THE RETURN

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***** SOON TO BE PUBLISHED *****

ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE NOVEL SERIES

THE ASCENT - THE SUMMIT - QUANTUM LEAPS - SURREAL ADVENTURES
MYSTICAL ROMANCE - THE ELIXIR - THE RETURN

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Go to the end of this post to read a brief summary of each of the novels

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THE RETURN

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Book Seven... first half

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The following thirteen chapters are approximately half of ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: THE RETURN, my seventh and last novel in the Elysium's Passage series. 

I'm posting this for a short time to provide a sample of the series. It summarizes the series, giving the reader a taste of what came before in the previous six novels. Currently, I'm searching for a literary agent to represent the series to publishers.   

Copyright. Elysium's Passage: The Return. All rights reserved, Neil Meyers 2024  

SPOILER ALERT

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CAUTION: PORTIONS OF THIS EXCERPT MIGHT BE A 

SPOILER FOR THE ENTIRE SERIES

(Maybe skip the introduction)

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See ENDNOTES at the end

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INTRODUCTION

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Book Seven of the Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage, The Return, begins where Book Six, The Elixir, ends as I’m about to reawaken in my physical body. 

As the sun set below the ocean’s horizon, the skies flared with blazing red, orange and yellow streaks on a canvas of wispy clouds. Without saying anything, Julie took my hand and let me away as we strolled along on the warm sand on the cliffsides’ path. She held my arm tightly, walking barefoot in eery silence.   

The tall grass and shrubs appeared luminescent in the eerie glow of the sky. I wondered how far we would go before turning back to rejoin the others. Still, she walked on in silence.

I glanced behind me to see how far we had gone. I saw no one, nor could I hear traces of the fading voices behind us. I saw only an orb of light glowing brightly in the darkening eventide.

‘What is that?’ I asked. She didn’t turn to look or answer. I began to wonder, what was happening? Something didn’t feel right; had they all gone? Had they all left me… and where was she leading me?

In silence, we reached a narrow prominence on the cliffside, where she led me to an area that jutted out over the sea. By now, it was almost completely dark as a bright, clear moon began to rise on the eastern horizon. With my back to the precipice, she began to sob deeply. I embraced her as she kissed me anxiously, almost frantically, though not with the ecstatic abandon of passion I often delighted in.

Then mysteriously, if not frighteningly, she asked: ‘Will you find me if you don’t know who I am?’

I looked at her, deeply troubled. 

‘What are you talking about, dear?’

She detached herself from my arms, took a step back, and stared at me in a way that sent a shiver through me. Suddenly, her countenance changed. Never before had I seen her like this. Again, I asked, ‘What is it, dear?’

Still, she didn’t answer as the tears on her cheeks dried. Then, after a few moments, composed and resolute, she said her final words to me.

‘It is your wish to be with Julianne. So shall it be… and so shall it be.[1] As I loved you in heaven, I will love you on earth.[2] Goodbye, James. You must now leave; Julianne is waiting!’

And with that, her right hand swept upwards towards my chest as she took a swift step towards me as if to shove me off the cliff. My eyes widened with shock and bewilderment. I didn’t resist; it would have been no use.

Before her hand could touch me, a mighty blast of light flashed out from her right hand, throwing me off my feet, far over the cliff and sea.

As I was catapulting, I saw the blinding flash from her hand explode into a massive fireball.

Though it happened in a moment, I saw it all, one frame at a time, as my airborne body swiftly retreated far off into the darkness over the waters. Nothing remained where I stood, embracing her only seconds ago. As quickly as it had come, the blaze of light disappeared in the darkness, and with it, she was gone… annihilated.

While descending, I was powerless to change my course. I was helpless, unable to teleport myself as I had become accustomed. Everything had changed, as the same terrifying scene from a year ago again played out before me, swiftly freefalling as a projectile through space in a blur, my twisting, gyrating body tumbling toward the ocean.

I can only describe what I experienced as timeless in the eternal now as my spirit’s heightened awareness flashed before my inward eyes.

Suspended only by a cushion of cool ocean air, there’s nothing more than the swift wind rushing towards me from below. As I fall, I again experience my earlier flight towards Elysium’s Passage through the abyss. It feels the same, so where am I now falling… away from Elysium’s Passage?

As the ocean waters near, I brace myself for the impact of the sea’s surface submerging deeply into the baptism of the sea. Yet the fall is not broken as I sense myself plunging deep into the dark depths of a formless vortex that’s something else or perhaps nothing else… it’s all the same.

Something has changed; my soul knows only itself! There is no existential separation, having left behind my awareness of possessing a body,  friends or lover. Where am I headed, I wonder? It doesn’t matter; I no longer care.

In this consciousness, which defies any possibility of explanation or description, I find myself not just outside of myself; I also sense a curious oneness to that which is the all of the all that is. Whatever remained of my identity was subsumed in a vortex of overwhelming belongingness.

As I sank deeper into its embrace, the sea’s darkened depths turned into a blazing light beyond time and space. The markers are gone; my consciousness resided outside any continuum.[3] 

I feel at one with the universe, enveloped in it, and it in me. The ocean has become an ocean of infinite consciousness, and in that awareness, I feel safe and overwhelmed.  I am in God, and God is in me; the god I Am is the god I am, created as an off-spring son of Source-essence.

There is no I in that eternal moment. There is nothing between what is called me and all that is. In this realisation, my soul is entranced in the embrace of union where there is no separation, fully melded into the divine Spirit. What is apprehending me transcends all I’ve ever experienced as I’m embraced, enfolded and subsumed by every possible mien of love.

Consumed by this Presence, I have no words; there is no context; it just is… pure oneness in the splendour of love’s divinity. I experience no past, no future, only the present… only now. I have no thoughts of separation; all is one divine essence in this eternal moment.[4]

Something within me awakens as with the first glimmerings of dawn’s sunrise in the east… an awareness of time and space.

It feels like I’ve been on a long quest to find who I am, and now that journey is over, I realise I’m not who I thought I was; rather, I’m the one in the many and the many within the one divine Source of all.

Somehow, I understand I couldn’t sustain my euphoric awareness on any plane of consciousness other than as an undifferentiated being.  And so, it will be impossible to function in the world of separate objects while remaining in this infinite realm of Oneness.[5]

I seem to have no body or awareness of external existence, just essence. I feel no judgement, no opinion; I don’t reason, I don’t think… I just know. My soul is only an impartial observer; it observes nothing out there since all is contained within. Nothingness, nothingness, nothingness, these words resonate as an echo from somewhere in time.[6]

My 5D inner knowingness tells me all that appears separate is nothing, an illusion and shadow, for all is entwined within as oneness.  There is one heart, the centre of all, the core of what I am; at one with I AM. The all that is; the all that can be. As within, so without.

Will this be for a moment or a timeless eternity? Regardless, my soul is content to remain in this plenum of all and nothingness. A peaceful, assuring love surrounds me, buoyed by the brilliance of its Light. If that’s all to this essence, it is enough; it is all I ever wanted: total tranquillity, complete rest and peace. I’m complete. In the words of one greater, I’m ready to pronounce: ‘CONSUMMATUMEST.’[7]

Though I wish to remain within the vortex of this sweet mysterium, I feel my soul being drawn out of the void and down towards a soft glow of blue light where I sense a distinct presence of love whispering to my mind.

‘You are not alone; I am with you, now and always, in an eternal relationship with all that is.’

‘Are you the Christ?’ I asked.

‘You are the Christ when the Christ is in you.’

‘Who then are you?’

‘You know me; I am your guide; I am your angel; I am Selaris. I am the divine feminine, the oversoul goddess of your lover.

‘I don’t remember your name.’

‘And yet, James, you have heard my voice and followed my light

‘I don’t remember your name.’

‘But you heard my voice and followed my light through the shadows below. When you parted your mortal body, I was with you as your soul rested until you awakened to answer your call to the Summit.

‘Then later, on another mountain, my light shone forth from its inner entrance to show you the way through to the door of Elysium’s Passage. My guiding light was only as bright as your faith could see. When you lost your faith, you lost your light until restored by he who held the mighty Excaliber of your release.

‘I guide you now back to the mortal body that brought you to your Summit, and when you call on me, you will know I am with you, for you will see me in the eyes of your lover.’

As she recedes in blue luminescence, I hear another voice wafting towards me. It’s the haunting voice of a woman singing. It’s about Maria! I knew Maria. I loved Maria. Enchanted, I wish to follow the alluring voice as it fades, as in a beautiful dream I long to return but cannot. 

As my soul descends, the I Am who I am within feels displaced with pervasive density. I am being drawn to where I don’t wish to be. Am I not the infinite ocean… being poured into a body bag? I fear I might suffocate, constrained like a formless boa constrictor tightening around my soul.

I hear a faint sound from somewhere… an annoying beeping, now louder and louder. In the distance, I see a bright light, like a lone star shining in the clear night sky. It looms closer and closer, piercing its sharp rays menacingly at my head. The sound and light irritate me, but what can I do?

It’s unsettling, drawing me into the opposite of what I was or had been, although I’m no longer sure what that was, except I don’t wish to be mummified; I want to remain what I am… or was.

My head feels the piercing light. The faint sound of muffled voices grows louder, blaring around me. Instinctively, I open my eyes; all is blurry as images gradually begin to focus. I see humans surrounding, smiling, laughing and celebrating as if someone had just risen from the dead. Was this about me?

It's all so bewildering… what am I doing here? Last I remember, I was climbing a mountain somewhere. So, who are these men… and that pretty lassie holding my hand…  she’s in tears. Wait a minute… I glare at her for a moment. Then something deep within me shouts in an angry rasp. ‘YOU!’

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

WHERE AM I?

 

 

Again, I’m gone… asleep, as if fainting. For how long, I don’t know, maybe hours… maybe days.

I awaken; all is quiet except for an occasional beep of a machine nearby. There’s no bright light overhead. It’s gone, like everyone else I thought I saw.

I’m all alone, lying on a bed in a small room. What in bloody hell am I doing here?  

I see a clock on the wall in front of me… says 03:14. Slowly, I turn my head to look out the window. It hurts. It must be the middle of the night –dark outside; rain is splashing against the window.

Wait, I’m not alone; someone’s beside me. It’s that girl, the one with those men in white. I think she held my hand. Why did she do that? Didn’t I shout at her?

I stare at her as she sleeps slouched with a black coat draped over her body. She’s not wearing that gown, just faded blue jeans and white sneakers. So, why is she here? Do I know her? Cute… wonder what her name is. I search her face. Something about her seems familiar, possibly from a dream.

I can’t move… muscles don’t respond. I look at my withered hands. Good god, ol’ chap, you’re in bad shape. I shut my eyes, trying to remember what I saw when I awoke with everyone looking down on me… three or four men and this woman… all excited about something.

At first, I thought they were laughing at me, yet she was crying… had tears running down her cheeks – such a radiant and happy face.

So why would I shout at her? I must have been angry. What did I yell? Oh yes: You! as if accusing her of something. Why would I do that when I don’t even know her?

I smile as I remember a bright blue light hovering near me in space. I imagine a presence enveloping me… so warm and loving. And, oh so feminine… a beautiful angel. Are you still here? That would be nice, except I don’t believe in angels… but for you… I will; I inwardly laugh.

Stay with me, whatever you are; it seems you’re fading. Didn’t you tell me your name while I was floating on that cloud? Something like Solaris, a sun revolving around me. You’re far out… out of this world. Cool! So am I. Everything’s groovy. Groovy? That’s funny… archaic slang… makes James laugh. What a weird conversation we’re having.

Look, letters floating by me like in a cartoon strip. I laugh as I try to swat them down, except my hand won’t move.

You’re losing your mind, ol’ chap; you seem to think you’re still riding high in the sky… wonder what those men in white gave me. Good stuff, whatever it is… wonder where can I get more to stay high?

This babe sitting here… she’s asleep… must be my babe-sitter, I laugh in self-amusement. Oh, that was good, James, you’re so clever… and crazy. I wonder if she likes it when I’m crazy.

Or perhaps she’s my warden… that might be fun. I look up and see more letters floating by. By Jove, this is jolly good stuff. I laugh; however, I hear no sound coming out of me. I guess the laugh is on me; I laugh again.

I’m a funny guy when I’m high! Guy and high; hey, that rhymes. A high guy! Everything is so damned funny… come on in everyone, there’s a party going on in me! Get high with the guy! I laugh some more.

I look over at my sitter. She might not be impressed if she wakes up and reads the words floating by.

I hear her gentle breathing. God, she’s beautiful! I wonder what’s under her coat… hmm. I laugh again. You’re so, like, stoned, James… and disgusting.

What does she want? Probably me… must have slept with her before… yeah, lots of lucky women out there. I need to get her number before she leaves; maybe take her out if I’m not busy.

So, James, what happened? What are we doing here?

Ah, yes, it was that mountain; it’s all coming back now. I was in Chile… pretty sure I was… climbing somewhere…  don’t think I’m there anymore; that water closet sign is in English, not Spanish. God, how long have I been asleep? Seems like a long time… and how did I get here, wherever this is?

I was on a ledge trying to get to the other side, then fell through the air like a crazy cruise missile gone rogue. I must have taken a chance. That was stupid, James, really stupid… but what a rush. I can see the mountain’s craggy cliffs flash past as we tumble through the air. Probably, I’m just lucky to be alive.

Okay, I get it; now I understand why they drugged me; it was from the fall. Hope they give me more good stuff before this buzz wears off. 

I must have bumped my head. I remember seeing some bright orbs at the top where I was trying to get. Aliens! I laughed; they’re everywhere. I wonder if they took me on a little space cruise before dropping me off here. I still feel spacy, like riding on a blue cloud.

Probably, that’s one of them in the chair, my babe sitter. She must like me… a lot. Thanks for the ride, sweetheart… might not have made it without you.

I look at her again. Sorry for shouting at you, girl in space; that wasn’t respectful. After all, I’m a man of extinction… ah, I mean distinction. Ha, that was funny.

So, why is she sitting here; is this a vigil for me? Why would she do that? I see flowers on the table; did she bring them? I study her face more… something’s familiar about her. 

Nice lips… nice everything, like those little freckles on her nose. Cute! Very cute. I’m in love. I laugh. This time, I heard myself laugh.

With that happy thought, I go under again, though for only a moment or two, when I feel a warm hand softly touching my cheek.

I open my eyes; she’s staring at me warmly, taking my withered hand and gently squeezing it. Her eyes are moist with happy tears, like when she was with those men in the room with the bright lights on the ceiling.

‘James,’ she whispers, 'remember me? I was with you after you awoke in the operating room. I’ve been waiting for you for a very long time,’ she said as she kissed my cheek. Then, after a moment’s silence, she said, ‘Welcome back, Dr Phillips! We thought we lost you.

‘Who are you?’ I asked. Were you singing about Maria?’

‘Yes, at least in my mind, I was. That’s amazing you heard my inward canticle.’

‘It was beautiful, so why did you do that?

‘You are my friend, James; we’ve been together for a very long time; you in your sleep; to me as I sleep.’

I smiled at her for a moment.

Then, out of nowhere, I heard myself say: Yes, it’s me… I have oft come to you. I paused a moment, then heard myself say that we may escape to a home built on earth, made in heaven.’[8]

Suddenly, her warm smile gave way to a look of astonishment and dismay. Tears welled in her eyes again, seemingly shocked by what I said.

I couldn’t understand why she was getting so emotional, so I just smiled, squeezed her hand and asked her if I was back in my prison house[9] and if she was my warden. I thought I was being funny, so I didn’t understand why she began to sob.

I might have said something about her locking me in cuffs so she could do with me as she pleased. Before I said much more, my words fell away as I fell back into my slumber.

