Friday, April 25, 2008

Stories

Stories

The Spell

The whole world was blue thought Meka. Meka was unable to sleep on this day becasue of what lay before him. He sat at the door of his tent and looked about the world he knew, made new by this strange morning. The whole world was blue, he had seen gray mornings and clear warm mornings. But in his 16 years he had never once witnessed a morning so filled with the blue of lapis lazuli. He stared mouth open at the wonder of nature and for a brief moment forgot the oddessy he was about to begin. He closed his eyes and told himself, "Never forget this one moment, when I am old and grey knocking on deaths door, I will greet death with this memory." The thought sent a shiver down his body. In some way he was to die today. Today the child named Meka would die and there in the place of a child would stand the man he would become. "I will be a man this day." Meka smiled and returned his thoughts to the wonderous blue morning which he would never see with these eyes.
The shaman of the tribe came the moment the sun became visible. One moment there was no one, the next the shaman was at his ear. "A starge morn this day bears, surely there must be a sign in it, aye boy?" The shaman had always been fond of Meka, deep down the shaman hoped Meka would return as a shaman. Meka smirked "Aye, old man a sign for sure, if only we had a decent shaman to tell it!" The shaman shoved Meka and they both laughed. Then all at once the shaman was on his feet and stern as an old goat. "Come child, let us shed your uselessness!" Meka's father and mother came out of the tent upon hearing the shamans voice. Immediately Meka's father Jakar grabbed Meka by the harm as did the shaman, the mother panicked screaming out to let her keep her baby. The shaman looked the near sobbing woman in the eyes and said "Women ye are mad, your child is dead now." They then dragged Meka away kicking and screaming. The tribe came out of their tents calling out to kill the child. When Meka was brought before the chief who had known Meka all his life the chief laughed and said he knew this boy not at all. The chief then sent the boy away to die. The shaman, Meka and Jakar then went to a special tent where Meka was ritually scarred across his face and chest in a test of strength. The shaman then reached out and told Meka to speak his name, Meka spoke it and the shaman grabbed it as if it were an offensive insect buzzing about. "You, you are nameless, you are scarred, you have no friends or family, no tribe will accept you......begone child!" Jakar and the shaman then chased the nameless boy out of the tribes camp screaming and hollering at the boy nameless bloody child. All in all it went without a hitch! The shaman sat long with Jakar making him feel better and reminding him of his trial.
The nameless boy once named Meka walked and walked until he was tired and thirsty. He found a shade in which to sit and took a sip from his water skin. The boy was to travel three days in the wild until he met a spirit. The spirit would teach him what he needed to know and be in the tribe, and if the spirit found him worthy it gave the boy his man name, and from then on he would be a man. If he failed the spirit would steal his spirit and the boy would become a lost creature of despair. The boy once named Meka day dreamed what his spirit would tell him and what he would be. He truly hoped he would be a warrior or hero of renown, how exciting that would be. His great grand father had been a hero, so he had the blood within his flesh. While he thought these things he had no notice of the world gone quiet, or the lion which was ready to devour him. This of course is exactly what lions hope and expect from witless prey. The lions jaws stammered as he prepared to jump, freshly cleaned and sharpened claws jutted forth. At the moment of attack the lion heard words rarely if ever spoken in the last five generations; still the lion knew the words. "HIaytuS AsRail felinUs" The sound of the words was like echoes from titans long dead but none the less discovered if one opened their jaws. The nameless boy and the lion mirrored each others shock as they stared at the strange man holding a staff of dark wood trimmed in gold with a red jewel at it's head. The stranger pointed away from the boy and told the lion in the common tongue, "Elsewhere." The lion jetted off like a kitten scolded for being a kitten. The stranger looked at the poor shaken boy, gave a smile and started to walk off. The boy, knowing better and still shocked chased after the stranger "Master, please master, thanks you so for my life, you are my master and teacher, teach me what I need to know!" The stranger looked down on the boy drenched in sweat and asked the impossible "What is you name child?" The boy once named Meka looked lost and told the stranger "I have none yet; you are to give it to me if I am worthy." The man looked at the boy and sighed. "All this for starving a lion huh?" The stranger smiled and with his staff pointed to a ring of trees near by and said "Follow me young man."
They sat within the ring of trees, which was some distance away from where the near lion attack occurred. The boy could not see his village and it was near evening. The boy thought to himself how lucky he was, not that his life had been spared but how quickly his spirit had come to teach him. His spirit was most unusual. His hair was the colors of tilled earth save for a few strands of white and gray. His skin was bright red as if he had been burned but showed no scars. His eyes told the boy if nothing else he was a spirit. The stranger had eyes that were many colors which changed. He once saw a bottle in the shaman’s tent with a liquid that did just that before the shaman stole it away and hid it from view. He had eyes of magic, spirit eyes. He wore a cloth about his head and shoulders his clothing was very strange, the boy had never seen any clothes like the strangers before."Teacher..." The boy began "What am I to be?" The spirit stranger stared long and hard at the boy as if exploring all time and space through his eyes, having done this the stranger shifted his seat never taking those eyes off the boy and said "How am I suppose to know?"
"You are my teacher, the spirit who will show me the way to being a man!"
"Ok....." The stranger seemed lost, the boy thought he must be testing him or playing games. Spirits are known to be tricksters. "Your serious, huh kid?" The boy was confused at the question which ended as an answer all at the same time. Obviously this spirit was very wise. The boy saw his chances of becoming a warrior grow thinner every second.
"Look, kid. I am no spirit, I am a man."
The boy laughed very hard. Then straightened, noticing no change in the stranger he became afraid.
"You are to take my soul, am I to be as the undead?"
The stranger shifted and sighed again, he tried to make the kid feel better and told him he would not take his soul. The boy waited. The stranger thus satisfied that the child would not give up, began.
"What will you know?" asked the Stranger.
"Everything I need to live my life as a man. And my name" said the boy.
The stranger looked at the boy with those piercing muti-hued eyes which shifted and brightened like an opal in the sunlight. However long this took they did not notice, however after it was very dark and the crescent moon had risen. The stranger rubbed the ground and spoke in a unearthly tone, the ground which he had rubbed burst forth flames. The boy jumped back at this and nearly relieved himself of the burden carried in his bladder. When he finally calmed he noticed the stranger was regarding him with sadness. "It all began eons ago." The stranger would not blink as he told this or the rest of the story, the boy began to imagine that if he was ever to meet a dragon from legend the beast before devouring him would stare in such a way. "Before Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon, long ago when the Titans or Old Ones ruled the world."
As the boy listened to the stranger it seemed the words took on the form of song, a song whos meter and rhythm were long lost to the world of men. The strangers voice made scenes in the boys mind, imaging’s which were vivid and alive like dreaming. This is what the Stranger said:
“Chaos was the way of the Old Ones, save but a few. These Titans wished something better. Two Titans named Order and Beauty joined their might with The Titans Song and the Fates. They wrested the power from Chaos and made the 10 worlds of creation. Their masterwork was called Malkoot where all creation could be celebrated and enjoyed. They locked away the wild and mad Old Ones. They did this to protect their creation. In this grand celebration The Titans created something else, something which would work to keep Malkoot in it's pristine state and as food for the Titans to feed on. They called in man and woman. Mankind slaved in hopes to make his masters happy and worshipped the Titans which kept them well fed. Over time the Titans became fat and lazy, all but one. This Titan was the keenest and wisest of the Titans his name being Prometheus. Prometheus liked man and enjoyed mankind’s company in comparison to the decadent Titans. Prometheus thought the Titans should be taught a lesson. Prometheus gave them magic, knowledge and the ability to imagine and use their reason as well as technology and science. He taught only a few humans these tricks and called them wizards. The Titans lost a great deal of power because of this and launched a campaign against Prometheus. They vilified him and tried to take all his power. The Titan Zeus stepped forward and once again put a strangle hold on man destroying nearly all but the most loyal to the Titans in a great flood and returning man to his cattle like state. Still Prometheus was very cunning and became more stealthy, choosing those here and there, teaching them the arcane arts, keeping reason, knowledge, free thinking, wisdom and imagination alive. Back and forth These two mighty Titans struggle one seeking to keep man ignorant and food for the so called gods and the other trying to rise man up to become self sufficient and gods in their own right."
The stranger stopped and took a sip of his waterskin. The boy was lost in thought, shocked to learn the gods he worshipped regarded their supplicants as nothing but food and slaves. Finally the boy after some time shook this off and asked a question. "What am I to be with this knowledge? How can I bring this to my people and help them?" The stranger smiled and spoke these words which nearly made the boy cry out "Nothing, you can't. My place is not to alarm mankind and send up an alarm. Mine is to help awaken those who stir, and those who sleep be un-disturbed." The boy was stuck hard by this "But why! Why not awaken everyone and rise up?" The Stranger looked down away for the first time "Tell someone the truth when they are not ready and you have lied to them." The boy decided to try another tract, save this for later, get to my purpose. "What am I to do then." The stranger attentively stroked the fire bringing it more life and heat. " What I am about to tell you, few men know, I tell it because it will stay with you forever. You will share it with only one other." The boy nodded, dispelling of the lecture and hungry for the teaching. For the next two days the stranger taught him a potent spell, this spell entered his flesh and blood and finally made it into his new born soul. If either was asked how much time had passed, only the stranger could have come close. Finally the boy had learned the spell, his spell and one others....but who was this other?
"It is time for us to part." spoke the stranger with the red skin and mystic eyes. "It is also time to be giving you a name." At this the boy smiled. Finally. He thought. The stranger leaned in and whispered the boy's true name in his ear so not even Father Wind could hear. And what Father Wind does not hear, neither shall you. The stranger grasped the shoulder of the new man and gave him his common name "Alimetum". The stranger smiled and walked away with no more ado.
Alimetum, who was once Meka and once a boy and now a man walked back to his tribe. He was famished and for a moment thought of how good it will be to have a warm meal in his stomach. He also recalled the strange blue morning he had witnessed, what seemed like years ago. Remembering the spell taught to him he focused on that though replacing the thought of a warm meal and his special morning. Unfortunately the lion had no such spell or morning to ponder in which to keep the thought of a fresh meal at bay. Luckily the lion did not have this to trouble his mind much longer. As foretold, Alimetum shared the spell with only one other, the lion.





