This is a segment form a series of stories that remain unwritten as of yet.
Sweeping back across the dream realms, I was amazed at how my visit with Lucifer Morningstar had gone. I had learned so much, but John was not among the dead in the forest. While it was nice to meet Andrew, nothing really mattered. Brian had told me that John was not among the dreamers, which meant that John must be in what would be my final destination, the realm of the Godhead. My dragon, Snarf, flew as fast as he could across the dreamlands, shielding me as much as he could from the prayers of those at the gates. As we drew closer to the spiral that lead up, I could feel the love of whatever lay within the final realm. This truly was the Summerland, where only those of good will may dwell.
It was here that Snarf dropped me off, in front of Brian’s hut, where this adventure had began. Brian was not at home when I entered. After the adventures in Hell, I needed a rest, so I slept on my cot in this house of dreams. Adventure could wait until I had my beauty sleep.
I awoke rested, unsure of how much time had passed. I left the note Andrew had given me on the table in the front room and walked outside to the verdant grass outside the hut. As usual, the land of dreams lay in its forever twilight, and Snarf had returned to whatever realm he called home. I assumed I was meant to walk to the next passage. I stepped onto the path, and started walking, happy that Brian had taught me the trick of creating with the mind’s eye.
As I walked, following the cyclone of light on the horizon, I noticed that all manner of faire folk drifted in and out of my created path. They ignored me for the most part, but it was a nice reassurance that I wasn’t drifting the wrong way. Eventually, a man I had not noticed strode up beside me.
“Where are you going?” The man asked. I looked him over, seeing that he was clothed in the duster jacket preferred by the living that dwelt in these lands. His eyes were of pure blue and sandy blond hair cascaded down to his shoulders. His jeans were getting worn out, so I assumed he had been here for a while.
“I go to the portal on the horizon,” I replied, trying to sound more formal than I felt. I had learned not to piss off the living denizens of this realm.
“I’m headed that way myself. Do you mind if I walk with you?”
“Be my guest,” I replied, figuring that his company was better than my own thoughts right now.
“I am obliged. Are you hungry?”
He laughed. “None of that false modesty bullshit one finds in most travelers of this path these days.” With that, he pulled out a modest assortment of fruit and nuts from his bag. “With the path we’re following, I suggest you don’t eat the apple.”
I laughed at that comment, before picking an orange from the selection. “How much farther do you think it is?” I asked.
His eyes searched the path before us. “Here in these lands, distance is in the mind’s eye. It depends on how fast you want to get there, Jacob.”
I nearly choked on the orange rind when the man said my name. “How did you know my name?”
“Here in the dream realms, all secrets are known to all who care to look. Surely Brian explained that to you.”
I thought back over my night with Brian. Unfortunately, whatever glamours he had used that night clouded my memory of that talk. “He may well have, but I don’t remember, stranger.”
The man laughed, a deep rumble that reminded me of my father’s laugh. “That’s not uncommon. Why are you seeking the land beyond?”
“My boyfriend died. His hands got caught in a meat grinder. They say he committed suicide, but Lucifer claims that a woman who didn’t belong in his realm is the one responsible for his destruction. So now I seek him in the realm of the divine.”
“Why do you seek John?” the walker asked.
“If you can read my mind, you should already know that,” I snapped.
“I know, but do you?” he retorted.
“Fine. I never got to say goodbye to him. And he’s been haunting my dreams every night since he died.”
“Why has he been haunting you?”
“I assume because he hates me. I was going to break up with him the night he died.”
“And why were you going to do that?”
“Because, you asshole, I fucking loved him! I never fucking told him that because I was scared it would scare him off. I couldn’t fucking lose him that way, so I figured I’d break up with him to see how he felt about me.” I was now openly crying, and I just wanted to punch the man for making me say this out loud.
“Pardon me for saying this, but you really are stupid.”
That was it. Even blinded by tears, I threw my best left hook at the man. “Damn it!” I screamed. “You think I don’t know that? I tried to kill myself after he died. I thought maybe then I could tell him how I felt. But no, Brian had to fucking pull me into this fucking realm. And I may never find him.”
The man rubbed his jaw. He looked at me and embraced me. I stood there crying on his shoulder, while he rubbed his hands down my back.
“It’s never as easy at it should be, Jacob,” he whispered in my ear. “All of us dwell too often in the lands of possibility instead of in the one in which we live.”
“I can’t accept that.”
“And you don’t need to. Look, we are almost there.”
I looked up, and the cyclone was within a football field of us. “How did that happen?”
“You were honest with yourself. You found what you sought.”
“Will you go with me, stranger?”
“You’re voyage will be on the wings of messengers, Jacob, but I cannot. I haven’t forgiven myself for my own sins yet.”
