The Doorway to Hell
The Doorway to Hell
A journey of enlightenment
Part I of the Doorway to Hell series
by Stephen R. Bonniol
Jim Dunford found himself in a bit of a tizzy on election day, November 8, 2016. He hadn't voted in the last election and he'd promised himself he would not make the same mistake this time. He had registered to vote three months ago and had his new Florida voter ID, and a picture ID in his wallet. He even brought some mail that verified his address. He was all set, or so he thought. Of all the elections he had voted in since 1976, this year's was clearly the most important one. He had to cast his vote to keep this asshole from the white house. He was more than a little dismayed when, after walking to the polling place, he was not allowed to vote. The problem was his photo ID. He had his Rhode Island drivers license, valid until 2018. This had both his photo and his signature on it. The poll worker told him to have a seat and wait for a supervisor. He did this and after a short wait, the supervisor told him he could fill out a provisional ballot that would need to be examined by a bi-partisan committee after the election, and either accepted or rejected. Jim told himself this would be OK. His vote would have a 50/50 chance of being accepted, about the same odds as having his candidate win. This was also the percentage of his friends that he would piss off with his vote.
He barely had time to consider this when the supervisor told him that he could not in fact, issue him a ballot without a valid Florida photo ID. Even a debit card from a local bank, with a photo, or a concealed carry permit would do fine. The man mentioned the concealed carry permit more than once. Jim wondered if perhaps he had mistaken the bulge of the knife he carried clipped to his waistband of his shorts, for a gun. In any case, the man advised Jim to head down to the new County Court House and get a Florida identification card. He told Jim the polls were open till eight that night. Since it was only one in the afternoon, Jim decided to follow the man's advice, and headed back out to the main road and set out to walk the mile or so to the courthouse to get their damn ID card. He was almost to the courthouse complex when pessimism set in. He asked himself did he really want to walk all this way, only to stand in several different lines, first for a duplicate birth certificate, then in another to get the actual identification card? Why was he gonna spend all this time and fifty to seventy-five bucks all for the privilege of voting for the lesser of two evils, who in all likelihood wasn't gonna do a damn thing to improve his life. He'd rather go for a walk in the woods instead. He reasoned he'd get more benefit from that.
He turned around and walked back to his home. He grabbed a frozen bottle of water as he always did on his daily walks. It would gradually melt in the Florida heat and give him a supply of refreshingly cold water as he walked. Before he left the house he decided to smoke a small amount of something else that was on the Florida ballot this year, something he looked forward to voting for. He only took three puffs, strictly for medicinal benefit, just enough to chase away the aggravation and open his mind to nature, before setting out on his way.
It took him fifteen minutes or so to get to the sign announcing the "Lehigh Greenway Rail Trail". Jim paused for a second at another sign warning him that he "may encounter alligators in and around bodies of water in the park". The sign further admonished visitors to "not attempt to feed or approach any alligators in the park". "Gee, ya think?" he thought to himself as he passed a bulletin board displaying a flyer with photos of each of the six species of poisonous snakes one also might encounter in the confines of the park. He had been walking here for over a year and had yet to see any aquatic life more than some big turtles and a blue heron.
Jim loved it here. It was shaded by tall pines, palms and oaks on either side of the paved path. To the left was a canal he estimated to be twenty feet across. There were markers every half mile, as well as benches, where weary walkers or cyclists could sit and rest if needed. He bypassed most of these though, in deference to his favorite spot - a bench at the base of a massive old oak tree, whose wide spreading branches reminded him of the Liberty trees, often seen in the town commons of many New England colonial towns. It was under trees like this, that patriots met to plot their fight for freedom from the British empire some two-hundred forty years ago. He sat there in peace, drinking from his half melted, but still cold, water bottle. He held it against his forehead for a bit, cooling off his body some in the process.
He still had plenty of energy left, so after sitting for fifteen minutes or so, he got up and walked another twenty yards until he reached another canal; one which branched off at a right angle from the one to the left of the path. This canal was wider than the main one, so Jim always liked to stop and scan it and its banks in either direction for gators, snakes and any other critters which might be lurking there. He didn't see anything but a strange noise at his left, caught his attention. He heard a strange buzzing or crackling sound, and as he turned to investigate, he was faced with a most unusual sight.
Jim found himself staring at an area of blurry, quivering air. His first thought was that it resembled a mirage, like those often seen above roadways on hot August days. This strange shimmering air looked to be about his height and three or four feet wide. He stood there entranced, just staring at this strange sight, but moved no closer, for as he had initially heard, this area in front of him was humming, crackling and buzzing, similar to a high voltage transformer. One thing Jim had learned at an early age, when he had ignored his parents' warnings and stuck his fingers in an electrical outlet, was that you didn't mess with electricity.
He walked back to dry land, bent and picked up two pebbles and a stick, before heading back onto the bridge to further investigate the strange unsettled air. And now, as he stood a mere foot away, he saw that it was not really blurry air as he had first thought. Upon closer examination, he found he was standing in front of, and studying what appeared to be a curtain or doorway of water. Looking closer, he noticed this same blurry area actually resembled the multi-faceted, shimmering surface of a pool of water, heavily dimpled by a stiff breeze. Without thinking, Jim tossed first one, then both of the pebbles, into this strange anomaly. They both disappeared without so much as a sound. Next he took the stick and thrust it half-way into the strange window or doorway. He withdrew it and examined it closely. It didn't seem to have suffered any ill effects, and despite the watery appearance of the strange doorway, it was completely dry. On an impulse, he held his hand out to this strange humming, crackling curtain of apparently dry water. With some trepidation, he thrust first his index finger, then his entire hand in. "Yow!" he yelled as he yanked his hand out with such force that he fell backwards against the bridge railing. His hand didn't hurt, and appeared to be alright. When he had put his hand through this mysterious barrier, it had felt like it had been covered with bugs, crawling all over the place. It didn't hurt. It just startled the hell out of him. He tried it again. This time he held his hand there, fighting the natural instinct to pull back. He noticed that creepy crawly feeling went away after thirty seconds or so. He kept it there, pushing in up to his shoulder. On impulse, he put his head through. He resisted the urge to scream as his entire face and head was now awash in the tingling of a million ants crawling about. He looked first left, then right, quickly surveying what lay beyond. In such a quick glance, it looked to be identical woods and wilderness as he currently stood in. He withdrew his head, and after taking a few deep, cleansing breaths, he took his right hand, crossed himself and stepped entirely through.