The Magician’s Student


The Sun had nearly set and Emily was not yet home. She had spent all day walking about in the woods and day dreaming. Those in Emily's village her barely knew her all knew at the very least her mind was always elsewhere. Her father worked as a lumber jack and her mother was a seamstress. Both her parent were something of dreamers as well before the hard cold world had entered their lives and strangled their desires in their place leaving bills, taxes and work. Emily was a perfect mix of her parents. She had her father’s strong sinewy frame and her mothers lovely face and eyes. She was but a week from being of age and going through the village rite of adulthood. She would soon be presented before village boys and married off. all these things other girls thought of during their chores, alas not Emily. She dreamed wider and more fantastic things.
She had heard from passing bards of the tales of great wizards and their deeds in the land. She often thought what it would be like to see magic and the men who spoke great words which altered nature and the fates. She dreamed that maybe one day she would meet such a wizard and just perhaps he would teach her some minor spell or illusion to play with. Something of beauty, or enchantment. She had a good mind for stories. Pouring her thoughts over each and every one, picking out the emotions and the different ways it could be told. She loved to tell tales to her friends (who regarded her as a little odd but loved her all the same). She was an only child and was used to getting all the attention. Stories provided just that for her. She realized how late she was now and begun to run home.

She burst through the door moments before the sun had fully set. She knew she was going to be chided at the least for being so late. Instead her parent grabbed in and wrapped her in hugs. Her mother was in tears and her Father looked worried. The moment Emily had begun to realize that the only problem had not been her lateness but something far worse she heard it. A loud brazen horn split the evening air. It was a horn of war, the trump of challenge. Her mother took her to the corner of the house and hid her under the bed, chanting "Do not move, don't make a sound, stay still my love!" Her father grabbed his families old sword, full of dents and war worn. He looked at both of them and kissed his wife, Emily's mother strongly and full of love, he then grabbed Emily tight and kissed her forehead. he then ran out the house to meet his fellow villagers and brothers in combat. By the time Emily realized what was happening and tried asking questions her mother nearly shooshed her to silence, holding her tight under the bed. It was not long before the men came.

In the stories Emily knew the bad men were always thwarted by the good, before a woman was eaten by a dragon or sacrificed to dark gods a knight or adventurer would rescue the damsel and save the day. This was so ingrained into Emily that she wondered why people did evil at all, good was always winning the day, what was the point? After that night she realized why evil did what it did. Most of the time the good guys did not show up or save the damsel. Often the damsels mother was beaten, raped and killed and then the damsel was also beaten and raped but for some reason left alive. She realized that life is cruel and hard and makes no sense. She realized that life is filled with death, and if not death directly the infection in the mind or body which leads to the eternal dark. That night Emily learned of pain, of hatred, of violation, of true fear and a loss of self. Emily learned what it was like to see everything you love destroyed.
At first the sounds of battle had caused Emily fear. But as she heard the cries she became curious. Her imagination filled in the details of the clangs and yelps. She could not tell what side was winning until all had begun to die down. The sounds of flames crackling nearby and laughter, cruel and cold began to fill Emily with a quiet dread. Her mother too seemed to grow worse and broke out in silent sobs and sweats. Then the three men entered their family home. They had broken their lands borders, split their villages’ defense and now they had penetrated the sanctity of their family home. What did they want Emily wondered in terror, her mind not yet jaded towards men and their wants. Her mother and her were as quiet as mice, yet the men found them just the same, as if they had seen this hiding spot once before. Emily barely saw their face and did not want to. Between the flashes of fire from outside she saw what the men did to her mother while she was held down. Hearing their cruel laughter and nasty speech. That is when they turned to Emily.


The next morning, the village was burned to the ground. Emily had barely moved from her spot on the ground as she lazily took in the horror around her. It seemed no one had been left alive. Even she might as well have been dead. What was left to life?

The second morning her stomach protested to its empty state. She ignored it. She did move a little. The crows and buzzards had come to feast. She sat up and would knock them off now and again to stop them from eating her or her dead mother.

The third day she was sure she was going to die. She was very weak, she had not eaten and her stomach had finally given up hope. Her mother and her both smelled of death and some other horrid smell. Certainly it would come soon. Certainly she would be free of life. Even that was denied her.
That day a man came. He was a lean man, very tall and bald. Clean shaven head that was also tattooed. He wore a dark violet robe and looked the model of otherworldliness. In her former life she would have known it to be a wizard, in this life she now lived she hoped he would kill her and finish this. She moaned, she did not want to moan, she actually just wanted to scream at him. But her dry parched mouth translated it into a half dead moan. He turned her way and walked over to her. He kneeled down and looked at her, half smiling. She recoiled and wanted to tear his eyes out.
They looked at each other for a while, a long while. Then he said:
"Thank the god you are still alive Emily, everything is going to be OK."

What lies she thought. He waved his hands over her face and she passed into darkness. She would not see her home again for another ten years.
I awoke in a poorly lit modest bedroom, it had the smell of dust and ill use about it. I thought I must be in some sort of dream or I have died, and awoken in some pathetic afterlife. Then the pain came back. First, in my body as I tried to move, and then as the memories kept flashing back. I wanted to vomit and cry but I had nothing in me to let go of. . Flashes of painful memory darkened like lightning flashes the world and room I now was in. I felt rage but it was weak and pathetic, there was nothing I could do. As I tried to get up and out of bed my muscles cried out in anguish and revulsion for movement. I listened to the wisdom of my flesh and gave up any attempt to move. If I could have done it through force of will I would have stopped breathing. Where was I?
Whether it was hours later or only a few minutes I could not say, the man from the village who had found me came in the room. He looked preoccupied, as if I was not his main concern for coming in or that he had some deeper thought on his mind while attending to other tasks. Finally he walked over to me he was holding a bowl and took from it a wet wash cloth. He patted my face and neck with it to cool me. He did this gently and it seemed as if he did it with mild affection. I still wanted to kill him for saving me .
"You should really try and rest, a couple of bones are broken and I am sure a few muscles are torn." The tattooed man said.
I tried to yell it as I had tried to yell at him before, I had a little more success this time and made words "Go to hell."
He laughed a stifled almost humoring laugh. He then gave me a sip of water from a wooden cup that appeared to be dirty as it had leaves in it. I tried to refuse but he forced it in my mouth. "It has herbs within it to make you strong again."
When he was done he collected his things and left without a word. This continued for a a day or two until I got my appetite back. Although I was filled with hate and pain I said nothing to him, something in me just could not lash out at this one person. I said nothing to him and still did not trust him fully.
Finally after eating the meal he had made for me I spoke. "Who are you?" It was spoken as a demand more than a question. "Your father and I had been friends once, he had helped me when I was down. I swore that in a time of need I would come to him. When those men attacked your village I sensed his pain and came as quick as I possibly could. I found you and brought you here out of service to your father...and it was the right thing to do. My name is Sanare, I am a magus and healer."
I looked at him for a long time, how I had loved stories about wizards, and here was one before me yet I could care less. I spoke without thinking "I had once loved the thought of magic, but now I don't think I love anything...except my dead parents." At that I wept. Sanare touched my shoulder and left the room. I fell asleep crying and dreamt of horrible pain.
As time passed me and Sanare spoke little by little. I grew fond of him and as I did I sensed a little life return to my soul. It floated just outside of the gaping darkness in my heart, a hole that seemed to crave everything. Then one day Sanare after sitting and watching me eat said "You have a great strength in you, your pain gives you depth, your mind is quite strong. You told me once you loved the idea of magic, would you like me to teach you?"
I thought for quite a while in silence, something escaped that hole within and said "Yes, maybe."
"Well, which is it...yes or maybe?"
"Yes."
"Good."
"We start tomorrow. You have healed and need to begin life again."
I shouted as the pain and memories tried to flood in, and in a flash Sanare was there, he whispered something quietly and the pain flew away as did the memories.
"All things are illusion" he said "Magic is the art of making the illusions you want." With that he left.
From that day on he started schooling me in magic. It was a mixture of things both easy and difficult. Slowly my imagination grew again as he showed me how to train my mind. The flashes of memory faded and their reality slowly grew distant. He taught me how to siphon those emotions and use them to fuel my will and imagination. It took a couple years before I could do anything as simple as change a things appearance or make something vanish and many times it failed. I once tried to make a table vanish and instead it flashed with a pale flame that did not burn for several hours. Sanare laughed and said he had done worse in his early days. He was always kind and patient; to him I never failed but learned new ways of not doing something. Now and then I felt actual happiness and it seemed the hole within me grew a little smaller.