“A beautiful man like you? What sins could one such as you commit?”
“I fell from the divine communion and chorus to pursue the one I loved. And she died of cancer a year later. I have infinity to ponder mortality.”
“If I succeed, will you forgive yourself and rejoin your choir?”
“I may. Now hurry, before you lose your nerve.”
As he spoke his last words to me, I stepped into the cyclone.
* * *
All around me, light swirled, covering my body and washing away the weight of guilt I had carried for my 19 years of mortal life. It was almost like being a child again, before a few decades of being told how awful I was. Beings with wings swept all around me, some playing trumpets, others lifting me to higher heights, all of them singing with heart and mind music that spoke to the deepest recess of my soul. We floated upwards toward the intense bright light that freed every shadow I carried with me.
And then, after an eternity of an instant, we stood in the fields of Elysium. I saw Brain the second the angels set my feet down on the ground, talking to the girl I assumed to be Faith. He turned and looked at me, as a smile crossed his face.
“Damn angels are all drama queens,” he said, his grin broadening. “Most of us just walk. But you, they give you the flaming chariot drawn by heavenly hosts routine.”
Faith socked Brian lightly on his arm. “They probably thought it was necessary, Brian. Just because you’re so blasé towards coming here, doesn’t mean other don’t need the full show.”
I looked around, amazed that the two of them weren’t stricken down for their blasphemy. “It’s so beautiful! How can you two say such things?”
“We’re still human, Jacob,” Faith chided me. “When we die, things will be a bit different, but until then, we are merely holders of a position. After a while, everyone gets jaded. Thus why God created reincarnation. Even the immortal get bored.”
“Oh,” I replied, suddenly feeling my old personality creeping in on me. “I take it this visit means I can’t be agnostic anymore?”
“You always have free will, dear one,” Faith said, embracing me in her lithe arms. “Whatever happens between you and God is between you and God.”
“So do I get to meet the big guy or what?” I asked, suddenly feeling impatient.
“Wow, he is feisty,” Faith said over her shoulder to Brian. He smiled and shrugged. Faith turned back to me, smiling. “In a few minutes. Not all of the prophets have made it yet.” She let go of me, and motioned for me to sit at a table that hadn’t been there before. I sat down at the circular table, with Faith beside me and Brian across from me. A fourth chair stood empty on my right. I looked over at it.
Brian caught my gaze. “That’s for Elijah. He gets pissed when he doesn’t have reserved seating.”
I laughed, shocked.
“Well, it’s true. Even those touched by God to do God’s bidding are still human. Now have a glass of wine, and we’ll talk.” With that, Faith poured sweet red wine in each of our glasses. When she finished, she raised her glass and proposed a toast. “To new friends and new understandings.”
I drank of the wine, and almost choked at the sweetness. Then I passed out.
When I awoke, Faith was staring down at me again. “Can’t hold alcohol, can you?”
She laughed. “No matter. The prophets are lined up for your procession into the hall,”
She assisted me in standing and led me to a door that stood alone against the sky. “In the first hall, the prophets will greet you. Then after that, you are on your own.”
“You will not go in with me?” I asked.
“I am but the first gate you must pass. The prophets are the second. Beyond that, all that is left is you and your God.”
I embraced her one last time and opened the door.
* * *
The antechamber where the prophets greeted me was as large as the great Cathedral in the Vatican. All around me stood prophets in every form known to man. Each one glowed with an inner light, a sign of the God-touched. Each one touched my shoulder, and vanished. The last one left was Brian, the second guard. He waited by the last door.
“Beyond, you are on your own,” he whispered. “Thank you for giving Andrew what I asked you to. Come and see me when you are through. With that, he hugged me, and dissipated. It was up to me to open the last doors. Gathering my courage, I opened the last door and entered the room of God.
At first, I felt as if I had stepped into the void. Slowly form swept into the room, and I found myself in what looked like a church sanctuary. On what I assumed was the Eastern wall, a shroud covered what I assumed to be the Torah. A large crucifix dominated the Western wall, and a flame sprung from a chalice in the North. The Southern door slammed shut and an old man with a white beard stood behind me. When he spoke, his voice sounded from every corner of the circular room.
“I am he who is called Elohim and Adonai!” he boomed. Every syllable made me want to fall to my knees. “Who are you who seeks me!”
Suddenly, the strength that had carried me this far took over and I answered. “I am Jacob Rathmore, and I want to know why You saw fit to rob me of my lover!”
The room swirled around me, all of the forms of God disappeared, leaving me alone in the void. In the void, a woman appeared. She spoke. “I am She who has been called Isis, Diana, and Hera! Why do you seek me?”