The next thing I knew, my eyelids are fluttering in the sunlight streaming through my window.

… not dark anymore… clock says 08:15.

I look around again… all this equipment just for me? I laughed. Yet something’s missing. Oh, that girl. Where is she? Was she actually real, or did I just imagine her like those cartoon letters floating in the air?

Was it Maria; no, that was the song she sang. Probably, I hallucinated her after whatever they were doing to my head… feels like they were poking something into it… got a splitting headache… need more drugs.

Ah, now I remember… there really was a pretty young lassie sitting in that chair. Didn't hallucinate that... she brought me these flowers. I think she kissed me unless I imagine that. So why did she leave me?

I hear voices; suddenly, all hell breaks loose! Someone walking by starts shouting, ‘he’s awake; he’s awake?’ Everyone is running into my room, followed by a janitor and a couple of doctors.

What’s with this; he’s awake? Okay, so I’m awake. It’s what you do after you sleep. Everyone is just so bloody happy to see me. I wonder why; it’s not like I just returned from somewhere… unless I did.

I don’t care; I just need to know… that girl, where’s she gone? I want to talk to her!

CHAPTER TWO

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT

 

Over the next year, I lived a rather exciting and tumultuous life while recovering from nearly a year of being comatose. During this time, I had no recollection of the adventures in my alternative reality except for odd flashes in my dreams that I quickly dismissed in the morning.

Curiously, a woman kept appearing in a recurring dream. Even though I couldn’t make any sense of who she was or what she was doing, except that she reminded me of that young woman I saw by my bed in the hospital. Then, after a while, I thought nothing more of her time than a fantasy of those few minutes we shared.

I assumed it had nothing to do with what happened while I was in a coma since I would have been unconscious the whole time, at least according to my narrow view of reality and what the brain scans indicated. One of the doctors attending to me told me there was little happening in my brain; however, as I later found out, he wasn’t directly involved in monitoring my condition, so he didn’t pay much attention to the occasional upward blips in my EEG scans.

It didn’t take long for word to get around that, against all odds, I had awoken from my coma and was recovering in a facility. Several visitors came by to wish me well, particularly faculty colleagues and, surprisingly, a few ex-girlfriends.

No one could understand how quickly my body was recovering. Still, I might have been required to remain there for several more weeks or months for observation since my body had become a bit of a curio to the medical establishment.

Miraculously, my body was becoming fit as I worked out arduously each day. At the time, I didn’t realise the frequency of the equation had activated new DNA strands, causing my body to recover quickly. In fact, within a short while, my physicality had exceeded anything I had experienced before, even in my prime. That amazed everyone, considering how it was supposed to take at least a year or more for my body to regain its muscle mass.

After a few weeks in the auxiliary convalescing facility near the hospital, I was ready to make my break. Fortunately, an angel took me under her wing and whisked me to a posh health facility in Switzerland.

Prior to this, my angel, Kiko, was an undergraduate student I had a few years ago who may not have much interest in philosophy but plenty of interest in me, her instructor. In a lecture hall of over fifty students, she would sit in front, close to the centre, where she seemed to listen to every word I uttered in rapt attention.

However, I’m not sure how much she actually understood. I don’t remember what her final grade was, yet in my mind, I gave her marks for cleavage. Lecturing was never so hard.

She had it all: looks, body language and unlimited sex appeal. I would have loved to take her out even though she was much younger than me. For professional reasons, however, I felt I needed to keep my distance even though she enjoyed baiting me by reviewing her term papers in my office to see if she could negotiate a higher mark. It was tempting; still, I held firm and treated her as just another student, even when she pouted… most enticingly.

What I didn’t realise is that she was from Hong Kong, the daughter of a billionaire shipping magnate. Upon graduation, she planned to enrol in the London School of Economics to earn an MBA and prepare to run her father’s company one day. An only child, she resembled her Japanese mother more than her Chinese father – quite the knockout!

Then, one auspicious day, without notice, Kiko came by to visit me at my facility. Appeared as stunning as ever, dripping in diamonds and pearls, she proposed to arrange for my transfer to a well-respected Swiss health care facility where I could stay until I recovered.

It was all I could ask for. By now, I realised I was homeless, with my flat relet and furnishings all gone. Without a residence, money or a job, I didn’t know what I would do once I was discharged. I had no place to go.

So, of course, I said yes; I didn’t even have to think about it. Classes were over for the fall semester, so we travelled to Switzerland in a private jet and then took a limousine to my new convalescence facility. After only a few days, I was discharged since there was no point in remaining when it became apparent nothing was wrong with me.

Kiko insisted I move in with her at her luxury chalet overlooking the mountains not far from Devos. Why not; it beat being a homeless vagrant roaming the streets of London.

Once I was settled in, I thought I was in heaven. It didn’t take long for us to become intimate, which I’m sure was her plan all along, not to say it wasn’t on my mind, too. At first, she delighted in giving me massages… for therapeutic reasons, naturally. She was very good at it, and soon, they became something more.

Nor did she object when I offered to return the favour. Though we had separate bedrooms, by the second night, she crawled into bed with me as we made passionate love seemingly to dawn. She was surprised by how much sexual stamina I had since I was still supposed to be a recovering patient. I impressed myself, too, seemingly making up for lost time after being asleep the last year.

By morning, she was exhausted, most happily, but I was ready to go again. She told me I was a Greek god and that I could stay as long as I wanted, even though she would have to return to London to resume her classes in a couple of weeks and then fly back to be with me on weekends.

Again, this decision was not difficult since I had no reason to return to London; I had all I needed here, including the Swiss Alps I wanted to climb, and now I had the opportunity.

Since I had no money, she lent me what I needed, saying I didn’t have to worry about repaying her unless I wanted to someday. At first, I was reluctant to do this; however, since I didn’t even have a credit card after being cancelled for delinquency of payment. And so, for now, my credit was ruined, with no hope of getting another card for some time, but only if I had a job with an income stream.

Swallowing my pride, what I had left, we shopping at the most expensive shops in Devos. Somehow, she seemed to have an eye for what was most expensive since it would not do for her escort to appear less than deserving of her.

Even before we left London, she told me of her father’s wealth and that her budget was far in excess of what she could spend. If she required more, she could have it; after all, it would all be hers one day, possibly not in the too-distant future. I wondered what that might mean for me if I could hang on to her.

Never before was I so well apparelled, with designer clothes and the most stylish hiking gear. Heads turned when we dined at the most expensive restaurants in the area. Indeed, we were among the beautiful people.

Her father, being in his second marriage, was over forty when Kiko was born. Though he intended to remain the chairman of the board of the company he built, it was his wish for her to take over operations as CEO within the next few years when he felt she was fully prepared for it.

She admired her father and was determined to prove herself as not only competent but would excel in doubling the value of the company to over twenty billion within her first five years. However, not before she had time to experience all the pleasures the world had to offer: men, money and power.

For now, she has had no interest in getting married or having a family. Life in the fast lane was fun, making it known to me that she could have her pick whenever she was ready so that I knew where I stood. Still, I liked my odds… no man could pleasure her the way I did.

Meanwhile, I had all I wanted, including the Jag F-Type sports coup I always coveted and a rugged Jeep Wrangler for my backcountry adventures. However, from what she seemed to suggest, I suspected her father wanted her to marry an accomplished businessman, not a philosopher. That would hardly be compatible with the corporate culture in which I would be immersed.

A business doctorate or at least an MBA would have been of much more value and acceptability to him and their corporate milieu. You don’t go around discussing Shiller and Plato in the boardroom and expect to be taken seriously.

I supposed I could reeducate myself, become a corporate man, and remain a wealthy sell-out for the rest of my life. No, that wasn’t me or what I wished to be; they would have to accept me for who I was and on my terms. But if they didn’t, would I prefer to be homeless, cap in hand, begging for the pittance of another part-time lectureship? 

For now, though, I would be her boy toy or, for all I knew, at least one of them. Though I didn’t feel good about that, at least I was being taken care of while thinking about what I wanted to do with my life and how I would do it.

Over the next few months, while she was in London on weekdays, I would climb two or more mountains each week while reading all the philosophy books I had put off over the years. I especially enjoyed reading Plotinus, the Neoplatonic philosopher I most admired yet understood the least.

Another was Alford North Whitehead, who was the biggest challenge of all. Should I return to academia, I would be sharper than ever, impressing my colleagues, who probably hadn’t read either.

One writer I had no intention of reading again was Swedish mystic Emanual Swedenborg. In my graduate days in Canada, his writings intrigued me. However, I moved on and decided he was too out there to take seriously, especially with all his talk of spirits and the afterlife. Respectable philosophers, I soon discovered, didn’t countenance these musings.

Imagine, I thought, claiming to travel disembodied throughout the celestial spheres almost every day for nearly thirty years. Most preposterous! And yet, this book, Divine Love and Wisdom, seemed to call out to me in the Devos bookshop. I smiled and walked away. Then, after thinking about it, I returned the next day, knowing it was one of his more philosophical writings that might challenge my views.

After purchasing a copy, I sat in a coffee shop down the street and began to skim through the passages until a phrase in section two caught my eye. Every kind of spirit turns toward his or her ruling love. That got me thinking… what was my ruling love? Sex and materialism? – that seemed rather shallow, especially for a philosopher. It was most apparent… I didn’t know what ultimately ruled me. Hopefully, I hadn’t become a self-consumed narcissist.

As I read on, it seemed he was suggesting only divine love and wisdom were worthy of being our ruling love; all else led to illusion. To me, that statement was provocative since I realised my ruling love had become self-gratification. It wasn’t flattering to be called out on this since it seemed he was talking to me.

Specifically, though, how was I being ruled, and what master did I serve? I didn’t know… was it the thrill of driving my pleasure-seeking Jag on the Autobahn at 200 km/hr or climbing the Matterhorn? Exciting, yes, but why would I want to spend the rest of my life indulging myself as a kept man? That would be a parody of what I was, though I was no longer sure what that was.

It was evident that I didn’t know myself, even though every philosopher of antiquity, from Egypt, Pythagoras, the Temple of the Oracle of Delphi and on down, implored us to Know Thyself.

For the next few days, I thought about this – not what I did, not what I had accomplished, but who I was within. I didn’t know. So, what kind of philosopher was I who could ask the most basic question without having an answer?

Was I, like everyone else, just a fluke of nature that, by time and chance, oozed out of the primal swamp soup? – a collection of microbes that somehow became human. That seemed to be the official line of scientists and humanists, and I didn’t question it. I mean, what was the alternative explanation: divine creation? No one in academics could go there and survive, so I didn’t.

When Kiko returned the following weekend, I brought up the subject of ruling love and how knowing that might help set the course for our lives. I then asked if she knew her ruling love since I, even as a philosopher, didn’t know what mine was.

She thought this to be an odd question, only to say that for her, the answer was evident: to make more money and lots of it. So, that’s how she would know herself… as rich and powerful. At least she was being honest.

Nevertheless, I persisted and asked, ‘So, what lies below… you know, what you are within?’ She looked at me as if I was daft. ‘I already told you… rich and powerful.’

That said it all; there was little else to her. She had no desire to cultivate an interior life, but then, I hadn’t either; my life was all centred on the accomplishments of my mind, not, as Swedenborg suggested, divine love and wisdom.

No one earns a PhD studying such concerns, yet what is life without knowing who you are? That was the question I asked myself as I continued to read the book. Considering he wrote this book several centuries ago, to me, it was as relevant as ever.

I didn’t know what to do with what he said about angels and spirits; it sounded far-fetched; still, he inspired me to examine myself, much like Plotinus and Pascal advocated before him. Wasn’t it Socrates who said the unexamined life was not worth living?

My quest now would be to go within to discover who I was. While in a coma, it seemed something happened to me; I had become more reflective and interested in my interior life than my outward life, which was ironic considering my new circumstances and lifestyle.

Nevertheless, as an intellectual in good standing, I would have to remain an agnostic. Consequently, notions of love and wisdom would have to remain within the humanist purview, not religious.

By springtime, after classes were over, she joined me in Switzerland, although most of our time was spent touring surrounding countries in Europe. Then, by early summer, we visited her parents in Hong Kong, where I was suitably impressed with how large and prosperous the shipping company was. I learned they had offices in Tokyo and Soule and were considering expanding to London.

Her parents seemed to find me acceptable enough since it’s easy for me to present myself as a charming sophisticate when I want, although I could tell I remained a bit of a curiosity in their world of commerce. There was little we had to discuss except my seafaring days on a merchant ship. That seemed to earn me some points, although it was hardly the kind of merchant ships they operated worldwide. Far from my world of scallywags and brawls at ports, theirs was of money, power and prestige.

I had nothing to offer the business world, with little knowledge of finance or the latest stock trends. Without them saying anything, I suspect one of their biggest problems with me, other than my complete lack of interest in acquiring a massive fortune, was that I practically had no family pedigree, having been an orphan for the first years of my life.

That was about as bad as being an unemployed, part-time philosopher. I’m sure this wasn’t what they envisioned for their only daughter and the future legacy of their family.

It was apparent Kiko’s devotion wasn’t just to their shipping company; it was the approval of the father she worshipped. He controlled everything, including Kiko. Still, I determined whatever happened, he would never control me.

Later, when I again tried to explain Swedenborg’s concepts of love and wisdom, she commented that her father was the wisest man she knew, taking the shipping company’s value from just a few million to billions in less than thirty years. To her, acquired wealth was the proof of wisdom.

I didn’t bother to explain to her the difference between inner Buddha wisdom and clever business acumen; that would have gotten us into another fight. Kiko didn’t like to lose and would rather be right than happy. And so she made sure she would always be right, though not necessarily happy, especially when I disagreed with her. After all, if you’re that wealthy, you must be right, or such was her attitude.

It was apparent that I would never be a fit for her or her family. Meanwhile, I had one helluva a good time spending their money, living in luxury, travelling and, best of all, having wild and kinky sex with her almost every day we were together on weekends. She was the perfect companion to keep up with the new libido drive I had recently woken up to in my recharged body.

Without going into too much erotic detail, as an example, she seemed particularly aroused while I was driving the Jag on the German Autobahn. That’s when she liked to remove her top and come down on me. Of course, I would have to turn off the road before crashing over a cliff while having an orgasm.

One of her favourite fantasies, she told me, was to make love on her father’s boardroom table. And so, late one night, we did. The long polished table, probably worth over a hundred thousand pounds, represented her irresistible lust for power.

It was kinky, although, for her, I’m sure the symbolism was rich; there was no better way for her inner Aphrodisia to conquer the old patriarchy than to capture the seed of her Greek god and become the invincible goddess to birth her empire. Possibly, that’s why she liked to be on top. Though a tad disrespectful, it epitomised her wildest passion for power, wealth and sex; they went together, and soon, all would be hers.

I knew she loved me, at least physically, although not as much as she loved her father’s shipping company. At some point, I knew there would be someone else, a corporate superstar or celebrity, and I would be gone.

Or, who knows, Kiko might also opt for a double life, marrying someone acceptable to her parents while continuing to keep me safely ensconced in Switzerland as her readily available libidinous toy. An allowance of, say, a million pounds a year might be enticing and would be nothing for her. But did I come into this world to pleasure someone as their exclusive gigolo?

Before continuing my exotic life drama with Kiko, let me share what was going on in Julianne’s life after I awakened from my coma and had that brief exchange with her from my hospital bed.

After waiting for me in my hospital room, Julie finally went home, having spent most of the night at my side. She was still stunned by those few lines I recited from that magical night in Camber. There was no mistake; she had quickly scribbled out these lines in her diary while half asleep yet half awake, as if in a trance. Now, I recited them back to her.