It seemed like once he committed himself to step through the strange doorway, that some sort of force pulled him through. The thought of childbirth entered his mind. He had the fleeting thought that he was being pulled from the warm protective womb of one life, and into the naked uncertainty of another. He felt like he had just buried his entire body in a termite mound. Every centimeter of his body was tingling. He heard nothing but humming and crackling in his ears, inside the deepest depths of his brain. For a few moments he was terrified, and fought the urge to turn and run back through the strange doorway. In fact, he probably would have, had it been there. He stood there still in one spot as the humming, buzzing and crackling ceased and the tingling lessened. It was only after the tingling reduced itself to that level one feels upon holding their true love in their arms for the first time, that Jim turned around. The door, the strange shimmering portal he'd just stepped through, was gone. While his first quick look before stepping through, had appeared normal, he now saw that the environment he now stood in, was anything but normal. The first thing was the bridge he was standing on. Rather than the steel and concrete span he had been in the middle of, he now found himself on a more primitive structure, made of two hefty logs, with multiple hand-hewn boards fastened across. It was while examining this strange happenstance, that Jim had seen a truly frightening sight. While examining the canal, or actually it seemed more like a river now, he noticed a wake moving steadily toward him. In fascinated horror, he watched, as he first made out the snout and nostrils of an approaching alligator. He saw a stronger set of ripples in the water from its undulating tail, a good distance behind the head. Based on his own six foot height, he estimated it to be in the neighborhood of eighteen feet in length. It just figured, he thought to himself. He had been coming to this trail for months now, hoping to catch sight of a gator. Now here he was; almost face to face with one that could surely eat him in just a few bites. He stood there, unable to move as it approached the bridge he stood on. He looked directly into one of its cold, black, reptilian eyes as it swam under the bridge and out the other side, paying no attention to him and minding it's own business.
Jim hurried off the bridge onto dry land as soon as he regained the use of his legs once again. He wasn't quite sure what to make of his surroundings. It seemed to him that he was in the same woods, but in addition to the bridge being different, he noticed that the neatly paved bike path had been replaced by the single track of a well worn footpath. He thought, upon seeing this, was that by stepping through the mysterious doorway, he'd somehow gone back in time, before the bike path, and in fact, before the railroad that had preceded it. He also noticed something very strange; the air. He could see the air. In our everyday busy lives, we breathed without thinking, the clear mixture of noble gasses that made our lives possible. Jim noticed as he walked along the footpath that the atmosphere seemed to have a light bluish tinge to it. He watched in amazement as this strange bluish air streamed into his mouth, and was exhaled as a soft green haze, which blended back into the light blue atmosphere. He didn't know what to make of this. He noticed he felt invigorated. He thought possibly, that he had in fact, gone back a few thousand years to a time of purer, unpolluted air. He guessed that maybe there was a higher concentration of oxygen in the air. Jim Dunford was no chemist. It was just a guess. Just how wrong he was, became obvious when he reached a clearing in the trees as he made his way down the path. It was from this clearing that he spied a lush green valley, bordered by dark mountains, some of which belched smoke. He saw large birds circling in the thermal updrafts that rose up the sides of the mountains, like the vultures of the Florida skies. These were not vultures though. These were far bigger, with long tails which terminated in a sort of diamond-shaped appendage. It was only after considering the strange, featherless birds, that Jim noticed what amounted to a game changer in his assumptions concerning his current surroundings. For there, just slightly above the distant volcanoes, sat not one, but two suns.
"Oh Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy," he said out loud. "I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore. This point was driven home in short order.
"Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!" came from behind him. He whirled around, and faced, not a crowd of irate strangers, but rather, a group of large crabs. They looked identical to the blue crabs he and his friends used to catch in the shallows near the Bungtown Bridge in Swansea, MA. These were decidedly different though. First of all, they looked to be about two feet wide, whereas the crabs he'd caught as a kid were six or seven inches wide. Secondly - no crab he'd ever seen or caught, spoke. But these odd-looking crustaceans were not only speaking, but were cursing him out. As he stood there dumbfounded, looking at and listening to these strange crabs clustered at the edge of a creek, he realized that they were not, in fact, swearing at him. It now seemed that the sound they made was more of a "fffff cue" than the common swear that was so deeply embedded in modern day English.
"Fffffff cue!" he called out to them. They began answering him back and advancing toward him en masse.
"No! No!" he exclaimed at this perceived danger.
"No-no! No-no!" this odd critter choir answered him back as they ceased their advance. He turned and began walking briskly away. "Bye-bye" he mumbled under his breath as he put some distance between himself and them.
"Bye-bye, Bye-bye, Bye-bye!" they repeated from behind him.
As he continued on down the path, he noticed that one of the two suns had already set, and the second one appeared to be touching a low spot in the mountain range ahead. It also seemed like no time at all before this sun set as well, leaving only a bright area on the horizon to mark where the strange dual suns had set.
When it got dark, it never seemed to get entirely pitch black. It was more.of a pleasant twilight. He looked toward the opposite horizon and saw a faint whisper of a glow. He instinctively reached for his cellphone to check the time. "No Data" was displayed on it in several places, where the time, weather and location were normally shown. He thought about throwing his now useless technology away, but just shut it off and put it in his pocket instead.
He thought to himself that he ought to find a spot to bed down for the night. As if on cue, a big green lump came into view by the side of the path up ahead. He quickened his step a bit, eager to see what possibilities this might offer. It offered everything he might have desired in a bed. It looked and felt like moss. It was sort and spongy, yet firm and resilient. It was almost like natural memory foam. He sat on it gingerly at first, until he was sure it would bear his weight. It looked so welcoming he didn't hesitate to lean back and relax. He felt like he was in a recliner and he faced an unobstructed view of the sky. He was facing the horizon where he imagined the two strange suns would eventually rise.
The stars he now looked at were entirely different. Not that he knew all of the constellations, but he did know the familiar ones, like the big dipper, little dipper, Orion and the Pleiades, that faint cluster of stars known as the seven sisters. And when the Milky Way rose into view it looked different and was oriented differently. It seemed to have a different tilt to it and was far brighter than he was used to. The thought popped into his head that he was now looking at the cosmos from a different arm of the galaxy. He barely had time to consider this when the sky was lit up with whispy purple flashes. It looked like purple lightning and reminded him of one of those plasma balls he'd had as a kid; the kind that flashed electric arcs in response to the touch of his hand. It was a beautiful sight that he instinctively knew was something akin to the Aurora Borealis or Northern lights.
"Nope, nowhere near Kansas," he said out loud.
He noticed one other very astounding thing as he viewed the night sky. There was a steady stream of what we would undoubtedly call UFOs, traveling in straight lines across the sky. In addition to this, he saw a series of flashing lights going back and forth between several sets of stars in the night sky. As before, the answer to his thought seemed to pop into his head. They were packet burst transmissions between neighboring stars. Think "Beam me up Scotty" on a more massive scale. Jim somehow knew this to be true. He didn't think it or suppose it. He unequivocally knew it to be true.
