Beyond the Island
by John W. Steele
Young Brian Mudd is proud of his ability to travel in the astral realms — until he encounters Lord Nagual, who prefers to be called “Max.” Brian becomes Max’s apprentice and finds him a harsh, even cruel master but nonetheless an effective instructor. Meanwhile, Brian is taken with Karen Frost, with whom he feels he has a karmic link. And Brian’s karma is trouble.
Regardless of my previous assignments, the first time I laid eyes on Karen, I knew she was different. I felt connected to her, as though I had known her before. There had been other women in my past, but none of them were worth it all. I’d learned the hard way that no lover was better than one of little significance. I’d grown quite content with solitude and the freedom to explore inner space.
Though I hardly knew Karen, I had a feeling for her that grew stronger the longer I waited to see her again. There was something about her that struck a chord in me and eased a feeling of emptiness that lay dormant in the hollow chambers of my psyche. I shuddered when I thought about what I was going to do to her and about the agonizing grip of power Lord Nagual exerted over my island.
Despite how I felt about what I’d done, I’d never become infatuated with any of my previous victims. In the past, the women Lord Nagual and I stalked were always very attractive, and they were presumptuous to the point of audacity. I knew the only reason they went out with me was because of my money.
Why the Nagual wanted these deplorable creatures was beyond me. There was no sweetness or light within them. Behind the allure of their cold exterior beauty, they were often arrogant and supercilious. It was a pleasure to deliver these recreational hookers to Lord Nagual. I had no regrets after I drugged them and brought them to him.
I remembered one particularly brazen female the Nagual wanted, named Ursula. Her golden hair shone like a flaxen crown, and her features were bold and sensuous. She had the intoxicating beauty of a porn star, and her demeanor was smooth and polished. Her eyes were large and sky blue.
When she looked at me, her gaze was cold and empty like the eyes of a goat. Her breasts were small but well formed, and her hips were wide and revealed perfect symmetry. Her smile was rich and arresting and augmented her glitzy sensuality.
She wore pink lipstick and smoked long black cigarillos. She’d draw the smoke deep into her lungs and then exhale slowly. When the texture and density of the smoke was just right, she’d purse her lips and expel an enormous smoke ring. The circle would sail through the air with astonishing velocity and then hang in space like a surreal nimbus. This little trick seemed to provide her with a great sense of gratification, and after the smoke ring demonstration, she’d smile or wink.
Lord Nagual had led me to her, and we used a bond scam to lure her into our clutches. She worked at American Federal Savings in White Plains as an investment adviser. The Nagual had commanded me to invest a million dollars in municipal bonds.
After the paperwork was completed, I asked her out. She graciously accepted and did not appear the least bit afraid or suspicious of me. I remember the look on her face when she saw my net worth; she nearly drooled like a lioness salivating over a kill. She told me she didn’t need to wait for the validation of my background, and we went on a date that weekend.
She wanted to go to the casino at Mt. Airy, so I rented a chauffeur-driven limo. Ursula sat across from me in the passenger lounge. We sipped champagne and chatted as we cruised through the emerald green foothills of the Poconos.
She wore a low-cut purple satin gown and no bra. Her firm aureoles and nipples created a sensuous tension in the fabric and produced an imprint that was spellbinding. Draped around her neck was a mysterious gold amulet inscribed with what looked like Egyptian cartouche.
She wore no stockings, and her legs were smooth and tanned. It looked like she’d lathered them with body oil, and her legs glistened in the last rays of the late afternoon sun. Her feet were dainty and attractive, and she’d painted her toenails the same exotic shade of pink as her lipstick. She wore black wedge gladiator sandals.
Her perfume was subtle and pleasant. I had to fight to stay focused on my directive because I could tell she was well acquainted with the art of seduction and I didn’t know if I could resist her.
Lord Nagual called the women he wanted “lamenters,” and he warned me I was not to have sexual contact of any kind with them. He made it abundantly clear to me that if I ever seduced or even touched one of his girls with lust or carnal intentions, he would open a portal in the cosmic veil and cast me into a realm he called Tyreus.
He showed me this place one time early in my apprenticeship and the thought of it made me shudder. It was a prison of unrelenting torment. An enormous cauldron of iron sat at the summit of a blazing volcano. The basin was as large as a great lake and the vessel was filled with molten copper.
