Revenant

rev·e·nant/ˈrevəˌnäN,-nənt/
noun: revenant; plural noun: revenants
a person who has returned, especially supposedly from the dead.

Pat awoke into a word of skyscrapers and high-rise apartments. The new realities landscape was a random mix of Italian Renaissance and a modern art deco. Here and there Pat’s will could change some of the architecture into a more attractive Parisian nouveau but only the structures that felt sympathetic towards him.

The sidewalks were full of people out for a leisurely paseo before dinner and bar hopping.

Pat drifted back and forth through the crowd listening to the chatter. He could hear stories of how their day went, plans for after dinner, and on a few occasions the pleasant words of couples in love.
Nothing he heard helped him understand his current presence in such a peaceful setting. By default Pat was always a storm bringer, a gore crow, and the toxic side effect of a beneficial medication. Finding himself comfortablely walking the promenade was a bit unnerving. The only satisfying thing about it was the ability to redesign this world about him as he walked.
Pat did go out of his way not to make physical contact with the others strolling about. Practice had given him the delicate like a glimpse of shadow caught from the corner of the eye. By the time his movement was detected he made sure to be clear with their only view being of his back. When the path seemed too crowded everyone would become suddenly distracted by the amazing transformation of the surrounding buildings.

Pat slipped down the first side alley he found loosing himself into the comforting arms of darkness.

Amongst the discarded boxes and battered garbage cans Pat felt comfortable. Here was a place that served his purpose. Here was somewhere he belonged and from every dark corner draw out energy.

Without concern the dreamer sank back against old mortar and brick. Knees bent and elbows resting crossed upon his chest he listened quietly lost in thought. In all his travelling he had never had time to be at peace. It was not a good sign.

A large cat ran past his left leg. Seconds later Pat could make out the same cat with rat in mouth slowly tearing it apart. The soft crunching of bone chewing and a cats pur drifted out of the alley to mix amongst the sounds of laughter…

I’ve been here before…

Same tired chair, mildewed and stained…

The same ancient cobwebs drifting lazily in a draft.

Even the sounds creeping in beneath the crack of the door.

Everything is familiar, even you.

On the end table sits an empty glass, white chalk stained, with a half decayed bowl of something once edible but now rotten beyond recognition. The passage of time doing us all the favor of removing the stench.

It’s been awhile since the mold gnats and bottle flies maggots paid their visit to such a meal. By the way the dried remains peel and crack away from the glazing of the bowl a considerable amount of time has passed. Other than the ever increasing volumes of books and stories, one of the few signs that things here do change.

Infinity can be found between zero and one, and only understood by those that seem to never make sense.

The old sage sat silently in prayer. He often did. Head bowed, eyes closed, hands folded or left resting motionless upon his lap, palms together.

Unlike most people, the sage would often have his replies by the end of each sentence. If any curious onlookers were able to ease drop they would find the whole moment more of a discussion between a teacher and pupil. Which was which was easy enough to discern. The sage was ever the career student. To know is not enough; understanding is the true gift.

During his lifetime of service the only true peace he ever felt was when in talking to the Author. The serenity and calm making his responsibility to maintaining the library a worthwhile sacrifice.

A quiet voice spoke out from the nothingness of empty air,
Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage:
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage.

As if in reply the sage spoke back, “These heavy walls to me had grown A hermitage—and all my own! And half I felt as they were come to tear me from a second home: With spiders I had friendship made and watch’d them in their sullen trade, had seen the mice by moonlight play, and why should I feel less than they?

We were all inmates of one place, and I, the monarch of each race, had power to kill—yet, strange to tell! In quiet we had learn’d to dwell.”

As if satisfied the response the disembodied voice went back to what corner of reality had spawned it.

“Strange how well you knew the verse and the other to reply.”. The other was used to interruptions. It had always been the most used and over abused form of worship. What did irritate Him was that many of those confused want for worship. Then when those masses fail to receive they then go off on a tangent of self destruction. Sometimes after hitting the bottom of that a repentant few turn back and truly learn worship.

