Chapter Four: Part 4—Alberta #5 (Anamnesis)
Written: Bradley Necyk
A great storm hit. The rain beat through the roof, snuffed the lantern, and raged with reckless howling through holes and cracks in the makeshift structure of the night. He looked out into the field and saw the wheat taking on fluid dynamics, rushing and swirling with every-where wind. Beaten and aching the straw of the wheat gave and the field broke to compression and the weight of storm pressed everything. He looked back and the room moved with huddled peoples, his peoples.
His wife screamed and a group of three women pushed him aside as they went to her. One held her hand and talked her through the experience. Another woman worked to squeeze out the water soaking all the fabric in the space. Another, stunned, stared in disbelief at visions, she turned to the man and whispered to him about a baby being born in a great storm.
The rain dropped all at once from the black night and hit the roof so hard it shifted the structures of stick and rope that was holding this space full of life and death. Light bolted illuminating strips of pure light through the cracks forming in the walls. The man rushed to the makeshift door and stood raging at the night and the great storm. He felt his body being beaten with water when suddenly he lost breath as the water was overwhelming his lungs. With all his force he spit back at the storm when light and a clap of the gods pushed him back a foot. He grabbed the edge of the structure, caught in the unimaginable, and stepped back in foot. There was nothing to be won with his battle against the storm but he thrust his chest forward, defying the wind, rain, and fear.
He looked to the ground and saw the soil moving under him. The water was hitting too fast and the earth began to flood. He gave up his battle against the storm and looked back into the structure. His wife was screaming tears as the labour continued. The floor had taken on inches of water and there was no way to dry anything. The woman in a vision leaned next to the woman and whispered an ancient myth into her ear. Then she looked at the man, deep into him, and spoke to the ancient space in him. He looked at his wife with certainty but a clap of thunder met the light and the air screamed with birth. They all screamed and the structure lost form and everything took on a new air. The man looked at her but everything was moving around them. The structure moved into the air and everyone fell exposed. The man saw the women huddle around his wife and each of her screams was met with screams from the women. The storm raged on with bolts of lighting cracking form and rushing everything with light, brighter than day.
He turned his gaze from the women and surveyed the land. A gust of wind hit him to the ground and the water covered his body. The water was moving so fast he was rendered immobile, staring straight through the water up into the air of blackness. Inkwell sky split with electric potential revealing the deepness he had sunk to. Fixed in place he fought the water, but his breath was almost gone. And just as he resigned to this death he was thrust from the water and onto a small bank. He looked where he was but could see nothing because the sky had forgotten the sun. A crack of light cast hard shadows against an ancient elm tree a 100-feet from him. He looked for the women when the storm strobed but he was driven, instead, towards the tree. He came under its spell and lept towards it. The water swelled beneath the tree and he scrambled closer to it. With a fraction of light he looked and saw the great mass of the tree’s branches and leaves howling with the wind, rain, and strength. He had never seen a tree hold so firmly to itself when suddenly a 50-foot branch broke from the tree and disappeared within the great storm. He hugged close to the root of the tree and his body writhed in the wind. Soon he gave way and let the storm take him.
His eyes opened to the sky. He laid on his back and saw the stars last light as the sky took on a deep ultraviolet. In that moment he had forgotten his life and instead took in this new presentation of sky and colours as it gradually moved across the spectrum until a blood red took over the sky. It is then he remembered his wife. He sat up and saw nothing—wheat broken and flat to the earth. He looked for the elm tree but all there was was flat land in every direction. He found his way to his feet and stood caught in a spell of light pinks and oranges in the distance set stark against a yellow land vibrating with new life and washed air. There was no difference in what direction he started to walk in so he moved towards the sun as it crested the horizon.
As he moved each step was the same as the last and he found he was stuck in time. Realizing he was getting nowhere he stopped and sat. He felt the woman of visions and he saw through her eyes. A baby was born in a great storm. He remembered the great storm his mother said he was born into. He looked up to the sky and saw it shifting to a vibrant blue. He looked in each direction and still nothing—like he was the only person left in this world. He thought to the woman with visions and thought she had placed him here with magic through tree and storm. He laid his back on the ground and let the wet earth take him.
He might have been there for hours or days; there was no sense to this place. He didn’t remember the nights coming but he didn’t trust his senses or his memories. After a certain amount of time passed he found his vision had fallen out of sync with reality—the seamlessness of his vision, time itself, became a grand illusion. He collapsed back to the ground which was dry and the wheat laid dead and hard. The sun crashing down on the world, heating everything in its path. He looked up and he could swear it was closer. He held his thumb at arm's length in front of him with one eye shut and found the sun blistered past the edges. The corona burst around the eclipse and he lost more time.
He stood up and found he had adjusted to the heat but the visual jumps were still happening. He looked at the sun and moved his head from side to side seeing the sun jittered across the sky, barely keeping up. He looked at his hands and they were heavier. He looked at his palms and they were very worn and thick with skin. Suddenly a panic set in at how long he had been here that pushed him to run. He ran 10,000 miles but his body didn’t tire and he had no sense of how long he had run for. He stopped and looked around—flat dead wheat everywhere. He looked back at the sky and the sun weighed heavier on him. He held his thumb up again and it disappeared behind the brightness of the sun as it consumed him. He knew then that it was closer.
He sat and insisted on waiting for night but the sun was relentless. Suddenly, he felt momentum. He felt the world move, but everything visually was still—it was a bone-deep movement, a deep sense of the world he did not understand. He looked back at the sun and felt himself moving around it, but just as quickly as he sensed that he felt the sun moving. He looked through the ground and earth and felt the presence of a force larger than his mind could hold. It was such a presence that was looming on his mind for as long as he was alive. Quickly, every memory shifted and moved in relation to this presence and it was then that he felt it was always there, a form without form. He looked back at the sun, crushing closer to him, taking almost the entire sky for its own. The light was brighter than bright but he found his eyes unhurt. He looked from one horizon to the next and it was all sun. But he felt it was coming, but not for him or the world but to some unknown but present force. He looked back down through the earth and back at the sun. Both became flat discs that took up every direction and he was standing between two infinite planes. The heat was hotter than hot but his skin was unharmed. It was then, looking at the horizon, that he experienced everything that was or would be.
He opened his eyes slowly and the sky vibrated blue. He turned his eyes to the sun and it hurt. He held his thumb to it and it occluded it with a marvellous corona ripping around the edges of his thumb. He stood and surveyed the area around him. At his feet was dry soil and crushed dead wheat, but as he raised his head he saw smoke in the distance within some trees. He walked there, unsure, and entered the forest. He moved a bush in front of him and felt a piercing poke. He looked at the palm of his hand and there was a mark with blood. The thick skin was gone and like that he forgot of his memories with the sun and the land and all that it had told. He looked up and saw the fire and saw his people.
He broke into a run and within a few strides, he was standing in front of his wife. She looked him deep in the eyes and he looked at her. He looked down and saw a small hand on her chest and then a face on her breast. She looked down at the baby, then at him, and smiled. The woman with visions came to him and introduced him to his child, Freedom.
“Mother… is this real?”
“Yes son, you have returned. What did you see?”
He looked at her and was confused, sensing a deep recognition to her question but also knew he did not know yet what she asked. He looked at his wife, “Is this my son?”
His wife looked at him and said yes.
He looked at the crest of the child’s face on his mother’s breast and the left hand that was reaching upwards. He walked closer to his wife and slowly lowered himself. With pure curiosity, he looked at the child from top to bottom as he held him. This is a newborn baby. He stared at his child and felt a swell of memories to come. He saw him, felt an extension of his being in this child, he felt all that that was to come, but it overwhelmed him as it had every time this happened and he cried a cry of layers.
He opened his eyes. With a tingly fog he rolled to his side, feeling the coarseness of the heavy dusty blanket. He opened his eyes again and saw his wife sleeping and Freedom tucked closely to her. With hope, he looked at them, together, bracing for all that was to come. He slowly removed himself from the makeshift bed and structure and felt a crisp morning. He looked upwards to the sky, seeing a beautiful thick purple sky vignetted by the canopy of trees. He looked around the camp and there were three structures of fabric holding together for the women. He thought to their past, the travels they had taken to get here. He thought of their life of movement and all the peoples they had lost till this point. He felt a deep hunger in his belly and could feel the hunger of all of them. He left the forest to look at the fields but everything was broken. He looked, still fixed in the trees, out at the land and thirsted for water and magic.
He walked the fields and would see small pockets of trees. He knew this large of a field of wheat couldn’t have been natural. He walked cautiously at that thought. He entered a small treed area and found a pond but it was sick with algae. His foot sunk into the earth of wetness and he instinctually fell back a step and his foot was released. The hole writhed with worms and all things of the soil. He saw the richness of this place, like a spell had been cast, and it was not for his people. He turned from this area and walked for hours.
The sun was pressing from the highest point in the sky and his skin ached exposed. He looked back and like a magnet could sense where he had come from, hours away. He turned back and crested a hill of mountain and at its top he could see for miles. He could see far past the forest his people were in, he could see all the land that they had come from. A land of rock and tough soil. He turned in another direction and saw rounded, eroded mountains, scratched away through the eons—mountains of history. They cast a spell on him and his gaze fixed on them. As his eyes moved into focus they cut through the atmosphere and pulled closer and closer to the range. He heard a howling sound, a sound like none-other, like it wasn’t its time yet. His vision was in the mountains but with a grain distortion making the unbelievable present. The sound began to hammer, raging closer and closer to his vision until a voice clapped him back in foot. He looked one more time at the mountains but could see no further. This wasn’t a place for him but for the forgotten histories that collected there. He did not see himself as part of that.
With the spell broken, he looked in the last direction and with every hope he saw a structure, a structure of stone and wood. He had come across these on his travels, as his people worked towards the top of the world, but knew they came at a great cost. These were other peoples homes and land and they took that as their life. He never felt any connection to one place, a man with no material histories other than what he carried in his bones.
