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ASTRAL 
 CHAPTER TWO: OLD FREINDS
By:
Hadiza Bagudu & Abdul-Jalal Musa

WARNING!

“This series and the characters in it are fictitious. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and specific other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law." Copyright © 2023 by Hadiza Bagudu.

SUMMARY

A supernatural/fantasy series about astral-projection and inter-dimensional travel. Embark on a cosmic odyssey in "Astral: The Awakening." Join Yusuf as he navigates worlds, love, and ancient forces, unraveling mysteries that defy reality. An enthralling journey awaits!

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"Janin!" Yusuf said it again. "But...how? You cannot be here... It is not possible..." He tried to move, but his body was still heavy. He could only move his head and he followed her with his gaze as she moved.

 

"Yes. It's me. I am here, my love. And I have missed you so much." She walked over to sit at the edge of the bed. "Finally. You don't know how long I have been trying to reach you. But you couldn't hear me."

 

 

Yusuf still couldn't believe his eyes as he stared at her. His strength was slowly coming back, so he pushed himself to sit up, with some difficulty.

 

"I have always been with you, but you couldn't see me. I kept screaming your name, but you didn't hear me." She was sad, and Yusuf felt a tinge of pity for her. The floodgates opened, and all the feelings he once had for her rushed back in. She told him how she kept trying to reach him, but there was a force field surrounding him that she couldn’t penetrate. It was frustrating, but she never gave up. She also told him how everyone back in the Land of Jute missed him, and he believed it. For a while, they were like family to him. He had become so popular in the Land of Jute because of his friendship with Janin. And over time, he even started adopting their ways and customs. They had accepted him as one of their own, and he was happy to be one. But his parents saw what he did not, and they understood the reality of the situation and the danger that Janin posed to him and everyone around him, so they did everything to sever the bond between them, a bond that traversed across realities.

 

"You cannot be here, Janin." He finally said, trying to assert himself. He could not wrap his head around how she got here. She shouldn't even exist in this reality. She was a Jin made of energy with no corporeal form. Yes, some jinn can appear to people and even harm them, but not all of them possess that ability, and Janin certainly doesn't. That is why she could never follow him back. But he could visit her in her reality any time he wanted as a teenager, and it was a huge problem as it made him catatonic in this reality while he is visiting theirs. And because he kept staying longer and longer in the Land of Jute, he was usually in a coma for several hours to even days, throwing his family into chaos. He understood where his parents were coming from, and they were right to get rid of her. She was a Jinn, and that is a relationship that should never happen. He was too young, naive, and in love to see it then. But there was something sinister about Janin and her family. It seemed they were trying to keep him in the Land of Jute and maybe use his abilities to cross over into this reality, and they almost succeeded until his parents intervened.

 

The council of Ur also arrested Janin for interacting with Humans as that was forbidden. The last time he saw her, she was being hurled away to prison in the Land of Jute. So, how did she get here?

 

"How are you here, Janin?" He was much stronger now.

 

"I am not sure, myself. I have been following you around for years, trying to communicate with you, but you couldn't hear me. Yet, somehow, after your accident, you started to hear me, but not see me. Unfortunately, you were also struggling."

Yusuf remembered hearing a voice calling out to him several times during his ordeal. But because there were so many things happening at the same time, he just dismissed it as one of the many ways he was losing his mind. "It was you?"

 

"Yes, my love. You don't know how hard it was for me that you couldn't see me."

 

"The last time I saw you, you were being taken to prison."

 

She bowed her head in shame. "Yes. I finished serving my term, and I was released early for good behaviors. I know I should stay away, but I missed you so much."

 

"Janin, you know we are not supposed to interact with each other. I don't know how you managed to cross over, but you need to go back, now!"

 

"Why? Because your parents say so?" She snapped at him.

 

"Yes, and because we cannot be with each other. It's unnatural." He was firm.

 

"Says who? Why is it unnatural? We love each other. We should be together."

 

"You lied to me about your age." She was a lot older than she told him. By at least a few centuries. You pretended to be my age just to deceive me."

 

"I didn't want to scare you. In my place, age doesn't matter; we can be any age we want and appear however we want."

 

"I still had a right to know." He protested.

 

"I am sorry. I will not lie to you again."

 

"You still need to leave."

 

"I can't. I don't know how."

 

"Come on, Janin"

 

"Honestly, I didn't even know I could cross over. I just felt it got easier and easier until I did in the past week. I guess your mind had become a lot weaker. And the fact that I could cross over means you were thinking of me." Yusuf felt that one. It's true, he was thinking of her but not in that way. Although her being here now actually brought up old feelings. "We can still be together now. Your parents and my people don't have to know. You are not a child anymore." She pleaded.

 

Yusuf thought he heard a noise at the door and suddenly, he was worried for Florence and John. What if they saw her? Could she harm them?" "I think your friend is back." She said with a smile.

