Georgia Learns About Hyperspace
Episode 16 from Must Not Sleep, a new novel which takes place in shamanic space, a realm of shapeshifting and trance. Check out episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15. A free download of Michael Brownstein reading from the novel is available on Podiobooks.com.
By the time I turned off the television, Georgia was trembling. We held each other in the candlelight, listening to the trees creak and sigh in the wind.
After a while she said, "But I still don't understand. What's hyperspace?"
"You remember. We've been there together. It's the multidimensional realm all around us where everything that was and is and will be exists simultaneously. Where clairvoyance and telepathy and precognition are perfectly natural. It's our rightful legacy as human beings, filtered and suppressed for centuries but still waiting just beyond consensus reality. But we usually block it out with our fear. We can't handle it."
"What do you mean we've been there together?"
I turned to her. Her eyes, soft and tender now, her smile, her beautiful body...I bent over and sucked her breasts, the rosy nipples hard in my mouth. Soon I was inside her, my cock solid and motionless while she moved around it, opening for me.
"Look at me, sweetheart."
I waited until she locked in, her pupils dilating, her gaze calm and steady.
"Let go completely. Dive right in."
"I'm here with you," she said.
"Now...Stay with me...Completely open...And tell me...Isn't this where the Goddess dwells? Isn't she looking out at me now? Isn't she grand and powerful? Always new, always fresh? Doesn't she already know everything? Everything that happened before, everything that's going on now, and everything to come? Isn't she aware of exactly who she's been throughout all of eternity? The countless girls and women, the plants and animals, the spirits beyond number, beyond name? Doesn't she know that one of them, who's called Georgia, wrapped her mind around me and saw whatever she was pleased to see in me? My childhood, my adulthood, my old age. My deepest insights, my most fleeting thoughts..."
"And certainly," I went on, abruptly pulling out of her, drawing away and sitting up on the sofa, "certainly she was aware of things I never revealed to anyone. Like MUST NOT SLEEP, MUST WARN OTHERS...Once upon a time I wondered how she possibly could have known about that. But the real question is how could she not have known? Because the Goddess lives in nonlocal reality, she inhabits it with regal ease, beyond effort and striving. How could I have forgotten that?"
We sat there in the candlelight, separate again, eyeing each other cautiously.
"So it's all mixed up together," she finally said. "My father, 9/11, MUST NOT SLEEP, you, me..."
"And Osama. Sometimes he's wearing a beard and sometimes he's not. Nothing comes before anything else, there's no cause and effect, it's all out there simultaneously. Everything at once. Throughout the entire universe."
"And that includes life and death. My life and death, your life and death, America's, the planet's. It's fully complete in all its endless detail. So that there's no future, there's no past. Right?"
"And there's no present either," I said, gazing through her into the night, all the way through to deepest space.
"But nevertheless I have to show you something, Georgia. Familiarize yourself with this place. It's our vice-president's secret hideaway."
I stood up and, approaching the TV, snapped my fingers twice. The blank screen came alive. But instead of seeing a high desert landscape filled with antelope and deer and birds, we found ourselves panning slowly around the apartment on Bedford Street. Furniture overturned, drawers emptied onto the floor, mattress slit open. And the medicine chest mirror in the bathroom smashed to pieces.
I scratched my head.
"I don't understand. My intention was to show you Dick's basement. In the Superintendant's Residence at the Naval Observatory in D.C. I guess my wires got crossed."
"Look at what they've done!"
"It didn't take long, either. Aren't you glad I hustled you out of bed?"
Then we heard the sound of someone knocking.
The camera immediately responded, swinging around to face the front door in the little apartment's entryway.
When there was no response, the handle turned. The door slowly opened to reveal a pale, clean-shaven man with closely cropped dirty blond hair standing in the harsh light of the hallway. He was dressed in a cheap black suit and tie. His perspiring face covered with an angry red rash, he gasped for air after having climbed the five flights of stairs. He was holding several copies of a newspaper or magazine.
"Poor guy, he looks awful."
"Yes," I said.
Mustering his strength, he swayed to one side as his face broke into a smile and he said fervently, "Have you heard the news? My Savior is returning. Any day now!"
He held up The Watchtower.