He approached the building but saw nothing but broken straw on his way there. As he came to the structure he heard a sound he needed like air—a rush of water. Without concern for being discovered, he ran around the structure and saw a small stream. He pounced on it and began drinking in deep bursts. As the frenzy slowed he looked up at the sun and could see it was dropping in the sky. He looked back at the stream and could see all the beautiful rocks with sparkles and winding reds of time throughout them. He looked deeper and started removing rocks from the bed but just as quickly as he removed one, two more tumbled in place. He used both of his hands and with all his strength opened a crack in the bed and pulled a stone of a red he could only fully experience outside of vision. He was transfixed by it and lost time.
Suddenly, a crack brought him back into his body and he saw the bed of rocks cascading out from under itself. He lept back and saw the earth being pulled into a raging river. He sprinted towards the structure but the ground gave out from under him and he was swallowed by the great river. He fought towards the light casting through the water, but as all went black he resigned and was swept away.
His eyes opened and he found himself holding the red stone in front of his eyes. With recognition his gaze quickly swept around him, surveying the scene, and found himself behind the structure on the ground beside the stream. He looked at the sky and blue met orange and the sun was touching the horizon. He looked back at the structure and moved towards it. He looked through a small window hole and saw no movement or signs of life hung with death. He opened the door and it broken open and he felt destiny in the room with him. It was a room of 10 by 10 feet. He entered and the floor ached under him. He looked at the bed and saw bones. He looked to the other side of the room and saw a long shotgun in the corner with 7 shells beside it.
He moved the bones and placed them in the back. He found a worn shovel and in the black of night he put them in the earth. Unable to see he rested on the bed and gave way to sleep.
His eyes opened and the room was ablaze with light. As his eyes tried to make focus but the light pierce his tight lids and he resigned to waiting. After an eternity he opened them and found the room in focus. It was broken and tired but he felt a life in the floor and the earth outside. He left and looked up at the sky. He felt the heat of the sun at the top of the sky. He wondered how long he had slept for. He took a long drink from the stream and walked towards the magnetic pull across the land.
He looked at the sky and saw the gradient of dark blue to pink and then looked at the forest in front of him. He pushed the bush aside and found his people. He came to his wife and saw the child on her breast.
“He has grown.”
She looked into his eyes and saw all that he had seen. The woman with visions approached and laughed with uncertain excitement. “You found something.”
“I did. I found it all. Tomorrow we will move there. All of us.”
He turned his gaze around the camp and looked where the two structures of the other women were. The woman with visions turned to him and said they had died while he was travelling. He asked how long he had been gone. The woman with visions said, “As long as you needed to be.”
A sadness took over him, his sisters were gone. He felt the last light rush from the forest and he prepared for sleep.
His eyes opened but he found himself in tears—tears of grief. His sisters gone in a breath of no sense. A hint of light was caught in the tears as it found its way into the structure of the night. He removed the thick coarse blanket, turned to his wife and son, and ached with a loving wish. He moved out of the structure and stood in the forest waiting for his eyes to adjust to the slow creep of the dawn.
He strung a light path deep into his bones and guts, bringing with him light, but also a saddening hunger. His turn inward was met with shadows and everything he could not see in himself. His thoughts began to cycle, one cascading into the next, stirring a presence of storm. He held tight to the beads illuminating the folds and fissure of this blackness but as they brought form from no form they also brought everything hateful and loving in this world. He felt his sisters lives in this space, but they were fixed in place, sediment on a flowing river bed. He tried to turn to them, to listen close to their position, but each time he caught a glimpse the form of his sisters exploded into a fractal stream of infinite descent. He stood fixed, but gave to the forms and fell. As each point of his sisters’ came into view it was textured with another layer of complexity that he continued to fall through. He allowed this fall for hours. Eventually, he raised his hand and saw that it rippled the immense fractal fall and that is had agency in this space. He moved it in play around him and like a symphony of love he was with his sisters and he spent his lifetime there. The edges of the ripples began to harden and just as beautifully as they moved they cracked with form and a blistering red of blood and life evaporated his body and he was amongst all the dead.
His eyes opened and he felt a weight in his hand. Worried he had been gone too long and his palm would be thick of skin, he lifted it and found the red stone of the stream in his hand. It radiated with life and death and in that moment he took the stone and cracked it on a rock, frustrating the surface and trying to tease out its contents. But the rock was stronger than mountains and he knew that his physicality was no match for it. He turned back to the structure of the night and no one was there. He looked to the sky and saw it as a fading orange and pink. He looked again and saw the woman of vision and asked her, “Mother, how long was I gone for?”
She looked at his bleeding hand and the stone that he held. “It looks like long enough. We are about to die, we need you.”
He resigned and felt the ground on his toes and could feel the air of the air. He looked and saw his wife returning from the depth of the forest with Freedom and a small collection of food. They sat together and ate as a family. The boy had grown, but he was coarse and slowly losing skin. He knew then that he must bring them to the structure in the field. He took down the structures and he packed them onto his and the woman with visions backs and his wife carried the child and they all left in the night.
They walked through the beaten fields with droplet stars providing hope and companionship as they walked. He was certain where they must go but there was also a deeply rooted secret in himself that maybe this place was only revealed by magic.
In the black distance he focused his eyes and ripped his vision through the night and he felt the hill of mountain. He told this to them but also himself, “We are close.”
They crested the hill and he looked at the mountains but they raged with sound and his body recoiled in protest. The woman with vision said, “Those mountains are for no one. Never have they been for anyone but historians and suicide seekers.” She looked at him with precision but he was being pushed back by the hammering sound.
He fell to a knee in disbelief and like coming out of a spell he returned to foot and looked and saw the structure of stone and wood.
They walked across the land of dead wheat and rounded the house at the sound of rushing water and life. They abandoned each other and sunk their faces deep into the stream, taking in all that they could. When enough time had passed they lifted themselves from the stream and turned to the structure. The man looked at where he had buried the bones, fearful to tell them of this structure’s fate for them if they entered, and saw it now covered fully with grass. He had now forgotten all that had happened here and they went in. His wife and the woman with visions entered the space and the man was drawn to the shotgun and shells in the corner. He fought his exhaustion and looked out the door, up at the sky. He could see the purple-black of night shift to a mixture of all the colours. He knew they had travelled a great distance. With absolute resignation, he laid on the bed with his family and fell asleep.
He opened his eyes and saw light like it was the first time. He turned to his side and his wife and child were feeding together. He sat up and turned to the window and looked out at the expanse. The fields were bare soil. He turned to his wife and took in the structure that they were in. It had jugs of water, berries, and bread. He then forgot his past and went and ate.
He opened the door and, at a great distance, he saw a woman in the field. He walked to her and found her to be the woman with visions.
“How long was I asleep?”
“You were asleep for as long as you needed to be. This land is immense. The wheat is dead for now but I have hope for this place. We can live off of all that is here. You brought us towards life.”
He did not believe her but looked cautiously around the land. He knew there must be death and disease somewhere but he only found the bud of the bud of the expanse of life. With success, he came home and he hugged his child and felt an extension in time through him. With time and life on his side, they ate and laughed.
As the night swept in, he turned to the fire in the wall and watched it move and trick his mind. He stared longer. And longer. He lost time and saw the fire across thousands of years. As the light met his senses he felt a blistering heat pulse through his body. He jumped out of the spell of the fire and found the house raging with a blaze. He looked for his wife, child, and the woman with visions but could not make clear anything through fire and smoke. The straw and wood roof vanished from above, opening a portal to a crashing sun. His body bent and cracked into a circle as his senses overwhelmed his body and it wilted in the heat. He knew there was nothing he could do and let the fire sweep his body to ash.
He opened his eyes and felt warmth, not heat, just comfort. He moved his head along the pillow and saw his wife and children. Freedom wasn’t a baby anymore but was moving through the room. The man looked at the boy as he played on the ground with rocks as people and sticks as structures. He turned his head to the child on the mother’s breast. The woman with visions came to him and said, “This is Mercy. Your daughter.”
The man began to cry and turned to his mother and asked, “Why do I lose this time? Was it years?”
“Son, you see the terrible and wonderful things in this life and beyond life. You carry with you a great storm, the storm you were born into. Just like the storm Freedom was born into. But I have seen something else growing in you, a pull to something off this world, in the land beyond the land beyond the land beyond the land.”
“I can’t live this life, this maddening hammering of time that presses me into these spaces. I didn’t ask for these spaces.”
“No child, you did not. But the storm will rage on. Take time now though, while you have it, there is much work to be done. This place is a place of life…”
Suddenly she crashed out of her body and the man could feel her vision. He turned his head away to avoid being pulled in with her. He ran outside and turned back to the structure holding his wife, two children, and the woman with visions. He so badly wanted to stay in this place, on this plane. He took to running to the top of the hill of mountain. He refused to listen to the mountains hammering and instead looked in directions he has not looked yet. He found nothing other than fields of wheat and a land of forever winter. He took to a small forest and began to collect wood.
The next day he collected rocks from the fields, larger rocks, and, one by one, he created a pile of mountains. He looked to the structure and saw his wife raising the children. She asked him to take a rest and be with his children. She then walked out into the field to see what she could collect.
The man took Mercy to his chest and looked at Freedom play with his head turned to his makeshift toys. He looked at Freedom and said they should go to the woods to look for thicker branches. He said they would cut them down into a figure. He said he was taught that when he was a boy and that he could teach him. The boy looked up at his father and for the first time saw him. They looked at each other and the father felt shame that this was the first time his son had seen him, not necessary with vision but at a deeper level.
They went to a small forest and began collecting thick sticks and branches. The man found himself laughing with Freedom and hugging Mercy close. He looked at his children and felt happiness. He had travelled so long, had lost so much on his journey, felt so much hunger, fear, and death. But he had found a place, a place of their own. He saw forward to all the love and life that could come and he wished it into form.