Before bed, she slowly reread the poem and smiled. There was no doubt; her man was with her that night, and now he had returned in the flesh. And yet, how would she be able to tell him any of this? Likely, he wouldn’t believe he was present while in a coma. It didn’t matter; somehow, she would disclose this when he was ready.   

As fortune would have it, her life in London was about to be put on pause. While still in bed, she received a phone call from Melbourne, Australia, where her parents lived at this time of year. Her mother, Adeline, was in a panic. That night, her father had a severe cardiac arrest, and it wasn’t certain whether he would survive.

Immediately, Julianne booked the first flight she could from London to Melbourne, then quickly packed her clothes and took a taxi to Heathrow. There wasn’t much time to catch her flight, and yet she made it.

While waiting to board her flight, she called the hospital staff and her roommates to explain her situation. She had no idea when she would return; it may be a few weeks or months, depending on what might happen. If her father survived, she would remain with her mother to help care for him and ensure his recovery.

After arriving, she was told by the doctors her father would likely survive, though inflicted with a severe stroke he may not fully recover from. Julianne then arranged a lengthy leave of absence from work to assist with her father’s rehabilitation as much as possible.

During the months ahead, she reflected on her life and where she wanted it to go. Though she enjoyed nursing, psychology interested her more, so she contemplated becoming a psychotherapist.

Not only did her father survive and then stabilise, but with her professional assistance, he almost fully recovered over the next six months. While there, she enrolled in a few evening psychology courses at the University of Melbourne so she could later transfer her credits to a Master’s Degree programme back home. Still, she wondered how she would afford to live as a student after returning.

Meanwhile, she was able to pay her portion of the rent at her residence so nothing would be disrupted. As for me, I was becoming just a fond memory of an unfulfilled dream. Still, it haunted her whenever she recalled how it seemed I had written a poem to her from the other side in response to a poem she earlier wrote me. At the time, it felt like there was a soul connection, even though whatever was there was now long lost; probably, I didn’t even know her name.

Nevertheless, she wrote a short letter to me from Australia wishing me all the best, explaining why she had to leave the next day after visiting me that night in the hospital. She addressed the letter to a nurse she trusted to deliver it.

Unfortunately, by the time it was delivered, I had already left the hospital’s auxiliary rehab facility. No one knew where I had gone, only that a young Asian woman had taken me to another facility. That was where the trail went cold, so Julie assumed I must have had a prior relationship with this woman she didn’t know about. Evidently, there would be no place for her in my future.

After pinning so many hopes and dreams on us having a glorious relationship in the future, she resigned herself to never seeing me again. Yet, in her heart, she could never forget me and what might have been.

As for me, I only had that short bedside encounter with her, so I had no idea how she felt towards me or how much she had devoted herself to my recovery. Nor did I have any way of knowing her role in introducing the equation’s laser technology through an off-worlder and a network of scientists and doctors.

Still, I remembered my overwhelming attraction towards her even that short while, not just because of her appearance; there was something more I didn’t understand, as if there was some mysterious spiritual bond, although my mind never believed in such things. And though I wanted to see her again, I was told she had moved to Australia. Since no one knew when or if she would be returning, I had to let her go, except for occasional dreams that reminded me of her.

One night, I had a dream I couldn’t get out of my mind where it seemed she pushed me off a high cliff far off into the ocean. The first time, I remembered how, when I awoke, the first thing I said to her in the operating room was to shout… You! So, who knows, perhaps it is possible to dream in a coma.

Later, in another dream, I made passionate love to her in a darkened cave… my favourite encounter with this nocturnal Venus phantom. But since I assumed I was merely projecting a fleeting memory of her, I didn’t take these fantasies seriously.

After all, I had my hands full with Kiko, quite literally; she had it all: looks, sex, and unlimited money. Still, after returning from Hong Kong, I sensed the relationship with my Asian lover might end in heartbreak, just as with many others in my past. If I didn’t bring things to a close first, she might beat me to the punch. That was the pattern I had lived with for years, and now, it was happening again.

By summer, I felt increasingly stressed living with her since all she seemed to talk about was business, and what she would do once she took over her father’s company. From what I understood, the plan was for her to be inserted into upper management after she graduated from LSE, then, for a few years of experience, to become the CEO, all before she was thirty.

If, by chance, we decided to marry one day, I would have to be part of her life by moving to Hong Kong and becoming part of her corporate culture. The very idea made me nauseous, yet it seemed that’s where things might head if we continued together.

Excitedly, she would share her schemes of what she would do to make her father proud of her with her shrewd business savvy. For days on end, she would describe how she was already planning to set up shell LLC corporations in tax heavens across the globe while undercutting smaller shipping companies.

 Even if it meant taking a temporary loss, she would drive them out of business and then buy their assets at substantial discounts. It was ruthless, but then, she was relentless in getting what she wanted, including me. Meanwhile, I often thought about which new mountains I wished to climb so I might be alone by considering more sublime summits to conquer than her corporate world.

Something in me had changed. While in my coma, there seemed to be a significant shift in my values and priorities. I now cared much less about what this earth had offered and more about discovering who I was and what I wanted. As Swedenborg said, it was about turning toward what I loved most.

Though I wasn’t sure what that was, at least not yet, I knew it wasn’t about building larger shipping companies. Even though I still loved philosophy, it was no longer about just any philosophy. Now, the words had to speak not just to my mind but to what was higher in me, though I hesitated to use words such as spirit, soul, or heart. I guess I was still too linear to appreciate the nuances of rational transcendence.

Nevertheless, I learned much about myself over the last six months while reading and contemplating life. I also learned how Kiko was just the opposite; her life was exterior, mine interior. A balance would have been nice, but there was none as we continued to shift in opposite directions.

No wonder our conversations bored and irritated me even though I went along with them since sex with my nymphomaniac was still over the top. It didn’t seem to occur to her that I wasn’t on board with her aspirations or material values. So, just before beginning her final year at LSE, I told her I wanted to return to London to visit my old colleagues and inquire about the status of my academic credentials to resume my professional career.

She was unhappy with that, preferring I remain in my Devos paradise where things remained nicely under control… meaning me. Or, possibly, she preferred to remain alone in London, where she could have more extracurricular fun. She loved men’s attention, and it was easy for her to have all she wanted. If I were there, that might spoil everything.

Nevertheless, I insisted on returning, telling her I would find a flat if she didn’t wish me to join her in London. That seemed to surprise her, so finally, she reluctantly agreed, knowing I was determined to be my own man.

That might have seemed a bluff on my part since I didn’t know how I would make my way; I had no money, only her unlimited resources. Nor could she understand why I would wish to return to part-time lecturing when I had all I needed or could want with her.

After moving into her London flat, things quickly soured. After visiting some of my friends and colleagues and speaking with the university administrators, she hoped I would return to Devos. And yet, I had no such intention.

After arguing about this, I knew I had to make a decision: to do as she demanded by returning to Switzerland or to move out. She said she needed to be alone while attending LSE, where she had space to concentrate on her studies. Her grades, she said, had to be acceptable to her father.

I told her, fair enough, I understood, and I didn’t wish to be a distraction; still, I wasn’t about to return to her chalet; my life forward belonged in London. That really jolted her by taking it personally. How could someone with nothing refuse everything? And yet I saw things much differently, refusing nothing when I already had everything, at least philosophically.

Feeling shunned for not getting her way, in a tantrum, she immediately evicted me with only the clothes on my back. And so, that night, I slept on a park bench. How differently life had become… and how glorious it was not to be owned by anyone.

That’s when everything in my life changed… once again.

 

CHAPTER THREE

 

THE PARK

 

Since Kiko paid for everything with her credit card, I barely had enough change for transit, so it occurred to me to visit the hospital to see if they still had my clothes and wallet in storage after I first arrived in the Emergency ward almost two years ago. If so, I hoped there would be enough to buy breakfast. But unfortunately, they didn’t have anything. Possibly, my clothes and wallet remained in Santiago or were lost in transit.

Next, I went to the university administration office to see if, on the off chance, I might have some back pay. As it turned out, they did. The administrator I spoke with had heard of my story of coming out of my coma last year, so she was surprised I hadn’t claimed my wage earlier. After adjusting the ledger, she issued a new cheque, which I immediately cashed at the bank I dealt with.

I was now set up with sufficient cash for meals and lodging for a week or two. But then what? Going back to Kiko was out of the question, although I’m sure she would have taken me back if I had apologised and promised to return to Switzerland like an obedient serf.

After a hearty meal, I decided to walk along the Thames as I had so often before. Having gone some distance, I thought I would find a bench to sit to contemplate my life and where I might find some inexpensive lodging for the night. I could have gone a little further along to find an unoccupied park bench, but I noticed a lovely young woman sitting at one nearby, seemingly engrossed in a book.

Why not, I thought? I realised I didn’t look the best, having slept outside unshaven and unkempt last night; still, I hoped to strike up a conversation with her. I sauntered towards her with a big, friendly smile, yet she seemed oblivious as I approached. Not wishing to be too apparent by imposing myself in her space, I positioned myself at the far end of the bench, watching the pigeons.

There seemed something vaguely familiar about her. I wanted to sneak a furtive glance but didn’t wish to be impolite, or worse, creepy, should she notice me staring at her. After sitting there a few minutes, I thought of saying something to start a conversation by making some innocuous comment, such as – nice day, eh? Or… do you think it might rain this evening? Yet I didn’t wish to disturb her since she appeared intent on highlighting a book she seemed to be studying.

Finally, I could no longer help myself; I had to look at her, pretending to look past her at the pigeons should she catch me. Damn, she was good-looking, even wearing little or no makeup.

She wore a black Peabody coat, a bright fuchsia scarf wrapped around her neck, faded blue jeans, and high black boots. Her hair was shoulder length, light brown with blond streaks. I had seen her before, although I had no idea where.

Now curious, I especially wanted to start a conversation yet couldn’t think of anything clever to say. That wasn’t like me; generally, I had dozens of lines, yet none seemed appropriate to this occasion since this wasn’t exactly a pickup bar. Besides, she seemed so preoccupied with what she was reading I was hesitant to interrupt her.

Nevertheless, I tried to think of something to say but couldn’t. Then, slowly looking up, the young woman stared, not at me, but ahead towards the Thames, presumably in deep thought. I wondered if my furtive glances had distracted her.

Okay, James, I thought, you’re likely making her uncomfortable, so now’s the time to strike before she gets up and leaves.

Despite myself, I finally blurted out: ‘Hello, lovely day, eh!’ I could hardly believe I could be so trite. Was that the best I could do? For one thing, it wasn’t even a nice day, being overcast and occasionally drizzling as it’s wont to do in London.

Slowly, she turned towards me, saying nothing, her face expressionless. It was one of those drop-dead looks I occasionally receive from lovely lassies after having a pint too many at the pub.

‘Sorry,’ I said, ‘I didn’t mean to be intrusive or trivial, although it appears I managed to be both,’ I chuckled. ‘But don’t I know you from somewhere? You appear vaguely familiar.’

Still, there was no response as she stared blankly at me. It wasn’t necessarily a look of annoyance, yet it was unsettling as she silently searched my face. I had no idea what she was thinking, yet it felt most uncomfortable.

Not knowing what to say or do, I returned the favour by staring back at her, looking intently into her eyes, saying nothing. The longer I stared at her, the more I felt something was going on between us, more subtle than words could express. Though I might have met her somewhere, I had no idea who she was.

Then, surprisingly, I noticed tears welling up in her eyes and running down her cheeks. With her eyes glistening, she smiled at me and gently said: ‘Dr Phillips?’

‘Yes, indeed, as a matter of fact, I am. But please, call me James. So tell me, if you would, how do you know my name? Was I once your instructor in a philosophy class?’

‘James,’ she said quietly, ‘I know much more about you than just your name.’

‘Oh really?’

‘Don’t you recognise me?’

‘I seem to,’ I said, ‘yet I don’t know from where. Was it perhaps in a beautiful dream?’ Hopefully, that wasn’t too flirtatious.

She didn’t laugh or say anything; she just stared at me curiously as if in a daze. Then, I thought I heard her whisper below her breath: I don’t know if I know you.  Then, after a pause, she softly breathed, yet you visit me by night. [10]

‘Pardon me,’ I said, ‘I’m not sure I heard you correctly. There was something eerily familiar with what I thought I heard you say – something about visiting you at night. So, in what dream did you mean by that?’

‘Oh,’ she said, snapping out of her spell, ‘I’m sorry; I don’t know what came over me. Well, actually, I do; I just don’t understand why I said that.’ 

‘You know, we’re having a most curious conversation; your words intrigue me, yet I don’t even know your name. Although I’d like to if I may.’

She moved closer to me on the bench and offered her hand. ‘My name is Julianne, but if you wish, you may call me Julie… all my friends do.’

‘I’m honoured to meet you, Julie. It seems we may have met before. Are you sure it wasn’t on campus?’

‘Dr Phillips, or sorry, James; until about a year ago, I was with you almost every day and many long nights. You don’t remember me because you were sleeping.’

‘I must say, I recognise your voice; so familiar and soothing… the sweetest voice I can ever remember hearing.’

‘There may be a good reason for that, James. I was one of the nurses who cared for your body while you were in a coma. We weren’t sure you would make it,’ she said as tears rolled down her cheeks again.

‘Every day, I prayed that you would wake up until, finally, your spirit heard me. And now look at you; I’m so grateful you’re alive and looking so healthy.’

‘Oh, of course, now I remember, at least vaguely! You were by my side as I was awakening. You must have been waiting for me.’

‘Yes, I was; I had been waiting hours for you ever since you awoke in the operating room where I was. Then you later said something in your room that made me cry.’

‘What was it? What did I say?’

‘For reasons I don’t understand, it had something that had to do with what I just whispered to you a moment ago.’

‘You mean about meeting at night?’

‘Yes, James, after you came out of your coma, you said: I have oft come to you… that we may escape to a home built on earth, made in heaven.’[11]

‘Most exceptional, but why would I say that?’

‘Because James, while you were in your coma, I wrote a poem to you with some of these same lines. I have it at home. I cared for you for a long time, and it seemed you came to me in my dreams. So that’s why I wrote it. I had no idea you saw it, and yet you must have, or you wouldn’t have repeated these same lines as you did.’

‘This conversation is becoming more peculiar by the moment, Julie,’ I laughed. ‘How could I have seen it, much less speak to you in your dreams when I was unconscious?’

‘It sounds silly, I know. But what if you weren’t asleep but somewhere else, even though your body remained in the hospital?’

I just looked at her and smiled. At first, I thought she was joking; the question was ridiculous. But when I saw how earnest she was, sitting straight up, looking intently at me with wide-open eyes, I didn’t wish to disillusion her by saying how impossible that was.

‘Julie, I often wondered what happened to you after you visited me that night, so I’m delighted to finally meet you here. In this metropolis of over ten million, what are the chances?’

‘Two in ten million,’ she said, laughing as she got up. ‘I’m sorry, Dr Phillips; I must be off to class now.’

‘James, Julie; remember, to you, it’s James.’

‘Yes, of course, James, I keep forgetting. Everyone called you Dr Phillips in the hospital, so I keep thinking of you as the clever professor who took a long nap after a terrible fall.’

‘It certainly was a long nap. Sometimes I feel like I’m still waking up,’ I smiled.

‘Yes, I’m sure it must take plenty of time to heal; nonetheless, I must say, you seem to have adjusted rather well. I hardly recognised you; you seem a different person. Last time, your face was gaunt, and your body emaciated. Now look at you; you’re the picture of perfect health. I never realised you were so handsome.’

‘Before I could reply to her compliment, she got up. ‘I really must go now, or I will be late.’

‘Wait – before you leave, Julie, allow me to give you my number. If you wish, text me to let me know when you have time to visit. I’d be delighted if you did.’

