Gentry fiddled with his specters wondering how his fellow Pneumatologists were doing. They had been out here on the holy site of Mt. Fuji studying spirit folkology for two days now trying out different technologies. Plebarious was working to understand the smaller disturbances, Raynier was tasked with understanding the nature of the spirit of the mountain, and Gentry was trying to catalogue the hierarchy in between. They all went to the same school and had been recruited by the head of the Pneumatology department – Doctor Asclepius. Gentry’s technology was a special pair of glasses called specters.
Specters allowed you to view devic energy. Unfortunately, they did not work for everyone. You already had to have a gift for sensing spirits. Gentry had tried to explain it to a friend once by describing it like this, “It’s as if the world were blind and I am color blind. Think of these glasses as you would Enchroma Lenses that allow color blind people to see the full spectrum”. In addition to having a gift, Gentry had found that he had to be in the right frame of mind – a frame of mind that was almost trance like. He had discovered snowboarding was a good technique to use.
He wasn’t sure what method he would employ when they got to Saudi Arabia to study the jinn. In Japan they would study the kami, in Ireland the fairy folk, and of course they had all of Christendom to study angles and demons. Most cultures described a spirt world. Some cultures had fleshed their worlds out more than others. It was his professor’s opinion that they were all describing the same presence. He had recruited the three young men to look for this sort of paranormality. They all shared a gift for sensing spirits though manifested in different ways.
Doctor Asclepius was fascinated by the thought of a similar but parallel world where most spirits lived everyday lives entertaining superstitions about humans, but never really believing them. While some spirits (like humans) had a sense of beings in a different dimension and were able to interact with humans to various degrees based on individual gifts. In the world of Pneumatology he had amassed quite a following and had produced a substantial amount of evidence. However, it was evidence that only a gifted few could take for fact while the rest of the world had to rely on faith. Faith a good deal of the world would not impart.
Unfortunately snowboarding and observational research were not always the best of friends. Gentry had hit a rock he wasn’t paying attention to while he was following a tree spirit. It had barely been sticking out of the snow. He supposed the tree spirit must have it in for the poor rock because he could feel the malice pulsing from the stone where he sat from being thrown a good ten feet away. A snow bank that could have done with some fresh fluffier snow had cushioned his fall.
He stood up and patted himself down. He seemed to be intact except for a scraped knee and a throbbing finger with the beginnings of a blood blister forming at the knuckle. He could move it completely although painfully and decided it was more likely a sprain than a break. It would be better in four days he predicted. He looked around to see if he had dislodged anything when he spied the letter he had received from his mother that morning. It was a fancy calligraphic affair in velum sealed with wax and a ribbon as was her custom. She was of the opinion that all of her correspondences were of the utmost importance and delivered them as such.
Gentry picked it up, sat on the mad rock, and tried reading it again. Maybe double vision would give the instructions she had provided more sense. Regardless, the letter seemed destined to complicate things.
He took out a biscuit to nibble on and spied a squirrel eyeing him jealously. The commonness of the squirrel amused him. He was all the way in Japan and yet he could still count on this rodent to try and shake him down for a bit of food. “Would you like some of my breakfast”, he asked? “Of course you do, ” Gentry answered for him.