The Sword and
Dr. Omar Metzger was a scrawny man with shoulder length black hair
that had begun to grey on the sides. He stood stiffly next to his sister’s bed,
holding her hand and anxiously checking his watch every few minutes
while stifling a yawn. He’d rushed Misaki to the hospital early that evening
and hours later, the lack of sleep was catching up to him.
His sister had been in a coma since she was a child, and for the last sev-
eral years Omar had been keeping her at his home where she was taken
care of by a nurse and by Tyree, his personal assistant. Last night she had
several seizures. While Omar could deal with them, he didn’t have the
proper equipment at his home to evaluate the possible damage being done
to her brain so he had brought her to the hospital. They’d done an MRI on
her when she arrived, and Omar was now anxiously waiting by her hospital
bed for the results. He was wearing his lab coat and had his spectacles on,
which made him look official, but he felt so helpless.
He sat down and bent over to speak quietly into her ear. He talked to
her as he always did, even though he’d tested her brain activity and found
her to be completely un-responsive. “Misaki-chan,” he called to her. (The
“-chan” in Japanese was often attached to a child’s name when kinship was
implied.) “I’ve spoken to the doctor,” he whispered loudly. “He knows of us
and he’ll give you the best treatment possible. We’re waiting for the—”
But then the doctor entered the room, and Omar stood to greet him. “Is
He sighed, “I’m not sure. There’s no damage but…well, you’re a
doctor. Take a look.”
He handed the charts to Omar who flipped through them and saw that
Misaki, for the first time since she’d been in a coma, was exhibiting ex-
treme amounts of brain activity.
Omar looked at the doctor hopefully and asked, “This is good, right?”
The Rise of the Magi
“I don’t know,” said the doctor. “Her brain activity is that of someone
who’s in distress.”
Omar took a closer look and realized that he was right.
As he took his sister’s hand again, her fingers suddenly began to spasm
as they sometimes did, and she was gagging on the food line that went
down her throat. The doctor responded quickly to remove it.
Omar could swear that he heard her try to speak. His eyes widened in
surprise, and he bent over her again as he spoke in Japanese. “Misaki-chan,
can you hear me? Don’t worry! Everything is okay.”
“No,” he heard her say. “Come quick! Bring the gambler.”
Omar grabbed the doctor’s collar with one hand and whispered in-
tensely, “Get your team in here now!” The doctor ran out of the room,
calling for other doctors and nurses as he hurried down the hall.
Misaki spoke again ever so faintly but this time in Hebrew. “Omar, she
must get the sword to the carpenter.”
Tears flowed down Omar’s cheeks like a flood. “What sword, Misaki-
chan? Who’s the carpenter?”
Her voice was less than a faint whisper now, but he heard her say,
A team of doctors and nurses came running into the room. But as they
did, Misaki went into violent convulsions. Omar quickly moved away so
that the team could take over.
Omar could hear her heart beating on the monitor and knew that it was
way too fast. The world for Omar stopped moving as Misaki suddenly flat
lined. Doctors and nurses were scrambling everywhere. A nurse entered the
room with a defibrillator, and Omar snatched it out of her hands.
Before anyone could take it away from him, he had prepared her chest
and yelled, “Clear!”
The doctors and nurses scrambled out of the way, fearful that they’d get
electrocuted. Someone called for security, but Omar had already sent one
charge through Misaki’s body. He had the medical training to do this better
than anyone else in the room, so no one tried to stop him. His worst night-
mare was unfolding before him. He couldn’t lose her. Without her, his life
was nothing. None of it mattered if he couldn’t save Misaki.
He yelled again, “Clear!”
But her heart wouldn’t restart. Finally, one of the doctors wrestled the
defibrillator from Omar’s hands. Omar began frantically pounding on her
The sword and the shepherd
chest, trying to start her heart manually. He stopped and trembled for a mo-
ment as he whispered, “Please…please don’t die! I love you. Don’t leave
As a security guard pulled Omar away from her bed, Misaki suddenly
sat up with her eyes wide open in total terror and let out the most bloodcur-
dling scream he had ever heard. Omar pushed the security guard aside and
went to her side. Misaki’s heart was beating quickly again, and then it
began to gradually slow down. He knew that she was back.
“She’s stabilized,” he said to the doctor with a sigh of relief.
The doctor decided that the crisis was over so he dismissed the frus-
trated security guard. Omar would always get special treatment because of
his fame within the scientific community, and the doctor would be the first
to acknowledge it.
After reviewing all the monitors, the doctor turned to Omar and smiled.
“Yes, she’s stabilized, Doctor Metzger.”
“I want her moved to my lab,” Omar demanded, “where she’ll be ana-
lyzed with better technology than this hospital could ever provide.”
The doctor began to protest, “I think it best—”
But Omar interrupted, “I know what you’re going to say. I have a pre-
sentation tomorrow that may change the course of science forever, but if
this happens again, I want to be there. I will have her in my lab within the
hour. Do you understand?”
The doctor realized that there was to be no further arguing. Others had
stood against Dr. Metzger in the past only to have their careers ruined. So
he quietly answered, “Yes, Doctor Metzger, I understand.”
Knowing that everything was all right again, Omar went to his lab to
await Misaki’s arrival. When her bed was wheeled in, he hooked her up to
several computers that monitored every one of her vital signs. He in-
structed Tyree to stay with her and notify him of any change while he went
to his office to clear his mind. Tyree was a very tall and muscular young
man, not the type you would expect to find in a lab, but he had proven to be
a most trustworthy and faithful lab assistant.
As Omar turned to leave, Tyree stopped him. “Doctor, I heard what
happened. I’m so sorry.”
Omar sighed, “It’s very disturbing. I think she’s slipped back into her
“I’m really sorry, Doctor. What do you think her words meant?”
The Rise of the Magi
Omar rubbed his chin. “I think that they point to something I’ve sus-
pected all along. I believe that Misaki is living in an entirely different re-
ality, and she’s in trouble. That’s my theory anyhow.”
Tyree nodded and urged Omar, “Please, prepare for your meeting now.
You have about five hours left.”
He smiled wearily and made his way to his office. But before he final-
ized preparations for the meeting, Omar stopped to consider the bizarre
things that had just happened. For one thing, his sister had spoken in
Hebrew and though Misaki and he were both treated as prodigy children by
their adoptive parents, Misaki hadn’t learned Hebrew before she went into
the coma. To Omar it was all the proof he needed that his theory was cor-
rect. He believed that those who go into more permanent comas sometimes
crossed the gateway between dimensions. Omar thought about this for a
little while and then put it aside in order to get some work done. Omar
couldn’t process it all right now, but he reminded himself that Misaki was
his entire motivation to work so hard.
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