The rank smell of decomposed flesh couples with the damp air and overwhelms the senses.
Eyes snap open and frantically look around through blurry lenses. Nothing familiar to see, no walls, no ceiling, no Grateful Dead tapestry hanging over my head- only a sickening smell and absolute confusion. Breath, relax, what had happened?
As my eyes focused and my senses adjusted, I caught slight movement from the corner of my eye and saw a field lettuce devour a small mammal. I blinked and looked away, then looked back. Blood dribbled to the dirt through the leaves as the lettuce relished its catch and began cleaning itself with a grotesque purplish tongue the color of ancient Phoenician shores… I took a deep breath. The rancid smell of spoiled meat and excrement made me heave and fear crept up my spine. I wasn’t high and I wasn’t dreaming, at least I didn’t think so. Had I been abducted?
I looked up and saw the hills in the distance illuminated by a dazzling orange emphatic light. The air was crisp and cold though the ground beneath me felt warm, as if having baked under a warm sun all day. Wherever this was it was dusk. My vision was clear and my consciousness seemed whole, holy shit: I was awake!
I dug my fingers into the dirt and stretched my legs out, my head ached dully and my muscles felt sore, it felt like I had been raving all night at some underground party in the forest. I knew that wasn’t true though. I was up all night playing Hearthstone and getting stoned before stumbling into bed and falling asleep thinking how annoying Merlocks sounded. Had I been abducted by aliens then left in some field in the middle of nowhere? I cast an uncertain look back to that unnatural lettuce and the strange expanse before me and knew that I wasn’t even on Earth…
This was real, or at least that was my impression, it was real. When I was tripping and astral projecting I could never see or feel my body; the limits of my skin dissolved and there was no “I” so to speak that I could relate to. Yet, here I was, my ego as whole as my consciousness seemed to be. I stood up and brushed myself off and couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d been here before, I half expected the sudden flash which blinded me and threw me flat on my behind. Pain, real pain, raced up my spine.
Whiteness. I could hardly see but I could smell, and it stank of herring and ocean. As my vision began to fade back in, I regained my composure, gritted my teeth and stood up slowly; preparing myself to react. I looked around for the source of the strange flash, and saw no immediate trace of it, but slowly my eyes began resolving an impossible silhouette shimmering before me.
“Hello there,” Said a melancholic voice out of the ether, utterly creepy and raspy, “looking for me”?
I squinted at the haze the voice was coming from and began to see the creature which caused me to give up on all I had once learned concerning evolution, life and everything.
Before me stood a walking, talking Delphinus like being- shiny grey skin, piercing black eyes, vestigial blow hole and all. The creature was eight feet tall and seemed to be levitating, tail fins just kind of curved inwards slightly. The air all around it seemed to flux as the being emerged forward towards me. The thing had a mouth full of teeth and was currently smiling at me fondly. It telekinetically carried a staff made from some kind of spiraling wood that held a prism of light on its crown onto which was carved the shape of a tree.
The source of light? I asked myself, the fear of being eaten alive by vegetation suddenly a faded memory. I found myself entranced by this being’s very existence.
We stood like that a moment, scrutinizing each other, I didn’t know what to do next. I dared myself to meet its gaze and saw something remarkable. This creature was sad, it was kind, and it loved me deeply. I knew this instantly when our eyes met. It felt like staring at a mirror which was reflecting another mirror, and we were at the very center of infinity. Incomprehensible memories flickered through my mind. Did I somehow know this creature? I clumsily brushed my auburn hair aside and tried to get it under control. Unfortunately, I had left my hair-tie, and sanity, behind.
“Long lost child of light, I knew you would appear in this forgotten field”. It stated, the last syllable fading into a soft series of clicks.
“The forgotten field”? I mumbled, unable to find a reasonable thing to say. “I just kinda, uh woke up here”? I managed, too busy thinking: “long lost child of light, what the” ….
“Hmm”, came the response. This seemed a sufficient answer, for the beast nodded knowingly and made a gratified clicking sound. The Prism on top of the staff began to pulse a soft pink, the carving of the tree leaving an electric flicker behind my eyelids.
“W-w-what are you?!” I stammered scared and confused, wanting to be back at home where my roommate Mike was probably playing videogames and wondering when the hell I would wake up. Mike, I thought, and felt that thought being tugged away from me….
“Where am I?!” I sputtered. I wanted to run and run and run, I wanted out, it couldn’t be real. I was just going crazy. I backed away intending to run far, far away.