"Isaac, Georgia...My brother, my sister...I had to come tell you. I've seen the light. It's the same light that's in you. I'm born again in Christ Jesus. His mercy bathes me in its perfect love, his forgiveness washes over me. Sinner that I am, I know my time isn't long...As ye reap, so shall ye sow...But the Lord is my shepherd, I have Him to look after me. I'll never be alone again. And I know that one day soon you'll join me. You'll join us. The address is on the inside front cover. A short subway ride away. I love you guys. I really do. Praise the Lord."
"Isaac, it's Adonis!"
He bent over and placed two copies of The Watchtower in the entryway.
"Whenever the Lord sees fit to come for me, I'll be ready," he said, his voice catching. Then he shut the door.
Exhausted, I snapped my fingers twice and watched the screen go blank.
"Sweetheart," I said, sitting down on the sofa and wiping the tears from her cheeks, "let's go to sleep. Let's dream sweet dreams and wake up in each other's arms. Let's be thankful for our life together. We're so fortunate."
How delightful it was to spend the following days in each other's company, sleeping late, eating leisurely meals, going for walks in the silent, snowy woods. We slowed down utterly, rediscovering the luminous space we'd entered on our first night together, but this time around without Ecstasy's jarring assistance.
To be in nature again! Raised in the city, I only really escaped from the biblical force-field of my parents' upbringing during summers at a boys' camp in rural Maine. Nature during those fleeting weeks became my refuge, a magic realm inhabited by wild animals I befriended as well as by little people--fairy folk--the shining ones, visible only to me. Walking alone in the woods or by the lakeside, I'd suddenly be face to face with them, laughing and playing pranks on each other, seemingly for my benefit, although they never addressed me directly.
Never, that is, except for one morning at the end of my last summer in Maine, when a little fellow in a red cap separated himself from his merry band and approached me.
He walked right up to me and said, "Ah, what a life! We're the kings and queens of creation, Isaac. Do you see the finery in which we're dressed? The silks and velvets and jewels? The gold and silver? It's ours for the asking. Do you hear the sweet sound of our voices? We spend our days in glorious companionship, we take pleasure in each other effortlessly, we partake of banquets neverending. And we remain unseen by your kind, the humans who rejected us in the long ago and far away and are forever paying the price. Although now and then an exception comes along. Clearly you're one of those, Isaac. You're open to the invisible. It's obvious, we can see it in your glance. We invite you to come play with us. Don't pass up this golden opportunity," he said with a twinkle in his eye, "it will be offered to you only once."
He turned and began moving off into the woods. "Follow me. Now!"
And I almost did. In fact, I started after him but then I began shivering uncontrollably. Where was he leading me? Would I be free to return? What would happen if I lost my way? Would I ever see my friends again? Or my dear crazed mother and father?
I hesitated, and in the next moment he and his friends were gone, vanished into the space between things, between rock and water, earth and wood. All that remained were the leaves of the trees in the wind, turning this way and that in sun and shadow. All that remained were streams and clouds, birds and animals. And, off in the distance, back down the winding trail, the humans. Waiting with their agendas. Waiting to convince me, to convert me, to browbeat me, to seduce me.
And now, on these limpid, cold afternoons in the woods with Georgia, I was in the presence of the shining ones once again. Although they never showed themselves, I heard their laughter, I sensed their gaiety. I knew they were nearby and this reassured me tremendously. Because in the years between my childhood and today, how strange the world had become. How disquieting the human project.
We often walked into the meadow and sat on one of the boulders there, but sometimes we wandered off in other directions. Janine's property seemed to go on forever and since we met no one else we felt it all belonged to us. Hillsides, woods, rock faces, ravines. Sparrows and blue jays and hawks and many other birds we couldn't identify. Once the great shadow of a bald eagle floated across the snow and, enthralled, we raised our heads to the sky. My spirit longed to soar upward and I had to will myself to stay grounded.
The sixth day after we arrived was windy and bitterly cold.
We skirted the meadow instead of entering it. Walking quickly we continued west, our boots crunching on the brittle snow. Eventually we came to a hill we hadn't noticed before. And at its crest, something metallic poked through the treetops.
Climbing toward it, we emerged into a clearing and stared up at a microwave tower which dwarfed the surrounding trees. It was covered with shiny rectangular metal panels.
"Oh no," Georgia exclaimed. "Look at the poor birds."
At the base of the tower, eight or ten half-eaten feathered bodies littered the snow. As we approached them a sense of foreboding overtook us. We heard a faint background hum.
