Fifteen minutes later, I enter Nirvana’s, a metaphysical bookstore and gift shop in Historic Santa Barbara. Saahir is a healer and shaman I met on a trip to Egypt three years ago. I learned about the store during our conversation on the flight. Our meeting wasn’t a coincidence. Saahir has helped me on numerous occasions.
The short man with salt-and-pepper hair sits across from me at a well-worn wooden table. His smooth brown skin doesn’t betray his age. Rather it’s the tired eyes that give away his sixty-plus years.
“So, tell me what brings you here?” he says.
I regale Saahir with all the details I can share—the blackouts, the strange reaction Sinatra had to seeing Rassoul, the dreams, and her speaking in Arabic. When I finish, Saahir strokes his bristled chin and says, “What I will tell you, I’m sure, will not surprise you. First, are you protected?”
I pat my pocket. The amulet is still there. “Yes. I have something called The Amulet of the Soul’s Blood.”
Saahir nods. “Good choice. It will keep your soul intact. Does it have carnelian stones?”
“Perfect.” He rubs his hands together.
“What do you need to tell me?” My body tenses as I lean forward.
“Without a journey, I can only tell you what I sense.” Saahir closes his eyes and his shoulders sag. “Your friend is being stalked by the spirit world. Not just any spirit though. This one is ancient and powerful. He has fierce protectors who will block your attempts.”
Saahir speaks of a spirit walk. It’s a dangerous venture claiming a portion of a shaman’s soul. This micro-death, if you will, and subsequent resurrection allows shamans to travel with ease between the lands of the dead and the living. There must be another way to help Sinatra.
I draw in a long breath before speaking, “What can I do to help Sinatra?”
Saahir stares at me, his brow furrowing. “The best way to help the young lady is to attack within the spirit realm. Harming the vessel will only affect the host. I’ll need to journey into the spirit realm, however, to get more answers.”
“Before you go anywhere,” I tap my fingers on the wooden table. “I need to find Sinatra.”
“She’s with him,” Saahir states. “I’m guessing somewhere near the water.”
“That makes sense. She called me earlier, and I heard seagulls.” I will my hand to stop the incessant rhythm. “Saahir, something weird happened when I put my phone on speaker. My friend—”
“Christine took on the persona of Amun’s protector, Sekhmet.” Saahir’s voice is emotionless. His body stills. If it weren’t for the slight rise and fall of his chest, I would think he died. “I assure you I am very much alive, Jacob. Sekhmet’s presence, filled with hatred, surrounds us. She’s waiting for you to drop your guard.”
“How?” I shift back in my seat as panic swells up inside me.
Saahir’s voice is calm as he informs, “When the amulet is no longer on your person, Sekhmet will attack.”
Showering over the next few days should be very interesting. I push aside the fear crawling under my skin. “Can you help me locate Sinatra? I need to get her away from Rassoul.”
“Yes.” Saahir holds up a hand. “Wait here.”
He returns seconds later with a black metal bowl filled with water. Saahir places it on the table and lights a candle. “Can you turn off the light, please? The switch is behind you.”
I do as he asks. “Now what?”
“We need time and quiet.” Saahir gazes into the water.
Minutes ebb and flow while my mind constructs scenarios. I imagine Rassoul harming Sinatra. If that happens, I’ll kill him. I don’t care if it only harms the vessel. Knowing there’s a spirit waiting to put an end to my existence doesn’t sit well with me either. How the hell did all this happen?
Saahir’s eyes lift, and he stares at me. “Your friend is near the water, but it will be difficult for you to reach her. There is a beach known as the Secret Beach. You’ll find it at Point Reyes Station.”
“I’m not familiar with it.”
“You can only get there during very low tide. Within the rock there is a doorway. To those who are unaware, it’s just a way to enter into an amphitheater on the other side. This structure, the Secret Door, is a portal into the spirit world. The spirit of Amun-Ra will use it to take your friend into the Duat, the Underworld.”
Ice shivers down my spine. “Are they there now?”
“They are on their way. When you spoke to her earlier, they were in Monterey. It will take you seven hours by car to reach them. An hour and a half by air.”
I scrape a hand over my face. “Flights are grounded because of bad weather.”
“Not bad weather but bad spirits.” Saahir rises from the table and flicks the light on. He puts out the candle and says, “I will do what I can within their realm. I make no promises. You, my young friend, must be very cautious. Sekhmet means to stop you permanently.”
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