The Delphine saw my courage fail then emitted a burst of low frequency sound which invaded me and caused all my fear to melt away. Wave after wave the sound enveloped me in warmth and fuzziness. I stood transfixed, as visions of decay assaulted me-
An ancient eye, watching the sun rise over a plane of eternal ideas blinks away ethereal tears of quicksilver into an unevenly dug burrow underneath the tree of life, and under that tree suckling on those mercurial essences are thirteen unholy beings and their thirty-three bastard children-
I could feel everything… all the life being sucked away from everything, only to be replaced by an addictive desire, an unstoppable thirst for mercurial objects and imaginary wealth.
“Stop” I sobbed, “please stop… It’s too much, I can’t…” tears filled my eyes and bile rose in my throat, a myriad of hot emotions awoke in me. I was calm and sad, but also angry and afraid at what I had seen. The vision burnt into my mind like the after-sight of a dream. That feeling of utter familiarity pressing against my awareness, as pervasive as an Amazonian Candiru fish stubbornly wedged in someone’s urethra. A visceral scream fought its way out of me. Why was I so provoked?
Exasperatedly, I gave myself in to the feeling and accepted the strangeness of my situation as only a veteran psychonaut could. This was important, every fiber of my being screamed attention at the vision. It was as if I had finally awoken from a disturbingly clairvoyant dream. I gave in to it, and looked up. Whatever was happening, I was determined to know the truth of what was going on.
“Do not be scared” the creature said calmly, “you are in the presence of a member of the most ancient beings in this realm! My name is Dragbah it is an honor to meet you Alux Al- Amira.”
I stared at Dragbah, the effects of the sound blast still gripping me and calming me so that I could somehow process some of the information I was receiving.
“The oldest beings… eternal realm… it knew my name!”
What the hell was it talking about? Did this have something to do with what I saw during that strange aural blast?
Dragbah saw the apprehension on my face and gave me a toothy smile while making a very human-like gesture with his fin as if to say bring it on!
I wanted answers! “Dragbah, do you know how I came to be here and why? What did you show me just now? Do I know you? This all seems very familiar to me as if I dreamt it sometime, I need…”.
“You have no recollection of finding us, because the way was shown to you by a part of your biology which is eternally tied to us”, interrupted Dragbah impatiently. “You have been called forth along with 6 of your Kin to undertake a most perilous endeavor”. it paused and breathed in heavily. “More clarification will ensue, and you will remember a truth given to you long ago. Follow me please. We have no more time to waste”.
Dragbah turned and started moving along a patchy path. Dumbfounded and with total lack of resistance, I followed- intrigued at its cryptic response and growing more curious by the second. “What in god’s name have I gotten myself into this time?” I wondered…
We walked along the path in silence for a while which I didn’t mind, my head was racing with all kinds of strange ideas and I needed to rationalize things. Whatever was happening, I had no choice but to play along. My only intuition was the sense of déjà vu, and the sense of goodness I got from Dragbah. I would follow it and get some answers, I trusted it somehow, and did not feel that it would lead me directly into harm. What would have happened had I refused to follow? Would I ever see anyone I knew again? Here came an unbidden thought. Would I have been stranded in this strange purgatory-like place? If I subconsciously found my way here, could I find my way back home?
Dragbah spoke, as if having known my thoughts: “You came to be here through a wormhole in your DNA. Do not be alarmed all DNA is encoded with this gene, only the high priest can activate it. Yours was activated and your subconscious mind heeded the call” continued Dragbah. “You traveled while you were asleep in order to smooth the transition, as the body takes quite a toll folding in on itself, and remolecularization is never a pleasant experience… Not to mention the effect on the mind. In dreams we accept certain things which we couldn’t in our waking lives.”
It moved along, and led me towards the edge of the field, where a dark hill loomed over the plane and wavered strangely in the glistening light.
I paused for a minute to gather my hair in a bundle and attempt to tie it to itself so it wouldn’t be blowing around so wildly – the good-old samurai knot. I wished I had more clothes… and shoes. All I was wearing was a Tool t-shirt and my comfy sweatpants. My feet were bare and ached from walking despite the hippy calluses I had developed wandering around California barefoot in my early 20’s. I reached down and wiped the underside of my foot where many small pebbles had gotten stuck to my soles from having walked across the field. The path that lad up the hill looked smooth and black, almost as if it was carved into obsidian, hopefully there wouldn’t be any sharp shards littered along the way.