When he and his children got back to the house he took his knife and began showing Freedom how to carve. He said that when he made enough figures that they would look in the ground for ochre and in the rocks for other pigments to make colours to paint the figures. The boy became so excited at the thought, a thought of creating a world of his own, where the great stories, battles, and heartaches could be. The man saw the possibilities in Freedom and remembered the few moments when he was a child in the purest sense.
His wife came back from the field with a collection of food. The man gave Mercy onto her mother’s chest and they sunk into each other like sediment in a stream set for eons after it has dried up. Love radiated and they sat as a family and began making a life.
The man opened his eyes and as the wave of dreams washed away he felt happiness. He left the bed and looked out at the field sprouting new life. He saw Freedom out in the field collecting items. He looked back in his home and saw his wife with Mercy and the large bump emerging from his wife’s belly. He took to the field and went to Freedom and they spoke of all the things they cared about. They came back behind the house and looked at each figure the boy had created. The man looked at his son and felt proud of all he had created. He looked at a large circle, created from the base of a great elm tree, and all the beautiful patterns Freedom had created. They were so intricate and mesmerizing.
Suddenly the man felt a great pull into the disc. He saw the patterns moving and began to see how each fell in place with the next. He felt the structure of his mind on that disc. He felt everything was on that disc. He could feel time slipping out from under him and onto that disc. He resisted and fought the greatest battle in his world. Suddenly he felt a warm weight on his shoulder and could hear the sounds of Freedom.
“Dad. Dad. Dad.”
The man slipped from the disc and fell back on the ground. Looking up he saw his son standing over him in fear and concern. He looked at the boy and told him he was a creator. But with creation comes destruction and he must brace himself for that. He said you cannot escape that, that they are together, and as one gains strength, so does the other. He looked deep in Freedom’s eyes and transmitted that truth to him.
They stood up. He looked down at the boy and thanked him. Freedom wasn’t certain of what he had done but he felt relief in his father’s presence. They went inside and ate as a family and felt all the life around them.
Deep in the night the man awoke. He looked at the bed and felt his family. His mind turned back to the disc. He could see each pattern and feel his way around each vibrant colour, each edge, and each form. He could sense it was deep in his mind and could feel it restructuring it. He thought that he had never seen anything so beautiful or true in his life. That all of everything was on that disc and that it would rotate for infinity. He knew his son had created the great disc of time, that he was pulling from a place one can only find deep in his bones, a record of his people's’ history—their labour, frustrations, love, and time. This is a space he had heard about, passed down through time. But it came at a cost, for the ones that can go deep, that steps out into the abyss and bring back form from the land below the land below the land beyond the bones, they carry a tremendous burden, the weight of histories. Of all history. The deep history of all people and life and death and time. He laid there proud of his son but fearful of what he had discovered. Like a tingly fog a memory of two infinite planes emerged and he could sense that everything was there. Suddenly he was thrust upwards, out of sleep, and looked at his family. His wife was lying still, but her eyes were open and fixed on him. He looked in terror towards her that he lost time, but could see on her face that he had not. He laid back down and went to sleep.
He opened his eyes and felt a stretching of days, all his days, not lost to anyone. He looked at his children and knew they were preparing for another. He knew he could not lose time, that the woman with visions had been gone a long time but he needed her. He was not sure he could help bring in this baby alone. But he felt all the life in that belly and wished a wish for his mother to return. He looked out at the sky and could see the blue sky and the sun moving higher and higher. He wondered how long it had been summer. He wondered what this place was but as he began to lose himself to that thought he heard his wife collapse and brace for the great pain. She was in labour. He took her to the bed and they looked far into each other. As much terror as they were experiencing they smiled at each other. They are about to meet their child.
As the labour continued to develop in intensity, her screams began to take a new form and he prepared Freedom and Mercy with food and water. Once they were done he placed them on the bed with their mother and they cuddle close onto her chest and took in the brunt of her pain. Her body writhed and her screams took her to an ancient place. With each scream more came into focus. She could hear the screams of her birth, she could hear the screams of her mother’s birth and all the way down the line. She felt the joy of life but also the presence of death. She felt the danger in birth but the root of hope was patterned in her bones and she saw she was in a line of strong women. That her daughter, her daughters, would be too. As she screamed the scream of exhaustion and cried the tears of only women when she heard a scream to match her own. The woman with visions had returned and she took her hand.
“It is time for life to come from you. You are the great creator. Your body is a world that can do mysteries untold. You are from an unbelievable line of women—the creators of the world. Be with them. Let each scream reach to them and listen to their screams returning to you. You are not alone.”
The woman with visions felt her stomach and surveyed her body. She looked at her son and said, “It is time.”
The man looked at his wife in love and pain. As she screamed the woman with visions matched her, marching on with all women. They screamed the song of creation and with a sound that cracked the ceiling and broke the structure, life crested into the world and the scream of a new woman filled the void and brought form back to the structure and the home was full with life. The woman with visions placed the child on the mother’s chest and began pressing hard on the mother’s stomach. The pain was immense but the baby rooted her to the earth and she realized she had extended the line and that all was perfect—absolute form.
The man looked at the woman with hurt but necessity for what she was doing, but turned to the new child and saw a newborn baby. His heart pressed and changed and just then a new form of love emerged in his body. He looked at his wife and she said, “This is Vadoma, the knower of things.”
As the afterbirth came forth the woman with visions turned to the child to study it.
“Yes, this is Vadoma. She will see many things. She will pierce the veil of this world, a heavy burden, for there is a reason why so many things are occluded.”
The man and his mother cleaned the space and prepared everyone for rest. And with so much hope for the next day the man fell asleep.
He opened his eyes and could feel the warm light casting through the room and upon his face. He turned to his side and saw Freedom in his arm, Mercy by her mother, and Vadoma on her mother’s chest. Rested, and filled with the form of life, he entered the day. He went out back to run his face and hands through the stream and quench his thirst. When he turned from the stream to the house he saw an immense collection of painted figures. He approached them and looked at their orientation. The figures all stood around in circles on a collection of a dozen disks. All with unique patterns, colours, and structures of the mind. He came close to one of the scenes and felt the air change and a vignette form around the scene. This was different than the others, a different future being told. He saw a towering figure staring down at 6 figures all huddled together. He transferred his mind into that moment and just as he was losing time he crashed back into his body. He looked up and saw the woman with visions standing over him.
“Why did you bring us here? What have you seen?”
“Mother, I am not sure. It is present but compressed out of perspective, like I can see a form of future but it’s form is foreign.”
“Tell me what you saw, son. What is it about this place?”
“Nothing. This is a place of life.”
“Yes, for now. I have seen many things too. Things I refuse to forget. Things that will happen. What do you see on that disc?”
“I see nothing.” Thinking and resigning. “I see death.”
“With life there is always death. We consume death to be life. We take the energy and strength from the life around us, yet someday we will return back to the greater of life and will continue through the soil, the worm, and the mushroom and back up. The Great Disc.”
“I know. But for a moment, even if it is just a moment, I wanted life and growth for my family. Is that not what everything wants? To extend out of the weeds and take in the sun?”
“I saw many things while I was gone. Things I think you have seen but constantly forget. I see you caught in the disc, rotating for infinity on this farm. Do you see what I am speaking about?”
With shame he looks down at the disc. “We can’t live and lose the way we did. I can’t live that life anymore.”
“The spell is set then. You know what is coming. A force beyond natural form. Love, laugh, and breath now, for the greatest storm will come.”
He is caught on the disc, fighting rejection to all the things she is saying.
“I love you my son. You have such strength, such insight, such beauty. You will carry a heavy burden, but if it is the disc you have chosen then take in all the splendor while it is summer. I love you deeply, son.”
He lifted his head after the heat of the day and work had taken its toll. He looked far into the distance and saw the house where the bud of the bud was taking hold, life was rich, and time was on his side. He felt the summer and growth that comes with it. He has seen the fields produce food, he has seen the stream grow with strength, and he saw a vast sky of blue that resonated a vibrancy that was not of this world. Not the world he lived in. The sky was of a world long ago, when his people lived together, all peoples, peoples beyond counting, and they all took in life and became the great creators.
Freedom came to him and they spent hours in the field talking about the sky, the earth, and everything that moved between the two. He was teaching Freedom all that he knew and understood about the world. He taught him how to survive, how to love when there is nothing left to love, and how to escape paths of no return. He taught him about pain, a world in pain. He taught him how to channel that pain through his body, through the ancient spaces in his bones that carried all the knowledge he would need to know. He worked daily with him on how to bridge into that world, warning him, however, of the great cost it can come at.
“You can get lost in those worlds. The world beyond the world. The world of all your ancestors. Up in the sky and close to the ground. Closer than comfort will allow. Do you understand?”
“Father, who am I making all of this for? All of these figures? Why am I pulled into the void and how am I able to pull form from it?”
“You were born in a great storm. I will never forget that night. The wind raged, the rain consumed, and the lighting blistered like the surface of the sun. It was the most unbelievable thing I have ever seen.”
“I didn’t ask for that storm. Dad, I see so much, I see things to come just as clearly as I see all that was.”
He braced Freedom. “This is the greatest burden I could share. My mother carried it, I carry it, but now it is your turn. I am sorry for this, son.”
“Where is everyone in this world?”