She wrote down the number in her book as she smiled charmingly. Then, without saying another word, she walked off. Possibly, she sensed I was watching her as she glanced back to wave her hand without slackening her pace.

I watched her as she quickly walked into the distance, likely rushing to catch a bus or the Tube. I lit a fag and stared at the river, reflecting on what had happened and what she had said. I could still see her tears and her every expression. Evidently, I evoked something in her.

Possibly, she was just glad to see me. Yes, that would make sense. From what I saw in the mirror this time last year, I wasn’t much more than a corpse-in-waiting. Still, I couldn’t understand why she remained so dedicated to what little I had to offer.

And what about those strange lines she whispered as if in a trance? That was weird!  Had I actually said that after awakening from my coma? And what was that part about meeting her at night? I’ve never met her at night, although she said it was in our dreams. I’d love to meet her there again, or anywhere else, for that matter, I thought, smiling to myself.

Damn! I let her get away without getting her number. I gave her mine, but that won’t help me if she decides not to call. If she thinks I’m with another, she might not.

I need to stay in contact; women like her don’t come along very often… not ones that recite lines from their dreams – a most remarkable woman, and intriguing, too. Move over, Kiko; I might have found the love I’ve been looking for… and it’s not you, baby.

But what was I thinking? I didn’t even ask for her last name. Should I go to the hospital tomorrow to see if I can track her down? If she no longer works there, someone might know where I could find her. Still, I didn’t wish to appear to be skulking around; I’m not sure that’s good form and, in the end, likely counter-productive, especially if she’s in a relationship.

No, I thought, it’s better if she calls me; then, maybe I will know where I stand. I wonder if anyone told her how a beautiful young Asian woman abducted me to be her off-shore sex slave. Sorry, Kiko, that wasn’t fair; you really were good to me.

God, I hope she calls me or sends a text message… anything! I so much want to see her again. Though she says she was my nurse and took care of me, why do I feel she was more than just that?

She must have felt I was more than another patient, or she wouldn’t have cried unless she was so overwhelmed with how well I had recovered. No, there was more to it than that, although I couldn’t imagine what. That’s why I had to see her again… and soon!   

Julianne barely made it to class on time. Her thoughts weren’t on the lecture as she thought of the fall guy’s atrophying body and how she had struggled to keep him alive, whispering in his ear while massaging his body and pleading for him to return.

And now, he’s back, fully recovered, with such a pleasing voice and gentle personality, just as she had imagined.

He says he wants to see me again, but what about Freddie? He’s still in my life, although I’m not sure why. We seem bored with each other, with even less in common now that I’m no longer working near him at the hospital.

So, what about Dr Phillips… what was his situation? The last she heard, he made off to Switzerland with a young Asian student, probably travelling with her to China and other parts of the world. At least, that was the rumour. Someone said she was studying for her MBA at the London School of Economics. Did that mean they were now living here together? If so, it would be best not to interfere if he’s happy with her. And why wouldn’t he be?

From what she also heard, this woman was exotically beautiful and charming, coming from a very wealthy shipping family in Hong Kong. What more could a man ask for? He’d never have to work another day, provided he could hang on to her.

So, under these circumstances, she wondered if it would be appropriate to call him since she had no desire to get involved in a relationship where she found herself involved in a couple of love triangles: Freddy, James and her; besides James, her and this woman. That could get complicated.

She had tried to reach him from Australia, although that was before she learned how well he was being taken care of and, from what they were saying, in high style. Her roommate, Karen, knew a student from LSE who was acquainted with this Asian woman who made no secret of her prize, so it wasn’t long before word spread about my happy fate, sometimes with a few snickers because of the age differences.

Observing the tenor of her thoughts, she asked herself if she was jealous. It was possible, but then, why should she be if he was no longer with his woman? If he still was, why would he be wandering about forlornly in the park with a backpack, unshaven face, and unkept hair as if he had nothing better to do with his life?

Then she remembered she had stored all his books in her closet, which undoubtedly he must be missing. Probably, there were over a thousand copies. Funny, it never occurred to her to mention that to him. Of course, he would want the back. If so, she would deliver them to wherever he was living, and that way, she would find out whether he was still living with her.

A few days later, Julie sent me a text. Meet you tomorrow at the deli shop below where you used to live… 4:30.

Obviously, I was thrilled to finally hear from her. But how did she know I lived above this shop, and why did she pick that location?

 

CHAPTER FOUR

 

A SPECIAL DATE

 

 

With much anticipation, I waited for her to arrive… more than I ordinarily might have in meeting a woman. But then, nothing seemed ordinary about her, only extraordinary. Yes, she was attractive; still, I’ve been with many such women, and most of the time, things didn’t last very long.

Julianne entered the shop with a bright smile. I stood up from my table and was going to offer her my hand when, to my surprise, she hugged me as though I was an old friend she had known for a long time. But then, she had known me for some time as her patient, even if I didn’t know her. Her hug was brief, yet it felt more like a warm embrace than a perfunctory greeting.

‘Julianne, I was pleased to receive your text that you were willing to meet.’

‘Actually, James, I’ve been looking forward to visiting with you, and again, it’s a delight to see you appear so much more vibrant and virile than I was used to seeing. And if I may say, even debonair.’

‘Thank you, I’m so pleased to hear that. I’m not sure I was looking my best last time we met.’

‘Sorry for the delay in responding; I had a few exams to prepare for, so I’ve been rather busy this week. Thankfully, that’s behind me now, and I won’t have to rush off to class like last time. With it being Friday, I plan to take a break from my studies for the weekend before completing my final term papers for the semester.’  

‘That’s splendid you could take some time to meet. So what may I get you?’

‘Just a chi tea, James; thank you.’

We went to the counter to order. Though I paid for Julie’s tea, she insisted on buying us scones.

‘I’ve been thinking, Julie, ever since we met on Monday, my recollection of you in my recovery room seems so surreal after my awakening, likely because I was high on something they gave me. So high, I’m almost afraid to ask what I said.’

‘I think you asked if I might be your warden and if I would release you from your prison. You seemed to have a fetish with cuffs. I  was wondering, did you have something kinky in mind?’ she giggled.

‘Really? That wouldn’t surprise me,’ I laughed.

‘Regardless, you were all talk, falling off again before you could finish whatever you had to say.’   

‘I remember after I awoke later that morning, I kept asking about you. I wasn’t sure if you were real or a combination of my imagination and the morphine. No one seemed to know if you were in my room that night, and yet there were flowers by my bed. Were they from you?’

‘Yes, James, I left them so you would remember me. Only one nurse on the night shift knew I was there. After our brief chat, I left your bedside to go home to get some sleep before returning to work in the afternoon.’

‘But you didn’t return.’ 

‘No, I didn’t. That morning, before waking, I received a call from my mother in Melbourne. She was in a panic. My father just had a massive heart attack, and it appeared that he might not live, and if he did, likely, it wouldn’t be for more than a few more days.

‘So, I caught the next flight that eventually connected me to Australia, where I stayed until this summer. Fortunately, my father survived, and I remained his nurse for several months until he safely recovered.

‘My parents bought a home in Melbourne a few years ago, where they spent most of our winter. Together, we returned to London this summer as I continue to monitor my father’s health while enrolled at St. George’s.’[12]

‘I’m pleased to hear your father recovered.’

‘Yes, I believe he will be fine, having proven himself incredibly resilient.’

‘You know, Julie, I often thought about you while convalescing in an auxiliary health facility, and yet you didn’t come to visit me. Nor did I know where you had gone. I couldn’t ask since I didn’t know your name. Not that anyone there would have known there anyway.

‘Still, I wanted to express my gratitude for being with me that night. After almost a year, you were the first person that came by to be with me.’

‘Are you sure about that?’ Julie asked.

‘Is that a trick question?’ I smiled.

‘I don’t know, James; it seems some rather spooky things were going on between us.’

‘You mean like exchanging poems in your dreams?’ I laughed.

‘And perhaps much more, but I’ll wait to tell you when you’re less sceptical.’

‘I’m not sceptical, just rational, but let’s leave that aside for now. I’m just happy that, after all this time, I’m finally able to thank you for your overwhelming support.’

‘You might be interested to find that just before I left London last year, I returned to the hospital to see if I could find you to give you my regards. While there, a charming African caretaker named Jeremiah told me about the extent of your care and devotion to my body, day and night. That’s how I learned you had moved to Australia and why I was so surprised when I met you along the Thames. I wasn’t expecting that.’

‘So what else did Jeremiah have to say about me? Since we often worked the night shift, we had become friends, particularly regarding our mutual concern for you.’

‘He also said you used to talk to me all the time, or at least to my body, even though I couldn’t hear.’

‘Your cells heard me, James, all seventy trillion of them. Somehow, I felt you would make it, although I would have doubts after talking to the doctors. I wish I could have been there to help you recover after your coma.’

‘I wish you had, too. After being discharged, I lost hope of ever seeing you again.’

‘And yet, I did return; only this time, it wasn’t for work. After returning to London with my parents, I enrolled to pursue a Master’s degree in psychology. For some time now, I have wanted to become a psychologist; however, I could never afford tuition and living expenses without working.

‘I don’t know where they got the money, but anyway, my father insisted on paying for my education and living expenses when I told him about my dream. So, after being accepted at university, we returned to London in August so I would be in time to begin my classes.

Now, with my Melbourne credits and night classes, along with this last semester, I expect to graduate with my Master’s Degree by next year. Then, I plan to set up a practice as a licenced psychotherapist.’

‘I’m happy for you, Julie, and pleased you returned from down under so I could see you again. You’re just as pretty as the sweet warden I woke up to,’ I laughed.

‘I would not expect to hear such flattery from a serious university professor,’ she laughed.  

‘If I take a few liberties, possibly it’s because I was once a merchant sailor or because I thought I knew you from somewhere in the past, yet that’s hardly possible unless we bumped into each other before my coma.’

‘I doubt it; I’m sure I would have remembered you had we met, although I never thought you would remember me after I left to fly off to the other side of the world. You were in some stupor that night, even though you still knew how to flirt,’ she smiled.

‘Couldn’t help it – part of my rakish charm. Obviously, I still have it, even after my coma.’

‘I’m sure. Yet why would you want to meet me now since I understand from friends that an attractive young woman of means took you in to assist in your full recovery at a luxurious health facility in Switzerland? So, are you still in some relationship with her?’

‘I was, at least was until a few days ago, although much of the last year she remained in London attending the London School of Economics while I stayed in Devos. But I’d rather not talk about that; it’s complicated, and I’m not sure I’ve heard the last from her. She’s very controlling and possessive. That’s one of the reasons I walked; I value my freedom more than her money.’

‘Well, at least you received care during that critical time. It’s good to see you so healthy; I would not have considered this possible.’

‘Yes, it’s jolly to have recovered so soon. The doctors were amazed at how quickly my muscle mass was restored, along with my cognitive abilities.

By the way, there’s something else you should know, and it’s not about that woman; it’s about you and me.’

‘Oh, really? Please tell.’

‘After you visited me that night, I remembered having the strangest dream ever as I was coming out of my coma, likely induced by drugs. And even stranger, you were in it even though we hadn’t yet met. I don’t know why I feel so certain it was you; it just seems I have an inner knowing it was. I can’t explain that; it’s not rational.’

‘Most interesting; so what happened?’

‘Well, as I recall, we were on a high precipice, overlooking the ocean in the middle of nowhere. It seemed twilight as I held you tightly while you were sobbing. Then suddenly, you stepped back and said something that shocked me, but I don’t remember what.

‘Then, catching me off guard, you stretched out your hand, and with a brilliant ray of light, you shoved me off the cliff, where I fell into the ocean far below. I don’t know what happened after that.’

‘Are you sure it was me you saw? As you know, morphine can muddle time sequences, especially in dreams. Or, you might have dreamed it while in your room after seeing me.’

‘I suppose so, although it seemed the dream occurred before I regained consciousness.’

‘Ah, I just remembered. You’re right, James; it had to be before coming out of your coma. I just thought of why.’

‘Okay, so why?’

‘Did anyone tell you what happened in the operating room after you regained consciousness?’

‘All I recall were doctors standing around me, excited about something. I guess it was because I had finally come to.’

‘Do you remember if there was someone else besides the doctors?’

‘No, not really; who was it?’

‘It was me, holding your hand. You looked directly at me for a moment, then shocked us all when you shouted at me.’

‘And what did I shout?’

‘One word. You shouted: You! Then you went under again. It was most bizarre.’   

‘God, Julie, you’re sending goosebumps up my spine. Now that you mention it, I think I remember saying that. That was one bloody hell of a dream; so poignant, I remember it clearly.’

‘If it was a dream, James – if it was.’

‘What else could it be?’

‘I don’t know. But I have a question for you. Why did you recite those lines in your hospital room? Were you aware of what you were saying? – you seemed in a zombie trance.

‘You mean like you were when we first met in the park?

‘Yes, I admit that was a strange experience. Nevertheless, your words came to me in a poem I received from you in my sleep several months ago in Camber. I got up and recorded it as best I could. I was startled when you recited the words because they seemed to answer the poem I wrote you that night.

‘So, James, I’ll ask you the same question: if you didn’t speak those same lines to me while I slept… who else did?’

‘Most curious; likely, you were just dreaming what you wrote and attributing it to me. I suppose we’ll never know.’

‘Or maybe we will. I’ve been researching hypnotic regressions and dream interpretations in my psychological studies and have even taken a separate course outside the university curriculum. Many psychologists practise this with remarkable success.

‘I hope to become certified soon in administering regressions, so why not let me practice with you? I need volunteers to gain more experience. Then maybe we’ll find out what was with this dream.’

‘Sorry, Julie; I don’t believe in any of that. I’m sure you might be able to conjure something out of my Oedipus complex, although I doubt it would explain anything of significance. As for dream interpretations, we can explain things any way we wish. In the end, I’m sure they’re all insane. Regardless, why would you push me off the cliff in this crazy dream?’

‘Maybe because I thought you were a pushover,’ she laughed.

‘Good one, Julie. But what do you think Freud would say?’

‘Is it not obvious, James? You don’t have to be Freud to figure that out. It was time for you to return, and you needed someone to push you off the cliff in a dream so you would return to your body. How else would we be having this lovely, if not bizarre, conversation.’

‘Again, that was splendid, Julie; I like women with active imaginations. I mean that sincerely. I apologise if I seem sceptical; at least I’m more open to alternative explanations than before my fall. There was a time I would have outrightly dismissed your conjectures. Now, however, I’m not sure about anything.

 ‘For example, I don’t know why it seems I’ve known you for a long time after having just met you. In all my years of philosophical studies, nothing has given me an answer to such mysteries unless it’s one of those strange déjà vu moments our brains like to trick us with.’

‘Don’t you find it interesting how we share these mysteries?’

‘Blimey, it’s enough to drive a sceptic to distraction,’ I laughed.

‘James, have you ever read Hamlet?’

‘Of course, it’s my favourite Shakespearian play; why do you ask?’

‘Do you remember what Hamlet said to Horatio? He might have said the same thing to you.’

‘No, what did Hamlet say?’

‘He said, and I quote: there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’

‘Yes, I remember that line. It’s a good one.’

‘That’s one of my father’s favourite responses when he thinks someone is being close-minded or if he doesn’t know how to answer a question my mother asks him.’

I thought about that for a moment. I remember hearing this quote recently, yet I couldn’t remember from where. Nor had I given much thought to it. Nevertheless, it seemed Julie was on to something, even if I wasn’t about to admit it since I was supposed to be the clever one.

‘If Hamlet was right,’ I said, ‘possibly there’s more going on in this universe than I’ve dreamt or even suspected. Can I tell you something, Julie? Something I’ve never told anyone before.’

