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The Angel and Me II- The Story Continues


Part I - Beyond The Cabin
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The night passed quietly...slowly. The events of that day, the discoveries and realizations, and the forces of new awareness that had been drawn out from deep within me had left me completely drained. Much more than just physical fatigue could account for, I felt curiously void of psychic energy as well. I felt emptied. But not the emptiness of loneliness and frustration I had become so accustomed to in the so recent past. A satiated emptiness instead seemed to wrap it's tendrils around my very soul. Much like the feeling one gets after recovering from a long and arduous illness. When the fever is gone and the body has returned to it's normal state of health. But lingering beneath the comfort of new strength and fortitude lays the buried remnants of exhaustion from the inner battles the body fought to return to a healthy status.

My dreams that night were not visual or explicit in their context. As if my mind's eye was too tired to conjure the imagery necessary to produce the subconscious pictures usually seen in dreams. But I did dream. Dreams of sensation and texture. Flowing colors and subtle lights intermingling and mixing together like a multicolored lava lamp. Perhaps like the dreams of a child blind and deaf from birth. One who has never seen the world or sensed it in the normal context of our own accepted realities. But one who's brain still possessed the ability to manipulate and bring forth light and color. My mind was bathed in warmth and comfort where shades of color represented thought and shifts of the light spectrum stood for emotions. I drifted and flowed in this multi hued panorama of unconscious desires with no direction, no plot, and nothing to distract me from my subconscious meandering across my deepest emotional palette.


Like shadows dancing through firelight, I sensed the angel's presence within my dreams but I could not see her or touch her. I could only feel the essence of her energies intertwining with my own. The dreams could have lasted for hours or minutes. Time was simply a concept with no outright meaning or measure. Just as it had been since first beginning the journey which had brought me to this point and place. I could not feel her body lying next to mine. In fact, I had no real sensation of my own body. Nor did I feel the soft whisper of the bedding caressing my naked skin or the warm radiance of the logs burning in the fireplace. Everything I felt came from inside and all awareness of external sources of sensation were missing from this enhanced dream state.

In fact there did not even truly seem to be an "inside" or an "outside". It felt as if we had merged into one state of being. Like night and day, cold and warm, black and white, separate yet inseparable and joined into one mixture of spiritual convergence.

At first, the colors and light seemed to be random and un focused. Various shades of deep purples and reds alternating with gold and tinged with silver highlights. Swirling and flowing through alternating patterns of subtle light and soft shadows. Everything seemed to be lightly veiled by an almost transparent gauzy white silk. Like a flowing kaleidoscope viewed through a fine mist or fog. Instead of passively watching this incredible spectral show, I seemed to be a part of it, not simply surrounded by it but actually feeling the colors flow through me. As if I was merely another aspect of the energy field which produced these aura like patterns.

From somewhere deep within this field of light and color I could once again hear (feel? sense?) that gentle, mesmerizing vibration that had first made it's presence known when I stepped onto the pathway leading to the cabin. The colors themselves seemed to undulate and pulsate in rhythm to this vibratory phenomenon as they began to coalesce into a more defined pattern. As if in some vaguely familiar LSD dream, I could actually feel the colors as they passed through and around me. Each one carrying with it an almost imperceptible wisp of air and coolness like a thin cushion of early spring air which enveloped my heightened senses. I felt completely weightless and even more than that, without any perceivable mass whatsoever. Like nothing I had ever experienced before, I seemed to be totally disembodied but still in possession of the basic faculties of sight, sensation, and hearing.

When I realized I was no longer "contained" within a physical form, I felt a sudden flash of panic. I had no sense of direction or location and no visible landmarks to circumscribe my position within this colorful maelstrom. I felt as if I was expanding...separating into countless particles of raw energy that were spreading rapidly apart. I could "see" the particles of my new state of being drifting and swirling in undulating wavelike patterns amongst the flowing fields of color. Each particle clearly defined and shimmering with tiny points of golden light. Like glitter tossed into a multi hued whirlpool.

While I considered this and wondered how I could pull these tiny bits of my presence back together into a more cohesive form, I noticed other shimmering bits of silver light billowing out from what I somehow knew to be the angel's similar essence. I found if I concentrated and focused my perceptions I could have a slight degree of control over the direction these particles flowed. As this realization struck me I found if I concentrated harder I could gain even more control over these undulating bits of energy. Slowly...carefully, I "called" out with all the mental energy I possessed to retrieve these parts of myself before they became scattered and forever lost in this very strange world of sensation.

I sensed that the angel was doing the same, finding her own strength of purpose and will and focusing it outward to gather her energies and pull them into a more cohesive form. At first it seemed to be working for both of us. The particles began to gather into two almost imperceptible forms, roughly human in shape but still flowing and drifting randomly like a thin sheen of oil on water. It required an incredible amount of concentration and effort to contain these particles and I began to feel a creeping weariness slowly invading my awareness.

While we struggled to hold ourselves "together" the colors began to swirl even faster around us making it harder to maintain any degree of concentration. They changed in hue as well, going from dark purples and reds to brighter red, orange, and yellow. The brighter colors made the particles of energy even harder to visualize and I felt myself slowly losing control of their flow. On some deep inner level I began to realize that it was useless to continue the struggle. That somehow, I was not supposed to realign these bits or draw them into myself. Perhaps their flow was not so random after all and that I should just relax and let them take whatever course they chose, or were chosen for them by the force which seemed to be pulling them away. The angel must have sensed the same thing, for I could see her own essence begin to spread outward again.

While this was very disorienting, I no longer felt any fear or discomfort. A sense of peace and warmth settled over my awareness as I decided to stop fighting the flow of energy away from my center. Once they were set free of my conscious effort to control them, the particles began streaming outward very rapidly, pulling my awareness along with them. But they no longer seemed to be flowing in a haphazard pattern. On the contrary, they began to form a straight line, almost like a beam of light, and sped towards what appeared to be a brighter area of color near the cabin's fireplace although the fireplace itself could not be clearly seen.

Then, to my amazement and wonder, the angel's particles began streaming in an identical fashion towards my own. Like tiny sparkling bits of metal being drawn toward a magnet, they began to dance and intermingle in a converging pattern until they seemed to form an aura surrounding a glowing white orb of color. As the circle of our merged essence closed around the orb, the vibration and hum intensified within the room. It took on an even deeper tone, outside my range of hearing but still I could "feel" the vibration and actually felt myself to be a part of it, adding to it's depth.

The colors in the room began to fade in intensity, as if being enveloped in a dense fog. I began to see the objects within the cabin but something had changed. At first I couldn't determine exactly what the change consisted of but slowly I became aware that everything appeared flat, without any depth. Like a picture, two dimensional, missing contours and shadows. I could see my body, and that of the angel's, lying peacefully on the mat near the glowing white orb but felt no connection to my body whatsoever. Nothing within the cabin itself seemed to be real. As if it was merely a facade, possessing no real purpose beyond a visual representation of some other dimension. A dimension I no longer felt myself to be a part of.

As I gazed at this surreal scene I realized I was no longer able to see the orb from my previous perspective. Instead, I felt as if I was looking out from within the glowing ball itself. My vision was crystal clear but everything was surrounded by a bright white haze which seemed to be projected from my location. Also, I no longer felt as if I was dreaming. It was more like what I thought to be a dream was actually a passageway from the physical realm of solidity and substance into this nether world of sensation and awareness. This feeling grew stronger and stronger until suddenly I realized I no longer even felt my own sense of identity. I wasn't me anymore. I was merely a part of a greater source of energy that had encapsulated my awareness.

Could it be that I had somehow "merged" with the angel? I no longer felt her presence in any real sense of the word, but felt more like I had joined her spiritual essence. Like we had become one being or force of energy, intertwined and fused together within the glowing white orb. It appeared to be transparent but existing within a well defined area just in front of the fireplace, hovering several feet above the floor. And at the same time, it did not feel as if it was actually a part of the world in which it was suspended. I felt energized and hyperaware of thoughts and sensations that didn't correlate into anything I had ever experienced or could possibly find the words to describe. Words and descriptions seemed much too based within the material world which I (we?) were no longer a part of in any discernible fashion.

