From the moment I look to the sky, I know something ain’t right.
But that’s how it is with dreams. It’s that one object, that one person showing up who’s dead, that one tiny thing that sticks the fuck out, and gives your mind’s whole show away.
With this dream, it’s the sun.
That ball of gas, the red and yellow roiling and twisting around itself.
But as I watch the chaos swirl around dark spots, flares erupting, feel the heat that gives light and life —something clicks.
And I go all lucid.
It’s as if I can see through all that chaos, till it ain’t just some glowing, burnt-orange circle. Nah. The motherfucker’s rotating, ticking. There’s a rhythm to it.
The rays it’s sending off are both pushing and pulling, like an undeniable banger of a beat.
The pattern it’s offering gives me the sense of a safe being cracked open, ‘bout to show everyone what’s inside, or a clock attached to a bomb ‘bout to go off.
Then the light erupts and all is eaten by the light.
Way it usually goes for me is, once I figure out I’m in a dream, I wake up for a few. Then I either pass back out, groove into an empty sleep the rest of the night, or my brain puts together a better dream than the last, or if not better, at least more convincing.
But that ain’t happenin’.
I’m not waking up.
I’m getting pulled in deeper.
Eyes still half blinded by the beat of the sun, I focus to see I’m standing outside a bank, looking at a gold plaque next to the doors, the one that advertises which motherfucker’s rich enough to own this building.
If this was the real world, not my dream, and I was standing in front a bank in Harlem, that gold plaque would likely read J.T. Pfeiffer. But that’s a whole other story about the sorry state of my hometown, one I’ll get into further when I ain’t dreaming.
As it stands, nothing about where I am means anything to me.
I step to the front of the bank building and try the door handle, jerk it a few times in both directions, push and pull, ’cause doors are some tricky shit for me; I always mix up the directions on how to get them open.
Always have for all my life. ‘Cept this door is even trickier; it stays locked no matter what I do.
But my racket clearly caused someone’s ass to take notice, because I see a shadow risin’ inside. While I wait to see who’s casting this shade, I look back up at the sun hanging there in the sky, its weird mechanical-style rays ticking down time even faster.
I turn back to the door and the shadow’s owner has made themselves known.
And nah. I ain’t playin’. I’m serious. My ass is standing on the other side of the glass, looking right out at… me. I jump back a few feet, freaked the fuck out. Thought I had this dream all figured out, thought it was under my control, but I did not see that shit coming. And it makes me start to wonder, start to go to a fuckin’ uncomfortable place.
If I can’t figure out my own dream, if I can’t call the shots in my own head, am I the dreamer? Or is someone dreaming me?
But before I can chase that puzzle down, the me who apparently works in a bank, and is wearing a slick gray suit with open-collared white shirt – not my normal style, I assure you – opens the door, ushers actual me to come inside with a wave of the hand.
But I ain’t going inside there just yet. I got a few questions to pose to myself. I lean into the doorframe, don't commit to entering.
“What’s in there?”
Other Me in the gray suit gives Real Me a long look from top to bottom, and then says: “You need to make a deposit.”
I crack a laugh, smile at Other Me. “Brother, I don’t keep my hard-earned green in banks. Don’t trust ‘em. And neither should you. Although guess I’m a little late, since you work in one and everything. But me, how I’m livin’ is: all my savings’re stashed in shoeboxes or under my mattress.”
I add a little teeth to the smile. “And considerin’ current investment results, brother, I may be gettin’ more outta my money, keepin’ it at home. See what I mean?”
That shit’s all true. I’ve never had a bank account, never needed one. My business tends to be on a cash basis, mostly ’cause the people payin’ me generally don’t have bank accounts either. Most everyone I know has been locked out of the legal banking system since they were old enough to open an account. And if they weren’t locked up, who the fuck trusts a bank anyway? Way life goes in my neighborhood, banks are for rippin’ off, not security. Shit, everyone I know got more faith in the check-cashing place up on 157th than some bank any day of the week. And let’s be real: faith is the only thing that keeps any money, either the printer, or the user, having any genuine meaning. That don’t spell security to a man like me.
But Other Me, he ain’t having it. “Check your pocket,” he says. “For the deposit.”
So I dig inside. Just sort of humoring his ass. It’s a dream. Why the fuck not? I pull out my wallet and wrapped around the surface is a check. But before I hand it over to him, I notice something in the background. There’s not the actual inside of a bank past those front doors. Just this bright purple atmosphere, hangin’ like a blanket, and behind the purple, there’s red and blue bleeding through, like someone’s punching it from behind, cracking it, bruising the hell out of it, trying to escape. I look back up to the sky.
The sun’s rays are ticking faster and faster. “I'll take the check,” he says… I say.
I don’t even answer, just watch more and more of the purple crack open. Other Me motions with his fingers for the check, to speed this shit along. I give it to him without taking my eyes off the shattering purple. Finally, I snap back to reality, ’cause I got a question for him:
“Who even wrote me a damn check?”
He opens his mouth to speak, and says, something that sounds like:
But it can’t be. I must’ve heard it wrong, must’ve got distracted by the cracking purple. Sibley? Is that a girl’s name or something? Some car make or model? I want to ask Other Me to say it again, to repeat it slower, but I can’t, ’cause whatever’s behind the purple finally breaks through, and the entire bank is filled with blinding white light, and everything gets sucked into the heart of it…
Acclaimed sci-fi writer and activist Maurice Broaddus (Buffalo Soldier), co-writer Otis Whitaker and internationally renowned illustrator Jim Mahfood have created an urban fantasy novella in which a 30-year-old man comes of age — and comes into his own as a hip hop inspired sorcerer.
At thirty years old, Malik Hutchens is the black sheep of one of the most successful families in Harlem. While his cousins strive to better the family, he couch-surfs with relatives, parties with his girlfriend, and ghostwrites rhymes for local rappers for a few bucks to finance his lifestyle. When cocky Malik sells two warring rappers the same verse, he paints a target on his own back.
Then on his deathbed, his beloved grandfather, Pop-Pop, tells Malik that he is a sorcerer, in the great tradition of African sorcery born on the plains of the rift valley before the beginning of time. Now it’s Malik’s turn to step up and take his place as wielder and guardian of an ancient magic passed down through generations in order to protect the family, the people of Harlem, and the world from the forces of dark magic connected to the worst aspects of American history and the fearful creatures it has unleashed.
Left wondering if Pop-Pop suffered from hallucinations as he lay dying, Malik begins a journey of unexplained visions that make him worry about his sanity. Aided by mysterious people with mysterious powers, and pursued by people who may or may not be the rival white wizards Pop-Pop warned him about, Malik is thrown headlong into a quest that winds through the streets of Harlem, to the rural South, and places that he’s only visited in dreams. Now Malik must fulfill his destiny as both a sorcerer and a man, or fail his family, his people, and the world.
Fierce, fantastical, and far-out, Sorcerers is a novella written by acclaimed writer and community organizer Maurice Broaddus and co-writer Otis Whitaker which explores one man's psychedelic discovery of an ancient magic—and his journey to battle the forces of good and evil within society and himself.
Sorcerers will leave you spellbound ... a gem of a novella
Visually gorgeous and highly recommended