This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Copyright 2010 By The New Scum Productions Most, if not all, rights reserved. Http://www.TheNewScum.ORG Http://www.ZachElmblad.COM Kalamazoo, Michigan These words shall not be made available in a public forum without written consent of the copyright holder, except in short excerpts for professional critique. Share, and share alike, but profit not.
Screw Plagiarism, and FUCK censorship.
A Puzzle of Squares. Squares 0 – 5 0 Preordination 1 Life 2 Death 3 Gaia 4 Logos 5 Nightmares
square zero. preordination
Fate. Do you believe in it? What is fate? A map? A framework? An absolute? Some think our only fate is to die. What if the only thing you could do with your life was end it? Not because of some misguided and pathetic illusion that nobody cared about you, or because of the emotional ebb and flow of being alive. Not because you wanted to, necessarily, but because you had to. Some things are far beyond our control, it seems. Only a fool rules out the outlying possibilities. ~3~
It isn't so often that we sit by ourselves and honestly – truthfully – re-think the choices and labors of our lives. We may remember, we may choose to forget. We are the sum of our past and present, and we are those forging the future – our future. Not just ours in the first person possessive, but in the manifestation of the cumulative whole all in the same. Just as surely as we will rot to dust, so will our names be spoken long after we're dead. We are the progeny of destiny, as much as we are the ink that marks his book. We are not merely flesh and blood, but minds beyond the body. Carriers of a message, and bearers of history's standard. Free will? Sure. We have it. Your mind is your own. Nobody can take it away from you. Manipulate it, though? Shape it's narrow view? Provide it goals, and feed to it persuasion? Lay traps, force conjecture, distract and beguile. These are our weaknesses. The weakness of those depending on the will of others to complete their own. We are forever tied together in this life, all those we have lived, and all those we will live. We, in essence, are forever. New iterations of the same past. Most wouldn't take offense to that. He did. He will, he wants to.
But he doesn't know how to make it stop. Yet. The wheels of the cosmos turned, the great giant clockwork of the ages. To those wise to the ways of the universe, time is only a context. Reality only a pinpoint on a map of endlessly iterating chance occurrences. That's how they built it from nothing, after all. Out of nothing came the chance for something, and out of that chance for something came the chance for anything. That was the truth of the matter. You could call them gods, but they would laugh at you. Even your concept of god is a diluted pinprick of intuition compared to their light. Steadfastly maintaining our cute little Earthbound musings and squabblings with one another existing as tiny ants of insignificance and misplaced aggression. The real movers and shakers, the real people behind the shrouds, the grand architects, and the clock-makers; they know the time. They have seen the beginning and ending of countless existences you couldn't even fathom. The rise and fall of galaxies, the shifting of star clusters, the very breath of life itself across all reaches of time and space. They silently watch, maintaining the clockwork as it marches it's solemn stride.
Does one walk a path of preordination, or a path of illumination? Are we learning, or simply uncovering? Where does destiny fit in the mechanics of the universe? If all that is, was, and will be was planned out in some fabulous spark; what would be the point of living inside the bubble? What would be the point of even having existed at all? To prove what? To what end? From what premise? What would the world look like from outside that sphere of influence, outside that fragile construct of momentary cohesion? He felt that urge, that pull He wanted to know what the big picture was, but not what the 'big picture' was to his narrowminded college professors and mentally cataleptic peers. He didn't know if he was different, or if he just felt different. That's what they told him he was. They told him he was disturbed. Grossly cynical. Prone to nihilistic delusions. Delusional. That's what they called him. To him, it was the essence of his being to consider everything they held true as a delusion. He felt like his mind was trapped inside a useless container, a constrictive vessel that would not allow himself a level of comfort he desired. The human body isn't equipped to feel clockwork of that magnitude. He couldn't think it, he only felt it.
It caused him pain, now. Suffering. He was not among friends. In reality, in the context of those around him, he was a miscreant. A delinquent. A rebel type, a dangerously free-thinking deviant. A sociopathic monster. A person who dared to say that they were, indeed, right about things which you were wrong about. A person to be kept far, far away from normal folks. Humans feel threatened by the preponderances of time. They are not meant to think on those levels. Earth is a paradigm, a fill-in-the-blank form. Our existence, a checklist on the cosmic clipboard. A proving ground for an engineer of the very fabric of existence. He knew that he knew it, but it felt like he was remembering something he had forgotten long ago, or maybe like he was learning about something he was barely able to perceive. Perhaps someone or something was trying to tell him some important information, some missing piece of a puzzle he was putting together in his mind. If one thing was true, it was that he had plenty of time to think. Time was one thing he had an awful lot of.
square one. life
He was a man. His name isn't really that important, hell he could have been anybody. Not even who he was is either interesting, nor important. He was just another of many that got randomly selected to be a guinea pig in some sort of bizarre experiment called life that he could have never dreamed up, or properly explained afterwards. But it did happen to him. He would be certain of that soon enough. He stepped out the door onto the front porch. He nearly slipped on the accumulated ice, reacting quickly to regain his footing. He gently bit his lip as he gazed off somewhere toward the horizon. He wasn't looking at anything in particular, just looking. In his mind, he played through images of grabbing the ~8~
maintenance man's head, a hand on each side, and forcefully thrusting his knee into the lazy bastard's face. That'd remind him to put the salt down, wouldn't it? He could feel knee give way to nose, which in turn gave way to bone. He didn't just see it, he felt it. Like it was actually happening. He could even feel the warmth of blood soaking through his jeans as he bashed away, loving every second. He could feel a new tooth loosen and give way with every thrust of his kneecap. He made no sound as he dropped the man's head, which smacked loudly against the wooden deck rails. He watched as a pool of blood formed around the man's head, slowly passing the blue collar of his stupid work shirt, forming eddies as it flowed past his matted and greasy mop of hair. He shook his head and coughed, realizing he was now standing in the front yard of the halfway house. He thought, again, but more lucidly and self-aware than he had the time before. It was two different extremes of self-awareness. The first, merely temporal and imaginary, the second existential and mental. Full mental awareness of his own body and actions- in reality, not in a daydream.. “How long have I stood here? Just looking off into space, man? Fuck!” He said it aloud, even though no one was within earshot with the exception of the birds in the leafless trees. The birds
whistled the tune of the day as his boots made time crunching through the fresh snow on the sidewalks. It was a two-block walk to the bus stop, a fifteen minute ride across town to the burger place he worked at. It was in this small amount of time every day that he truly lived. Sure he might have been alive the whole time, but as far as he was concerned, this was the only bit of real freedom he had anymore. His freedom had always been his life, and having his freedom limited had made his life seem smaller and more insignificant than his pride had let him feel before “the incident.” That's what he called it. When he talked to all the therapists, it was understood that he would simply refer to the last three years of his life as a cumulative “incident.” He had stopped talking to his parents long before any of it happened. This incident had left him without a home, a dollar, or a friend to his name. Sure there still might have been people who called him friend to his face, but they couldn't accept him into their homes after what he'd done. Friends and loves lost, drywall fist holes and boots through doors. It wasn't even a memory to him. He honestly couldn't remember most of it, just an alcohol and drug induced blur of three years. And that one memory he couldn't lose. The worst one. The feeling of knowing everything that happened, but not knowing how, when, or why. It had all come to him at once as a big ocean of memory snapshots as he curled closer to the fire he had apparently made just minutes before. He was bleeding from
the neck. He tried to help the therapists. He told them stories, but all of them were just made up from pieces that he recollected. He told them about the people he lived and worked with, the people he drank with, the names and faces, and the endless parties. He remembered things as brief whisps of memory, like he was grabbing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle in his mind, but there were no connections. No pieces cut with a curve to fit together. The pieces were just squares, he had no idea how they fit together. He would imagine things, looking down and to the right, with the furthest of far-away stares as he remembered “things” ten to twelve at a time. Flashes of memory, some as mundane as the sound of his foot smashing a door; some much more vivid and sensual, lasting from seconds to minutes in length. He knew he had done some pretty bad things, and as he remembered them he wept. It was a double punishment to his conscience. Not only did he have to re-live the painful memories of his past, he had to be punished for them without fully knowing what it was he was being punished for. His charges were malicious destruction of property, aggravated assault, attempted suicide, and breaking an entering. There were court-room appearances, pleas made and bargained, institutionalization and more drugs. Different drugs than he used to take, but drugs nonethe-less. Drugs that did the same damn thing the last ones had
done to him. It made it seem like nothing he did was real. Like he had broken the gap between reality and imagination. Anything could happen, and he could never remember if it had actually happened, or if he was just imagining it. Such strange things, memories. So real, yet so not real. “Drugs,” he thought out loud, again. “Drugs will be the death of me.” He looked at his hands as he walked, as he tended to do. The crunch of his boots served a natural rhythm to the chirping birds and the sound of the bus as it rolled up and those loud brakes overtook everything like a screaming electric guitar. He hacked again as he took his last swallow of free, but cold, winter air before entering the atmosphere of bus air. He scraped the gob of cigarette tar and mucus from his teeth with his tongue, and spat into his hand, wiping it on the front of his jeans. It was Friday. He was allowed a home visitation for good behavior, and he had chosen this Sunday.
He hated his mom, but it was the only way he could get out of his halfway house other than work. They wouldn't let him leave except to go to work, and he had one of those things on his ankle so they knew where he was all the time. He didn't know who “they” were, because it was always a different one. Some guy, in a suit, a lab-coat, a uniform, or even just normal clothes- some guy, telling him what to do. If he didn't do it, he was berated and, sometimes, even abused. He did what they said now, anyone who told him what to do. “They” told him what to do. He got one day a month, if “they” judged his behavior to be satisfactory. One day where it was OK for him to leave the house without getting tracked down by dogs and men with guns and badges. That was his freedom. The twenty minutes of travel time
from home to work and work to home, and his one “home visitation” a month. He called it home, but it wasn't really his home. Neither the halfway house, or his parent's. He hadn't really had a home for years. It was just sleeping on couches for nearly a decade. His “home visit” was to his parent's house, a house he hadn't lived in since he was sixteen. What he did know, though, was where the drugs were in that home. His mom was a pill-popper. One of those old, angry, fat ladies who just keep eating pills. More every day, from psychological misdiagnoses, and from psychosomatic “pains.” It was pill, burger, pill, burger, pill, vodka for that lady. He hated everything about her. Her voice, the subtle choices of bitch language, the fat rolls leaking from her shirt, the sweat stains, but worst of all the smell. It was a pungent, musty smell. One that he could never forget, like a gym sock soaked in vinegar and thrown into an open latrine. That smell permeated the house, and he had smelled it since childhood. He spent his time outside, back then, far away from the smell and that horrible woman. “Fuck.” He swallowed, and clenched a fist as he looked out the bus window, just off to the right. “I fucking hate her.” He didn't remember himself being so violent, so prone to
anger in his imagination. Maybe this was the new drugs. They let his violent side out. That's probably what the therapists would say, but they didn't really know him. He didn't really even know himself anymore. Just that ocean of square memories without connection. Memories as real to him as the seat he sat on in the bus, as real to him as the burgers he had flipped for eight hours a day, five days a week. The fast food places were the only people that would hire him anymore, the only people that didn't check references. All it would have taken was one phone call to any of his previous employers to guarantee he wouldn't get the job. He rode the bus home, and walked past his boot tracks from earlier. He imagined seeing himself as he walked back, giving himself a high-five as he passed. He walked up the stairs, and looked down at the ice, still unsalted. He didn't break into violent reverie this time, he just instinctively grabbed for the bucket of salt near the door. He scooped a cupful, and scattered it in front of the door. It looked like tiny marbles thrown on a sheet of smoky glass. He watched as they rolled and came to a stop. He watched longer as they melted tiny holes into the glass, slowly shrinking in size. For the brief moment in time between when the hole was made and the marble of salt completely disappeared, that quick instant, he thought, that was when the marble had finally made a home for itself, only to be dissolved away. A springtime smudge, scrubbed away with a deck-brush on the first sunny afternoon of May. It was the first time he had thought cohesively about what he was
going to do. “I'll break into that medicine cabinet when she's eating.” he whispered at the salt disappearing into it's newfound home. “I'll find the best sounding stuff I can, I'll eat it all, and I'll die” He said it, and as he said it, he thought about what that meant. Death. He had thought about it a lot. Before the incident, he had been in and out of Philosophy classrooms where the concept of death was dealt with like one was writing a fact sheet on a tourist attraction. Finality, the end of life. That's what he knew it as. He didn't want to reset, he didn't want to shut down. He wanted to jam a chemical screwdriver into his motherboard and end it. He didn't want it to be messy, like with a gun. He had already tried cutting his throat, that was one of his memory squares, but that obviously hadn't worked. He woke up again. That was the first time he woke up after the incident. When the sea of memory squares had come into his mind to float there and torment him. He didn't want anything to do with it anymore. He found himself, at times, wishing that his crimes against humanity had rendered him terrifying enough to warrant a death sentence. He was a petty criminal. One deemed safe to slowly release back into a “society” which wanted no part of his presence.
He shook himself out of it again, and walked in the door and up the stairs, boots clunking up the stairs marking the time to a different rhythm than that of the birds and the crunch of the snow, but a sad, solitary thud of a boot on a stair. He unlocked the door to his “private residence.” “More like private hell,” he chortled to himself. “That's what this is. My own private hell.” He didn't believe in god, nothing of the sort. The Philosophy had beaten that out of him. “They” wanted him to believe in god. They even tried rationalizing with his philosophies. Even if it isn't real, and it's just a metaphor, it's a good metaphor, isn't it? A good way to live, through the teachings of Jesus and all that. He thought this Jesus guy was kind of a pussy, turning his cheek and crying in gardens and stuff like that. A big “boo-hoo” story full of needless torture, guilt, and inhumanity. His mom had never brought him to church, he didn't even know what religion was until his friends at school had talked about going to church on the playground. Hell, to him, was a symbol. A symbol of what someone feared, hated, and loathed- a symbol of oppression, servility, and malcontent. A symbol which rendered itself nicely into his reality.
This horrible place they called a halfway house. It was prison, let there be no mistake. He was allowed out only for work and his one day, dependent on behavior. His behavior wasn't good, generally, as he had never quite gotten used to his freedom being taken away from him. They kept telling him he'd get it back, that they'd “restore his civil rights,” but he knew it was a bunch of bureaucratic garbage. He'd always be on some list, somewhere, at the Airport, the DMV, the car rental place, from something his potential employers called a “background check.” He knew it was over, he wasn't free anymore. And that's why he wanted to end it. “I just want it to end.” That's what he said when he went to sleep Friday night. He woke up, Eight in the morning on a Saturday, for his “day off.” Which, at the halfway house, meant his day of chores. His list that week was daunting: Morning inspection of his private residence, coffee in the dining room, calisthenics, breakfast in the dining room, three hours of laundry duty, lunch in the dining room, four hours of “cleaning” which meant anything from urinal scrubbing to dusting the cobwebs from the storage room, dinner in the dining room, and two hours of “social time,” yet again in the dining room, which was the worst of all for him. He loathed his fellow criminals. They were a savage lot of petty thieves, con artists, and shifty-eyed borderline sociopaths. It wasn't that he couldn't associate with those type of people, he was all of those
things. But they were stupid, and he smart. Something he couldn't help. He had always said that the only good thing his mother did was keep books around. Despite her large list of irritating idiosyncrasies, she had been an avid reader of the type that like to own their books, and she had developed quite a large library by the time he had reached early adolescence, and he would walk to the park and read for hours to escape the smell. By consequence, he was verbose and literate, which marginalized him from his mongoloid compatriots. He fought through his Saturday like a Homeric warrior, gaining kleos through vanquishing his enemies. He slept soundly, but before he fell asleep, he broke his day's silence with the same words he had ended the day before, and the last hundred days or so before it. “I just want it to end.” The pills he took from his mother's well-stocked medicine cabinet were a mixed handful, mostly painkillers of varying strengths and lists of side-effects. He read every bottle, matching it up with his repository of drug knowledge gained throughout the years. He recognized one in particular, Oxycontin, because he had an allergic reaction to it when he tried it for “recreational purposes” a few years back. One of his memory squares was a snapshot of an apartment bathroom where he had convulsed,
naked, in the bathtub for the better part of an hour. He had nearly died. If he took enough, he figured, this would surely do him inespecially with the help of the rest of it and a few swallows of the Jack Daniel's he had poured into his empty thermos while his mom was taking a shit. They never checked his thermos, he noticed, because every day it was filled with coffee. They had no reason to suspect otherwise. He knew better than to bring a bottle in, they'd check his backpack for sure, but they always knew he only drank coffee from that thermos. That's how he got the pills in, too, wrapped up in what seemed like a thousand layers of plastic wrap he had taken from the deli sandwiches his mom had bought them for dinner. They never checked the thermos. It wasn't a hard decision to come to, death. As far as he was concerned, it was just going to end. It's what he had imagined, what he was certain was going to happen. He'd die in his sleep, they'd find him in the morning when he didn't come down for coffee, and he'd rot in the ground, somewhere, wherever they put him. Life ends, and you're dead. No more drama, no more bullshit. Game over. It was easy, he figured. He'd fall into a somniferous daze and never snap out of it. It'd all just end- no pain, no sadness, no burdens, no regrets. No memories. It seemed so funny that he had fought so long to stay alive, doing what it takes- working, making money, spending money, doing drugs, just
getting through the days. He never really wanted to do anything with his life, he almost seemed angry that he was alive to begin with- he had no purpose, no agenda, no reason. Nothing drove him, not love or anguish , not profit or loss, not good or ill. He just ate his food, did his drugs, read his books, and lived like it was a chore to be alive. It was the tiny, insignificant, capsules in his hand that made him laugh. A loud, hearty laugh that reverberated through his private residence. It seemed so funny that these tiny things were his ticket out of here. He was so big, and they so small. Surely it was funny to him, if not morbidly funny, that after all the endless toil and sacrifice of life, with all the memories, it would all be over a few short hours after he swallowed these innocent looking pills. He thought about the marbles of salt on the porch, how the pills would make little homes for themselves in his gut, sinking into acid-soaked piles of chewed up burgers and fries. Making a little home for themselves inside him, for that brief moment in time while a pill was busy being a pill and not a silent dissolved assassin. He shook himself out of the daydream, and arranged the pills in a row, left to right, from smallest to largest. He looked at them for a while, and he mused to himself about which pills would find homes in which piece of his stomach's real estate. He imagined them buying and selling plots of land to each other, maybe inventing new ways to shield themselves from the
inevitable digestion, like little people living in a world they didn't know was toxic to their very being. He thought they might become altruistic and sacrifice themselves to re-patch the thinning coatings of their loved ones with their own coatings. He decided to wait, just another day. He hid the pills in the spine of the only book he was allowed to have in his private residence, a brown vinyl-bound Gideon bible. “Nice guys, the Gideons, giving out books and what not,” he had always thought. He wished it was something a bit more to his liking, like the Iliad, or maybe some Vonnegut, but at least he was allowed to have a book – even if it was the Bible. He only read Revelation, but he read it over and over again, every day. He thought that was the best part, and it reminded him of one of his memory squares, which was the peak of a mushroom trip he had during the incident. From being opened and closed so many times, the vinyl on spine had escaped the cheap adhesive, providing a nice little pill-sized space when the book was opened and left on the desk. It was like a little tent for the pills to camp out in before they made their final move into their burger town to live and die as what had now become anthropomorphic pill-people in his daydream. He wasn't having second thoughts, it was just good to know
that he was finally in control of his mortality. He felt free again, and he wanted to feel that feeling of freedom that he hadn't felt for so long. He called in to work sick for the next morning. He knew it wouldn't matter anyway. What would they do? Fire him? He'd be dead the next morning, sure as the spring thaw. He called his ex-girlfriend, the one that gave him herpes, and made a date. He ran away from the halfway house that night. He didn't go far, just far enough to make his date at the coffee shop down the street. He told her he was going to do it. It was an expression of his freedom. She told him she thought it was a stupid idea to run away again, but she promised to meet him anyway. She was the only one he could talk to lucidly, because she wasn't a “they.” She had a name, Becky, and he knew that name. He used to say it to himself sometimes just because it was the only name he could remember other than his mother's. She had a face, too, a face that could have belonged to a thousand girls. An oval face, with perfectly proportioned eyes, nose, and mouth. Her ears were a little small, but no one ever saw it because she kept her brown hair brushed straight down the sides of her face, framing the perfection and concealing the imperfection. He never looked her in the eyes, it was one of those weird qualities that fit him into the “shifty-eyed criminal” archetype. She had been weird about it at first, but eventually accepted it for the simple quirk it was. That's the thing he liked best about her. She didn't care about stupid shit. He was already resigned to his death long before he met her, she was the
lady that worked the check-in desk at the halfway house.