“Never seems to be enough though”, said the sage.

“Someday it will all make sense”, came the reply. “Not until then. And when you get back to your writing, I need to have a review on the Alice situation. We may need to revise a few things.”

The Ringing Bells

Pat sat distracted. He often drifted off and got caught up in a daydream or remembrance of a conversation that happened hours to months ago. When that happened his face would fix into something near in description to an angry solemn look. Perhaps a person could confuse it for a resting bitch face but it was actually less intense than that look. People often left him alone because of that.

Either way, Pat was content with the solitude.

Today Pat found himself listening to the various chiming and ringing in his ears. Somewhere between a constant ring of a school bell to the vibration on the C string struck while depressing the pedal to make it more of a sharp. Today both ears were at war with the other.

It always amazed him how he could still pass a hearing test being so fucked up.

She had taken shelter from the raging storm inside one of the many large oaks in the wildering woods. The softer wood of the core having rotted away generations ago leaving space inside for perhaps six or more stout individuals and a pony. It only lacked a decent floor and a chimney to become liveable she thought.

“She!” a loud voice spoke out in the darkness of the tree hollow. “Our name is Alice, and not she! I’ve but one body, one life, and one voice.”

Surprisingly nothing replied back. It was the first time that there was not even an echo of sound from inside her brain or from outside in the world. Startled by the silence Alice sat quietly waiting for some invisible shoe to drop or a prophetic vision to sweep her mind clear.

Nothing happened. Perhaps all that was needed was a good night’s sleep. After a bit more listen to the dark Alice felt sure that the nights rest had cured her of whatever it was. Alice knew that the journey back home was going to be a difficult one. There were chores left undone, explanations to be made, and even the chance of some sort of witchhunt if no one accepted a less than honest account of sleepwalking or a lie about simply getting lost looking to empty the chamber pot. It was something she did not look forward to.

The soft sweet smell of strawberry slowly drifted in from outside her little den. Alice’s hungry stomach churned in it’s own juices as saliva began to form on a once dry tongue. Whatever it took, Alice knew in the end she was going to have some. With slow determination she edged her way across the tree to the opening the smell came trickling from. The brightness of the outside was near blinding but Alice could make out oddly uniform shapes lining what looked to be shelving. A vast room of books with a strange old man hobbling about what appeared to be a writing desk. He seemed extremely excited and fully energetic for being such an old individual. In his hands he held what appeared to be some baked goods frosted with a pinkish glaze, and dripping what looked like sprinkles and jam. Both the man’s beard, hands, and floor were covered in spots where he had been less than agile in devouring the food. The whole scene only deepened Alice’s hunger.

And that’s when it happened…

Slowly the outside noises of the world would intrude: the chirping of the birds, the repeated shouting of his name, the constant ringing of a cellphone, or the soul shattering alarm Pat set to remind him of important things to be done.

Today it was the single ring of a door bell. They were more like chimes but the hollow ding was close enough to the required tone to pass as a bell. Pat slowly walked around the house. He had found himself outside in the garden when his mind cleared. The garden was small, but pleasing to look at and enjoy.

At the front porch Pat found no one waiting. A package left by some errant delivery service sat snug against the door.

The name on the mailing sticker was addressed from Alice. Pat smiled at the name. Like so many things he had seen and learned in life, that name always rang a bell and a pleasant memory.

The old librarian paced excitedly about his writing desk. The days were few and far between that such a reward was ever granted. He had been given permission to buy some donuts. Not just any donuts though! Krispy Kreme donuts, strawberry glazed with sprinkles, and stuffed with jam if he wished. Though he had to use his own money, do all the leg work, and make up anytime he missed from doing his writing, the sage felt it called for celebrating. He was so jolly that he was positive in the fact he had forgotten something. Perhaps it was the change from the twenty, or the lactate free whole milk he loved to drink now that he was “old”. What the hell, he’d figure it out later.

