by J. P. Flores
Table of Contents|
parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
The Watcher had found the boy. It had taken some time and now it watched the mansion where the boy was being kept. It didn’t test its boundaries. The Watcher was aware that something significant was going to happen soon. There was a subtle ripple in the fabric composed of time and space, the place where creatures such as he himself existed.
* * *
“I want to impress upon you the importance of this endeavor,” Peter said. “I know you are unsure; you still doubt even now.”
Just then Mara entered the room. “The car is ready,” she said.
“We won’t be taking the car.”
“Is there a change of plans?”
“I must apologize to you all,” Peter said. “There is something I have not disclosed.”
“Mud, when you were just four years old, Elder Tak placed the responsibility of raising you upon the shoulders of the beloved monk known as Venerable Uncle Sanshi. You loved him dearly, but he was an old man nearing ninety.
“One night Sanshi was struck down by a massive heart attack. He died right before your eyes, and you cried at his side for two days. When it came time for burial, you refused to leave his side.
“Elder Tak pulled you away, but you broke from his grasp and stood over Sanshi’s body. You raised your hands and commanded him to get up. You shouted for him to awaken. And he did,” Peter said. “You snatched him from the grip of death. But it cost you.”
Silence filled the room.
“Is this true?” Rinaldi asked.
“I don’t remember,” Mud said. “I don’t remember anything like that!”
“You said it cost him,” Mara said. “How?”
“He was only four years old,” Peter said. “The boy was overwhelmed by what he had done. Taking hold of the forces of nature and reversing them, he had no idea what effect it would have on him. Mud fell unconscious even as the old man stirred and coughed and came back to life.
“Mud was asleep for three days and when he finally awoke he had no memory of what happened. He had no memory of anything, he was like a clean slate.
“Elder Tak and the monks had to teach Mud everything from eating to walking all over again. It was as if he had been reborn.
“There was an incident mentioned while Jesus was walking through the crowds: a woman touched the cloak he was wearing and became cured of her disease. Jesus stopped because he had felt power come out of him. The power is a quantitative force that we just don’t understand, as Mud failed to understand.
“But it’s different now,” Peter said. “You’ve matured and we’ve given you some understanding of who you are.”
All heads turned to Mud .
“Do you know what I was doing most of the night?”
He answered the silence himself. “Mara, I’m sure you checked in with your surveillance men.”
She looked at him guiltily.
“It’s all right,” Mud said. “I know you’re watching me for my protection.”
“He was up most of the night,” she said, “kneeling by his bed.”
“Praying to God for an explanation,” Mud said. “Praying to God that I am not what you say, because this world is so big and complicated, and I’ve only been exposed to such a small part, and you think I can fix it all!”
“Stop thinking on a global scale,” Peter said. “Start small. If Jesus had the informational system that exists now, he would have reached the whole world as quickly as it takes a video to go viral.”
“Now he has it,” Rinaldi said. “Now you have it. And you have us to help you. We’re not a bunch of ignorant fishermen, Mud. We have plans in place, we have contingencies as well, all waiting for you to look at and study and approve or supplement. It will be different this time!”
“There’s just one more thing to do,” Peter said. “You stood in this room a few days ago and told me that you were grateful to me. I ask of you one more trial. After this, if you are still unconvinced, I will ask no more of you. You can leave or stay, whichever you choose.”
* * *
After Mud agreed to the final task, Charlie led them all to a detached bunker on the south side of the estate. The inside was cool and filled with vegetation. There were vines hanging from the ceiling, dressing all the open space. Aquariums where all manner of exotic fish lived filled the open spaces along the walls.
Mud marveled at the different and colorful species of life all around him and for a moment forgot all about the pressure of responsibilities Peter was trying to convince him to take on.
They walked through an antechamber and then entered a room where the lights came on automatically. A single large cylindrical tank sat at the far end of the room hooked up to wires.
“I’ve accomplished so many things,” Peter said, “and I’ve done some questionable things as well. But there was only one feat that I can readily say was right.” Peter touched the tank. It was cold with a veneer of moisture on it.
“This is my son, ” Peter said. “His name is Taylor. He was my life, my heir, my legacy and he was taken from me by cancer at a young age. His mother took her own life over his death, and I devoted my research to oncology in his name.
“I’ve kept him here in cryonic suspension. Dead. Hoping that the technology to restore the damaged cellular structure caused by cryonic freezing would have been developed by now, but it has not. And, of course, the cure for cancer remains elusive. It would take a miracle. But now I have you. Will you bring him back, Mud?”
Many excuses came to Mud’s mind. There were several reasons why what seemed to be supernatural events, attributed to him by Peter, could have been the result of random coincidence. But Mud simply said: “I’ll try.”
* * *
When Horace heard that the car trip had been cancelled, he feared the plot had been uncovered and any minute a team of Mara’s security men would be rushing over to take him into custody or worst, but no one came. He thought about trying to contact Father Jack, the priest who had recruited him, but he realized it was always Father Jack that called him on a protected line. Horace didn’t even have his number.