One day I came upon Sanare looking North, their were storm clouds there and they seemed to be heading our way. I did not like the look of them, their looked crueler than a typical thunderhead. "What is wrong Sanare, is it the storm?"
He did not answer for the longest but finally said "Yes, something is coming." I had chills as he said this and looked deeper into the storm as Sanare had taught me to look into the depths of things to learn their true nature beyond the illusion things show. What I saw was the mirror of my hole within me. I saw my darkness and the truth it held. I did not know the meaning of that but I dreaded it.
Sanare jumped to his feet, looked in my eyes and said "Get what you need, we must go." I was shocked, Sanare had never shown fear, but he was deathly afraid of what was coming. We went inside and packed a few essentials; Sanare opened a case and produced a rod that appeared to be made of both onyx and a blood red wood. It oozed power and violence.
We jumped on his horse and brought me up beside him. The horse was Sanare's fastest and strongest. Within the few moments we had been inside the storm had nearly reached the house, in the distance you could see the rain falling.
We rode hard and fast, driven as if all hell was behind us. As the storm grew closer I could almost hear my past and the pain, ten years seemed seconds ago and I could almost feel what those men were doing to me. Had done to me! The past!
My village. We had ridden back to my village (how did we get her so fast?) We dismounted and stood before the storm. Why had Sanare stopped here, why return? I looked around at how nature had tried to retake the land. It seemed almost clear, almost all signs of the violence healed. But the air and earth still held the memories. I could feel the drops of rain, but they seemed so distant. Thunder and lightning shook the earth and burned the air.
Then I saw her. Her dark beauty, she rode a violent mare of jet black. In her hand she held a straight black staff that shined with a dark blue glow. Sanare pushed me behind himself trying to protect me. As she moved forward down the hill the storm followed. As she got closer The memories of the pain were nearly overtaking my mind to the point I was nearly there again. Sanare whispered "Do not trust a word she speaks, she is a queen of lies and she will take your power if you listen to her. No matter what do not heed her word."
She was only a few feet away now, one could throw a stone and strike her. Something was in her, I did not like it but it spoke of something dark and true. She radiated all my pain and all of my memories. I asked Sanare "What is she, what does she want from me?"
"She is Saturna, she wants you."
The thunder rocked the landscape and made my mind shake. Just for a moment it seemed like I was almost awakened from a dream and then everything cleared again.
Saturna had dismounted her onyx colored mare a steped forward towards me and Sanare became tense, prepared to strike. It appeared in the shifting light of the storm's discharges that his tattoos snaked arcoss his body preparing, as he was for an attack.
"You need to let the child go Sanare." Saturna said. "You do her no good."
"And what would you do for her witch? Break her mind and drive her mad?" Said my teacher. I wondered why they spoke of me in such simple child like terms I was a woman! Even worse I was allowing them to do so, in awe and incomprehension I watched the whole thing unfold.
"I would do for her what she needs done, give her the truth of things, make her a woman without need of some false healer!" Saturna spoke as she slowly inched closer.
"Your truth is poison Saturna, she would be lost forever."
"Would you prefer her afloat in a sea of illusions for all time until her mind wastes to nothing Sanare? Would you have her not live life? For the sake of the gods! Let her see the world the way it really is and not through bewitched eyes!"
At this I spoke, I could take it no longer. "STOP, what is all of this? Why do you fight over me like a child in a crib who does not know anything? I am my own person. I have gone through great pain and trauma and I will not be taken like some prize at a fair. Tell me what is going on!" I eneded and the storm produced a poignant thunder clap.
Sanare froze and slowly turned to me, as he did I saw the fight was out of him. He appeared worn and beaten. For the first time I saw him and knew he was nothing, and with that he faded as smoke in the wind. I believe he tried to whisper sorry as he vanished.
I was left there pelted by huge droplets of rain coming down in an unmatched torrent, shaken by the rapid repeats of the gods throwing their justice down to earth via heavenly fire. There I stood in natures fury staring at the witch named Saturna. She approached and stopped an inch before my face. We shared breath and if the world was not awash in storm we could hear that breath intimately.
"Listen Emily, to me. There is a knife lying next to you."
I looked on the ground but saw nothing, what was she talking about? She had used my name, how long had it been since Sanare used it? Had he ever?
"Emily! You must focus, do not trust your senses child. Your mind is so strong and beautiful but it has played a game with you. Trust me, there is a knife lying next to you. Pick it up and thrust it into my neck before it is too late."
The witch was mad! She wanted me to pick up an imaginary knife and kill her. Not only that but she apparently has a time limit as to when this can happen. I backed a step away, plotting a way to escape her. How could I though if Sanare had feared this woman?
"EMILY, I have said your name thrice, do not make me command you with my power, my power given to me by your own magic! Please child before it is over and you have lost everything. Command your hand to find the knife lying next to you, he does not see it and you may thrust it into his body saving yourself and mother!"
I looked at her in horror, she had spoken of my mother as if she lived and I could save her. Tears welled in my eyes. I looked at her with vengeance, hatred from all those years without satisfaction. I will kill her as I would have killed those men had they been in front of me. Those men, who had taken me and my mother.
She simply smiled and shook her head in satisfaction. My hand reached out on its own, she spoke "YES" in rapture as I lunged forward and implanted the kitchen knife into her throat.

The world stopped. The illusion was broken.
The man in dark armor slumped beside me, with a kitchen knife in his throat. He was half on top and within me. I quickly pushed him off and out. Disgusted with my surroundings, and with him, the beast.
The other two who were nearly done with my mother stopped. She slumped to the ground. If she was alive or not I could not tell. I ripped the knife from the man who was on top of me and blood shot out of his wound. My hand and the knife where covered in blood. I looked at these two men as they grunted and shouted things at me, mostly curses for my deed and the horrors they planned on having with me. I stepped forward and they laughed at my courage in the face of my certain death.
Apparently in their laughter they did not see my father behind them. He stabbed one in the back and the other had his throat slit as he turned by my fathers sword.
My father grabbed me and my mother and we escaped from our home and village into the dark woods beyond. We sat and waited for the houses to burn. My father was badly wounded, I got him some water and tried to bandage him as best I could and my mother was still breathing. I wonder what her escape was from the pain?