 

"You need to hide. He cannot see you."

 

"I don't think he can." She said.

 

"Hey, Yusuf. Are you OK?" John called out from outside the door before coming in.

 

"Who were you talking to?" He asked, curious.

 

"John. You are back. I didn't hear you come in." Yusuf pretended to not hear the question. He was glad John didn't see Janin as she was standing in the room.

 

"Yes. I brought some of my stuff. I will get the rest tomorrow." John said, still suspicious. "I could have sworn I heard you conversing with someone. I even thought you were on the phone."

 

"Oh, don't mind me. I talk to myself sometimes. But it's OK. I will try and keep it down."

 

"OK then," John said and then went to put his stuff in his room. Yusuf gave Janin a stern look before following John.

 

"What about Florence?" Yusuf asked. "She will get here a bit later. She needs to see someone." John replied while opening his box and taking out clothes to put in his wardrobe. Yusuf felt a tinge of jealousy again; Florence must be visiting her boyfriend. He doesn't even know the guy, but he already didn't like him. "How are you feeling this morning? Any headaches or episodes?" John asked. That was when Yusuf even realized that it was morning.

 

"Oh, I am much better. I better go and pray Fajr. I will come and help you arrange later."

 

"It's OK. I will soon be done. Then we will go and get breakfast. OK?"

 

"OK." Yusuf walked to the door, then turned around and said, "Thank you, John, for everything. You are a true friend."

 

"I am sure you would have done the same for me," John replied.

 

"With all my heart."

 

Yusuf went back to his room and thankfully, Janin was not there. He prayed, took a shower and cleaned, then went to the kitchen for breakfast. On his way, he observed the apartment for the first time and admired it. It was a four-bedroom apartment, with a large kitchen. Each bedroom was en suite with its toilet and had a balcony. Providing fantastic views. There was a small guest toilet for the living room, which was large and tastefully furnished, and had a small dining area attached to it. The kitchen was spacious and equipped with a storeroom and a pantry. Both the living room and the kitchen had balconies attached, and the living room balcony was a large wrap-around adorned with flowers, a mini garden and a sitting area. It was luxury at its finest. The design and furniture were very modern, and the apartments were designed for family living, preferably for a middle-class family with some money.

 

They let Florence have the master bedroom which was the largest and the only one with a walk-in closet. Being a girl she naturally had more clothes. Additionally, since she loved to cook and all they could manage were instant noodles and tea, they hoped to bribe her into continuing to cook for them.

 

He looked around to see if he could spot Janin, but she was nowhere to be seen. So, he proceeded to the kitchen. John had bought a lot of provisions which he hadn't put away. They were strewn on the counters. He wondered where John was able to get these items so early in the morning. Most supermarkets open by 9 a.m. It was 7:25 a.m. The sun wasn't even that bright and somehow, he found a place to purchase stuff. Perhaps it's H.Medix supermarkets and pharmacies. They are usually open 24/7. He started to put things away, where they belonged.

 

Florence hadn't come moved in yet, so, he might just have to eat instant noodles. He opened the fridge to put the perishables away and he noticed some Tupperware containers containing some jollof rice and cow tail pepper soup. He was so happy. Did John find a restaurant that was opened this early or was it Florence who cooked it the previous day and left it in the fridge for them to warm and eat? Whichever it was, he was happy. He warmed the food and served it just as John was coming into the kitchen to eat.

Later that day, he talked at length with his worried mother and once again assured her that he was alright. As if his mother could sense Janin was back, she kept asking him, but he denied it. He didn't want her to come and take him away. However, Hajiya warned him about how Janin could attach herself to him and refused to let go. The Jinn were notorious for that. He also chatted a bit with his father before hanging up.

 

After John left, he walked around the house, from room to room checking for and calling Janin but she was nowhere to be seen. He was nervous as he didn't know what she was up to. Perhaps she got tired and left. Perhaps he hallucinated the whole encounter. Whatever the case, he was happy that she was gone. He felt good enough to put in his sneakers and go for a walk. John had bought some of his clothes for him and he was able to change.

 

Modern Kitchen

On his walk, he also admired the beautiful luxury gated community with its matching designs. From the outside, all the buildings look alike, but inside there were differences in furniture, colour, and even design. Some of the apartments had 5 or 3 bedrooms, some had BQ (boys' quarters) attached, and some were full terrasses with multiple floors. There was something for everyone, as long as you could afford it. The ambience was peaceful and beautiful, with all the lawns well-manicured. There was a football field, a basketball court, a small children's play area or park, a mini-mart, a clinic, and a small security command centre. The gate is automated, and a scanner checks all cars coming in for weapons and bombs, especially with the rising security concerns in the country.

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The Middle Eastern vibe of her favourite restaurant combined with the delicious smells of Arabian/North African food, always put Florence at ease, and she relaxed a little bit.