Again I answered, “I am Jacob Rathmore, and I want to know why You saw fit to rob me of my lover.”
The void swirled again, and I was in a bedroom. Not just any bedroom, but my bedroom as a child. And I was alone. I sat down on my childhood bed, still covered in Sesame Street bed linens, and began to cry. As I cried, I felt an arm on my shoulder. I looked up and saw a woman of stunning beauty looking back at me.
“Jacob Rathmore, you need not cry for your lover anymore.”
“Are you God?” I asked, still crying.
“In one form or another. To see Me in My true form would be problematic. So, I chose this form for right now.”
“Then why did you see fit to take my John?” I asked.
The woman sighed. “Had not John been taken, I could never have brought you here. And I need you Jacob. The world is falling into traps of hatred and suffering that are not of my design, nor that of Lucifer’s design. It seems our joint creation has taken a life of its own, and in the process, lost that which binds it to us.”
She laughed at that. “Every fucking prophet I touch asks me the same question. Jonah even had to get swallowed by a whale before he understood. John, within you, a divine spark waits to ignite the fires of passion of your fellow man.”
“In each of you humans, a spark of the creator exists. In all stories of Me, however inaccurate, humanity was created from My breath, My ovum, and My sperm. Think about it. In whatever form I wear, I gave you all life, divine breath to animate you. Each of you carries within you My love for My creation. You are all My children.”
“That still doesn’t explain why you need me, Susan Lucci.”
She rolled her eyes heavenwards. “Do you want a diagram? Humanity now, more than ever needs hope. You have been chosen to give it to them.”
“And how do I do that?” I asked, rising from the bed and looking out the window. She stood and walked beside me. Suddenly, we were on a trail I had walked several times in Red River. She led me down the Autumn path holding my hand.
“When I created all that is reality, I gave each of you the power to create. And you have. Show them that when they create, they do so in My image. Every building they build, every statue they carve, they do so in their image, as I have done with them.”
“Like anyone is going to buy that New Age crap in the modern age.”
“They will, not at first, but as time goes on. It is time that all was Reconciled. The final days are coming, a long way off for humanity, but a blink of the eye for Me. Teach them the wisdom of their choices. Teach them to respect the beliefs of others. There is no one true path to Me, only branches they can follow. When Lucifer and I sealed ourselves within what you now call humanity, we became real. We are reality, and yet we are also entities within reality.”
“So you want the world to fall to their knees and worship you in whatever form they feel comfortable with?”
“Do you hear nothing? The already do, in their own ways. Each act of creation is an act of worship. Each act of destruction is an act of worship. Reality on every level serves to bring you closer to us.”
“Oh, so I’m supposed to bring everyone to nihilism in your divine name?” I spat on the ground.
“No. Each individual contains our sparks. The individual is divine. You are an aspect of Me. Did you not know that you are God?”
“Me? God? You have the wrong guy, lady.”
“When you are you, you are Me.”
“Why does this matter so much?”
“It is my great hope that when the eater of time draws nigh, mankind, Me, can transcend to a new realm. The problem is that by investing myself in my creation, I have made it as imperfect as I am.”
“How can God be imperfect?”
“I am not whole. By spreading myself into my creation, I am now imperfect.”
“My sentiments exactly. You and John were in love. Did he never tell you that he loved you? When you two were joined, the sparks of divine creation and destruction were merged within you and your fire served as a beacon to those who watch. That is why I chose you. John knew who he was and what he was. You are the blind man in the cave given sight. It is now your turn to return to the cave and tell the other blind men what you have learned.”
I cried, and the bedroom came back to us. “Why are you so sad?”
“Because if I do as you ask, John won’t be with me anymore.”
She smiled. And suddenly, She became John. “You worry too damn much, buttercup.”
“John? You’re God? Does this mean I have to tell your mother she was right in her opinion of you?”
He laughed. “I am God, and you are God. And yet we are just emanations of the divine. As is my mother in her own way. Tell me Jake, did you ever read Song of Solomon?”
“In it, God is seen as the writer’s lover. See, too often, we get caught up in the idea that procreation is the only form of ‘approved’ creation. Yet we ‘make love’. Sex is but another act of creation. And to be honest, I miss you. So let us be like Solomon and be lovers.”
Death had improved John’s vocabulary, as well as added a new layer of bullshit, but damn, the boy still new how to touch me in just the right places. There is an advantage to having God as a lover. God knows what you like. And after we had finished, John held me close. And I knew that he would never be apart from me. Even in death, his sparks still ignited the fire in my soul. And in a heartbeat, I knew that I would see him again in the flesh, even if I would have to wait another few decades to be with him again. Not that it mattered, I had work to do