This story is by Mari Wagner and was part of our 2020 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
I was born with a special gift. I can whisper a message and the wind will carry it anywhere I want. It’s not something I think about often, unless I’m at school. I’m in ninth grade at an all-girls elite institution and fights run rampant. I don’t mean punching fights, but the slow simmering kind that bubble over and get ugly. Arguments usually blow over in a day or two, but sometimes these need secret intervention by me to end. In this way, I view myself as the school’s silent peacekeeper.
My message can be images or words and is received as thoughts or vivid dreams. Nobody, including my family, believes the power is real, despite my proving it time and time again. Everyone thinks it’s an odd coincidence. But that’s OK. I know it’s real.
Honing this ability has taken years and I’ve become good at reaching my target. But when I’m sending to someone in a crowd, my accuracy drops because if someone gets in the way, they intercept me. This results in the usurper wondering why some random thought just hijacked their brain. Although this is funny, I’ve learned transmitting in the middle of the night works best.
A week ago, my world changed. I woke up in a sweat from intense images of war and destruction. Trees, buildings, and people crumbled to dust. I wondered if someone sent these images to me. But who? Wouldn’t I have known if there was another person with similar powers? But I never tried to reach out and expand my voice into the world to find out. So why assume I’m the only one? Maybe this is real.
While sleeping, an older woman with long brown hair interrupted my sleep. She was beating her chest with one arm and I noticed the other arm was missing. But what disturbed me most was the distraught look on her face. She said she needed me to reach a person who sleeps surrounded by armed guards.
Pondering the two messages I received, war images and reaching a sleeping man, I wondered. Do I need to wake someone sleeping through a war? I highly doubt this was the intended message. Are there just weird dreams? But the woman’s image haunts my mind. Something about her… long brown hair, maybe? I think I saw a thin blond streak like mine? Well, actually I was born with a white streak, but I’d rather say it’s blond.
I started looking for news stories that could lead to war. North Korea is the major story. The news reports say they have ballistic weapons and developed means to deploy them. And despite a UN Security Council Resolution to give up their weapons program, North Korea refuses. I realize possessing weapons is bad, but being able to launch them is serious. However, if years of history classes have taught me anything, nobody will act too recklessly because the results could lead to disaster.
I could easily blow this off as a fanatic, chest-beating like a gorilla posturing for supremacy. But what if Kim Jong-un decides not to risk the fates of Muammar Khadafi and Saddam Hussain? They relinquished their weapons programs and subsequently had their regimes ripped apart. Worse yet, both lost their lives at the hands of their own people! Big supremos rendered kaput! Kim Jong-un may feel backed against a wall.
While I was sleeping the woman showed me an alarm clock. I need to understand her, but she’s too cryptic. So, I walked outside to whisper and prayed she’d receive my message despite not knowing much about her. I concentrated on her face and whispered into the wind, thinking only to myself, “what is it about her face that fascinates me?”
When I saw her again, she was wailing and pleading for help. She showed more graphic war images while begging on her knees. She said, “this war has to be stopped and you must reach him quickly. Focus!”
She was asking for the impossible. She was asking for a miracle.
“But I’m just a girl,” I think to myself.
“A girl with powers,” I reply.
I listened in horror the next day, hearing the extent of North Korea’s weapons. They miniaturized hydrogen bombs onto the tips of long-range missiles and plan to cripple Japan. Kim Jong-un says no talks or sanctions will stop his country’s mighty force.
This might not be a fanatic spewing rhetoric anymore. His threats, along with the messages I’m receiving, confirm this has a good chance of leading to war. I focused on Kim Jong-un and send images, trying to dissuade him. I chose a beautiful image of a small Korean boy smiling, wearing a black silk traditional outfit. Also, colorful images of traditional food and celebrations, and images of the majestic landscapes of North Korea. I sent mental pictures all day, hoping he would be alone at some point, at least to use the bathroom. Or did he do that with people also? Hopefully not… eew.
That evening on the news, I listened to sirens blaring in Japan as preparations began for imminent attack. North Korea promised to attack Japan’s economic center. The Prime Minister of Japan guaranteed to show intolerance for any missile launches by taking direct actions of their own.
Last night the woman’s face showed no fear. Her eyes were transfixed on mine with steel-like determination, and she paralyzed me with fear. An alarm clock was blaring beside her. She pointed to the screeching clock, then gestured as if stroking invisible words emanating from her mouth.
“Now! Now!” were the words I heard.
I focused on Kim Jong-un sleeping in a room with guards. I tried focusing on each person, but it was too hard. Over and over I whispered my prayers for peace. I showed him images of his county destroyed and tears from wars’ horrific fallout. I even replaced the feeble, haggard and unshaven face of Saddam Hussain at his capture with Kim Jong-un’s face, hoping to grasp at his vanity. For hours, I continuously tried everything I could.
As soon as the news began, I doubled over and began rocking to soothe myself.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I just can’t stop it. I’m so sorry.” I gasp through burning tears. My family is here now, surrounding me, comforting me, but each one of their soothing words rip at my heart, exponentially intensifying my grief. I’m gripped by my failure. And I fear the worst is on its way.
“After breaking off talks aimed at ending its nuclear weapons program, we have confirmed North Korea fired at least one missile that headed towards Japan,” the reporter said. “The missile may have been a show of force, travelling over Japan, landing in international waters in the Pacific.”
“It will be OK,” she screamed, sitting up, scaring her family. “I was just terrified of what might happen,” she said, pointing to the TV. My family means more to me than anything in this world. I am thankful this worked and we’re all safe.
Tonight, the Supreme Leader will sleep easily despite confusion with coordinates he himself set to Hokkaido. A review showed he entered the wrong location. He knows he will have to abide by the harsher economic sanctions which will befall his country because of his actions. But he won’t question how he entered the wrong coordinates too often, because the results of today’s events could not have turned out any better. Tomorrow the world will wake-up to know the mighty power of The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. And tomorrow he will become even more emblazoned on the hearts of his people as he trumpets the story of their mighty victory.
He decides today is his highest achievement, not his lowliest mistake.
The world will never know the role the woman and I played in helping Kim Jong-un divert that missile. Because nobody would believe.
The woman showed me how far-reaching my power can extend. But I would not want to reach out on my own yet. What if I accidentally make things worse? I also realize her abilities are far more advanced than mine. She seemed to know the future. I can’t do that. Or can I? Maybe with time and practice I can do this as well? And maybe one day I can be her, reaching back to interrupt an unspeakable catastrophe.
The woman is not responding to me despite sending messages for weeks. I have so many questions and thanks for her. Not only did she keep the world safe, including my family and me. But she helped me embrace my own truth.
My voice matters in this world!