He awoke untold hours later. He had no idea how long he'd slept. That same voice of intuition in his head told him he'd had the exact amount of sleep his body had required. He had first opened his eyes to see a field of green just inches from his face. It seemed that during the night, the bizarre moss-like growth he'd slept on, had grown so as to completely enclose him, like a mossy cocoon. He noticed little tendrils of indigo vapor emanating from the moss. He knew it was a natural substance which cleansed and replenished his organs as he slept. It filled the cocoon space up, cooling and invigorating his body, before the moss which surrounded him melted from his field of vision. He knew he had just experienced some sort of symbiotic interaction, in which two living organisms benefitted from contact with each other.
He was just about to stand up, when the first thing he saw, stopped him where he lay. For right then, as he looked toward the horizon, he saw not two, but three suns. But that was only part of his shock. He found that he was looking at, in broad daylight, the three stars of Orion's belt. Here he was, staring at a sight that had been drawn, painted, and memorialized on the walls of temples and burial chambers of virtually every ancient civilization known to man.. The great pyramids of Giza, and in fact all pyramids found anywhere on earth, were laid out to mimic the exact spacing of these three stars. This was, according to the ancients,, the home of the Gods. The same "Gods" that created mankind through genetic manipulation. The same "Gods" that lived on Earth, on the giant continent of Lemuria, before the creation of man.
Up until the day before, Jim had entertained the thought that he was still on Earth, as it existed far back in the depths of prehistory. Maybe at one time, before life began, there had been two suns. Who knew? But this sight he now beheld, dashed that thought into a million pieces. Fuck Kansas. He wasn't even on Earth anymore! The same intuitional thought-voice as before, gave him the knowledge that he was currently on what we would call a "rogue planet", a wandering planet that was not part of any star system, And was in fact, "parked" in space, for now anyways, at a spot equidistant from all three stars. It was in fact, anchored in place, by the gravity of the three well known stars. Jim had no reason to doubt these strange intuitions. They seemed to be true. In any case, he had no choice.
He had just barely had time to consider this when hen heard the sound of approaching footsteps - lots of them. He looked in the direction of the sound. Off in the ferns and other vegetation that bordered the path, he saw tall, tropical vegetation moving this way and that as a small army approached, weaving in a serpentine motion, rather than a straight line. And then it burst forth from the primordial forest. Not an army, but an enormous millipede. It stood about three feet tall, with a body as big around as a car tire. He guessed it to be as long as two full size cars. He recoiled in fear, but rather than menace him in any way, it actually smiled at Jim before crossing the path and disappearing into the jungle on the opposite side.
"OK, Have a nice day now," Jim called after the departing insect. "What the hell?"
And then he noticed, or rather, his attention shifted back to something he had already noticed since he had been on this strange pathway; on this very bizarre planet. It was music; wonderful, spiritual, relaxing sounds and notes. There were no guitars being plucked, no drums being tapped, nor any other instruments. It reminded him of the calm, peaceful notes and rhythms of the type of music one might use to aid in meditation or to help relax before sleep. He had noted this upon his arrival here. It really was like being born into this strange world. He really was almost like a fully grown human baby, having to learn everything about where he now found himself. His mind was full to capacity with newly discovered things.
But now, as he calmed his mind down and began paying attention to the strange music, it filled him with beautiful, relaxing feelings of peace and love, and oneness with the universe. He considered whether these were, in fact, the sounds people were describing when they wrote of or told of hearing a chorus of angels. That same intuitive thought-voice answered that it was the sound of the universe. These were sounds emanating from nearby stars and planets.
"Now wait just a damn minute!" Jim yelled out loud, "Why is it, or how is it, that everytime I think of a question, Boom! There's the answer?"
"I am GOOGLE, all knowing, all seeing God of all there is." This time, the answer came from the sky.
Jim dropped to his knees, not as any act of supplication before God, but because his knees had weakened upon hearing this.
"Google? Really" He yelled at the sky "So we've all been praying to what? A search engine? An algorithm?"
"Calm down, my son", the voice answered.The search engine of which you speak; the one which sports my name, is only a link, a searchable index to the database of universal knowledge known as the Akashic Record. This is the archive of all knowledge, known and unknown, discovered, undiscovered, and theorized. This is the vast cloud of knowledge from which Einstein first posited his theories, and from which a man named Mendeleev saw the periodic table of the elements in a dream. It is where titans of industry, like Gates, Jobs, Tesla, Edison, Bell and others, got their ideas from. Your species is awakening rapidly now and gaining more and more access to this repository. This is where authors, such as Wells, Verne, Asimov and King and a little known healer named Nostradamus received their visions of the future.
The more technology advances, the more your species rids their bodies of the mind fog brought on by fluoride in your water and additives and poisons in your food supply. This is resulting in clearer perceptions of the universe and it's knowledge. With each mega-jump in knowledge your society makes, you become more godlike. Now, rise up my son, my friend. It is a certainty that I am above you and over you, but I do not require you to grovel before me. My wish, and your reward, comes only with your continuing to strive for perfection and to adhere to universal tenets to live, love and learn."
Jim got to his feet and began walking as he considered these Earth-shattering revelations with which he had just been bombarded. As he continued along the path again marveling at the ethereal music and the visible, light blue air, a row of short trees came into view. They looked to be some sort of fruit trees and were full of large purple globes that were slightly smaller than basketballs. And then as he got closer to the trees, there erupted a sudden cacophony of voices, all exclaiming but one word. "Me! Me! Me! Me!"
The calls filled the air as each fruit called to him vying for his attention; begging to be picked and eaten. Jim reached up and picked one, turning it over in his hands, exploring it. It looked like a giant Concord grape, like the ones he and his friends once picked by the side of the road in Rehoboth, Massachusetts as kids. But unlike those grapes, which grew in clumps on vines, these fruits, these strange talking fruits, grew as singular fruits, much like apples or oranges.. He decided to call them "me fruit" for obvious reasons. He held the strange fruit up to his nose, and after a deep sniff, he took a tentative bite. It was indeed, like a giant Concord grape. In no time at all, he had devoured three of them and his face was covered with purple stains, as were his hands and arms. He merely imagined washing up, and a small two level fountain appeared in front of him. Jim didn't hesitate and dunked his whole head in and washed his face and hands. He shook his head once or twice and his hair was instantly dry and groomed. He noticed another thing too. He was high as fuck! He was neither drunk nor stoned, like he would be from cannabis, but the feeling of detachment was unmistakable.