There was no sense of loss or concern over any of these realizations. I felt as if I had simply stepped through a doorway into another room, leaving a minuscule and meaningless part of myself behind like a butterfly shedding it's silken cocoon and emerging into an entirely different world. One in which I felt quite comfortable and content without any desire to return to that which I had left behind. My only remaining thoughts which I felt to be of human origin was one of an intense curiosity and eagerness to learn more about this strange plane of existence I now found myself held tightly within.

All I knew for sure was that the angel and me were somewhere far beyond the physical plane where the cabin existed. And there was much, much more to learn and understand than I had ever dreamed existed in the pale, plastic world we had left behind. The physical structure of the cabin remained intact although two-dimensional in it's appearance. Every object within it's confines seemed to be surrounded by an aura or some sort of field of energy which left the impression that they were lit from within even though there did not appear to be any depth to the items.

The table, couch, mat and even the rose on the mantle seemed to be mere representations of objects instead of actual solid structures. We had the distinct thought that we had somehow been drawn into some sort of parallel universe where solid structures could not exist but could still be visualized. Where the only thing that was allowed to pass through to this world was the essence or memory of the item and not the object itself. The feeling was much like that which one would get from looking at a picture album of items or scenes which stirred memories of previous encounters with the actual items themselves. In this strange world of sensation we could look at any item and feel it's texture within our mind without actually touching it. We could smell the rose simply by looking at it. We could gaze at our sleeping forms and "remember" the sensations of our bodies joined together in the recent past.

As we looked about the room and focused on each object, it's aura would stream out towards the orb much like our own essence had done just moments before. These streams would enter the orb and swirl around us like wisps of fog, passing through us and leaving behind the texture or feel or memory of the object itself. It was if the orb was some sort of astrophysical magnet which drew energy from the physical world but transposed it into pure sensation, then returned that sensation back to the object from whence it originated.

Apparently we had been absorbed into a cosmic "generator" of some kind. Encapsulated and merged within a ball of light and energy which was not part of the world we had known but could pass back and forth through an astral passageway. We now understood the source of the subtle vibration and hum that had been apparent at times. Many questions remained as to the origin and purpose of the orb's existence and why it had just now become visible and apparent to us. But none of those questions seemed as important as the mere fact of it's presence. Some things just were. The whys and hows were nothing more than humanity's weak and ineffective effort to understand and control the world around it or to bend it to their will.

Just as God had created man in his own image, man attempted to shape the world around him into the image of what he wanted and desired his life to be. From the moment of birth, humans fought and battled and struggled with their environment, seeking to exert an influence on their surroundings or the people in their lives. Trying, in vain for the most part, to create a haven of comfort and security in a world of turmoil, chaos, and random chance. Unfortunately, too many people failed to realize that altering their physical surroundings or attempting to influence others by means of aggression or manipulation would only serve to change the structure of their lives and do nothing to enhance the meaning or purpose of that life. To truly alter one's life for the better, to gain insight into the purpose and meaning to our existence, it was necessary to strip away the mortal trappings, conveniences, and perhaps even preconceived ideas of life and to somehow reach higher planes of existence through spiritual and soulful means.

Surrounding one's self with physical comforts, or "buying" friendship through coercion or false representation of one's true nature would never lead to true fulfillment on any level. Every physical attribute of a person's life and existence will never be anything more than a transient aspect of that life. To put more value on material comforts of life, or to expend energy to obtain some physical goal or self-serving and often selfish pleasure only serves to redirect that energy away from the spiritual essence from which it originated. And in doing so, the link between the physical self and the greater and more permanent aspect of inner spirituality would grow weak and eventually, separate completely. Leaving us trapped forever within the physical realms and doomed to perish without ever having ascended to the heights of greater awareness.

As these thoughts and bits of knowledge flowed through and around us, the flame from the fireplace grew higher and brighter. The aura's surrounding the objects within the cabin grew brighter and more intense as well, continuing to stream towards us with greater and greater velocity until the entire interior of the cabin took on the appearance of an incredibly vivid laser light show. The softly swirling and flowing colors were completely gone now, replaced by this volatile maelstrom of pure energy, radiating in an almost violent pattern from every item in sight.

After a few moments, the objects themselves began to fade and become transparent, mere crystalline like outlines demarcating their position in the room. It seemed as if they were somehow dissolving into their purest form revealing the central core of energy that kept them anchored within the physical realm. The vibration and hum became more intense as well, like an overloaded transformer nearing the end of it's ability to contain the forces within. Sparks of fiercely white light began to careen about the room, bouncing off of every surface in random chaotic patterns.

The fire behind us flashed outward into the room, enveloping the orb containing our merged essence but there was no sense of heat or discomfort from the flames as they surrounded us. Then, suddenly, there was a loud crackling sound, like electrical current or lightening, and in an instant, the entire cabin was totally engulfed in blinding white light. We felt ourselves pulled backward into the fireplace, or rather, where the fireplace used to be. For now, it, along with every other object in the cabin, and the cabin itself, exploded/dissolved/evaporated completely out of existence.

There was a brief sensation of absolute calm, silence and swirling darkness as we were instantaneously transported up and out of the physical world. There was no fear or anxiety associated with these events. Just an overwhelming sense of awe and wonder as the world seemingly vanished from our awareness. For a moment, there were flickers of light dancing about in the darkness, much like what could be seen at the end of a reel of film in a theater when all the images on the screen faded to black.


Part II - Into the Light
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Throughout these remarkable events, there remained a total sense of calmness and serenity surrounding us. It was if we were dispassionately viewing a movie or watching these cataclysmic occurrences through a window without being directly involved or influenced by the events themselves. As if the emotional energies of fear, or dread, or anxiety were merely human in nature and could not enter into this world any more than the solid structures and objects themselves. Only the purest forms of emotion and energy could filter through and into the orb which contained our essence.

The sensation of weightlessness had dissipated to some degree as if the air within the orb had thickened or coalesced into a greater density. It was not uncomfortable at all though. More like floating in a liquid bath and being gently massaged by the wavelike motion. The curious thought entered our awareness that this might very well be the sensation an unborn child would feel within it's mother's womb. There was also a feeling of movement through space although it was difficult to discern motion since we were surrounded by total darkness with no reference points to guide us.

Then, slowly, almost imperceptibly, the darkness began to dissipate. Tiny, flickering points of light could be seen in the far distance. Our first thought was that these were stars but they did not seem to be scattered in a random pattern as would be seen in the night sky, but rather, concentrated in one area of the darkness. After a short while it became apparent that we were indeed moving, and moving towards these points of light at a very rapid pace. The closer we got the larger and more intense the light emanating from these beacons became. As we progressed onward the points of light began to converge toward a central point. The light became so intense that the glowing orb itself seemed to pale in comparison.

We felt a growing sense of anticipation and eagerness to become a part of this glowing mass of white light. And suddenly, we were there. Completely surrounded by the brightest, most vibrant white light we could ever have imagined. The light itself seemed to be composed of tiny, individual particles which could actually be "felt" flowing around and through our essence. It was like passing rapidly through a fine mist or spray, each droplet leaving a trace of itself behind in the form of a slight tingle. Although we were no longer contained within a physical form, we had the sensation of being bathed or cleansed by these innumerable particles of light washing over our awareness.

We were still held within (protected by?) the glowing orb as it carried us deeper and deeper into the light. Then we noticed a slight change in the color of light near what we assumed to be the center of this mass. In this area, the white appeared to take on a golden hue. As we drew closer it became even more pronounced and seemed to be pulsating in a rhythmic pattern. The only sound that could be heard was the ever-present hum that we had become so accustomed to, but now it began to intensify and grow in volume.

The orb began to slow it's approach and finally, stopped just outside the perimeter of this golden presence. The hum had grown so loud as to cause our entire essence to quiver and oscillate until we reached a harmonic level of aural convergence with this "entity". Now, other sounds could be heard, like thousands of murmured whispers which seemed to be projected outward from the golden light. We could not "hear" any individual words but it was apparent that this entity was attempting to establish some sort of psychic communication with our merged essence. Then, without warning, the whispers coalesced into what can only be described as a projected thought pattern and the entity spoke.


Although we could not "hear" the word itself, we were able (allowed?) to feel the meaning of the word wash over our awareness. It came in the form of a soft tendril of golden light beamed out from the entity and it brought with it an almost overwhelming sensation of love and kindness. Like being wrapped snugly in a soft blanket of pure emotional energy. The word (thought?, emotion?) flowed through every particle of our essence, leaving a comforting sensation of warmth as it flowed around and through us.