The twenty-ninth day of the year twenty nineteen anno Domini…

The traveller was very fond of old memories, strawberry shortcake, doughnuts, and the ancient writer who maintained the stories. He found that no matter the time or day those four things could always bring a smile to warm the heart.

Sad fact of the travellers reality, one couldn’t always get strawberries for the cake or hot glazed donuts. So whenever the opportunity to get them the traveller would. It was one of the few things he always looked forward to. Sometimes the traveller had to look back to find them and on those occasions having the love of old memories came in handy. And with those three bound together one could easily understand why the old bearded sage made the list.

“With great humor I laughed even as I write this.”, the sage commented. Something as time progressively circles about, you may notice often happens by him, third person or not. We both laugh a second time together at that confusing thought.

The traveller in all the forms and personalities knew one thing to be true. The sage knew, knows, and will have known so when you write the list, there really is no trouble placing yourself onto it.

“Why I’m fourth on my own list I can’t explain”, thought the sage. “Perhaps it’s because I too cheerish the other three.”

And with that thought bubble explored the sage went back to his writing. (It should be noted that a scribbled message in the border for a request for hot donuts was later found by the author and editor. Something for another story line.)

In another reality information posted on how the traveller graded the present occupied time by the HOT DONUTS sign flashing at a nearby Krispy Kreme. Only the best realities had them, and damn the world if fresh hot glazed donuts didn’t exist yet.

(Here again the author and editor can’t decide if it is truly the traveller or the sage craving said donuts. Something that will be discussed at the next panel meeting.)

Carrying on…

The traveller woke just past midnight. The cold flow of heat leaving his body creating a soft steaming mist. Where ever he was it wasn’t summer. Even worse than the cold, the fact of being completely nude and laid out on a stone slab brought a horrific terror to his groggy mind.

At a young age there were many Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft books read beneath the bed covers with flashlight in hand, then retold by fire light long into the night. Stories filled with dark shapes, beautiful women, and often daring hero’s intrepidly in search of unknown truth. Only rarely did the physical strength ever overcome the unseen evil, when it had it came with a bitter victory.

Happily there too was the great novels of King Arthur, the Holy Grail, Robinhood, Ivanhoe written down by Walter Scott and others. Valiant crusades of justice, good vs evil, light over darkness. Always follow the code of conduct to succeed. Even if you die without victory, those deeds done would bring certain honor to those left behind. Symbols of perfection, and an example for them to follow…

There was Gilgamesh, the Tolkien stories, C. S. Lewis, and the classic mead hall poetry of Beowulf too fill in any gaps. Even the wonderful writings of Alice had there time being absorbed during those earlier years.

Guides and guidance for a future that was yet to be.

The greatest book was T. H. White, The Once and Future King. In it the secrets of time and politics could be unlocked, even understood. Once those pieces feel in place, how large creation could become.

Of course nothing ever happened back then. Childhood dreams of dragons and knights; Kingdoms of elven druids, secret paths unlocked by magic balls and slithering snakes.

Not until the day at the coffee shop.

And being laid out naked flat on ones back upon a wet slab of rock was as far from any coffee shop or glazed donut a being could ever find themselves.

Of all his learned knowledge, poetic stories, and trained responses to unexpected tribulations, the only thought to find it’s way out from the clutter was… “Fuck.”

Hot glazed donuts with strawberry sprinkles dipped in jam thought the Sage. I will definitely hold out for the sprinkles and jam at the next juncture. Surely they will see how the sugar would keep my eyes from wandering as do my thoughts.

Surely.

Wearing the Grey

For as long as he could remember, the man knew he was different. Not a visible defect or an observable point of perfection or beauty. Even his test scores blended in seamlessly with the upper portion of the bell curve. Not in the middle, mind you. He was always just above average but off a mark for honor roll.