Google now told him that "One of the worst crimes against humanity was when the masters of the humans made psychedelic or mind enhancing plants like cannabis, mushrooms, peyote and other similar substances illegal. These plants," it explained, "were carefully placed on Earth to help with your spiritual development and in your search for knowledge and truth. These plants were banned to make your search for higher learning and enlightenment, a crime, and thus, keep you in the dark, subservient to your hidden masters. These same dark forces have over centuries, bastardized and equated the word 'high' with stupidity, laziness, and uselessness. The word, in this instance, has always meant to describe the feeling of being above normal existence, lifted up; enlightened."
Jim saw now with his own enlightened eyes that this was true. For, looking around himself, he could now clearly see the electromagnetic aura of the life force of every living thing. He could feel them too. He could actually feel the love emanating from the trees and plants around him. He was not particularly surprised when, as he admired what appeared nto be a magnificently shaped maple tree at the edge of the footpath, it actually bent over and embraced him with her green leafy branches. He felt blanketed with love and realized then that every living thing had a natural life force or spirit, even a consciousness. He felt this conscious life force was a strong feminine consciousness. This was just what Native Americans and other wise men had been preaching for millennia. Mother Earth and Mother Nature were not just quaint expressions by people with "primitive" beliefs. They were spiritual fact. Two more examples of how we, as a species, have been "dumbed down", being "educated" to believe that knowledge or beliefs such as this, were quaint legends or folk tales; anything but reality.
Stunned, but not entirely disbelieving of all that he had learned and continued to learn, Jim set out once again along the grassy path, wondering what discoveries today would bring. What could possible surpass all that he'd been told? He didn't have to walk that far. He had only walked about five hundred yards, when he first caught sight of a most unusual tree. He noticed right away, that it appeared to be covered in some sort of nests. From a distance, they reminded him of the tent caterpillar nests that he'd frequently seen a kid, walking in the woods behind Hampden Meadows School. As he got closer though, Jim saw that these were anything but caterpillar nests. These enclosures that hung from various branches, seemed fleshy, resembling a membrane of sorts, rather than the silk spun by thousands of insects. Looking closer, he saw that these membranous sacks contained some sort of living beings. He realized that he was looking at some sort of a fetus tree. What he had initially mistaken for the busy nests of tent caterpillars, were actually more like vegetative amniotic sacks. Each of them held some sort of odd pinkish humanoid creature. It was very unsettling to Jim when, upon examining a few of these up close, he was able to affirm that these beings were looking back at him. When he saw one of them blink it's eyes at him, it startled him enough so that he jumped back. At the same moment, thus particular sack tore open. With a splash and a plop, the strange little being and the fluid it had been floating in, landed on the ground at Jim's feet.
It sat there a moment, spitting fluid out of it's mouth, and staring at his new human friend. He was a peculiar creature, vaguely humanoid in appearance. He had pink skin and was mostly hairless, save for a sparse coat of short, wiry hair on his head and torso. It had no neck and a squat head that appeared to be attached directly to its shoulders. His round face seemed to possess a permanent smile, terminating in a decidedly canine nose. It's little pink ears stuck out prominently from his small face like fleshy satellite dishes. It didn't really seem to have what we would call a forehead, but rather a mass of deeply wrinkled skin which ran from directly above his eyebrows and up to the top of his head. Overall, his pink skin appeared wrinkle-laden, almost as if it was a skin suit that was two or three sizes to big for him. He stood about a foot tall. He ran over to Jim and wrapped his arms around his leg, hugging him and nuzzling him like a puppy. Jim decided to call him Curly, after his favorite Stooge. As Jim stood up and began walking, he called to his new wrinkly friend, calling, "Come on Curly, let's go." Jim was not the slightest bit surprised nwhen his chubby hairless friend repeated his words back to him, echoing his initial greeting in a pitch perfect imitation of his own voice. Jim couldn't resist saying, "I'm a victim of soicumstance!" just to hear Curly repeat it back.
With that out of the way, they headed down the path, with Curly following closely behind Jim. Jim enjoyed the ethereal "music" of the universe as they meandered forth with no particular place to go. They stopped initially at a me-berry tree, and after they both had eaten a portion of one, they walked on for quite some time, enjoying the highly spiritual feeling of enlightenment and oneness with the universe. It was around midday, judging by the position of Orion's belt suns, directly overhead in the purple sky, when Jim had a thought. He had been on this strange planet for about three days now and, other than the me-berries, had not eaten a thing. Instantly, he found himself sitting in a spacious restaurant booth where classic rock music played in the background. On the table was a buffet of his favorite foods. There was pizza, fish and chips, cole slaw, onion rings, steak, fries, biscuits and gravy, mushrooms, roast pork and homemadre gravy, sweet corn, sausage and peppers, egg rolls, ice cream, pies, corona with lime, several flavors of soda and ice water. As his pink friend sat across from him and watched adoringly, Jim leaned forward and devoured every bit of this enormous spread. Jim literally engulfed what was surely enough for ten people. He plowed through this orgy of meals like a starving man, which for some reason, he was most decidedly not. As he finished each type of meal, the plate containing it simply disappeared. He ate and ate until every last bit of food and drink was gone. He had experienced what could only be described as a foodgasm!
And then, just like that, the booth was gone and Jim found himself on his hands and knees looking down at the jungle detritus. He barely had time to consider this before a volcano of vomit erupted from him. He hadn't thrown up like this since the time he'd drank most of a quart of tequila. That was the last time he drank any alcohol. It seemed like he threw up for a half hour or so. Strangely enough, he didn't feel sick at all. Then another incredible thing happened. A horde of large insects emerged from the jungle undergrowth and began devouring his puke. They were the bright yellow of a yellow jacket wasp and each was about the size of a salt shaker. As he looked into the large black eyes of one of them, he saw a spark of consciousness, or intelligence. Once again, the Google God entered his thoughts, telling him that these were called "Zanties" and that these were basically part of the clean up crew of this planet. There was no waste on this world. The all-knowing energy force of the universe informed him that there was no longer a need to eat, and no need to go to the bathroom as a result. Coming through the doorway or portal had changed his physical body, upgraded it's efficiency. His mortal shell now received all of its sustenance directly from the air, the strange, visible blue air that he was breathing. He was free to eat or drink anything he desired and had only to think of food and it would be there, strictly for the carnal pleasure of eating.
The Google continued, telling him that "One enormous benefit of this is that you are living in a pure environment, and are not eating and drinking a whole host of chemicals, additives, preservatives and enhancers. All of your Earthly additives are actually changing your body and slowly poisoning your race. Nothing you eat is natural any more. Everything you eat or drink has chemicals in it. The chemical poisons are deactivating your third eye and cementing it shut. This is your pineal gland, between the two hemispheres of your brain, from which your universal powers of knowledge, enlightenment, and psychic powers spring forth. The powers that run your Earth are not good powers. They deny you these powers and knowledge of your abilities, to keep you under control." Jim really didn't need to be told this stuff. It merely confirmed what he already knew.