<You will be shown>

At first, this second thought was confusing until we realized that it was a response to the multitude of questions that were frantically forming in our consciousness. The entity had simply responded to the questions before they were asked. Of course, the most prevalent question we had was as to the nature of this entity...who...what was it? As this question floated to the top of our awareness we were able to direct the thought pattern towards the golden light.

{What are you?}

<The Source> it responded instantaneously.

{The source of what? Are you God?}, we asked.

<The Source of all that is, God is an icon of man's understanding, and HE is contained within The Source>

{God is part of you?}

<God is part of man's mortal understanding, one with his nature, of his soul, holder of his spirit. I am The Source of God's presence in man's reality>

The source spoke gently, as if trying to explain a complicated theory to a child who could not possibly understand the concept in it's totality but who none the less deserved a response.

{Why were we chosen?}

<You alone were not chosen, all mankind is chosen, but some are allowed to see>

{Then why were we allowed to see?}

<It is of your nature, and of your desire to see. All people can see, most do not wish to or are unable to find their connection to The Source. They are only willing to search outward, within the world, you have chosen to search inward, towards The Source. You possess within you the ability to reach into other's hearts, to touch their golden cord, to stroke their soul's energy. To Love.>

{What is our purpose?}

<This you must find for yourself. You have found the way of the light. What you wish to do with this knowledge is a mortal choice of your own free will. Every soul must walk his own path, find his own way to the light. You may guide but you may not direct.>

{What more is there to know? You said we will be shown.}

<And so you shall, in time. Now you must return. Another journey awaits.>

Returning Home
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As this last thought was projected into our consciousness, we began to feel the sensation of moving backwards, away from this central core of golden light. Like a movie, playing in reverse, The Source appeared to recede back into the bright white haze from which it had emerged. We could feel the orb gaining momentum rapidly as it took us out of the light. We were almost overwhelmed by a great sense of sadness and loss, similar to what a child must feel when taken abruptly from a loving mother's arms.

There was so much more we wanted to know. So many questions yet to ask and answers yet to be revealed. But at the same time we understood that this knowledge would have to be gained through our own will and desire to learn. Knowledge gained without effort is something less than it should be and spiritual growth requires a constant striving to reach the higher realms of enlightenment. Just as emotional and social maturity does not automatically come with the aging process, spiritual maturity is not something that is freely bestowed on the soul. Each bit of understanding and insight obtained during the course of a person's passage through life is like a single step up the infinite stairway to the source of all knowledge. There are no escalators to spiritual peace and harmony of the soul. These thoughts, and many more, swirled through our merged essence as we traveled through the darkness of time and space towards yet another journey to greater understanding. Our feeling of sadness slowly dissipated, and was replaced by a yearning anticipation and eagerness to reach the next phase of our journey.

For an indeterminate length of time, we were again surrounded by total darkness. It seemed that only the orb itself, and our own swirling, glowing essence existed. While we still had a sense of motion, again, there were no external points of reference to be seen. Then, in the far distance, we could see a faint bluish object, a tiny point of light in the otherwise empty expanse of blackness surrounding us. As we got closer, we also began to see other tiny bits of light, some larger than others, but all of them seemingly at a much greater distance. After a while it became apparent that we truly were traveling through space itself. The most distant points of light were stars and the blue object, much larger now, was the earth, seemingly suspended motionless within the infinitesimal void of space. As we drew rapidly closer we were swept away by an overwhelming feeling of awe and wonder at this magnificent sight.

It was akin to the feeling one gets when witnessing the birth of a child for the first time. The feeling that you are a part of something far beyond your ability to comprehend or understand on anything more than a very basic, instinctual level. When every thought and concern seems pointless and insignificant in comparison to the pure miracle being played out before your eyes. When even the event itself seems only a small part of something much deeper and more powerful than you have ever dreamed of. Something beyond your frail mortality yet somehow inexplicably linked to your very soul. A link which flowed and vibrated with the energy of the Source itself, and through that link, connected you with the life force of every living creature.

The earth stood as a beacon, an island of substance and life in a black and relatively empty universe of cold darkness. Reflecting the light of the sun as our human souls reflect the light of love and compassion which is the essence of all that we are and can ever be. The planet itself, like our own physical body, nothing more than a vessel. A repository and reservoir for the energy of life. The wispy white clouds floating silently far above it's surface, nothing more than representations of our own dreams. Subconscious decorations that hover just outside our conscious reach, yet somehow held within our psychic boundaries...or are they? Just as the clouds themselves know no physical boundaries other than the gravitational hold of the atmosphere, could it be that our own dreams were also free to roam through the collective consciousness of mankind. Like telepathic wisps of transitory thought patterns, formed not within our subconscious minds, but rather, emanating from a merged "super conscious" source of spiritual energy. One that each of us share, unknowingly, with others and through this invisible connection, link us together as one entity.

Was this what The Source was speaking of when it referred to golden cords and soul's energy? Had man drifted so far out into the physical world through time that the only remaining link to a higher power was through dreams? And perhaps an even more important question: Could we ever return to the womb of our soul's birth as individuals or was it necessary to forge our links together as one entity, a merged essence of spiritual energy?

It felt as if we were on the very brink of understanding as we burst into the atmosphere at a blinding rate of descent, through the thin upper atmosphere, and plunged through the light cloud covering towards the surface of the earth below. Still there was no external sensation as we seemed to be totally protected from the normal laws of physics and motion by the orb which held us gently within it's glowing confines. Just when it seemed we would crash directly into the mountainous terrain below, the orb began to slow it's descent and altered it's course into a sweeping arc which carried us breathtakingly close to the craggy, snow covered peaks.

We flew along with just inches separating us from the frigid apex of the highest mountain, then bobbled along the steep decline on the far side of the crest towards a brilliantly verdant and lush valley far below. Several hundred feet above the ground, the orb suddenly came to a halt.

We weren't sure where we were although the surroundings did look vaguely familiar. The forested valley spread out as far as the horizon, broken only in places by emerald green fields and pastures. From our high vantage point we could see the mountain range forming a rough semi-circle around the valley itself, with the tallest peaks behind us and the elevations tapering off in a gentle arc nearly encircling the valley except on the distant side. There the mountain range leveled off into rolling hills. These hills were shrouded in mist or fog at the edge of the horizon, beyond which nothing could be seen. There were several rushing streams coursing down the side of the mountains, bringing pure, clear water to sustain the flourishing lowlands. The sky was a brilliant, azure blue, marred only by scattered billowy clouds in the immediate area, but further out, towards the misty horizon, there was a hint of slate gray storm clouds rolling through the break in the mountain range. A distant sound of thunder could be heard accompanying the approaching storm front.

We were entranced by the sight of nature's beauty and power being displayed throughout our field of vision. The peaceful blue skies and silent majesty of the mountain peaks were sharply contrasted against the rapidly forming thunderheads. The slate gray clouds were quickly turning dark and ominous, the thunder growing in intensity and frequency, and now, bright flashes of lightening could be seen coursing between the clouds. The sharp cracks of thunder sent it's sonic vibrations through the air and the orb itself shuddered although holding us safely inside. Shadows of the storm clouds were rushing across the valley floor and the trees themselves were bending over with the accompanying gusts of wind. A torrential rain suddenly broke free of the clouds and fell in sheets towards the ground.

Soon the sun was hidden from view and a gloomy darkness seemed to suffuse itself into the very air surrounding us. Moments later, the orb was enveloped within the pitch blackness of the storm. While we seemed to be protected from the fierce onslaught of the storm, we could still feel the intensity and strength of the atmospheric cataclysm occurring all around us. The orb was jostled and pushed from side to side, much like a ship at sea being tossed haphazardly amongst towering waves. Then without warning, we felt the orb begin to move directly into the heart of the storm.