 

She was having lunch at Mandie's restaurant that afternoon with her boyfriend, Maclean, after classes. The restaurant is at the heart of Wuse 2 and is frequented by the rich, due to the exorbitant prices and unique dishes they serve. The walls were draped in a vibrant mixture of red, white and grey patterned curtains which complemented the deep red wall-to-wall carpet, which feels lush under her feet. They sat at one of the multiple round tables covered with clothes and the chairs were red and white. Ornate hanging fixtures added a touch of elegance to the space.

They ate and talked for a while before he asked her why she was unreachable the previous night.

 

" Oh, I was with my brother at his apartment last night.' Florence explained. "He needed my help with something, so I went, and as it was late, I decided to spend the night there." She didn't want to tell him about Yusuf yet. She had a feeling that it would make him uneasy. She didn't know why.

 

"OK. It's just that we were supposed to hang out, and I missed you." He whined.

"I am sorry, sweety. I will make it up to you, I promise." She felt a pang of guilt for not telling him the whole story. They were supposed to hang out at the library and study together. They were both students of psychology, but Mclean was in his second year, so, he could help her with her studies. That was how they met, through their love for the library. He was happy to assist her with her assignment since she was new and was experiencing difficulties at that time.

 

"We can study after lunch." She said., but then suddenly realized she forgot the textbooks they were going to use. Also, she needed to talk with her professor to get more useful information to help Yusuf. "I am sorry, I forgot the textbooks."

 

"It's OK. We can get some from the library." He replied.

 

"OK. But I cannot study for long. I need to see Prof. Hues for something."

 

"Again? What is the subject you are trying to discuss? Can't you fill me in? I might help."

 

"Oh no. It's just something silly, I have been working on. I will tell you when I am sure of it, I promise." She still didn't feel comfortable telling him about Yusuf.

 

He looked at her without saying anything for several seconds before saying: "OK. Whenever you are ready, tell me. I am also a Psychology student, remember?"

 

"Yes, babe. I promise."

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After a 30-minute library session with Mclean, Florence went to visit her professor at the Department of Psychology. At the door, she read his name:

'Professor Charles Hues', and as always, found it fascinating. She gave the door a light tap and heard his sharp voice yell: "Come in!" She entered. As usual, he was sitting at his desk, surrounded by books. His office is always full of books from every field of psychology.

 

He was a white American professor who initially arrived in Nigeria for a short lecturing stint but opted to stay because he loved the country and naturally, the favourable pay. Despite his perpetual dishevelled and fatigued appearance, he exuded quick wit and pep. In his early 40s and not unattractive with reddish-blond hair and light brown eyes. "If only he took better care of himself," She thought.

 

"Hello, Florence," he said in his usual cheerful manner. "What supernatural mystery do you have for me today?" Florence laughed nervously.

 

"Good evening, sir." She replied. Going over to his desk and sitting across from him. After a few pleasantries, she delved in:

 

"Our subject can now teleport in and out of realities anytime he wants. How could

you explain that?

 

He thought about it for a few seconds before answering: "The ability to teleport in dreams and seemingly be present in the dream location while catatonic in reality could be indicative of a vivid form of lucid dreaming or a dissociative experience.

 

"What is Lucid dreaming?" She asked.

 

"Lucid dreaming is a state where the dreamer becomes aware that they are dreaming and may gain some control over their dream characters, narrative, or environment. It allows individuals to actively participate in and often manipulate their dreams. Imagine you find yourself flying over a beautiful field of lavender, admiring the scene and taking in the intoxicating aroma while feeling light-headed and euphoric, then you remember that you've never been to that environment before. It hits you: you just went to bed a short time earlier and oh, you cannot fly. Then you have become lucid in that dream- meaning, you are aware that you are dreaming. And even better, you can manipulate the dream to suit you. Like say, you can change the scenery, the atmosphere, or even your appearance. Anything. Dreams are meant to work out unresolved issues we had while awake, so you can manipulate a lucid dream to do anything to get the result you want. Lucid dreaming can be a skill developed through practice and various techniques."

 

"But how do you explain the teleportation?" She asked, again.

 

"Well, I am not sure what you mean by teleportation. Has he left the room at any moment?" She could hear the sarcasm in his voice.

 

"No, but he zones out and appears to enter a trance for varying lengths of time, from one minute to several. And when he returns, he seems different. "

 

"Sounds like he has a wild imagination and the ability to act them out." He said but noticed the look of disappointment in her eyes. So, he became serious. "Lucid dreaming is exceptionally powerful, and when combined with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and even just an overactive imagination, distinguishing the difference between what is real and what is not can be increasingly difficult. Exploring their dream patterns, overall mental health, and any recent life changes might help understand this phenomenon."