‘Of course, James, what is it?’

‘Sometimes I think I’m going insane! I mean it… quite literally. I’m not sure what happened to my brain when I fell; I must have really bumped it because sometimes it feels like I’m not the same person I was before my expedition.’

‘So, what if, while in your coma, your consciousness was reset to expand beyond what it was limited to before? I’m not saying the fall did this, but perhaps something later jolted you into higher awareness.’

‘So, are you saying that I might not be crazy?’

‘Oh, you are that too… most assuredly. We already knew this when the Santigo doctors told us how you attempted to climb that impossible mountain alone.’  

I laughed. ‘You make a good point, Julie. I probably was out of my tree even back then.’

‘You know, James, what I’m learning in my studies is that the mind doesn’t understand much until it accepts its inner guidance. The truth is the mind is lost without the heart. For the soul to be whole, both must unite as one.’

‘So you’re saying that the mind needs to learn from the heart, whatever that is, or we’ll go off the deep end like I did,’ I laughed.

‘Which, it appears, you have done more than once, first down a chasm, then again into the ocean where I supposedly pushed you.’

We both laughed. ‘You are sharp, Julie. I like a woman with wit… as long as she doesn’t unwit me! Philosophers have a reputation to protect, you know.

‘James, have you read Pascal?’

‘A little, he had many profound things to say. Why do you ask?’

‘Are you familiar with him saying: Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne peut pas savoir?’

‘Yes, of course, I’ve often quoted from his Pensées; the heart has its reasons which reason cannot know.’

‘My mother is partly French and remains very heart-centred. Sometimes she says that to my father. Then he sighs c’est la vie, such is life.’

‘I’m impressed your mother knows that quote; it’s most profound. Recently, while in Switzerland, I read a book by Emanuel Swedenborg. He was a Swedish scientist, philosopher and mystic a few centuries ago. That’s when I began to ask myself if I’ve lived too much of my life from the perspective of my mind and not enough from my heart. So this is a very timely conversation we’re having.’

‘So tell me, James, how do you love someone with just your mind?’

‘I’m not sure if I know how to answer that.’

‘I’m not prying into your love life… unless you wish me to,’ she laughed.

‘I think you already are, so what am I going to do with you, Julie?’

‘What do you want to do with me?’

I smiled. Julie left the door open with her trick question, but I thought it probably was best not to walk through… too dangerous.

She had me every which way. Once again, this felt like another déjà vu moment, an echo of what I had been asking myself recently about Kiko. I could love her with my mind and body; it was easy, fun and natural, but I couldn’t love her with what was more interior, or as Swedenborg might say, my heart. 

I knew she was in it solely for the gratification of her body, just as I did in the past. And so, after we made love, no matter how ecstatic, I felt only my body’s momentary satisfaction. Though that might have been enough for her, it was no longer for me when, all the while, there was nothing more when we had no real inward soul connection.

Inexplicably, I had changed. I wanted more than my lover’s body; I wanted to feel the essence of her being.

I still didn’t know what brought about this change; I just knew I had become bored with Kiko and all her worldly ambitions and wanted out of the relationship to find someone I could genuinely love… body, soul and mind. Someone like Julie… should I be so lucky.

‘Don’t worry, James,’ she said as she sat down. ‘I was just having a little fun with you. I know you may see me as someone you just met, while I see you as a friend I spent almost a year with. Even if you couldn’t talk to me in the hospital, I suspect we had a great deal to say, at least in some mysterious way we’re incapable of understanding in our waking consciousness.’

I smiled and said, ‘I wish it were so; that would be wonderful. Still, I don’t believe that’s possible. By the way, Julie, of all the places we could meet, why did you choose this building where I used to live in the flat above?’

‘I love the scones they bake here. Besides, it’s not that far from where I live. I’ll show you.’

‘Show me what?’

‘My bedroom. Are you coming, big boy?’

‘Of course, if that’s where you want to take me,’ I laughed as I got up from our table. ‘So, why your bedroom?’

Winking, she said, ‘There’s something I want to show you.’

Having set my mind ablaze, we caught a cab and climbed into the backseat, where she intentionally sat in the middle, close beside me. Under normal circumstances, that should have surprised me, yet with her warm personality, it felt natural… and most delightful. I wanted to take her hand, yet I didn’t wish to push my luck.

It was only a ten-minute ride before we arrived. Without hesitating, Julie paid the fare with a generous tip. Her place felt vaguely familiar… as if I had been here before, except I hadn’t. After we walked in, she introduced me as Dr Phillips to a young man in the kitchen making a sandwich.

‘And this is Anthony, one of my roommates.’ 

‘Pleased to meet you, Anthony, and if you would, please call me James.’

I wasn’t sure if he was just a roommate, I suppose; however, she wouldn’t be bringing stray men like me into her bedroom if he was anything more.

‘Excuse us, Tony; I’m taking James to my bedroom,’ Julie said, smiling mischievously.’

‘By all means,’ he said as he winked at me. ‘Enjoy your time… I won’t disturb you.’

I smiled wryly, not sure how to respond since I had no idea what this spirited young woman would do next. At every turn, she seemed to enjoy catching me off guard, although I liked the direction we were going.

As we went upstairs and entered her room, it too felt strangely familiar, as if I had been here before, as it seemed when I entered her house.

‘This is a cosy bedroom… has a warm, welcoming feeling. So what’s this,’ I asked, pointing to a poster taped to the wall; why have you written MXY 23LZ=YZ4 01 in large letters with bright-coloured markers?’

‘Oh, that… it’s just an equation I found.’

‘I can see it’s an equation, but what does it mean?’

‘All I know is we used it to jolt you out of your coma. You wouldn’t be standing here without it; I bet you didn’t  know that.’

‘No, I bet I didn’t,’ I laughed. Seriously though, what does it represent?’

‘I think it has something to do with light frequencies. Somehow, the scientists configured its code into a laser beam, then directed it point-blank at your pineal gland to reboot your brain’s synapsis.

I don’t understand all the technicalities; nevertheless, I was told that by stimulating the DNA receptors with powerful photons, every cell in your body was able to respond to the higher frequencies, kind of like a tuning fork. Supposedly, there’s nothing else like it in this world.’

‘Really, Julie? Your story just keeps getting better all the time.’

‘It’s not my story, James; it’s your story.’

‘You're right; I apologise for being dismissive. I’m sure there must be some truth to this. Come to think of it, I remember one of the surgeons who administered the laser treatment saying something along these lines. Still, I had no idea you had anything to do with it. If so, that’s astonishing.’

‘There is so much more intrigue surrounding this equation that I’m not sure if even I know half the story.’

‘Well, if true, it sounds like you might have saved my life.’

‘Isn’t that what nurses do? Still, I was only a messenger. Some very brilliant scientists and doctors were involved in deciphering its light code.’

‘Yes, but where did you come across this? Didn’t you say you found it?’

‘Or perhaps it found me,’ she smiled.

‘Okay, that’s jolly, but how would it do that?’ I asked’

‘You wouldn’t believe me if I told you the story, James, so I won’t. At least not yet. I think we first need to get to know each other better. So, how do you like my bedroom?’

‘It’s a strange feeling… like I’ve been here before.’

‘I wouldn’t doubt it,’ she smiled.

‘Ah, if only,’ I grinned, enjoying our flirtations.

‘So, James,’ she asked, looking about as come hither, sexy and sultry as a man could ever hope, ‘do you want to play hide and seek?’

It might have been my imagination, but I thought a couple of top buttons on her blouse had become undone. She seemed to be enjoying herself too much; likely, she was setting me up to amuse herself in this little game.

‘I don’t know what you’re thinking, James, but close your eyes and keep them closed until you count to ten, very slowly, then see if you can find me. If you do, I have a big surprise for you,’ she laughed. ‘Are you ready?’ 

What was this coquettish minx up to? Was she coming on to me? I had no idea, though I could hardly wait to find out.

I closed my eyes obediently, trying to hear where she went as I counted. It sounded like she might have gone into her clothes closet. So, what kind of kinky sport would this turn into? She seemed so playful and full of mischief that nothing would surprise me.

After I finished counting, I looked around and opened the closet door, where I was surprised to find a sizeable dormer room walk-in closet.

‘Come and find me, she said from behind a row of hanging clothes.

As I spread out her hanging clothes to walk between them, I found her grinning at me in front of several piles of books stacked almost to the ceiling with more boxes I presumed contained even more books. 

‘Julie, where did you get all these? There must be hundreds of books here; are these all yours?’

‘I stole them for you because I know how much you like read. So take whatever you want; I don’t know when I’ll have time to read them all. Yet, they seem to be the kind you would enjoy.’

‘I picked up one lying on top of a pile. You’re right; I’ve even read this book… and this one, and this one... Julie, these are all my books!’

‘Oh really, so then why not just keep them?’ she giggled. 

I laughed. ‘You sure are full of surprises; that’s not what I expected.’

‘Oh. So what were you expecting to see?’ she asked demurely.

Just then, Tony walked inside the closet to join us.

‘That was a helluva lot of books, James. We had to borrow a friend’s lorry to move them from your flat before your landlord threw them out. He was more than happy to get rid of them.

‘By then, everything else was gone in your flat except some of your files and papers dumped on the floor. We saved these in one of the boxes, including your doctoral certificate. Everything else was thrown out or donated to a thrift shop.’

‘I’m delighted you did this for me – thank you. I was distressed last year when I found all my earthly possessions were gone, yet nothing upset me more than seeing my books had disappeared.

‘The only problem now is, I have no place to put them until I find another flat. My old one has been relet, not that I would want to go back there again. Since returning from Switzerland last week, I’ve been staying at a, how shall I say… cost-efficient hotel.’

‘If it’s okay with Julie,’ Tony said, ‘why not stay here until you find a more permanent place to live? From what I understand, you took a rather big hit a couple of years ago, so you might need a little more time to get back on your feet. We’ll have a spare bedroom when Karen, our other roommate, moves out next week.’

‘What do you think, Julie? Would that be okay with you?’

‘I’m sure we can negotiate something, she said in a feigned business demeanour. Do you have a job, references… anything?’  

‘No, I’m sorry, I don’t, at least not at the moment. As you know, I’ve been laid off for some time, so I only have enough money for another week or so. I don’t even have a credit card. I must say, life has become rather challenging as of late.’

‘Don’t worry,’ Tony said, ‘we’ll take you in, won’t we, Julie? You can pay us after you earn some money.’

‘How could I say no to the best patient I ever had,’ Julie laughed. ‘So compliant, never complaining, always taking his intravenous…’

‘I’m sure he won’t cause us any problems,’ Tony laughed. ‘Considering all these books he has to read, he’d probably be quiet enough.’

 ‘Hopefully, he won’t be reading them in my closet at night… unless he’s a closet reader,’ she snickered.

‘Thank you,’ I said. ‘I would be happy to accept your generous offer. After your roommate, Karen, moves out, I’ll stay temporarily and pay my share as soon as I return to teaching at King’s next month. I hope to be reinstated to my part-time sessional position this next semester. If not, I can do bartending again until I get things sorted out there. Either way, I’ll soon have enough saved to find my own flat.’

‘Unless you wish to remain here,’ Julie said. ‘That way, you won’t have to move your books, and it will be far cheaper to live since we split the rent three ways and share the living expenses.’

 

CHAPTER FIVE

 

PLEASED TO MEET YOU

 

 

The next few weeks were a time of transition while setting the course of my new life in London.

A few days later, Karen moved out, and I moved in. It was good to remove myself from the old hotel and its dubious evening clientele and settle into Julie’s home, where I could share the kitchen and cosy living area with Jule and Tony.

My next challenge was to recover my suitcase and belongings from Kiko. I dreaded contacting her, anticipating she might have, in spite, thrown everything away after having jilted her, not that she would have seen it that way.

Nevertheless, she made it easy for me. After texting her to let her know I planned to pick up my clothing that evening, she replied I could come by anytime since she had no use for them.

When I arrived, I found my suitcase and a few other items on the doorstep of her townhouse. I rang her doorbell, thinking, out of courtesy, I would like to thank her and ask how she was doing. Apparently not; most evidently, she had no interest in seeing me again.

I don’t know if she was still angry or just happy to be rid of me, knowing I wouldn’t be interfering with her studies, as she said, or whatever other affairs she might have going on here. Fortunately, Tony had a small car and was kind enough to offer to take me so I wouldn’t have to lug everything back on the Tube and bus.

My next order of business was to formalise my employment status at the university. I earned my colleagues' respect long ago, having achieved a reputation for my lectures and dialogues with the students.

Not surprisingly, my contract would remain a part-time sessional, meaning my wages would be no better than before; in fact, they would be less since I had fewer classes. But for now, while living at Julie’s, that would be more than enough.

Over the following weeks, we had many animated discussions in the living area about life, philosophy, psychology and everything that interested us. That’s not to say we didn’t have many trite things to talk and joke about; we did; still, that wasn’t our focus. However, when classes resumed, we seldom saw each other during the day, with her studying at university and me lecturing again.

I would have liked to have bonded with her more while living in the same house, yet I thought it might be best if I rented a flat as soon as I got further ahead. I might try to find a bartending position somewhere near campus since I had done that at the King’s Arms pub as an undergraduate.

Though I was comfortable with my living arrangements there, one of the reasons I thought I needed to move on was the Freddie factor. It was apparent I wasn’t the only player in the game.

For whatever reason, Julie hadn’t told me about Freddie, but after he dropped by one day to see her, I later found out from Toney they had a long-on-and-off again relationship. Since I didn’t wish to complicate things for them, or, for that matter, myself, I backed away from making whatever overtures I might otherwise have made towards her.

The first time I met him, he walked in the door without knocking, expecting Julie to be home. Instead, he found me in the living area, preparing lesson plans for my upcoming classes.

‘Dr Phillips, what are you doing here?’

‘I live here; who are you?’

‘Ah, this is awkward. I’m Frederick, Julie’s friend. Sorry for the intrusion; I was expecting her to be home.

‘Pleased to meet you, Frederick. But how did you know my name?’

‘We all knew you at the hospital. You’re quite the legend there, and I must say you’re looking much better than when I last saw you over a year ago.’

‘Thank you; much has changed in my life since then.’

‘I heard Karen was moving out, he said. ‘So you’re Julie’s new roommate… interesting.’

‘Yes, having just returned from living in Europe, I’m here temporarily until I can make arrangements to find a flat. So, do you work at the hospital, Frederick?’

‘Yes, I’m a doctor there and do some teaching and medical research at St George’s.’

‘So, Dr Phillips, how did you meet Julie?’

‘Please, if you will… James. I just happened to be walking along the Thames and sat on a park bench where Julie was sitting alone, studying a book for class. That’s when she recognised me since she was one of my nurses. I only saw her once before, and that was while on my drug nirvana after coming out of the coma, so she appeared only vaguely familiar.

‘As it turned out, she had stashed my books away in her closet, so I came over, and that’s when she and Tony invited me to stay with them. So here I am, at least for now.’

‘Well, I’m pleased it all worked out,’ he said.

‘By the way, you might be interested in knowing I might have had a small role in the new laser technology used to bring you out of your coma.’

‘Really? I’d be interested in hearing more about what was behind that. Julie said it was based on an equation configured with a special light frequency. She also suggested there was some curious intrigue behind it that she thought I would be too sceptical to believe. So she didn’t tell me.’

‘She’s right about that, and I was just as sceptical. However, upon Julie’s insistence, I mentioned the equation to Dr Leonard Levinsky, a respected scientist and friend.

‘After putting it out there, to our surprise, some physicists in the scientific community were interested in its code, possibly because no one knew where the equation came from or who devised it.