We could see nothing beyond the excruciatingly bright yellow and white flashes of lightening streaking in all directions. As we moved deeper into the maelstrom the orb took on a bluish glow, picking up speed and rapidly carrying us straight into the storm's fury. The brightly glowing particles of our merged essence began to shimmer and dance madly within the orb, seeming to draw energy from the storm itself. Then suddenly, a huge bolt of lightening struck the orb dead center from behind. The force of the strike was like an explosion, causing the interior to light up with a blinding radiance and pushing us even faster through the violent skies. It was immediately followed by a deafening peal of thunder, then another bolt of lightening, and another, and another, each striking the orb as if trying to shatter the protective shield into a million pieces. Our heightened senses were overcome by the sheer magnitude of the onslaught. When our essence had nearly reached it's peak of sensory overload there was a final, magnificently resounding clap of thunder released from the storm. With it came a piercing bolt of pure electrical energy, breaking through the surface of the orb and striking directly into the center of our merged essence. Everything went totally black and silent as our essence flashed briefly, matching the intensity of the bolt itself, then our state of hyper-awareness suddenly spiraled from a super conscious level to a vacuum-like sensation of nothingness.

Part IV - Another Awakening
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For an uncertain period of time there was a complete lack of any sensation or feeling. Then slowly, our awareness began to return. Like the first tentative light of dawn, creeping slowly but inexorably over the horizon, silently pushing away the tattered remnants of darkness, our visual perceptions were regained. At first, we seemed to be peering through a gauzy veil of mist. Our surroundings were out of focus and hazy. We could see dim, shadowy glimpses of the landscape but there was no distinct definition to anything. The trees and fields were blurry and lacking in color. It was like looking at old, grainy, black and white photographs taken by an inexperienced photographer who moved just as the shutter snapped open.

The storm seemed to have passed or dissipated in strength. Distant, muffled rumbles of thunder could still be heard but there were no towering storm clouds or violent flashes of lightening to be seen. What had first appeared to be a veil of mist could now be more clearly identified as willowy puffs of steam rising from every surface as could often be seen following a storm such as the one which had recently passed. Or was it recently? There was no way of knowing, for time seemed to have been suspended throughout the course of these events. We were still contained within the orb, however, the former bluish glow was gone now and all that could be seen was a thin, wavering, transparent border separating us from the elements of nature.

As our thought processes became clearer, we again began to feel a heightened awareness suffusing through our consciousness. Still, the scenery and landscape remained grayish and appeared to have no depth. There were no streams of energy or sensation being projected towards our essence as had been the case when we were still within the cabin's confines. This world was cold and dull...lifeless. As if the energy of it's existence had been drained or somehow removed, leaving nothing behind but the physical shells of the objects themselves. The trees and grass were motionless, frozen in place and somehow almost seemed to be blended together. Like looking at a charcoal landscape drawing where someone had smudged all the edges together.

We were near to the ground, close enough to touch it but something in our consciousness warned us against doing so. We still had a vague sense of familiarity with the surroundings as before the storm, but we felt we were less a part of this world than previously. The sun was overhead, or rather, a brighter spot of grayness in a dull, lead colored sky. The environment seemed to almost reluctantly reflect the meager light from above, as if it preferred the darkness and silence of nothingness. Like it was burned out, spent, and wanted only to be forgotten and left to simmer in it's own oblivion. There was no vibration here. No ethereal hum of life energy emanating from the bleak landscape. Further off, towards the horizon, an even greater darkness could be seen. Not the darkness of shadows or approaching nightfall, but rather, a total absence of light and substance. Almost as if the physical world simply ceased to exist just slightly beyond our visual perspective. Like we had been delivered to a point just short of the trailing edge of reality itself, that beyond this point was true nothingness or an eternal void.

As these perceptions spun quietly through our awareness we began to get an intuitive understanding of this surreal and desolate world. The understanding came more in the form of questions than enlightenment. Could it be that we had somehow been transported through a rift in the fabric of time during the storm? Had we been deposited into the past, into a land that time had already left behind? Was it possible that time, being an unfathomable entity unto itself, carried with it the life force and substance of all things, and having passed through, drains the microcosmic energy from reality itself? Did it leave behind a two dimensional world, void of life energy? One which would slowly dissolve and disintegrate, leaving nothing behind but a faded, near colorless memory of events in the minds of those who were carried along within time's unending journey?

As usual, there were many more questions than answers but there did not seem to be a better explanation for this desolate environment. What was even more difficult to understand was why we were taken to this place to begin with. What could there possibly be to learn from an apparently lifeless world which appeared to be uninhabited by any creature, human or otherwise? Yet there had to be some purpose to our presence here. It was unthinkable that The Source would simply abandon us in some twilight zone world where there could be nothing to learn or gain from the experience. This was merely another piece to our puzzling destiny, one which at first glance did not seem to fit into any other segment of the knowledge we had so far gained, but one which was just as important as all the rest.

When this thought entered our awareness, the orb slowly began to rise. As if the mere acceptance of the fact that there had to be something to learn here was enough to generate the energy necessary to take us deeper into the mystery. Perhaps the key to understanding otherwise meaningless events was simply the desire to understand them. The willful intent of gaining knowledge was the prerequisite needed to obtain that knowledge. So many people in our lives seemed to be lost, without direction, or even a vague hunger for understanding the other people or events in their lives. They simply existed, two dimensional beings without any perceivable depth or innate purpose to their life. In a constant search for physical pleasures and contentment, they felt their lives to be wasted and pointless without some tangible evidence of success to put on display for others to see and appreciate. People who were carried along through time only because they were held within it's fateful grasp.

They ignored the others like them, who were on their own path of discovery, and who, also just like them, had no hope of ever really finding their purpose for existence. Measuring one's worth to society, or value to humanity in general, can never be totaled up in dollars and cents, or possessions, or physical accomplishments. All of those things are left behind when a person departs the physical world. They can be haggled over and fought over and divided among heirs but none of it contains any real essence of the person who leaves it behind. And none of it holds any promise for enlightenment or adding any measure of spiritual value to people considered friends or loved ones.

All anyone ever leaves behind of any importance is the memory of their presence and the warmth and kindness they bestowed on their fellow travelers through life. These gifts cannot be spent or tarnished or ravaged through the forces of time. They are perpetual and eternal in their meaning and value. Everyone remembers their first kiss, their first real love, their first heartbreak and all the emotional highs and lows of their lives. And when these things are brought to mind, it is not the actual event itself that imparts the strongest impact on a person's recollection, but the remembrance of the associated feelings that encompassed those events. The warmth and compassion, the love and kindness of others, and in some cases, the pain of those events is what we remember the most. Memories, whether they be bittersweet, loving, painful, warm, cherished, or something we wish we could forget, remain with us forever.

And through those memories, we learn the most valuable lessons of life. They can not be earned, or taught in a classroom, or garnered from a book, or found on a shelf in some store. They are infused into our psyche though the osmosis of life experience itself, becoming a part of us and directing our lives into the future. The energy and forces surrounding those memories are the building blocks that form our spiritual being. And more than that, they are the essence of our souls themselves, the force of our nature. How we assimilate this energy into our personalities influences how we are percieved by others. And that is what we leave behind for others when it is our time to proceed to the next level of existence beyond our mortal lives.

<It is of your nature, and of your desire to see. All people can see, most do not wish to or are unable to find their connection to The Source>

That thought returned to us like a distant echo. Softly spoken words The Source had directed towards us during our all too brief encounter. The orb continued to rise slowly, almost lazily, higher and higher until we could see the entire panoramic, although still gray and desolate, view of the surrounding landscape. Then it began to move forward, towards the eerie blackness at the edge of this empty world. The closer we came to the void beyond, the more fragmented and indistinct the landscape became. Again we were reminded of a charcoal drawing, but now instead of being smudged, the environment appeared as if it had been partially erased. In places there was nothing but a dark ashy looking substance like burnt sand where the trees and ground seemed to have simply dissolved.

Dim, near forgotten memories began to emerge into our awareness. Fragmentary bits of remembrance, like submerged corks, started surfacing through our essence. Strangely, small scraps of poetic verse, similar to the previous echoes of thought from The Source, began to reverberate through our merged cognizant being...

With the voices etched in memory, and engraved within their hearts,
They examined the ashen sandbar which divides the worlds apart.
It was imprinted with many footsteps of others entering through,
But counting pairs that were leading out, they could find only two.

Other memories, some nebulous but even more familiar also drifted into our consciousness. The visual aspects of these memories were near transparent images, superimposed over the decaying landscape:

A small boy, apparently ill and very frail, could be seen playing near the edge of the darkness. So close to the edge in fact, that it appeared he was near to falling headlong into the void. He seemed oblivious to the possible danger. Weak and unaware of his surroundings, his life force was slowly ebbing away as if being drawn from him by the abhorrent vacuum of despair that the abysmal darkness seemed to represent. He was whimpering softly, barely able to breath, but absorbed in his play- pushing tiny cars and trucks about in the dark, sandy soil at his feet. A sense of foreboding seemed to overlay the scene, as if the presence of Death was nearby, waiting for just the right moment to nudge the child into the cold but welcoming depths of the darkness.