Marching

Melissa could not sleep. Maybe it was the extra cup of coffee or possibly even the book that called to her unfinished on her nightstand. Which ever it was it left her in a profound state of agitation that could not be shaken. So, she got up grabbing her book and walked (or rather stumbled in the dark) to the living room. There she turned on the lamp to get some reading done until she felt the heavy blanket of sleep come on. Unfortunately this would not help.
As Melissa read and got lost in the words of her book she began to hear a noise. It lightly emanated from the wall to he left. She at first shrugged it off as the house settling at night but realized that the noise being made sounded as if it was a marching of many feet in a spiral fashion. This is not at all the sound of a settling house at night she thought and became quite intrigued. She closed her tawdry little romance novel and stepped over to the wall. The sound was more than half way down the length of the wall and she could now hear, quite distinctly the sound of many tiny feet marching in a spiral inside her wall! She pushed and prodded the wall, and even gave it a number of knocking taps as if trying to give a secret knock at some hidden away nightclub. Nothing changed the sound at all. Finally after a minute or so the sound completely vanished. She stood in a mixture of sharp fascination and dull disbelief. Whatever could have made that noise? She proceeded back to her base novel.
After an hour or so the noise returned, at this point Melissa had started to get quite sleepy and had written the bizarre noise off as the result of minor insomnia. She looked at the source of the noise with exasperation. It was now coming from her T.V. entertainment center. She could not for the life of her think of why an entertainment center should make such a noise and again went over to investigate. It was coming from the outside left panel. The sound was the same spiraling march downward as was in the wall. She simply watched the uneventful panel that happen to contain what sounded like an army of marching soldiers the height of which had to be at best an inch. So she sat questioning the sanity of herself and even the overall sanity of planet Earth if this was in fact real. That is when she saw it. By some sorted tryst of light, the angle of her head, and outright sleep deprivation a strange thing was produced. She saw what appeared to be a nearly invisible door on the panel of the entertainment center. It was about a 2" by 2" door seamlessly cut into the panel. If Melissa turned her head ever so slightly to the left or right it vanished completely. By squinting her eyes it became quite clear. The sound was nearly all the way down the panel when she convinced herself that she was probably sleeping and this all a dream so why not try to open the door. She did, sliding the door to the left. It reveled a darkly lit staircase made of cut stone that spiraled downward. If she moved her sight towards the bottom she could see the last remnants of a torch or some light descending down the staircase, fading out.
Rather than have this whole event phase her into extreme wakefulness, she merely had a slightly giddy feeling of excitement and heavily tromped off to bed. Sadly, from good home training she closed the door before she got up and lost the entrance to that portal for some time.
Some weeks later when the whole midnight adventure had begun to be for certain a silly little dream it happened again. This time she was shopping at a local mall. It started quite innocently in the purse counter. She could only stand dumbfounded and listen as the tiny marchers wound their way down the counter. Both she and the marchers paid no attention to the little blue-haired ladies shopping about. Melissa bought the purse she was looking at before and left. She was obviously going crazy. But mankind is a hopeful creature and she put off therapy thinking it would eventually go away. Melissa was wrong sadly and it persisted. She kept hearing the marchers now and again, never in the same place. It got worse as well! When she was alone and heard the marching she would put her ear against the wall or item being marched in and swore (to herself) she could hear tiny little voices talking. That is when the doors started becoming more obvious to her. At first it was as before: the light, angle and mood all at to meet on some hallowed field for it to be seen. But eventually she got the hang of where the doors normally could be found and how to quickly spot them. It became a trick she could never describe in words (if she would have told anyone) but just inherently knew. Unfortunately she always found the door after the marchers had passed. Once or twice she thought she saw something turning the corner with torch in hand but nothing she could swear in court to (if for some reason this went to court). Eventually she caught them though. I do believe the whole sorted affair had gone on for quite a few months before she got anywhere.
At this point poor Melissa was quite a mess. She missed a few baths and the laundry awaited Hercules. She would walk around inside and outside simply listening. She would still go to work because she had heard them now and again marching there as well. However, her co-workers did not really speak to her the same way (if at all). No matter, it all paid off. For as she sat patiently in her attic, sweating uncontrollably (a fan would drown out the marching) she heard them early, and found the door quickly. It was just a matter of time before those little marching bastards would parade before her eyes to be seen. Then it would be done, and then she could go back to her real life having solved this damnable mystery. Any second now, closer and closer they marched. She could taste the vision, the victory; it would soon be complete! The light grew stronger within the tiny doorway. The marching was quite audible, echoing out into her attic. She would see them! Then finally she saw them.
She lit the match and placed it on the trail of gasoline she had prepared for those little bastards. Oh how they went crispy so very fast. It seemed that for a split second they seemed glad, relived even to see her. As if they were as much looking for her through secret passages and dark lit corridors as she was for them. That made her a little sad, but at least it was over. Those tiny little things would march no longer in her house, office or at the mall, even in her car. No they would not march again. And neither would she as the flames caught all about her torching the whole house. Ah, sweet freedom.






The Clever Farmer

There was once a young farmer who lived in a wonderful kingdom. He lived alone on his families land. He was very keen and a good man, one to lend a helping hand to his neighbors in need. It so happened that one day while tilling his field he happened upon an ancient book of magic. He was not well educated and the book was mostly strange symbols and pictures. But as I said he was a very keen man, in fact it was said of him he was more clever than a pack of foxes.
So at night after all the work was done on the farm and he said the blessings upon his ancestors he would read a little from the book of magic. For quite a while it made no sense at all to him but he began to work it out during the day while doing chores. The strange symbols began to make sense in his mind as he worked about in nature and observed things in new ways. After many months he decided he would attempt some work of magic to see the books worth. He wanted to buy some more land and better equipment and thought that maybe magic could aid his cause.
For being a novice and having no teacher he did an extraordinary job of the whole business. However, when the spirit he summoned appeared it spoke to him in a deep and fear inspiring voice:
"Farmer, you have forgotten a very important part of the ritual. Instead of me granting you a wish now You must grant mine!"
At that the spirit jumped into his body and took him over. The poor clever farmer could not control his body but saw everything that was going on. The spirit flew into town, cast a powerful illusion around the farmers body giving him a beautiful suit of fine material. The spirit went to the best restaurant in all the land, ate it's full and then told the most entertaining stories the clientele had ever heard. These stories were so wonderfully told many of the people wanted to pay for his meal and even gave him purses full of coin to keep on telling his wonderful tales. At the very end of the night the spirit hefted the sack of coin unto his back and flew back home. The spirit ended the illusion and released the farmer.
The farmer was so in awe of the whole business he did not touch the book again for many months. Any how the farmer was busy buying new land and re-stocking his equipment from the money he had garnered.
After a while the clever farmer did pick up the book again. The farmer was painfully lonely and wanted very much to have a help meet and partner in life. So, after some time brooding upon the mysterious pages of that ancient book he thought he figured where he had gone wrong before and how to cast a new spell to bring his true love to him.
He prepared a night in accordance with what he had divined from the pictures in the book based off of the Moon and stars. He set all things in order and procured the hard to get items. And of course he was quite clever for having no teacher, and only one poorly done spell under his belt he did an excellent job. However when the spell was completed the spirit appeared before him and spoke in a mysterious and enchanting voice:
"Poor clever farmer, enough skill to call me from my abode in the stars yet not enough skill to set the ingredients in the proper order. You have made a minor mistake and I have every right to take your life, instead of me granting your desire, you shall grant mine."
And with that the bright spirit leaped into his flesh and whisked him through the air to the great Lord of the land's castle. The spirit cast a convincing illusion of a great parade and around the farmer a wonderful garb of silks kings can only dream of. The phantom parade made it's way through out town entertaining all who saw it, bringing cheer and joy to all. Upon reaching the castle the spirit in the clever farmer’s body told the great and wise king that he desired the hand of his daughter the princess. The king so amazed by the spirits display of greatness instantly agreed. The farmer and princess were then married in all haste. The spirit left the farmers body after the ceremony before the wedding night.

Now the farmer enjoyed his new life and learned many wonderful things as the great king to be. In fact he learned how to read the mysterious language of the book. He realized how he had failed the previous two times before. However he was content and had much to do in his new life so he never worked a spell again until he became very old.
You see all desire had fled the old clever farmer who was now king. All desire save one, to know the secrets of all the universe. He lusted not for gold or power, just knowledge. Some would say that that ancient book had given him something of an appetite for the occult. So, on one fine night the clever farmer king went up into the highest tower in the castle and prepared everything according to the book. All was perfect. For being old and having no teacher and only two previous spells under his belt he did masterfully. A true adept would have been proud. A great and powerful ancient spirit appeared before him and said:
"Clever farmer, king and magician you have summoned the most ancient of spirits from its abode and rest. For what reason have you called me my lord?"
The farmer, king and magician responded:
"Great spirit I lust for nothing but knowledge. show me the very secrets of the universe leaving out none."
At this the great and powerful spirit shook its wise head in affirmation, it then slayed the x- farmer, king and magician. As the spirit of our hero rose into the aether it cried out to the spirit
"Why have you done this O spirit? I did as was required and you took my life!"
The spirit then spoke thusly:
"Take no offense great master; there are some secrets no mortal may know. Now all is before you and you may search out all things for as long as you desire."

The kingdom mourned its great king, and told stories of all his deeds for many a generation. Some say his spirit still flies about the world and will never rest until it knows all. As to the where abouts of that great book no one could find it. Because of the disappearance of the book some say that it never exited and the magic resided within the man himself. There are some that say he took it with him some how and will one day give it to a worthy farmer as it was given to him.