‘Since it seemed there might be something to it, word spread online until a young Swedish mathematician and physicist got hold of it and then attempted to decipher what seemed a hidden photon frequency.

‘Then, when its harmonic resonances were configured, it was adapted for a micro-current laser. And that’s where you came in.

‘Since you were well on your way out, this was our Hail Mary to you and science. But here you are; you caught the ball and took it the distance. I was shocked and amazed yet pleased I had a small role in this breakthrough.

‘I’m not a New Age type like Julie seems to have become with all her angel cards, crystals and hypnosis. However, I had a couple of dreams that seemed to indicate the equation’s LY and YZ represented light and sound. Lenard said this might be a tip-off from the universe to help decode the equation.

‘Interestingly, Leonard, with all his impressive scientific credentials, has a deep appreciation for some of the more esoteric wisdom in his faith’s Hassidic Kabbala tradition. That might be why he took me seriously when I reluctantly told him about these dreams, which is why he now calls me Joseph.[13]

‘Though he didn’t understand what these might mean, he felt they had symbolical relevance to the equation with an implicit harmony.

‘Before I approached him, I was a bit concerned about being compromised by something so off the wall. Had Julie not pressured me to tell him, I probably wouldn’t have said anything since it didn’t sound credible, particularly after she told me where she got this.’

‘Most intriguing, Frederick. I’d love to hear more since Julie wouldn’t tell me more.’

‘That’s not surprising; it took me, too, some coaxing to get it out of her.’

‘I’d like to hear more, so let me get us a couple of pints, and you can tell me what you know and why you thought this might be compromising.’

‘Sure, thanks, and call me Fred; it’s less formal and how most address me, except Julie, who prefers Freddie. I guess she finds that more endearing,’ he chuckled.

‘Anyway, cheers!’ he said, clinking glasses. So, if you’re ready, hang on; this gets really weird.’

‘Apparently, Julie came home late one night from the pub with her friend, Bridgette. After Julie paid the fare, the cabbie gave her his card after scribbling something on the back. It was very late, so Julie didn’t bother to look at it, assuming he gave her his mobile number so she could hook up with him for drinks sometime. After all, they had a most fascinating, if not provocative, paranormal conversation on the way home.

‘It seemed the driver was from Jamaica, and since Julie seems to have a thing for black men with foreign accents, like her janitor friend at the hospital, she suspected she might have unintentionally sent him some wrong signals. In any case, Julie found his card in her purse the next day and was about to chuck it out when she noticed the equation scribbled on the back.

‘You mean our infamous equation?’ I exclaimed, looking at Fred with a you’ve got to be kidding expression.

‘Yeah, bonkers, for sure,’ he said. ‘Except it’s the same equation we used to raise you from the dead. Yet the story doesn’t end there. Julianne may still have thrown it out, but noticed he had written something else below the equation.’

‘And….’

‘You won’t believe this, James. It was your hospital room number.’

‘That’s freaking amazing. Are you sure?’

‘Julie showed me the card. And, if you asked nicely, she might let you see it too.’

‘But why didn’t she tell me?’

‘I guess she didn’t think you were ready to hear this. She knows that you, being a modern philosopher, are probably just as reductionist as me, being a scientist. So, who better to hear this story from than another cement head, as she sometimes calls me.’

‘So what’s going on here, Fred? What you’re saying seems even further out than Julie.’

‘Possibly, yet after this incident, I wonder if she’s not right about some of her out-thereness; just don’t tell anyone I said so,’ he laughed. ‘I have ambitious plans for my career.’

‘I know what you mean; she’s come up with some rather strange claims of what I supposedly told her in a dream. Although, some of this is hard to refute after examining the evidence.

‘Such as what?’

‘Well, just after I came out of my coma, I said some things to her that I shouldn’t have known about… yet she knew and had even written down as proof. Spooky things happening, Fred,’ I laughed.

I didn’t say anything about what Julie said about us exchanging poems while I remained in a coma. I didn’t want Fred to suspect something might be going on between her and me, even though it wasn’t that I knew of.

‘So what else can you tell me about what happened with the equation?’ I asked.

‘From what Lenny told me, Anders, the young Swede genius deciphering the equation, couldn’t make the big breakthrough where it all came together. Just as he was about to give up, the most surreal thing happened after he caught a taxi to MIT from his hotel. That’s when everything changed for him.

‘Amazingly, the driver had some critical information the mathematician was missing. So, by the time he got to his destination, he had received enough clues to figure things out. 

For one, the equation’s matrix is implicitly quantum, whereas he had been applying algorithmic assumptions that didn’t provide for superpositions of non-locality. The big clue was Planck’s Constant. That gave him a whole new template to work with, and within a short while, he had cracked the code for a frequency the laser scientists could adapt.’

‘Okay, let’s back up. Just who was this driver? He sounds much like Julie’s cabby friend.’

‘He certainly does, and you know what else? Apparently, he too was from the Caribbean and about the same age.’

‘Another jolly coincidence, I would say. Can it get any more peculiar than that?’

‘As a matter of fact, it does. When Julie saw the equation and your room number together, she knew something was up and had to get to the bottom of the strange confluence. Finally, after some effort, she ran into her cabbie busking as an opera singer near Trafalgar Square.’

‘What the hell?’

Fred laughed. ‘Isn’t that bizarre? So they went for a tea nearby and talked about the equation and you. He claimed to be an old friend of yours, I believe a sailing buddy.’

‘A sailing friend of mine? I have none, at least not since I was a merchant sailor long before attending university. I would find it extraordinary he could have known that.’

‘Anyway, he didn’t tell her why he linked your room number with the equation. It almost seems like it was a game to him. Or possibly, he wanted her to figure it out for herself, knowing that would really draw her into his scheme once she made the connection.’

‘That was clever. So what happened next?’

‘He snuck out the backdoor, not to be seen again.’

‘That’s it?’          

‘Not quite. Before Julie got home, he had came by the house and gave Karen a note he had written to her.’

‘So what did it say?’

You’ll have to ask Julie; she didn’t tell me, saying it was private and wouldn’t make sense to the rest of us.’

‘I think I need another pint, Fred. What are we supposed to make of all this? Did this cabbie ever give her his name?’

‘Yes, he told her it was Rhom.’

‘A rather strange name, I would say, but then, everything else about him seems out of this world.’

‘Stranger yet, that’s what he suggested to her… like he’s some alien off-worlder. But who cares if he likes to mess with her mind; without him, you never would have returned; you would be long dead and gone. So what do you say to that?’

‘If this hadn’t come from you, I doubt if I would have believed any of this from Julie. However, since you’re a scientist, this story at least appears more credible coming from you than her. She was right not to tell me. To her credit, she seems to have an underlying intuition for what we don’t get.’

‘I should be going now,’ Fred said, ‘since it appears Julie isn’t coming any time soon. She’s terrible at returning text messages.’

‘Thanks for cluing me in, Fred... until next time.’

As I thought about it, I suspected this time with Fred was a set-up, not by him, but by Julie. She texted him to come by, yet never said when. When he asked how late, she didn’t respond. So, it seems the plan was for us to meet where things would unfold as they did.

As she probably contrived, Fred would make her story seem more objective and believable so she wouldn’t have to put up with my scepticism. Clever, Julie! So now I had more questions than ever, such as where the equation originated and how this eccentric cabbie, sometimes opera busker, got hold of it.

Further, how did he know about me and my hospital room number, and did I actually sail with him at one time? So then, when and where? Was it one of the merchant ships I sailed on the Mediterranean over a decade and a half ago? Not likely.

Another thing: What was it about this equation that made me feel like a new man? Could anyone explain that? I now had the vitality of a twenty-year-old and the sexual stamina of a stallion, and my recovery was almost immediate. Even my fractured neck had completely healed within days of awakening.

I was still thinking about these questions when Julie finally arrived home.

‘Did Freddie come by?’ she asked.

‘He did, and we had a splendid time getting to know each other. Since he knew about the strange drama surrounding the equation, I was fascinated to hear what he had to say. And yet, his bizarre account raises far more questions than answers.’

‘Well, at least you got the facts from him rather than me. Perhaps you will now believe me when I tell you all the extraordinary things that have happened to me since you came along.’

‘Sure, at least I now understand what made you so persistent as to chase after an elusive cabbie and his equation that made no sense except it tied in with your room number. Hopefully, you’ll fill me in some of the other blanks; I’d love to write an article about this someday to tell the world how I was supposedly raised to life.’

‘I hope you do. Then, you should name it Lazarus 2.0.’

Splendid idea; now let’s catch a bus and find an affordable restaurant where I will treat us to dinner.’

‘No, James, I don’t do buses anymore; now I take taxis to where I wish to go.’

Not only did Julie pay for the fare there and back, but she insisted on paying for our dinner, too. That was a bit humbling. Still, without my first paycheck, I had little cash left, so I wasn’t about to argue.

It was our first outing together, so she chose her favourite Italian restaurant, which was charming, if not romantic, perhaps too much so considering Fred’s tenuous relationship with her. I was concerned about treading where I shouldn’t be. And yet Julie gave no indication she belonged to him or anyone else. In her mind, it seemed whatever they had going before she left for Australia was now over.

When I brought up the subject of their relationship, she assured me they were just friends and nothing more; he could date whoever he wanted, and she would do the same. Besides, he was considering moving to America as soon as he could land a lucrative research position in biophysics.

After the meal, Julie asked, ‘Are you still considering moving out in a few months?’

‘Well, I was concerned about your relationship with Frederich.’

‘Let me assure you, if you thought staying with me would be a conflict because of Freddie, it wouldn’t. As I said, we’re just friends, so I hope you will consider changing your mind and remain as long as you like. I don’t know, possibly it’s because we spent so much time together at the hospital, but I rather enjoy having you around again,’ she laughed.

‘So then, you must trust me. You know, in the past, I didn’t have the best reputation with women… I’m sure you’ve heard all about that.’

‘What’s past is past; it’s only the future I’m interested in. But in case you didn’t know,’ she smirked, ‘I have a jujitsu black belt.’

‘Duly noted,’ I said. ‘So Julie, dear, I don’t know if it’s the wine or the candlelight; nevertheless, allow me to be so bold as to ask if you think we could have something going in the future. I’m sure you realise that as an untenured philosopher, I have little to offer.’

‘Thanks for asking, James, but let’s not get ahead of yourselves; we should concentrate on being dispassionate roommates while we get to know each other.’

‘Yes, of course, that is wise. I’ll let you know if I plan to move out as soon as I pay my arrears.’

‘Don’t worry about it, James; I have everything covered, although probably not as much as your friend Kiko. Still, I have more than enough to carry us both,’ she smiled.

The next day, being a Saturday, I went for another long walk along the Thames. Tony was out, and Julie planned to be at the library researching a paper she was preparing for one of her psychology classes. 

After walking a few miles, I sat at the same park bench where we met that fortuitous day. I remembered how, through her tears, she recognised me. I know we sensed the same magic; still, neither was willing to admit it, at least not yet.

Also, I thought about our dinner conversation last night and how Julie made it clear that Fred would not be a problem if I wished to remain a roommate, and we became close friends. I didn’t know if this signalled her interest in taking our relationship to the next level since her choice of a romantic restaurant left me with that impression. It seemed most promising, although she slightly rebuffed me when I asked if she saw me in her future. Nevetheless, she handled it with grace and common sense.

For now, I wouldn’t make any overtures to her; instead, I would remain her friendly roommate, although I might find it hard to stay out of her bedroom while lying awake at night, longing to snuggle in with her. Though there was a physical attraction, there was something significantly more that felt like an inward connection.

The only one I had experienced such emotions with was Sister Máire long ago in my first year of undergraduate studies. I smiled when I thought of how I fell in love with this young novitiate (noviciate) nun, trying to seduce her all those years ago. Whatever Máire had, Julie had too, only without the grim habit.

The following week, I received my first paycheck and couldn’t wait to take care of my portion of rent and hydro, which was far less than living in the flat I had before. In fact, just a third. It was a good feeling to pay my way and not be beholden to anyone. I didn’t realise what stress this had caused me when with Kiko, feeling as if I couldn’t make it on my own.

This time, I took Julie out to celebrate, paying the taxi faire and the dinner tab. The dinner at an East Indian buffet was less expensive and the atmosphere more austere, and yet we had a stimulating conversation where she filled in some of my questions on Fred’s saga of the equation.

‘Freddie couldn’t have told you all what Rhom told me in the diner where he was busking,’ she said, ‘because I didn’t tell him, nor could he have told you what was in the letter he sent me before I got home.’

‘So, are you going to tell me?’

‘I might, but not all. Some things were personal; still, I can read you the poem. I keep it in my purse because it inspires me.’    

‘I’d love to hear it, if I may.’

‘Sure, okay. So here it is. It’s called. THE ELIXIR. You can read it for yourself.’

 

Awaken, my child.
You know the ancient song.

Sing it now.
Sing it as a poem, sing it as a prayer,
… sing it in a whisper,
But always… sing it in love.
   For Love is all that is.
Nothing more is required,
   And so it remains.

 

‘That’s rather different,’ I said after reading it. ‘So what does it mean, and why is it entitled The Elixir?’

‘I’m not sure; possibly he meant the ancient song is the elixir, or he meant the equation, possibly both. I never saw him again to explain it to me. I suspect, however, the ancient song has something to do with a universal frequency – a frequency, seemingly, of love.’

‘Frequency of love. I’ve never heard of such a thing.’

‘Why not? Love must be the highest frequency in the universe upon which all truth derives because God is love. I realise you don’t believe in God, or at least don’t think you do; nevertheless, this poem caused me to do as it asked. And so I sought out the song with what seemed the highest vibration for me.’

‘So what doesn’t this have to do with the equation?’

‘Though I’m not certain, it might have served as the carrier wave for the equation’s light code. In fact, I talked to Freddy’s friend, Leonard, about this, and he suggested that light and sound were required to release its harmonics. Without this, all else would only be dissonance. Beyond that, I don’t understand much about this science.

‘In any case, I felt compelled to sing the melody of Ave Marie with my own words interpolated as the laser surgery was being conducted. Because of Rhom’s poem, I sang it silently within my heart, projecting my highest frequency of love towards your body during the laser treatment. I think that’s why he wanted me to offer it as a heartfelt prayer for the light to be carried with maximum vibratory import.

‘At the time, I wasn’t sure if it helped, although Leonard seemed to think a merging of frequencies might have occurred. Since he understands the mechanics of sound, among many other things, he has some unique insights into this, saying the melody I projected in love was a most rarified and exquisite sound.

‘And what does Fred think about this theory?’

‘Though I’ve never asked him, he told me before your laser surgery that he had a couple of peculiar dreams that featured the equation’s LZ as light and YZ as sound, causing water portals to burst open through a wall in a desert. Then, the land came alive, yielding crops and gardens. Fred suggested to me that in his dream, the water might have symbolised consciousness and the desert unconsciousness.’

‘Again, I don’t know the physics of all this. It seems quantum scientists have a better idea; I’m just happy to have had this role in your brain’s reactivation.’

‘Your story is fascinating, Julie, if not intriguing. But you know something? Now that you mentioned it, I recall hearing Ave Maria being sung just before I awakened. I might have already been semi-conscious, so I wonder if that was your loving projection of it that sang to my mind. I would not have thought anything like this possible.’ 

‘Again, my dear Horatio, let me remind you what we recently discussed. There are more things in heaven and earth… than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Sound familiar?’

‘Yes, my dear Hamlet, that’s becoming increasingly evident the more I’m with you,’ I laughed. Sometimes, the old parameters of my philosophy feel too constraining, making me want to kick the walls out further. My teaching of epistemology, cosmology, ontology, and reductionist positivism may never be quite the same. I don’t know if it was the coma or you to blame for  altering my mind to view things differently.’