At least, before he “mysteriously” contracted the same sexually transmitted disease she had, which confirmed “their” suspicion of fraternizing aroused by the fact that the two had been spending a great deal of time together around the house. She was the only one that could ever rouse a conversation out of him. They had only had sex once, the first time he ran away from the halfway house. She had been a promiscuous one, which he had always figured was why she had herpes. She wasn't a spiteful person, she was a good person, and she wouldn't have sex with anyone who didn't have herpes. She loved him, at least what she knew of him, and that was
enough. He didn't care about herpes, just another scar on his already scarred body. He was going to die soon, he wanted it, he just hadn't quite figured out how he was going to do it yet, and he couldn't mention it to the therapists, they'd put him on lock-down for sure. It had happened once already. He had to completely convince them he wasn't suicidal anymore and he very much wanted to live, and twenty days passed before they would let him sleep in a private residence again. On lock-down, you had to sleep in a well-lit room full of bunk beds and built of windows. It was on the third floor where the security guards, physician, and therapists were. “Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty two weeks a year- to take care of you, to watch you, and to help you regain your civil rights.” That's what they used to say to him. He thought it was funny. They didn't like it when he laughed, they said it was recalcitrant. He knew what that word meant, but he pretended he didn't, and he laughed at it like all the mongoloids would laugh at him for using a big word. It amused and entertained him to invent himself for the therapists. They had huge files on him and everything- all lies, intricate and perfect. The first time he ran away from the halfway house was to fuck her. He had saved up for a hotel room, and that's where they found him- she was long gone by the time the cops came to drag him back. One time was enough, and it was less than a month before his first outbreak, and the house physician recognized it immediately. She was the only known carrier in the house, and it
was easy to put the pieces of that puzzle together. She lost her job, he lost his only friend in the world with a face and a name- his only friend in reality, although he had swathe of friends in his memories. There were many familiar faces in his memory squares, and many familiar names, he just couldn't quite match them up to his own satisfaction- or “their's.” He knew they'd find him, they always did. It was that stupid thing on his ankle- he could never remember what it was called. Some stupid, euphemistic name, like “GPSBuddy 2” He didn't like to look at it, so he didn't. He knew he only had a short time to say what he needed to say before he would be apprehended and dragged back “home.” “Did you bring me what I asked you for?” “Yeah,” she said, as she slid a pack of cigarettes, a lighter, and a set of earbud headphones across the table, towards his cup of coffee. “I'm doing it.” he said, staring into the coffee, stirring the drink slowly. Clockwise, first, then counter-clockwise, to watch the waves ripple and crack. “Doing What?” “It”
“Oh. It. The big it. The end.” “Yeah. It.” She started to watch the same ripples he watched, as if she could possibly see what he saw in those ripples. They had intellectualized suicide to a moot point. She knew there was no convincing him not to, she had tried, and it was impossible. She knew what he'd say next. “The only thing that makes me feel alive is the certainty that I have the ultimate power over my own life,” he said, sullenly, as if on cue. She could have said the words right along with him, and she almost did. She feigned contemplation, neither of them breaking their locked gaze on the coffee ripples, but both of them instinctively soaking up the world of their peripheral vision. “You know my stance on that, and you know I understand yours,” she said, following a prolonged and heavy, but barely-audible sigh. “That's why I asked you to come here.” “I had a feeling, it'd been a few weeks since you last called me”
“I had to convince them I was improving” “Naturally” “I love you.” “No you don't. You love what you wish we could be.” “I know, but for me, that's all love is.” He gave her the rare glimpse into the eyes he seldom gave to anyone. “You and your Philosophy.” She smiled. She smiled, because this is what their conversations were always like. That's what she liked most about him, but she never mentioned it to him. He had a way with words which made her feel as if she were in close personal contact with a character in a brilliant artist's masterpiece. She could look past his scars and see him as he was, before the incident, as a potentiality that took a wrong turn in a decisive divergence along the road more traveled. Not a road of contemplative stoic virtue, but a road of earthly pleasure, and violent reverie. It was his world. She knew it, and she accepted it. She knew that was what he wanted from her, an intellectual love. He would have found it disconcerting and emotionally fruitless for her to be physically in love with him.
“Philosophy doesn't matter when you're six feet under ground” “That's an epitaph for you.” “Give me a pine box with no marker” “I,” she paused dramatically, not because she was melodramatic, but because she wanted to give him what she knew he wanted, some sort of closure fantasy to his fantasy of a life written down on the countless legal pads in his file. She had seen that file, and knew the words for the lies they were. “I love you, too” For a second, she thought he'd cry. She fancied he would. She wanted to, deep down, be the one who finally talked him out of this stupid suicidal sacrificing himself to himself like a god thing, but she knew it only played further into his intellectual martyrdom. He didn't cry, he got up suddenly and moved to an adjacent table. “They're coming, you'd better go.” She went to the bathroom and cried silently to herself, and she was proud she had the strength to have lasted that long. She
listened to the sounds of him, the polymorphic artist's ideal, being carried off by very real, very reality-entrenched men with guns and badges. It was muffled by the door, but she could imagine him submitting, but still being dragged off like a recalcitrant miscreant. He had no rights, he was working to restore them. “His act of defiance in running away was a demonstration. We feel that this time it was an act of an acceptance. He didn't go far, he knew we would come for him. It was an act of boundary testing. A result of partially restored civil rights on his home visitation.” That's what the therapists said. He had kept a straight face for the whole thing, except for that moment they said “home.” “I have no home,” he wanted to say. “I want it to end,” he wanted to say. “I don't know what you're all talking about, I just went to get a cup of coffee,” is what he said. In reality. He acted dumb, and he laughed when they said “demonstration,” because he always laughed at the “big words.” That's what he called any word they said with more than three syllables. They didn't even know he knew what the word
“syllable” meant. He knew it, and he had planned it that way. He didn't even graduate from college, and these men had spent half their lives in college to toil on his behalf. He figured he would invent a challenging case for them, one with twists and turns, half based on reality, and half based on fiction. What they didn't know is that he couldn't really tell the two apart anymore. They asked him questions, and he timely responded with prudent lies as they scribbled on legal pads. He was allowed to return to his private residence. As he unlocked the door, his eyes went immediately to the open bible on his desk, which lay undisturbed right as he had left it. His thermos was still placed on the nightstand, right where he left it, between the lamp and the alarm clock. Right as he left them. He sat on the bed and took one last look at the room around him. His “private residence.” He hated the euphemisms. “I just want it to be over.” He let the words roll out of his mouth like a puff of smoke, to no one, as always. He had become accustomed to intelligent debate with himself. “Soon, it'll all be over.” He took the pills out, one by one, the little pill-people. He
re-arranged them on the desk, in front and parallel to the bible, opened to the first chapter of the book of revelation. Left to right, smallest to largest. He glanced over to the thermos, but decided not to pick it up quite yet. He had one last thing to do. “Who's a man that doesn't have any last words?” He jammed his hand into one of the drawers of the desk and produced his journal and pen. He was encouraged by “them” to keep a journal which, of course, they read daily. He ripped a page out of it, and set it back into the drawer. He looked down at it, and he spat on it. Underneath the spit, the ink in the letters of his name started to bleed together, an image he relished as a symbolic erasure of his existence. He liked symbols. “Soon, it'll all be over” he said aloud. He wrote his last words on the piece of paper torn from his journal. He thought of his conversation with Becky earlier that day, and he started to write: Philosophy doesn't matter when you're six feet under ground. I have lived a life. It was my life. It wasn't a good life, or a bad one, just a life. It wasn't a life they would have approved of, and it isn't a life they know about. It was my life, but I can't
remember a fucking thing about it. He wrote the words as clearly and deliberately as he could, as if he were carving them into a solid chunk of marble. He didn't write them so much as he etched them onto the page. It was slow and laborious, and he took great care to space the words esthetically on the page. It was then that he began to cry. He didn't couldn't figure out why. He, after all, had resigned himself to death long ago. He was disgusted by people that hadn't. Death is the end of life. He knew it, and he didn't know why people were so distressed by this simple fact, which he had no logical or existential trouble swallowing. Tears rolled down past his nose, through the faint and crooked lines of skin that led to the corner of his mouth. He tasted them, the salty excretions he knew to be commonly caused by emotion. He thought about it. What death would be like. The end. How would it end? He thought about stories he remembered as tiny squares in an ocean of puzzle-piece memories, stories of the old gods intertwined in the ancient philosophies. The old books, the ones he liked. The books that blended myth and history, fact and fiction. The books that failed to separate memories of daydreams and memories of reality. Books like the book of revelation. Like the Iliad. He thought of Charon, the the ferryman of Hades. He thought of Ahmut, the devourer of souls. He thought of reincarnation, of heaven and hell. He thought of where he might
fall in the fold of the ancient religions, were they to be true. He thought of the mediocrity of purgatory, the harps of heaven, the fires of hell, or the cold. He thought of the excruciating balancing of his heart to a feather, or perhaps of drinking mead with Odin in Valhalla. He found the thought of death was now entertaining him to some degree that he never thought it would. He brushed his religio-philisophical ponderings aside, stood up, and grabbed for the thermos on the nightstand, opened it, but set it back down again. He laughed to himself, finding it amusing that he kept thinking of things he wanted to do before he died. He ventured downstairs, to the dining room, for a bottle of water. There was a constant supply of bottled water kept in a cooler downstairs. He had never seen anybody fill it, but it was always full. He took one, and awkwardly noticed the distinctive sound of cubes of ice falling to fill the vacancy left by his having removed the bottle. It echoed through the empty dining room, and he remembered the two other things he wanted to do before he died. He walked down the hallway to the library. That's what they called it, but it was only self-help books, spare copies of the same Gideon bible he had in his private residence, and the thing he was looking for: the only computer in the house with internet access. It wasn't a part of the halfway house computer network, and it was used as a supplemental fund. People in the house paid
for internet time, but there were no speakers, and blocks of time cost residents fifty bucks for half an hour. It was an unsupervised half hour, though, because there was a lock on the only door to the library, and there had been too many complaints of the poor young interns un-like Becky (she didn't mind when he did it) that had to watch residents jerk off to images of women doing things they had never dreamed of having done to them. He had one half hour credit to cash in, and he had been able to smuggle the cigarettes and headphones in his coat pocket during the apprehension at the coffee shop and subsequent interrogation. He had a good last jerk to some Anime-style pictures of emaciated gothic lesbians with wide eyes and tentacles coming out of their vaginas. The girls each had a cigarette in one hand, and a gladius hispaniensis in the other. There were cigarette burns and tiny cuts all over their bodies, and the tentacles coming from their vaginas caressed the breasts of the other, and of themselves. To most people, it would have been hideous. To him, it was the funniest thing he had ever seen. He wasn't looking at the picture to jerk off, he did so wishing he had taken the time to fuck Becky one last time instead of having to walk up the stairs with his spent ejaculate staining the front of his jeans like the tar coughs he ground into them daily. He liked to tell the therapists about tentacle porn. It made them squirm. Some of them touched the crucifixes around their necks like it would keep them safe from him. The patient. The resident. The sociopath.
As his time alone in the library came to a close, he thought of what he wanted the last song he ever heard to be. He had heard so many songs he liked, he was a big fan of music. All kinds, and it was a very hard decision. He decided to go with “Wish You Were Here,” by Pink Floyd. He found it quickly, just a few keystrokes away. He took the earbuds from his pocket, and inserted the tiny little metal part into the hole in the back of the computer. He chuckled as he accidentally rubbed his arm against the drying semen on his pant-leg. “Heh, Gross. You're disgusting!” No time for laughter, listening to the last song of your life. He listened carefully, and intently as if it was the first time he had ~36~
heard this song he had surely heard a thousand times. It ended, and he checked out of the library. He didn't say a word as the disgusted lady at the desk, who was not Becky, stared blatantly at the milky stain on his pants. He laughed; like a maniac looking her dead in the eye, scaring her, so that she would not follow or interrogate him. He had these people eating out of his hand with psychological manipulation they never thought possible for human beings to exhibit on other human beings. He walked up to his private residence, clunk-clunk clunk-clunk, listening to the sounds of his boots echoing up the staircase. He closed the door behind him, and realized he had foolishly left his suicidal implements in plain view, arranged like a regimented dose. The room smelled like Jack Daniel's from his open thermos. Foolish, but he hadn't been found out. They usually didn't bother checking in on him after dinner, they would know if he the house. They always did. They were being predictable today, to his eternal gratitude. He sat on the bed, and thought for the first and last time, that he might not go through with it. He nearly slapped himself at the thought. “My life blows, I hate it, and I want to die,” He said. “I just want it to end.” He slapped his knees as he stood up, grabbed the thermos and took a small mouthful of Jack Daniel's. It seemed to bite his
tongue, the alcohol, his long lost love back to see him off. He kept it in his mouth for a while, tasting it painfully, and he swallowed it. The biggest pills were the Oxycontins, and he set aside one, with a single finger, as he sat at the desk. He closed the bible, and put it back into his drawer, on top of the journal, the spit-ink blur now dried to a faded mess. He centered his last words on the desk, with the pen elegantly set just on the bottom right corner like he'd set it down after writing it. He unceremoniously gathered his pills into a fist full of pill-people, and swallowed them with a large gulp of water, off to sink into the pit of his stomach to make their homes and live their little pill-lives before delivering a cumulatively fatal dose to his unconscious brain and bloodstream. He took his house key from his pocket and smashed the pill he had set aside, and carved it out into one long line of powder on the edge of his desk. He opened the desk drawer, opened the Gideon bible one last time to the book of revelation, tore out the first page, folded it in half, and rolled it into a tube. He inserted one end of the tube into his nose, took a deep breath and leaned toward the line of powder. He hesitated long enough to remember the pack of cigarettes Becky had given him, and he took it out of his pocket. He grabbed the cellophane tag, and with a flick of his wrist and a snap of his fingers, the package was opened like he had done a thousand times before. He removed the foil, and took out a cigarette. Djarum Blacks, his favorite. He ran it under his nose and inhaled deeply the smell of cloves, setting the pack on top of
the bible, and closed the drawer. He lit the cigarette, puffing quick and short to make the glowing tip a smoldering cherry. Residents were not allowed to smoke in private residences, but he figured no one would protest this one time, especially if he were dead. After a few puffs, and another swig of Jack, he put the tube to his nose and insufflated the entire line from start to finish in one single breath. He paused to recollect how he knew to do so, and remembered another brief square of memory- snorting a tremendous pile of cocaine in the back of a strip club with one of his friends, who's face was clear, but name was not. He swallowed the last of the whiskey, holding the thermos upside-down and above his mouth, savoring every last drop. He looked, one last time, at his last words. He felt content with them. He took off his clothes, folded them neatly, set them on the floor at the foot of the bed, and threw the cigarette butt out the window. He laid there, silently, on his back. He began to feel what he could have only described as “numb,” if there were anyone around to hear him say it. They would just write it on a legal pad and chatter amongst themselves about the new revelation. He stopped thinking about “them.” He stopped thinking about himself, and he stopped thinking about everything as he spoke his true last words, the words no one would ever hear or read” “It's all finally going to end”.
