Dusty carved leather covered the antique book – front and back. Zingara couldn’t read the cover’s strange cultist symbols. Dead fungus stained the worn leather a whitish powdery color. Inside, on creased pages, the faded words were old speak. Hard to unravel – but better than the blood-rock writings of the ancients.
The stained title page said, The First Book of War. A bloody thumbprint smudged the dogeared corner.
It smelled musty – and magical.
Scrawled inside the cover page some numbers detailed topical contents. She scanned down the list.
“Here it is,” she said to herself, “Benexus.” She caught her breath speaking the word. A taboo word she’d heard whispered in hushed voices. Was it evil?
Why did she tremble? Excitement? Dread?
“Benexus? included in a war book? Strange,” she thought. A hidden book buried underground beneath the earth for centuries. Was it forbidden language? And what did it mean?
And then – here now in front of her wide green eyes. Written in big black ink letters.
“Benexus: The mind touch.”
Zingara pulled the candlelight closer and squinted at the letterforms.
She whispered, “Benexus is a telepathic technique. The minds of two individuals become a single entity.”
She stopped and puzzled. “Telepathy?” She wondered, “Thought transference? How?”
She scanned down the tan page and turned another crumbly paper leaf.
“Benexus: The art of being present, being together. Deeper unspoken conversation when souls and minds speak direct between partners.”
“This smacks of love poetry,” Zingara thought, “Not battle language at all. Foolishness,” she snorted.
Benexus: a bond or connection.
The conversation between partners involving body language, eye contact, emotional awareness, and rhythm.
1. The first definition of Benexus is “to be manifest.”
2. The second definition is “to come in sight.”
3. The third is “to appear in proper character.”
4. The fourth is “to appear without disguise.”
“Without disguise — how curious?” she thought, “Did that mean unprotected? Armor-less?”
This didn’t sound like warriors. Wrinkles crossed her forehead and she scowled. “Vulnerable?”
Uncomfortable she read more.
Benexus means “to show yourself in your true guise,” or “to show your soul to another,” or “to make your spirit manifest to another,” or “to show your true SELF to another.”
Her lip curled in disgust.
It also means deep resonance or flowing together.
Now she tasted a taint of bitter in her mouth. “Warriors don’t do Benexus,” she scoffed.
Benexus is a conscious choice to manifest your spirit in a spiritual dimension.
Benexus requires trust in oneself. And the courage to be vulnerable when revealing one’s soul without disguise.
Benexus is a blessed joining.
She slammed the book shut.
A marriage word! Absurd.
The slow cloud of dust drifted and settled. In disgust, she stomped out of the dark library.
“Mind rot,” she shouted back at the closed book, “The truth of Benexus is weakness! There’s no power here.”
Zingara was dead wrong.
Voice-over-artist: Chloe Wigmore
Illustration: Levi Teare