Beyond the Island
by John W. Steele
The tumbling wave of power crashed upon me with the force of an avalanche. The concept of self imploded, and I had the sensation of falling with ever increasing velocity. A hot wind whistled in my ears, and I grew nauseated. My body expanded in every direction into this unfathomable realm of anti-reason.
The borders of my island dissolved, and there was a sensation of an infinite vacuum, a grayscale universe devoid of form or color. Sound drained away, leaving only a muted reflection of silence. The silence was maddening, far more so than any sound impression I’d ever known. The silence lusted for awareness and devoured consciousness like a vampire ravenous for blood.
Chaos defied imagination. The windows of my perception had been unplugged from the source of their stimulation and energy. My senses struggled for sensation like lungs burning when deprived of air. The inability to recognize, sort, and organize data was a state so horrendous that it could not be described in words.
This was a fragmented, dimensionless universe, an ever expanding bubble of pure freedom without coherence or structure. Me did not exist; I had no focus from which to validate reality.
The realm of chaos knew not self or other. It existed as a conglomerate of raw and primal energy, mindless, and devoid of perception. I entered the will of the Unborn and now existed outside of time or space. I was not alive, nor was I dead. Chaos was a place of pure oblivion: total annihilation without closure.
From the center of this mass flowed a scream, and the scream grew louder as it penetrated the limitless void. Though I no longer existed in concept, I sensed the primal scream was mine. The horror increased, and the louder the scream grew, the greater grew the anti-conscience that devoured it like a reverberating circuit that would expand for eternity.
Just before this universe swallowed the last whisper of reason, there was a voice. The voice was like a buoy tossed to a drowning man in a raging sea. My attention craved the voice with intensity heretofore unknown.
“Is this the destiny you choose?” the voice asked. “The choice is yours, Brian: chaos or the girl. Be true to your nature and behave like the coward you are.”
With my last ray of sanity, a feeble plea flooded this hell. “Take her. I beg you! Take her”
When I emerged from this abominable mind state, I was lying in the fetal position on the ground. I sobbed like a man broken by torture. To glimpse the Absolute was a death sentence, and I could not fathom how I had survived. The foundations of my conditioning began to congeal, and there was a frail sense of security. But I knew I’d been shattered to the core. I would never be the same.
As the sounds of the world relinquished their mysterious confusion, I noticed a figure standing at the edge of the cliff. The thing was shaped like a man and wore a long gold cape with a high collar. It had its back turned to me but I could see its head was large and morphed into a bulge at the crown like a bulbous mushroom.
Its head was bald and shiny, and it reflected the light of the sun like a sphere made of chrome. The lobes of its ears were elongated and hung well over the collar of the cloak. The figure was small in stature, perhaps five feet tall. Its shoulders were narrow and its feet were the feet of an eagle with sharp, powerful talons.
The creature faced the high wall of rock on the other side of the chasm where a maelstrom that resembled a whirlpool had formed on the surface. The limestone swirled in loose concentric ripples. I knew the figure was Lord Nagual. It was the first time I’d ever seen him in an anthropomorphic form. The birdman had a tail with a spade tip that protruded through a seam in his cape, and the tail flicked from side to side.
Despite the fact he’d almost killed me, I had never been so glad to see him. I tried to stop sobbing but could not. A violet beam of energy flashed out from the whirlpool and pierced my eyes. This light transfixed me with a sense of calm and courage, and seemed to erase some of the trauma I experienced while absorbed in Chaos.
The Nagual did not speak, and I was so shaken by my experience that I couldn’t find the words or the tongue to express myself. We remained in this extended moment for what seemed like an hour. Eventually my sensations and awareness began to stabilize. I felt like a man emerging from a prolonged state of sensory deprivation.
“I remember my first exposure to Chaos. It is something you never forget,” the Nagual said. His voice was soft and reassuring.
“A seal is upon you now. The Unborn has acknowledged you. The rest of your life will be more difficult than it was before. There is no place to run and no place to hide. You will have to fight.
“The Absolute does not bear false gifts. It brings knowledge, and supreme knowledge cannot be transmitted without discipline and devotion. It is the law. If you want to evolve, there is nothing to learn in frivolous pursuits. Your life, from the moment of the acknowledgment, becomes a constant challenge.”
There was a long silence. The Nagual remained calm and serene like an ancient sage, and continued to speak to me in a gentle tone. His voice had a musical quality and soothed me on a very deep level.
“The law is very clear about an apprentice who breaks his vow. Few can withstand the realization of the Unborn no matter how fleeting or mild. I immersed you a mere centimeter deep in an unfathomable ocean of pure intelligence to help you understand the difference between your concept of deities and Absolute reality. It is only through the power of your will that that the Absolute did not crush or atomize you.”
I scarcely paid attention to what Lord Nagual was saying. I was so grateful he had rescued me, I wanted to prostrate myself before him. Then I remembered what he said about groveling. Though I’d been nearly obliterated from the cosmos, I struggled to my feet and looked at him. Lord Nagual shone like a statue made of light and was surrounded by an aura of pure energy.
“You have three days to bring me the girl... Do you understand our purpose?”
I did not understand our purpose, and I was afraid he would tell me, so I did not ask. “Yes, Lord Nagual.”
“I will descend beyond the seventh and appear at the lodge Sunday evening. The will of the lamenter shall be exculpated.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
Without another word the Nagual stepped off the cliff. I watched him walk through the air and cross the abyss. He entered the whirlpool of rock and then he was gone.
Copyright © 2009 by John W. Steele