As he closed his eyes, he felt as if he were falling in to a warm, comfortable place that seemed to beckon him further and further on as he seemingly sank lower and lower into his mattress. Lower and lower yet, the sinking feeling hit rock bottom as his heart ceased to beat, he breathed his last breath- a long, wheeze, of a last breath- with a tiny puff of clove cigarette smoke that billowed out of his lips like a rising spirit, and dissipated quickly into the darkness of his private residence. As the smoke disappeared, all was quiet, there was no sound. Not the sound of rustling blankets, the sound of breathing, or the faintest touch on the ears of any microbial dust mite of any heartbeat in the room, and he was dead. It didn't end. He woke up, as if waking from the soundest sleep of what he could now call, in past-tense, his life.
square two. death
He wouldn't have called it waking up as readily as he would have called it remembering. It was as if he had entered his first moment of true existential clarity. He remembered what existential meant. He remembered words, language, he remembered that he was a person. A mind. His first moment of retrospect outside the fourth dimension. It happened quickly, lucidly, and without the grogginess of waking up. His eyes opened abruptly, and the moderately-lit room had no features that shocked him or drew his attention. Easy, logical lines of chairs along three of the walls, with a space every few for a coffee table with a smattering of magazines he somehow knew he wouldn't be interested in looking at. Like a doctor's office without the kid's toys, hand-print wall-paint, and ugly multi-colored floor. It looked more like a probation office lobby. Like a rehab center. ~41~
He was alert, but he didn't exactly know what that meant yet. He remembered things, some things. He remembered that he was alive, once, but he thought of it in the past tense. He could see it all in his mind, nothing conclusive or cohesive, but memories ranging from early childhood to his death. Mundane things, like the alphabet. He could surely remember that. He said it out loud, remembering how to speak as he said it, his words echoing down the empty lobby and back at him like he was talking to himself in the third person. “a...A...b...B...c...C... and so on.” He remembered the whole thing. He looked around at his surroundings, now slightly confused, at the pale beige chairs and the cheap-looking coffee tables. He remembered a hundred doctor's offices, the rehab lobbies, the airport terminals, all the things you'd see in those places seemed to be around him. He always wondered where people buy that kind of crap. No one would ever put it in their house, unless it had a lobby. “Lobby Furniture,” it must say in some catalog you can only get if you're “in the loop.” The floor was linoleum that looked like it came from the fifties. He remembered what linoleum was, what “the fifties” meant. There was no one else in the room with him, not a breath or a stirred bit of air except from his lungs and his movements. Art hung from the walls, unrecognizable modern impressionist flowery crap, but it
certainly wouldn't offend anyone. It was there because it was supposed to be there. People put crappy art on the walls because any art that's good, someone else doesn't like. So if you put something stupid, like a stuffed bear and three blocks, three colors, three letters – A, B, C – maybe a wooden top with a -greenspindle. That would be the “crazy artist” bit. Grandmothers could hem and haw about why he chose to use green, and not one of the colors of the blocks. It was vapid, useless art, merely a way for some schmuck to pay his way either out of art school, or into a bar while he yearned over the art he really wanted to make. He remembered what art was. That it wasn't just there for nothing, it had an intended purpose of being looked at, of being admiredeven if mundane. Who applies for a listing in “Lobby Furniture Digest,” right? He remembered how there were public places like that all over in his life, where things were just there because they were supposed to be there. Places where you were not supposed to be comfortable, just adequately contained, pleased enough to settle your patience while you wait. It was a place where you never quite knew how long you'd been waiting. Had a minute passed? A second? There were no clocks on the wall, he didn't know what time it was. How could he know how long he had been waiting? How he had gotten there? He remembered the last thing he did-
He died. His life had been lived and ended. So that's what this was. This was... the afterlife. It hadn't ended. Cut into the only wall not surrounded by chairs, the wall across the room from him, there was a closed receptionist's window. The kind with the bullet-proof glass and the hole with a metal grille. Like a gas station on the bad side of town. There was a small opening in the bottom, presumably to pass forms back and forth, but the window was covered from the other side by a thick, black curtain. No light seemed to be present on the other side. ~44~
Next to the closed window was a large, black, heavy looking door which he could have sworn he heard steps coming from the other side of. A tone rang out as if coming out of nowhere. He saw no speakers, but recognized the mid-range crackle of a PA speaker coming to life. He remembered what a PA was. One of those noises you're trained to point out as a small child, but forget about until you hear it again- in some antiseptic and authoritarian place. A meekly frigid female voice leaked out of the PA. It was a friendly, official-sounding voice. She didn't sound familiar as if he knew who she was, she sounded familiar in that she sounded exactly like a woman announcing through a PA should sound. Like it was an archetypal PA voice, one that wasn't heard so much as imagined. “Welcome to intake, the Doctor will see you now” The door swung open, revealing a man who stood with a hunched wisdom. It was an old man, one who looked like each wrinkle on his face accompanied a story which never ended. He thought for a moment that he recognized the man. The man held a clipboard loosely to his chest with the crook of his left arm, a cup of coffee in his left hand. The man then gestured, noncommittally, with his right hand. As he gestured, he grinned, which moved a long cigarette in a holder from the front of his mouth to the corner.
“You are dead.” he said, suddenly, with a voice that was neither caring nor interested. “Does that surprise you?” “No, I think that I had kind of planned it that way” “So you did, and so you are. How much do you remember?” “Bits and pieces, mostly just stupid things like someone I think was my mother telling me to remember to wash behind my ears. Picking up a 96-count box of crayons, and having to settle for the 48 because we “couldn't afford it” “Naturally. It's the big memories that you have to go back to, that's the deal here.” “What is this, purgatory?” “Watch it- that kind of crazy talk will get ya whispered about.” “Where are we?” “The dark center of the universe. Doesn't that sound cool?” “It doesn't end?”
“Nope.” “Why?” “Why not? We don't bother asking questions like 'why' around here anymore,” the man said. “Ok, but here... is a, “here,” right? “You will listen, and you will listen carefully. Walk with me” “Why should I follow you?” “Well, you can follow me, or you can sit in this lobby for eternity. Your choice.” “So now I have choices? I can't even remember my name.” “You have many choices, and your name is Lux.” “That's not my name” “If you can't remember your name, how do you know it isn't Lux?” “I just know”
“Your name, here, is Lux.” He held up a file. A name is a good thing to have when you can't remember anything important. Lux got up. He stood up from the chair, standing on the feet of a dead man. It was like he was watching a movie of himself, from himself, and he was controlling the movements- but at the same time, he knew what he was going to do when he did it. It was still pretty weird. Oddly reminiscent of some wild hallucinogen. Obviously he never died and went to hell, or whatever this was, tripping balls on acid; but he had thought about what might happen after you die a great deal. He was not pained to walk, it was effortless. He walked confidently towards the man. About ten feet from the door, he stopped dead in his tracks and gazed at the man. “You, you're- no fuckin' waaay!” “Kind of. I'm Chronos.” “Like that video game?” “That was Crono. More like a catchy Greek or Latin name with little or no inherent meaning to you or whatever it is you are or do. Take yours for example. Lux. Light. It's just how we decided to name ourselves a long time ago, that's all. It came into fashion
sometime around the Earth time-context of the Victorian Ages. Every time someone dies for the first time, they have to come here, wait in the damn lobby, and I come get them. That's my job. It's what I do. While I'm here, at least. Now come on, God DAMN IT man, you're wasting my time!” “You look -just- like Hunter S. Thompson” He felt stupid, as he said it, because he hadn't had the faintest clue who that was, just that he looked just like him. “I look like what you wanted to see when you died.” “Yeah, I did always say you'd be the first one I'd see when I went to...” “To hell, yes I know. That's what everybody says about him. And no, that is not what this is. Christianity was bullshit, you knew it when you were alive.” “So, am I still a person?” “No, not really. You're more than a person, you're a fully actualized existence. You are a- well, I know it sounds bad- but think of yourself as a traveler. You're trying to get to point B.” “Where's point B? I'm so confused”
“Look, don't ask any more questions, OK? You're gonna have to hear a whole big speech and all that nonsense from Phalanx, and I just don't want to get into it.” “I had kind of hoped it would all just end” “What, you thought you could just quit? Ha, doesn't work that way. Existence is kind of an endless thing, man, you'll see- Earth is just a training ground of sorts, it's like school. You can't readily drop out of that school, except by committing the greatest taboosuicide. You still die, all the same, but you missed out on a lot more fun. No matter, this existence won't bother you a bit.“ He was trying to put it all together. Who he was, and what it meant to keep existing after life, without all the Earthly religious garbage. Gods this, gods that, he had no idea who he had to please, who “they” were around here – the people who told you what to do. He knew that he was kind of pissed off, though- the fact that it really all was just a big test. He was trying to figure out why it made him so angry. He followed Chronos, who looked less and and less like Hunter S. Thompson as they walked down the hall. He remembered who Hunter S. Thompson was. He remembered reading “Fear and Loathing” for the first time. He remembered all
the good times watching the movie, quoting it, re-enacting it, living it. All at once, it just popped into his mind from seemingly nowhere. Chronos turned to look at him, and the recognizable face of the good Doctor dissolved to a different face entirely. Without pronounced features, just a “face.” They came to the end of the hallway, and stopped at a door, heavy and black, like the one he had entered from the lobby. It had a silver tag on it, which read “Preliminary Intake Briefing Room – Gaia, Galaxy Sol, Planet Earth, Time-Context: American English, Michigan, United States, Post 9-11 – Pre 2012” He thought about how official sounding that was. Like the rooms in a halfway house he lived in one time. He remembered a word- euphemism. Two words, private residence. Three words, I hate euphemisms. “Well, have fun.” Chronos, said, as he nonchalantly opened the door. “Lux, what's up, dude?” Said a man that looked eerily similar to Chronos, just a face, no distinct features or memorable characteristics. “How do you know my name?” He said it, but he still wasn't comfortable calling himself that.
“Lux is what the name on your file is. It means light, didn't Chronos tell you?” “Yeah, so that's not my name?” “No, man, you can pick whatever name you want once you leave here. You don't really need one now. You did have a name, once, on Earth. I don't know what it was, I just know you probably had one- actually a few.” “So you don't really know me, and neither did Chronos?” “No, man, look, there's a lot you don't understand- I get it. Let's just sit down and be on with it, then, shall we?” “On with what?” He yelled. He didn't know why he yelled, but he did it. He remembered what yelling was and what it meant. He figured it wasn't necessary to yell, so he sat down in a chair- a comfortable, black leather chair that seemed to swallow him up whole. It was the best damn chair he ever sat in. He looked around the room, and found it to be remarkably reminiscent of a house- any house you'd stumble into on a drunken night in your college years. Band posters, soiled carpet, beer cans.
“On with the preliminaries, dude, just relax. You're freaking out.” “Why are you talking like a hippie?” “Look, like I said, there's a lot you don't understand. I'm only trying to help you. These are common expressions and surroundings from your cultural vernacular and Earth time context. It's in the file. Me and Chronos are familiar with the time, so we volunteer for duty at the center of the universe for intakes from that time context. The center of the universe is just the most general location in the plot, the (0,0,0.) It's where everyone ends up when they enter the fifth dimension. We make it look like a place you'd be comfortable in, and we give you a recognizable face to see when you get here so that it isn't that overwhelming. It's kind of altruistic, I know, real touchy-feely and bleeding-hearted. When you've got an eternal existence in any time at any place, it isn't really that difficult to volunteer some “time,” as it were.” “Ok, whoa, those aren't euphemisms.” “I'll be straight up with you if you need me to be, man, but if you don't mind... I have a bit of a speech that we prepared for you. There might be some euphemisms, but it's just to keep it flowy and nice.”
“A speech? For me, for Lux?” “Yeah for anyone. Lux. The intake. I could refer to you as intake 0619-048624011-12ba if you'd rather I did that” “Ok, Lux works” “Hence the Greek and Latin names. Keeps things simple. Now listen. You are dead -” “I know that, Chronos told me” “This is the speech, man, don't interrupt me!” “Oh, Ok, Sorry.” “You are dead. You once were alive, on a place called Earth. You are no longer there. You are in the fifth dimension of existence. Earth is what you might call an incubator. It breeds new life, which goes on to exist, through reincarnation, to learn the intricacies of the three spatial dimensions. Humans, the final version of life on Earth, know time. Time is the fourth dimension of existence. It is relative to a fixed place in the cosmos. Beings in the fifth dimension do not exist as they did on Earth. You are not a captive here. You cannot leave, but it's not because we're holding you back. No one is holding you back, you can go wherever you
want after you leave here, but we advise that you follow along with your guide for a short time. [uh, that's me] Life does not end, it keeps going. Humans have a unique glimpse of the upper dimensions. It's that sense of time which bends, which perplexes the minds of humans. They invented a multitude of coping mechanisms. On Earth, there are many religions. These religions are made by people on Earth. They are not made by the cosmos, or the universe. The universe is, as your physicists said, quite a very large place indeed. You will have a home. It will be an entire solar system. This was provided for us by the creator of the universe. He is not a benevolent or vengeful master, he is only the creator. You will never meet him. “He” isn't even a “he,” nor a “she.” Sexual reproduction is a human trait. He is a more advanced being than us, than you, Existing in dimensions far beyond our comprehension. Much like you now exist, far beyond the comprehension of Earthlings. Much like you existed on Earth, far beyond the comprehension of animals. They knew you were there, they could feel your existence. Some could see you, touch you, smell you, hear you, taste you. They could not comprehend you, They just existed within your presence, barely aware of it if they were even aware of it at all. So do we exist, here, in the Fifth Dimension, discovering the meaning of existence, not the meaning of time.
When our existence in this dimension is through, all deeds accomplished, we will progress again, on to the next dimension, Dimension is our name for it. We don't comprehend it, we exist within it. Your life existed as a series of events, from beginning to end. Now you must explore the choices you made. Through examining the different paths, you will gain the wisdom needed. You will remember many things. The sums of your dreams, your thoughts, your actions, your choices, your would be's, and your could have beens. Your friends, they too died and will die. Friendship is also a human trait. There is no time in the fifth dimension, and no conflict, no allying, no adversaries, no need for such nonsense. We have all the space we need, in our infinitely expanding universe. We know of each other, we help each other along the path. It isn't difficult to lend a hand every now and again- especially if you're able. The fifth dimension is a transitory realm, more of a state of consciousness than a spatial place, a place of endless possibility and constant change. You will exist in your physical, four dimensional home in a galaxy of your choosing, and you will use at least one of your planets on which to breed new life. You do not know how, yet, but you will. The life you breed will help you understand, help you to grow and nurture, help you to achieve existence beyond, on to whatever is next, we don't know what it is. You will die, again, some time. But now, as you know,
death is not as final as you once thought it was. Death is like a sonic boom, severing your ties to the lower dimensions, freeing you to exist further in life. You may try to kill yourself here, but it will not work. You do not exist in time, you exist as a sum of your experiences, which you must piece together frame by frame. Square by square. Complete the puzzle. That is your task. That is your point of existence. To grow your mind, to sharpen your intellect. To pursue new heights, new sensations and understandings. New plateaus of mental clarity. That we may follow along this path is our blessing. Our life is our freedom, and our freedom our life. You will grow in your understanding of life, of the nature of existence. First by examining the entirety of your existence on Earth, then by creating your own version of Earth. Things you think you could have done better, you do them. Things you want to change about it, you change. You are like a god to your life-bearing planet. You will create life that will one day follow your footsteps into a fifth dimensional existence. That is how you will spend your existence in the fifth dimension.” “Is that it?” “Yup.”
As he said it, that final 'yup,' the room around them disappeared. He found himself floating, suspended in what seemed like nothing, but it was certainly something. He had no body. No body like he had back on Earth, anyway. He felt whole, and he felt solid, but he had no form. He was shapeless, like a camera with spherical vision. He could see in all directions, and it seemed like those directions went on endlessly like the rays of the sun. He could see no end to his vision, just a spatial arrangement of stars, some close, some the faintest imaginary specks of light. “Welcome back to the fourth dimension,” a voice said. He heard it, but it didn't come from anywhere. He just heard it. He recognized it as the voice of Phalanx.
“Is this... space?” “Yes, it's a super-existence inside the three-dimensional realm created by the creator.” “What does that mean?” “That means, you can go anywhere, do anything, whatever. You are a theoretical point in the three dimensions. The Cartesian Plot. You can go to any planet, any star. Once you're existentially centered there, however, you are bound by the time-context of that solar system's fifth-dimensional being. Sol, the place where Earth is, is run by a chick named Gaia. She's cool, but still kind of new at the game. In fact, you're the first person to pop out in to the fifth. At least, out of her creation anyway.” “Gaia?” “Yeah, Gaia. Look, man, we don't have time for this- we have to get somewhere, fast, before you totally freak out.” “What?” “Ha, did you hear me? I said time. It's a funny thing, time. You see, there is what we call 'the big time.'”
“...Big time?” “Yeah, existential time. It doesn't quite work like time on Earth. Earth time is temporal, based on what's called a 'life.' It begins and ends, based on an individual 'lifespan.' Life is just a measurement, really, an easy way to separate existences. Like I said earlier, you are a sum of your experiences in the fourth dimension, but you have to go back there to figure out what it all means. You're no doubt a jumbled mess of memories from all sorts of different existences. That's why you don't have a name. You have a thousand names, a hundred thousand names. You've been alive an infinite amount of times, you just didn't know it. We measure existential time as a single wavelength of the frequency the cosmos reverberates at. You got me?” “Not quite. The thousand names bit reminds me of reincarnation, like the Buddhists believed. Like you keep getting chances to do what you're supposed to and then you move up a rung, I just don't get the whole reverberating cosmos thing” “Right, well, the universe vibrates. It's technically infinite, because it expands to accommodate the need for new galaxies, but the whole thing kind of pulses like a bubble suspended in water. The frequency at which it vibrates is the only constant we really have. It's the yardstick by which we can measure existences in the four-dimensional realms.”
“I have no idea why, but that seems reasonable to me.” “I'm going to take you back to Earth for a bit, so you can check out your first death. It's an easy introduction to understanding what's going on. I'll just manifest myself as a bead of light, follow me, and we'll be there shortly. Just try not to think too much, OK? It's easy to let your mind wander when you're between spaces. Imagine yourself following my light, and you'll be following the light- it really is that simple. Try it.” The instant Phalanx's voice said “bead of light,” there was a small light in front of him. It reminded him of a candlelight, seen from afar, on the darkest of nights. He had to realize what “front” was, at first, but it was really just the direction in which he was traveling. It was hard to see Phalanx with the backdrop of the billion candlelights of stars, but there was something different about this particular candlelight. It seemed to have a presence, an essence. Maybe that's what they had meant when they wrote that letter to Lux. It felt strange to refer to his only existence after death not only in the third person, but as a euphemism for intake # 0619-048624011-12ba. His name was a number he couldn't even remember in the afterlife. As soon as they started moving, the bead of light took off at what seemed a supernatural speed to him. He learned how to move, it was easy. There was no resistance, he wasn't even a “thing,” as much as he was a point of reference on a
Cartesian plot. He was a point in the universe, and then he was another point, and another, and another. Speed and velocity had no relevance. He had not mass, only consciousness manifested to a single point in space. He could see the Earth as they closed in on the Sol Galaxy. He recognized it right away. He had seen so many pictures of it from space on TV that he could have spotted it anywhere. It was hard to imagine he had once lived and died there. There it was, just floating like a marble, forever falling through the nothing of space marked out by an imaginary Cartesian plot. The light that was Phalanx came to rest somewhere between the Sun and the orbital path of Mercury. It's hard to imagine a spot of nothing in such a wide space, but the utter perception of it all is what really made him uncomfortable. Not the vast distances, those seemed irrelevant and immaterial now. He felt like he could just be there – anywhere – in an instant, so long as he knew where the “there” was. He existed beyond time, beyond space. It was still hard to get used to. So infinitely overwhelming in complexity and depth. He felt like he could see it all. The thing he noticed, almost all of a sudden, was that there was no sound. He heard Phalanx's voice along the way, but it was like an echo in what he would have at one time called his brain. Thoughts and memories and information were flooding into his mind at such a rapid pace. Seeing in all directions at all depths at all times made him feel woozy and debased. Thinking about feeling woozy made him remember he had no body to feel woozy
in. It was a latent effect of his consciousness passing through a greater depth of sensation. He wasn't thinking broadly enough, even though he was beginning to realize that his mind had the capacity for it. Infinite capacity, it seemed. Like he could know the entirety of knowledge in the universe. He didn't have the knowledge yet, but he knew he could know it, it was possible. He thought about infinity. It seemed like a more tangible concept to him. When time is irrelevant, infinity seems so much easier to grasp. It's your field of reference that differs, infinity is just kind of there, looming in the distance- all ways back, forward, up, down, left, right, and everywhere in between. Even what couldn't have been is in there somewhere too. Time. That was the thing that pushed him over the edge. As he thought about the concept of time inside infinity, he started to see it. Planets seemed to be a thick ring of orbit rather than a sphere floating in a sea of tranquility. They exploded as they were created. The stars blurred in and out of existence, fading, brightening, forming almost a fog as far as his mind's eye could see- which was quite far. He saw the big bang, and the original galaxies- the ones the creator made first. He saw everything at once, as it was created, to how it was now. It was a staggering sensation, one that he was having a really hard time coming to grips with.