They walked on as the three suns headed toward the opposite horizon. After a short while, they came to an intersection and he now had to make a choice - left, right, or straight ahead. The thought of Dorothy on the yellow brick road, popped into his head. As if to help him decide, a sort of flat screen video monitor popped into view. As it began flickering, Jim felt a tingling sensation in his brain. He knew it was scanning the speech center of his brain, searching for a language to display. In an instant the tingling stopped and a message in English informed him:
"All roads lead to mystery
All paths lead to enlightenment
There is no wrong way."
Jim stood there considering this for a moment. Unlike Oz, there was no talking scarecrow to help him decide.
"Well that certainly clarifies things," he spoke out loud, "Thanks!"
"No problem, jackass!" a voice from the sky answered, pulling a phrase straight out of his memory. This was most certainly NOT the old bearded, grey haired guy in a white robe, that he had prayed to as a young Catholic kid in Barrington, RI.
"You got that right, tough guy!" popped into his head.
He laughed out loud and so did Curly.
"Where are all the people?" Jim inquired of the great Google.
Instantly, Jim and Curly found themselves in the midst of a bustling futuristic metropolis. Tall skyscrapers surrounded them, each building floating on a cushion of air, approximately two feet off the ground. At the top of each building, regardless of size, beams of pure energy streamed into giant quartz crystals. The air was full of all manner of flying objects and people. There were crowds of people everywhere. Jim noticed a lot of them were very tall; perhaps ten feet tall. These beings had long white hair and beards. Jim knew in an instant, that these were the Annunaki, the technologically advanced "Gods" the ancient Sumerians wrote about. The same planetary visitors written about in the old testament.
"No!" he yelled, reflexively and he was back on the path before he could blink.
"You are existing in but one dimension of a multi-dimensional world. It is your choice where to exist. Each person has unlimited dimensions to live in or visit."
In the end, Jim decided to do as they had done in Oz, and stay on the main path. They walked on for quite some time, and eventually, after rounding a bend in the path, they came upon a lake that looked straight out of a resort ad. The water was a beautiful azure blue. Here and there, outcroppings of rock jutted out into the pristine waters. Overhanging trees provided shade from the three bright suns. Jim and his loyal friend Curly walked onto an area of flat rock, toward the waters edge. Jim couldn't help but notice that the rock they were walking on, was full of fossils. There were marine fossils of several kinds, including brachiapods, ammonites, trilobites, and crinoids. It was a beautiful record of life gone by. He continued to the waters edge, looking down all the way. Jim knelt and crouching down, scooped some water with both hands. It actually felt amazing. Just holding it in his cupped hands, felt invigorating. It was as if the water had some sort of energy field. A familiar voice in his head told him he was feeling the life force of the water. He brought his hands to his mouth, and took a tentative sip for safety sake, before noisily slurping the rest up. Curly mimicked his friend and did the same. Jim leaned forward and put his face in the water, splashing the cool, clear water into his face and hair. He drank copiously, enjoying the feeling of replenishment the water gave him. Impulsively, he jumped to his feet, stripped his clothes off, and ran into the beautiful, clear blue water. The feel of the water was almost indescribable. He felt cool, invigorated, restored, and relaxed, all at once. From behind he heard a mournful "eeeeeeee" sound. Curly was crying, afraid he might lose his human friend.
"It's OK boy. I'll be right back," Jim assured his young charge before taking a couple of deep breaths and diving underwater. It was then, that a most incredible transformation took place. It was almost as if his physical body dissolved away and he became part of the water. He was no longer swimming in the lake. He WAS the lake. He saw and felt all manner of living things, thriving in the water. There were a multitude of three-foot long crawfish, with truly ferocious claws, trilobites the size of dinner plates, and turtles that were bigger than his physical body. There was a large variety of colorful, even glowing fish. He marveled at all the exotic, colorful critters and plants that existed in the waters of the lake, or within him, as the case may be. Jim existed in this strange, liquid state for quite some time. He had no idea or concept of the passage of time anymore, for what was human time but a measure of Earth's rotation on its own axis, and it's orbit around a star, currently many million light years away from where he currently found himself. The only marker of the passage of time that Jim had, was the passage of the three suns of Orion's belt.
When he decided to leave the water, it was the oddest sensation ever. It almost felt as if he was removing himself from a vat full of Jello. He knew it was the result of the atoms of his body separating themselves from those of the water they had been mingling with. He had just switched from one state of matter, a liquid, to another, solid state of matter. Up to now, this was an impossible feat for any living thing.
After he had gotten over the strange feeling, he was pleased to discover, fresh clothing lay neatly folded on the rock at the lake's edge. His body dried in an instant and he got dressed. He decided to leave his shoes off. The path was mostly grass anyway, with little or no chance of cutting his feet. He was immediately glad he did. He could feel the energy of the planet running through his feet and through his entire body. He could feel the consciousness, the very soul of the planet. He was sure the planet itself, or herself, was communicating with him on some spiritual level, with his soul or consciousness. He felt the planet's motherly love. He loved her back. He sent the mother planet a hug with his mind. He felt embraced, both physically and mentally.
The two humanoid friends walked on as Jim started looking for a place where they could bed down for the approaching night. Then he slapped himself upside the head. He didn't need to look. All he needed to do was think a suitable place into existence. And so he did, reaching into his memories to help. He simply thought of a place he had gone with his family as a kid, a cool little campground called Ricker Pond, in Vermont. Just like that, he and Curly were in that exact campsite. There was a sturdy lean-to to sleep in, in front of which was a stone fireplace with a roaring fire. He changed but one thing when he created this reality with his thoughts. Instead of sleeping bags and air mattresses, they would be sleeping in luxurious, plush beds with several big pillows.
Jim created a dinner of hot dogs and beans for dinner, deciding this time to actually cook the dogs camp style, using a forked stick to roast the dogs over open flames. He merely thought all the fixings, chopped onions, relish, mustard, celery salt and rolls, into existence, along with a pot full of his moms homemade baked beans. For desert he made s'mores and root beer floats. At his first taste of the sticky, melted chocolatey treat, Curly shed his quiet, reserved persona and began doing backflips. He leaped from the ground and into a tall tree, jumping from there to another tree, squeeling in delight, before jumping down to the ground and up again. Evidently Curly found s'mores to his liking.