Tired and confused as I was, I willed myself not to care about the uncertain and surrealistic situation I was in, I just needed a minute to myself to breathe. Despite the nagging feeling that this mattered, all I wanted was to go back home. I wondered if I could escape and I felt Dragbah watching me. It sighed loudly. Sadness suddenly filled the air like a scent. I was worried I’d be hit by those sound waves again, but there only came another chortling sigh and: “My long-lost friend, we have failed this planet and its being. The time has come for us to act for truth. Come now, the high priest awaits our arrival. Your understanding of what is occurring will come, do not falter now”.
I hated being rushed. I met its gaze and held my ground.
“What makes you think I even understand what you are talking about”? I asked fiercely, almost growling the question. “I just come to in a strange place and am met by an even more unbelievable being who speaks at me like I am a devotee at the service of some great divine quest! You have shaken me up to my core, all of this seems so familiar to me and I don’t even understand why or how! So you better start explaining or I’ll just”…
All my anger and frustration was seeping out of me, I felt a buildup of energy that started at my toes and quickly spread up to the rest of my body and erupted out of my skin. There was a loud crackling sound and I saw myself begin to glow, sparks of my energy began to arch out of my fingers and frazzled into the ground near my feet. Anger dissolved to fear, I looked up in wonder at Dragbah. Who just smiled his toothy smile, and calmly pointed its staff at me. The prism on top exploded with pink light, and I was stunned.
The sparks subsided.
I felt the all the energy surge out of me as it flowed towards the glowing crystal that crowned the staff Dragbah carried. My head spun and I staggered, falling limply and breathless to my knees. The bright pink light pulsed and then was extinguished. I looked at Dragbah and saw everything appear slightly green, slowly I felt my strength returning to me and sluggishly managed to sit myself cross-legged on the floor.
“I remember that look in your eye well enough to know when you are about to strike Alux Al-Amira” hummed Dragbah’s voice calmly in my mind. I reeled at the intensity with which it intoned my name, not spoken but pushed into my thoughts like a freight train, a symbol of my being. “I really wish you would trust your instinct, even your body is slowly remembering its true form. I wish I could explain it to you now but you will find even my explanation lacking. Soon you will remember your eternal struggle and your place in this realm and understand that your presence here is not a matter of choice but one of resolution. Far too long have you and the other veritable warriors been kept hidden within the ancient code. Come now, we must hurry”. Dragbah extended the bottom of the staff towards me. I grasped it and heaved myself up to my feet.
I stood on shaky legs that seemed to refuse my weight, and took a breath in an attempt to calm myself. “I will trust my instinct and follow you because I have the feeling I should and also because I have spent my entire life obsessing about lost civilizations and your mere existence fascinates me”. I regarded Dragbah closely but only got a nod and a chitter as it turned and beckoned I follow with a silvery grey flipper.
We walked on, reaching the beginning of the slope leading out of the forgotten field and up onto the hill, beyond all seemed still and dark. For the first time since I cracked my eyes open, I looked up closely at the sky and noticed the lack of stars. The sky was filled instead with a strange illuminated pattern. As soon as the eye glimpsed the pattern it moved away so that the eyes seemed to constantly follow certain points- Always being drawn to the center, where it was darkest. It was gorgeous, like watching a million sunsets occurring in succession, fast forwarded. Golden orange light beams streaked across the sky and disappeared into the darkness beyond over and over again.
“Hey, Dragbah”? I asked. The misbegotten path that led towards the dark hill ahead was littered with tall black stones – slivers of what looked like more obsidian, “can you tell me a little about this place?”
“Your mind”, began Dragbah, “is a fractal of the greater Mind of our cosmos, the lights you see are merely free thoughts roaming around in the void of yonder darkness” it pointed the staff to a point in the sky which was the darkest and as I followed its gaze I slowly began perceiving the spiraling nature of the darkness and of the light, the very intrinsic shape of it I thought, just like a yin-yang. Dragbah continued to speak in that strange sexless voice: “This forgotten field is where being and non-being, or light and darkness, exist simultaneously, it is, if you wish, an island of existence between two realms. In your realm light could be white, whereas adjacently the opposite is true. Such variations exist endlessly through the cosmos, always paired in polar opposites, alternatively.”
“What was with the carnivorous vegetables?” I cut in somehow feeling a connection there and hoping to rationalize what I had experienced.