“Lux? Luuuuux? Oh shit, you're bugging out, aren't you? Just try to relax.” He tried to answer, but as he heard Phalanx's voice, it came as a thundering of every word Phalanx had said since they met, all at once. He felt as if his thoughts were going to boil over with input, and it overwhelmed his mind. His whole essence, his whole consciousness, his whole being ached. It hurt in a way he couldn't understand, but he could definitely feel it. A hurt that went so deep, he felt as if he would go completely insane. Like he was about to go into a bad, bad, trip on some horribly powerful hallucinogenic drug. He had no way to sort it all out, no way to separate what he was at that instant with what he, and everything, was- ever. In that instant, he felt completely comfortable. Like an existential blanket had been put over his mind. Over his very being. He was contained, for an instant, but comfortably so. He felt calm, like he was being cradled as an infant. He saw a crack of light, then another, then three more as he saw a hand open up from around him and place him, ever so gently, on the surface of the sun. He felt like his old self again, but in perfect health. He looked at his hands. It centered him. That's what he always looked at. He found he could walk, strangely, on the surface of the sun. He looked beneath him and saw what seemed like an endless
depth of fire, explosions, fumes, and vapors. Somewhere, there was an edge, and he was walking on it. Dancing on the faintest wisps of fire tongues. “Welcome back to three dimensions, I had to carry you here” “It was all so immense, I still can't quite shake the feeling” “Chalk it up, man, you're going to have to go back out there eventually. By the end of this little exercise, you'll be able to put it all into context. Remember that it is infinite, but you are not. That's the key to putting it all into perspective. Even though you can perceive infinite time and space now, you are not that infinite time and space. You exist within it as a single point, a single existence, a singularity.” “A singularity. Ok, that's a good thing to remember. Perspective is the big thing here, isn't it?” “Well not here, here. Only because we are in the physical space of the star “Sol,” in the Earth time-context of Abiogenesis- the moment in which life began.” “Like, when humans came around?” “No, it takes a long fucking time to get to Humans, man, that's the
last step. Remember this stuff, you're going to need to learn it.” “So what's Abiogenesis?” “It's when the Earth finally became chemically viable for life. After everything settled down, and after Gaia finally came here and made it her universe. She learned how to articulate the balance of elements and atmospheres- systems and... well, she'll tell it best.” “If we exist in infinite time, how is it she finally “came” here?” “Good! Good fucking question! You are taking this in stride, man!” “I was a thinker in times past, you might say.” “Most of you bastards aren't. I blame television. Crafty, but ultimately a waste of time.” “Whatever, man, Aqua Teen was the best thing that ever came out of that box.” He remembered Aqua Teen Hunger Force, a cartoon he used to watch on TV. He remembered what a cartoon was, what a TV was. Artists, computers, satellite and cable broadcasting. He
remembered the words “Non Sequitur.” He remembered the Latin language, like where his name came from. A dead language, the language of Ancient Rome. He thought of all the gods of the Roman Pantheon, the Greek gods, the Egyptian gods, and all the countless searches on Earth for what happens after death. He wished he could go back and tell them all. Just tell them to wait it out, enjoy their simple lives on simple Earth. Not worrying about time-contexts and intake numbers. Not worrying about what galaxy they had to pick out of an infinitely large set of galaxies. “So what about infinite time?” “Yeah, remember the bit about the big time?” “Yeah, the rhythm of the universe.” “Right, good way to put it. The song that never ends.” “It doesn't end? Ever?” “It started, right? When the universe was created. It was set in motion, in what is likely an entire field of universes, a multi-verse. It has a beginning, but no end. It's just “Time.” The greatest measurement of time, sure, but time none-the-less. It's just a bit different than Earth time.”
“So what about seeing in different dimensions of time?” “You felt at home in the spatial dimensions, you'll feel at home in the dimensions of time as soon as you start moving about through them. You can only be in one context at any given time anyway, so once you get into a galaxy, it's a bit easier to cope with the immensity of it all.” “Ok, so time is relative to where I am, I get that. Is that why we have form again?” “Precisely. You can only have material form in a context of time. If you tried to manifest yourself into your Earth body while you were between time-contexts, like way out in the middle of nowhere of space, you'd exist as an infant, a child, a toddler, a pre-teen, and so on. You'd be a giant mass of existence not able to move anywhere.” “And dependent on Oxygen, too, right?” “Yeah, but dying isn't really the same thing as it was to you anymore, now is it?” “Not really, I guess, no- not at all.” “Then I think it's about time we met with Gaia.”
“The creator?” “Of Earth, yeah. We're definitely not cool enough to meet the creator of the universe.” “I got that impression” “I'm sure he's off doing something else entirely, off to bigger and better things, or maybe nothing at all- we don't really know. He created this place, and as soon as the first person entered the sixth dimension, godhood, his job was done and he peaced right the fuck out. The thing was built to be self-sustaining.” “Right on, man, I have a feeling this whole afterlife thing isn't going to be so bad at all.” “Well... You be the judge of that. Let's go see your Mama, Mother Earth, Gaia. She's really cool.” With that, the tongues of flame separated, and they descended towards the heart of the sun. Sol, a star like a million others, many now apparently owned by dead people like Lux. He was growing fond of the name. It wasn't so bad, Lux, it sounded pretty cool. It was a strange honor, it seemed, to be meeting the creator of Earth. God, in a sense, although he never did believe in
god- and his existence right now didn't seem like what the bible, or any other book for that matter, had said it would be like. He figured it wasn't so bad. Existing outside the confines of what “they” told him to do was a new kind of freedom for him. A freedom he felt he could get used to. Sure, there was that great creator of the universe, and everybody just seemed to acknowledge him without apprehension, fear, or anxiety. Lux figured it didn't make much of a difference if the creator was around or not, seeing as how there were millions of billions of small-time creators bustling all over the universe getting busy planting the seeds of life on their planets. Who would have time to worry about the creator of the universe when you had the whole universe to explore, and it just kept getting bigger without end? They continued down through the hole in the sun, to the core. To the cold, dense, strangely homely-looking, dark, tiny, metallic core. There was a building there, that seemed impossibly existent. It stood like a temple, a dark-grey metallic temple, shimmering in the light of the sun- a different kind of shimmering than the shimmering on Earth. A complete shimmering, with an infinite amount of light sources all bouncing off the mirrored temple at once. On the steps of the temple stood a beautiful woman, with brown hair that framed her perfectly proportioned, oval face. She held her hand like a sheet over her eyes, as she gazed at the two
men approaching. She took a step back, suddenly, as if she had seen a ghost. As Lux approached the temple, he too took a step back, suddenly. He knew that face, it pained him. It was a face he recognized somewhere in an ocean of memories in the back of his mind. He needed to put a name to that face, he needed to know what that woman's name wasAnd then it came to him. “Becky?!”
square three. gaia
Memories of the woman came rushing into his head like water to a sink from a broken faucet. Wild jaunts of reckless abandon, fucking in a hotel room until the cops came to get him, and she escaped through the between-room door just before they got there. He remembered it. It was like one of the puzzle pieces in his mind found a connection – a face found the name, and the combination brought forth a flood of new information. New thoughts, new memories, new connections for his mental puzzle pieces. “Is it really you?” ~72~
“Ah, you remember. I chose to use that aspect of me as my Fifth Dimensional Avatar, yes.” “Avatar?” “Yeah, it's a funny word, I know. It's what I chose to look like when you came here. When you came to me, Gaia, creator of life on Earth. It's the face I wanted to have.” Her voice didn't sound like he remembered it sounding. It was more reverberating, fuller, like she was speaking to his whole mind, not just his ears. “Why?” “To remind me of us, of you, of myself.” “When did you die?” “I've died a hundred thousand times, like you have, Lux” “Do you know my real name?” “Your name as a human?”
“Yes, my name as a human- I want to know it.” “Your name isn't important, beside the fact that you've had many, why would you care about it right now?” “I knew you as Becky. The only girl that ever loved me. The only girl I ever loved. Not the first girl I thought I loved, but the only girl I ever really loved.” “You loved me because you are me.” “That is really, really weird sounding.” He backed off a little, startled at the statement. It made his life seem even more confusing. Even more complex than he had remembered it being. What was this about him being her? What could that mean? He shot a look at Phalanx, who had for the first time produced an expression on his otherwise dull and indistinct face. It was an expression of confusion. “I'm at a loss,” Phalanx said, shrugging his shoulders with a genuinely bemused look on his face. He turned to Gaia, and said, “You know him, Gaia?” “I don't just merely know him, he's my apotheosis!”
“Oh, that explains the creepy metal sun-temple with no decoration. I knew you would be on the sun for the abiogenesis, but I didn't expect to see a temple in this time-context. Usually it's at the end of life- not at the beginning.” Phalanx grinned and looked at Lux. “You're a bit more special than I thought, Lux, and it appears I need to educate Gaia on how to correctly fill out – and completean intake file.” “Sorry, Phalanx, I forgot to add that bit.” “Apotheosis?!” Said Lux. “Don't go and get freaked out again, now, you little fucker. You've been taking things in stride after our first run-in with godhead” Snapped Phalanx. “Cool it, boys.” She walked down the stairs. She wore a flowing white dress that seemed to shimmer like it was made of a thousand, thousand diamonds. It billowed behind her like some Greek statue, falling gracefully from step to step as she descended. Lux couldn't believe the day he was having. He thought about days. “What's the next measure down from the big time?” he thought. Was it a day he was having, or the
beginning of a long string of events that would continue on and on for what really was a potential of forever? How long is forever? When you exist in the fifth dimension, apparently, there is only one time- the big time. So what does that mean for him, there, in that time-context? He started thinking about time again, he felt the two of them watch him, knowing they knew he was thinking intently, and that he knew they knew he knew they knew it and so on. Reverberations, echoes of knowledge spinning through his mind. That was the kind of thing that went through his head, there, and he thought for a moment that he might break down like he had floating in the Cartesian Plot of space. He took a breath. “I am not that infinity.” He said it aloud. “Whew, I was worried for a second, man,” said Phalanx. “I have total confidence in my Apotheosis.” “Wow. A real-live Apotheosis. No wonder he couldn't remember anything, huh? I did kind of think it was a little weird. He reminded me of you.” “He did say you were cool,” added Lux, innocently. “And you are. You always were.” “That'll be enough of that, Lux Apotheosis, the physical coupling
was limited to the physical realm. Any act of sex would be absurdly pointless in our current existential state. No pleasure, no procreative end, no meaning, just movements of imagined bodies in imagined ecstasy.” She said the words bluntly, as if she were wielding a weapon. “In order to fully actualize my existence in the Fifth Dimension, I had to live an entire fully-developed life in my own creation. You were my prized Apotheosis, my heir, my first. I love you, but not out of a passion or fleeting desire, but as I would love an image of myself. As I would love a reflection of me that is not me. My love for you is Narcissistic, as was your earthly love for me. You just didn't know it save for some twitch in your Pineal Gland. You have known me in a thousand, thousand lifetimes. I have followed your every moment, your every step up the chain that eventually led to your Apotheosis, your awakening, your Fifth Dimensional existence, and my actualization. Being my Apotheosis, I made a temple at the heart of the sun, for us. For our existential awakening. For our godhood.” “Whoa.” He didn't know what to say, so he said “Whoa.” It's all that came out. It appeared adequate. “You were there because I made it so, but I did not invent you. You came to being from your own volition. I watched as chemicals on my planet, Earth, mixed and melded and cascaded
through time. They folded and combined and disintegrated and recombined into new formulas, new chances, new possibilities. I watched in amazement as enzymes, amino acids, and complex proteins developed naturally, just as I had learned they would. Then, it came to this moment.” She gestured, out towards space, at a distant speck he assumed to be Earth. He thought about how much was happening, so fast, what it all meant, how he was supposed to take the fact that his girlfriend was his creator, hence his Mother. That's how he saw it. “Are you my Mother, then?” He just kind of let it out, pretty much on accident. “Cuz that brings in a whole new crisis of a mindfuck right there.” “No, I am not your mother. I am a reflection of you, you are a reflection of me. You are not a motherfucker, Lux. I know you must think that's funny, but it isn't. I know you.” “See, that's creepy, Beck” “I am Gaia, giver of life on Earth, and master of Sol!” She became indignant. “Whoa, sorry, I just feel really comfortable around you. You're the
only semblance of comfort I've seen since that boring lobby. I don't mean to offend. I'm new to all of this, I don't have a clue what's going on, where I am, really, what I'm supposed to be doing, hell, I don't even know If any of this is real, I mean, I might just fucking wake up in a hospital bed or something, christ, what the fuck is going on, really? Someone please tell me!” Lux was getting angry again. Angry, upset, confused, bewildered, he didn't really know which feeling it was that he was having. He was sure he was having it, though, there was no getting around that. He was feeling it. “I was told my first Apotheosis would be rough, I would have been better prepared if you had told me. You should have put it on the intake file! It's a whole different speech!” Phalanx pointed a finger at Gaia. His face began to convalesce into one with features. He looked like Ichabod Crane. His body, which had been dressed in pale greys, was now adorned with a shimmering tuxedo, black as the night sky. His hair was long, parted at the left side. It flowed behind him like a shadow as he turned to point his accusing finger. He seemed, almost, playful. “What the fuck is an Apotheosis?” Lux interjected. “An Apotheosis is the first of the fourth dimensional beings to
reach a Fifth Dimensional Existence. Remember how we traveled from the zero point here? Plotting a course on the Cartesian Plot, making our way to Sol, before you freaked out because I didn't know you'd have no memories and I had to fucking carry you in my hand like a baby?” Phalanx whirled around and pointed the accusing finger at Lux. “ENOUGH” The voice seemed to echo from the far reaches of the galaxy. Gaia was speaking through infinite time, the sound of her voice echoing throughout the existence of her solar system, throughout all times and spaces- even those that were only imagined. A demonstration of her power in her own domain. The two men stood to attention. “Lux, I'm sorry. Phalanx and I have been friends and neighbors since before the Earth was done cooling off from formation. His system is Centauri, in Andromeda. His Apotheosis has been gone to select a galaxy for quite some time. I'm sorry to have ignored my duties as your guide here. We shall continue.” She motioned, gracefully, with her hand as she turned around and walked slowly up the stairs of the Temple of the Sun.
Lux followed, almost blindly. He was still used to people telling him what to do, so he just did as he was told. He didn't think much about it. Phalanx kicked at the ground a bit, shook his head, and followed a few steps behind Lux. Lux took a moment to survey his surroundings. He was amazed at the aesthetic beauty and completeness of the temple. It was made of the metal of the core of the heart of the sun at the center of the Sol Galaxy, what he would have known on Earth as the Milky Way Galaxy, which is what they called it. Back then. Back then, he thinks. Like it's a concept he's fully grasped. The Domain of Gaia. It's where he had become a thing. An existence. It's when he became him. He was learning, and it was all quite new, but he knew he had done a great deal of learning back on Earth. He looked, out into the unfathomable distance. Out past the wisps of flame stretching far into the sky from where he was standing. He looked into the inky distance, he tried with all his might to see the Earth. He couldn't make it out. Figured it must be on the other side of him, or something, maybe even too small to actually see with his eyes. It was then that he realized, quite by accident, that he didn't really have eyes anymore. He thought about the Earth. He saw it floating there, like he was standing on the moon, like he had seen in the NASA pictures. NASA. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He wondered what they might give to be able to talk to him for just five minutes.
He got to the top of the stairs, nineteen in all. He wondered if there was a significance to the number. He was cut short in thinking by the contents of the temple. It was one room, open on all sides and surrounded by columns. It stretched a good quarter mile down, narrowing in the distance like a perfectly done perspective drawing. The shimmering of a thousand, thousand tongues of fire sparkled off of the columns and on to a giant pool of water, filled with a thousand, thousand tiny squares. Images, some of which Lux recognized immediately as pieces of his memory. It was his ocean of square puzzle pieces, like he had envisioned. But it was there, right there, right in front of him. Like he could dive right into it. He almost did, just seeing all those memories flicker and fade in and out of one another, shattering and combining. He wanted to hold them, to touch them, to re-live his past. They were rearranging and fragmenting as he watched them. When he seemed to focus on one, he would view it as an instant in time. Not as a picture, but as a visceral snapshot of the memory. It was like he, for a moment, was re-living his own past. It was much more than a memory, it was like unlocking a piece of his own mind. “This is the entirety of your existence. This is what the temple is for. First for the Apotheosis, then for all the intakes. The pool is just the pool. You populate your own memories inside it. As you progress through your understanding of your own existence, the tiny squares will merge to form larger pieces, which will form the
greater, complete “picture” of your existence, from beginning to Apotheosis. I will show you the first step on your journey, your first real death.” She condensed into a candlelight, the same kind of candlelight Phalanx had turned into at the center of the Universe. A sparkling, waving light that seemed not just to exist in the the world, but to have existed forever. It hovered there, with it's existence manifested in both time and space, just hovering there, without source nor place just dancing in the foreground as if it had always been there. With that, the light dove into the pool. Lux watched as it sank down. An image appeared above the pool, which leaped out to surround them in three dimensions. It overtook Lux, Phalanx, Gaia, and the Temple. Lux was now standing at the edge of the collection pool of a geyser. He almost felt the twinge of sulfurous fumes touching his nostrils, even though the nostrils were just a physical manifestation of his own consciousness. He thought it must be Earth, but he didn't recognize it as such. It looked, vaguely, like a picture from Yellowstone National Park. The candlelight flitted back into his peripheral vision, and as he turned to greet it, the flame expanded into Gaia's image. She wore the same dress of a thousand, thousand diamonds. It almost seemed to float above the cratered and bubbling Earth. She looked less and less like he remembered Becky having looked.