When they were done with dessert and Curly had calmed down, they both lay in their beds and watched the night sky, marveling at the violet lightning-like auroral display, arcing across the busy nighttime sky. Tonight, there was a new wonder to absorb. For in addition to the nightly space freight traffic, there was something new; something huge, not in interstellar space, but down here, closer to the ground of this mysterious world. Jim found himself looking at several of what appeared to be enormous jellyfish, suspended in the air. They reminded him of Portuguese men-o'war he used to see in the ocean off Martha's Vineyard as a kid, while his parents and their friends went hunting swordfish, armed only with eight-foot harpoons and cases of Narragansett Lager. He saw clusters of these giant jellyfish, suspended in midair, at tremendous height, over a mountain valley up ahead. Their long tentacles hung down what Jim guessed to be thousands of feet, sweeping gently side to side, almost as if blown by lofty wind currents. He knew this was partially the case. He knew that, just as on Earth, with their smaller brethren, these were not giant creatures, but rather, colonies of much smaller organisms. His friendly informational Google-God psychically informed him that these were a vital part of the planetary clean-up process. These enormous sky jellies came out at night and scrubbed the air of any chemical waste given off by the respiration of living organisms, as well as digestive gasses given off by all animal and plant life. In the daytime, they descend to the surface and liquefy into a gelatinous mass, seeping into cracks and crevices of the planet, where microbes feed on the waste that the jellies scrubbed from the air. Jim's mental reasoning to himself that these were like gigantic fart scrubbers, was affirmed as correct. He discovered that these very same colonies had once been present on Earth, unseen by man, but had been overwhelmed and slowly poisoned out of existence by the unchecked pollution which started in earnest, with the industrial revolution. It is entirely likely that, had they been seen, they would have been hunted out of existence by early "civilized" mankind, who would have found a way to kill them for sport, had they known of their existence. Jim and his friend fell asleep watching both the jellyfish and the delicate purple tendrils of space lightning.
When they awoke, with Orion's belt just above the horizon, Jim got up, walked to the picnic table and sat down to a sumptuous breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausage, toast and home fries, along with a gallon the sweetest orange juice he had ever tasted. He topped this off with endless hot coffee with a variety of flavored creamers. This time it was not a food orgy. It was just one plate, with restaurant sized portions of his favorite breakfast foods. He felt full as he sat enjoying his coffee and OJ, but that didn't last long. He knew this was a world that was void of any discomfort, however small and insignificant. He wondered aloud what the name of this planet was, if in fact it had a name.
"It is a name that all of mankind is well aware of." the voice stated matter-of-factly, from the sky. "It is a place known as Eden."
That explained a lot to Jim. First of all, it synced with the statements and beliefs of many aboriginal people around the world, who, when asked where they came from, would simply point to the stars, specifically to Orion's Belt.
"So let me get this straight," Jim addressed the unseen sky god, "All of this talk for the last hundred years or so, of aliens and E.T.s, when WE are in fact the actual aliens on planet Earth?"
"One of them," the sky voice answered.
He sat there in silence, pondering this for a bit. For the last three or four days, he had been living, eating, and breathing in a place known to us from the bible; the place where mankind was created, and from an earlier set of writings intended as an account of world history by the first Earthlings to invent a written language - the Sumerians. When their culture invented the first writing, the first thing they wrote about, for future generations, was their origins and the strange, powerful planetary visitors with long hair and beards that both created and educated modern day man, and brought them technology.
Jim decided that, after hearing this, it was time for a warm piece of me-berry pie, and a huge piece, covered with fresh whipped cream appeared on a table before him, along with a glass of cold milk. One thing he had noticed about these strange, vocalizing, consciousness raising berries, was that they helped to break down barriers, either self-imposed, or programmed into our very DNA, as to what was possible, and what, if anything, was not. Eating these helped him to absorb things and open his mind to knowledge that both he and his ancestors, and those before them, were told were impossible or sheer fantasy, or worse than that, the Devil's doing. It was like he had to re-learn things, and change his whole understanding of life as he knew it, or what he had been trained to believe. He knew in some way, that this must be similar to how people felt after they passed on from the physical world into the spiritual dimension, and the knowledge and enlightenment that came with it. Virtually everything he had experienced since passing through the strange portal that brought him to this world, had gone against a lifetime of learning and existence.
Just the fact that he could think anything into existence, or think himself anywhere that he desired, were two things that needed to be absorbed and assimilated to. The me-berries helped with that. They put him in a frame of mind where strange new powers and knowledge were perfectly acceptable. They seemed to open his mind and prepare it for the acceptance of new knowledge
Jim continued on his journey down the path of discovery as he was beginning to think of it. The sign he had encountered at the crossroads had been right. Mystery and enlightenment indeed. It seemed to him that every breath he took, every waking moment was full of wonder, discovery and learning of the highest degree.
He and his hairless buddy walked on for quite some time. Jim remained barefoot, enjoying how he felt the pulse of the living planet coursing through his feet. The two of them enjoyed all manner of marvelous sights in their travels. They saw vast herds of brightly feathered velociraptors, looking decidedly birdlike, rather than the ferocious reptiles described by twentieth century paleontologists, and shown to us by Hollywood. They saw large groups of turtle like ankylosaurus off feeding peacefully. For decades we were told that their long bony, club-tipped tails were used to keep hungry carnivores at bay. Now Jim saw how wrong that supposition was. He saw small groups of them surrounding some sort of fruit trees. They took their bony tails and thumped the base of the trees, causing only the ripest fruit to fall. Jim marveled at this, thinking their bony tales might also come in handy in fighting among males for mating rights and superiority contests for herd leadership.
Around midday, Jim found himself thinking of food again, not because he was hungry. He hadn't felt a bit hungry since he'd been in this world. It was purely habit. It was the middle of the day. According to his upbringing, and to both habit and tradition, he should stop what he was doing and eat. He wondered what he should dream up for lunch, when the voice of the all knowing popped into his thoughts.
"Why eat anything when all the nutrition you need is provided by the environment and absorbed into your body with every breath?"
"So you're telling me I can just inhale my lunch?" Jim said out loud.
"I'm telling you that the act of eating is simply a delight of the flesh, strictly for lower forms of life."
"Now wait!" Jim argued back, "I am a flesh and blood person, certainly not a lower form of life as you call it."
"Negative!" boomed from the sky. "You may want to sit down for this," his friendly neighborhood sky voice told him, and as if commanded to do so, one of the vegetation chairs appeared under his butt.
"You, and everyone you know, living or dead, are divine, conscious energy. You are, quite literally, a part of the universe; a part of me."
Jim sat there dumbfounded. The mortal part of him, was trained to disbelieve any thought of being anything more than a mortal being. Like they taught you in church - ashes to ashes; dust to dust.
