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Tim was dreaming the first time saw the Shaman.
He somehow knew it was a Shaman when he’d come upon him while fleeing down a jungle trail. It was the kind of “knowing” that only came in a dream. One moment he’d been fleeing for his life and the next, a Shaman was standing in front of him; holding out something indistinguishable.
Tim had turned away, waking immediately.
The morning found him dogged with a feeling of intense regret. I should have taken the offering, he thought. Next time…
Every night, he went to bed trying to recapture the dream. On the seventh night, he dreamt of the jungle trail. It was raining as he fled ahead of a terror. Not knowing what was after him added to the fear. He could hear it just a few yards back…and closing.
The Shaman appeared and the fear was gone. He was different this time. He seemed smaller, weaker.
The Shaman held out his closed hand and Tim hesitated.
He wanted the offering but fear slapped the hand away.
Waking in a sweat, Tim walked to the bathroom, intent on dispelling the dream with a splash of water. He then noticed his feet were caked in mud.
Cleaned up and back in bed, he dreamt immediately. The jungle was dark and stormy. Surrounded by threats, he spun, confirming that no direction free of fear…and then came the Shaman.
Old and withered.
Surely ages had passed since they first met in a dream not yet a week old. A frail, thin arm reached out with a clinched fist. Tim was terrified. Still, he sensed it was time. He held out his hand and accepted a small jade talisman.
Tim next awoke to find himself in the arms of his new mother. All around, the villagers crowded to get a glimpse. Drums were beating in the background. Today was a day of celebration.
The new Shaman had been born.
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