“This is the climax of a rising action of Abiogenesis. The beginning of life on Earth. Look close, into the pool. She bent down, and gestured towards the water's edge. Look, very closely. Use the mind's eye.” As she said the words, they seemed to flow through him; throughout existence. Throughout his mind. Throughout his whole entirety. He knew the words in that instance as if they were carved in the stones of his very being. He looked, closer and closer still, like his vision was a zoom lens on a digital camera of the mind. He zoomed further and further until he could see little tiny cells floating in the geyser soup. He almost felt as if he were them. He was surrounded by them. Encapsulated by a cell-wall, thinking only in the vibrations of a cellular entity, alone and silent in function, form, and perception. Yet, there he was, as if he had existed forever, with the knowledge that he had learned ~84~
throughout thousands of lifetimes spent on the very planet he was floating in the soup of. They were vibrating about, half floating and half moving. One of the cells stopped moving. “You are witnessing Apoptosis, programmed cell death. It was the precursor to mitosis. Before organisms could propogate asexually- let alone sexually- they first had to learn to die. To learn existence and its terms in its environment. This is your apoptosis. You, Lux Apotheosis. You as a whole you, the cumulative experience of your existence on Earth as a consciousness. Your programmed cell death. This is the very moment, the very second. You are that cell that has ceased to exist. That is YOU, it is not the only you, but it is the first you as a thinking, changing, thing. You are even still in this moment living a sequence that began here. Right here, at this juncture. This cycle of life continues ad-nausem from this moment in time until the inevitable and imminent destruction of this very planet. All these monocellular organisms you see here are what will potentially be life on Earth, until the end of time itself. They re-iterate and repopulate in variable and proportional manifestations throughout existence until the end, the last moment in four-dimensional time. The moment where everything has ended, all deeds accomplished. The moment where the solar system is engulfed by the exploding sun and the whole thing goes up in a self-contained singularityinferno that takes a thousand, thousand years, but exists as if a breath of a moment of time in the fifth-dimensional existence. A
dew-drop on the leaf of the tree of time. I watched the whole thing happen from the start, as you can now do inside this temple. Retrieving your own memories will unlock the truths you must know. Some of them, you even know now, but when you have assembled your memory as a cohesive whole, you will be equipped with the necessary intellectual tools to go and create life in your own galaxy. You will be compelled to do so, by your own desire to further your existential journey to the next port of call. When that cell died, your consciousness simply sought out another empty vessel. Every time something dies, something else is born ready for a consciousness to enter it. Like a hermit crab. It couldn't go outside of Earth, but it could have gone anywhere else. Yours decided to stay right here and move into that one.” It was obvious which one it was, it looked slightly different than the others. In a sea of cells with the same make-up, it was simple to see the clear difference. It looked like the redhead In a group of goth kids. The different one. Slightly larger, with more intricately laid-out innards. “It was a fluke, an accident. That is what abiogenesis is. A mistake. An anomaly. In this case, it's the anomaly that gets the whole thing going. Life. This is the moment life on Earth crossed from a potentiality to an existential reality. This is your consciousness. The first one. You are the cell that forgot how to
die, and learned how to divide itself from itself, creating an exact copy of itself that is not itself. Watch as it leads its life, sucking nutrients from the world around it, processing them, and expunging them back out into its environment as processed wastewaste which would become the media for a new genetic mutation of replicating cells. It lives its existence in one dimension. It exists only as itself in reference to its neighbors. It does not know other cells exist and it doesn't even know, in fact, that it exists. It is existence on the basic level. The single point in time and existence where the two concepts of life and not-life are a blurred line. Abiogenesis. Genesis through chemicals. This is the state at which all galaxies exist upon creation- they are like petri dishes with agar applied, ready and willing hosts of future life. All the consciousnesses that will live and die on this Earth are there from creation. All we do when we visit our galaxy is reach in and get the whole thing started. We get the thing started and we watch. We watch as inactive participants, we watch without the burden of time. At the same moment I witnessed the beginning of life on my planet, I watched the end of life on my planet. I knew it would happen, but I did it anyway because that is what we do. I had to start it and stop it to understand what it was- to know myself. My full potential. All questions possible are asked and answered by the inhabitants of your creation. It's rather sobering to see it all happen.
I needed to do nothing when I came to this galaxy but make that one small change. I reached inside that cell your potential consciousness entered. I took out the bit of developing RNA that told it to stop existing. I halted apoptosis. I replaced it with a code I programmed for it's eventual split, and when it did split, I entered that split cell to become the second cell to end in mitosis. I wanted to watch my first transitory consciousness coalesce from the beginning to the end, and I have. I watched you grow and progress from a single cell to a human, through several iterations of existence, many recurring phases, and through eventual apotheosis. I never intervened unless asked, but I watched and learned through your actions, as you will do so now. “ He found himself back in the temple. He looked around him, at the glimmering metallic columns with ornate capitals and the way the restless waters of the pool full of his own memories seemed to glitter with the internal light of a thousand, thousand screens showing memories and thoughts and actions from his existence throughout life. It wasn't just his life as he could recollect it, but a much more expansive and invasive existence as a self in a thousand, thousand iterations. Endless, the temple pool seemed. Endlessly deep, speckled with glittering reveries. “Wherever you go from here is going to come out of your own will and volition. You have to look at them all, and you have what is essentially an eternity to do it. Each memory will put together a
piece of a coherent puzzle in your mind that will encompass your entire existence on Earth from that moment in a pool of liquid scum where I reached inside a cell and created a potentiality for life. You were the first iteration of that potentiality, and you are Lux Apotheosis. You are the exemplar for an entirety of an unfathomable existence. The first, the Jesus Christ, the prodigal son, the flesh made god, the artificer of the waning light of the morning star, the image of human existence, the Brahmin, the Boddhisattva, the mythos, the logos, the alpha, and omega- your actualization brings forth the actualization of the entire existential population of the entire planet. You are not better than those existences, you are the first. Dive in, actualize your existence. Become an example to those who will journey to this temple after you. Move on and become what you will be. Leave behind presuppositions, premonitions, pejoratives, and preconceptions. Make your own decisions on what this all means, and become a progenitor of life in another galaxy, another solar system. I have completed my task, and will submit my consciousness to higher realms. You may see me again, you may not. Stranger things have happened.” With that, she was gone, and so Lux was left with Phalanx. He looked at the pool, and from the pool he slowly moved his gaze upwards towards the distant end of the temple. He stared at it in staunch contemplative thought. He imagined the single point perspective of human binocular vision represented in the
renaissance depictions of ancient temples and mythologies. He thought of the almost comical nature of his entire existence drowning in an endlessly deep pool. A puzzle of squares. He thought, on still, about how ironic it was that all he wanted to do was get some rest. “Sleeping is a human trait.” He said it aloud. His concentration on his surroundings was broken by Phalanx bursting into laughter. It was the deep laughter of a contented person, a satisfied and sure person. It was directed at Lux. “You,” he gasped between bellowing hysterics, “are going to be just fine.” “And you're so sure of this?” “It's our connections with our past that unites us as a planet, and denotes us as an individual. You'll see, really, with your own eyes exactly what that means. I can't teach you any more than I already have, I'll be going now. Just remember to head back to the center of the Cartesian Plot if you need to seek counsel. I'm registered there, they'll know how to contact me. Just ask for Phalanx.” With that, Phalanx was gone and Lux was left alone in the
temple. His temple. He dove right into that pool. His dive was perfectly executed, and he felt comfortable in the pool- as if he was becoming the water itself. He realized it wasn't water, it was something else, some sort of medium, a sort of gaseous vapor that supported his three-dimensional frame of a body like a trestle. He could breathe, move around quickly and effortlessly, and see without obstruction. He remembered how Gaia and Phalanx had manifested into points of light and he figured he should be able to do it, too. He concentrated on the feeling of being a point on the Cartesian Plot. He felt his body give way to nothingness. It didn't hurt, it was like retracting the landing gear of his consciousness. He felt his mind encapsulate and envelope the physical body he was occupying, and he looked down at his hand. The hands were not there, just an endless sea of puzzle squares. He saw himself in all perspectives. He saw as if he was a self, looking out of a set of eyes. He saw himself as if he was looking at himself, seeing a small light, as if the flame of a candle-less candlelight. He saw himself as if he was an omniscient narrator, not dictating his actions but merely perceiving them from a distance. He felt all of this at once, and it was no longer overwhelming to him. He was not infinity. In fact, in this temple, he was very finite. Viscerally finite. He was floating in a pool of himself. Floating in the experiential conglomerate that was his own existences. He made off towards a medium-sized square, as if at random. What he saw in the square was a looping snapshot of
time, of a person he recognized as himself, dressed in a brightly colored late-1970's polyester leisure suit. He was staring down a long line of cocaine in the back of a room that seemed to be the changing room of a strip-club. A row of seats sat along a row of individual counters with individual mirrors. At each counter was a pile of multicolored makeups, aerosol cans of deodorant body and hair sprays, multiple sets of stiletto-heeled shoes and boots, pictures of boyfriends and industry-looking fat guys, and pictures of the same girl in different poses and costumes. Presumably, these were pictures of each girl that called that particular seat her own. As he watched the events unfold inside the square, he felt himself entering that memory. He was becoming that man in a leisure suit. Visions of the pool around him faded slowly into a room ripe with stench of cigarettes, hairspray, sweat, and pussy. “To the cornucopia of life!” A voice said. Lux looked up from the line of cocaine to see a black man built like a refrigerator, wearing a black suit, white shirt, black tie. He looked like a security guard- a bouncer. It must be. Lux had a small glass in his hand, and the smell of whiskey suddenly hit his nose as he shook the glass. He watched the ice cubes disturb the brownish liquid as he touched it to the glass of the man sitting across from him. “Cheers,” Lux said as he tipped the glass against his lips and felt
the cold liquid run over his lips, down his tongue, and into his throat. As it traveled down his esophagus, he felt the cold sensation turn to a burning one that seemed to coat his entire stomach in flames- even if only for a second. He exhaled a breath acrid with the stench of whisky and cigarettes. He tasted it on his tongue. He was still Lux, but he couldn't control what was happening. He was merely an observer, although he could sense the body and its surroundings like they were his own. He realized, then, that they were his own. This was a square of memory. This was a puzzle piece. He watched from the eyes of the man in the leisure suit as the black man shoved a cut-up straw into his nose and snorted the whole line of white powder in one quick motion. “Oooooooooh shiiiiiiiiit,” said the man as he plugged his opposing nostril with his left hand and snorted a staccato snort, putting every last grain of powder right where it needed to be. He swallowed hard and put down the straw as he sank into his chair, closing his eyes and deeply exhaling. He leaned his head back against the headrest of the chair, and opened his eyes to just a crack. He moved his jaw, slowly, back and forth while he tightly shut his eyes and opened them wide. He did this a few times and focused his gaze into Lux's eyes and said, “Mike, you have got some wicked fucking blow.” “I know it.” Lux felt himself smile as he reached for his own straw and bent down to take his bump. “Hell of a night we're having”
“Fuckin' eh, man. The dollars are rollin' in, the bitches ain't fighting, the whiskey's cold, and the coke's on the table. What more could we want or need?” “A fat fucking joint is what we need,” said Mike, who was Luxbut not really Lux, only just a part of what Lux was for the last few thousand years. A dewdrop on a leaf of the tree of time. “A fat fucking joint is all it ever takes for you, nigga,” said the man, as he reached into his lapel pocket and pulled out a fingersized joint. He handed it to Mike, who took it quickly yet graciously and set it to his lips. He lit a match and pointed the end of the joint into the flame. “Today is a good day,” he said, exhaling the marijuana smoke and snuffling the last flakes of powder from his nostril to the back of his throat. He took another sip of whiskey and lit a cigarette, passing the joint back across the table. “That it is, that it is,” said the black man over his glass of whiskey before he tipped it back quickly enough to splash his mouth with the stuff. He coughed slightly, pounding a fist to his chest with the arm that wasn't extended across the table to take the joint from Lux, or Mike, or whoever he was.
He found himself back in the temple, in the staging area he had stood in before with Phalanx and Becky, or Gaia, or whoever the hell she was. He was surprised at how malleable identity could be in this place. He had the power to be whatever shape and form he wanted to be. It was an incredible sense of power he felt standing there at the edge of a pool full of his own memories. He stared down into the nearly endless depths. He thought about his times in his life just before he died- times spent aimlessly wandering around the strip clubs with a whiskey on the rocks in one hand, money in the other, and a cigarette hanging out the corner of his mouth. Saying awful things to women like “you have nothing I want,” and “show your meat bags to someone else.” He kind of felt bad about it, only for an instant, when he realized that those sentiments are a product of the atmosphere of the place; not his actual thought processes. “I'm going back there, that one's pretty interesting,” he thought. He dove back into the pool, seeking out squares containing Leisure Suit Mike, the coke-snorting strip club guy that he wasn't even a bit surprised was him. He must have retained a great deal from that prior existence, but it was no big surprise that Leisure Suit Mike was certainly not the Apotheosis of Earth. Lux smiled realizing that he was in fact his own, personal, Jesus. Just like that eighties song. He didn't bother focusing on the squares in order to enter them, he merely collected them as if they were trading cards.
Any time he saw Mike in a square, he grabbed at it and held it like it was an autonomous television screen, only showing memories that he alone possessed in his mind. He collected those squares and brought them to an empty patch of the pool near the staging area. The lobby of the temple, if that's what you'd want to call it. The temple was only one great room with a pool, nothing more and no ornament- no statuary, no embellishments beyond the ornate capitals. He noticed key features in Mike's face that showed Lux where in Mike's time-line the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Although his puzzle was a puzzle of squares, the minor features of the scene detailed where the piece fit in the puzzle. What he had first assumed was an unintelligible sea of memory squares needing placement was in actuality a piece of a puzzle he already knew the picture of. It started with him as a cell in a scum-bog, and ended as a human in a bed in a halfway house. The rest of the puzzle was merely an afterthought. He knew the beginning and end, the rest was just a game. He thought that the temple seemed bland without statuary, and he decided that he would erect a statue of each of his favorite iterations. It would give the visitors to the temple something to remind them of apotheosis, and inevitably of their own existences. Staring at the blank expanse of the temple seemed blank and austere; begging for what he, laughing to himself, called a “human's touch.” He didn't swim through the pool so much as he floated through it, he no longer desired the use of a three-dimensional
body. He jettisoned it entirely, preferring to remain as a point on the Cartesian Plot, a singularity of metaphysically five dimensional existence within the context of a fourth-dimensional time frame. It may have confused him in a base-sense, but it was not difficult for him to feel it. The feeling came naturally to him. Him, existing in eternity as a point in space and time. The squares with Mike in them seemed to tell a story of a man, from birth to death, that Lux couldn't help but sympathize with. It seemed that Mike had been to hell and back, a human existence wrought with an ecumenical distribution of agony and ecstasy. *** Lux chose the most interesting-looking square, and felt himself becoming Mike again. He was remembering a memory, a lost memory, but that memory was a most viscerally real memory. Peripheral vision, full senses, and utter awareness- but no control. He was Mike as much as he was Lux, neither were the name he was looking for, but both worked quite adequately. The scene was set in a smoky apartment, seemingly in New York. He thought it might be New York because he looked out the window and saw nothing but sky and the occasional sky rise building blocking his view of the horizon. He wore the same brightly-colored leisure suit, and sat staring at a typewriter.
He looked around the room. Wood paneling, cigarette smoke hanging in the air, beige curtains still and monolithic. The room was dark save for the desk lamp. On the left of the typewriter, a half-full bottle of Wild Turkey and an empty glass with the last humps of hours old ice cubes dancing in a watereddown whiskey puddle. On the right of the typewriter, a nearly full ashtray and a ripped open carton of camels. In his hands he held a large silver platter with a king-size mountain of cocaine. Just beyond the typewriter was what he remembered as a kilogram bag of cocaine, and a large bag of marijuana. The weed looked good, probably home-grown by a patient and experienced cultivator. It could have been as much as half a pound, but he figured there was probably no need to measure it if you possessed it in such quantities. He was proud of his former self, drugging like a champion. He noticed joints jutting up shorter than the cigarette butts in his ashtray. In the typewriter was an article for a major metropolitan newspaper. He was reading it, between gulps of whiskey, joint and cigarette puffs, and the periodical jamming of a straw in his nose to take a fully-bored pull out of the pile. As he took snorts from the pile, it seemed as if it wouldn't ever run out. Lux thought about how much money a pile of cocaine like that might have cost him in his last iteration.
Mike revised the article as he read. “Drugs to the recurrent drug user, the consummate drug user, the initiated psychonaut; are not merely an escape, but an existential necessity.” He crossed out the word “necessity, and wrote “surrogate” in pencil above it. “A modus-operandae, much more than a simple-minded escape. Psychotropes, hallucinogens, are the truest drugs in the sense we wish to use them. Stimulants and sedatives are a futile recreation
for the true psychonaut” Cocaine was not a constant in his life, he came to it apprehensively and with great respect. This time was special. He was writing what would potentially be the greatest article of his entire life. Mike was a journalist in that rare sense, the sense that when he wrote things down it was bigger than himself. He wrote objectively, but not without the subtle nuances of language that provide you with a clear picture of what you should feel about the words you're reading. “Before and since the beginnings of mankind, chemistry has played a fundamental role in the existence of life on Earth” Lux thought “Yeah, man, you have no idea how much of an effect chemicals had in existence.” “Some are more powerful – far more powerful – than others. These chemicals need to be feared, revered, and respected; not cast aside as “addictive” or “menacing,” as they so often are. They are only chemicals like any other substance and should be treated carefully. Some people, inevitably and indubitably, will ruin their lives in psychosomatic addiction. We must not, we cannot, use these weak-minded individuals as the great yardstick of measurement for the casual drug user. Drugs are a tool, not a replacement.”
