Matthieu Levec – The Shaman
2022 – The Background
Matthieu was born in Montreal, Canada to his parents Guy and Francine Levec on September 7, 1997 and grew up in the East Montreal blue collar district of Pointe-aux-Trembles. His father Guy is a sergeant and machinist for the 34th Canadian Brigade in the Royal Canadian Hussars Armoured Reserve Regiment, and has been since leaving high school in 1993. Francine married Guy when she finished high school and has been a homemaker, receiving the Canadian Forces Spousal Income to be a stay-at-home mom.
Mathieu had a close relationship with his father until 2007, when Guy was deployed to Afghanistan to service vehicles for the Canadian Forces deployed in Kandahar. During Guy’s two-year deployment, Mathieu’s grades fell, he began acting out in school, and stopped playing sports entirely. Matthieu had always played hockey to impress his father (and had become somewhat skilled at it, at least for a child) and without his father figure he quickly began resenting it. Soon, Matthieu began avoiding phone calls from his father overseas, and if pressed to speak, was just cold and sarcastic. When Guy returned, Matthieu had only hostility for him, which soon became reciprocated – by age 15 began staying out past curfews, attending parties, and otherwise being self-destructive.
Under Quebec laws, a parent’s responsibility for a child ends at 18, but Matthieu was already a ghost at home by then, moving from sofa to sofa among friends. Such was the way things went, eventually settling in with former school-friend Tony Alsace in the arts and university district of Ville-Marie just off Boulevard Saint-Laurent not far from Parc du Mont-Royal.
The pair eked out a living – or at least enough to be tolerably late with the rent – between Matthieu’s gigs as a guitar player at local clubs and pubs and street corners, and Tony’s low level drug dealing. After moving in with Tony, Matthieu rekindled his interest for ice hockey and began playing in the men’s league at McConnell Arena.
While Matthieu was waiting for his big break in life and becoming the good-natured stoner he is today, Tony had higher ambitions. After moving marijuana for a few connections, Tony started selling E as well. Soon the profit margins in selling to the club scene were widening, and Tony was approached by a pusher for the Hell’s Angels. His trips to the clubs soon involved bulky jackets of crystal meth, and on several occasions, cocaine.
As with any reward, this carried risk. Tony was narc’ed at a club on Valentine’s Day in 2022, and he had to leave in a hurry before he was apprehended. He made his way to the harbour and ditched his pack – some $20,000 worth of cocaine, ecstasy, other pills and cash. He was apprehended, but with no evidence, he was released. Tony soon realised that getting caught was the least of his problems. The Hell’s Angels bikers wanted their money. Soon. The biker captain made it clear, he was either going to have to mule a new drug from South America, or he wasn’t going to be around any longer.
Tony was able to convince Matthieu to go with him to Rio – though he didn’t mention anything about the drug smuggling. Telling Matthieu he was invited to a private party outside Rio de Janeiro and the plane tickets were paid for, Matthieu took it at face value, and loaded up his guitar and – very oddly – his hockey stick. “You’ll never know when you need to defend yourself,” he said as a joke.
The private party was in the tiny village of Penedo in the rainforest, and was – to Matthieu at least – just drug-fuelled debauchery. Tony made his deal in private, and the party when into the early hours. Matthieu awoke to a strangle noise – a chop and a gurgle. Opening an eye slowly, he could see men butchering Tony in the darkness with machetes, and they were just about finished. Matthieu put a firm hand on his hockey stick, and then ambushed the men as they approached. Of course, a hockey stick is no match for armed men; Matthieu grabbed his pack and fought his way out of the hut and through Penedo to where it backs onto a cliff, overlooking the rainforest. A man armed with a bow and arrow approached, and Matthieu’s pleas for sanity fell on deaf ears. After being shot with an arrow in arm, Matthieu leapt from the cliff into the canopy of the trees and crashed his way to the bottom.
He walked through the rainforest, becoming hopelessly lost. After the second day, he found a stream, and remembering his days in boy scouts and army cadets, began following it towards what he hoped would be leading to Rio, but it led northward, deeper and deeper into the rainforest.
After walking for days, he reached a shelter – an old ruin of a temple, vaguely pyramid shaped. A panther attempted to ambush Matthieu, but he held it off with his hockey stick and retreated to the temple and barred the entrance with a large slab.
Exploring the ruin, he found a very strange sight. There was a tall, pale woman surrounded by lit candles and a ring of salt, a pentagram and several strange symbols were drawn on the floor. The woman welcomed him into the room, and greeted him by name. She said she was a prisoner here, and that she could promise him power is he set her free. Matthieu hesitated – even in his current state, he knew what an offer of temptation sounded like.
The captive said to try his pack for inspiration. He thought she meant the guitar, but he found packs and packs of a strange, leafy plant. “Smoke ’em if you got ’em,” Matthieu said with a shrug, rolling the plant leaf and some shredding leaf into a makeshift cigar with ease.
One hit sent Matthieu to another world. Euphoria, hallucinations, and a feeling of total ease. He rose above the temple, and the canopy, and the whole rainforest, and spoke a long conversation with the guardian of nature to which he can remember none of it, except that it was long, detailed, and probably important.
After coming down, Matthieu looked out the window of the ruin. Five panthers. The hostage asked again to be free, and all Matthieu needed was to make a wish and break the circle. “Well, I’d like to not be eaten by those panthers, and it would be nice to find my way back to civilization.” All the captive said was “Done, just free me.”
Matthieu shrugged again, figuring at least he and the crazy person might be some use in the fight, and he wasn’t really in the mind-set to take what he was seeing at anything more than face value. He stepped up, and kicked away the salt.
Suddenly, the infinity of the cosmos stretched out before him. He knew anything and everything. His arms crackled with energy, the power of a thousand stars hammered in his chest, and in that instant he could do anything. The moment passed. The arrow wound in his arm healed itself shut and then grew several times its size, sprouted claws and tough fur. Blissfully, Matthieu leapt through the window and made battle with the predators that had been tormenting him.
Sometime later – it could have been hours or it could have been days, Matthieu awoke on the jungle floor with the spirits of the trees whispering to him. He could sense them, hear them, converse as easily as he could with a person. He could speak with the birds and the small rainforest animals. He listened to their chatter and they led him to first a road, and then a small logging camp, where he made his escape towards Rio, and to what he hoped, home.