I’ve been here before. I have sat in this same dust covered, mildew eaten chair. I have gazed out across this same room with its piles of magazine and newspaper stacks. I have taken pride in the organized rows of books that younger hands once carefully placed upon now collapsing shelves.
My dry blood shot eyes watch as the dust falls. Layer upon layer sediments of time flow down from their unseen creation. Still I sit and watch this world evolve, and I am satisfied.
A game of chess. Each volume and periodical but a piece upon the board. Every mote of dust a single move across this limitless chasm of creation. Alpha and Omega, beginning to end, the Lord plays on.
We are but observers, Watchers who share in the one body. All share in the glory or at least we should. Some walk away or turn a blind eye to the match set out before us. Spoiler alert. God wins with or without your patronage. Your choice is to accept the win or loss.
I am sorry. Distracted by the vastness of reality my mind wanders.
I do love the soapbox, and the ancient sage easily slips into conversation with the limitless unseen voices of this world. Sometimes I forget which one I am talking with or do I mean to?
So how are you doing? I see that you’ve bought yourself a new fancy since last we visited…
Everyone knows they’re never as good as the last one you had. Things are cheaply made so you will have no choice but to get another. The box it was packaged in is often of higher quality. It’s a little bit of the evil this “modern” life tempts us to accept. You should vote with your money and learn to do without. You’d be better off.
Off on another tangent. This world is full of distractions. If you don’t notice different things then what’s the point in smelling another rose. You need something to reference it to.
The Dreamer dreams beneath a turquoise sky. White foam floats as a silky sheet across the sun warmed pillows of sand. The white noise of the wind mixes fluidly with the birds of the air and gentle sounds of the rippling waves.
The Dreamer dreams, day becomes night.
The flash of light and sudden blaring of a horn startled the man in the grey suit into wakefulness. He had drifted off for a second into some partial memory.
With another blast from the asshole behind him the grey man took his foot off the brake and slowly accelerated on the gas. In his heart he knew that what he really wanted was to hit reverse, and turn a small moment of time into an epic spree of self discovery.
“Fucking asshole” muttered the man to himself. “Fucking world of assholes.”
The Sage was having a rather mixed day. He was slipping in and out of the differing realities so quickly he barely had time to let the ink dry between pages. That’s the usual come the first days of spring. Rebirth brings an extra energy to the writing that the long cold winter lacks.
Pat watched as the kids helped set up the shooting line as the other adult volunteers manhandled the oversized targets into position. The gate was placed at the distant far end of the lineup. A slightly pear shaped woman shouted out commands from that location. It was for that reason Pat had placed his chair a good distance further down the field from the other spectators. She was really loud, and she loved blowing that whistle.
“I imagine she wanted to be a life guard as a teen”, Pat said out loud.
“Let’s see if that’s true”, the sage replied to himself. With the practiced flip of the wrist the book before him flipped open.
Never mind what you are thinking because you’d just become confused. The ink stained sheet of parchment that was being was never but the book was, and is for everyone present. That at least until it’s no longer. You see…
Her name is Dottie, or Dorothy depending on which frame of time she thinks of herself. Presently it’s Dot. Just a small spot at the end of a sentence.
Dot took another long blow at her whistle making both the Sage and Pat wince.
“Anyhow”, The Sage continued muttering to himself. “It says here teen Dottie had a strong passion for David Hasselhoff, and some of the others from Baywatch. So it’s a fantasy rather than a desire to actually become a lifeguard.”
With the reading of that knowledge and a slight unseen twitch of a big toe the plain covered manual labelled “Comas, Dots, and Quotation” disappeared. Elsewhere in the vast library a sharp sound of a book upon a falling book could be heard.
From somewhere overhead a disembodied voice spoke, “That ruined the cool factor of what you did”.
The Sage just rolled his eyes.
It has been awhile since our last visit to the Doorman and his doormat.
“Yes, it’s been quite a long time since anyone has come to visit”, the Doorman spoke out
“There’s a reason”, said The Sage, and with that an unseen door clicked closed and locked. “I really must remember to close those passages behind me when I go out.”
I have been here always. Knelt before the same wooden altar. Bathed my mind beneath the ever shifting light of stained glass. I have read and pondered the stories that remain framed within those panels of glass.
They are glittering jewels that dazzle the eyes. Drawing the mind into the inner light that radiates out filling the void of the room beyond. Marble floor with the patterned grain of darkened stone tracing out it’s ancient markings from time long lost beneath the sea. Here in quiet remembrance the candles burn, and none but I know why.