‘Or maybe you’re just beginning to dream bigger dreams to see more things in heaven and earth.’

‘Yes, it seems my world is expanding, at least since I met you… you’re dangerous!’

‘Aren’t all women, at least from the male perspective? As I’m sure you’re aware, psychological studies show how women, being right-brain oriented, are more intuitive. Men, being left-brain oriented, tend to be more analytical and linear in their thinking. Is that not why we need each other to see things more holistically? If that’s how we were created, it’s important to affirm our differences to achieve a greater union of heart-feminine and mind-masculine.’

‘That’s an interesting thought. By the way, Julie, I’m enjoying our conversation. I hope we can have more of these enlightened discussions in the future, you from your psychological perspective and me from my philosophical understanding.’

‘I look forward to it, James.’

A most encouraging comment, I thought as I paid the bill. More encouraging still was how she snuggled up to me in the back seat of the taxi on the way home. I held my hand over where she placed hers on my knee. And yes, it felt good… body, soul and mind. Things were going my way, at least for now.

 

CHAPTER SIX

 

MY OL’ FRIEND MIGUEL

 

The first day back at university felt like a hero’s welcome. Those students who didn’t know about my accident over two years ago soon heard the news heralded to one and all on campus. Not just that I survived the fall in Chili, but that I had survived almost a year in a coma and still had my marbles.

Some of the more informed students heard I had spent most of the last year in Switzerland with an exotic Asian billionairess, a former student on campus who was now enrolled at LSE. Some knew of Kiko and how that stay might have made for a rather interesting, if not stimulating, retreat.

The students in my classes wanted to know more about what happened on my ill-fated mountain climbing expedition and how I was rescued and able to survive my coma for all that time. And so I willingly obliged the students by turning my situation into a hypothetical philosophical discussion as to whether any thoughts can be experienced while comatose when it appears nothing is happening.  Can we dream or have any conscious existence in such a state?

Then we discussed medical ethics and when it’s appropriate to pull the plug on someone like me. It was a great way to kick off my return and the new semester.

I had already met with my colleagues the week before at a faculty meeting to discuss the curriculum and how to be more relevant to new students. There was a push for higher enrollment in our department since there was some attrition, resulting in fewer classes. Of course, this was most relevant to those not tenured, including sessionals such as me, since our job depended on attracting new students in the undergraduate and graduate programmes.

The situation concerned me, considering I was at the bottom of the tenure totem pole, looking for a way to shimmy my way up. Later, I went for a coffee near the campus with a colleague who, like me, was a sessional instructor when not attending classes to complete his doctorate.

Luc was a French Canadian who had enrolled at King’s after graduating at McGill in Montreal with a Master’s Degree in Eastern Religious Studies in the Faculty of Religion and Theology. Like me, he was looking for a way to break into the system where he would hopefully become tenured one day.

If not, his default position was to return to Canada, where he could find a lectureship, possibly at some college, to work his way up from there. In that sense, we were in similar positions, except he had an employed wife to help support him.

I first met Luc St Pierre at a symposium of comparative religions featuring scholars that presented various mystical traditions through the ages, including Vedantic Buddhist, Persian Sufism, Jewish Hisetic, Gnosticism and a variety of Christian mystics such as Jacob Boem, Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila and Saint Francis.

Most philosophers in my department, being oriented to the reductionist-atheist perspectives of Bertrand Russel and AJ Ayer, couldn’t be bothered to attend this confluence of religious scholarship. After meeting Luc and his open-minded attitude, I was curious enough to step out of my old prejudices to hear what these speakers had to say.

Luc was a perfect cohort for discussing these esoteric traditions since he had taught certain Eastern religion classes. Not just that, but before enrolling in undergraduate studies, he spent a few years as a free spirit drifter, living in various ashrams in the Middle East and northern India, including Tibet. 

‘I, on the other hand, had little exposure to mysticism, although I recalled how my late friend Dr Jan Merta encouraged me to delve into these and other writings while in my graduate studies at the University of Calgary in Canada. Somehow, I didn’t get around to it. Now, realising how little I knew, I wished I had.

  ‘Tell me, James,’ Luc asked, ‘what it was like to emerge from your coma, and was there anything you consider mystical about the experience, or was it more like waking out of a deep sleep? Don’t be afraid; you can tell me… I won’t say anything,’ he smiled.

‘I’m glad to hear that because I haven't said much about this to anyone apart from Julie, my girlfriend or hopefully, soon-to-be girlfriend. Of course, I don’t know how much I just imagined with the assistance of morphine, but it was one bloody hell of a mind trip, even better than I had while doing hallucinogenics as an undergraduate student. Interestingly, much of it came to me a few weeks after I awoke, sometimes in dream fragments, so there’s not much I can say that would make sense to you.’

‘Still, can you describe how it felt?’

‘If anything, I’d say it was surreal, as if I was out of my body, floating in space. If I go back further in my impressions, I can sense being deep in an ocean vortex of darkness that emerged into a realm of light where there was nothing except my thoughts, not even a body.’

‘Did that frighten you, to be nowhere, yet conscious?’

‘To the contrary, all I remember was a state of what mystics might call nirvana. I can’t remember much more, except I thought I heard someone singing a melody that sounded much like Ave Maria. Interestingly, Julie said she sang that to herself in the operating room where she was assisting as a nurse.’

‘No doubt about it; the melody has a very high vibe,’ Luc said. ‘So, do you think its frequency somehow bled through to you, which is why she was singing this to herself? But how would she know she should do that?

‘Who knows? – it’s complicated. You would have to ask Julie, all I can tell you is that some taxi driver wrote her a poem suggesting she do something like this. I even saw the verses where it talked about an ancient song she was to sing. As I recall, the words were: Sing it as a poem, sing it as a prayer, sing as a whisper, but always sing it in love.’

‘This is getting weird, James. I love it!’

‘One more thing; just as I woke from the coma, I shouted at Julie with just one word: YOU!’

‘That’s odd; why would you do that?’

‘All I can say is that I’ve had a few flashbacks of being pushed off a cliff into the ocean this last year. And yet, how could I have dreamt that in a coma unless it’s possible to dream while in a coma?’  

‘I’m finding this a bit overwhelming, James. Nevertheless, who is this taxi driver with the poem?’

‘I don’t think I should say more because things keep getting even more bizarre.’

‘No, I want to hear it all… I like bizarre. I’ve seen some extraordinary things while wandering through the Middle East, in and out of ashrams. Maybe you can fill me in more next time; for now, though, I’ve got to pick Katheen up at work.

‘By the way, James, would you be willing to speak to my Eastern Mystic class about what you told me about while coming out of your coma? I think they might find this fascinating.’

‘Why not? If they’re enrolled in a class like yours, they don’t sound like the kind of crowd that would ridicule me. I’m not sure I could say the same for my colleagues, who are far too narrow to share my story.’

After my time with Luc, I was about to take the Tube back to my roommates when I decided to take a long walk through the streets of Central London and find a place to eat. I had plenty of energy and wanted to soak in more of the ambience of London, not to mention some of the drizzle in the air.

Midway, I stopped at Café Lido, a busy diner near Trafalgar Square, not realising this was where Rhom and Julie met when he was busking on the street corner that day. I sat down for a simple order of British-style fish and chips, an old favourite I hadn’t had for a long while.

As I was having my meal, it felt like someone was staring at me. However, I didn’t bother to turn around since I was preoccupied with eating. After finishing, I got up to pay my bill and looked to see if someone at the back in the corner was watching me. And there he was, grinning; my old astrophysicist friend, who went AWAL over ten years ago, except he hadn’t aged, looking identical if not younger than back then.

‘I can’t believe it!’ I said. ‘What in bloody hell are you doing here, Miguel?’

‘Great fish and chips, eh, mate?

‘No, I mean back in London. After all these years, I had given up on ever seeing you again. So, what have you been up to?’

‘Besides keeping an eye on the galaxies, I did a little sailing with a friend to a few islands in the South Pacific.[14] So how about you, Sebastian?’

‘Sebastian? No one has called me that since I saw you last, well over ten years ago.’

‘Really, has it been that long? I thought it was more recent, say a couple of years ago.’

‘Well, anyway, I was in a coma for almost a year, then spent most of last year in Switzerland.’

‘Yes, I know all about your fall – glad you found your way back to this plane of existence. You still have some work to do here.’

‘Also, congratulations on graduating with your doctorate in philosophy several years back. I knew you could do it. So, now that you’ve returned, what do you plan to do with the rest of your life?’

‘Well, I’m lecturing at King's, hoping to get tenured there someday to secure my career as a philosopher.’

‘I think you can do better than that, Sebastian.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘I’m sure you’ll find out soon enough. Hang on; things are about to get crazy for you and will remain that way for some time.’

‘How do you know that?’

‘It’s in the stars, and if anyone knows the stars, I do,’ he chuckled.

‘Okay, fine; so why are you here in London? I assumed you had returned to Portugal. Or are you trying to get your job back at Reading as an astrophysicist? If so, I don’t think that’s going to happen, having abruptly disappeared last time. They said you didn’t even give notice.

I’m sure they have gotten over it by now; meanwhile, we have work to do before the world gets even crazier.

‘What kind of work?’

‘You won’t know until you are ready.’

‘What kind of answer is that? Nothing has changed with you; you look just the same and talk in riddles. I’m never sure what to think.

‘You mean even after all those years of studying philosophy, you still don’t know what to think?’

‘To be honest, less now than ever. So what do the stars say will happen? I thought you were an astronomer, not an astrologist.’

‘Either way, it will soon be exposed for all to see.’

‘What’s going to be exposed?’

‘This planet is about to go through a significant cleansing, but first, evil must be brought to light.’

‘The masses are about to go hysterical, fearing a sickness easily cured with a few easy solutions that have been available for decades. The deep state, which controls many of the world’s governments, pharmaceutic companies, world agencies, NGOs, media and various tech conglomerates, will all conspire and collude to silence the masses enervated by fear. That’s how they get all their money and power, eating the souls of humanity.

‘Because of the current low ebb of human consciousness, the masses will do whatever they’re told until they come to regret their compliance after learning how they were duped by the evil and corruption that will soon be exposed.

‘Every demon in hell has been waiting centuries for this, though few on earth will see the portals of the netherworld open. Only those with eyes will realise what is unfolding.’

‘I don’t know where you get this, Miguel. It all sounds rather apocalyptic, so why should I believe you?’

‘Because I told you.’

‘Okay, but do you have any objective proof this will befall us?’

‘Nothing is inevitable; it depends on humanity raising its consciousness to become aware of the world’s trajectory of events. Nevertheless, the goal of the dark forces is to depopulate the earth to about five hundred million, less than ten per cent of its current population. These enemies are not just of your world; they include certain nefarious galactic powers who wish to take over this planet's resources with little resistance.’

‘That sounds like one of those conspiracy theories that are floating about. I put little stock in any of them.’

‘James, have you heard of the Georgia Guidstones?’

‘No, I haven’t; what’s that about?’

‘You might want to check them out; they were erected anonymously by the deep state in Georgia, USA, in 1980, almost forty years ago.’

‘If you want something concrete, it’s all there to see, etched in stone.’

‘What’s there?

‘Their agenda, including their declaration to depopulate the world.

‘So why haven’t I heard about this?

‘Like almost everyone else, you haven’t been paying attention. Evil declares itself first and what it intends to do, yet no one seems to notice, least of all, the corrupt media bought and paid for by the dark forces of the deep state.’

‘I don’t know, Miguel; I’ll check into these Guidestones, although I’m sure it’s nothing more than someone’s vision for an ideal world they consider overpopulated.’

‘Speaking of an ideal world,’ Migue said, ‘I understand you now have a lassie in your life.’

‘It’s a little early to say; still, I hope that might soon be the case. I like her a lot even though she pesters me to practise her hypnotic regression therapy for one of her psychology classes.’

‘Then I recommend you go along with what she is offering.’

‘But why? Over some dreams, she seems to think I had while in my coma.’

‘Yes, for that reason and a whole lot more.’

‘I don’t believe in that sort of thing… sounds preposterous. People always make things up.’

‘I’ll bet they do. Especially you.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Have you looked in your computer files at work?’

‘No, I’ve been meaning to go through these; I have over two years of emails I need to delete, but first, I want to find if there’s anything of significance. Why do you ask?’

‘I predict you might find a message of considerable interest to you. Then, note whose email address is on it.’

‘How do you know about this… unless it’s from you?’

‘Just look in your files, and then we can talk.’

Later, we parted the diner as he went his way, and I went mine. I left with plenty to think about as I walked home. Miguel was always an enigma, and that hadn’t changed, even more so now.

When I returned home, Julie was reading a book in our living area while Tony was upstairs in his room. I could hardly wait to tell her who I met at the diner and what we discussed.

‘After I recounted much of my conversation with Miguel, she said, ‘I’d love to meet this man; he sounds fascinating. He also seems to be a seer like my taxi driver, Rhom, so I think you should take him seriously.’

‘Yes, but all that talk of a deep-state takeover seems a bit extreme. There are always fear-mongers out there shouting wolf.’

‘And there are always those who don’t listen or heed warnings when most needed, or have you forgotten about Mao, Stalin and Hitler, not to mention some closer to home? At least one hundred and fifty million souls were snuffed out by these tyrants last century. Does that not seem a bit extreme?’

‘It does, but I really don’t think that would happen again.’

‘Are you sure?’

Well, no, we can’t be sure of anything. I suppose anything is possible in the world in its relatively low state of collective consciousness. In fact, Miguel said something about a declaration inscribed in the Georgia Guidstones that calls for the world’s population to be reduced to half a billion souls. Apparently, it was erected several years ago in George, USA to declare a new global order concealed in humanist guise.’

‘But what if there actually was some evil intent out there that wanted to do something like this… shouldn’t we be warned?’

‘Still, if there truly is some nefarious plot, I’m sure the free world’s governments and military can deal with it when the time comes.’

‘And what if these powers are in on it? Less spoils to divide.’

‘That’s a chilling thought. It almost seems he wants me to get involved in the resistance or maybe even lead it.’

‘And how do you feel about that?’

‘It would take whole nations and armies to oppose  a dystopia such as depicted in 1984,[15] not one man, let alone a part-time lecturer no one has heard of.’

‘Regardless, I think you should listen to him and remain vigilant, ready to arise if and when necessary. So when are you seeing him again?’

‘We didn’t make any plans; however, he knows where he can find me if he wants. Oh, this reminds me; he told me to go through my email files for a message someone sent me, possibly when I was in a coma. I planned to go through my inbox anyway since thousands of obsolete messages need to be cleaned out.’

‘Yet, how would he know about a specific message unless he sent it?’

‘Don’t ask… he didn’t say who it was from or what it was about, so I’ll have a look carefully when I have time tomorrow after work. Possibly, it’s something he sent me while I was in a coma, not realising my condition. However, I would be surprised, not having seen or heard from him for over ten years.’

The following day, I caught the Tube as usual. Since I didn’t have any classes to teach until later in the afternoon, I thought I’d spend some time trying to recover the email he was determined I needed to see. I suspected this might take a while since I probably accumulated thousands of irrelevant email messages over the last two years.

It took me hours to clear my inbox while carefully scouring to find an email that seemed suspiciously different from the rest. By noon, I was tempted to delete them all en mass, but then, just after returning from lunch, I hit paydirt.

Most shockingly, the email address was from Julianne, sent March 2017. So, how would she know my email address, and even if she did, why would she send me a message while I was in a coma? None of this made sense, so obviously, this was a prank.