“In my life there has been many people, both good and bad. I don’t know why there has been no one over these years. All the friends I ever had are gone. I felt death when I came to this place, but from death comes new life. I think we have passed onto a plane of new life, a garden all our own. I don’t know why we got this place and why no one else has come to take it. That is the world that I knew, that I grew up in, and that your mother and I travelled through. But the beating drums of war have not noticed this place. Son, you will meet people someday. But people are weak. They allow the worst of us to guide them because they prey on all their fears, the fears of what they do not understand. You know of what I speak. These following people who don’t have access to their deep pasts and that fog blocks their futures. The world balanced these makers of death with creators, the two are forever together. The creators are seerers. There have been many great seers in the past. People that practiced and developed their souls to open a portal into themselves that reveals everything. Within you there is all that you will ever need to know, but the people out there can’t see it. They keep living the same lives over and over again making a wretched stew of mistake, regret, and suffering. The wicked live off this stew. They will drive the world mad, ripping it apart. But with all this destruction and death can be the compost on which we heat, churn, and revel at the birth of new life that can forge new histories and futures. Nothing is written forever, and son, you are here for a reason. I will help you, guide you as best as I know how, but it will ultimately be up to you if you can take on strength to snap the cycle, leave the disc, and make the next great leap for all people. It is then that you will meet new people.”
The boy, overwhelmed with a layer of tears, rested on his father’s shoulders. He held him like a father holds their child for the last time. They brace for the unimaginable.
Many years past. The summer had continued straight through and the land had taken on so much life. Life on life on life. It was an Eden of sorts. A place without time. A world in a world. The man finished his day's work and came into the home. Freedom, Mercy, Vadoma the knower, and Lash the warrior sat with their mother and the woman with visions cooked. While his body was tired he took absolute pleasure in all of his life. His wife, the creator of all this, has become the woman of strength. Her power and beauty would have rocked the ancient world. He wished his sisters could have been with him. If only they could have held on, or, deeper, if he had only been faster in his seeking trails.
He forgets that thought and returns to the room and his family. They have taken in so much splendour, life, and happiness. He felt they were untouchable. Like they had crossed over and that the future told could not be true with all this love and life. The man worked hard to teach his children, hold them, and love love. But as all of this flourished a shadow presence was taking form at the greatest distance a mind could conceive. He ached in his bones and spoiled beautiful moments, but the man fought the greatest battle of his life against destiny which hung in the room. He fought to keep it at bay and allow a space for life to break through and truly be free. He felt this in his bones.
He had no break in time over this period. He had almost forgotten the terrible visions and their weight had less and less influence on each moment. He actually started to believe he might be free. That his family was free from fate. These ideas circled in his mind each day as he worked. Over and over and over and over again he fought to believe this new truth he was willing into existence. However, he felt the gaze of the woman with visions. She could see in his eyes as to what he was trying to accomplish. To do the unimaginable. To make his own disc that would rotate for infinity—with just him, the woman with visions, the woman of strength, Freedom, Mercy, Vadoma the knower, and Lash the warrior. He spoke daily to Freedom about his discs and the figures he was creating, but he felt the boy was coming to know something that he didn’t want him to know. That he was shutting part of his world from his father. The man looked at the boy with destiny over his shoulder and ached exposed to its influence on the boy. His love for the boy was being extended, for he knew a great day was coming, where Freedom was on the line and everyone would stand with him.
The man started to lose his mind to confusion on all these thoughts. On the combats with destiny and time. With freedom and secret imprisonment. A tear formed in him, one he felt but was not sure of what it meant. He felt the woman with visions gaze on him. He began to hate her. The more he combatted the more she watched in disbelief. This weighed on him but he struggled to take in all the pleasure that this moment with family, land, and life was providing. And just as he did every night, his family all laid down and created a line on the bed and they slept the deepest sleep they all needed.
He opened his eyes and felt the warm air cast with yellow light. He looked and he was alone in the structure. He laid on his back and looked at the ceiling—moving his eyes from one straw to the next as they knotted and weaved to make the larger whole. With a breath he saw the air move in the space, streams of turbulence moving from his mouth and filling every corner of the room. He felt the air lift him from the bed and carry him in her arms. Quickly he felt the air coursing through him like he was made of porous fabric, and just then he became a column of air, one with his breath. He saw the air passing out him and swirling around the room and just as easily he saw the gust of air pulled into his body tugging on every crack in the room. The rigidity of his body was lost and he didn’t live or die, he just floated. Soon he lost his care for this world and was taken up by the air and scattered across the land.
His eyes opened and blue light cast across his face and the air had a sting to it, a sting he felt from another life. He reached beside him for his wife but no one was there. He took to the door and as it cracked open so did a vengeful gust of air—a cold that cut through his summer clothes. He left the house and looked at the land and the fields and trees took on the colour temperature of storm. He looked to the sky and saw clouds that raged with magical fluid dynamics. A front of clouds stretching upwards for miles had blocked the sun and made all those on the ground forget its form and warmth. He turned his back to the coming storm and looked for his family. He knew then he was alone in this world and he turned back to the storm in fooled strength. The storm had been cast and the air seemed to be lifting everything upwards like the storm was taking in a great breath and the world would end up in the clouds. The man ran behind the house and saw all of Freedom’s figures suspended between the air and ground. He looked at the stream and the water took on weightlessness and formed large droplets moving in the air. He walked into the field of droplets and saw all the rocks of the riverbed take on a blood red that was outside of vision. He could feel his body losing weight and his firmness on the ground was being tested. He looked around and bits of the earth—dirt, leaves, grass—had all risen from the ground and moved in the air. The trees started to crack, a crack across time and it deafened the man and all hope he had of survival. Suddenly the air went quiet and everything remained suspended like a crystal ball. He looked around in beauty and horror and braced himself. Then, all at once the entire cosmos collapsed down from the sky and everything came crashing down to the earth along with an ocean from the clouds. He felt his body compressed to the ground as every bit of earth and water pressed him into the eons. He had nowhere to go and no strength to match this weight and he resigned to his death.
He opened his eyes and the woman with visions was sitting next to him on his bed. He ached exposed at her gaze, but she looked at him like a mother looks at her child. She braced him.
“What have I missed?”
“Summer is over, my son. The air has shifted and the fields and trees have become rigid and bursting with colour. Colours that I have never seen.”
“The summer is over and we must prepare for winter.”
“While you were gone we prepared as best we could. You taught Freedom so much, he is becoming an exceptional man. All of your children have grown in ways I can’t express.”
The man stood and went to the door, opened it, and felt the sting in the air. He took more of his clothes and piled on layers and went out to be with his family. He found all four children playing with their mother and he sensed their happiness in the face of what was to come. He had never been to this place and did not know what this winter was casting on his world. He found a cellar dug by the house, deep into the ground, and saw it half full of all kinds of foods. He began inspecting the house from all angles, testing its strength and filling holes with straw and mud. They would need to hold onto as much heat as possible.
He went to his wife and she looked deep into him with relief that he had returned. She said they needed more wood to heat this winter and so he took the axe and went to work in the treed area. As he chopped and the trees fell they released a piercing crack that rocked him back into another world where the earth had been sucked up and crashed back down with all the content of the sky and cosmos. He fell back a foot at the thought, a memory rooted long into his bones, but one that was from another life. But it rattled in his body, creating all the sensations a body can make to let one know something is happening. Sensations of terror with happiness, anger and love, and all the things that have been felt through time.
He cast himself out of that spell and continued to work, yet each crack was met with a bodily response. He wasn't sure how to understand what was happening in his body but he resigned and opened himself to it. It coursed through him like he was standing chest deep in a river. He took in the presentation of this flow, opening his mind and body to this experience as he remembered all that he had experienced in this world and all the others. Soon the flow continued to gain force and any footing he had on the river bed was slipping and he was taken down the stream of thought that hung with life and death.
“Dad. Dad. Dad.”
The man opened his eyes to find Mercy standing beside him. She took his hand and looked into his eyes.
“Dad, just hold my hand. Feel its fold and fissures. Feel the warmth and air coursing through it. Feel that I am here. I am here with you. It is just me and you. There is no thought we can’t stand together with.”
The man saw his daughter in a way he had never seen her before and felt the love that has been passed down through the ages. The great presence of love that one can wait their whole life for.
“You are remarkable. You take my breath.”
“We take each other's breath, back and forth.”
The man stood with his daughter and they breathed together and soon they became one with their breath, like a column of air. They could feel the air deep in their lungs, they could feel it flowing outwards to every tip of their bodies and just then they disappeared and became a joint column of air. The man had lost all thought of the memories that were rushing and carrying his world away and he felt absolute peace.
Chapter Twenty One
The man opened his eyes and a deep peace was washing across him. He had no fears or confusion over his memories. He looked at the light casting in the room and it was a deep blue-violet. He removed the coarse layered sheets, looked at the still burning fire, and moved to the door. The sun was sitting low in the sky and was creating a vibrant gradation of colour that went across the spectrum and outside of vision. He stared at the sun, studying its path and could see that it had peaked. Winter was here. He walked out and saw his son Lash playing with sticks as swords. The man picked up one and they began to play war. The swords clapped and cracked and the man and his son were playing with joy. Lash’s stick broke after a hard swing and he looked at the small stick left in his hand and he surged towards his father, grabbing him around the waist and tried to throw him to the ground. The man laughed with the boy and fell to the browned earth and they rolled tight in a wrestle. Lash fell to the side and hugged close to his dad. The man felt his boy and his need for a father.
“Lash, I am sorry I have missed so much of your life.”
“Dad, I know, but I am strong, I can fend off all our foes. Someday I will fight in a great battle. To die in a great battle for the love of my family and home.”
“How are you thinking about this future? You don’t know war. You only know this place.”
“I know. And maybe I will never be in the battle I hoped for, but I feel a thousand battles in my past. Blood, pain, rotting, and all the horrible things people can do to each other.”
“Why do you wish for something so terrible.”
“I feel it as part of a larger journey. A journey trenched in the ground, winding its way to peace.”
The man thought of what his son said and was caught by words he never even knew his son could speak. He felt then that his son was not of this place, that maybe he was meant for some far off kingdom with men, kings, and gods all locked and fighting for position. Fighting the greatest battle: the dream of peace for their family. Not glory, just rest and life. He thought that he had never been in a battle, at least the ones between the sky and the ground, and he wondered how the boy was remembering all these thoughts.