“The beings that inhabit this field are not as you know them, as I mentioned the extremities meet, so it is not uncommon to find odd vegetation and fauna. All of them purely somatic for spirit cannot exist within them.” He left it at that mysterious note and picked up his pace.
The road ahead began to steepen. Dragbah seemed in a real hurry now. I could hear the wheezing air coming out of the blow-hole all in a shuddering rhythm that made me wonder at his or her origins, everything about it screamed femininity at me but yet, I wasn’t sure. There was something absolutely genderless about it and the way it telepathically communicated. I stared at its caped, arched back and saw its dorsal fin protruding from a slit in the garment glittering in that strange light-nonlight of the ether, the garment was embroidered in spiraling symbols and waving patterns, I made note of strange leather bands dangling off the edges of that green cape. I took in its ancient nature and began to wonder at that, there were funny anecdotes about Atlaneans and cetaceans which I had recently read about in an article by a certain Mary Sutherland, An esoteric writer whose book I had found on a shelf at the local bookstore. Something about Whales and dolphins being the result of evolution from an ancient “pre-cetacean” race of mammalian beings bred by reptilian creatures from the constellations of Sagittarius which had come to settle the earth in the very distant past. I was always so interested in these esoteric and sometimes absurd accounts of lost civilizations, ancient aliens, and alternative history. No one understood my fascination. Even I questioned the drive sometimes. But it just seemed that wherever I looked, the universe would throw me some kind of omen that would lead me deeper into that rabbit-hole. By the time I was twenty-one I had already completed my first degree in Mythology and Cosmology and was granted a post-graduate scholarship at the University of San Diego to continue my studies. Now thirty-three years old, I had been working on my doctorate for the past four years, aimlessly reading and doing research on ancient symbolism and esoteric mysticism never finding the answers I sought. I always sensed that beyond all of the archetypal symbolism was some kind of meaning, something important to discover about the heritage of human-kind. I always wondered what knowledge had been lost in the library of Alexandria… This was all very enthralling, I just couldn’t help but smile to myself. The black obsidian path rose ahead of us, even steeper than before. The jagged shards seemed much more abundant than before, and the air felt thick with tension. I could see the crest of the hill up ahead, and could hear a loud crackling sound coming from up ahead.
“Alux”! The calling of my name snapped me out of my reverie. Dragbah had stopped and was looking at me seriously. “I am glad you have come to accept and trust your intuition. We are almost upon the portal. Once we are near it, you will feel an intense desire to rush into it, but you must resist. Unguided one can be lost in dematerialization for a bitter eternity.”
Lost where now? I thought in wonder. “What should I do? Huh a portal? How will I go through”?
Drabgah turned to me a big sweet smile on that face full of teeth-rank with the smell of herring- and it greeted me with a flurry of excited chitters, each of which sent waves of empathy through my spine, I smiled back helplessly, somehow, I had missed this and was thrilled at what was to come.
“You must ride on my back, old friend.” It pushed the thought gently into my mind, clear as day and natural as ever I saw what it wanted me to see, we had done this before.
I looked up while it urged me forward, flipper extended towards me, but all I could see was a turbulent maelstrom the color of violent quasars. Beams of raw energy shot out and arched into the sky fantastically to sizzle against the black shards surrounding the place we stood in. Every hair on my body stood at attention, the energy that permeated the air was devastating. I wanted to dive in, the desire was unmistakable, like needing to jump into the ocean on a hot day but tenfold.
“Come and hold onto me, that way you won’t dash in, once we are in range.”
The command blazed in my mind. I reached out and grabbed hold of the extended flipper, the contact broke my trance and I was able to look away from the gnarly vortex.
“Lean into me and strap your legs through those leather hoops, then hold onto my dorsal fin or wrap your arms around me, whichever you feel more secure with. Hold on tight with your thighs as we move” Instructed Dragbah.
I did as I was bid almost too fluently and naturally, it all seemed so familiar! A hand on the dorsal fin and one around the side, I was ready.
The leather straps felt tight around my thighs as I leaned forward in preparation.
“Surge on old friend” I thought to it dearly, and so Dragbah dove for the churning portal. Chittering and clicking wildly, in complete elation the dolphin dove. A laugh of joy caught in my throat and I held on tighter as it soared into the air. We bonded then under those words and energies, and an inkling of hope rose in Drabgah’s aura. I felt it clear as a fluent note. we crashed into the portal, I held my breath. Color exploded in my vision, synesthesia overwhelmed me and I felt my being disintegrating. But then an ephemeral chittering and clicking brought my consciousness back to the moment as we spiraled through the wormhole.