Skeleton-like beings swam naked in this liquid inferno and their wailing was abominable. Their bodies had no skin and appeared to be made of raw exposed nerve fibers that could not be incinerated or destroyed.
The demons clawed at the walls of the cauldron in an attempt to escape their excruciating torment. But each time one of them neared the rim, one of the prisoners confined with the demons in this hellish underworld pulled him back into the fiery lake of molten metal.
They’d disappear beneath the surface of the inferno, their teeth gnashing, their lamentations reverberating like sirens from the impenetrable walls of the crater. Max said they were locked here for an eon because of the windows they had chosen. Their only purpose now was to experience the burning torture of painful sensations.
In time they’d be released to an island and begin the long journey back home. But it took many lifetimes for one evolved from Tyreus to balance the Pendacle of negative energies they’d created. And many of them were reborn as demons, ghosts, or wild animals.
The idea that a realm of constant torture awaited those whom I felt were evil comforted me. I asked Lord Nagual why those whom I believed were little more than breathing feces were forgiven for their transgression after they caused so much suffering in the world.
“It’s natural to loathe those you feel are lower than yourself,” he said, “but you must remember, many but not all of them have their root in the Unborn just as you do. The island is the realm of ignorance and illusion.
“Since nothing really exists in this artificial universe, nothing is held accountable. Meatballs that adore ignorance just keep devolving until they reach such a deplorable state that they have no other choice than to evolve or dive headlong into Tyreus.
“Have no fear, for every action that harms another returns with vengeance. Only a fool would deny that an island is not an intermittent hell world filled with the sufferings of men and animals.
“On the bright side, I am the Lord of this vibration. After endless cycles of rebirth and ages of self-indulgence, I stood at the rim of Tyreus. I grew weary of the prison of ego and the endless wheel of birth, suffering, and death. After a long time and great effort, I transcended my island. I am now immune to the Lord of Death.
“But I am still confined to the subtle borders of Id by my vibration and the like vibration of others, who exist on an island and cry out for liberation. Since they are me and I am them, I cannot turn my back on them. We’re in this together.
“There are innumerable Naguals in the realm of Id and every one of them was once incarcerated in a nine-holed sack of meat just as you are now. We all rule a specific vibration that corresponds to the body of the Unborn.
“But a Nagual cannot transcend the realm of Id until every apprentice in his vibration is liberated from the burden of self and other. For the unborn knows not self or other, and is the embodiment of perfection, beauty, and flawless harmony: the antithesis of Chaos.
“Though Tyreus is just another mind-created realm, I am the only power in our specific vibration that holds a key to its gates. I can confine a pork chop in the realm of flame until he’s quite well done, so to speak.”
Max laughed so hard at his joke, he choked. I thought he was mad and did not find his humor at all amusing.
“When it comes to an apprentice gone bad, I tend to become absent-minded. My evolution depends on the quality of my judgment. If, after great deliberation, I choose to help a meatball evolve and he turns out to be ersatz, the decision has serious consequences and retards my development.
“If I allow an apprentice to tread the path that leads to Tyreus, he remains there a very long time. You must remember that I exist beyond the confines of time and what may seem like an eon for you could be a mere cup of tea for me.”
I thought about what he said, and as usual, I found the idea ridiculous and absurd.
“How can something as profound as us not possibly see the future?” I asked. “If you’re what you say you are, you must be able to see which path a wanderer will follow.”
“Well, pork chop, here is where some islanders lose themselves. If their experiences on their island have been relatively benign, they may begin to take free will for granted. In some cases, they devolve until they believe no harm will come to them if they take advantage of, or inflict harm on others.
“This is a crucial period in an islander’s illusion and can lead to the downfall. But the problem is far more insidious than that, because the island tests a meatball’s judgment and reason. Many rush headlong into Tyreus because their judgment is flawed and their reason is a raging insanity.
“Reason and free will are the sword and shield of a cosmic warrior. If they are defiled or become corrupted by the glory of self, they begin to evaporate. Not all beings are granted free will. It is a gift far more precious than eternal life. Without free will, immortality is a hell.”
I wanted to argue the point with Lord Nagual. His reason was based on his premise, not mine, and therefore led to a conclusion or theory that seemed preposterous.
But I thought about what he said and about the great suffering I had witnessed on this planet. I could not deny that, to one degree or another, both men and animals are forced to endure slavery and great anguish. I knew he’d nailed it and I hung my head.
Copyright © 2009 by John W. Steele