During my studies at Saint Leo University, I, along with some fellow history majors, was approached with a rousing offer to study a small selection of written artifacts from the 16th century. These writings contained prayers, chants, diaries, and songs that were discovered in a remote house of worship nestled somewhere in Virginia. Which house of worship it was, and when the writings were discovered, wasn't revealed to us. Most of us simply obliged due to our curiosities in American folk history.
After a brief meeting with the Dean of Students one evening whom, mind you, was somewhat of an egotistical bastard, the small group of us were led into a basement of sorts; a housing of historical artifacts and a library of books cut-off from the general student population. We were honored, to say the least.
After taking the necessary precautions (putting on gloves and that sort of thing) we were greeted with an astonishing array of books and writings placed atop a long metal table. Each of us was given a translation guide (granted most of us were somewhat fluent in 16th century English) and a reading light. Of course, within moments, a majority of the larger books and letters were already taken and being studied by the other students. Which meant, like usual, I was left with the scraps: a letter from Massachusetts, a hymnal, and a prayer journal. Being the snoop that I was, I figured I could find some age-old gossip stashed away in the journal...so I went with that.
The journal was small. Small enough to fit in your pocket. Though it contained an astoundingly large amount of writing and scribbles; however, most of it was just incoherent ranting. Clearly, whoever owned the thing was envious of his older brother. The phrase "undeserving yaldson" appeared numerous times throughout the journal. This is ironic, considering yaldson means son of a prostitute. You can never point a finger without three pointed back at yourself, I suppose.
There was, however, one page that stood out amongst the rest. It stood out not only due to its content, but also because it was the only page written in Latin. This was strange, not only because the rest of the scribbles were in English, but also because of the region in which it was found. No one from 16th century Virginia should've spoken Latin, nor even comprehended it.
Thankfully, I did.
The top of the page read Ingredieris Possidendam, which in Latin meant "entering". My eyes shuffled down the page. The text appeared to be a guide of sorts. A ritual. Obviously, at this point, the text grabbed my attention. I took my belongings and sat down by myself in the corner of the room with the reading light.
The page opened with a warning, beneath the Ingredieris Possidendam text, reading:
This rite is irreparable. Choosing to proceed may result in dire consequences. However, if all procedures are correctly adhered to, this rite will serve the adherer in effectively entering another body vessel.
At this point, my mind began racing. And, evidently, whoever jotted this down was frightened too...or excited, as the words on the page succumbed to barely being scribbles. I continued,
To commence the rite, the following procedures must be accomplished:
One: the adherer must select a body vessel. This vessel can be anyone, so long as they are living. However, there may only be one vessel.
Two: the rite must occur after nightfall. Failure to prevent sunlight from entering the rite space will result in miscarriage.
Three: the adherer must obtain a reflective surface large enough for the adherer and the vessel to be visible.
Four: when both the adherer and vessel are within view of the reflective surface, the following incantation must be spoken: Vas laetaus intrare. Ego spreveritis leges current status.
I lowered the book, reciting the incantation in my mind. It translated, "This vessel I willfully enter. I reject my current state."
I picked up the book once more, my eyes dashing to the bottom of the page:
This rite is irreparable. Upon entering the new vessel, your previous state will be dormant. The whereabouts of the vessel's original occupant are unknown-
And then it just ends. That's the bottom of the page. That's the last note in the journal.
I didn't quite know what to make of the book. Part of me wished I hadn't picked it up, because the thought of the ritual left a sour taste in my mouth. Yet, for some reason, a tiny voice in my back of my mind begged me to try it. I scoffed at the ridiculous, fleeting thought.
As the pool of students dwindled, I was left to glance at some of the other writings omitted from me by my classmates. While I flipped through a small hymnal, the words of the ritual kept ringing between my ears.
The perpetual utterance of the scribbled rite continued until a hand rested on my shoulder. It was the Dean. I stood up, clasping his hand and looking into his eyes and over his shoulder. We were alone down there, just he and I. I must've overstayed my welcome.
"Studying deeply, I see?" the Dean smiled.
"Yes, sir," I replied, chuckling nervously at the awkwardness.
"Call me Phineas, kid." the Dean said, leading me by the shoulder to a small mirror against the wall. "It's bright kids like you that'll make a difference someday," he said, eyeing my reflection and grinning.
"Yes, si- Phineas, I mean," I muttered, looking at the man through the mirror.
"One day you, too, can have the respect and honor I've acclaimed-" the Dean said, "-I used to be just like you, son. You've gotta get out of the book from time to time and...live. Maybe get a yacht!"
As I peered at the man, now chortling to himself, in the mirror. I considered. No- I thought, laughing off the ludicrous idea.
"Something on your mind, son?" the Dean said in a hushed voice, squeezing on my shoulder. I stared at him for a silent moment in the mirror.
"Just these words..." I began...
Written by MakRalston