priestess. In the Worldmind, at least.
Ever since she learned about the power of dream and memory, she knew that the occult was real. Not the silly ghosts and witches on TV, but a power that existed in the subconscious. Power that nonetheless came from depictions of monsters and magic on TV.
She hated the Worldmind at night. People were asleep, so the world that was connected by collective human conscious was more prone to distortion. Memories became skewed by the false information fed by dreams. Nightmares existed here.
In the real world, Jersey wore jeans and a leather jacket. In the Worldmind, she wore elegant blue robes and a horned diadem like a crown of crescent moons. Her anima–her form in the Worldmind–was a High Priestess. Why, she didn’t know for sure. She was an atheist. Or thought she was.
The street was black except for beams of moonlight falling from twisted street lamps. Warped memory coupled with shifting dreams. The Worldmind was so inconsistent at night. At least there were no nightmares, Jersey thought. She held her dreamcatcher net close, just in case.
On a park bench sat the Devil. Horns, bat wings, harpy legs, reversed pentagram on the forehead–the whole works. A Devil animus. Poor guy. Didn’t exactly give people a good first impression.
“Priestess,” hissed the Devil as Jersey approached.
“Jersey,” she said. “I thought I knew all the psychics in Shirewood.”
The devil smiled. “I’m not from Shirewood,” he said.
Jersey frowned. The devil’s ugly form made her uneasy. Understandably, she reasoned.
“Where are you from, then?”
“Above. Then below.”
“Stop kidding around. It’s dangerous out here at night. It’s only a matter of time before some kids have nightmares and you’ve got killer clowns on your ass.”
“Who’s to say I’m not a nightmare?” the Devil said with an impossibly wide smile.
He must have been kidding, Jersey thought. Nobody had nightmares about Tarot Devils. But just to be sure…
With a quick arc, she swept the dreamcatcher net up and then down, right over the devil’s head. But the creature wasn’t caught. Not really. His horns protruded through the net’s holes, the hoop of the net around his forehead. He blew some smoky air at the feathers, pushing them away from his goatlike face.
“Just kidding,” he said. “I’m not a nightmare. But I’m not a psychic, either.”
“Then what are you?” Jersey demanded. She held the net firm, even though it seemed ineffective.
“I’m the Devil.”
The words caused Jersey’s chest to tighten. Enough to nearly crush her ribs, collapse her lungs, squeeze her heart. But not quite. It was all psychological, she tried to remind herself. Not that psychological damage was anything to sniff at.
“You’re a psychic with a Devil animus,” Jersey said, her voice shaky.
“I’m the Devil,” said the Devil.
“The Devil isn’t real.”
“You don’t sound convinced, Priestess. Sorry. Jersey. I am the Devil. I may not exist in your world, but I certainly exist in the mind. I’m given power by all the believers, all the scared children, all the teenagers who see their horror movies or play their Satanic video games. They believe in me. In their shame and their fear, they form me. Here, in the Worldmind.”
The occult was real, Jersey thought. In the mind, it was real. She was shaking, but she remembered that anything people believed could be real, here.
“I’m not afraid,” she said.
“Every Priestess is afraid of the Devil. Because they know they are his enemy.”
“If you’re real, there is a force greater than you that must be real. And that force will protect me.”
The Devil’s grin vanished. Jersey was still an atheist. But here, she was a High Priestess. And she had a powerful ally.
Today’s three prompt categories were, “The Devil,” “The High Priestess,” and “The occult.”
I’m really starting to mash a lot of my ideas together. The Worldmind, the dreamcatchers, and now Tarot. I’m really going to have to do something with this world I seem to be building.