A small, somewhat rundown house stood nearby. There, an old lady stood on the rickety porch, wringing her hands with worry and concern as she looked out towards the child. Each time the boy would cough, a chill would run down her spine. She called to him to come in out of the deepening cold, anxious to have him closer to her. Struggling to rise from his crouched position, he unsteadily walked towards the house, each step seeming to drain more energy from his tiny reservoir of life. When at last he reached the porch, he collapsed into her outstretched arms. In a panicked voice, she called into the house for some unseen person, possibly her husband, to call for an ambulance. Fretfully, she gathered the boy into her lap and sat down, gently rocking him in a hand-hewn rocking chair. Quietly she sang to him, pulling him closer against the warmth of her body, feeling an even stronger heat emanating from his feverish form.

She murmured near silent prayers along with her faltering and increasingly frantic snatches of lullaby verses. The boy stirred and opened his eyes briefly, staring out into the distance, blankly at first, then seeming to focus on some unseen presence nearby. Slowly, he reached out his arms towards something only he could see, smiling peacefully and calmly. He started whispering, almost out of breath, saying something about an angel that was coming for him. The old lady, her fear growing by the second, thought he was delirious, talking out of his head because of his sickness. But a luminous entity truly was nearby, gradually approaching the boy and gently reaching out with golden tendrils of light to encompass his small body. In the distance, the piercing wail of an ambulance could be heard, rapidly approaching the house...

Slowly, the scene began to dissolve, fading into gray, just like the surrounding environment. But at the same time, new images began to surface. One scene fusing almost seamlessly into another...

Now there was a young mother, inside a well furnished and comfortable house, tiptoeing quietly into a small room. She entered the nursery and nervously scrutinized the crib. The room, now shadowy from the setting sun, was quiet, a bit too quiet. The kind of silence that feels ghostly, thick, and unusually deafening. The kind that makes one's blood run cold and sends tingling messages to every nerve ending in the body.

She took a deep breath and made her way towards the baby. Surely everything was fine, She was just being paranoid due to lack of sleep and the stress from having a house full of people all day. She reached the crib and looked down at the child. His dark hair beautifully accenting his perfectly shaped head, his little mouth pursed partially open, and his fragile body lying there completely relaxed. In the now fading light of the room he appeared to be sleeping peacefully, at ease, engulfed in a world of dreams.

She moved closer, lowering her face into the crib to get a better view and placed her hand lightly on his tiny chest. As soon as the palm of her hand made contact with him, a shock wave shot throughout her body and a silent scream formed within her mind. The baby was not breathing!

The room swirled around her, getting darker and darker, as she frantically tried to keep some sense of composure and not let it carry her away. A lump formed in her throat as she shook her hand, trying to wake him, but his limp body only slightly jiggled under her efforts. In a deep state of absolute horror she snatched him up, his small body falling limply in her grasp as she held him before her at eye level.

His face, which only moments ago appeared rosy and healthy, when looked at from a closer perspective, was now a definite shade of grayish blue. His dark eyes, which once danced with light and life, now stared back at her with a sickening emptiness, an emptiness that shrieks out to you that the inhabitant of the body had left long ago. Panicking, she ran down the hallway towards the living room as her entire world faded to black.

Her mind snapped, like a thin twig in the midst of a ravaging ice storm, it disconnected from all that was sane and solid. It floated off into a place where nothing seemed real, where the horrors of the physical world could not be sensed or felt within the human psyche. She sat in the middle of the living room floor with the child held closely to her breast rocking as a soothing lullaby escaped her lips in an almost inaudible whisper. She did not know how long she stayed there, in that position. It could have been hours, minutes, seconds, but time did not really matter. She faintly heard, somewhere in the back of her mind, the front door open and footsteps echoing through the house as they made their way towards the room she was in.

They stood at the entrance of the living room, the three of them, staring at her. Their expression somewhat confused, and unsure of what they had just encountered.

"Is everything all right?" her sister's voice tentatively asked, as she glanced at her husband by her side..

"Everything is fine, the baby is fine." she heard herself convincingly respond.

For a split second she felt that sense of panic again as she realized that her sister was heading toward her, to take her baby.

"NO!" she screamed as she shuffled backwards trying to put space between her sister and the child.

"What is wrong?!" her sister's voice sliced through the air like a machete, cutting through her delusion of peace and safety, leaving her trembling in its wake.

At that moment she realized that something was extremely wrong, and turned to her husband who was now standing directly behind her. The baby was lying too still in her arms, its complexion now paling to an ashen white. Instinctively, She clutched the child closer to her, to prevent herself from seeing the true nature of what was transpiring.

"You have to give me the baby." Her sister stated as calmly as she could muster, "He is dead!" Tears were streaming from her eyes as she took a step closer.

"Don't be ridiculous!" she laughed, an empty laugh built only to protect a delusion.

"Let me see the baby," she demanded more adamantly trying to take control of the situation as she rushed towards the girl in one sweeping motion.

At that moment, the girl snapped back into reality and looked down at the child in her arms.

"No, this is not happening, the child was fine." She told her sister, "God, would not give me this baby only to take it away from me!"

She clutched the child closer to herself and prayed. Begged God to please let the child live, to please not take him from her. . .

Then again, the scene changed, fading into another which seemed to actually be two separate scenes curiously merged into one...

The stark whiteness of an emergency room could be seen, with busy, hectic activity occurring throughout the brightly lit spaces. Doctors, nurses and other attendants, were rushing around with various pieces of equipment. The center of the activity was a stretcher in one corner of the room. On the stretcher was the small boy, still staring peacefully upwards to the entity that could apparently be seen by him alone. But superimposed over the boy was the image of a young girl, near his same age, both laying quietly upon the stretcher. Hovering motionless above the stretcher was the dim outline of what could only be described as a similarly merged male/female entity. Surrounded by a golden halo of light, the entity resembled older versions of the young boy and girl themselves, as if somehow, identical threads of time had inexplicably intertwined and formed some sort of a time continuum. Where both the boy and girl were present in two places at once at different ages. Like guardian angels coming to save each other at the same time.

Our own merged essence was almost overwhelmed by the impossibly time-twisted scene being played out in this nether world. A place where past and present seemed to be able to co-exist in the form of memories that each of us had of our childhood. Before we could even begin to sort out exactly what was transpiring in the visual enigma we were witnessing, the memory shifted yet again. But this time, there were two distinctly separate but similar scenes being played out before them...

The young boy lay restless in his bed. Tossing and turning in a valiant, but useless, attempt to find that "sweet spot" in the mattress that would caress his body with fingers of comfort. He had the big four poster bed and the room to himself that night. His brothers were staying at other friend's houses. He was not sleeping well. His body covered by a thin sheen of sweat. His hair was plastered to his forehead and his skin was sticking to the damp sheet which covered him. Every time he rolled over the sheet would follow. Soon it was bunched up in wet wrinkles beneath him.

The room was almost completely dark. The only light was a small sliver creeping in under his closed door from the light in the hallway leading to his parents room. It penetrated only inches into the near total blackness. The trappings and memorabilia of childhood were but vague outlines and indiscernible shapes in the darkness. He was unable to slip into the deeper province of sleep because of the heat. Occasionally he would open his eyes briefly but there was nothing to see. For several hours he hovered in this twilight zone of unconscious awareness. Neither sleeping nor awake.

His mind would slip into snippets of a dream then drift back to semi-wakefulness as he continued to struggle to break free of the bonds of consciousness. A large fan was blowing directly on him, only serving to circulate the warm, suffocating air around the room. Only the dull roar of the blades slicing against the thick air gave any feeling of comfort on this miserable evening. The sheets were too heavy with perspiration to flutter and flap as they usually would. The window was open but no breeze entered to ruffle the curtains. Muffled by the sound of the fan, crickets, frogs, and other creatures of the night called out their endless lament against the dying of the day. Occasionally a dog could be heard barking in the distance. It's mournful howls telegraphed across the tiny town the boy called home.