As we were projected forward, our Forms dematerializing in a trail of waves and particles, our Spirit held onto one another, clinging to the physical shape of the anatomy we left behind. Held together by our genetic memory and our ancient bond, we streaked by aeons.
Dragbah gracefully soaring.
As the colors continued to rush by and my physical senses overlapped to the point of no recognition, our consciousness mingled and all the barriers melted away. I forgot myself and we became metaphysically complete. I knew this was how it would always have been, I was certain, I was home. That nagging feeling of déjà vu resolved itself in the form of a blissful remembrance: a young woman dressed in brilliant pearlescent mage-cloth fought alongside Drabgah, who was bedecked in dazzling armor consisting of mail and plate, two bloody tridents clung to its flippers, and a vicious snarl consumed its usually pleasant snout. The woman was protecting Dragbah with aural shields and casting healing spells while it held the front line of a fearsome battle. An Orca whale swooped by, teeth gnashing, and took out a whole platoon of the hairy ape-like beasts that were threatening to flank Dragbah, forcing the incoming horde to focus their attacks on it. The woman turned her attention to the Orca and began channeling a spell of some kind that seemed to invigorate the killer-whale. There was an affinity to the memory as if it belonged to me. I wasn’t sure… Who was that women fighting and casting protection spells in the Mage Cloth? I saw a sneaky lock of curly auburn hair peep out from under her hood, my sneaky lock of hair. I wanted a closer look to make sure and as the intention set in I felt myself drifting towards the scene helplessly. I was afraid, the only battle experience I had is behind my computer screen massacring hordes of zombies. I didn’t belong here!
I could feel Dragbah’s voice tugging at my thoughts. I opened my mind to the feeling and heard it call out my name.
“Alux!” bellowed Dragbah, “beware not to lose yourself in your eternal memory. It is good to remember but this is not the time! You are taking us off course!”
I brought myself back to the present, the taste of herring strong in my mind’s eye, and the rushing colors along Dragbahs meta-form resonating underneath me- I saw us streaking through inner-space, our forms outlined by bioluminescent color that trailed behind us like the tail of a comet. All around for endless miles I could see several orb-shaped blobs of dense darkness that just hung about, Dragbah was navigating our way through them and was aiming for one in particular. It seemed to be rushing towards us at an incomprehensible speed.
Dragbah chittered, “Prepare yourself for reformation, we shall be exiting the stream soon”
I focused my consciousness and prepared for something I had no Idea how to prepare for. I was ready; no doubt in my mind. The texture around us ripped with a very sharp sounding twang and I saw the dark blob grow larger and stretch to encompass us. I began to scream but had no mouth to scream out of. We collided with the orb and came to a complete and abrupt stop. I painfully felt my body regenerate one particle and wave at a time, each particle colliding into my spirit wave after wave. I could feel my body begin to ache where I had tensed my muscles. My thighs burned from clutching onto Dragbahs back, and my lungs burned for air. I sucked in a breath and could feel my heart beating in my ears. When our remolecularization was complete and I could feel myself rotating forward as if about to do a summersault, we burst out of the darkness into frigid water. I quickly shut my mouth, and tasted salt water on my tongue. I clutched Dragbah tightly and held my breath for dear life. The staff began to glow and a large bubble began to form around my head. Thankful, I drew an uncertain breath and looked ahead. We were swimming towards a small pyramid-like rock on the ocean floor. It was covered in algae and barnacles and a school of fish swam lazily around the top of it seemingly indifferent to our approach. Dragbah chittered and swam up to the very top of the structure. The fish responded immediately and began to swim frantically around it in a circle. The current changed and I felt more than saw the pyramid shudder.
These are the first three chapters to a story I’d like to tell. To describe it succinctly: Neo (the one, the hero archetype) meets an intra-dimensional dolphin-being who initiates him or her (I haven’t decided yet) into an ancient civilization of pre cetacean beings who have been protecting the earth(s) since the fall of Atlantis. They endeavor to save the realm from an evil coalition. I want there to be an empathic relationship between the protagonist and the dolphin- A little like the wolf and Fitz from Robin Hobbs “The Farseer trilogy”.
Hope you enjoyed it!