The boy he was and the man housing still those childish ideas still could blend into the population. He could excel in any field if he chose to. That’s where the special and different was. The boy and man never needed to. Never had to bother with choice. The path he walked was already lined up. Lined up not in a material or financial way. Neither was it a hereditary or surname position in life that granted such a privilege. And it was definitely not a thing of chance or luck. Through out life that theory had been tested. No, luck and being blessed by the Blarney Stone never entered the equation.

As long as the man did what presented itself and tried his best, life was good. The Golden Rule of do unto others being the biggest lesson he ever learned. Many of those times and lessons administered across the palm with the ruler.

I would like to point out that the ruler used was not golden and being the other never was given the chance to do unto the other. Lesson learned, those who control the gold control the wood. Since the boy nor the man were destined to have control or the gold it was best to tend to the business at hand, never draw attention to yourself. Good or bad, attention was only trouble in the end…

The sage blinked away the cobwebs of his Irish coffee. With a quick read of the words before him he was once again up to speed.

The Man in The Grey Suit was a fitting title for him. More fitting than calling him John Smith, or Joe Bloughe, and even thinking Steve or Martin was just humor gone bad. So The Grey or The Man was a good enough fit.

The background of growing up was new to the sage. Very rarely was information like that provided by the Author. The Author usually leaving off the less important details on first read, leaving those details for the magic and dreams which filled each page, newspaper, magazine, and book.

The sage was fully aware of the fact it was his hand that did the work. The staining of his hands provided plenty of evidence of those marathon journalism events. The thing was he was never fully there when it occurred. By the size of the library and piles of written material that gift of trance was definitely a blessing. If one cared to gather more evidence to prove or disprove who truly was doing the work, the comparison of hand writing and style changed about so much that one would think a legion of writers were at the task.

A Legion was not far off the mark either.

A Night of Long Knives

The dream stalks me into the wakeful world. Glimpses from the corner of the eye confirming what the unconscious mind knows.
They are all here. Shades waiting for their chance to overpower, to overcome me in my own passive inattentiveness.
Quickened steps echo from out of darkness. Fading into the quiet with each hesitant breath the faint movement mimicking the rustling of wind.
But I know and in an instant of white rage the invisible horrors show that they do too.
Blinded by blood and pain that race through mind and body like burning streaks of lightening. I weaken and tire

A wounded elk staggers beneath the burden of the wolf packs extra weight. Muscular limbs and tethered tendons rip free with the jagged sharp bites of death.

With one final attack to the exposed throat their prey topples to the pavement. Liquid life in fleck and splatter now pools a thick crimson about it’s dying host.

The traveller’s day passes into the night; the dreamer slips deeper into sleep.

The sage awoke to the pounding pain of a migraine. Eye sockets feeling ready to shoot out the orbs they protect. The stiffness of age taking second place to the extreme torture of joints enflamed with arthritic swelling.
The thought of an alcohol or a self induced drugged comma crossed his mind in a neverending dialogue of desired relief.
The morning also brought with it a sharp pressure building up in both ears and joining the blistering agony that was currently burning in his throat and chest.

This and the gruesome vision of the Travellers ending was nearly to much.

Being near immortal as in the concept of time often had it’s benefits. Sadly living for infinity also offered up it’s own punishment. One being he still aged. Time waits for no man, it drags him along in a riptide. And still being human the same sickness and diseases could and would often infect him. The only difference between his life cycle and those of other humans was simply their difference in opinion about time.

The seconds trickling by actually didn’t. That’s the misconception about time. One second referenced on it’s fluidity and the next laid out flat like a tape measure. In simple math the blissful people of the world never realizing they had mixed up the units.
Even the simple concept of trying to place time to a line was ludicrous.
Next the world would be demanding equal rights and free speech as seen on a bell curve or slide rule.
No, such a thing was functionally incorrect and impossible.
Try and explain and the doctrine educated book smart population would always shout you down. They had to of course. If not they’d have to admit to being idiots. That is something only the wise and enlightened were ever able to do.