The first eight years of his life had been peaceful. His days filled with the innocent joys and wonders of childhood and his nights held tightly in the bonds of family rituals. He had been very fortunate during his short life. Born into a close knit and loving family. Most of his time was spent playing alone. He lived far out in the country in a small community of similar families. There were only two kids his own age to play with but often he was left to himself. He had developed a hearty imagination and had learned to use it to fill up the hours in his idyllic country life. Having learned to read at a very early age, much of his time was spent absorbed in a book. He found he could transport himself to other places and become other people on a moments notice, just by turning a few pages. With little effort he could visualize other worlds, or other cultures, and experience the sensations as if he were there. Even his dreams were drawn from a rich palette of colors and sounds. Intense and colorful. So realistic that sometimes he had difficulty separating these subliminal movies from his conscious reality.

But there were no dreams this night. Not so far. He was unable to reach that level or depth of sleep from which the dreams poured forth like a flood over the landscape of his mind. Time had no real meaning in this nether world of uneasy rest. He could have been in bed for minutes, or hours.

A closet stood, facing the foot of his bed. It's sliding door left open like a gaping, toothless mouth. The darkness inside was several shades deeper than the murky obscurity of the room itself. A black hole from which no reflections could escape. The clothes held within were invisible as were the toys and games and general clutter which accompanied the age of the room's inhabitants. Many times during his unsettled repose he would glance towards the closet. It's yawning blackness mocking him. A sense of unease seemed to emanate from it's interior, taunting him with it's silent nothingness.

As the night grew longer, his thoughts grew darker and more confused. His dreams and brief moments of wakefulness merging into a mural of disconnected sensations and impressions. A progressive sense of undefined dread began to weave it's way into his youthful phantasms.

At some point a dull grayness seemed to radiate from the walls. The room seemed lighter somehow. The silhouettes of the objects in the room were more visible and defined. Dawn was still many hours away and no external source of light had permeated the environment. The closet and it's contents, however, remained in total obscurity.

Then suddenly, as if energized by an electrical shock, the boy bolted upright in bed. Something had changed. Something had shifted in the room. His dazed and bewildered thoughts coalesced into a cognizance of his surroundings. One part of his brain seemed to be still fighting fitfully for sleep but at the same time he felt a surge of conscious awareness rush over his body. He didn't know if he was dreaming or if the shutters of oblivious perception had been abruptly snapped open. His heart raced as his eyes darted desperately about the room. Searching for the origin of this new comprehension.

Then, out of the corner of his eye he saw something move within the threatening confines of the closet. He snapped his head towards the open door. In a split second he seemed to develop tunnel vision. Every object in the room blurred as his gaze fell upon the apparition which seemed to magically appear from nowhere.

It was a clown. But not an "ordinary" clown. No, this clown was far removed from the ludicrous and frivolous clowns often seen on television, in rodeos, or prancing idiotically at a circus. This clown was evil. There was no smile or silly smirk painted cheerily on his face. But there was a grin. A most hideous and tortured grin. His mouth hung open in a perpetual scowl of corrupted discontent. His sharp, carnivorous teeth protruded jaggedly from his deformed and bleeding gums. A bulbous, flaring nose perched ominously above his black and forbidding lips. The clown's face, if you dare to call it a face, appeared misshapen. Warped and deformed. An uneven caricature of an inhuman countenance. It seemed to glow with an unnatural yellowish white hue. Like nicotine stained ceramic. Unwashed and dingy with a preternatural shine seeming to come from within its haggard surface. The eyes were empty black holes, darker than the surrounding blackness of the closet. Bright, blood red eyebrows arced disdainfully over these vacant spaces in the clowns face. Beneath the eyes, dark circles curved and twisted haphazardly towards the shadowy sides of his temples.

His luminescent orange and yellow hair stood out in a greasy frazzled halo above his prominent forehead. It color was so intense that it seemed to be on fire. It cast a burnt orange glow over his distorted features. The hazy gray light in the room seemed to be everywhere but the clown stood out in stark relief against the pitch blackness of the closet's interior. The clown seemed to be lit from inside. Possessing it's own malignant light. His body was not visible. He peered hungrily into the room from the edge of the closet door. One p ale, white but glistening hand could be seen gripping the door. The hand appeared to nothing more than bones covered by a thin layer of porcelain skin. Long, thin fingers tipped with curved yellow nails dug into the wooden surface of the door. The clown's black, penetrating gaze surveyed the darkened room slowly. As if it was partially blind and unable to focus. His head rotated slowly from side to side like some mechanical creature from a house of horrors. Then he turned towards the boy. And their eyes locked.

The boys own eyes stared in disbelief and abject terror at this inhuman caricature which had suddenly taken up an unwelcome residence in his room. His swiftly inhaled breath caught in his throat as if a hand had clamped itself tightly over his mouth. His intellect screamed at him to wake up but his pure fear told him that he was awake. This was real. More real and terrible than any childhood nightmare could ever be. Then a dull reddish glow seemed to seep from the dark recesses of the clowns eyes. And his malicious smile grew wider and even more horrible.

The boy screamed. Not an outcry of pain or even fear. But a scream of complete and total terror. His eyes linked to those of the clown. He screamed until there was no breath left. Then he forced himself to inhale deeply of the overheated air and screamed again. A piercing shriek which left his ears ringing, but only long enough to take another breath and scream again. Chills coursed up and down his spine as he broke his gaze from the clowns grinning glare. Then he closed his eyes so tightly that tears were forced out of the corners to run in near frozen rivulets down his sweat soaked cheeks. But the image of the clown was still visible as if tattooed on his eyelids. He would have sworn he heard a rustling movement from the closet and imagined that the clown was stepping towards him. Suddenly he felt the clowns arms wrap tightly around his trembling body and he began to scream once again as his bladder let go and he wet himself. As the warm wetness soaked his underclothes he opened his eyes to confront his unimaginable fate...

...and saw his mother's shocked but comforting face. Her arms held him close against her chest in the now bright room. Her warm hands stroked his tousled, sweat drenched hair as she murmured quiet words of reassurance. "It's only a dream, wake up honey, I'm here, you're ok, everything's ok, just a dream, a nightmare, I'm here, I'm here."

His heart still beat wildly in his chest, threatening to explode. But the fear rapidly drained from his consciousness as he broke down into uncontrollable sobs. Through tear stained eyes he glance fearfully towards the closet door and saw...nothing. Or rather, nothing disturbing. Just his and his brother's clothes hanging innocently and fluttering slightly from the back draft of the blowing fan. No clown. And no evidence that it had ever been there at all.

Just a dream, like his mother said, just a dream. A dream with eyes wide open and staring in pure abhorrence at Hell's very own court jester. Sure...just a dream...
To Scene 2
She despised bedtime and would watch the clock tensely, counting as the minutes quickly clicked by. When 9:00 rolled around, a certain panic always welled up inside of her. She had requested that her parents let her stay up for five more minutes, then begged for five more minutes after that, then tried to bargain for another five more minutes, until in absolute frustration they became enraged and put their foot down, ordering her to her room.

Once again they won, and of course, because of the hard time she had given them, the evening ended on a sour note. After the normal routine of teeth and hair brushing, she found herself alone in her room. She nervously centered herself in the middle in her antique, white, canopy bed in the dimly lit chamber, examining the shadows to ensure that She was indeed alone and everything in the room was the way it was supposed to be.

She had a mental check list engraved within her mind of things that imperatively needed to be inspected before she could comfortably put her fears and anxieties aside and make an avid attempt to drop off to sleep. Drawing her knees up closer to her chest, she tucked the fuzzy blankets in around herself, forming an imagined fortress of refuge, should they decide to come for her in the night.

The bedroom door sat invitingly open leading to the safety of the hallway, offering the only means of escape and retreat from the room. To the left, along the entire wall, the large, brown, sliding closet doors remained inertly and securely closed, just as she had set them before dashing under the covers of the supposed sanctuary of the bed.

At the far outer wall from the foot of the bed, the large, rectangular shaped mirror of her dresser unyieldingly reflected the cold, unpleasant window which delivered a non-welcomed glimpse of the darkness outside, a darkness that, quite often seemed unreasonably and irrationally malicious and evil.

Within the shadowed room she could faintly make out the miscellaneous items that sat uniformly on the dresser. Nothing of much significance, a petite, white, wooden lamp, a neatly stacked small pile of books that remained in desperate need of being returned to the school library, and an array of toys she had pleaded and groveled for that had now become pointless, and sat unattended to, due to her loss of interest in them.