An Unusual Case

Dr. Meeks arrived every morning to the Hospital five to ten minutes early. It was a habit he had attained from very early on due to his father's insistence at always being early for everything "It makes a good impression" he said. He would walk into the doctor's lounge and drank the second cup of coffee the machine had brewed. Nurse Varmer always got the first cup because she made the coffee every morning. They would exchange pleasantries and than each would move on their way.
Dr. Meeks was a newer resident. He had recently got his doctorate and he had plans of opening a private practice one day after getting his feet wet with the sufficiently "crazy" here. He had a decent office and it had pictures of him and his very attractive wife Aileen or just a picture of her alone. He had two very simple paintings of peaceful landscapes and a few small sculptures that lined bookshelves as well as an obsidian orb that sat on his desk. The office had one small window on the west side, which overlooked the parking lot. Not the best view and their was plenty of glare. Mostly he kept the shades down and curtains slack.
He had three patients at the moment. All three had simple nervous disorders, just high-strung business people who chose to commit themselves for a "break" instead of jumping out of high story buildings. Dr. Meeks laughed at himself as he thought that, the glass was probably some sort of indestructible plexi-glass material. If his wife would have heard his thoughts she would have laughed at him and lovingly called him a geek just for thinking about the whole thing.
Before he had gotten to comfortable an orderly entered his office after a respectful knock at the open door. "Dr. Meeks, I have a new patient here for you. He came in today and everyone else is busy. We evaluated him and admitted the fella but I think you will want to see him pretty soon."
"Is he safe?"
Dr. Meeks was sort of thrown by the whole thing. This was not the usual protocol. Typically their was a doctor assigned to evaluate a patient and then depending who had an opening they would then consult that doctor. Must be a busy day or a very unusual circumstance.
"Yes sir, completely. No violence and he checked himself in."
"Drugs?" Asked Dr. Meeks now becoming intrigued.
"No sir. Well, I do not think so; at least that is not why he checked himself in. Here is his file." The orderly handed Dr. Meeks the case file, newly filled out and boasting one page. The orderly waited for him to read it and to send in the patient. As our good doctor read he was very intrigued indeed. He could not wait to meet this character.
"Send him in please, Jonathan." He had fumbled with the orderly's name he was always nervous about reading the names off of the tags they wore.
"Yes Doctor, he will be right in."
Dr. Meeks calmed himself and prepared for the patient. He looked around his office and mentally checked for everything being in the proper place and position. All was right. The patient entered. He looked healthy, maybe a little tired as if he had not slept in a while but other than that pretty decent. The patient looked around the room taking everything in before he even attempted to acknowledge Dr. Meeks. Finally when all seemed to fit the patients approval he said "Good Morning. Sorry to bother you."
"No bother, glad to be here to help you. My name is Dr. Meeks, it is a pleasure." He raised himself to shake hands with the young man and the man simply looked at his hand with curiosity. Dr. Meeks half expected such a gesture and sat down pointing to a seat.
"So" as they both sat. " You entered our hospital this morning, tell me how we can help you Mr.…?"
"Davidson. John Davidson."
"Excellent. Good to meet you, so how can I help."
John sat for a while as if he had not heard the question. Then he regarded our doctor, took a deep breath and spoke. " Well Doc, I am what nearly everyone on earth would call crazy. I myself do not think I am crazy, which is typically how it goes I am sure. However I do need help. I don't know where else to go, so for now I will resign myself to being crazy, because it fits the pattern or mold quite right."
Thank God for that orderly thought Dr. Meeks, he would give Jason or Jonathan or whatever the hell his name was a great Christmas gift. This guy was going to be amazing. Yes, Jonathan. How odd the orderly and this man had the same name.
"So, why do you think you should be considered crazy Mr. Davidson."?
John Davidson looked at him as a parent regards a child who asks a question to far for their mental bounds so that a simple lie must be told to accommodate the child and shut them up at the same time. Dr. Meeks knew that what John was going to say would be a simplified, watered down version full of some untruths for the poor simple doctor's sake.
"Well doc it started when I was very young, since I could remember. Things just kind of' went my way. I would think something needed to be a certain way and it would be that way from then on. Then as I got older it got probably what you would consider better and what I eventually would consider worse. Things went more my way, things that should not go my way. Lets say I hated someone in school. Well that person would never show up again and no one would remember that kid or ever mention him. I would crave some certain food and behold my mother would make it for me that night, not once or twice but all the time without me saying! Then things got real weird. The "pulse" started. It would grow inside of me, starting deep down—if you know what I mean—and begin to surge upwards into my limbs and brain. If I waited to long to release it than things could go real weird real fast. Every day things people took for granted would become bizarre. Like the King of the United States of America. Another time everyone might be speaking some other language. All of these weird things would happen and when I wanted it to stop they would vanish, and no one would notice a change!"

John took a break and got some water that I always had ready for clients next to the chairs I had in my office. He continued after a hearty drink.

"As I got older I slept less as well. When I was a kid I usually got 3 hours a sleep a night. Now 'adays I do not sleep at all or maybe I will get a few minutes. Doctor, it is like I am dreaming on the outside and the part that makes me crazy is that no one else notices when I change things."

How convenient thought Dr. Meeks, a lunatic who could change the world but defended his ability with the cover that no one could notice. He was a god that no one cared for or knew.

" So what I hear you saying John is you need help with people recognizing your ability and your importance in life."

"If you are hearing that Doc it ain't cus I said it. I want this crap to go away. I want to be normal and not be able to think about what it would look like if snow were green and the next day we have green snow on the ground."

"Well just stop John, don't do it anymore."

"Doc, if I could I would. It is the pulse in me. It grows and if I deny it things go weird with or without my thoughts."

"Why not just "wish" away your ability."

This truck John with a reverberating blow. You could see the wheels turn.

"Shit doc that is a good idea. I'll give it a try." With that John got up and walked out. Before he was completely gone he stopped and asked if he would talk to him tomorrow. Dr. Meeks assured him he would and made an appointment for tomorrow at 12:30. The orderly (also named Jonathan) showed the patient to his room. Dr. Meeks simply could not wait until tomorrow when possibly some real therapy could take place beyond the simple delusions of grandeur and wish fulfillment. He would most certainly order John some sleeping pills if his insomnia was actually true. That could be the cause of the whole problem thought Dr. Meeks assured of himself.

The next day Dr. Meeks came into work as usual, five minutes early and did all the same things he always did. He sat in his office and spoke with his first two clients. He took his lunch around 11:30 and got back by twelve. He then saw his last patient for the day, a young lady who could not stand any sound or noise what so ever. Something was nagging him all day though after 1 pm. While he was doing his daily paper work and research it felt like he had forgotten something.

What it was he could not say. Maybe it was something about picking up bread or milk tonight on the way home. In truth he could not remember nor could anyone else of a certain patient who no longer resided in his room. That patient was no longer there, or anywhere lese for that matter.


The Alchemist

I woke up early to get started. Thinking back now maybe if I had got up a little bit earlier than maybe I could have finished, hindsight being what it is. Anyhow, I had not gotten that much sleep due to the nature of my work and the constant care it required. I was excited to complete the job, yet knew I needed my rest. My stomach gets all in a knot when I think how close I was and the events that took place to ruin my dream. But maybe the wise are correct when they say nothing happens without a reason. Let me explain, I have been unforgivably vague.
I live in a decent cabin a good distance from "normal" society. I have nothing against normal people; everyone has some reason for being I suppose. I do not get out much, my work requires a lot of attention to detail and near absolute concentration. My "work", you see I am an alchemist. I do certain chemical experiments with metals, plants and other things which if you did not know the nature and reason for my work you would think me some mad scientist or possibly a maker of some sort of elicit substance. I am a very clean, well-groomed and sober person. I do not appear to be some crazed lunatic with wild hair and eyes. In fact if I passed you on the street you would most likely never notice me or assume I was some well paid professional.
Many historians say alchemy is the search to transform common lead into gold. This shows you how ignorant historians are, but they get the last say in all things so let me not be too critical of historians. In truth alchemy is all about learning the nature of well, nature! I was always curious as a child and along other causes found alchemy to be right up my alley. The most disappointing thing in all of this was the fact I was so near completion of the famous (and sometimes infamous) Alchemist Stone. I was but minutes away, possibly seconds! Excuse me while I take some rather strong stomach medicine. Thank you, where was I? Ah, yes the Alchemist Stone. This wondrous creation can enliven, transmute and make evolved any thing it touches. Imagine a friend sick, near death with no hope coming from medical science. One touch from "The Stone" would make him well and lively for several decades. If he happened to eat some food that was touched from that wondrous rock he would live healthy beyond his greatest grandchild. Not only that but he would also become more than human. His whole being would be raised unto the next evolutionary step! Let me explain how it all went wrong.
As I said before I am not a complete hermit, shutting out the world. I own a television set, a phone of somewhat modern advancement and of course a decent vehicle. I regularly visit a local coffee and doughnut establishment to give myself some time to think and be away from my work. I was nearing my preparation stage for creating the Stone and had actually finished the lesser stone or as some call it the plant stone. It is quite a miraculous thing but not as impressive as the most Holy of Holies. Typically as I sit and dunk doughnut into well sugared coffee I try and sort certain lines of reasoning out, or just pretend I am a normal average guy enjoying a delicious snack. Well, all that was ruined when a moderately attractive young lady came and introduced herself to me. Her name was Jules (or Jewels, however one would spell it) I figured it was a nickname for Julie, why people do such odd things to their names is beyond my comprehension. Anyway, Jules sat down and started talking to me. I would get a word in, mostly answers to her questions. I realized quite suddenly that I was being hit on! This woman apparently has seen me several times at this establishment enjoying my treat and finally decided to come over and break the ice. She said:

"I don't know what it is, you just seem like such a nice guy, for some reason I had to come talk to you."

