Everything seems normal, the world passing by.
The dim light intensifies and passes overhead, long shadows moving in the
opposite direction, only to fade out... a continuing pattern of light and dark.
Dazed, eyes fixed forward, you catch motion out of the corner of your eye... "What
was that?" Your mind racing, goose bump chills all over... It looked
human, it looked like it was beckoning to you. You turn to look where it was,
but there is nothing there. A trick of the eye? or of the mind? As you look
forward, another shadow flies over you. "Oh my gosh," you realize, "where
am I? How long have I been..."
You move to the right and pull off
at the next offramp, noting the name of the street, but not actually thinking of
it as a word, more as a series of sounds, unthought. There are no signs of
civilization, the road lit by the Moon only, so you pull over. "I must
have a map in here somewhere," you think out loud, rifling through the
glove compartment. No luck. Leaving the contents strewn over the passenger
seat and floor, you turn the car around to head back to the freeway, but it is
gone... or did you go the wrong way? and how long did you drive before stopping?
There are no cross-streets, no street signs, no lights, nothing except this
road. You pull over and step out of the car into the dark night air,
As your eyes adjust to the dark, you spy a glow a
ways off the road, to the right. The moonlight slowly flashes on and off as
dark cumulous clouds flow in front of the Moon, only to be whisked out of the
way. A cool breeze blows around your clothes and hair. You approach the glow
to find a graveyard, wall crumbling with age. The front gate, missing a hinge,
hangs loosely open at an angle... rusty and creaking ever so slowly. The open
gate and the warm glow from lanterns inside is eerily inviting.
enter and realize you have been here before. The name escapes you, hanging at
the tip of your consciousness. You follow well known paths, lit with the
occasional lantern. Passing gravestones and monuments of concrete, marble,
obsidian, and even gold, you realize there are far more than you remember, but
the similarities are too much to ignore. Stopping at several finely crafted
gravestones that you have seen before a calm feeling of peace overcomes you, and
you feel like you are at home. A sudden rustling in the bushes to your left
shocks you out of your comfort, and into a shaky reality. A little bit upset,
you walk over to them determined to find the source of your sudden
nervousness... a small animal? an errant breeze?
Moving the bushes
aside, you realize they have overgrown a small dirt path that leads to a
secluded section of the graveyard. You have never seen this before. You slowly
push your way through, small twigs tugging at your shirt and hair as if trying
to hold you. Stepping out on the other side, the bushes fall back into place as
if hiding your passage. The small dirt path, unmarked with footprints, leads up
a hill to a small grouping of gravestones, a light in the center illuminates the
scene, shadows reaching all the way down to where you stand. Plants dot the
sides, and ancient trees reach up into the sky like gnarled hands grasping for
the Moon, which now is only visible as a faint glow behind the dense overcast
sky. Crackling fills your ears as you as you carefully make your way along the
path stepping on old dry twigs and leaves.
To the left, a faint hiss
leads to, "I knew you would come..." The words sound as if played in
reverse as they fade in... the reverberation leads into the words, like those of
a spirit. Initially startling, they are strangely warming and soothing. You
quickly turn, but there is nothing there... another trick?
making your way, when from the right, "I've been waiting..." You turn
quickly, a flash of shadow, or was it just the tree in the wind?
come to a bend in the path, looking back and forth. "Who's there?"
a seat..." You turn to see a form in the shadows, obscured by a black
cloak. He moves forward, and you instinctively move back into something hard.
Lost balance, the world falls away and the sky pulls in, the shadow is gone.
Warm hands break your fall as they gently seat you on the cold concrete bench.
You are sure the bench was not here before.
"Who are you?"
You force the words out of your mouth, trying to hide fear and embarrassment,
voice only cracking once.
A quick movement, and he is standing in front
of you. He is tall, but you're not sure how tall... you can't tell how far he
is from you. His whole body is covered in a black cloak and hood, with an
intricate fine gold trim. The shadow of his hood covers all of his face except
for his mouth, which appears to be smiling in the faint glow. "I am my
present and my past. I am my future. I am what I am, and what I am not."
what...?" You are stopped mid-question when he lifts his dark hand up and
presses his index finger against his lips. In a moment, he has faded out again.
feel a warmth to your left, and a familiar hiss... "So many questions..."
Warm breath blows against your ear... voice so close, how could his lips not be
touching you? Then the same on your right, "I am within and without this
reality," this time with a lift to his voice as he places his hand on your
shoulder - so soft and warm as if skin against skin. He moves around to kneel
before you, hands on your shoulders, his face inches away from yours. His mouth
still appears to be smiling, and now amidst the black shadow of his face, his
eyes become visible... darker than black, pools with sparkling stars as if
reflecting the night sky. You feel a warm connection with this soul, formed
when eyes met, connected. "Lie on your back on this bench," he says,
as you follow his motions almost hypnotically. "Reality is not always what
it seems to be..." he turns toward a sound from the beginning of the path
and fades out in a instant. A cool breeze gives you goose bumps again, your
back flat against the cool concrete. You look down to see that your clothes are
gone... for how long? You leap up, mind racing... Another sound from the
path's beginning, and something bursts through the bushes.
light moving along the ground, it calls to you, "who's there, what are you
doing here?" A guard must have heard the talking.
You stand there
covering yourself as good as you can, shaking, nervous, "I, uhhh..."
Crazy thoughts running through your mind, some scary.
He stops about 10
feet from you, "didn't you hear what I said? What's going on here?"
A burly fellow, looks in his late forties, a little overweight. He appears to
be wearing sunglasses.
You try to keep yourself covered even though he
keeps the flashlight fixed on your face. "I uhhh..."
I'm going to have to ask you to leave, or am I going to have to drag you out of
"Can't you see that..." you start, but stop as he
fades out. The shadow fades back in, and again you feel warmth inside and,
strangely, are no longer embarrassed. "What was that all about?"
will make sense in time..." he says. "Shall we continue to the