Fastened firmly to the wall, tastefully above the dresser and mirror, hung the white metal shelf which supported the six old-fashioned china faced dolls with their hideously polished features. Searching and filing desperately through her memory, she once again tried to recall where they had come from. Exactly when had she acquired them? Who decided that they were appropriate for a little girl's room? She could not remember. It seemed to her that they had always been with her, a permanent, frightening component of the decor that traveled with her throughout her life, from house to house, bedroom to bedroom, each and every time they moved and changed locations.

The dolls were elegantly dressed and adorned in beautiful pink, white and lacy, satin gowns giving them the appearance of naiveteé and kindness, yet in some uncanny way they looked like distorted and deformed evil clowns. Each had a slightly different shade of blonde hair that wrapped delicately around their shiny, excessively detailed faces. Their small, bright cherry, pouting lips and innocent bluish eyes glistened in the rays of the moonlight that was now streaming abundantly through the open curtains of the window.

Darting her eyes from them, she felt her heart race in anxious apprehension as she glanced to the right and allowed her eyes to rest on the full sized Walking Wanda doll that her grandfather had purchased for her last Christmas. The doll sat unruffled in the child-sized rocking chair which sat conspicuously in the corner of the room between the dresser and the closet. Her marble like, glass, blue eyes staring coldly and blankly right at her, enchantingly challenging her to move and change positions so she could reshift herself, once again, to look in her direction.

Everything seemed to be all right tonight, she was safe, there existed no signs or indications of their presence, they would not come. Breathing a sigh of consolation, she fluffed up her down filled pillow so that it would billow up around her ears and rolled over, nestling deeper into the covers, to fall into a peaceful sleep.

Sometime in the night she awoke with the uncanny sensation of being watched. A thunderstorm had brewed outside and each strike of lightning offered a momentary crisp display of the room. The ferocious wind whipped through the now half opened window carrying with it cold droplets of rain which played themselves upon her face.

The window, who had opened the window! The thought ripped through her mind leaving in its place a trail of bewilderment. Her mind raced backwards, remembering the checklist. Did she check the window? Was it closed? The image of the window in her mirror came back to her, yes indeed it had been closed, yet now it was open.

A slight prickling sensation overcame her as the realization hit that she would have to get up and close the window. Did she have the courage to do it? It was a simple task, all she had to do was kneel on her bed and reach up and slide it closed, yet in order to do that she had to turn her back on the dolls, those malicious dolls, that wanted her to do just that, turn her back on them.

Another bolt of lightning lit up the room, and she noticed that she could not hear any thunder. In fact, she could not hear anything at all! A deafening silence seemed to permeate the room, a silence that brought with it the terrifying knowledge that they were coming.

"Calm down," she screamed to herself, trying to gain some sense of order and control. "This is a dream, it is not real." The words echoed through her mind, not offering much consolation. She tried to remember what she had been told by her parents. "There are no such things as demons, no ghosts, no monsters, nothing hiding in your closet, or under your bed, you are overly tired and your imagination is playing tricks on you."

THE CLOSET! She abruptly riveted her head in that direction to find her worse fears affirmed and validated. It was open, only about a third of the way but nonetheless, still open. Her heart raced as, once again, a shot of lightening struck against the night sky. Then the rustle began, faintly but loud enough to send a shiver up her spine. She froze, poised and waiting, eyes glued to the shadows that lay beyond the open closet door.

Her best friend in the world, a miniature toy-poodle, raised her head from it's position next to her on the bed and cocked it's hears as she gazed at the closet. A small whimper emerged from the dog's throat as it jumped between her and the thing waiting in the darkness of the closet.

Fearful that they would get her, she reached out to grab the dog and pull her into the sanctuary of the blankets, but she escaped her grasp and growled a deep ferocious growl that almost seemed comical in regards to her size. The dog then jumped off the bed and scurried quickly underneath of it, in a futile attempt to find her own haven of safety.

The rocking chair creaked, calling her eyes in its direction. Wanda smiled knowingly, a sinister type of smile that made her glass eyes twinkle and shine. The girl pulled herself closer to the head of the bed in a futile attempt to put more distance between her and the doll. As if sensing her desire, the doll leaned forward just enough to remind her that she could not get away from her intent piercing stare.

Time seemed to stand still, held in some weird para normal vacuum that would not pull her forward nor send her back. Gathering all the strength within her, she jerked her head forcefully towards the china dolls. Each of them was leaning forward, toward her, their faces taking on a shimmering glow. She craned her head up and noticed that cloud cover had overtaken the moon, and the night had become intensely black and foreboding.

An ominous giggle compelled her to turn and face the china dolls. Three of them were gone and the three that remained smiled broadly, their animated blood red lips stretching across their faces. They leaned toward her, positioning themselves on the edge of the shelf, teetering as if about to fall to the floor. Fright filled her already heightened senses, as she frantically darted her eyes back to Wanda and the rocker. She was gone! The rocker swayed back and forth, as if someone who had been rocking madly, suddenly was ripped from their position off the chair.

The rustling grew more powerful from the closet as she turned just in time to catch a glimpse of a white-gloved hand quickly snatching and yanking the now laughing Wanda deep into its recessed depths. She could see her beige, plastic feet and legs stiffly follow behind her torso as she disappeared from her view.

Suddenly a loud burst of thunder cracked through the silence of the night, touching every nerve in her body, sending electrical currents throughout her entire being. The lightning hit with such impact that she could feel the electrical buzz as it once again unrelenting cast its bluish white light into the room. Her heart pounded brutally, taking her breath away as she gasped despairingly to take in oxygen into her now hurting lungs.

The scraping of the closet door against the steel runners of its frame brought her attention once more in its direction. The closet now lay wide open, exposing various shapes and shadows that had been hidden inside. She could never clearly make out what was inside the closet, what was opening the door, or why it was there.

Instinctively she knew that whatever or whoever it was, it was completely depraved and malevolent and she had a vague sense of relief that it always came for Wanda, instead of for her. "Sorry about that Wanda," she thought to herself in some sort of morbid attempt to put some humor into this whole situation.

The intense coldness overcame her within seconds. She shivered fiercely as her teeth began to chatter together, uncontrollably. She was soaking wet, but could not discern whether it was from the rain coming in from the window or whether she had broken out in a sweat. Her blood raced through her veins, and she could feel her heart, although pounding frantically, seem to slow down, a very strange sensation that made absolutely no sense, but then, none of this made any sense.

In that instance the bedroom door leading to the corridor, slammed shut with such energy that she was sure that the noise would send her parents running to save her. She waited, desperately hopeful for their arrival, but they never came. "Just the wind," she told herself, all the while knowing that the wind had absolutely nothing to do with it. The lightning flared again, this time casting its rays on the exact thing that she dreaded most.

The three china dolls were no longer on the shelf. They floated in mid air, suspended in their levitation half way between her and their original resting place. Their eyes, appeared darker, their lips redder and, unusually, humanly moist. She tried to retract further up the bed towards the headboard and found that she could not move.

Terror, like invisible hands held her firmly in place. She tried to close her eyes, to shut out the vision of them, but once again discovered that she was indeed immobilized and helpless. She had lost all control of bodily functions and could do nothing but lie there as they drew closer and closer, pulsating with a tempo that coincided with her own heartbeat.

As they drew nearer and nearer to her with each ensuing throb of their bodies, their innocent faces distorted. Their eyes became obtuse and black, blending their charred, ebony, pupils neatly into their once blue eyes. The precarious features of their faces stretched and contorted, changing and altering the dolls into what can only be described as clowns possessed with underworld, evil spirits.

She watched in horror as they came for her, with each pulse of their bodies, they came closer and closer, their faces becoming more and more grotesque and prominent. The closer they got, the clown face on the left and the one on the right, slowly faded out of her peripheral vision, leaving the center clown to enclose in upon her.

Malicious chortles swept around her, coming from the closet and under her bed. She could not be sure if it was Wanda laughing at her or if it was the white-gloved demon that drew her into the closet. She wanted to turn and see if the closet door was still open but her head was locked in place, face to face with the china clown that was now within a foot from her.

