Dear readers, tonight on the interview couch is a psychic, battling the forces of darkness. She is crucial to the protagonist’s quest, as she channels messages from the latter’s granddad.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
Grew up, eh? Bit of a long while since then y’know, why’d you want to know that?
Just a way for your fans to get to know you better, nothing suspicious.
Ooh, I’ve got fans? Why didn’t you say? Grew up on a council estate in Seacroft, Leeds, nothing too exciting. Just your usual school of hard truths and worse prospects. Passed a couple of CSEs, got married, had kids, that kind of thing. Never been out of work. Never. Always worked. Mum’s normal, dad passed away – still see him from time to time – pretty normal upbringing, really.
So what wasn’t ‘normal’? How’d you become a psychic guide fighting dark forces for fun?
Now look here, sunshine, get your facts straight. I don’t know who you’ve been talking to, but you can’t just go around saying things like that. For starters, I’m not a guide for anyone. If I made money out of it, you’d call me a medium, but that’s just a posh way of saying I see dead people. All the time. There’s a few here right now. Know him, do you? Flat cap, smell of cigarette smoke? Your uncle? Granddad?
So you’re not a guide?
I just get given a lot of messages for the living. I don’t generally pass ’em on. Folks don’t really want to know. They want to know their loved ones went to heaven, not that they’re hanging around waiting for the next incarnation. He’s saying he hopes you’re happy now. Acrimonious relationship, was it? Flat cap guy?
But you gave Inayat messages from her granddad, why was she special?
Two things about that. First of all, she is special, but I didn’t know that to start with. The universe has plans for our Inayat, whether she likes it or not. Secondly, her granddad just kept getting in my way. I couldn’t go to the loo in peace. When it gets like that, you’ve got to do something about it.
And what else did I ‘get wrong’?
No need to look like that, son, we all get things wrong from time to time. Well, I don’t. But most do. There’s nothing fun about fighting dark forces, nothing at all.
So how did you get involved with the not-at-all-fun dark forces?
I can’t even say I stuck my nose in one too many times. I keep myself to myself, I do. Thing is, some spirits won’t just pipe down. They seek me out, make me respond. Spiritism and magic shines a light into the ether, tells ’em all they can come and hassle me. And now I’ve hooked up with Inayat, it’s getting ridiculous. They’re coming in from other dimensions, and not all of them are nice. She’s like some kind of interstellar candle, all these moths buzzing around her flame, and the worst thing is she can’t see a thing. She’s got more power than anyone I ever met, but she’s as blind as a mole on the astral plane. Not a sausage. Zip. Everyone’s got some darkness in them, but some of these things are dripping with pure evil.
Why put yourself in danger for someone else?
Know anything about soul missions, love? You know, the one thing your soul is here to do? Well mine’s got a lot to do with justice. Justice … let’s just say, it’s a double-edged sword. You’ve got to watch you don’t cut yourself in the process. But if you work on yourself, keep your chakras clean and your intentions pure, you can find you’re doing the job of the archangels without ever realising it.
There’s no room for cynicism in this day and age, love. Evil stands behind every person who could have done something useful, but didn’t. You asked me why to put myself in danger for someone else, but you don’t get it. It’s for all of us, love, not just Inayat. Once these things get their feet under the desk permanently, there’ll be no turning back the evil.
There, I’ve said it. You sciencey types, you think you die, the worms eat you and that’s it. Well if you go into the next world unprepared, there’s a good chance that’s what really will happen. No reincarnation, no additional lives, nothing. Sucked into another being’s energy field as nothing more than food.
Okay. Right. So … you said Inayat’s special. What kind of special?
Have you met her?
Not in person, no.
Okay, Inayat’s got a few layers of special, and I’m not just going to give you them all. But there’s two main parts, and they’re definitely related. Firstly, she’s not your usual type of person. She doesn’t think like other people. Her brain, y’know, it’s wired up differently. She sees everything from her own unique perspective, and that can complicate relationships and friendships for her. She doesn’t know how to be like normal folks, doesn’t have a ‘normal’ frame of reference. It’s got a special name, I can never remember it. Sounds like ‘artistic’. Aut … autist … ic. Autistic. Does a lot of staring at people’s faces, trying to figure out what they really mean.
And the other one?
Remember soul missions? Hers is to save the world. She’s a conduit for psychic energy, draws it, gathers it, and fires it out of her, more powered up than a laser beam. She can only do it because her mind is wired up differently from other people’s, but she doesn’t know about any of that anyway. Doesn’t know she’s artis—autistic, doesn’t know she’s a conduit. She just thinks she’s normal.
Hang on, back up slightly. Save the world from what, exactly?
Itself. Look, souleaters aren’t an accident. They’re not the result of an experiment gone wrong. Not even a product of Christianity. They’re what happens when a powerful person decides they don’t want to be reincarnated any more. They don’t want to lose all that knowledge they got when they were human. When you’re born, the trauma of the delivery is so damaging and intense, you lose every bit of information you gained in your previous life. By consuming the souls of other people, souleaters continue to survive on the astral planes without having to become corporeal.
So … these souleaters … who are they, exactly?
I don’t have many names, but you’re talking powerful magicians, the odd Pope … the odd politician who’s dabbled in the dark arts … that kind of person. They influence politics, popular culture, war, religion and they’re certainly not above linking up with individuals who have a similar mindset as them if it gets them a few tasty souls to consume. It’s about control, power, and influence, without ever having to gain a human body ever again.
And Inayat is here to save us from them?
If it all goes well. Life’s full of surprises, isn’t it?
Sakina Murdock lives with her dog, her partner and his two cats in bonny rural Cumbria and tries to stay out of trouble. She chats with blackbirds, rescues toads from traffic, protects deer from hunters and writes exciting magical fiction.
You can find Molly on the pages of A Bagful of Dragon.
Join us this Friday to meet an ancient goddess, because ancient myths are true and the gods are getting ready for war. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.