The Chronicle of Belthaeous
by John W. Steele
Rodney Neumann, a brilliant student of mathematics, has earned a scholarship at Columbia University. After years of spiritual struggle he has adopted materialism as his personal philosophy. In graduate school, he studies under, Dr. Adrian Nacroanus, an eccentric scientist who heads the Department of Genetic Engineering. The doctor’s advancements in biotechnology have earned him a reputation as a near-mythological being. In time, he and Rodney form a master-student relationship based on deep theosophical insights that Nacroanus reveals to him.
Dr. Nacroanus has developed a serum called Eternulum that he claims will increase human longevity. But before he can bestow his gift on humanity he must retrieve a mummified angel named Belthaeous, who has lain entombed in the Cave of the Ancients for thousands of years.
Rodney and Nacroanus journey to the Himalayas to find the hidden entity. Deep in the mountains, Rodney witnesses miracles that shatter his understanding of reality and confront him with forces of ultimate malevolence.
Chapter 15: Belthaeous Channels
The mind of the Avatar flowed through my sinuses like a wretched gob of bile. A bitter taste flooded my mouth, and my throat grew dry. My trachea constricted, and my lungs froze.
I knew nothing about this entity, and I feared it might be a Class-Seven Archon determined to strangle me. I stood petrified, my arms limp and lifeless at my sides. Gradually, the pressure eased, and I drew a sweet breath of air.
I stood wheezing like someone in respiratory arrest. In a hoarse voice I coughed, “Did you hear that voice, Dr. Nacroanus?”
Adrian stood oblivious to everything but the laptop, his mind fully absorbed in the task at hand. His fingers coded the touchpad and, for a moment, he did not acknowledge me.
“The Avatar is alive. It spoke to me.”
He shook his head and mumbled something beneath his breath. “This is no time for nonsense. We have a lot ahead of us. We’re on a strict itinerary now. Concentrate on your job.”
“I’m not joking. It’s alive. I heard it.”
He stared at the sine wave. “That’s impossible. The body has no brain waves. The heart is locked in asystole. There’s no oxygen in its blood. Without a heartbeat or respiration, there is no life.”
I glanced at the entity’s eyes, and they snapped shut. I remembered what Thrangu had said about its power.
Something clicked, and a bigger picture fell into place. I realized I was now a pawn in a multidimensional conspiracy. I couldn’t trust anyone, especially Dr. Nacroanus.
“It must be stress. I’m bone-tired. I dread the return trek from this place. I hope I have the strength to make it back,” I said.
Adrian turned and looked at me. A faint dot of light twinkled deep in the ebon pools of his eyes. In a gentle voice he replied, “You’ve been under a lot of stress, Rodney. The lack of oxygen combined with the bitter cold can cause a man to lose his grip on reality. The illusions here have astounded me as well. But the Avatar is not yet capable of retaining the life force. Now focus on the project; time is too precious to waste.”
I eased the headgear over the Archon’s skull and secured it to the coupling. We sealed the canopy and drew the air from the body shroud. I twisted the valve on a tank of nitrogen and inflated the earth suit. Now protected from the extremes of pressure and oxygen, Belthaeous would survive the conditions we’d encounter on the surface of the planet.
“We’re good to go, Dr. Nacroanus. The Avatar is prepared for the descent.”
Adrian cycled through the information displayed on the LCD, carefully measuring all segments of the power spectrum. “Excellent, everything is functioning perfectly.”
Like hot syrup, the voice seeped into my mind. “Nacroanus cannot protect you from me, dear. You’re my play-pretty now. No one can hear me unless I want them to. You have something I want, Rodney. Be a lamb and give it to me, will you?”
The thought of this thing crawling around in my skull gave me the creeps, but there was no turning back. Like it or not, I was the chosen one, the one who had no options. I ignored the voice, hoping it would go away, but I knew it wouldn’t. I inspected the canopy of the sled and locked Belthaeous in the cockpit of the aluminum cocoon.
At Adrian’s command, the Sherpas tugged on the rigging like a team of draft horses. The sled inched forward, and we began the long journey back to the surface of the earth.
I turned to look one last time at the Cave of the Ancients. I knew I would never see it again, and a feeling of sadness swept through me. Though its surreal splendor had died when Jerus transcended the material dimension, I knew I’d witnessed something that few had ever experienced. For a moment, a sense of meaning shone through the uncertainty that surrounded me in a veil of despair.
I thought about Heidi and the tantalizing fantasy of beginning a new life with her. I wanted to change my life, but I knew it would be next to impossible. No matter what I gave her, Lydia would see to it that a divorce would drag on forever and be as painful as possible. It seemed that she thrived on tension and hard feelings, and even when I was home I avoided her as much as possible.