Her throat constricted to scream, but nothing would come out as the face before her peeled its now blood dripping lips back to reveal it's white, razor sharp, fangs. It's eyes bore into her as it once again, in slow motion, pulsated to bring itself within and inch of her face.

She could smell the discrete aroma of rotting, tainted meat and feel the sharp penetrating stabs as the fangs buried themselves, deeply and hungrily, into her face. Something inside her snapped, her mind could not deal with what was occurring and a mournful darkness saturated her senses in an attempt to save her from completely going over the edge of sanity.

As the room swirled around her, she felt a sickening spinning sensation causing her stomach to flip. She could hear the mad delightful laughter and voices coming from the closet, calling to her. With the distant, diminishing sounds of her tortured dog, anguished screaming and howling in pain and agony, everything slowly faded to black...

As these emotionally wrenching scenes began to fade it became apparent that past events from our separate lives were being replayed. And more than just a little obvious was the fact that each scene and event from our lives had interconnecting links. It was as if our lives had been intertwined through dreams and actual occurrences since we were very young children.

While we considered this possibility, other events began to play out in rapid succession, like a film set to fast forward...quick glimpses of past memories and snippets of dreams from years past. Some jumped forward in time and others back without any apparent pattern.

The memory of our "first" meeting in the cabin when I had felt a vague familiarity upon first seeing her eyes...

A scene of me as a teenager, laying on an old couch in an attic apartment with lava lamps and psychedelic posters on the walls, with bright swirling colors all about- a place I never remember being but one which I could sense that she recalled...

A memory of a blurry, robed figure stepping out from a waterfall...

Another verse of poetry broadcast into our awareness...

And in the flickering golden light, a distant memory played,
Like glimpses of old photographs, yellowed, edges frayed.
Had they been together in a different time and place?
A shrouded, veiled dimension, void of time and space?
Far off in the distance, They could hear a distant, distinct sound,
Reminding them inherently, of their visit to sacred ground.
Drifting in their private world, apart from all the others,
They reflected on the parallels of dreams entwined together.
While existing in the physical sphere, their paths had never crossed,
Yet deep within elysian fields, their bonds were never lost.

The vivid scenes became a blur, one after another, seamless and indistinct from each other. The poetic rhymes also became incoherent, stacked upon one another, spoken in two voices, with other murmurs and voices intertwined within...voices of friends and people we had known in our past, some long departed and others from a more recent past.

We were held enraptured by this incredible display of joined memories, connected dreams, and past events playing out across the barren and desolate landscape below. Unknowingly, the orb had edged even closer to the black void and then without warning, jolted forward further until it was hovering directly over what could only be described and hell's gaping mouth...

Part V - The Abyss
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As if a flood gate had opened within our consciousness, we were suddenly flooded by a tidal wave of emotional energy. It was like awakening from a long dark coma and opening our soul's eyes to an entirely new and different reality. A reality where nothing existed but waves of pure sensation and spiritual essences. The Abyss was pitch black. Even the shimmering particles of our merged essence were cloaked in darkness. The onslaught of these indescribable forces was more than our awareness was able to assimilate. Even the orb itself was incapable of withstanding the pressures being exerted upon it. With a sound like a million crystal glasses shattering at once, it exploded exposing our essence to the awesome forces of the Abyss.

Initially there was a feeling of intense pressure, but very quickly this sensation was buried under an avalanche of suppressed and near forgotten memories and emotional torments associated with those memories. We felt as if we were falling from a great height, but more than that, being sucked down into the vacuum of this bottomless void from which light itself could not escape.

The memories of the cabin, and everything leading up to and following that adventure were dimmed by the influx of raw emotion into our awareness. The Abyss seemed intent on breaking apart our bonded essence, pulling our soul's symbiosis apart at the very seams, and separating our linked consciousness back into it's individual states. At first, we resisted, trying in vain to contain ourselves within our merged form, but the forces we were working against were far beyond our ability to fight or even fully comprehend.

Unable to resist any longer, with our memories quickly fading into oblivion, we were pulled away from each other. The energy released as we separated threw us forcefully against opposite walls of the Abyss, ending our downward plunge at the same time that our conscious awareness of one another ceased to exist.

The chrysalis cleaved onto the wall, safe within its womb,
Laughing, smiling, feeling, crying, untouched in its tomb.
With life vibrantly growing, striving to be whole,
Restlessly awaiting to become a living soul.

I sensed no other presence, just desired to be free,
I did not want to be alone, as was my destiny.
When the sheath that wrapped about me, had finally fell away,
My essence soon discovered, there was a price to pay.

From within the vast abyss, from whence I took my flight,
shackled ankles with a golden cord, dangled me from the light,
A voice which cried out from within, was giving clear instruction,
"You must stay in this darkness, or meet your own destruction!"

With anguish swelling in my heart, and so much love to give,
Silently I contemplated, the life I had to live.
Others in the distance, all appeared to soar so high,
Like tiny grains of star dust, in the diamond studded sky,

Touching the golden confines, chained firmly to my feet,
I stared up at a pinpoint star, where the other end seemed to meet.
Sometimes I would climb the cord, to view what I could see,
But in that world of other souls, there was no place for me.

At times other beings would fall, and near me they would hedge,
Always I would caution them, "Do not go near the edge!"
But the deadly abyss was starving, for the lives of men,
Enticing them invariably, it would always lure them in.

"How many will it take" I scream, "before you're satisfied,
"Do you realize how many, lonely tears I've cried?"
Then I sensed another presence, suspended by the pit,
Although, I had the urge to hide, I wanted to rush to it.

Emerging out of no where, like a magnet I was drawn,
Another chained, abandoned heart, so much like my own!
As if searching in a mirror, I observe a cognate being,
A lifetime running parallel, filled with ravaged feeling.

"How long have you been here?" I need not speak to be heard,
Like some universal union, your heart hears every word.
"What is our connection, why did our souls traverse?"
Two guardians of this vast abyss, that share this dreaded curse!

I move cautiously near you, I feel the things you feel,
No longer truly certain if this is fantasy or real,
I can not in this darkness, discern your face or eyes,
I nervously, intensely wait, for your heart felt replies.

With silent memories haunting, of the way I used to be,
I felt a distant yearning, of a spirit breaking free.
Not knowing of the future, and shackled by the past,
A heart in search of answers, to questions often asked.

I sensed a soul connected, to the burning coals of loss,
An emptiness within her, where her restless memories tossed.
Beyond my sense of reason, beyond the things I knew,
I glimpsed a new reality, which offered not a clue.

For every dream I dared to dream, and every life I held
Was quietly taken from my grasp, I heard the tolling bells.
The darkness, soft and hungry, the thief within the night,
It's mouth a black abyss, it's eyes devoid of sight.

No reason for it's hunger, no justice for it's choice,
It chose reluctant victims, I heard their final voice.
They called to me in visions, they reached for me in dreams,
"Come here and feel the sadness, come join us in our screams"

Their lives were left forsaken, in the claws of sudden death,
I felt their sad lamenting as they drew their final breath.
I looked into the darkness, the abyss grinning wide,
It's smile an empty promise, of a better world inside.

I often stopped to wonder, should I take that final step,
To join the souls I mourned for, held tightly in it's depth.
I screamed into the silence, my words a desperate call
"What do you want from me? Why must I lose you all?"

I stepped into it's craving, suspended helplessly,
For every soul I cared for was waiting there for me.
There seemed to be no reason, for the pain I had to feel,
So I offered up my future for the past that seemed too real.

But there within the darkness, I glimpsed a golden chord,
It stretched to kiss the heavens, it seemed to touch the stars.
I sensed a distant presence, calling out to me,
"I've been within that darkness, there's nothing there to see".

"Hold tight the cord of freedom, it leads us to the light,
The past can hold no answers to the questions of the night"
"There's something waiting for you somewhere, you'll find it in your time,
Your heart's a lonely prison, when your soul commits no crime."

"There are reasons for your sadness, there are truths you've yet to see,
You're here to guard the abyss, but beyond you'll find your dreams."
I reached to touch the glowing cord, then felt another hand.
And in that vicious nightmare, I began to understand.

Another soul was waiting, another heart was free,
Released by fate not understood, she held on tight to me.
She'd traveled through the darkness, connected with my fears,
I felt her softly tremble, I sensed her salty tears.

Suspended by the golden cord, our weakness overcome,
We felt a strange vibration, a soft and gentle hum.

To "The Abyss"


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