"It came from outer space," I said. "No wonder Janine's cellphone works so well in the middle of nowhere. We'll get sick if we hang around here for too long. Let's boot it."
We ran back down the hill, eager to return to the cabin and eat something hot. Once inside, we kept stuffing logs into the stove but for the first time since our arrival the cabin remained drafty and cold.
"Rice and beans never tasted so good," Georgia said.
That night we watched reports of opinion polls in Britain, Spain, and Italy, overwhelmingly against the American invasion of Iraq. People in London, Madrid, Barcelona and Rome all said the same thing: no.
"Butch frightens me," a man interviewed on the street in London declared. "But what frightens me even more are those barmy fundamentalists behind him. A peculiarly American phenomenon, isn't it? Frankly, I think the States have gone off their rocker."
"Massive anti-war marches are predicted for this Saturday in cities around the globe," an announcer said. "New York, San Francisco, London, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Barcelona, Rome, Athens, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Melbourne, Auckland, Seoul, Tokyo and Manila. The culmination of a global campaign opposing the growing threat of war. Although if this nasty weather holds, it's going to be a hard day for a rally in New York City."
"At the same time," he continued, "Washington's call for the U.N. to act is meeting deep resistance in the Security Council as weapons inspectors tell of progress."
Then Concertina, President Butch's starchy, asexual national security advisor came on the screen. Squinting into the camera, she asked the media not to broadcast recent audio tapes of Osama because they might contain coded messages to his followers.
"We can't allow any penetration of our space," she declared.
"Little do you know," I said in her direction, "your space has already been penetrated in more ways than one. Or maybe you do know."
I hit the remote and exhaled as the cabin plunged into darkness.
We lit our few remaining candles and sat on the sofa, luxuriating in the nighttime silence.
"You know what, Isaac," Georgia said eventually, "I really feel like going to the peace march in New York. It's the day after tomorrow. We have to do something, don't you think?"
But I wasn't listening.
"Georgia," I said. "Look over there. We have company."
At the other end of the cabin a wrinkled old woman stood in front of the table, supporting herself by leaning against it with a trembling arm. A thrill of excitement went through me when I realized I was seeing through her body. I could make out the table and, behind that, the counter piled high with dirty dishes.
"She's visiting us from the spirit world," I whispered.
Her head wrapped in a faded kerchief, her thin wrists covered with silver bracelets, she wore ancient, cracked workboots and a shapeless dress. Her rheumy, moist, yellowed eyes went in and out of focus. Her tongue roamed ceaselessly inside her half-open mouth as if she would never find a way to slake her thirst.
Agitated, she shuffled from one foot to the other and said in a raspy voice, "Lucy is her name. This is her place. She lived on this hill for longer than you two have been alive, so don't try and outclass her with your fancy cars and your televisions and such."
"Oh, please, Lucy," I said, "don't be offended. We're just visiting. It's not our television. In fact we don't even like TV. We're only watching it because--"
"Lucy seen you two this afternoon up on the hill. You stood under that damn tower. You felt the vibrations. Then you turned around and ran right back down here and switched on your television. Burying your heads in the sand. But all the same, maybe while you were up there you found Lucy's friends, the ones who perished. Their little bodies lined up in rows. And the rows go on forever. From here all the way to the gates of Gomorrah. And the birds won't never sing again. Cause nothing's the way it used to be up on that hill. Or this hill neither. Or every other place hereabouts. Everything is different now. All the people Lucy knew, their bodies are buried in the cold, cold ground. They were good people. Satisfied with what they had. Chopping wood, carrying water. Building their houses with their own hands and the help of their neighbors. Honest people. People whose word you could trust. The way it always was. Until the 1950s when the DDT came and the chemical fertilizers. And the 1970s when the PCBs came. Used to be so many birds up here their song would like to knock you over. You could lay back and float downstream in that sweet sound. Thousands and thousands of birds. Dozens of different species. Summertime was a living dream. But when the birds started disappearing, that's when people changed. That's when Lucy woke up. And she been wide awake ever since, she can't get back to sleep. Summertime turned lonesome and full of holes. And things got even worse too. Don't let nobody fool you. Don't let nobody tell you different. Cause later all them sick-eyed Joes came sniffing around here, buying up the land. Buying out Lucy's neighbors. Flashing money in their faces so that what? So that they ended up in town or in the city working for short wages. Maybe good people are too easily swayed. And then, three years ago, the microwave company came. Walked right up to Lucy's door, as shameless as Satan. Told her they was fixing to put up their phone tower and would she sign a paper saying it was OK. But she wouldn't sign no paper. Old and sick, couldn't even climb the stairs no more but she went down into town. She talked to the zoning people at the Courthouse. Told them she'd get her a lawyer. Told them she'd sue. But the zoning people said there ain't nothing you can do, Lucy. It's the law. Microwave can come in wherever they damn well please. Microwave has the right of way. Microwave is what the people want. Microwave is the future. Microwave is harmless. But Lucy said microwave ain't harmless. It's gonna kill the birds. And it did kill the birds. It's gonna make Lucy sick. And it did make Lucy sick..."