The man started remembering his time in the woods with Mercy and could feel the current building. He looked at Lash and could see that he was spared this fate, this burden and that he was destined for something far further than the man could remember. He then thought to his family leaving, going far into the distant places in this world and forgetting the wonder of this place. But comfort took him over and he was not bothered. He was grateful for his long summer watching his family grow full of life.
As they laid on their backs Lash took a handful of dead straw and dirt and threw it in the air. It spread into the air and at the peak of its accent it froze and hung above them in a wondrous collection of all that they had built their lives on. They both laid there transfixed on this magic. The man looked at Lash to see if his experience was matching with his and he saw his son caught in the spell, seeing a side of the world he had never had access to. The man looked back at the heavenly array of matter and took pleasure that he was sharing this with his son.
Chapter Twenty Two
Months past. The winter was relentless and painful. It blanketed the land in glimmering snow, snow with diamond speculars and shine. It covered the trees with feet of untouched snow. Most of the snow in this land was untouched as it was too cold to explore and there were no other people or animals to be found. The stream in the back had frozen over in the most marvellous way. As the top would freeze the current would not run under it but would rush on top of the frozen stream, then freezing itself. It became a mountainous sculpture like a wave frozen in the instant before it could come crashing down. The man would spend his mid-days hammering away at the ice stream trying to find a vein of a current to pull water from. Their lives had changed from splendour, growth, and life to hours waiting for survival.
This wasn’t the man’s, the woman of strength’s, or the woman with vision’s first winter, but it was the children’s first. They had not known the long nights of waiting, struggling, and surviving. Yet these children were strong and they adapted as best they could to the conditions.
The next day they all awoke to a bright light. The man looked out the door and saw a blistering white sky, from one edge of the world to the next. In the sky were thick bundles of snowflakes descending from it like a feather falling—slowly and captivating. The family came outside to see this wondrous vision where the pull of the earth that kept them rooted did not apply to these flakes of snow. The sound travelling in the air was damped and it was like each of them was given a sensorial presentation that was unique to them alone. The children all opened their mouths to accept these flakes onto their tongues and for the first time in months, the family was happy with play and joy. They all ran around the untouched field and played in the snow. The man and his wife laid down in the snow and watched the slow hypnotic fall of flakes.
The woman with visions was even taken by this moment and ran with the children and had happiness throughout her body. The kids played, threw snow at each other, rolled around wrestling, and laughing a laughter of layers.
The man looked out at all this wonder, the wonder of nature, his family, and this place. It offered up a moment of relief from the pain of this winter. He went to the back of the house to find water at the stream. When he rounded the house he saw Freedom’s immense collection of figures covered in snow, all but one. It was the disc with the large figure standing over 6 others. It was the disc that he started losing time to before. With its lack of snow build up, he thought Freedom must be playing with this one over the winter. Why was he playing with this one? What did he see in it? It raged with violence and domination. Yet the pattern was playing a trick on the man’s mind. He was caught by the vibrant colour and the patterns that moved between and around each other, weaving and knotting a place in the structure of the man’s mind. He could feel the patterns restructuring his mind, bringing him to a place he had no desire to go to, but one that he now sensed was his destiny. He began to lose time and forgot the snow that was accumulating on his shoulders and head. He was transfixed and the disc was doing its work on him. His eyes pulled closer and closer to the grooves and knots in the disc. A howl, like an animal of the mind that was a collection of all animals, came forth quietly, almost out of sound. He stared longer and the howling built, entering audible sound and he became terrified. His eyes continued to pull closer and closer and he could see through the grains in the wood and beyond the colours that covered them. He could see the objects outside of vision that made up the wooden disc. The howling built to a deafening level and the sense of overwhelming terror was taking over. His eyes continued to move in and the sound only ripped harder bypassing sound for the ears and tearing away at his mind.
“Dad. Dad. Dad”
The man cracked back into his body and looked to his side. Vadoma the knower was standing next to him with her hand on his shoulder. She looked deep into his eyes, studying the structure of his mind.
“Dad, you don’t have to live that destiny on the disc. I know it in my bones.”
“Child, I don’t understand what is happening to me.”
They looked each other deep in their eyes. She could see fear and confusion in his eyes and beyond. She could see his future but she could also see multiple futures.
“Dad, each moment brings infinite possible futures into existence. And each of those futures brings infinite possibilities with each of them. This goes on and on. There is a future on this disc that catches you, but there are infinite others that you can grab onto as well.”
“I don’t understand. How can you know these things?”
“I spend time with your mother, learning from her. She says she saw it in me when I was born, that I would see things and know things, and that’s where I got my name from. She has guided me on this journey. I see the storm raging in you. I see the time you lose. The terror of those worlds you enter into. I see all the things you see while there and I see all the things you have forgotten. I also see that you are starting to remember. My grandmother has told me about this. She calls it anamnesis. A process of deep remembering. Some say it is remembering another life. Some think it is the remember of absolute form free of all the good and bad in this world. I can’t tell you if it is good or bad to remember all the things in your bones, it can rip apart a mind. However, you seem to open yourself to these experiences and let the current sweep you. You go on deep journeys, journeys beyond time and you see all the wonder and terror there is in this world and beyond. Grandmother says you have access to this because you were born in a great storm and that storm has stayed within you your whole life.”
“I know. It is something I feel deep shame about.”
“Don’t be shameful. You were marked at birth. It is not your fault. In a different world and at a different time this would be wondrous. You are wondrous.”
The man looked at his daughter and for the first time he truly saw her. He looked deep in her eyes and could see that her vision has seen his futures but he could only see one. He looked at her with hope and love and wonder. But there was a side of him that was sad that she saw him so clearly. He looked back at the disc with the towering figure and the small figures.
“Dad. Don’t be bothered by that future. Wish for others like you wished this Eden for us.”
“I don’t know if we will survive this winter.”
“You are not alone, we are all here. Remember that.”
The man hugged his daughter like it was the last time they would ever hold each other. He began to cry but the tears stuck to his face and stung. Vadoma held him tighter. The tears began to build like the stream beside them. He lowered his head into her shoulder and held for her eons.
Chapter Twenty Three
He opened his eyes and felt the coarse blankets piled on him. He looked to his side and saw his family all laying there, awake but silent. He looked at the fire on the other side of the room and saw the woman with visions covered in blankets and tending to the fire. They have spent months tightly bound together as the winter piled heavier and heavier onto their world. The man stayed in bed and talked to his mother.
“Do we need more wood?”
“Yes, very soon, but the winter is locking this world in place. I don’t know how much success you would have today. But if this biting cold doesn’t lift we will be forced to fight our way to the woods.”
“But what if it only gets colder? We don’t know the structure of this winter, when it peaks, or how long it will remain. Have you seen how long this will continue for? Will it be years like the summer was?”
“The cold has crystalized the future and I can’t see through the cracks and fissures in the ice. I am hoping a deep hope that the magic of this place will spare us. It might push us to the brink but I hope the deepest of hopes that it will give us space to live again.”
The man looked back at his family as they all laid in silence, the great silence of winter. He felt the cold had not peaked yet, that there was more to come and this day will be the best day to collect wood for a long while. He layered his clothes and decided to push out, collect all his body could and return.
“Son, don’t lose time. Don’t let the currents take you. Don’t resign. You must come home.”
The man looked at Mercy and she looked at him. He saw her take a deep breath and exhale it. Still looking at her, he took the deepest breath his lungs could hold and exhaled it, giving it back to the room. He remembered all he had learnt from her and that he would return to them.
The man opened the door for the first time in a month and worked his way through the untouched snow. It was past his waist and the cold was stinging him, making each step more difficult than the last. The sun was low in the sky with thin clouds casting light in all directions. The air was a cool blue, almost like the heavens had frozen as well. He looked at the sun and saw its fire burning, a cooled yellow breaking through the clouds, but its time was not enough to heat anything. It was like the sun was forgetting this world.
He marched forward and saw the treeline in the distance but he found himself in great pain. He stopped moving to see if he could get some warmth to his legs before continuing on. As soon as he did, however, he realized this was the end. That there was no warmth to be had anywhere in this world.
He looked at his legs and fought with all of his will to break from this frozen place but it was no use. He looked at his legs and could see there was no use to having them anymore. Suddenly he felt a deep pull towards the ground. He looked up and saw the sun looming large on the horizon. It was closer. He felt a pull to something far past the ground of the earth, to a place further than a mind could imagine. He felt the sun being pulled there but he also felt himself being pulled with it, yet the strength of the dirt and ice was holding him in place. The sun’s brightness was overwhelming the sky and it burst the sky out of colour and turned it into absolute white. The man felt the pull down to the place unknown, a place of a million suns, and his frozen body was starting to crack at the pressure. A shaft of ice began to creep up his legs from the ground and they lost opacity and became clear as ice. Suddenly they released the sound of a glacier falling and he shattered into pieces and was ripped into the ground towards the heavy presence in a far away world.
Chapter Twenty Four
“Dad. Dad. Dad”
He opened his eyes to Mercy.
“Dad, look at me. Breathe with my breath.”
He inhaled but the air was so cold it cut his lungs.
“Feel the pain of the cold, there is no fighting it, but keep breathing. In with me and out with me.”
The man looked up at his daughter as she craddled his head. He had no strength to move his body but he worked to breathe with her. He loved her so deeply.
“Inwards and outwards.”
The frost on his face was building and there was no moisture for tears but he felt it all locked away in this frozen body.
“Dad, stay with me. Please just look at me and stay with me.”
He heard a muffled walk on the snow and saw the woman with visions standing over him.
“Son, you did all you could but there is no fighting this kind of winter. We have to get you home.”
The two of them lifted his body onto a blanket and the two of them pulled the heaviest weight they could and brought him back to the home.
They put him by the fire and covered him with everything they could. He stared at the fire and accepted its heat. He felt ashamed that he couldn’t bring back any wood. Love hung in this house but so did life and death and death was only gaining strength.