The run-on is how she spoke. I leave it in for character. I left out how many women thought Ted Bundy was a swell looking fellow but decided that was not the thing you say when a nice lady comes to talk you up. I have a prescribed "life" for those who happen to one way or another find themselves talking to me. I usually tell them I work for major pharmaceutical company mostly new developments. I found that gives the receiver the proper glazed in the eyes look that keeps them from asking any more probing queries. Sadly dear reader on this particular evening it had the opposite effect. She was down right fascinated with my fictional job. I had to create all sorts of details from thin air like some wizard conjuring spirits of bullshit from the great beyond. It turned my get away into a nightmare. And little did I know it would be the catalyst that sent my life tumbling down. She somehow pulled my home phone number out of my garbled speech and said she would like to give me a call. I had a coffee soaked doughnut filling my mouth and shook my head conveying that was just fine.
She called three days later while I was engrossed in an ancient alchemical text attempting to decipher some arcane symbol made to trip up the curious reader. Jules apparently had a knack for catching me when my mental pants where down and I found myself agreeing to a date. I quickly realized I could get out of it by saying my car was in the shop but, alas, she said she would pick me up. This woman apparently missed class when they were teaching shyness. I had to hide my car in the back of my house so when she arrived she would not question me on my sad little mistruth.
"Hello Julie."
"I said call me Jules!"
"Yes, of course…so, um, dinner and a movie. Right?"
"Ya, any place in particular you want to go?"
"Any place you like, since your driving and all…again I apologize for not being able to pick you up."
"It's fine! Sooooo…you gunna' show me around your place?"
Luckily I had went to the bathroom several minutes before she arrived, otherwise I would have had an accident. My mind flashed images of her seeing my lab and books, running out and calling the local authorities. Not good.
"Well, I really did not clean up it is a bit of a mess."
"Oh, come on…I want to see how a genius lives!"
I forgot to mention, due to my lie about working in a pharmaceutical she thought I must be above average intelligence. Unfortunately, I submitted to her request. She was mildly interested in my lab when she discovered it. Luckily I had a lot of plants in there so it did not look I was cooking up Heroin or anything. I explained I sometimes took certain things from work home, just in case I get a flash of insight.
"Oh!" she exclaimed with no real exclaim.
Anyway, we went on our little date and as expected it was a disaster. I was just outright bored and she never noticed. She yapped on like some lonely puppy when its master comes home. Honestly she could have told me she was Bill Gates and I would have "looked" fascinated but deep down I could care less. I should have, I know this now. Maybe if I would have paid just a little more attention to her, and not been such a jerk when she asked if we could go out again some time I maybe would have never had any trouble at all. However I must stop the story of Jules and move to another part of my story, a part that we must go back a few years for. A part where you must meet my father.
My Father was a perfect personification of his work. His work being an antiques dealer. He was interested in all things old and out of date but which still had some sublime charm to them. Truly I loved my father and mother as a child as I am sure all children do who live in a kind home. They say the apple does not fall far from the tree, and I must say that colloquial saying rings true between this father and son. He was not just an everyday average antiques dealer (if that exists), oh no, my father reveled in special antiques.
The first time I realized my father trafficked in odd bits and pieces of an occult nature were when I was twelve or so. A very dark Arab man came to see him right before closing time, nearly bursting through as my father was preparing to flip the sign to "closed". He spoke in hushed and hurried tones about a certain thing he kept pointing to in his hand. The thing in question was wrapped in a beautiful silk handkerchief with flowery patterns laced onto it. Any time I see the inside a mosque or illuminated writing in a Muslim prayer book I think of that cloth. My father and the Arab spoke back and forth as the conversation took darker and emotional turns. Apparently, my father had sold this man the cursed thing and was quite anxious to re-write the return policy. That is the no-return policy. Right up until the point when the Arab handed my father a stack of bills. He then rushed out of the shop leaving father and I simply looking outside as he raced off. I was very nervous until my father broke the spell and walked over to me. Placing his gentle hand on my head and tousling my hair he said
"Some people just cannot deal with a blessing that carries a responsibility."
Now there were other things that made me thing the shop was "weird". Certain items would vanish and some just appeared-not in a puff of smoke mind you-like missing car keys. When I would question father on this he simply said either he moved them and forgot where he put it or it had just "come in" without me seeing the seller. Our shop was the size of a decadent living room, the chances of me missing someone enter and leave approached nil. The shop also would change smells now and then. One minute it would be pleasant and flowered, the next dark and musky like some dirty beast was passing through. When questioned, father assured me that the wood chests and armoire "breathed" when the temperature changed. At night one could hear soft whispers of a conspiratal sort being spoken but never the source could be found. Finally, one would feel watched nearly all the time as if there were a whole host of invisible men tucked away in the corners.
My mother, a card carrying member of the Age of Aquarius (some of the other cards she should have had were missing if you pardon the pun) would go around burning sage and putting clear quartz here and there, attempting to "raise the energy level" whatever that meant. Don't get me wrong, I loved my mother. I just consider her a little wacky and superstitious. She dealt with the weirdness my father had brought into our lives in her own way.
It came to be that one day in the shop I discovered a little text on alchemy. Gilded and illuminated it was of exquisite quality. Not only that but it had handwritten notes in margins and in the blank spaces of pages. Sadly it was written in some coded language which to this day I cannot decipher. This is what began my love affair with chemistries disowned parent. As a teenager I would look over the pages while minding the shop, oblivious to any strange or unusual happenings that may have been occurring, a marching band of spooks could have passed me without a glance. This, oh patient reader is the point where my father becomes pivotal in the story. I was moving out, off to college you see. My parent being exceedingly proud as all parents are when they realize their child has grown and they get the house once more to themselves. As a parting gift my father handed me a small chest with some considerable weight to it.
"What is this?"
"A gift for you, although unlike most gifts, you cannot open it just yet."
"Dad, if you wanted to give me an empty chest that is one thing; but, to bring an aire of mystery and suspense to the whole affair is quite another!"
"It has something of great worth, and responsibility within it. I say you cannot open it yet not because I do not want you to but because it will not let."
"Ah, now we come to the truth! A broken chest, thanks dad."
"When it is ready and so are you, it will open."
"OK."
Of course the first chance I got I tried prying that sucker wide open. Nothing. It was sealed with glue crafted from the bones of stubborn horses. I kept it in case father asked about it and to keep the gag running between us. For a while I even kept it out in the living room like a family portrait. Then when father passed away I picked it up, looking at it brought to many hard memories to deal with at the time. By the time mother passed away it had long been covered in the closet by stacks of fleece blankets. Old hard memories need to be kept safe, warm and in dark places. It stayed down there until a week after my date with Julie (Jewels). When the police and ATF officers busted down my lovely oak cabin door (it was unlocked, they could have just opened it.). That is when they found it, and it caused them and I a world of trouble.