Lux agreed with most of it. “Make no mistake about it, friends, chemicals can and will envelope and consume your life with their potency. When you consume a drug, you fundamentally change the chemistry of your brain and body. The fundamental core of existence and perceptionwho and what you are. You change yourself in so many ways with unassumingly small amounts of inert and innocent-looking plant matter, powder, liquid, or smoke. Chemicals and chemistry have always been a fundamental aspect of life on Earth, only man-made social laws prescribe the in- and out-put of chemical availability. These laws mandate the perceived vision of a drug-user as a disgusting filth-monger wandering alleyways to rob those more fortunate and less addled in order to attain that sought-after “fix.” This image of the psychonaut could not be further from the truth. An experienced drug user may surprise you if he were to reveal his identity. It could be anyone, a doctor or lawyer, even your parents could be drug users and you'd never know it. Drug laws prohibit cultural acceptance, and deter the proper and clinical use of the substances. This causes the blow-back function of demonizing chemical drugs. The black market production of drugs is focused on profit to product ratio, not preserving the purity of the chemical. This “cutting” makes a weak product, commonly with nonpsychoactive chemical additives. These morality-based drug laws have caused drug users to apply to themselves a scarlet letter- A,
for addict. The only recourse for these people is to “rehabilitate” themselves, creating more profits and success stories for moralitydriven politicos. “ Mike typed those last few words with a pronounced motion of the hands, as if he were punishing the typewriter as he wrote it. Punishing the thing in effigy for the fact that he had to write those words. He thought about what this article might do for him. It was about to be submitted to a very prestigious, very bourgeoisie, metropolitan news magazine. It would, unknowingly to him, be his finest and best article. It would be the article that made him famous. *** Lux found himself back in the Temple. He decided he wanted to have a chair to sit in. To rest. He felt existentially weakened by traveling back and forth in time and space. He looked off, down and to the right, and he thought about how nice it would be to have a chair right there- just near the edge of the pool. As he imagined it, it was there. Almost magically, his thoughts became concrete reality. He thought about the power of this. He could not only manifest matter to contain his consciousness, but he could manifest matter around him to bend to his will. He decided to try it out on the first piece of statuary for his reflecting pool. This was about him, Lux Apotheosis. His story, his existence. He
decided he wanted a large statue of the first cell to split. He thought about where It might go. He looked up, for the first time, to see that the temple had a second floor- smaller than the first. He imagined a staircase spiraling up to the second floor. A double-helix. Like the RNA that Gaia had altered in him to become the first cell not to die. He walked up that staircase knowing full well he didn't have to operate a body to get there. He could have just manifested himself as a pinprick on space-time, but he felt like if he was going to enjoy his new staircase, he needed to climb it like a man. The second floor was empty space, save for a portico cut through the ceiling and floor that illuminated the reflecting pool below him. He could see tongues of flame flit and flicker, reflecting off the pool. He thought that this empty space would make for a wonderful place for his statuary. He set off making the first. He placed, with his mind, a great mass in front of the staircase opening. He, with his mind, scraped off layer and layer until it began to take the shape of a cell. He changed his mind, and made it a cell dividing into two. The first act of mitosis on the Planet Earth. It was a testament to Abiogenesis, a testament to himself, and a testament to Gaia. For the first time, Lux realized that he was utterly alone in the universe. He contemplated the endless solitude of being the
only physical being on the sun other than itself. He wasn't even a physical being anymore, really. He walked down the stairs again, looking at the pool as he descended down the other side of the helix. He sat in his chair, and he looked out onto the still waters of the temple pool. As he looked out from that chair, he thought about how long it might take to get through all of this. How long it might be before he was free to leave again, free to roam from galaxy to galaxy. Free to find his own place in the universe, and free to come to a fuller understanding of what was going on around him in all times and spaces. He desperately wanted to leave, then, and explore. He thought about constellations he saw as a child in a hundred human forms, about Orion the Hunter and the Big Dipper. As he sat in that chair, he rested his arms on the armrest, and he leaned back. He imagined himself a matching ottoman, which materialized underneath his outstretched legs. He closed the eyes of his physical body, and he fell into a peaceful and dreamless sleep.
quare four. logos
Lux sat on the steps of the temple of the sun. He sat there, and he thought. He thought great, cosmic, time-spanning thoughts. He thought not about trivial things such as sports scores, check stubs, and lottery numbers. Lux thought deep thoughts about the meaning of life, and about the way of all things; he thought about the creator. He looked out in front of him, far off in to the distant solar system rotating around him in the kaleidoscope of all the dimensions of time. He saw Mercury, buzzing quickly along its course; Venus a milky blur. The gas Giants and the asteroid belt faded into an elliptical path resembling an impressionist painting. He looked for an especially long time at Earth, the planet he knew ~105~
best. On that planet, he thought, there have lived a thousand thousand souls wandering around in utter ignorance of what would happen to them when they were finally to escape. He thought of it almost as a prison, but yet as a sort of farm; growing intellectual entities for admission into the cosmic hierarchy. More rules, he thought; rules, regulations, tests, and achievements. Life on Earth wasn't entirely too different from life outside Earth. In fact, it was becoming more and more rational; more and more comprehensible by the minute. He sat on those steps, and he thought about his life. What did it mean; what did it really mean? All of this? Just another shitstain on the blanket of eternity. So Earth was just a farm for prefifth dimensional life forms. That seemed rather bland to him, almost mechanical. Like he'd come out of a factory or something. That couldn't be the whole story. Sure, there were the intricacies of life itself, the beauty of the spring cherry blossoms and all of that nonsense. Falling in and out of love, financial boom and bust, moments of brilliant insight and utter disgust. There was a balance to it all. From this cosmic perspective, it all just seemed so mundane to him. What was the point? Life on Earth had always been summed up by the question, “what's next?” and it didn't seem to him as if life outside Earth was going to be any different. What's next, apotheosis? What do you do now? How, exactly, does one occupy oneself in eternity?
He had so many options. There was, of course, a swimming pool the size of a temple behind him that held an assemblage of his entire existence on that planet he saw orbiting in the distance like a marble. He imagined picking up one of the rocks around him and being able to throw it at said planet, like a game of cosmic marbles. Why not? Gaia was gone, off to bigger and better things. He didn't matter to her anymore, so who cares about the damn temple and all the memories and all of it. He punched the step he was sitting on, only to remember that his iteration felt pain. The sensation stirred a new batch of memories from deep within the recesses of his mind. It was pain that defined humanity. Constant, never-ending, existential pain. The pain of existence. Being alive and aware in a universe that was far beyond even the furthest limits of his comprehension. Working for nothing, for the sake of some other person. All of a sudden, after his go at life on Earth, there he was in the middle of it all. Both literally and figuratively, stuck in the middle of space, time, existence, life, beginnings, endings, possibilities, and singularities. The “world,” as he knew it, had appeared vast and full of opportunity- at least that's the feeling he remembered about the place. A globe of infinite expanse that suddenly seemed so finite as he watched it travel like the insignificant dot on the black that it really was. He remembered her words, Becky's words, “You were there because I made it so, but I did not invent you.” What did she mean by that? He was used to the fact that she was a traveler inside the body he knew as Becky, but what did that imply about
himself? Was he, too, just a silent observer inside the bodies he knew as shattered memories floating about in the pool behind him? What were the implications of that? What was he, now, as he sat on the steps of a temple erected by Gaia, giver of life on Earth and master of Sol. That's where he was, walking like a miracle on the core of the Sun. As he remembered, from a class in one of those memory squares, the Sun didn't have a core. It was mostly Hydrogen, with the majority of the remainder being Helium. There was no cold metal core to walk on, there was no heart of the sun. Was this place a figment of his imagination? Becky had said that his own thoughts materialized in the pool, but did his own thoughts materialize the whole damn place? The sun, the universe, the cartesian plot, Phalanx, Becky, and the whole lot of it- was it all just some dream? Some kind of wicked hallucination as he lay in the death throws of his chemical suicide? Wait. Chemical suicide? He thought about it, intensely focused on recalling the train of thought that had led him to that conclusion: “was that how I died?” “Am I just really fucked up on drugs right now?” He said it aloud, to no one, to the rocks in the distance, to the Earth itself- a marbledot on the endless expanse of time. “No. You're dead, it's not a joke; you're not on drugs.”
He looked at the bottom of the steps, only to see Phalanx, his intake guide. “I thought you left,” said Lux as Phalanx climbed the stairs toward him. “I felt kind of bad about not knowing you were an Apotheosis, and I figured you could use a friend right now.” “A friend? Is that what I need?” “I bet you're wondering what the point of all of this is right about now, aren't you?” Lux looked at the ground. “Yeah, I guess I was” “No surprise to me, that's why I'm here.” Phalanx stood over Lux. He almost seemed imposing. Lux stood up. A friend. That was what he needed. The universe seemed lonely back on Earth, but sitting here on the temple steps staring off into the vastness of space with sight beyond limit was indeed quite lonely. He had only just realized it.
“It's good to have friends,” said Lux, almost accidentally. “It certainly is, especially when you're the Apotheosis.” “So, I guess my biggest question is: What exactly differentiates me from the other souls on Earth as an Apotheosis.” “Essentially, nothing. But there is a special duty you hold to them as the first to escape.” “So I've escaped then?” “In a way, yes. You can look at your awakening into the fifth dimension as a form of escape. It's more of a blossoming, but in the parlance of your times; it's a fucking escape.” “Like going home?” “That's another way of looking at it, I suppose, but it's more like becoming who you really are. You're goal is to become you- as a whole. The point of re-hashing all your memories is for you to gain the perspective of looking at things on a time-line. Looking at things from a fifth-dimensional point of view. You can see every beginning, every end, and every in-between of everything that ever was- ever. You've gained essential omniscience in the realms of space and time; but that omniscience is regulated by strict rules.
Those rules were set out by the creator, and they cannot be altered. They are the steadfast laws of our universe, and as far as I know, of the multi-verse.” “Ok, I think we're getting ahead of ourselves here.” Lux was getting confused again. “I know it's confusing, man, but please just bear with me. I'm trying to teach you something here. I came back because I felt guilty. The Apotheosis speech is so much more in-depth, and since Gaia didn't put it on your intake form; I had no idea. Usually, we bring the intakes to their solar system and there's a temple like the one we're standing in front of- but the temple is complete with a record of the key transitory forms. How much exploring have you done since I left?” “I checked out a sequence of squares from an iteration in the midseventies. Strippers, Money, Typewriters and cocaine. Great weed, good times.” “That was a good period-” Phalanx interrupted. “It was.” Lux cut him off in turn, “I was a guy named Mike. He was a journalist, but one of the rare ones that could walk the walk while they talked the talk. He railed lines of blow in the back of strip clubs, and smoked the finest grass money could buy. I'm glad
he was me. He was like...” “Hunter S. Thompson, like your intake. Fair enough. That's a good start, close to your final death, is that one or two iterations from your transcendental iteration?” “Transcendental iteration?” “Yeah, that's the one you had right before you ended up here. It's the life you lived that finished whatever protocols Gaia had set up for you to trigger after your soul neared Apotheosis.” “Ok, so what exactly is Apotheosis. I mean, I get it- to deify, to make god from flesh- but does that really mean I'm a god?” “In a sense, yes. I mean, what were the gods to the mortals on Earth? You guys classified yourselves as mortals, and they as gods, am I wrong?” “Yeah, I guess. We were mortals, gods were immortals. The gods, the undying manifestations of our assumptions of perfection.” “Precisely. Souls are the singular essence of an evolutionary sequence that takes place on Earth through reincarnation. It's one of the many ways you can gestate your planet in order to create an actualized existence.”
“So what's the point of me playing along, then?” Lux was beginning to “get it.” “It's not about playing along, really, there isn't really a choice. When you were bound by existence on Earth, could you see time in dimensions? Could you simultaneously watch a beginning and an ending? Could you subjugate your consciousness to a pinprick on the Cartesian plot? It's the same here. We're bound by the sight of a fifth-dimensional existence. You can stay here for all eternity, or you can try and progress. Some people have no interest in progression. They're contented solely by meeting other people on other galaxies and having a good old time in the infinite expanse of fifth-dimensional space.” “So I could sit on these steps and be done with the whole thing? Can I kill myself?” “Sit on the steps for eternity, I guess so. It'd be really boring, but you could do that if you wanted. As far as killing yourself, no. There isn't really anything to kill. You aren't stuck in a biological mass right now, you aren't even made of any stuff. What you see and feel as your body is something you made up without even knowing that you did. You have to bind yourself to the limits of space when you're in a galaxy. You have to exist in context. If you killed your contextual self, here, on the Sun, your consciousness
would just revert itself back to it's Cartesian form.” “Why can't it just end? What is this continual pile of horse shit I have to climb through?” “Don't get down on your own existence, man. We're just pawns of the universe. Plankton in the great sea of nothing. That ocean is eternal, and so are we. Why make it stop?” “I want there to be an ending.” “Of what use is an absolute ending here? There's all kinds of endings. Interpersonal relationships from meeting to make up to break up, galaxies beginning and ending all around us, and the constant reformation of matter.” “Things should be finite, set in stone, realistic.” “Fuckin' Lux, what is reality? I'm not talking about stuff, or thoughts, or tangible things. Reality is temporally subjective. Don't you realize that endings are closely followed by new beginnings? Haven't you picked up on that yet? You ended your life on Earth by your own hand after philosophizing the fuck out of it. What happened? Here you are, you have no control in the matter at all.”
Lux kicked the step and stared off into the horizon, regressing. “Alright, that's it, lets get out of here for a while. It's been too long since I spent some time on Gaia's planet; probably a few hundred Earth years I'd imagine. You could probably used some different scenery, anyway, am I right?” “But what about my 'solemn duty' and all that? What about 'figuring out what the meaning of life is'?” “I appreciate, yet loathe, your sarcasm while referring to the discovery of new things. Ever onward, man, the quest for the higher plateau. Why is it you look with such disdain upon new things? I don't understand how you could be so apathetic with an entire universe to explore.” Lux begrudgingly followed suit as Phalanx condensed himself into a Cartesian point. The feeling of condensing your body to a singularity in an instant would seem to some as difficult, maybe even painful. It was becoming second nature to him by now. Lux's body was a hologram, a doll. It was an assemblage of biological matter from spare atoms happily buzzing along throughout eternal quantum passivity. Like Lux, existing as a microcosm of biological systems, designed through a thousand thousand years to achieve one thing: a separation between the
physical, organic, body and the consciousness it contained within it- Lux, the existence as opposed to Lux, the man. That's what was designed to happen. It wasn't designed by some almighty creator, really, even though it essence it was. The creator of the universe wasn't the only creator of universes, not the greatest nor the worst, he was just the creator of the one Lux was present inside. The creator didn't create Lux, Lux created Lux. The creator created the parameters of existence. He took a bubble of cosmic dust, crammed it all into a singularity, shouted some fundamental rules of physics at it, and blew it up. After that, it was every molecule for itself, then every mote of dust in turn, until you got some organic bodies with consciousness on some rock somewhere, and they learn the secrets and create more life, and in turn again, the universe spits out a sixth dimensional being and it's fulfilled it's purpose and it perpetuates it's own existence right out of existence throughout immeasurable times and spaces. Things were starting to get overwhelming again. “Yeah, let's go.” “Follow me,” said Phalanx They ended up in, of all places, a church on Earth. Could have been any church. It was a Catholic Cathedral somewhere in a pleasant suburb. Clean lines and stoically contemplative architecture, comfortable pews and climate control. It didn't seem
like a place of worship as much as it seemed a giant sized version of a cheap studio apartment complex. There were people there, milling around. Mostly families with young children laughing, picking their noses and flipping through the hymnals. Phalanx, and Lux in turn, materialized into physical bodies in the shadows just outside the building. Phalanx made a motion for Lux to follow, and they silently opened the doors and took a seat in the back to watch the Mass. It was the gospel reading. The priest's voice was calm and direct, in a way that was pleasant to Lux's ears. The last time he was on Earth, he thought, he would rather have burnt down a church as opposed to sit in one. That was then, this was now, and he really didn't mind it after all. It was quiet when the priest spoke, save for the occasional baby noise and fart, and the priest's voice just seemed to captivate him. Like the man had some sort of sight beyond the superficial; like Lux could relate to him, if only through his voice. Like he had to listen. “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with god, and the word was god. The same was in the beginning with god. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from god, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that light, but was
sent to bear witness of that light. That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of god, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of god. And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. John one, verses one through fourteen. The gospel of our lord.” As the masses made strange gestures with their hands, and chanted back with indifference before sitting back down, Lux felt a twinge of irony rush through his mind as he reflected on the words he had heard. He glanced at Phalanx, who stared back and silently grinned. “We'll be staying for the homily as well,” he said from behind his Cheshire-cat grin. “Homily?” “Pay attention, man, don't get impatient. I know this religion is bullshit, but it's not like everything they had to say was without meaning. It helped mankind cope with the world around them for thousands of years. Chill out; don't hate on the priest- he may be misguided, but his intellect and understanding of people is on
point.” “And the word was made flesh. Speaking, of course, of Jesus our lord. Straying from the obvious, we can take John's words as a peek into a further awareness of the kingdom of heaven laid out for us to dwell in for eternity. In the house of our lord, words are the dictum of divine arbitration. Words are all we have from the lord, our god. Words are what he communicates to us, what we are left to interpret and understand. These words are not simple ideas or concepts, but vastly incalculable insights into the realms of god. As the word made flesh, Jesus Christ represents the a visceral iteration of the lord our god. He is the word of god made flesh, an apotheosis. The truest version of humanity, the only begotten son of the father, light from light, true god from true god. God, who made his word flesh in his own image. This word was given to us in the scriptures, and we live inside that word. Words of god not only made flesh, but made of rock and dust, of atoms and subatomic forces. Those forces are also the word of god, for the word of god is what holds our universe together. As humans, as physical manifestations of the word of god, we are to live in the example of Jesus. That is the true reason for life, the true reason to live a life in the example of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins. The path to heaven is the path first trod by Jesus Christ, word made flesh. This, you will see, is the profundity of the word of god. The word of god is infinite and unerring, from the minute details of sub atomic particles to the vastness of space. As we grow to further
understand the mystery of the physical world around us, we are walking in a physical manifestation of the word of god. In heaven, we will exist in the true extent of the glory of the word of god. May your journeys always leave you with more understanding, as all on this Earth is temporary in terms of the world of the word of our lord.” Phalanx grabbed Lux's arm, and they got up to leave. Lux took one last look at the people sitting in the rows of pews. Obviously the priest had a firm grip on perspective, but he just had to throw in all that Jesus and God stuff to make it digestible. Lux could see the importance of what Phalanx had shown him, but he could also see the fundamental errors in the hierarchy. Jesus wasn't real, he was a literary representation of an amalgam of ideals seen by a hundred different people decades apart in some exemplary person they made into their messianic effigy. His sacrifice was that he was destroyed by the very people he was metaphorically sent to save. Living and dying and resurrecting and transubstantiating, and all that. All just a symbol for an existential and communal understanding of the metaphysical realm. They didn't know the realm wasn't metaphysical, they just knew they couldn't experience it in their physical bodies. Humans always knew something much bigger than themselves was going on around them, they just had no perception of what it was. “That's the ultimate lesson these people are missing, it's all just a
fucking metaphor, just a good story that you're supposed to find further meaning in. It's no answer, it's just a way to pacify those with existential anguish” Lux thought aloud. He was getting angry again. “They're so limited in their grasp on the scope of the situation they're in, the people would rather kill the greatest iteration of themselves than listen to what he had to say. Disgusting, really. Doesn't matter if it actually happened, or if it didn't” “That's where the obfuscating concept of 'faith' comes in, man. Imagine you're standing on a cliff's edge, with your only chance of escaping a heated pursuit being to jump into the water below. You've never been there, you've never swam those waters, and you have no idea if you'll dive to safety or crack your cranium on the jagged rocks below: do you jump, or do you fight your attackers to the end?” “Are you nuts? Jumping off a cliff? I'll always stand up and fight my own battles- I'm not a coward.” “Ye of little faith would fight to the death.” “Exactly right. What's the point in putting all your eggs in one basket? Hoping for a saving grace when you could stand up for yourself and still win.”
“That's the difference. Rather than defer to the unknown possibility of life after death, you chose to fight. That's why you're the Apotheosis. You were trying to find a way out, and you found it. You stood up and fought, but you did it for the right reasonsyou were being held captive, man, and you would have stayed a captive for a long time if you hadn't ended it. Normally I wouldn't admonish suicidal tendencies, but in your case it was the final piece of the puzzle. You took active control of your mortality, and it was your faith in that mortality that led you to kill yourself. Your misstep was the fact that you blindly jumped into the water, hoping you'd crush your skull on the rocks, but the ocean was warm“ “And full of squares representing the life I tried so hard to escape.” “And you did escape, Lux, don't you see it?” “I may have escaped Earth, but I did not escape life. It's easier to look at it all from a third person point of view, though. I haven't checked out any squares from my transcendental iteration, but from what I can remember- and from what you and Becky said; it sucked pretty hard.” “It's good to see you're beginning to understand.” “Let's get out of here. I hate churches.”