Chapter Twenty Five
He opened his eyes but they seemed stuck shut. He forced them again and they cracked open as ice would as you fell through it. He saw smoking breath rising out from his mouth and moving up towards the ceiling of the structure. He went to move his head and he could feel the ice break on his face. He saw Freedom tucked deep in his chest and a faint movement of breath under the blanket. He saw Lash on the woman with vision’s chest and he saw his two girls close to their mother. All their skin was blueish and the room was frozen shut from the cold in and out of this world. There was no more fire, there was no more food and they were frozen to the bed relying on the last bits of warmth from the furnaces that once raged in them.
The man laid there and wondered if they had hours or days left to live or if he was caught in the dream of death. He looked to the corner and saw it hung with death but destiny was not there and maybe he had fallen off the disc and entered onto a new one. This gave him relief but also deep sadness as his family would be locked in place, dead or alive, forever in this room. He thought to the bones he found here before his family had come. He thought to the earth, the grass, the snow, the ice, and the cold upon cold that now covered them. He thought of all the bones that were on that bed with him, locked together, maybe forever. He turned his head and tried not to move for it hurt so much.
He opened his eyes but not with a crack. He looked to his side and his family was laying still. The air was different. He wondered how long he had been asleep for. None of his family moved as he sat up. His body moved freely, without pain, without fatigue. He moved to the window and saw the sun high in the sky. Had they crossed the mortal plane? Now in a place where they were with their ancestors and all the people and gods when time was born? He looked back at his family and they laid still.
As he looked out the window it was partly occluded as the snow had piled so high that it must be insulating this structure. At this point it did not matter what plane he was on, in the garden or gone to infinity, he was just in the presence of being and that being was still with his family and that was the wish of all wishes. He continued to look out the window and see the bluest of blues in the sky and on the snow and with the sun that ripped yellow and spread all the warmth and hope that he had only dreamed about as he fell asleep for what he thought was the last time. But he was here, now, in this room, looking out into the wonder of the world and then back at the wonder of his family. He took in all of this ,and with all of this, he was without fear.
He moved back to the bed that held his family and inspected them for breath. Each blue but each had the spark of life so he decided to leave them in their sleep as they slept out the winter that was covering each of them.
He went to the door and pulled at the handle but it was rooted to itself and the space beyond. He felt a primal hunger, an animal waking from the longest of hibernations, and he headed to the cellar to see if it was bare for himself. He looked around the room to see if anything could make heat to slip the ice from the door but there was nothing to spark. He looked to the charcoal in the fireplace but it was burnt beyond return. He looked out the window to the winter snow that covered it half way closed. He turned to his family and thought thoughts of danger but also of life. He took his straw pillow and ripped the case from it. He wrapped his hand in it and braced himself for the crash. He broke the window and a ripping air burst into the room—it was much colder than the sun gave sight to.
He removed any sharp glass and pulled snow into the room. The wind howled in the structure but no one moved. Once a path was cleared he climbed out the window and sunk into the pillow of snow. His lungs collapsed at the cold that was overtaking his body. He lifted his head above the great snow and with all the force in his bones he pulled in a deep breathe. It was warmer than expected and gave him new hope.
He pulled his way through the snow, part swimming, part walking, and forever fighting. He rounded the house and met a tall mound in front of him. With his bare hands, he reached through the snow and shovelled it as every particle in him froze in place. Each pull would only let more snow fall in place and it was an impossible pursuit. He willed the particles of his body to move and continued his struggle. With enough life he plunged his hand deep into the snow, pulling his whole body in with it and felt a cold colder than cold—the handle to the cellar. With little care for the weight of snow above and below him, he pulled with ancient life long thought lost in his bones. Almost like magic, the door flung open and the tonne of snow on it exploded into the air and froze above him. He stood in magic and looked at the cloud of flakes that hung suspended around him. Above him was white mist reaching feet above him and below was the steps unobstructed into the cellar.
He moved his way down but there was no light to make anything clear. He reached out without vision and felt the corners of the room. His hand hit a pile of berries and another felt bread of rock. He grabbed them and left the space. As he exited the tonne of snow collapsed down on him, crushing him to the earth. There was no air under here and he struggled his head to make a pocket to breathe in. He let go of the bag of berries and punched a hole out to the surface of the snow. Like a swimmer in a river, he propelled himself to the surface but had lost the berries for now. He worked his way to the door, doomed and determined to destroy the magic that held it shut. Completely submerged in the snow he reached out but as he grabbed the handle he lost his last strength. Entropy has died at that instant and he was locked in form. His head barely out of the snow he looked at the sun and saw its coming warmth but it was too little to save him from this fate. He struggled to propel the particles of his being into motion but remained still. As he stayed in place he looked up at the sky for the last time and took in the blue ocean of time and of life-giving air and knew soon that he would be earth. He stood, unmovable, and simply took in the sky.
Chapter Twenty Seven
His eyes were open to the radiance of the sky when a crack came from the structure. His hand was frozen to the metal handle but he began to feel warmth. He was lost, long gone in the sky, but his senses were still taking in information and that was information of heat. And with the clap of the gods, every flake erupted from its static position and they flew beyond him and then froze in the air. With nothing to support his body, he collapsed to the ground frozen in form. His mind snapped back into his body and turned his gaze to the door as it opened. The woman with visions was standing above him and fell to his side. She laid on the ground beside him, looked him in the eyes, and gave way to a vision. Together they laid surrounded by the suspension of a thousand tonnes of snow. Still unable to move he could feel the hard ground below him and could see broken wheat. He looked at his mother and she was gone. The man continued to lay there and just took in the majesty of the static explosion and thought of the time he and Lash watched the earth and grass sit above them like the cosmos. He lost himself in this presentation and let the cold take him.
Chapter Twenty Eight
He opened his eyes and saw the woman of strength pulling at his legs to bring him inside. He was close to death and was losing a sense of time and the sense of his body. The woman of strength knelt over him and looked deep into his eyes into a space he did not know she knew he had. She transmitted a lifetime of information to him. He lost himself in the current. Suddenly, he opened his eyes and the roof above him was ablaze and a radiant warmth had overtaken his body and he began to feel the particles of his being coming back out of stasis. His head cracked to the left and he could see his wife bracing his children, all huddled behind her, as the fire raged above. The warmth continued to unfix his body and with a snap across time he rolled to the side and took to his feet. He scrambled to his family and spread his arms around them to protect them from the fire. The woman of strength threw her children into the stone fireplace for cover and looked at the man. He then realized all that she had transmitted to him and without a word he lept out the door and with an explosion he erupted in flames that blew out a path with a hurricane wind.
He looked back at the structure, now falling into itself, and ran back in. He grabbed his sons and the woman of strength grabbed the girls and they burst from the building as the straw and mud and stone and life and death all cracked and erupted into a plume up into the sky and out into the cosmos. The man and his family collapsed to the ground and watched in wonder as a portal of smoke and ashes and stone and air all teleported out of this plane. The man looked at his family and lost time.
He opened his eyes to the radiant pink and orange of a setting sun. He was cold but he also felt a growing warmth. He looked to his side and saw that he was at the epicentre of a now past explosion. He worked to move his leg and it did. He worked to move his arm and it did. He moved himself up and climbed to a stand. He looked around and saw no one. In a 20-foot radius around him, he saw a mountain of snow, taller than he could see over. He looked to the side and saw the burnt and crumbled remains of the structure. Had destiny been erased?
He walked behind it and all the discs and figures his son had created were broken and all but ashes. He scrambled through the wreck and pulled forth the great disc of time. It was intact. He looked across the horizon of snow and could sense the sun. He looked behind him and sensed a greater force than his mind or the disc could know. The air took to blackness and the sun was gone for the night, yet the disc began to take on light. Each pattern, each fissure began to emit light and it took on a glow, becoming as hot as the surface of the sun. He dropped it out of pain and it began rotating. Slowly and slowly it took on speed. He was transfixed and watched the glowing forms that it made. Soon it was spinning so fast and the heat emitted became too much for the man to take in and he moved further and further away from it. A sound began to form, out of the register of his ears but something that resonated in his being. Soon it took on a piercing presence, both visually and aurally. The man continued to move away from it but remained transfixed. As he stumbled back he hit the mountain of ice that the river had formed and just at his touch it began to melt and take him into it. He felt his arm get stuck and then, above his head, a stream burst forth streaming ice water down on him. As it drown him, he felt himself become a sculpture within the ice and the great disc of time continued to rotate and let loose the greatest radiance any world had ever seen. Resigned to his place in infinity he took in all of its light.
Chapter Twenty Nine
His eyes remained open under the sheet of ice as he was taking in light that was strobing outside of the sheet from ultraviolet to infrared and bursting whites that there are no words for. The disc had gained force, the patterns had left its surface, and he was taking in all of time at once. The radiance glowed out into infinity and the man thought that this would now be his home and all fear left him and he was a pure being. Soon the ice began to warm to the touch and slowly his nose emerged from the shimmering diamond glass that he was trapped in. Slowly his entire body became free and he was standing on the ground but it lost form as the great disc rotated down into the earth and the man was cast into infinity. There was no sense of his body anymore and that did not frighten him. He was not even sure he was there anymore, simply pure experience. The spectrum of colours and the rush of sounds and the touch of everything overwhelmed his senses and he spent an eternity in its glow. Suddenly, a crack pierced the perfect veil and a snap of cold came through and the warmth was not alone. It was then he felt worried but he was not sure for what, he clearly was not on the mortal plane anymore but was where god and the woman of strength were born. He closed his eyes but they did not veil anything and he was experiencing pure being. He let experience drift through him and he was at pure peace.