The Watcher sat just beyond the doors of the great hall. The large metal rings which had been fastened as the doorhandles and knocker lay flaccid against the ancient wood. Their immense diameter and thickness making anyone’s hand look childishly small. No one as far as the Watcher knew had ever tried the rings to gain entrance to the rooms beyond. He had though witnessed the rare occasions when those within had swung open one of the doors to come out. Usually they emerged suddenly and in silence. The great doors hinges effortlessly giving way, and then with little effort reversing back to the closed position. It was during those random moments the Watcher was able to see the doors construction. Thick as a man’s forearm, and framed with metal bracing within. Definitely stout enough to slow any intrusion of people or sound. As for the room beyond it was shrouded in an eternal darkness, but at the distant end one could just make out a sparkling of jewels upon the floor and a dazzling wall of colored light. The Watcher imagined that between the brilliant glitter of jewels and blinding light a dark figure knelt silently. Any certainty on exactly what lay at the far end was to never be known by the Watcher. Some places he knew well enough to stay clear of. It’s just the way it is.
Have you ever watched the world from behind locked doors? Spent the days and nights lost in a drug filled haze? In a murky quiet found absolution from the confession of the soul?
He was a tall man. From the discolored yellow socks to the last wisp of grayed hair he would have stood an impressive seventy five inches if not for a stoop. Years of emotional withdrawal from the world around him had manifested into a passive slumping of the neck and shoulders. The effect gave the watcher the impression of a passive mouse. Nonthreatening in appearance the observer could easily dismiss what they saw as a harmless old man. Someone easily taken as feeble in mind and spirit. They’d be greatly mistaken. Only after making contact with his darting green eyes would you truly see the man before you. A spark of other worldly power flowed in them. Dark emerald mixed deeply with a hazelnut burst from some alien nebula. Somehow they expressed both an anger and peace at the same moment. With a furrowed unkept tangle of eyebrow overshadowing the slumping gaze it was not often an individual could intercept his gaze. No, the only thing most people would see of the face was an insane grin. A grin that was stretched taught across yellowed teeth, and highlighted by dry cracked lips and the drip of a thick viscous drool. Even the aperture of the mouth was overhung like the eyes by a disgusting growth of long unruly hair. These though grew out vulgarly from the nostrils, and to the disgust of any curious spectator often dripped with a condensed collection of snot or mucus.
My beard is scruffy Growing it longer on the chin while cutting back the rest to stubble Thread worn clothes Constant use has kept shirts permanently stained Unwashed jeans carry damage from friction, time, and thorns Like some art nouveau palette Many vibrant colors of oil, acrylic, and grass, harshly dye the denim Weathered canvas and leather finish the form Twisted shoelaces holding together boot The hard rubber tread walked down to slick smoothness Odd cuts through the edges giving a unique pattern in the mud and grime of the city
It could be the sleepless nights or just constant sickness reddening the eyes The slightest breeze bringing out a tear Blurred vision of advancing age The fingernails are clean Every opportunity taken to maintain that air of godliness One other thing shows through the layers of unkept rubble An even, straight smile Without gap, bend, or chip White tea stained teeth Another glimmer of some other existence
Who would ever know or care to guess The judgemental quick to label Uncaring for their own commandments Incompetent in a lackluster religion They would unknowingly look down upon Jesus, John, and a host of martyrs Confused as to those burdened beneath the cross
Before my days grew cold Naked and unafraid I walked the wilderness bare The coarse earth bore my presence Silent footfalls beneath the endless sky of blue Golden light filtered through green seas of leaf Undulating waves back and forth moved with the soft breath of God Floating feathered squadrons in an endless circle Farther each moment High above
The sharpest blade tarnish and dull without the touch of decay The strongest bull and fastest horse stumble upon the rock Youthful vigor drains away evaporated with disuse In old age wisdom flounders where truth has lost its worth
I am forgotten upon those places where once I traced my name No sacred tree carries remembrance of me All time worn stone and fire scarred wood have long dissolved with bone And yet I hunger for tomorrow Though I never see the day
Words had become unwelcome aliens to him. During the long, lonesome days of summer verbal expression was of little importance. Even the occasional jotting of notes and poetry had all but disappeared from the watcher’s daily habit.
The absence of human company had begun to void all progress socially made in the early spring months. The warming heat and longer days allowed the once tight knit group of vagabonds to expand out into newer territories. Though beneficial for the group it only drew Pat deeper into isolation mentally and physically. Soon the weak feelings of trust, compassion, and fellowship would all be forgotten. Replaced by an insane anger and hate for the world as a whole.
Change was what the watcher hated most. Wether it was the sun, the season, a simple object out of place, any altering to the system was to be avoided. Only hunger and the need of shelter could drive him back into society, and force a change to the routine.