He followed phalanx out on to the sun-lit sidewalks in front of the church. As they walked down the steps, he took in the surroundings. It was a crisp spring day, birds chirping and the sun shining and all of that. He thought about how he had just been inside the sun, starting out at the planet he was now occupying. The marble he thought he could throw a rock at. “Lets take a walk, man. I know a place.” Said Phalanx. It seemed like Phalanx could almost sense the anxious wanderings of Lux's mind.
Lux followed Phalanx to a foot-trail headed across a meadow into the woods. As they walked along the path, Lux took special note of all the different plants and animals he saw. The colors, the shapes, the smells, the feel of his feet crunching the ~123~
crushed limestone trail. It was nice to be back on Earth. He had felt so abandoned and constrained in that half-way house, at intake, and in the temple. It was nice to breathe the spring air again. Even though he wasn't alive, in the Earthly sense of the term, he was still alive in the truest sense of the term. Even though his body was just a container for him, he realized that it had always been that way, he just didn't have the capacity to understand what that really meant until now. He was trapped inside himself. They approached a bend in the trail just before the tree line, and Phalanx sat down in a patch of grass under a shady tree. Lux sat down near him, and gazed down the tree line into the horizon. He noticed the way the horizon almost pulses and radiates in the spring afternoon sun. It seemed like he could see forever, but then he thought about what forever means to a person in a body on Earth in comparison to what forever is to a fifth-dimensional consciousness. “I forgot how much I like to sit and look at this place. Gaia's world turned out so aesthetically beautiful. The colors, the trees, the grass, the way the atmosphere bends the light to make a blue sky; it's all so fucking beautiful! My planet was austere, rocky, even utilitarian. This place has a woman's touch. It's comforting.” “You sound like you've been munching on acid tabs, Phalanx.” “Life on a planet isn't much other than a hallucination, man. You see things from a fixed point of view, it's all about perspective.
Look around you, man, you're living inside a time-context right now. The surroundings are stationary. Imagine if you could have seen in the fifth-dimensional point of view before you died. You don't even have to imagine it if you don't want to, really. Become it. Don't forget you have that option now. Look at this dandelion. Imagine a tiny insect crawling along the leaves. The tiniest little bug, insignificant as a mote of dust. Now put your consciousness inside that tiny insect as it climbs over the leaves. You see a dandelion, now, but it's a whole world to that insect. The colors aren't yellow, they're shades of cellular yellows, greens, blues, and hues. There's mountains; peaks and valleys for that insect. That dandelion would be absurdly huge for that insect, but he still just walks along the leaves. Is he looking for food? Is he admiring the beauty of the dandelion's contours? Is he traveling far from home? Does he have a home? Where might he go from here?” “Acid trip.”
“Fine. An acid trip, whatever. Remember how powerful chemicals can be? You saw abiogenesis, you were there in more ways than one. Both observer and participant- scientist and subject. And now you're experiencing the entire universe as both an observer and participant. There is no separation of those two extremes when you aren't stuck in the fourth dimension viewing time as a straight line from a point in it.” “Fine. I get it, though. Like that preacher was saying back in the church. The word of god is the laws of the universe. Their version of god isn't quite what reality is, but it's pretty damn close. Jesus is a metaphor, the word of god is the rule of the universe, and the creator created it for us to live in. In the case of Earth, Gaia was god in the Judeo-Christian sense. She put it all in motion. When she got here it was nothing but rocks, water, and volcanoes. Potential. She pissed in the water or whatever and abiogenesis happened. So who's the creator of life- the Creator, or Gaia?” “There is no real creator of life. Gaia didn't create life, she arbitrated it. Same with the creator of our universe. Life is what happens over a long period of time and development. Life on Earth began a journey at abiogenesis that continues ever onward until all the souls transcend and the planet outgrows it's usefulness as an incubator. Life as a concept began a hell of a long time agobefore me, before you, before Gaia, and before our universe was created as we know it. Life is a trans-universal concept. A concept
that spans all universes, all spaces, all times, all dimensions, and all existences. It's a fundamental part of nature, the nature of all things. These trees and rocks are as alive as us, this dandelion, and even as alive as our imaginary bug. It's imaginary because there's a possibility of imagining it; and that's also the reality of it. You can't imagine a bug that can't be imagined. It could be any bug, but it has to be a bug. Spider, aphid, caterpillar, butterfly, all alive, all bugs, real or imagined. In a world of infinite beginnings and endings, and a world where matter can take any shape, there are endless variations of what you can get when you create life on another planet. That's why you do it, that's why you keep living. It's to keep understanding the way all of this space dust can iterate into so many different things. Stars, mountains, rocks, trees, dandelions, bugs, people, nuclear reactors, oceans, galaxies, the atmosphere; at a basic level, it's all the same stuff. How can that not be fascinating? Why wouldn't you want to spend an essential eternity figuring out what different kinds of things can happen in the universe? Why, for fuck's sake, would you want to kill yourself? LUX, IT'S FUCKING AMAZING TO BE ALIVE!” “That's a good point, man. I have to admit it” “So you wanted to know your name, huh? Your transcendental iteration's name?” “Yeah. That was the point, at first, I guess.”
“Anthony James Cahill III” “Really?” “Yeah.” “Fuck.” They sat there for silent hours under that tree, Phalanx in a silent and contemplative state, and Lux on the cusp of understanding a way of looking at things that better suited him than he thought could ever be possible. It was funny, in a way, that he could have always imagined it. Just like Phalanx said. It was definitely possible to imagine the Earth as a piece of a much larger puzzle, and that made it real. And now, here he was, in the midst of matter, time, and space; a comprehensive consciousness, a pinprick of existence on the Cartesian plot tucked inside the meat folds of a human circa 2001. Years didn't even matter once you left Earth anyway, and at any point Lux could flip his consciousness over to view Earth in the fourth dimension. It still made him sick in how overwhelming it was to experience, but he gave it another shot. Slowly, he looked out at the field and saw himself blurring out from where he was; into every move he took from the trail head to where he was now. He saw the birds and the animals and the motions of their wings and feet blurring into fog.
He saw every animal that had crossed that path that day, every bird that had been in the sky since birds knew how to fly. He saw he and Phalanx leaving, walking off into the forest. As he looked at the forest, he saw the trees as new sprouts, saplings, and gargantuan old-growths. He removed his consciousness from his body and brought his perspective slowly outward from the tree. He floated up into the clouds and saw civilizations founded and crumbling, he saw the constant whirling of the Earth around the sun. Light and shade, day and night, spring, summer, autumn, and winter. He saw the volcanoes, and abiogenesis, even the end of the world; all there at the same time, but any time he looked at anything closely, it became a still image of time that he could digest. Although he could see the beginning and ending of Earth, he could focus in on the instant in time that he and Phalanx were sitting under that tree in a park. At the same time he could see himself there in that park, he could see the mountains of Tibet, he could see the insect on the dandelion, he could see Mike blowing coke in the back of a strip club, and he could see his transcendent iteration sitting on the edge of his bed in a dimly lit room. He collapsed his consciousness back into the folds of time, and re-occupied his body. He looked at Phalanx. “Why create a universe?” he said, bluntly and abruptly. Phalanx grinned.
“Why build a house?” “Fair enough.” “Look, man, I can see you're finally getting used to all of this. It's gotta be a bit of a shock.” “I wish there was a way to help other people expand their consciousness to the point where they can escape Earth. No one should have to be imprisoned on this planet, despite it's beauty. No one should have to stay here when there's a whole universe to explore.” “Now you're thinking. That's what your job is as the apotheosis. You're the word made flesh, the Jesus Christ of the whole damn thing. You're the first one. Remember, you and Gaia were the second generation of the first cell to undergo mitosis. Light from light, true god from true god. You were surrounded by the light, yet not that light. Just like you are surrounded by infinity, but you are not that infinity. You are only a part of it. That's why I brought you to church, man, religion is a way for humans to cope with a complex understanding of the world around them. Those words in the bible have a deep meaning for most humans. They can grasp the sense of the fact that we're all made out of the same stuff, but they need a master, a god, to tell them what to do. They don't have
faith in themselves, they have faith in something else. They need something to latch on to that's tangible, so they can go along living and dieing in a world they can only slightly grasp and never fundamentally understand. The real world of soaring triumph and troughs of defeat. It doesn't work for everyone, but it works for a lot of them. You can't help them directly, they won't listen to you. What you can do is prepare your temple so they can have some semblance of purpose on their path through fifth dimensional existence. You can't change the way the world works, Lux, you can only change what they come out to. It's up to you to make their transition as easy as possible. You are the guiding light at the end of the tunnel, the light of the Earth.” “I guess that's a bit of a relief, Phalanx, thank you.” Lux laid back down on the grass, staring up at the clouds in the sky. He remembered being a hundred children staring up at that same damn sky, the same damn clouds. They still looked just as beautiful as he had remembered them being every single time he looked at them. Damn clouds. He took a long piece of grass and stuck it between his teeth. He took a deep, full, breath of the spring air and exhaled deeply, watching the grass wave back and forth in front of his face. “You know, man, when I transcended from my galaxy...” Phalanx laid in the shade, not far from Lux, under the same tree they had sat for what seemed, now, like days.
“You're from Andromeda, right, Phalanx?” He took the grass out of his mouth to speak. “Indeed, yes, good old Alpha Centauri. It was a nice place, my planet. We called it Kleon, but it's since passed. I've been around a long time, man, I took the time to study a minimum of nineteen different planet's existences in order to volunteer full time at the intake. I wanted to help people out, you know, and learning about so many different places was a great time.” “It does sound like an admirable profession.” Lux stuck the grass back in his teeth after he spoke, like it was a cigarette, and focused his gaze back on the clouds. “It is, I think. I must admit, though, that I'm kind of excited my first apotheosis is from Earth, that was my favorite planet to study. You had the best music, and the best languages.” “Rammstein uber alles,” said Lux. He leaned over on his elbow and stared Phalanx right in the eyes. “Good times with the industrial headbanger shit, man, but I was thinking more along the lines of the evolution of instruments, and the relationship between music and the progression of technology. I'm a big fan of subtractive synthesis. You managed to
electronically manipulate generated tone waves to replicate sounds in nature. No other beings on any other planet ever made electronic music. It's so amazing.” “Techno?” “Ha, yeah, I guess.” “Let's go back to the sun, dude, being on Earth is starting to bum me out.” “Fair enough.” Phalanx sat up, brushed himself off, and condensed into a Cartesian point. *** So now that he was beginning to understand what to do with himself, he was beginning to hatch a plan. He wanted to know some things about his death. Someone had once said, he recalled, “To write a good story, you have to start at the end. You have to know how it ends in order to tell the story correctly.” The end of the story, in this case, was the beginning. He had died. Other than that, he didn't really remember that much. He decided that he would investigate his final death before apotheosis, the transcendent iteration, and he would try to remember his name. “Mind if I head back to intake for a while, man? I've got some
paperwork to catch up on.” “No, not really, I think I'd like to be alone for a while anyhow. I appreciate the help, Phalanx- now go help out those intakes. You do a great job. I'll head your way if I need your help. You're my first friend in this new world of mine; and it's good to have one.” “Likewise.” Wth that, Phalanx was off. His condensed flame on the Cartesian plot shot off towards the center point. Lux turned and walked back into the temple. His temple. He looked around him, again familiarizing himsef with the massive columns that seemed to shimmer from the tongues of a thousand flames. He walked up the spiral staircase to the room he had put his abiogenesis statue in. He made another statue there, one of clouds separating to reveal a ray of light- the light of the apotheosis. Lux. He stared at it for a while, wondering what other statues he might place there, and he realized he was beginning to get tired again. He chose the far right corner of the room, and put a bed there. Nothing huge, nothing ornate. Just a plain old bed, with plain old white sheets, and plain old pillows. Utilitarian. This was a temporary place- temporary for him, and temporary for all who would visit after him. There was no reason to make it a home, it wasn't a home. It was a temple, and it served a specific function. He wanted any furnishings in the temple to echo that temporary
feeling. He laid down in the bed, and stared at the ceiling of the temple, finding himself unable to fall asleep as quickly as he had in the chair downstairs. “It's our connections with our past that unites us as a planet, and denotes us as an individual” He thought about what that meant. Gaia had said that to him. Becky. Whoever. That chick. His other half, light from light, and all that shit. Whatever. He wanted a purpose. Something to do. Sure he had this temple to fill out, but that wasn't enough for him. Move on to the next step, then? What would that bring? Another few millenia of tortuous nitpicking over his freshly-minted life-bearing planet in some far off star's system? What was the point? Just farming souls, like all the other lingerers-on surfing it out without a purpose like Phalanx's. He didn't know if he had the stomach for it. It's quite a burden, if you think about it, being a god. With that, Lux fell fast asleep.
square five. nightmares
June 26, 1999. The real summer of love. Battered speakers belched radio songs about nookie and freaks on leashes. Anthony Cahill drives into the heart of the sunrise. He stomps on the accelerator of a rust-bucket Honda from before you were born, stressing the engine just as close to the edge as he thinks he can take it before it explodes. He drives with the window open because the air conditioning stopped working three owners ago, a hundred thousand miles ago. He is only a blur of offensive bumper stickers as he screams past semis, mini-vans, construction workers, and mile markers- nearing a hundred of them an hour. He tries to throw an empty beer bottle at the “Welcome to ~136~
Ohio” sign, but he misses, tossing it haphazardly into the ditch. They should have never given him a driver's license. Who's idea was that, anyway? Their loss. He's got a wallet-full of twenty dollar bills the lady at the bank gave him in trade for his paycheck from the burger shack. He intends to spend them. He can feel the awkward thickness between him and his bucket seat. They're on vacation. Headed to Cedar Point for the day. Sunburn, roller coasters, and a half gallon of gin thoughtfully concealed in water bottles. His friend, Ray, is rolling an inaugural blunt in the passenger seat, flicking seeds at the hole where the glove compartment used to be. Anthony slows the car to sixty-five. One law at a time. Christ, he's not even supposed to leave the state. He looks in the rear-view mirror and sees her face. He adjusts the mirror for a quick glance down her body, from spaghetti-strapped shoulder to mini-skirt hips. She chose the clothes she wore very carefully, and he could tell. The folds of the fabric seemed to enjoy the body underneath- it almost seemed like some grand seamstress had produced the clothing specifically for her. He liked the way she dressed. To him, she was a goddess. She was curled up in a little chick-ball, taking up a small corner of the faded leather backseat. The car was dirty, he never washed it, so the speckles of bird shit on the windshield cast shadows all over the car like a reverse disco ball. She was sleeping. She looked like
a cat when she slept. Ray's girl was curled up on the other side, her best friend since high school. That's how he'd met Ray, actually. He took a drink of coffee, and set it back down in the cup holder. “Needs more Jager.” “What?” Ray turned around sleepily, with the unlit blunt hanging from a corner of his mouth. “My coffee. It needs more Jager.” “Oh. Shit. Hold on a second.” Ray lit the blunt, blowing back through it as he did, shooting a little flame-thrower at Anthony. “Fucker! You burnt my arm-hair! Jager!” “Hit this,” Ray said, handing the blunt over to Anthony as he reached into the backpack between his feet for the fifth of Jager. He poured a shot or so into the coffee cup and took a pull for himself, glancing for cop cars on the side of the road. After seeing the coast was clear, he turned his head toward the backseat and held up the bottle.
“Hey bitches, want some Ja-” “They're asleep, dude!” Anthony barked, as he put the blunt in front of Ray's face. “Oh well. More for me.” “More for you my ass! Give me that shit” creaked a squeaky voice from the back seat. “See, now you've woken the sleeping beauty.” said Anthony. “Stop looking at me in the mirror, Ant, you're creeping me out!” she said with a sheepish grin. “Sorry, babe, just love your fuckin' face.” “Well, it is pretty.” “Ya don't have to tell me that.” The rust bucket pulled into the first rest stop on the turnpike after Westgate. The sun was up in full by then, a bright yellow bucket of light poured out onto the flat and treeless expanse of Northern Ohio. The skies were clear and the lot gulls were belligerently squawking as they dove for misplaced french fries in
the parking lot. The air smelled clean, even though they were right next to a highway. Ray got out first, pulling his seat forward for the girls to get out. “I gotta pee, I gotta pee, I gotta pee!” She was jumping up and down, with her hands folded in front of her as if trying to hold back a failing dam. Her long brown hair floated up as she came down, hitting her shoulders seconds after she landed each jump. “So go piss, Rachel, damn!” “I'm waiting for Tam!” She paced and jumped around the asphalt as Tam backed herself slowly out of the car, rubbing sleep from her eyes. She was similarly dressed- denim mini-skirt and spaghetti-straps. Her shirt, a pastel teal, Rachel's a classic black. “I'm coming, I'm coming, Jee-sus. It's way too fucking early.” “That's cuz you're a vampire, Tam,” Ray said as he stretched. “Fuck you, Ray. Come on, Rachel - Let's pee!”