The man opened his eyes and he was face down on the coldest and hardest ground. As he lifted his head his cheek remained stuck to the ground. Soon it snapped free with some ice and wheat remaining on his cheek. He moved to a stand and looked around him and found that he was in the rubble of the now burnt structure. He looked around and saw 5-feet of snow in every direction but it was barely visible. The more he came to his senses the more he realized that there was very little to sense. The air had no movement or sound in it. The sky was black—no stars, no moon, no roof to anything in the cosmos. He knelt down to feel the earth and it had no temperature or grain to it. He fell back a foot at the stark realization that he was in a void. He let out a primal scream but to no sound. Slowly the snow and the rubble of structure became less apparent, like a fading memory and the darkness was moving forward and out. He stood there plainly as he clearly had no agency in this world. He stood in the void for a thousand years.
It did not matter if his eyes were open or shut, both were the same. After a thousand years, he had thought every thought, replayed the past, and simply wanted nothing more. He became something else, a frozen consciousness not merged with anything.
Suddenly, a crack of the birth of the cosmos rocked through the universe and made him self-aware again. He never knew that he would experience anything ever again. The crack washed passed him and he could hear it and feel it as a wave. Directly in front of him, he saw a point of light, the first light he had seen in a thousand years. It was only a point but it held all the light of the entire universe in it. It began to grow. It could have been a millisecond or it could have been a billion years, but suddenly that light lit up the entire world. In every direction, there was light that waved and undulated around him. It mixed in a strange way with itself and created all colours—colours of the eye but also colours of the smallest particles to the longest waves that stretched from one end of this universe to the next. With all this light came a temperature beyond measure, but one that did not bother his skin. He floated in this bath of colour for another million years and saw so many wondrous things occur when, suddenly, directly in front of him he saw a beautiful white pulse light up this already infinitely lit space. He looked at it and suddenly it collapsed into itself and a black hole formed in the bath of colours. He looked at it and then a sound without measure and a visual explosion pushed the entire universe of light apart from that point and everything went black. He then was pulled into the center of that point at the greatest speed and the cosmos began to rip around him. He could see from side to side as everything began stretching and, soon, it started tearing apart. Colours and fractal forms pierced his vision as he was propelled towards this singular point and he was present at the birth of the universe.
He was now travelling outside of time, he was sure of that. It did not matter how long this journey had gone on for. He did not know if he was moving or if the cosmos was forming around him when suddenly he cracked into time and his movement stopped. He was weightless and was floating in an empty void. He became fearful that he was back at the void he had just spent an eternity in. However, there was a difference here, he had a sense of his body, a sense that he had mass but there was nothing pulling him in any direction and he just floated.
Directly in front of him, he could see a hint of a grain of light. It was either moving towards him or he was moving towards it, in this place it did not matter. Over a million years, he watched this grain cloud get closer and closer and just then a light burst forth from the coming cloud. All the grain particles around it exploded away, forming a perfect sphere around it. And just then he saw the first light in a million years. It came closer and closer until he was floating on the edge of the greatest surface he had ever seen. In front of him was only sun and behind him was only blackness with bits of grain in all directions.
Suddenly, a cloud of grains started to gain momentum around some uncertain point. He turned his back to the great sun and watched. A beautiful spiral formed that had arms of dust reaching out for light-years. And then, without notice, another burst of light collapsed into itself and blew all the dust away and there was more light in this infinite space. This magic continued for millions of years and the man watched the birth of a universe. He kept the first sun touching his back and he watched everything that will be unfold before his eyes. After the greatest length of time, he felt the sun behind him begin to propel him out into the cosmos that stretched all the stars around him and distorted their view. As he rocketed through space as the sun began to eat up the entire cosmos and then it stopped. He turned to it and at a speed faster than perception it slipped back and collapsed into itself releasing all the energy of the universe. It was so bright that the man shut his eyes and tried to shield them with his forearm but the light ripped through him. And, before he could register what had happened, the cosmos went black.
As his eyes adjusted to the new darkness he noticed a giant ring that encompassed him that held all the distorted light of the universe. He moved his head up and around and down and took in the entire content of the universe with beautiful distortion. Suddenly, he felt a pull to the center of an invisible point at the center of the ring and his body moved towards it. As he looked back at his universe he took in all the majesty, glory, and infinite love he felt for being with it all this time. And just then it slipped out of perception as he had crossed the event horizon onto a new plane and here he saw explosions of light, like firecrackers, exploding in every direction. Sun after sun after sun after sun was forming at an unimaginable speed. And as they would collapse into being they would collapse back into the greatest point and explode outwards. He watched this for another million years and the universe became a collection of suns and beautiful black points with glorious rings distorting light around them. Some burst out streams of light that stretched from one end of the visible universe to the next. He watched as these black points would begin to circle each other in the dance of the cosmos and collapse into each other. He watched sun be pulled into their power then, themselves, collapsing, and forming their own beautiful rings or beautiful balls of white or dust of infinite colour around them. This continued for billions of years and he floated and watched it all unfold.
He never closed his eyes again and watched in absolute wonder. He could see the universe turning and clumping into itself into great shafts of light. They created long forms that connected to each other across columns that spanned eons. He watched these columns continue to connect and the universe became a vast web of stars and black points with movement and magic. Then, in an instant, waves of light clapped into existence and began pulsing through the the columns and transmitted the entire cosmos into his mind. He then was ripped from position and continued a fall that took a million years to complete. He fell closer and closer to a point in one of the infinite amount of columns that had formed and started to see each individual galaxy that had formed until he came fixed on one particular point of light. It grew larger and larger until a vast spiral came to form and he could see the diamond glimmering dust of all the suns that circled the most marvellous light at its center. He became submerged in light as he passed each star and star and star and star until his fall ended and he was in a vast cloud of dust.
And just then that cloud of dust collapsed to a center and a great explosion happened that blew all the dust in every direction and he thought how much it looked like the snow that had suspended him much earlier in his life. The new sun raged with light and bathed him in warmth. He watched for another billion years as the dust started to rotate around this sun and start to clump together itself. He saw a great rock form, slowly grabbing more rock and was blasted with other immense rocks exploding out, but over millions of years, all collapsing back into itself. This whole time the sun kept producing light and bathing the scene in warmth. He saw many things over the years and watched a great event as an immense planet crashed into the one closest to him and broke it in two. He watched, slowly, how all the debris continued to rotate around each other as they themselves rotated around the sun as that sun rotated around the great light at the center of the galaxy that itself rotated in a great symphony of columns of light. Forever movement.
He watched the planet and moon form and dance around each other and he watched them be barraged by smaller rocks. He saw great oceans form and could see the signs of great volcanoes. He watched this planet and looked at that sun for another billion years and then, in an instant, out of all the chaos the planet’s outer shell formed a beautiful blue with the whitest clouds swirling around it. This brought a tear to his eye and he watched as the surface of the planet turn green and the bud of the bud of life had taken hold. Just then he was ripped from his divine position and fell towards this planet, passing its gray moon and bursting into flames as he hit the atmosphere and boom.
He opened his eyes and saw his family standing around him. Now aged billions of years he could not make sense of what he was seeing or hearing or feeling in his body or in his soul. He looked into the woman of strength’s eyes and she could see he had seen it all and that this was the great burden he has carried his whole life. This time he could not forget all that there was and this would be a tremendous weight on him, but also the greatest of gifts. She smiled at him, at his return, and he continued to stare at her in disbelief. Just entering back into time it still remained out of focus, like the opening of an eye after a long sleep. He saw Freedom, he saw Mercy, he saw Vadoma, and he saw Lash, yet it was in a way he had never seen them before. They were radiant and it brought him to tears. Mercy fell forward into him.
“Dad, just breathe. Just breathe. You are back. I am here, we are here.”
The man plunged deep into her chest and a river flowed down his face. His body started registering senses and he felt the cold of the snow and the warmth of the rising sun. He looked at the clear sky and took in blue above to white at the horizon. Spring was coming. He looked to his side and he could see him and his family were submerged in deep snow and the explosion from another lifetime was not registering in the snow. He looked at the structure and it was still burnt rubble. Vadoma spoke to him.
“We need to speak, but not now. We have lost the woman with visions and we need to move. There is nothing for us here.”
The man slowly rose to a stand and his wife braced him. He was becoming aware of his body and he was becoming more aware of his senses. He eyes adjusted and he could feel the air with wind and sound. He could smell for the first time in billions of years and it overpowered him. He stumbled as he took the first step of his life. He looked at Vadoma.
“What of the great disc? Freedom’s disc.”
“It is gone. It has done what it needed to do.”
“What of the figures?”
“Dad, we do not have time, it is not on our side. We will die soon if we don’t get somewhere safe and sheltered.”
The man finally got his feet about him and said they must go to the mountains. The woman with strength looked deep into him but he looked away. She knew there was no other way but feared the unimaginable.
They had nothing to carry other than their bones and so the man lead in front and the mother walked behind keeping an eye on their family. The travelled for hours and in the distance, behind a veil of blue atmosphere they saw the hill of mountain. As they approached they saw a path in the snow that winded its way up the mountain. The man looked at the woman of strength and they realized the spell had been broken and that they were in the world of humans again. This brought a great fear within them but they did not transmit that to the children. The worked there way up the mountain and at its peak, they could see in all directions. At its peak, there was no snow but one single berry tree. His family ran to it and started to eat its fruit.
The man chose to look. The man looked to his right and saw the land they had come from so long ago. Should they return to the horrors they were trying to escape? He looked to the right and the rigid winter was still blazing and all the trees looked like they had not seen summer in years. He looked back from where they came and he sensed that someday it would have the bud of life again but not yet—not in time for his family. The only direction was right in front of him and he stared at the mountain range. He vision began to be pulled closer and deeper into the range. A howling sound began to form in his ears and in his skull and in the deep parts of his mind but he continued to stare.
“It is in the mountains we must go.”
He looked at the woman of strength and she believes him but was fearful. She grabbed at her children and braced them. They all sat around the berry tree of life and ate all of its fruit.