It happened so very quickly. First I saw the door burst open, then appeared several large men in body armor and before I could speak a word I was down on the ground. I was read my rights and they said something or other about a warrant to search the premise for a methamphetamine factory. Of course they found my laboratory and where quite confounded by it. They had no idea what I was cooking up and just assumed I was making some sort of drug or another. They then began looking through the house. Apparently, they were looking for paraphernalia. That is when I got escorted to the trooper's vehicle to be shown the backseat. I sat there for several minutes until I heard some muffled cries from the house of excitement. I saw several of the ATF gorillas head towards the hall. Then all was quite. I told the trooper watching me that I had no drugs and that I was a chemist. He looked at me with the sort of look a parent gives a child that has chocolate all over their mouth and is swearing they did not grab a cookie. A few seconds later and the house exploded. Literally. The house was all in one nice little piece one minute, the next it was a fiery ball of debri.
I had no idea where my trooper sitter had gone or at first why one side of my body was so hot and the other slammed against the other side of the trooper's cruiser. In fact for several seconds nothing made since. I then felt someone lift me up and carry me away from the intense heat and light. I am sure if I stayed there my skin would have began peeling and burning, I could not even imagine the condition of those inside the house or the trooper that was watching me. At first I assumed he was the one carrying me. I was wrong. When my savior laid me down on the cool grass by an old oak tree that I used to love to sit under and think, I finally caught a look at who it was. He was middle aged, wore some very dark suit that must have gone out of style before the Inquisition took place and he had a clean shaven head. His skin was almond colored and he had pale green eyes. He had the look that a cat gives its master after it kills a mouse and offers before the master's feet. Later I realized it was no coincidence he had had that look. That was exactly what was thinking.
"Are you OK?"
"No. Half my face feels sun-burnt, my house is in flames, I most likely have several dead or dying police officers in my burning house and before all of that I was going to be arrested for a misunderstanding. But, I must say, thank you for saving my life."

"Not a problem. And do not worry about the officers. Only one was injured. The one that broke my chest has a few mild burns he can show his friends later as battle wounds."
I was thoroughly confounded now. I had no idea what this man was saying, why he was dressed as he was, how he assumed the officers had lived through that inferno and what was really creepy was how the stranger kept direct eye contact with me. Something primitive inside me said to climb up the tree and hide there until "it" was gone. A quick memory of my fathers shop and the things that seemed to reside there flashed through my mind. That is when "it" smiled.
"You do recall me then."
I ran. I figured it was the best course of action. Either the stranger was crazy yet helpful or something else entirely. It was something, which humans do not normally speak with. Something angels fear. It was not even a conscious decision. With everything that had happened, it apparently made good working sense to my body that I should run until exhausted and lost. That is what I did. For some lucky reason I had my wallet in my back pocket and rented a room at a fairly dirty motel. I sat and watched T.V. until the shock slowly decided to loosen its chilling grip from off my being. The local news told a story of how a local man's home was raided for drug suspicion. It said it must have been a meth lab due to the fact the whole house exploded only minutes after the raid. Luckily it said only one officer was slightly injured and was treated on scene. No one knows the whereabouts of the suspected man or even if he is still alive. It took a few seconds for this to reach through my clouded brain and realize it was me they were talking about. They showed my picture and vital information. I few expletives escaped my lips in near silence. I panicked, cried and beat the bed with my fist. I then decided to take a shower and get the hell out of there.
I walked for a while, possibly several hours. Half of my face felt stiff and sensitive to the wind. That made me think of the fire and of course what had happened. I thought over my dark options and my future. I could turn my self in and try my best to explain what happened. I could go on the run, although this would be difficult due to the fact that I am sure they are freezing my bank accounts and I would only have the twelve dollars and five pennies that were currently in my pockets. It seemed like both choices came down to hanging myself with a nylon rope or with a cotton one. Things like this should be thought over coffee and doughnuts, alas my source of such treats was certainly a trap. Near three in the morning I decided to head to the local police precinct. It is a funny thing, turning yourself in. On the one hand you want to enter the station, on the other hand if you are caught before you get there it loses some of the virtue of "turning yourself in". So one must sneak towards the station hoping one has attained by some miracle the power of invisibility which will immediately drop as you enter the station and transform your outline to that of a saint appearing to the faithful. At the very least one wishes to reach the steps before being noticed.
They were very kind at the station. No kidney jabs or foul words. I guess they at least appreciated my effort. I did notice they had a look in their eyes which seemed to say they would have rather found me on the street in order to "speak" with me for a while. This "conversation" would be done possibly in a field somewhere, the darker and more remote the better. For all their eyes revealed they showed great professional decorum. That is when things got weird. You see they interrogated me but it was more about me just going ahead and admitting I cooked up meth. When I told them I would give blood to prove I was clean they assumed I was one of the few who sold and did not partake. I realized as we went on they were a little disturbed by the whole situation. No one was seriously injured, no one knew how everyone got out and not transformed to BBQ (I held in a pig joke and believe I drew blood from my tongue.). Most perturbing was the fact they had no evidence on me actually possessing or selling meth! I could even see that they were worried the fire marshal was going to come in and say that the police were responsible for the fire, in other words they had thought they botched the whole sha-bang and were hoping I would just give it up! Then I come waltzing into the station ruining any chance for them to say I was a wanted criminal on the run. Public opinion or a jury for that matter would look way too kindly on such an action as I had also hoped. Since I did not want to give up any thing they escorted me to a cell where we both knew I would probably not stay to long. There I sat feeling a little better about things. That is when the shock started to wear off and I began thinking about my work.
I already told you and complained--overly so--about the loss of my work. I was so close though! So, here we are. You now understand my situation and everything I lost. I am sure I will go down in alchemical history as some sort of proverb or warning to others. Well, I had a good bit of money saved. I could rebuild, take out a loan and start up again. I would probably have to get a job again. Gre-
"You are truly a self centered prick. I hope you realize that."
-at. I turned around looking around at the small cell and realized the voice came from nowhere.
"Hello?"
"I am here. Question is why? For what possible reason was I granted to some shmuck that would rather some pointless rock then to actually live life."
"Who…where…are you? Is this some sort of cop joke to make me crazy and confess to something I did not do?"
"Fool."
That is when "It" appeared again before me. Right in front of my face he emerged with those keen eyes. One second, nothing the next a spooky creature that is doing its best to look like a man. I noticed that the attire had changed to something more modern and the first sprouts of hair were all about his head like grass during spring. Although any association to spring and this thing was not allowed.
"I don't know what you are but why do you want me?"
"Too self centered to even pay attention. I do not want you. I am bound to you! I was given as a gift to come in a time of need. Your time arose and so did I."
"You must be kidding; if anything you are the one that caused this "time of need"! And who gave you to me; I do not remember getting you!"
"I was in the chest. That is why you could never open it. I am to remain by your side until everything is put into better order than I was summoned. Although helping one such as you is in my belief a waste of time."
"Why do you keep insulting me? What is wrong with me that you have the right to poke fun? At least I do not take up residence in a chest that does not open."
"Look child, you, like all of your race have such little time on this rock. Why waste it on something pointless? Why not spend it loving each other, making this a better place for your fleashy young ones to further enjoy. Even if this stone of yours did grant you immortality what good would it have done you? You had no life to start with. Also you're a pompous ass you thinks he is better than nearly every other person around him."
I was silent for a few seconds taking all of this in and watching the creatures eyes flash, change and stalk me like prey. I could not believe my father had bequeathed me such a horrible gift.
"One good thing about being given to you is the look on your face now that you have met something greater than you, how I enjoy watching the doubt of your very sanity slip out through the corners of your gaping jaw."
My mouth was open now.
"Anyway, you're free to go. I talked to the district attorney and he saw things my way."
"What, how and why?"
"Well I was going to let you rot for a while, seeing as how you were thinking about not owning up to any of this but then miraculously you decided to take some responsibility, even if it you had not actually broken any laws. When I saw that, I could not just let you suffer. You needed to be rewarded for the first time you actually acted like a man."
I swung and strung the thing directly on the chin. After the stars cleared I figured my hand was broken and "It" was simply standing there watching me.
"Well, shit! Twice in one day, I guess I am doing a good job on you."
We signed a few papers, got some nasty looks from the cops, and walked out and got into the back of a very nice luxury car that was waiting for us. I could not see the driver because they had some dark privacy glass blocking the view. My hand throbbed and my mind throbbed worse. What the hell was going on, what was that thing sitting next to me?
"There is no proper translation of what I am to your modern mind. Long ago people called us Daemons, Dijinni, Guardian Angels and even longer than that they called us Gods. No matter how I would explain it to you it would no doubt come out as something I am truly not. Let us just say for convenience sake I come from another place. If this place was built in layers than your place, this realm would be directly under mine. However that does not make me superior to you. Only when I come into your world is that so, just like if you entered mine you would be superior to me.
"You grant wishes?"
"Why is it that no matter how smart you creatures get or how advanced you think you are it always comes down to that question? Short answer "NO"! I have known only a few that can do what you are thinking about. And those were something slightly different than I, and more akin to you."
"Oh. Well excuse me then. So what are we doing now?"
And that is when he said the most terrifying thing I have ever heard.
"Going to see Jewels."

We drove in relative silence for a few blocks. I was too concerned about its motives in seeing Jules/Jewels and trying to understand why it thought she was so important to go see.