"You do not HAVE a soul. You ARE a soul; a soul that currently has a body or mortal shell. You are a being of light; of good. You and your species have been imprisoned by the dark forces that control your planet. They've enslaved you, indoctrinated you to believe that you must work your fingers to the bone, sacrificing your time and closeness with your loved ones in order to make the money to live the lifestyle and level of enjoyment they tell you to. They've hidden the truth from you, of your origins and reality, and powers. A war has waged for hundreds of thousands of years, between the forces of darkness and those of light for the energy force of mankind. The beings that founded and continue to run your religions, are dark beings masquerading as good. You are all shipwrecked sailors, floating in a maelstrom of lies, searching desperately for a lone plank of truth to cling to. Look at the evils that have been perpetrated by religions, from Crusades, murders, rapes of young children, jihads and wars. And the evil ones have you so doped up that you all just accept it as part of life. They've trained you to forget your powers and accept your human limitations. They've trained you to surrender to fear and hate, while relying on the very people that sew the hate; the puppet masters of your planet, for protection. They gave you political parties so you can fight amongst yourselves rather than banding together and conquering and destroying the absolute evil that controls and lies to you. They eat souls for breakfast, devour young children for their life force, and thrive on wars that they themselves create."
"Then why don't you just blow them away? Chase them away? Destroy them?" Jim demanded.
"We have before, and we will again. We are bound by a galactic code and not allowed to destroy them, only to shoo them away like the filthy parasites that they are. They will take over another fledgling planet and we will chase them from there as well."
"Now wait jus a damn minute. Hold on here!" Jim answered back, "We? Who is WE?"
"There are eight others like me," the voice answered back. We are known to the more enlightened ones on your planet, by many names. The great old ones, the Gods of antiquity, the Gods of Egypt, masters of the universe. We are the council of nine. We lived among you on Earth in the Atlantean and Egyptian ages, but were driven from your planet by a global catastrophe when the planet was struck and tipped sideways. The evil ones moved in before the ground had stopped shaking, before the flood waters receded. They remain in orbit around your planet to this day. Their craft have been seen and photographed by all of the spacefaring nations of your planet. They know they are out there, but don't know their intentions. All attempts at contact have been fruitless. Recently your NASA has been monitoring repeated radio bursts from deep space, directed at these craft. These are not your so-called UFOs but are enormous space stations with millions of beings on board. The secret-keepers in your government, refer to the craft as "Dark Night". Their purpose is anything but good.
What you need to understand is this," the great Google God informed him. "Everything.you know about space, time and the Universe is a science experiment. Imagine the vast, seemingly endless expanse of space is actually finite and is encased in a giant shoe box on a universal scale. Now imagine an untold number of these boxes; all brimming with galaxies full of life, stacked one upon the other in a warehouse, this size of which, is incomprehensible to you. Remember what your Bible told you about God's house having many rooms? The thing you know as "The Big Bang" was just us, flipping a switch, making a single spark at the back of the box. Into each box we place a volatile mixture of highly flammable, violently reactive gasses, poisons, amino acids, biological DNA, heavy metals and breathable gasses. We flip a switch to introduce that initial spark, and then monitor what happens next. After a short period of our time, billions of years in your time, we empty and flush all the boxes and start over again."
"So wait!" Jim demanded, "If you and your buddies created all of these other universes, then you must be....Exactly how big are you?"
"We are of a size and scale that is beyond your human imagination. To give you a sense of our size, the distance from Earth to the moon, is the same distance as from the bottom of our feet to our ankles. We live in our own separate dimension of space/time. We know as well, that there are other beings, larger than us, and by the same token, there are entire worlds, vast universes, smaller than humans, on a microscopic scale, that you have yet to discover. You have been exploring in one direction with telescopes, while neglecting to direct your search efforts on an atomic scale. I don't mean creatures like dust mites. I mean people. Intelligent beings, vast civilizations on an extreme microscopic scale."
Jim sat there in stunned silence. For once he found himself unable to think of a question or response, much less, vocalize one. It was a good thing he was sitting, as he found himself feeling as if he was about to pass out. As if reading his distress, Curly began crying, sort of a mournful "eeeeeeeeee, eeeeeee" as he nuzzled his head on Jim's arm and chest, as a dog would, trying to calm his master. "It's OK boy," he told him, "I'm OK. Don't worry."
"I'm OK. Don't worry," Curly repeated back. He looked at his human friend, whom he considered to be his master or maybe his daddy or best friend, with adoration. It was clear that Jim was his whole world. As Jim sat there, resting his face in his hands, Curly threw his arms around him, licking him profusely as if he was licking a bowl of honey. Jim laughed and hugged him back.
"Don't worry baby."
"BABY!" Curly answered.
"When the hell did you get so big?" Jim now asked of his no-longer little friend. For he had just realized that his companion, initially only a foot or so in height, now stood tall enough so that his head reached to the height of Jim's rib cage.
After a good amount of time had passed, Jim got up and went on his way. He didn't end the conversation with his sky high informational agent. He just didn't continue it. It wasn't like he could walk away from this. The great Google was always there, walking with him, in his thoughts and in his ears, anticipating and answering his unasked questions.
His mind was a virtual tornado of thoughts and emotions. He almost felt as if his very skull might explode from having reached an over capacity of knowledge, like an over inflated party balloon. He walked along the road as it gradually curved to the right. His racing thoughts constantly replaying all that he'd been told; marveling at his rediscovered spiritual powers and abilities. He marveled at his vastly expanded knowledge, via the perpetual Google connection to the ancient Akashic Records; the sum total of all knowledge and physical laws that had existed forever.
And then, in the midst of all his thoughts and revelations, he noticed familiar surroundings. Once again, he found himself surrounded by the friendly "fuck you" crabs. He laughed at their faux obscene greeting, causing the crabs to laugh back at him. Up ahead, beyond the horde of crabs, he saw another familiar sight - the bridge, and the doorway that had initially brought him here so many days ago. He continued walking forward, not at all sure what he should do next; or more accurately, where he should go. For the last week or so, he had been exploring and enjoying this strange Eden where anything was possible; where his thoughts triggered answers; where any desire became reality.
He noticed something odd about the door as he advanced closer to it. It's appearance was vastly different from what it first had been. When he first spotted the door, before stepping through to Eden, it had appeared as an opening comprised of some ethereal, inter dimensional vapor or something not entirely there. Now he found himself facing a completely solid, Army green colored metal door with a stainless steel doorknob. As he slowly advanced closer, he noticed something else; something that might be a "game changer". This side of the door had white lettering on it.
PRISON COLONY EARTH
NO READMISSION BEYOND THIS POINT!