He opened his eyes and was cold on the hard ground but the sun was rising in warmth. He woke his family and they all got to their feet and formed a line to follow him. They worked their way down the hill of mountain and off into a field of melting snow. Green grass was poking through and there was life forming again in this land. They walked for hours and hours and the mountains never seemed to get closer. Hunger began to set into his children but their mother gave them strength and they continued on.
The sun gave them warmth as they walked and it continued high into the sky and then back down. They still had a great journey ahead of them and the man went off route and started towards a small forest. They entered the forest and worked their way deep into it for signs of food or water. After a great distance, they heard the sound of running water and the man lept forth towards the sound with all the vitality left in his body. He found a great river, so powerful it could never be crossed. The water was clear with a power of cresting waves that showed its strength and purity. He yelled a yell of life at his family and then he sunk his face deep into the stream and took it in. It was iced mountain water from the mounds of snow that accumulated over the winter but the temperature was full of life that the man and his family needed. They all bathed their faces in the water and took in its life.
When the man had taken all his body needed he lifted his head and looked around him. He saw small bushes with berries and he thought that his family could stay here for the night, gain strength, and prepare for the journey. Or, maybe, this could be a place to stay. Time would tell.
It was cold in the forest as the canopy was so dense that no light could pass through. Their eyes adjusted to this and they moved freely around their new site to find what they needed. Night had now come and they all settled on the hard ground for the sleep before a new life.
He opened his eyes and saw his family asleep in a line. He moved from the ground with pain and was drawn into a memory of all he had seen. Before falling too deep into his memories he lifted his head and look out through the canopy. Beams of majestic light from the god were casting through and it gave him a sense of beauty and love as they all cast down on his family. He stood and walked to the river and splashed his face with life. He looked across and there was a magnetic pull but there was no way to cross, yet the pull remained and he wondered why.
He walked through the woods, passing bushes of berries and trees with mushrooms growing out of their base, but he was not foraging but was surveying. He walked a great circle in woods and felt the radiance of life in this place. It was cool but he could feel the furnace of life’s heat warming it. He came to a great elm tree and at its base was a collection of mushrooms taller than him that gave off a blue-purple light from underneath their caps in the gills. Dust and spores rose from the ground and the small shafts of light breaking through the canopy made for a scene only a mystic could tell. He stayed in its glow, laid on his back, and took in the life on life on life that was all there. He closed his eyes and could smell many scents—sweetness, acid, bitter, earth, rot, flowers, and pure oxygen. Everything was breathing and he was breathing with it.
As he looked into the air he could see his breathe create swirls of turbulence in the shaft of light catching the dust and spores floating in the air. He held his breath and let the air become more still. Then he let loose the content of his lungs in great force and watched how it moved through and with the forest. He could see the mushrooms taking in the air and exhaling it and he could see the trees breathe in that air and breathe out the air for the mushroom and for him to breathe. He lost himself in the mystic breath of life and took a great smile and he felt completely at peace. As he closed his eyes he could feel backwards in his life, watching all the dust collect into stars, that then collapsed and exploded in radiance and bathed the world in all the particles that made every bit of this moment. He could feel himself at the center of a billion suns as each part of his being was being fused together, itself bursting out warmth and light, and then he felt the moment when his particle body would be crushed to an infinite point and then explode out into the cosmos. He felt all this matter flung for eons, then collecting back into another sun and being crushed and blown back out again. He felt the water rushing in his body as it had on a million planets before and felt all the giving and giving and giving that all these particles had been part of over the course of time. He continued to lay there and feel everything. He felt suns explode and evaporate the planets of water, spreading them across the greatest distances of the universe and he understood all of this beyond his bones, beyond his mind, but somewhere else and he could sense where that place was now.
He opened his eyes and felt no difference between him and the tree and the mushroom and the spore and the dust and the grass and the soil and, just then, the ant. His mind collapsed back out of oblivion and he observed something he never knew he would see again. Another being, this gracious ant. He watched it march across the most uneven terrain but with a clear purpose. He was not meandering about but was following billions of years of lessons from life. He watched it march and he moved his head with it. He then crawled on his hands and knees following it with his head close to the ground to make out each feature in this glorious being. Suddenly, it slipped away into a small hole and the man stopped. He looked at the earth and saw a small mound with many holes and he had found the home of the ants.
Desperate to meet all the being in this world he plunged his hand into the mound and began stirring it. His hand was swarmed with ants and he felt them moving on his skin and up his arms and biting at him to stop and so he did. He lifted his arm and saw a million ants climbing on top of each other working their way to his torso. He accepted the pain as being with other being and he laid on the ground and let the entire colony come and occupy his body. And as he laid in resignation and pain he felt the ants stop and they all collectively stood still on him. He laid there with the ants and the mushrooms and the trees and every living thing that was around him.
He did not open his eyes when he became conscious but instead listened and felt with the skin of his body to his surroundings. He listened and took in the quiet of sounds that no human had ever been quiet enough to hear. He slowed his breath until he was minutes between each of them. His heart slowed. His mind slowed. And he was absolutely still. His skin registered movement, maybe the ants, maybe another great being he had yet to see for the first time in billions of years. Or, maybe, he had lost all sense of time and was experiencing it on a different scale. Maybe the roots of the trees and the moulds and the mushrooms had started moving over his body. He thought, with the few thoughts he was having now, that he was a tree or the soil or the mushroom of the forest and he entered into a whole other timescale.
He did not feel hunger but forever felt nourished as he was slowly being taken into the soil and down into the earth and, maybe, up through the root and into the tree or into the mushroom. Yet he still retained a sense of his overall body, so he thought he might not be completely dissolved and that maybe he had made a bargain with the life of this forest to let him rest and simply become.
As ages past he could feel the soil change, it moved and he felt life spring forth from it and take its moment in the shafts of the sun at the base of the great forest. And then he felt it use all the nutrients and water in its reach and he felt it whither and collapse back to the earth where the mushroom reach out around it and consumed its form. He felt another seed take the nutrients from the mushroom and germinate and then spring forth from the soil for its moment in the shafts of the sun in the base of the forest. He felt absolute balance and purpose and, with enough attention, he felt meaning to each cycle—the great battle against entropy.
He continued to lay there for ages and he could feel only his mouth was accessible to the air and the rest of him was deep in the soil where he soaked up and was soaked up by all the life.
He opened his eyes for the first time in a lifetime and saw up towards the shafts of light from the canopy and he saw the great tree of life and he saw the luminescent mushrooms and he saw all the buds of life growing out of his chest. He took a deep breath and the roots that had been his home started to snap under the expansion of his chest. He exhaled and then, even deeper, he breathed in again and more broke and fell to the side. He breathed in the perfect air of the forest and came to a deep deep peace like he had awoken from ultimate sleep. He moved his arm and roots cracked away and fell back into the soil that he was laying on. He lifted himself into a seated position and looked at his body that was covered in the most wonderful layer of green and blue and brown and red and purple and orange and colours outside of sight. There was a cluster of beautiful flowers growing out of his chest and he watched as the buzz of a bee landed on it and took from its nectar. He watched the bee, his eyes getting closer and closer and could see every hair on its beautiful black and yellow body. He would see the translucent blood coarsing through its wings and he could see its mystical eyes. He watched in wonder at the bee took from his flowers and as it gave to his flowers. After a few moments, it flew away and the man had a new appreciation for what it was to be a flower. He felt electrical pulses go down from the stoma of the flower and pulse through his body and he felt pure joy.
As he worked to stand, more flowers fell from his chest as did the rest of the life and he brushed himself off. He picked up the flowers, now not long for life, yet he felt then the life they would have as they returned to the earth. He thought—for the first time in ages he was experiencing his own distinct thoughts—that his children would like to see such a beautiful set of flowers, so he brought them with him. He walked back, slowly at first as he began to remember how to coordinate his movements, in the direction he knew his family would be.
As he crested a small hill he could see a bit of smoke rising out of the canopy. He moved in its direction and found a small set of twig and branch structures around a small fire. His foot cracked on a branch and his wife turned and looked him deep in the eyes. They rushed to each other and embraced so deeply they merged together. He held her and she held him. He needed her and she needed him. They gave and gave love back and forth and refused to let go of each other. Love on love on love.
The man looked her deep in the eyes and transmitted what he had experienced and she smiled at him in pure joy. She could see another layer of the burden being released from him. She could sense he was lighter. He went to his children and hugged them all at once. They all were so much older and he was saddened by how much he missed in their lives but felt peace as well.
He looked at Freedom, now a man. He looked him up and down and the man stood there proud to show his dad what he had become. His father was proud. He looked him in the eyes and the man looked at him and then, like there was something else, he looked away to his side. The man then knew the storm was still in Freedom, but it was not the time to ponder these things. He was just too full of joy at the site of his young man.
He looked at Mercy and she broke into tears. He held her and held her and held her. He cried so fully and held this young womans back. As they came apart he handed her the set of flowers and she then knew everything he knew. He breathed and she breathed. He smiled and she smiled.
He looked at Vadoma and before he could hug her she put her hand out and studied him. She looked far into him and went on a timeless journey with him. Time did not exist between them and they spent his lifetime together and she saw all that he had seen. She was almost a woman but she was now a great seerer. She would venture down into worlds unknown and bring forth knowledge, love, and life that would help anyone that she met.
He looked at Lash and Lash looked away. He reached for the boys face to turn it to him and the boy slapped him away with a force greater than the man took him for. He reached for the boy and he shoved him away and held his eyes away from him. The man used strength and reached out to the boy, wrapping his arms around him, and breaking the boys strength and Lash erupted in tears close into his shoulder. He held the boy and he writhed and fought his father. The man held stronger and called him a warrior from another time. He loved him so deeply it stretched across time.
The man stood up and looked at his family and looked at the life they had created and was bathed in absolute wonder and joy.
[the end of volume one]