 

"His heartbeat stops, no pulse." She continues, stubbornly. "Professor, how long can a person survive without a pulse?"

 

"A few minutes at most, in rare cases longer. In 1999, Anna Bågenholm, a Swedish radiologist, fell into a frozen stream on a ski vacation and was trapped under a layer of ice in freezing water for over 80 minutes, leading to hypothermia.

 

By the time the rescue team arrived, her body temperature had dropped to 13.7°C, one of the lowest body temperatures on record and she had no pulse. The rescue team administered CPR and flew her to a medical centre, where she was hooked to a cardiopulmonary bypass machine. This slowly warmed the blood outside her body before recirculating it back, gradually increasing her temperature. Her heart started beating again after several hours."

"He looked so proud of himself as he droned away," Florence thought.

 

"Anyway," he suddenly came back to reality. "Ideally, a person's pulse shouldn't be absent for more than a minute."

 

"Well, the last time, he was out for over 12 minutes, and he came back like nothing happened. Sometimes, he comes back with bruises and scars that were never there before. How can you explain that."

 

He stared at her with seriousness for a few seconds before saying, "Are you mocking me Florence?"

 

"No sir, I am genuinely curious." He still wasn't amused. "I wasn't mocking you; I swear. But I wasn't 100% honest with you either. This is not a hypothetical scenario. It is based on a real person. My brother's friend had an accident and since then, he has been experiencing strange out-of-body phenomena. We didn't know how to help him, but the technique you suggested did help ease his pain."

"It seems like you should take him to a hospital." He said, more quietly than usual.

 

" Hospitals won't work. Believe me, sir. This is an unusual case, and they wouldn't know what to do with him. Worst-case scenario, they lock him up in a mental institution, " She explained.

 

"Can I talk to him?" Professor Hues asked, sounding intrigued now.

 

"He is not fond of that. He wasn't happy about me knowing either. He was almost lynched as a kid, and his family had to move several times for that same problem."

 

"So, it's a lifelong condition?"

 

"Yes."

 

"He believes he teleports huh."

 

"Yes sir. I also do. I know it seems bizarre to say it aloud, but It's something you have to experience to understand. Not only does he do it in dream form, but he does it while awake, in front of us, and you can see and feel his life force exiting his body and then coming back. Sometimes, he comes back with physical evidence on his body to show for it," She argued.

 

"Well, teleporting while awake could be a form of altered perception or dissociation, potentially related to psychological factors or neurological processes. Further assessment and exploration would be needed to provide a more comprehensive explanation.

 

The resurgence of teleportation experiences, particularly after a recent accident, may suggest a psychological response triggered by trauma or heightened stress. The ability to enter and explore people's minds, if not metaphorical or symbolic, could be a manifestation of heightened empathy, sensitivity, or a coping mechanism developed in response to the accident. It's essential to consider psychological factors, such as trauma and coping mechanisms, and potentially seek professional help for a more in-depth understanding and support." He droned on again. "I would love to meet him, though and see for myself what you mean. I cannot reach any kind of conclusion from here. I am sorry."

 

"Actually, Sir, you have helped me enough. I have an idea what to do now. Thank you." She got up to leave.

 

"I am glad I helped." The sarcasm was back in his voice again. If you have any more wonderful discoveries, be sure to let me know."

 

"Will do, sir." With that, she left.
 

Modern Townhouses

At around 5 pm, Florence arrived at the house, having done a lot of shopping. She bought items she thought they would need in the house, such as a vacuum cleaner, brooms, mops, buckets and other cleaning equipment, detergents, soaps, new pots and pans, dishes, cutlery, new bed sheets and several other necessities for a comfortable living. She even bought a ridiculous amount of foodstuff, including dairy, seasonings, beef, a 25 kg bag of rice, a 10-litre gallon of vegetable oil and cartons of bottled water. The security guards of the estate assisted in bringing the items into the apartment for her. Yusuf wondered if any items were remaining for others to buy at the supermarket. When her brother saw what she brought, he asked her, "Did you tell Dad you were moving into this apartment?"

 

"No," She answered after a little pause. "Did you?" She also asked him.

 

"No," He replied.

 

"Well, OK then." She said, and they both burst out laughing. Then, both Obinna and Yusuf helped her arrange the things and put them away while she went to the kitchen to cook dinner. Later, they all sat in the living room to gist. She told them about her conversation with Professor Hues and some of the new exercises that she had planned for him. Even though they were all tired, she still decided to have a session with Yusuf. This time around, Yusuf had gained a lot more control of his mental abilities and at some point, he realized that he could pull Florence into the white room with him by simply visualizing her in it. She was caught off guard, and it was a rush.

 

The whole time, Janin watched them through the wall of the empty guest room, with an amused look on her face.

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Thank you for reading Chapter Two of Astral. If you enjoy it, please leave me a like, comment below and subscribe to my website.

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