"It's gonna kill Lucy. And it did kill her. Killed her with the vibrations. Vibrations you can't see but that don't mean they ain't here. And her little friends, maybe you can't see them no more neither but they're out there. Neatly tucked away. You get your boots on tomorrow and go back up that hill and walk past that damn tower maybe twenty yards. You'll come to a yellow marker. And just past that you're gonna see a big old flat stone on the ground. You pull away the stone. You stand there. How many of Lucy's friends are buried there? She buried them herself, one after the other. Till she couldn't stand it no more. Till she stopped counting."
The next morning I stepped outside alone into the arctic cold. An icy wind tore into my parka as I crunched through the snow to the meadow. In spite of the freezing temperature, the little stream was free of ice down its center. I stared at the ribbon of water as it twisted and gleamed in the sunlight. I allowed my awareness to leave my body and slip between the rocks and rushing water.
"My power animal, hear me," I called out. "I need your guidance. How do I proceed?"
Utter silence enfolded me and then with a loud explosion the bald eagle burst out of the water. He flew straight toward me, growing larger and larger until he hovered directly in front of me, his yellow eyes hard and indomitable.
I heard the rapid, monotonous beat of a drum as he said soundlessly, "Go to the one with the frozen heart. And this time take your consort with you. She has work to do as well. Don't turn away from those who are the cause of suffering, they need your help more than the rest. But to heal them you have to be there in person, in real time. That means journeying in this realm we're in now, in the middle world. So-called everyday life. It's much more dangerous than going to the upper or lower worlds to work with power animals or spirit guides. Journeying in the middle world means surrendering to the possibility of your own death. Do you understand? You have to stay absolutely focused. Don't give in to your fear. Fear is a flash flood that will carry you away. You hesitated once but the universe was kind to you. It gave you another chance. I have perfect faith in you. And in Georgia. As long as she allows herself to embody the Goddess, nothing touches her."
He beat his huge dark wings, moving off toward the trees at the far end of the meadow.
As I stumbled after him across the snow, he said, "You are a doctor. Do you know what that means? For the original people on this continent, a doctor is someone who dresses up in a bear or panther costume and hides in the woods, ambushing and killing people. Doctors? Yes, because of their power. Because they're so good at what they do they can mimic even the slightest detail of the animals they impersonate. The bear doctor is indistinguishable from the wild bear. His claws leave equivalent marks in his victims. But to be a doctor you need a medicine bundle. Both you and your consort. Each of you go separately into the woods. Sit alone until the spirits speak to you, however long that takes. Collect one object from each of the four elements--earth, air, fire, water. And a fifth object, the extra one, the secret one. This will be a quartz crystal. Search for it until you find it. Maybe by the stream, maybe inside the cabin. These are your power objects. Make a bundle of these objects and carry it with you when you journey. Show it to no one, not even to each other. When you heal, use the crystal to divine what to extract from your client's body. When you heal, hold back nothing. Sing straight from the heart of the fire. Put those who obstruct your path into trance. Then you remain invincible."
Then silence enveloped us. His yellow beak was inches away from my face.
I leaned forward, peering into his mouth--the entrance of a long, dark cave. Stepping inside, I fell through space, tumbling and tumbling, until finally I emerged onto the sofa in the cabin. Georgia stood by the wood stove pouring hot water from the kettle into a teapot. It was early afternoon. I was famished.
"What have we got to eat?" I asked and she turned around and smiled.
"How was your nap?"
Image by M. V. Jantzen, courtesy of Creative Commons license.Tweet