As the Sage finished the first cup of coffee he could feel the long day ahead was to lengthen into another all nighter at the desk.

The Dreamer tossed restless in a emptying abyss of black. Random images and short lines of text drifted in an out of existence.

At times the dreamer felt his boundaries limitless only to suddenly see them explode into a new world and lifetime. A resounding blast of sensation and experiences flung upon the blank canvas of perfect zen. Then in the next instant to be drawn off in a predetermined fashion to a stranger place of a dusky, dank, must filled room. Here time was lined and stacked, shelf on shelf, into infinity and then back again to the start with pi. There nothing was forgotten, every moment documented in the very black that filled the Dreamers slumbering world…

And under its own pull bent back upon itself infinite.

The Start of Day

There are days when you know it would be better to stay in bed, roll over, and spend the next twenty-four hours pretending to be dead to the world.

Today was one of those. If not for the need to urinate every few hours the sage would have liked very much to have stayed in bed and taken the day off.

The early morning hours were spent preparing for what always turned into a marathon day of writing, blogging, scribbling, note taking, and the occasional tweet hashtag used to prompt later memories back into the forefront of consciousness.

This new age of simplicity seemed so troublesome and bulky to the sage. ” It was a new age of multitasking than one of intellectual freedom or growth,” said the sage out loud.

“So says you”, croaked out a small voice.

Half ignoring the interruption the sage continued on with the mornings chore of gathering and sharpening his pencils, cleaning and reshaping the quill, topping off the ink well, replacing the blotter or reusing some older one, and the restacking of parchment and tablets into a more tidied pile.

To the old man these forms of creation had a more artistic beauty to them. A flow of skill in the shaping and shape of each word and line. Such a wonderful talent as any sculpture or painting could ever be. The sage didn’t quite put the same skill or label of craftsmanship to this age of spell check and font choices.

“Only an illusion”, said the small croaking voice, and as quietly as it came was gone.

“Good riddance”, shouted the sage. Hoping the loudness of his voice would follow the unwelcome visitor back to where it had originated, he new better. “Illusion and allusions, mixed metaphors without pretext, trouble me no more.”

And with that the sage lit his stove, heated up the water, and began to prepared his morning pot of coffee.

“Today I think there will be a touch of Irish to it”

And another day began.

The twenty-fourth day of the year twenty nineteen anno Domini… in the Book of Pat.

Every day is a new day, and every day was just the same as the one which proceeded today. And as always everything made perfect sense but only if you chose not to sweat the finer points and details. If you did decided to be one of “Those”, and fell into the dangerous trap of actually thinking then insanity would soon follow. So in the linear line of time (time being abstract; a line being a curve with zero radius; zero being undefined) all things end as they began. This story being a poor documentary on events leading up to that very beginning, and will only make sense in its ending. That is where this story begins… at its ending but only after. Don’t worry, you’ll eventually know something of what I talk of, just be patient and you will see.

A wise man once said that life meant forever and that is a mighty long time. Well since that time he’s gone on another kind of elevator ride but even today those words ring true.

Life has it’s own energy. Try as you might to snuff it out, life will always find a way. As the arrow of time moves on life will always begin again even if it has to kill itself to do it.

“Here I pause”, so says the sage. “The black ink runs, staining fingers and page. Letters written, soft words spoken, all take time to settle in upon the fresh medium of paper and mind. As said before there really is no need to hurry. We all find our way back to the beginning in the end.”

A feathery pen lays perched upon it’s rest, and the stopper is securely placed upon the ink well. Atop the desk a powdered page lays waiting to join another… and an old man sleeps slouched in his chair if for but the moment.

#the sage, #the book of Pat, #wakeful dream, #entropy, #time, #philosophy