If only they knew or understood the danger. The thing they felt most at ease with had died a very long time ago. That person had laid buried in some shallow grave for more than two decades, a victim of some forgotten war. The only protection he could give to them and himself was a wall of apathy. Any attempt to break through would almost certainly unleashing the daemons within.
Enoch knew first hand what now walked the earth. The thin cloak of flesh and bone did little to conceal the seething hate and rage boiling within. It is to Enoch that the watcher often thought of. Not since the desecration of Babel, the rise of the Sumer and Olmec ziggurat, and the cataclysmic drift of landmasses had the host of legions been at peace with what he was.
Ah the good old days. Before Moses and his big ten, and the writing of the lesser others, “Pat” had beta tested every one of them with a few still in need of repeating.
How had the worm turned. Robbed of the freedom of the æther. Imprisoned to never touch the quintessence. Left to lay dormant beneath the ever increasing weight of invisible chains. The punishment was fair enough. The watcher knew he was given a very lenient sentence. After all eternity and infinity were going to be a very long wait anywhere he could be placed. This bit of community service on Ki wasn’t without it’s pleasures. The irony was because of those pleasures he was being chastised…
Pat sat waiting.
The clock on the wall had long since died, and now forever marked it’s death at one twenty-three.
It was post meridiem. The watcher knew because he had watched that last hesitant movement on August 5th as he had witnessed the first energetic second back on June 3rd one and two-thirds year ago. The time then was five seventeen post meridiem.
The uselessness of keeping “time” was as pointless as having two heads attached to one heart. When the “time” came both would get there at the same moment.
(Somewhere a small chuckle could be heard. Though the sage only wrote the story as it unfolded a turn of a phrase by his own hand could make him still giggle.)
(Old men often laugh at their own jokes while the rest of the world looks puzzled. – editor note by the author)
Left undisturbed the clock on the wall would never grow old, never change. Though the dust of ages piles up upon it face, and the corrosion of the batteries spreads to eat away within. The clock would never know or feel the changing hour
Pat was very much the same. Forever stuck at one twenty-three p.m. Physically corrupted, mentally deranged, but for the spirit always the same. Time had stopped. The movie that he saw was forever set on a loop. The actors in it always moving along, developing their character, then when the plot line needed a twist a new star would appear as the older one faded from scene.
It mattered little. The movie was set upon a continuous loop. The stage would reset, the actors would take their marks, and somewhere stage right a voice would be heard saying “Action”.
As many loops and layers of film and tape were to be used, a good actor could always improve his skill. In that one hope both the author and watcher had learned to count upon. They both had witnessed enough footage left behind in the cutting room floor.
Even now Pat knew it was time to splice, exit stage left, and in the following drop of the curtains listen to the sounds from behind the props.
The mountain folk were a completely different nation unto themselves. They were proof that a drawn line wasn’t what made a mixed group of people into a country. They were proof that it would make them enemies…
The forest underbrush had nearly completely obscured the trail. If not for the occasional bent reed or bare patch amongst the bracken a traveller could easily become lost in the half light of the bottom canopy.
Other than the man made tracks he was leaving behind there appeared no other sign that any other human had passed this way in generations. That was something very disheartening and troubling. The traveller had more than a lifetime of training in tracking and survival. He had even more memories of the countries landscape. Images of before and after floated across his vision, each step made on the internal magnet that could guide a homing pigeon or smart bomb to their final destination without error.
The only problem came with the now. The now could throw a wrench into any plan. The now could be raining or blazing dry, a flooded landscape or a burning forest fire. Only the Author knew for sure what the now would be. It was in that way He made sure the traveller would stay true to the story. At least that’s how everything usually went.
Alice nether knew where she was or when she had been there. The whole tumble from the one next into the other had left her a bit addled and confused. If it wasn’t for the sugary scent of strawberry glaze frosting that was currently drifting about the place Alice probably would have stayed in that kaleidoscope frame of mind for quite some time.
Hunger… Alice was very hungry. The first sounds to reach her ears was the growling of her own stomach. Soon after that conscious thought came the pain of the tight cramping knot of her guts slowly churning. The need to separate reality from delusion was to take second seat for now.
With a quick scan of the room Alice saw that presently no one was there. The rows of shelving and stacks of literature were present. The large ancient writing desk stocked with and ink well and piles of parchment paper was located just how she had seen it. The only thing absent was the box of pastry, the old man, and the ever increasing mess of sprinkles and jam about the floor.
“Damn”, Alice thought. “Missed out and stuck here, where ever here is.”
A almost unheard voice spoke from the dimness of the library. Alice almost mistook it as one of her own thoughts spoken out loud, then as the return of the insanity from the night before. “From where does the strawberry grow? From what does the hunger know?”
“Through what path have you vaulted? For what reasoning has time yet not come?”