"You know she was the one who reported you to the police."
"What!?"
"She thought you were making meth or some other drug, she called around to several pharmaceutical companies and no one had ever heard of you. That is when she began to suspect you had lied to her."
"Let me guess, this is all about me learning to be honest or some other little moral tale. This is ridiculous; she is a boring uncreative human being."
"So that gives you the right to write her off and lie to her?"
"No, but it gives me the right to be disinterested in further contact with her."
"You did not even attempt to understand her or connect in any way; you are disinterested in her because of your intense interest in yourself."
"So, this is punishment for being self-centered and not wanting to get involved with her?"
"Not at all, you will understand."
We stopped (I still do not know who is driving) and it told me to wait in the car while he spoke to Jules. He was gone for about fifteen minutes. During that time I tried to examine who exactly was driving but to no avail. When it finally did come out with Jules, she looked a little upset. They both got in, it staring at me with a look that said "stay quiet" and she examining the floor interior. Finally she looked up at me and said:
"I'm sorry. I thought you were strange but interesting and then when I saw the chemistry stuff at your house and the way you blew me off along with the fact that you did not work at any chemical plant of pharmaceutical company made me think you were a drug dealer or something"
I believe I have already apologized to you readers for her run-ons. In truth there were no real spaces between her words, but I thought that would be just a tad to much for you to decipher. I know it was difficult for me to decode. When she finally did stop and took a breath it was followed by a great heaping sob and choking tears. All she could get out were a few sounds that when combined sounded similar to "sorry". I could not blame her, what else was she to think? That was one reason I persisted as a loner, few people would understand and even less would be decent about such an activity. Maybe that thing sitting across from me was right, what was the purpose of the philosopher's stone when one had no life to begin with? An eternity on Earth estranged from mankind would probably be a dull and manic affair. I did the only thing a semi-decent human being could do. I hugged her and tried to comfort her. I did start when she began to clear up a little bit and said:
"You should have told me, I would have understood!"
What exactly did that thing tell her? The truth I imagined since he was so big on such things apparently. I kept my cool, remembering the look it gave me when they had entered the vehicle. Finally after some consoling and a laugh or two we promised we would talk again, and that there were no hard feelings. We hugged and she kissed me on the cheek. She then quickly ran back to her apartment.
"So what did you tell her?"
"That you were a brilliant man, and I was your representative. I told her you were working on a cure for several diseases and human ills and it would not have been understood or supported by the mainstream medical establishment until you actually could prove it worked. That you told people you worked for a pharmaceutical company so they would not think you were some sort of nut."
"Not exactly the truth but true enough I guess."
"You humans rarely master communication properly, if so you would know that there is never a need to lie. You only need to tell the truth and sometimes just enough of it to get by."
"Understood, and lesson learned."
"Hmn, we will see."
"So what now?"
"We go home."
At first I thought he was being humorous or cruel. It was several miles away from the place I used to live. In fact when I was first looking for a place I had honestly wanted that one. It was off the market then and so I had bought the cabin that had just so recently been immolated. I was shocked when he handed me the keys and told me to go on in. It was decently furnished and immediately felt like home. Correction. Except for the fact that there was no lab it felt like home. After a few minutes it came in and I noticed the car was no longer in the driveway.
"So what do you think?"
"Nice, you bought it?"
"Yes, when your insurance coverage on your home comes in as denied due to hazardous chemical use you'll thank me even more."
We both laughed, it was strange hearing it laugh. It seemed like something one rehearsed until nearly perfected. But for a "guy" that just bought me a house I could not be too critical of him.
"Thanks."
"Your welcome."
At that it walked out of the door and I did not see it again for quite some time. I did however see Jewels again. Several times actually.
Part 5
"Is he doing alright?"
"Yes, he seems to be nearly ready to move on."
"Excellent, I am glad I could make it in time."
"I am surprised to see you, it has been forever!"
"It is good to see you too."

"Hey old man remember me?"
"…how could I forget you…you gave me my life back."
"And a very long life it was, how old are you now?"
"Three hundred and fifty two!"
"Hahaha, you changed the world old man and for the better. It was a pleasure to serve you."
"Ha, that is not what you said when we met!"
"That was different, now you have truly lived. By the way, remember when you asked me if I granted wishes?"
"Barely…yes, I remember. What of it?"
"If I could and I offered to grant one wish for you what would it be?"
"You told me you couldn't!"
"No, I told you the short answer was no. The long answer is yes. Remember I also said one would never have to lie if they knew the proper ways to communicate."
"Fine, you almost liar you, I have a wish."
"And?"
As I said before I am not a complete hermit, shutting out the world. I own a television set, a phone of somewhat modern advancement and of course a decent vehicle. I regularly visit a local coffee and doughnut establishment to give myself some time to think and be away from my work. I was nearing my preparation stage for creating the Stone and had actually finished the lesser stone or as some call it the plant stone. It is quite a miraculous thing but not as impressive as the most Holy of Holies. Typically as I sit and dunk doughnut into well sugared coffee I try and sort certain lines of reasoning out, or just pretend I am a normal average guy enjoying a delicious snack. Well, all that was ruined when a moderately attractive young lady came and introduced herself to me. Her name was Jules (or Jewels, however one would spell it) I figured it was a nickname for Julie, why people do such odd things to their names is beyond my comprehension. Anyway, Jules sat down and started talking to me. I would get a word in, mostly answers to her questions. I realized quite suddenly that I was being hit on! This woman apparently has seen me several times at this establishment enjoying my treat and finally decided to come over and break the ice. She said:
"I don't know what it is, you just seem like such a nice guy, for some reason I had to come talk to you."
The run-on is how she spoke. I leave it in for character. I left out how many women thought Ted Bundy was a swell looking fellow but decided that was not the thing you say when a nice lady comes to talk you up. And that is when something occurred to me. I was an outsider. When was the last time I had really connected to another human being? Could it be just coincidence that her name was Jewels and I was searching for the most precious stone of life? I know, I know it was a little bit intense for just meeting her but there are just some times in life when you just have to go with the flow and enjoy the mystery. Otherwise, you never truly live.








God is sleeping

Somewhere deep in Central Africa near Gabon sat a silverback Gorilla. For a silverback it was very intelligent and aware. In fact with no exaggeration one could have called him the "Buddha" of silverbacks. He sat chewing some delicious leaves pondering a dream he had earlier that morning. He was not quite sure exactly what it meant yet and every time he got close to the essential meaning of it some damn howler monkey got carried away and disturbed his meditation. Something told him though that this dream was different in some way. You see he had awoken within the dream and was the dreams master. He could do whatever he desired. From producing some wonderful ripe bananas to silencing those insane howler monkeys our dear silverback could do it all. The world was his to control. He quietly assured himself he would discover the secret to the dream a little later in the evening.
Somewhere deep within North America near a small Kansas sat a young man. For a human being he was very intelligent and aware. In fact with no exaggeration many have called him "geek" or a "nerd". He sat looking up at the stars. He had awoken just a little while ago from the strangest dream. He was rather unsure of what the whole dream meant but thought that staring up at the brilliant stars would aid him. If only his mind would stop throwing memories of bullies and torments he had earlier in the day. Within the dream he had "woke up" and could control the dream. From becoming a handsome guy that all the ladies would adore to beating up the high school bully our dear young fellow could do it all. The world was his to control. He vocally assured himself he would discover the mysteries of his dream when the light of the sun met his face.
Nowhere deep within and a little past time and space sat a beautiful angel. For an angel she was very intelligent and aware. In fact with no exaggeration many other angels have called her an "archangel". She resided perfectly pondering the meaning of her inner visions that she was both a silver back gorilla as well as some poor pubescent boy in Kansas. She thought certain she could understand the sublime events within her if only some of the other angels would desist playing their harps so loud so she could ponder deeper. Something told her that this vision was different in some way. In it she was tasting things and experiencing sensations un-thought of, which truly belonged to the realm of matter and not celestial. The world was hers to experience. She both silently and outwardly assured herself by creating on the fly a new song to portray her curiosity that she would discover the meaning behind this vision.
Our three lovely exceptionally different heroes went on that day/night/no time and began to question the very nature of being. Was all life a dream or vision? Could one gain control of the waking world just as one did the dream world? How could one do such a thing? Eventually the dreams/visions they had were all lucid and they could be just as aware during sleep as they were during the day. And during the day or normal awareness they noticed that they were becoming more aware of things than before. One could even say they were truly aware and living for the first time ever. And that is what caused it all.
At one universal, harmonious instant beyond both time and space yet within it the silverback, the boy and the angel all woke up within the greater dream of reality. They at once realized that they were all one being, fused in consciousness and that there was no difference between them. This caused an even greater thing to happen. For one instant beyond ape, man or angel, beyond all things they could even understand awoke a mind so old and eternal that it rarely stirred. For one moment it awoke and knew itself and all life both animate and inanimate.
The last time such a thing happened we had Democratic Enlightenment, the time before that the Renaissance. I wonder what will happen this time?