They skipped off, arm in arm, to the bathroom to do whatever chicks insist on doing together in the bathroom. Ray and Anthony finished off the blunt in a shady back corner of the parking lot, and each took another pull from the Jager bottle. “So. You ready for this, Ant?” “Going to prison isn't exactly something you get ready for, it's something you accept.” “Do the crime, do the time, right?” “More like take the fall, be on the other end of the pointed finger, and get fucked when rats squeal” “That's one way of looking at it. I wasn't there, man.” “It doesn't matter. We're here on one last vacation before sentencing, and I don't really want to think about it right now to tell you the truth. Let's just take a piss and get back on the road.” “Fair enough, dude. I'm just shooting the shit, you know.” “I know, Ray. It's no big deal. I won't go away for that long; my lawyer is one sadistic motherfucker”
“I wish I could afford a lawyer like that” “Afford. Shit, I'm blackmailing that gold-watched slime ball. Who do you think I was selling the coke to?” “Nice. Pictures?” “And video. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” “You scare me, Ant.” Ray went to meet up with the girls, and Anthony pissed in a sewer drain on the far side of the car. It had been a few months since he got busted. They got busted. He and his roommates had purchased two bricks of blow and six paper grocery bags of homegrown hydroponic Northern Lights, which was proudly displayed on the kitchen table to be divided up and sold to their fiendish friends and fiend friends of friends. This, of course, was before the damn cops knocked on the door with a warrant while he was home alone. It was in the past, now. After a series of “What do you mean a giant pile of cocaine, officer, it wasn't there when I left for work,” and “He was there when you found it, it must be his.” He took the fall, got ratted out by his so-called friends, and was looking down a stiff set of charges laid out in front of a judge with
a stick up his ass and a point to prove. Things, overall, were not looking good. Sure his lawyer was a good one, but this judge was a well known draconian in terms of drug sentencing. They say the Judge's kid got raped back in the early nineties by a heroin-addict with AIDS. She blew her brains out in the garage on her sixteenth birthday, and he was the one that found her there. He's been imposing maximum sentences for drug and rape cases ever since. That's enough to take the blinders off of justice for even the most stoic of judges. It's a world of villains and psychopaths, the nightmare of judicial dreamers the Earth over. A sad story, no doubt, and it gives you a funny feeling in your throat when you hear about stuff like that. It's easy to see how such horrible circumstances could blind your eye to the intricacies of the word “criminal.” Anthony had never even done heroin. He was test-proven HIV negative. He never raped anybody, either. His girlfriend was hot, and really liked to fuck. Rape was the furthest thing from his mind. He was just trying to get money to pay rent. He didn't even snort the coke he sold, and wished he didn't smoke the weed he sold. You don't do your own supply, man. No money in that. No money in it either way, because now it was Exhibit C. A big pile of what could have been turned into money now occupying space in an evidence locker. Tragedy. They said he was a criminal. A scumbag. They said he was dangerous. His only fault was getting burned by playing with fire. He was ready for that. “Be Prepared.” He remembered that
from Boy Scouts. Give the people what they want, get shit on. Better luck next time. He wanted to say he would learn from his mistakes, but he wasn't even willing to call them mistakes yet. They found it really easy to tell him he was making mistakes, and he wished they kept their opinions to themselves. “You stupid fuck. You're thinking about it again, aren't you? Aren't you?” She punched him in the shoulder. How long had he been standing there? Five minutes? Ten? Twenty? “Yeah, I'm sorry.” “You promised me you'd stop thinking about it just for today, Ant.” “I know, babe. I'm sorry. Let's hit the road, huh?” He pulled out on to the highway, merged, and stomped on the accelerator again. Topping ninety, he looked in the rear-view only to ease off on the speed and coast back down to the limit. He'd hate to see that pretty body all cut up with glass on the side of the road after his drunk ass flipped the rust bucket. His rationality had a tendency to beat out his thrill-seeking side. He wanted to be close to the edge, but never over it. Especially not at the expense of people he actually cared about.
“Eat this and soak up that Jager, Ant, you're driving.” Rachel said as she handed Anthony an Egg McMuffin she had bought him at the rest stop. “Thanks, kid. I could have bought shit for us, though, I'm rich today!” “I know. But you were out in the parking lot sulking and I knew you'd forget to eat, get way too drunk, and pass out in the sun as soon as we got there.” “I'd at least find a picnic table in the shade first.” “Fuck you, you'd pass out on a bench after puking in a garbage can and get a shitty sunburn. You know it.” “She got you, dude,” Ray chimed in. He was right. It was sad how well she knew him. Twenty years old, head about her like a sage. Straight-A student, eyes bright as the fucking sun. She was naturally beautiful, with a full future ahead of her, and he felt like he was holding her back. He was twenty four, twice the college dropout, and master of grill operation. He never loved her like she loved him. He never said “Rachel, do you want to be my girlfriend?” She just spent all of
her spare time with him. She wouldn't have it any other way. He just figured he'd enjoy it while it lasted, and had a good idea she felt the same. They enjoyed their time together. They were two souls meant to wander. Children in the span of time, adults in their own minds. “We're here.” “Already?” The two girls said in unison. “I've got the tickets, let's smoke another blunt and get the Gin.” Ray pulled the seat forward and the girls got out. “Good plan,” Tam said as she stretched her arms above her head, pulling her shirt above her low-rise mini-skirt and showing off her midriff tattoo. “Tam, you little sexpot, you've got a tramp stamp on your mons! When'd you get that?!” Rachel pointed with her right hand, and covered her mouth sarcastically with her left. “Ray likes it” She stuck out her tongue. “Fuck yeah I do.” Ray said, as he lit up the blunt and passed it to her.
After the blunt, they each grabbed a water bottle filled with gin and Sprite from the trunk and headed off to the park. Anthony and Rachel walked hand in hand while Ray and Tam lagged behind trying to figure out which could grope each other in a more gaspprovoking way. Poor Ohio never saw them coming.
A freight train carves across the liquid night of the American Midwest. A crescent moon dimly lights the landscape, trees casting fading shadows like fingers reaching into the fog of darkness. The cargo moves as a flat black serpent along the tracks. Save for the patchworks of graffiti, the cars are uniform and similarly-laden with cargo - save the final car shattering the darkness with a dim glow coming from the cabin furthest to the
back. A man sits on an overly stuffed leather couch, smoking a very large and pungent smelling cigar. He's dressed in a monochrome black three-piece suit. Elderly, but not too old. Fashionable, but not extravagant. Distinct, but not gaudy. His face says military, his relaxed posture says civilian. He looks like a man that will get things done. He's been to places you haven't heard of, he's got stamps in his passport in languages you've never seen. His suit is immaculately clean, well pressed, and expertly fit. The train car is exquisite. Lines of polished wood grain dance along the trim, the single desk a mammoth construct of rare wood, green marble, and gold inlay. He speaks quietly, but loud enough to hear him clearly. Quickly, but with a thoughtful tone. Sternly, yet as compassionate as a drunk grandfather. When he speaks, you listen. “I've got a lot to tell you. You'd better listen up, and remember what I say.” He added an obvious emphasis on that last bit through violent inflection. The rhythmic churning of train wheels on tracks only added to the drama being played out in this fantasy of a mobile office. Some hunter's lodge on wheels. Some abomination of luxury and impudence.
“You've got a job to do, and there's a lot of people depending on you. Don't listen to all the garbage they're gonna feed you about temples to yourself and the great altruistic 'intake' at the zero point convergence. It's crap. There's a lot more going on behind the scenes that they don't tell you about. Things you could never imagine, but will come face to face with soon enough. You'll know in time. I'm coming for you. Don't worry, you'll know when I arrive.” He poured an astonishingly large helping of whiskey into a square glass with no ice, and took a hearty sip without a change on his face. “But first, ah yes, there is the one problem we have, isn't there?” He took a long, slow, drag from the cigar and watched as the smoke floated through the air. “You're going to have to die.” He stabbed the cigar violently into the ashtray. It stuck straight up, smoldering and breathing out its last streaks of blue smoke. From behind the tobacco tendrils, the man crossed his left leg over his right knee and folded his hands neatly in his lap. “I'm coming for you, Lux. Prepare yourself.”
Anthony woke up on a park bench at Cedar Point, just like Rachel said he would. “Bad dream?” She rubbed her hand on his arm. “I don't know, really, there was this train-” “You're just hearing the roller coasters, come on- let's get some food!” Rachel interrupted him. He didn't argue, he just let it go. It was only a dream. They ate bland theme park burgers, sitting at a shady park bench as Anthony tried to sober up. It was still early in the afternoon. “How long was I out?” “I'd say about forty minutes or so, not that long” “Damn.” He shook his head. “Don't worry about it, you just passed out- it happens to the best of us!”
“You're right, let's hit up the Magnum again.” They caught back up with Ray on the north side of the park. “Feeling better? What'd she say again? Puke in a garbage can and pass out?” “Fuck you, man, I just hit it a little hard, that's all.” “I know, I know. How ya feeling now?” “Like I could punch the Pope in the face.” “Great! Let's ride the Magnum again and then go smoke another blunt.” He rubbed his shoulders, realizing they were already burnt and he wasn't going to be leaving any time soon. He bought some over-priced sunscreen at a gift shop, but knew it was already a lost cause. They walked out to the car to smoke another blunt. Anthony sat on the hood, looking across the parking lot at the horizon. He thought about Rachel, he thought about prison, he thought about the judge, and he thought about the long drive home after their day at the park. But most of all, he was thinking about the dream he had while passed out on that park bench.
What was that all about? He had to die? Now? When? Why? They don't execute people for selling drugs. What kind of stock can you put in a dream? He'd had crazy dreams before, but none so vivid and realistic. He felt like that man was actually talking to him. He didn't know who Lux was, but this guy seemed like he knew what was going on. Rachel grabbed his hand, bringing him back into reality. “Stop thinking about it. Just keep on living while you can, Ant. You know I'll love you forever, right?” He smiled. Everything was alright as long as she was by his side. “Until the end of time, kid.” They laughed together in the Ohio Sun, and they headed back into the park. She was right, what's the point in worrying about dreams? Hell, she didn't even know what he was thinking about it, but she still knew just what to say. He knew he'd miss her more than anything else when he was in prison, and he was beginning to harbor feelings of regret. That didn't sit well with him. That would make him a hypocrite, and a bad one at that. He'd always told everyone he knew to live life without regrets, and it was time to practice his preaching.
Lux swam up from the reflecting pool in his temple on the Sun, sitting on the stone edge with his legs dangling in the warm water. He was now used to the fact that the depths of the pool contained the shattered memories of his cumulative experience on Earth, one planet out of thousands across the universe. Ever since Phalanx had left for intake, Lux had been busily collecting shattered memories from his past life as Anthony James Cahill, his transcendental iteration- as he was now expected to refer to it. He wondered where Becky came in. Rachel seemed nice, and he wondered what had become of her. He was beginning to remember referring to what happened after that Summer as “The Incident.” Nothing happened outwardly that day, but it was the last good memory in a three year stretch of dreadful ones. The peak of a wave that just seemed to crash further and further down. When he thought about his past, he didn't think in terms of chronology. It was periods of “alright,” “bad,” and “horrible.” No wonder the guy did himself in. Lux felt less and less of a connection with who he was seeing in the memory squares. The last few years of Anthony's life were a shotgun blast of bad luck. Every once in a while, there was the saving grace of a
good day. A day where the psychological weight of his burdens were lightened, even just for a second. Cedar point was a good day. He got real drunk again, and fucked Rachel in the back seat while Ray drove home. No accidents, no car failures, and no cops. They made it back without issue. No one got busted that day, and he didn't get any extra punishment for leaving the state while under bond. His incident wasn't a monumental disaster as much as it was a culmination of small disasters timed in the worst way possible. The student loan debt from his fuck-off college days was heavy enough before the medical bills piled up. With no degree, no health insurance, and a rust-shell of a car; a rented room in a house on the side of town you'd never go to was all he had in the world. A stained mattress on the floor and a second hand player for his scratched CDs. He was slaving it down at the burger shack, trying and failing to make ends meet. A prison cell would soon be his home, and as if that wasn't bad enough; Rachel broke up with him the first time she came to visit him. His parents never wanted anything to do with him in the first place, and she was the only person alive he thought might actually come and see him. It was a shame she only came to break it off, but he couldn't blame her. Hot young thing, he'd be damned if she wasted her time waiting for him to get out of prison. So much for love until the end of time. His mind would not rest. He was ready to get back out into the world, to get his 'second chance' his fellow inmates all talked
about. The strangest pieces of that puzzle, by far, were Anthony's nightmares. *** “You don't believe me, do you? You think this is all some sort of dream, some sort of invented fantasy, some sort of elaborate illusion. What is life, Lux Apotheosis? You're involved in something you can't possibly understand, and you don't even know the half of it yet.” Same man, same train, same cigars, same square whiskey glass. “Like it or not, I'm coming for you. We're going to find a way to stop the machine. Gaia won't help you, Phalanx can't help you, and you can rest right assured that Saturn won't have anything to do with you at all. You're the last Apotheosis, and you don't even know what that means yet. The time will come where I stand in your temple and tell you exactly what that means. You'd better be fucking ready, and Gaia better have done her fucking job. We've only got one chance at this, and it has to work or we're all doomed.” He took another long pull off of his cigar.
“You're gonna know when it's time. In fact, you're probably watching this right now for the second time. I'll be seeing you really soon. Don't work too hard, Lux, the hard work starts when I arrive at your temple.” *** Anthony sat straight up in bed. You could call it a bed if you wanted to, but it was a only a thin mattress on a sheet of steel awkwardly jutting out from a concrete wall. Straight ahead was the pastel-blue painted steel door with a tiny window and a waistheight opening closed off from the outside. He looked to his right and saw the stainless steel sink and toilet, and remembered that he was safe. Probably more safe than he cared to be. The nightmares started with considerable frequency happening the very first night he slept on that wisp of a mattress in a lonely prison cell. At first, he chalked it up to his discomfort with being confined. It wasn't always the man, and it wasn't always the train, but the message was the same. You're going to die, then I'm coming for you. So creepy. It wasn't necessarily a nightmare, even. Sure, he would die eventually. That's part of the human condition. What was the meaning of this, though? What could this dream be communicating to him? He tried not to let the dreams get to him. Dreams were
only dreams, anyway. He was locked up. He was getting along as well as he could. He did what he was told when he was told, and he did his time quietly and respectfully. Was it too much to ask for a restful sleep that didn't involve scary men in black with doom and gloom theories? It had been a year since Rachel visited to break up with him. He wasn't really that surprised, but his lack of surprise didn't make up for his overabundance of regret. He thought about making money the conventional, legal way. He could have flipped more burgers, or mopped up more puke, or something. Maybe he would have eventually finished college, and got a job his mom could tell her friends about if she still talked to him. It's easy to let your mind wander to regret when you've got nothing but yourself and a mattress to talk to. His term wasn't that long, only two years, and the fears about the judge had been greatly exaggerated. Rumors perpetuated by those on the receiving end of punishments they felt were excessive. Intense cynicism began to rise in Anthony's mind, and he dove into books rather than lashing out against guards and fellow inmates. The prison had a well stocked library, and he took advantage of that. He kept a journal the first few days, but soon quit it. He was no writer, just a thinker. A “doer of things.” If he sat around, it was to read, not to write. Mostly, the vacant scrawling had generally consisted of complaints about the food, rough caricatures
of the female guards, and lists of what he wanted to do when he got out. He was scheduled for release in two weeks. He started up the journal again, only to count down the days. ***
Lux didn't know what to think about his past anymore. What did this dream mean? Why was there a man speaking to him, outside space and time, through a dream of his Earthly past life? What was the message supposed to mean? He was dead, now, but he wish he could go back and tell Anthony not to do himself in; just to take a few more simple years trudging it out at the burger shack down on terra firma. Things were much simpler back then. Sure, work sucked, and he kind of fucked himself over a bit getting caught for drug trafficking; but he still had his mind
and his thoughts and sovereignty over himself. He felt so isolated and exposed in this new world he found himself in. He had built a few statues like the ones he had before, but the tasks were meaningless and the art less and less fun to create. He sat in the atrium, looking at his statues, and realized that he didn't mind being stuck on a rock in time that much. He wished he could go back, but he knew there was no way. Once you check out, it's over – or so he thought. Little did he know, living on Earth was just training grounds for something so much larger in scope, and so much more complicated in temporality. He wondered if, just maybe, there was an end to this game. A master's goal, a final culmination. A source to the light at the end of the tunnel. If he couldn't end his life, he saw it fit to conquer it completely. He wanted to be master of himself, he wanted his freedom and his self-sovereignty back. He was becoming determined to educate himself to that end and, if necessary, to fight for it. That's the way to spend eternity, he thought, finding out a way to master the universe. To experience it's every benefit and shortfall, to perceive the greatest limits of perception, to understand completely the laws of the world around him. He would set to task finding a way, any way, to stop living. He would find a way to stop the machine, even if it meant finding the great clock of the multiverse, tearing away its pendulum, ripping off the hands, and snapping every cog in half – one by miserable one.
“You look troubled, Lux.” A voice came from nowhere. “What? Who's there?!” Said Lux, wheeling around in astonishment. The voice did not belong to Phalanx, and Gaia had transcended. Still, the voice sounded familiar. “You know who I am. I've come for you. Don't be afraid, Lux Apotheosis. There is no enmity between us. Dare I say, you are quite a valuable asset to my colleagues and myself. Would you mind manifesting me a seat? We have a bit to discuss.” “If you're who I think you are, I'm not entirely sure I want to talk to you. What brings you to my temple?” “Don't be afraid, Lux. We are friends. I want to help you. There's more going on around you than you may understand; and I don't have the patience to wait for you to figure it out. I've been watching you for a while, Lux Apotheosis. Remember that we see all time and know all space in this universe. I have studied your case-file, and found a most troubling question arise in the way Gaia had filled out your intake form.” “So you are the man from Anthony's dreams.”
“Yes.” “How did you do that?” “I can explain, but I would rather show you.” “Does this have something to do with Gaia?” “That's one of the many things that we're trying to figure out. Listen, I know you're a little in over your head. Judging from your transcendental incarnation, you've got a brain for philosophy. Let me level with you, and pose a question: To what end must the universe strive; a spiral toward atrophy, or an infinite expansion?” “I'm not sure. As a matter of fact, I've been struggling with that same quandary.” “What's your gut instinct?” “If you had talked to me as Anthony Cahill, in the proper timecontext, I would certainly prefer that it spiral toward atrophy. Honestly, now, I'm not so sure that's how I feel.” “Let me ask you another question.”
“Shoot. I've got nothing but time.” “A perfect way to put it, Lux. To rephrase, I pose this question: Considering time as the fourth dimension, and a dimension of relative temporality at that, do you think time stretches to infinite past and present, or finite creation and demolition?” “Isn't that a question of divinity?” “What is the nature of god to those on Earth?” “Omniscience and infallible judgment.” “Exactly. What do we possess as fifth-dimensional transcendents?” “I wouldn't call our perception omniscience, and I certainly wouldn't equate my existence with that of Earth's most popular god from my transcendental time-context.” “So would you call yourself a god?” “No.” “Why not?”
“Because the concept of god was created by beings with a linear perception of time.” “So do you think time is linear, or not?” “I don't know.” “We want to find the answer.” “How do you propose that? Who's we” “We are a group of individuals seeking to discover the mechanics of time in our present context. We propose the declassification and publication of certain crucial pieces of information at the Intake, which is also the Central Management Authority.” “Management Authority?” “Yes, Management Authority. The primary focus of the CMA is to orchestrate the creation and demolition of galaxies based on the balancing equation set by the Creator.” “I thought that was the prerogative of the Apotheosis.” “Nearly. The Apotheosis eases the transition of intakes by creating statuary of the nineteen transcendental iterations; which
correspond to the nineteen transitory phases of the planet in question, the twentieth always being dimensional transcendence. There is a finite number of souls on each life-bearing planet, the number of which is determined by the CMA. On top of that, the CMA translates the galactic time-context with the universal timecontext. The algorithms for the creation of souls, and the translation of time-context is protected information, and we aim to change that to further our agenda.” “So, what's the agenda?” “Well, let's get on with it. Why don't you condense, and follow me. I have a few friends I want you to meet.” “Well, I have all the time in the world.” “I like your sense of humor, Lux. I hope we can become mutuallyvaluable associates.”
to be continued in square six. Revelations.