Alice felt as if a door had opened and with the fresh in flux of air slammed yet another doorway closed. The sudden shift of pressure bringing a bit of nausea and the threatening kaleidoscope of confusion she had already overcome.
When the room returned to normal Alice noticed a few more lit candles burning, the box of pastry opened and set within arms reach from where she stood. The strange old man was busying himself with an even stranger white container with blue labeling. Without a single gaze back over his shoulder the sage asked,”Glass of lactaid free milk, Honey? I mean Alice… I fear we haven’t any honey at this moment.”
Pat sat once again in his garden. The summer heat had came earlier than expected but not so early that it would ruin the plantings. He’d have to run the drip hose more than usual until everything had set down good root.
The sky was filled with white cotton candy clouds; Each set drifting on a sea of pastel blue.
Many years ago Pat had hung many small wind chimes about the wood that surrounded his home. He had set so many so long ago that the watcher couldn’t remember where they were exactly. All Pat knew was on beautiful days like today the effort had been worth it. The native songbirds with a musical accompaniment by the wind softly off set the rustle of the trees in the cool summer breeze. “I know that reads as a horrible sentence, each word exactly accurate and the moment perfect.”
The dreamer dreams in lingering thought of reality unending and stories yet untold. Painted visions of peopled cities of different make that rise and fall like the breath in sleep.
Here there is no ticking clock to arouse the slumbering Buddha. No changing season to cast alarm to those senses that watch the sky for rain.
The dreamer dreams of reality unending, and of stories yet untold…
Pat watched the passing traffic. All the drivers going by shared the same emotionless blank face and self absorbed gaze. It didn’t take a detective to see their minds were distracted by secret thoughts of what they wish to do to the other assholes driving. Occasionally one would act upon that emotion and swerve into another lane. A succession of honks and horns would immediately erupt from the offended then the offender. There was nothing entertaining about watching it.
Across the street a mother and daughter were just exiting a white SUV. The child looked to be six years of age, very short, and very thin. The mother was only two feet taller, slim waisted, with a half starved but fit build of a runner. The black yoga pants she wore left little for the imagination to guess at. Perhaps she was in her early thirties. Nowadays it was becoming more difficult to guess a woman’s age. Even the daughter, depending on the size of the father could have been twelve years old and malnourished.
Here too was nothing of interest to the watcher. Maybe if the woman had red hair or was a large busted blonde Pat would have given her a much more intensive observation. Instead his attention went more to the little girl and what was held tight in her left hand.
A long slender ribbon tethered a bright red balloon to her. Recently bought or gifted the elastic shine of it’s red bobbed back and forth under the tension of her pull. The nearness of the slow moving traffic sent it eddying this way and that above the girls head.
Pat watched as the two figures disappeared into a resale shop. The red balloon bobbing even as it faded from view in the store.
A silent prediction was made that upon returning the red balloon would be absent, and the little girl’s mother would be dragging her by that very same hand. The pleasant expression upon their exiting the white SUV would be gone as well…
A dark cloud lurked upon the distant horizon. It looked like more than just a small rain shower on the way. A stiff breeze blew past. The storm was going to be strong enough to carry a mix of dust and leaves with it.
The traveller looked impatiently over her shoulder then back to the approaching storm. The sun was already a soft rose colored orb drifting down behind the tree line. It looked to be a cold damp night with still more distance to make before she would feel comfortable enough to seek shelter.
The look of the path ahead was of one well tended and high trafficed. The chosen route would be an easy one to travel. Still the uncertainty of the present and her purpose here was an annoyance. It had been to many times that the traveller had been caught in the open that they would ever allow it to happen again.
“They”, she repeated out loud. The host was still attempting to override the situation she now existed in. This insanity had the tainted smell of witchcraft. Whatever daemons had possessed her during the night and coaxed her sleeping body into this unplanned pilgrimage was not going to continue without fighting it the whole way. At the moment she had to admit to the sensation of being thoroughly screwed and a bit out of control. The voices inside her brain, and constant hallucinations overlaying the real world were enough for now to keep her following the path “They” had chosen.
They continued further into the wildering darkness. Like the insanity of voices, and the deepening night, the enveloping woods soon swallowed her up from the world she once new.
Pat watched as the sun slowly sank behind the grey clouds of rain. Even now the rosey reds and brilliant rays of gold were becoming muted by the storm.
The once invisible homeless became active moving about. They shuffled by with cardboard tucked awkwardly beneath the arm, strips of plastic or confiscated garbage liners clinched tightly against the blowing wind.
Pat could see the same lines in their faces and hands as his; The same age worn stains upon clothes, tired odd sized boots and shoes worn brown with neglect.
“How many times has it been?”, the voices asked.
As if in reply one green eyed transient looked nervously back over his shoulder.