Overthinking things was Horace’s weakness and, it was no longer his problem anyway. He had done his part.
Horace had been first approached as he was kneeling in the claustrophobic confessional at his church. A new priest, who would later identify himself to Horace as Father Jack, had slid open the little confessional door, and Horace had told him how many times he had committed impure actions with himself.
Father Jack talked a lot and, when he mentioned that he suspected Horace was involved in something unrighteous, Horace thought the priest was talking about visiting porn sites.
Later, when they met for coffee, Horace was shocked that Father Jack knew about the project on Peter’s estate. The priest appealed to Horace’s loyalty to his mother Church. When that didn’t convince Horace to admit anything, Father Jack then invoked the name of Horace’s true god: money.
“My favorite number is zero,” Horace said. “And I like to see lots of them to the left of the decimal point.”
If Horace had thought that Mud would be hurt in any way, he wouldn’t have agreed to help. But all Father Jack wanted to do was track Mud’s whereabouts at all times. He and his “organization” wanted to keep tabs on whereever Peter took him and whom Mud met.
It wouldn’t be difficult for Horace at all. Mara and her security team ran “Mud” drills once a day by engaging the Global Positioning System units sewn into Mud’s clothes and verifying his location.
Father Jack wanted the GPS frequencies. At the next drill, all Horace had to do was link the GPS monitor to his own email and relay it to Father Jack.
* * *
Mud stood in the middle of the room staring at the fat metal cylinder. He had asked Peter to open the latch so that he could see Taylor’s body inside. After Peter had asked everyone to step outside, he complied with Mud’s request.
A chemical odor filled the room and Mud shivered. Mud closed his eyes and imagined himself in touch with every cell of his body. He imagined his essence slowly mingling with the molecules in the air, melding with the chemical pall over the room. His awareness spread to fill the room like a gas.
Mud felt the solid walls around him holding him in. He sensed the cold metal cylinder and embraced it, engulfed it. He became the air, he became the room. His essence filled the cylinder feeling the soft contours of the lifeless body within.
And then he imagined a tiny spark beginning somewhere in his head and slowly growing, igniting cells one at a time and then in groups and clusters. The spark grew, igniting his awareness, bouncing off the walls becoming a charge of energy, controlled lightning in the form of a plasma.
In the blink of an eye Mud’s energy fused his awareness with that of Peter’s son. Dead cells became charged, filled with life. Mitosis began spontaneously again. Ganglial cells revived with the spark of Mud’s power surge. Blood cells, shriveled and dead, became whole again and thirsted for oxygen. Another spark and the heart started to contract and expand, pushing blood cells charged with Mud’s energy plasma and renewing life and pliability to vessels long dead.
Death became life.
They were no longer confined in a room or in a metal tank, not even in human body but out in the open, not in the sky, not at a place but simply in a state of awareness, surrounded by light. Both of them, Mud and Taylor, simply each a coalescence of energy and awareness.
“Who are you?” The question formed in Mud’s mind but it generated from Taylor. It was not spoken but simply thought and then perceived.
“I am Mud,” he responded in like manner.
“The pain has stopped,” Taylor thought. “was it you who caused that?”
“I can sense you but I see nothing but light,” Taylor thought, “pure clean light. It surrounds me and fills me. Is that you, too?”
“I don’t know,” Mud responded.
“Where is this?” Taylor asked.
“A world between death and life, I think. I’m not sure.”
“I was dead?” Taylor asked.
“I can see myself lying in a metal tank.”
“Your father preserved your body after you died. I have revived it.”
“Yes,” Taylor thought, “I feel it, I can feel my body,” and then repeated his query. “Who are you?”
“I told you: I am Mud. I know nothing else.”
“Who are you?” Taylor said again.
Mud realized that another presence had arrived. It was dark and smoky amongst the pure white. It easily smothered the presence that was Taylor. Mud no longer sensed Peter’s son.
“I am the Watcher,” it said. “And I have found you again. And now I can see who you are, what you are.”
“Then you see more than I do,” Mud responded.
“Like me, you are everyone and you are no one.”
“What does that mean?”
“All of us who dwell in the world between worlds unite with the all.”
“The ‘all’ what?”
“Consciousness is a net that all creatures share. If a ripple occurs on one end, it is felt at the other. It is how creatures like us influence others.”
“I am not a creature,” Mud said.
“True, you are different,” the Watcher responded. “It was what drew me to you. There is a link that you have,”
“More like a chain. You are bound to the humans and yet you are like me, dwelling in two worlds.”
“Then it’s true? I am Jesus?”
“Who is Jesus?”
“The man who was sacrificed on the cross.”
“You would limit yourself to a fool who failed.”
“It was not a failure.”
“I will open your eyes for you. Is that what you desire?”
“To put an end to this mystery. Yes,” Mud said.
* * *
Copyright © 2015 by J. P. Flores