We ascended the long tunnel that led to the surface. The chamber had been constructed so well that there was little debris from the earthquake. Only a few areas held large slabs of stone that occluded our path. The Sherpas cleared them through the power of acoustic levitation.
Jigme used a femur to elevate the blocks of stone. One of the guides climbed on top of the boulder while two others stood at forty-five degree angles to the axis of the slab. At Jigme’s command they chanted a prayer and gradually increased the tempo. For a few minutes nothing happened.
At the precise moment Jigme chimed in with the bone flute, the whole area grew energized. The stone block began to rock and sway and then it eased into the air. He elevated the boulders to the desired height, and the guides pushed them out of our way. He boasted he was the only man alive that could accomplish this magic without using a drum, and that it had taken him twenty years to master the frequencies.
Jigme was unlike Thrangu in many ways. He lacked the dense musculature Thrangu possessed, but he was leaner and exceedingly strong. I sensed the same confidence in them both, but I knew Jigme held a fighting spirit of ultimate design.
He’d been raised by the Lop Gar sect of combat lamas and, because of this, I knew he was capable of great feats of power. Unlike Thrangu there was nothing meek about him. I once saw him crush a rock in his bare hands when challenged by another monk, and the battle had ended before it began.
A scraggily black beard dangled like a sheepskin on his face, and he could bore a hole in you with his eyes. Despite his austere demeanor, I’d never seen him act like a bully. He didn’t have to; anyone he encountered would quickly sense the power of his presence.
When I asked him why we could not use the femur to levitate to the summit, he said that the octave of the vibration could be quite harmful to organic matter and that its greatest use served on the first level of awareness in the mineral densities.
After we had walked for hours, the portal of white light appeared ahead of us. My vision had grown accustomed to the soft blue luminosity inside the pyramid. Even from a distance the harsh natural light of the sun caused my eyes to tear and burn as if filled with sand.
For years I had a vague impression that this world was not my true home and that I’d journeyed here to perform a task that I could not understand. Only now did the whole damn mess make any sense. Heidi, Lydia, my sons, Nacroanus, and everyone else; all actors in a movie parading across my mind like film images on a screen, each one awaiting my decisions to create the next picture in the frame.
I’d grown weary of three-dimensional reality and the endless struggle to understand what is essentially empty and evil in nature. There had to be something more. But in matter, there is proof; in flesh, bone, and pain, there is reason. Why is man cursed with the fetter of ignorance and doubt? How can he ascend from the scourge of this flawed creation? Only fools try, and only the cursed refuse to surrender to the illusion.
I could not understand why the world had granted me such abundance. Genibolic provided me the kind of money most people only dream about. But none of it brought me any true happiness. I was still angry at God, angry at the world, and angry at my helplessness and inability to change what for me seemed to be nothing but a purposeless struggle.
Everywhere I went I saw the traces of suffering, in the faces of the mothers who could not afford medicine for their babies; in the starving animals abused by their keepers; in the ceaseless wars and the blatant lies expounded in the media. I did what I could to help, but it was never enough.
I longed for a simpler life freed from the shackles of materialism. A life somewhere away from it all, a life with the woman I adored, a life with Heidi.
I put on my sunglasses and crossed the threshold into the material world. Adrian stepped through the portal. He smiled and gazed into the distance. He did not appear to be affected by the sunlight. I knew Adrian had found his paradise, and it was here on this earth. All he had to do was take it. His eyes were locked on the future, and I knew he could succeed in his vision.
The Sherpas chanted the sacred mantra, and the great boulder of onyx descended to the floor.
We headed towards the edge of the cliff. I wanted to look at the portal to the Cave of the Ancients one last time and etch its image in my memory. But when I turned, it was gone. Nothing remained of the entrance but a wall of solid rock lined with fissures and walls of milky, rippled ice. We’d emerged from a fantasy beyond explanation, and no evidence of our incredible journey remained.
The morning sun had awakened on the eastern ridge, its golden rays resplendent against the predawn grayish twilight. Soon a Logos of light would flood the valley far below, proclaiming the glory of creation and the wonder of consciousness.
The world was about to change, and a key to its fate now hung by a chain hung around my neck. A great burden had been placed upon me, and I wondered if I had the courage to do the duty that I now believed I’d been assigned.
I no longer trusted my reason or my heart. I understood that the power of Mammon can penetrate any fortress. The theomorphic consciousness in man is trapped in an evil parody called matter, and there are powers that want to devour this Light very badly.
A chapter in my life had come to an end and, with it, a strange new knowledge had been revealed. I’d entered the cave an atheist and emerged a seeker. Everything I’d ignored as fantasy and the curse of the hopeless, everything I’d scoffed at, now seemed plausible.
A heart is immortal and the burden of eternity beats in its chambers. The will is for sale, and the soul is its worth. The senses are easily manipulated, and I greatly feared the power of Mammon.
Copyright © 2014 by John W. Steele