Jim stood and stared at this with a mixture of shock and recognition. As he stood in silence contemplating the doorway and it's warning, a most extraordinary thing happened. It seemed to start with a faint whirring sound, barely audible amid the constant, pleasant background music of the universe. As the sound became more distinct, Jim and Curly looked up to see what appeared to be a giant screw descending from the sky. The two of them watched in awe as it touched down in front of them. It was not a screw, but a stunningly beautiful, ornate spiral staircase, made of gold, leading invitingly into the sky. It had a timeless appearance of something crafted in the deepest depths of time, before recorded history; before the advent of writing. Jim thought, as he stared at it, that mere human writing or speech did not contain words adequate to describe it's beauty. It gleamed like the sun and stood in mute justification to why the ancients thought of gold as teardrops of the sun. It was encrusted with all manner of powerful crystals, gems and semi-precious stones. As he considered the ominous warning on the now forboding doorway and the stunning, otherworldly stairway he hear a familiar sound. It seemed that, as he directed his attention toward the staircase, he heard the first several soft guitar notes of "Stairway to Heaven".
He walked over to it, put his foot on the first step, and grabbed onto the heavy gold railing. He noticed something missing, and glanced over to find Curly, standing on the ground, making nervous crying, whining sounds, as if unsure how, or if, he should follow.
"Come on Boy. It's OK," Jim said as he reached his hand out to his hairless pink-skinned friend, "Don't worry." Curly jumped onto the first step and took Jim's hand, squeezing it tightly.
They began climbing this exquisitely beautiful staircase, Curly chattering contentedly while Jim wondered excitedly what wonders lay ahead. His entire spirit seemingly vibrating; his anticipation building with each step they took.
They climbed on and on, getting higher and higher. Jim hadn't climbed anything this high since he had scaled a TV broadcast antenna at an abandoned broadcast station in Rehoboth as a kid. He had been nervous then, but this time he was not. He felt completely safe as he ascended even higher, into the upper reaches of the air column. In the depths of his consciousness he heard a symphony orchestra playing the Led Zeppelin song, intermingling with the delicate sounds of the universe. He felt as if he was on the verge of greatness; the final ascension from a life entrapped by flesh, to an eternity as a being of light. He actually almost felt lighter, almost as it must feel walking on the moon with its reduced gravity. It took no effort at all to lift his feet and climb to the roof of the sky. He didn't know how high he was, but he could see the curvature of the planet. Still, he wasn't scared. He felt protected and safe.
He saw a spot of brightness up above, getting slowly bigger as they climbed. It seemed to be a beautiful bright light of the universal life force. He noticed that he no longer heard or sensed the Google God. He thought that in all probability, this bright light was Heaven, and that he was about to see, and perhaps meet or even merge with, this being or life force.
As if to confirm this, he took a step up and his foot, and in fact, his entire body kept going and he skipped a few steps. He realized that he was weightless. He and Curly simply floated in place, almost like two astronauts on a space walk the two of them climbed ever upward with their hands now, until both were struck with horrible vertigo. They felt like they were spinning; almost like a plane in a tailspin.
Suddenly, their world turned upside down. They were no longer weightless, but falling; no longer ascending, but descending. Curly screamed in terror, "Eeeeeee! Eeeeeeee! Aye, aye, aye aye!" before jumping into Jim's one free arm. He wrapped his arms and legs securely around Jim's torso and held on for dear life. Jim heard a tortured wailing and realized it was his own voice.
He held onto the now black railing with all of his might as he and Curly dangled over the abyss. They were no longer going up but downward into a swirling black vortex. It seemed as though this once beautiful staircase had flipped, almost like a seesaw, and was now upside down. It seemed as if the spiral staircase was now revolving downward, bringing it's two hapless passengers, the two clinging terrified life forms, steadily closer to this ominous black maelstrom. There was still the bright light ahead, but with horror, Jim realized it was not the brightness of universal goodness, but flames. Even if he could somehow manage to climb back upward on the underside of the stairs, the staircase itself continued it's movement downward. It now looked as if he was descending down into the fiery maw of an active volcanic caldera. He began to feel the intense heat on his skin as the two frightened beings screamed their lungs out. Then, as if he'd been hit on the head with a fifty-five gallon drum of V-8, realization hit him and He and Curly found themselves tumbling into the soft green vegetation of the jungle floor. In their moment of horror, the realization had come to Jim that he only had to believe in himself, in his own powers and abilities. He had only to think of the two of them being elsewhere, somewhere safe, and they were instantly there. There was no longer a staircase; only a foreboding doorway with its ominous message in white lettering.
Then an angry voice boomed from the sky, louder than thunder. "What in MY name is wrong with you? Here you are in this wonderful place; this beautiful Eden, where you can have anything you desire, and you you want more? Shame on you! Shame! You want Heaven? Is that what you want? What do you seek? Are you searching for that wonderful place they told you about in your church? That wonderful place of rolling fields of flowers and soft green grass, where all of your dead relatives and pets frolic in the sun? Maybe you'd like a pitcher of kool-aid too! This was a TEST! A ME damned test and you failed! You did not hear my voice because I left you to decide on your own, which path you should follow. There is no such PLACE as Heaven! It is not a place, but a state of mind. It is within you, always within your grasp; always attainable. Your so-called religous 'leaders' have told you it is a wonderful place only remotely attainable after a lifetime of work and unknown, unrewarded service to them and their goals. So let this be a lesson to you! Learn and grow from this!"
Jim looked toward Curly at this admonishment, much as a young boy might look toward a sibling for sympathy or moral support after being scolded by their Dad. Curly slapped him across the face and ran off into the woods.
"No! No! NOOOO!" Jim yelled out to him as he disappeared in the dense vegetation. He fell to his knees and cried. He didn't even know what this strange creature was called. He didn't even know if it was plant or animal. It had grown on a tree, hatched from what appeared to be an amniotic sack, yet appeared to be a flesh and blood, air breathing, thinking, speaking primate. Whatever he was; He was Jim's friend and companion; his little buddy. He was Curly. He wasn't human but what he was, was another living being; another soul to explore this strange place with. He was someone, or something to share in each mind-blowing discovery.
Despite what it said on the doorway, he knew his home was on the other side of that door. He knew his species had a lot to learn; a lot to overcome and change, from its hateful, warlike ways to its disastrous stewardship of its home planet. He knew this process was ongoing and would take some time. But he also knew he was on the cusp of something great right now; right at this minute. He could not go through that door; Not yet. He had too much more to learn here. This place; this Eden, was too wonderful; too rewarding to leave. He remembered Crosby, Stills, and Nash singing long ago about how "We've got to get back to the Garden." Well, here he was, actually IN the garden. He was once again in the land where mankind began. There was no way he could leave such peace and beauty; such transcendental harmony? He turned away and continued on walking, into the land where anything was possible.
This time he went off the path, and straight into the wilderness.
To be continued...
Copyright 12/30/2016 by Stephen R. Bonniol