I opened the email and read it slowly, with increasing fascination. It read:

 

Hello Julianne, my sweet Nightengale; I hope you don’t mind me borrowing your computer for a few minutes to dash a few lines off to you. I think it’s time we had a chat since there are a few things you ought to know about me and about what’s going on between us.

But first, let me commend you on your house party tonight; it brought back some fond memories from when I was one of these young louts. 

Oh, I’m sorry; did I forget to introduce myself? In case you’re wondering, I’m Dr James Phillips, the charming gentleman residing in room 3017 at your workplace. That’s right; where you feed me my no-frill, liquid diet. It’s okay, though; I don’t mind since I’m not that hungry these days, as you probably noticed.

So, my dear, let me be completely honest; this patient isn’t who I am; otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this message to you from your bedroom now, would I?

I realise you probably think of me as just another stiff in your ward that does nothing but sleep all day. Not so! I hardly sleep; just when I want to – it’s more like an old habit I enjoy - settles my mind. 

I just wanted you to know there’s much more to me than what you’ve seen, although you’ve probably seen plenty already. LOL! That’s okay; I don’t mind. It’s what you get paid for… right?

As I said, the person you think is me, the one you care for, isn’t me… not actually. Think of him more as my associate holding my place on earth. I call him the fall guy. Get it, fall – guy. Isn’t that amusing? He’s the bloke who took the fall for me in the Andes. You might say that’s where we parted company, although I’m not even sure if we’ll get back together again. That might be up to you, dear.

As for me, the less apparent me, I spend a lot of time these days discussing philosophy, going for hikes, playing chess and cards, and, sometimes, strumming my friend’s guitar. I currently stay with a couple of jolly chaps at some quaint mountain lodge high up on a summit, somewhere far off in the Chilean Andes. You know, where I had my fall. It’s no coincidence I’ve been hanging out there for about as long as you and the fall guy have known each other. 

I must say, I could never have imagined any of this happening when I left London last year in December. Now, we travel the world faster than you can imagine. In fact, it’s more than fast since we can do it in no-time, not even having to traverse space. That’s how I got here tonight. Isn’t that wild?

You would never believe where my companions are from, so I won’t bother to tell you; it’s complicated, except to say they’re very far out. Hard to believe, and yet they were the ones who told me all about you. Isn’t that something?

I think I have more in common with them than anyone I’ve ever met on earth before, except maybe for you. We’ll see. That’s why you and I need to find a way to connect to get to know each other better. 

You know, it wasn’t that long ago when the three of us dropped by one night to visit you at work. Not just you, though; the fall guy, too. Still, I would much prefer to be with you. I must say, I was most impressed with how well you’ve been taking care of him. 

Oh, by the way, how about that intimate moment we shared? And I mean… really intimate. Never before have I had a woman come on to me like that. I didn’t see it coming…  you went right in and through me.

I hope it was as good for you as it was for me. Possibly you don’t remember, although I sure do; I liked it… a lot. So, just for fun, we should try it again sometime, only slower next time, so we can really get into each other. (Smile!)

For now, I admit to feeling a bit envious of how the fall guy gets all your attention while I get none. I even hear you sometimes spend the whole night together. Who knows, possibly you’re with him right now. 

Anyway, should you ever get tired of him and wish to get together with the real me, I’m sure we can find a way, even if we’re stuck in different dimensions. Anyway, let’s work on it and see what we can come up with. I think you’ll find I’m not like him at all; he’s boring, has no personality, and never wants to do anything or go anywhere except lie there. Sure, he’s quite the hunk, but then so am I, and in much better shape… in fact, never better.

Did you know I can see you any time I want? Since I like what I see, you’ve already made the shortlist. Just joking… get used to it; it’s part of my charm. You’ll need a sense of humour around me. Some women take themselves way too seriously, especially those I work with. When they call me sexist, I laugh and tell them it’s true; I love sex… just not with them! 

You might think I don’t have much substance in your world, but if you give me a chance, I’ll make up for it in other ways. In any case, I’m confident you will find me a splendid, if not engaging, chap, considerate and always ready for a good time… if you know what I mean. Unfortunately… without the fall guy, I’m not much good for you, at least not physically. 

By now, you’re probably wondering why I’m snooping in your bedroom. Well, it could be worse if I sometimes listened in on your conversations, read your emails or chaperoned you on your dates to see how far you go. However, I would never do any of that unless you approved. I think of myself more as an observer; I hope you don’t mind.

And oh, I meant to ask you... what were you searching for in your pockets and purse on the bus tonight? And yes, I was there with you, right across the aisle. You seemed frustrated at not finding whatever you were looking for… so what was that? Let me know... perhaps I can help. 

    I know how it feels; I recently lost my pendant and silver cross that hung around my neck for good luck on my ascent. It seems they went missing after I had my spill. Although I’m not sure, these might have found their way back to London with the fall guy. That’s what my companions seem to think. So, if you find anything, please hang on to them until I’m back with the fall guy. 

Also, before I forget, I left you a secret code on your computer at work. You might have deleted it, so I’ll tell you what it meant. It said 6,792 M. Remember? That’s the height of the mountain I climbed in meters, probably twenty or thirty miles southwest of Mount Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere. 

If you wish to research this, you’ll know it’s true. I’m giving you this information to help prove to you that I’m with you, at least in spirit. Who else do you know that could do all this? 

Well, I guess I should close now. It sounds like some of your wild friends are still partying below, and who knows what else. 

Oh, one more thing before I leave… what’s with this Freddy bloke that keeps showing up in your emails? Is there something going on between you and him? I hope not. If there is, tell him to get lost. Once I get into form, so to speak, you’ll soon find that you can do much better with me, the fall guy.

I wish I could leave you this message, although that might not be a good idea. Regardless, it felt good to write it. It’s a shame you’ll never see this. I wonder… Ah, I know; I’ll send this to my cloud account at university; then, when I’m back with the fall guy, I can share this master of parody with you so we can have a good laugh. Then you’ll know how much I wanted to share this evening with you. 

Meanwhile, I’ll see what I can do to find a way for us to connect that won’t spook you. I wonder if we could meet in your dreams. That might be a fun way to spend the night. What do you think? I just need to figure out how.

Well, good night, Julianne. I’ve enjoyed doing this meandering monologue. If you ever get a chance to read it, I hope it will bring a smile to your face.

 

Sincerely,

Dr James Phillips

(Aka, the fall guy)

 

Ps: In the future, call me James… no need to be formal.

Pps: I was profoundly impressed with your proficient manoeuvres earlier at the party. That poor wretch is probably still writhing on the floor.

Ppps: Be sure to give your fall guy a peck on the cheek next time you see him. I’m sure he would appreciate it even if he doesn’t say so.[16]

 

I sat there stunned, then read it again carefully, trying to make sense of what made no sense, and then, even more bizarre, the message came from Julianne’s email address. What was she up to? Should I ask or wait for her to confess to her mischief? I could think of no reason why she would do this, least of all to mess with my mind.

Nonetheless, I knew it couldn’t have been from me. I was in a coma in the hospital, not sitting at the computer in Julie’s bedroom. So, if it wasn’t her, it must have been Miguel since he was the only one who knew about the email, and yet he didn’t even know Julie or have a key to her home.

Still, it was most fanciful to suggest I was out and about partying on top of a mountain in Chili that I had attempted to peak before my fall. Furthermore, the message claimed I was happily composing this message in her bedroom. What a laugh; whoever the prankster that wrote this must have had quite the imagination.

Before showing this to Julie, I needed to talk to Miguel to find out what he had to say and how he knew about this prank message. The problem was I had no idea where to contact him or when I might see him again. So, until then, it would have to remain a mystery. And if he didn’t know, it would remain a mystery.

For the next few days, I brooded on the email, having printed a copy to carry with me to read to see if I could see something between the lines that might give a clue about who wrote it.

I remembered how Julie insisted we exchanged lines we wrote to each other; she, at the park bench, and I in my room with her that night after my awakening, where we both were in a semitrance as the words flowed out of us. She even showed me what she recorded in her diary while on a retreat in Camber. I had no explanation as to why I recited some of these lines to her while in my stupor.

Considering all this, was it possible I actually was the author of the email message, just as it says? Was I the prankster even though I was in a coma that whole time? At least my body was. So, what else was going on with me?  Was I a ghost? A suberbly ridiculous question, yet what was the alternative?

Everything about what this message implied went contrary to what I believed about life. Though I was interested in learning more about Luc’s research on mystical traditions, I remained first and foremost agnostic and sometimes atheist, where nothing like this could have ever happened… not in my material world.

The following evening, I saw Julie studying in her bedroom and asked if we could chat for a moment.

‘Of course,’ she said. ‘So, James, I’ve been meaning to ask if you found that mysterious email Miguel mentioned?’

Because I didn’t wish her to know, I lied, saying I was still looking.

Throughout this time, she remained keen on regressing me, but since hypnotism was contrary to my beliefs, I refused her politely yet adamantly. She was disappointed since she really wanted to practise on me while getting to the bottom of what might have been happening between us, especially the poems we exchanged in the aether.

Should she find out about the contents of the email message, she would be even more insistent in doing her voodoo on me. I thought about why I remained so resistant to her offer, and it seemed to come down to my belief system and need to be right because if not, my whole intellectual edifice would come tumbling down as invalid. I was already being challenged enough by Julie and Luc to expand my universe with more esoterica.

 Since my colleagues were firmly entrenched in established secular prejudices, I needed to fit in if I ever hoped to advance towards being tenured as a full philosopher. That meant putting on the blinkers, at least until then.

The only crack in my armour was this email and Luc, who provided respectability to alternative spiritual perspectives, having studied several credible sources that supported his position, many among the ancient sages.

From what Luc told me about his background, I knew he grew up in a large Catholic family in a French community not far from Montreal, Quebec. As an intelligent young man, he became aware of the medieval Catholic mystics, reading everything he could get his hands on. This interest led him to pursue other esoteric traditions, including the Russian writings of Gurdjieff and Ouspenki.

Like Gurdjieff, or because of Gurdjieff,[17] he was inspired to begin his pilgrimage, seeking enlightenment from the mystics he encountered while working through these countries. While in Armenia on an archaeological dig, he met his future wife, an anthropology major.

After this, he returned to the West and spent several months at a commune in Big Sur, California, before getting married and enrolling at McGill for this undergraduate degree. He then graduated in East Asian Religious Studies and was accepted for doctoral studies at King’s a few years after I graduated from Edinburgh.

Without Luc, I’m not sure how I would have made my intellectual transition from the Western secular mindset to seeing the broader picture of non-material reality. In many ways, he opened my mind to all that would soon follow.

Our intellectual discussion began after the symposium, where we started to meet regularly for coffee since I had plenty of time as a sessional instructor, waiting my turn to get taken seriously by the authorities. 

Once, when we met at the Duke of York pub in the Bloomsbury district, where he worked bartending on weekends, he asked me how I conceived of God.

‘I don’t,’ I said. ‘At best, I’m Spinozian agnostic.’

‘You know, James, the word agnostic; if you remove the letter a, you are left with gnostic. That’s what I am. Just like atheism, without the a, you are left with theism. So, if you don’t wish to subscribe to theism, why not try Gnosticism? You might be surprised where it takes you.’

‘So what’s the difference? Both are about God.’

‘And so they are; nevertheless, theism often connotates a lower-order three-dimensional understanding of God. How can the infinite be understood in finite terms? I’m sure you’re well aware of the term anthropomorphism.’

‘Yes, of course.’

‘Then, you would understand the folly of projecting human qualities onto God. That’s why God, the Source, is often outwardly represented as a tyrannical and capricious God of judgment and punishment in many ancient religions, including references in the Torah and a few inferences in the New Testament. Much of these reflected the cantankerous disposition of the rulers in that day and sometimes today.’

‘I don’t believe in the Bible, much less the Torah.’

‘As a fledgeling scholar of ancient religious writings,’ he said, ‘I don’t necessarily believe everything either, yet we need to understand that scriptures correctly represent how religious cultures in those times regarded less-than-flattering representations of God.

‘Regardless, I’m convinced many of these books and passages were divinely inspired and beautifully so. After all, it’s not just one book; rather, it’s many books written over centuries by many authors with several perspectives.

‘As an exception to this harsh perception of God, Gnostics throughout the Middle East have not thought of God as being out there in a subject-object relationship so much as being at one within. And in that sense, we are gods.’

‘Many in the Christian world might regard that statement as heretical.’

‘And so they may, except it was written by a Jewish writer in the Old Testament named David.[18] Then, much later, this passage was quoted by no less than Yeshua in the New Testament to stave off the religious leaders and intellectuals among the Pharisees and Sadducees. He seemed to have caught them off guard, and they didn’t know what to say except to condemn him for claiming to be God.

‘Things haven’t changed much; it seems many religious leaders and theologians don’t know their Bible as well as they claim, only the parts they wish to know, or they wouldn’t ignore these passages by rationalising them away.’[19]

‘I supposed not; as a philosopher, I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never heard this perspective before. This understanding could be a game-changer for me… I’ll have to think about it.’

‘We can talk more about this later,’ Luc said, ‘but first, I’d like you to read some works by D.T. Suzuki and Allan Watts. That might be the best way to gain this higher ground to discuss these matters more intelligibly.’

‘I’ve heard of them, although I haven’t read anything they wrote.

‘Go to the library; they have most of their books.’

‘Okay, I’ll do that. However, I have another question for you. If God exists, where does he, she or it come from?’

‘I would be pleased to discuss this later in detail, but for now, just remember that the time-space continuum is a finite three-D construct, a matrix too small for a God who is, in essence, infinite.’

‘So, you’re saying, get over it, it’s a bad question.’

‘I suspect you’re already over it, but not your monkey mind. I can tell that the real you, your true essence Self, already belongs to a higher realm of enlightenment where such questions are meaningless.’

‘What makes you think I’m enlightened?’

‘Enlightenment is related to one’s consciousness. The fact we’re having this conversation shows you already have your foot inside the door to the School of Athens. I believe there’s a lot more to you than you’re aware. Though I might not be able to explain how I know this, my intuition tells me this is so, at least provisionally. I suspect something happened to you while you were in your coma that you’re not yet aware of.’

‘Julie says that too, even though I was unconscious the whole time.’

‘Are you sure of that?’

‘I’m not sure of anything these days. Julie believes we were communicating in her sleep, but how does that make sense? It doesn’t.’

‘Then let me ask you, what if these nocturnal communications could transcend what you experience in the third dimension? Regardless, I recommend you read Allan Watts to help open your mind to new possibilities, then try to meditate for at least an hour every day without the clutter of intellectual presuppositions and see what comes through. You might be surprised.’

‘I’m sure I would be,’ I laughed.

After teaching my Introduction to Epistemology class, I went to the library to check out Alan Watts’ books, The Way of Zen and The Supreme Identity, and then D.T Suzuki’s Mysticism: Christian and Buddhist. I planned to start reading these tonight since Julie said she would be at the library until late doing more research for her upcoming Master’s thesis next year.

I wasn’t sure why, but my mind seemed to work much better than before my coma. Something had shifted in my body and my reality that was most significant. With concentration, I was able to read and comprehend profound books such as these within hours rather than days. Julie said it had to do with the equation’s light code being imprinted in my cells.

Possibly, she was right; based on what Leonard said, the more I challenged my mind, the quicker my DNA strands would respond to activate my genomes, thereby achieving greater mentation and expanded facility.

That all sounded excellent, and I hoped it was true. However, I wasn’t sure I was there yet since I found these books to be extraordinarily challenging, perhaps because they engaged more than just my mental acuity but something more inwardly intuitive… whatever that means.

In any case, they got me thinking; if there is a God, maybe there shouldn’t even be an article before the word that reduces the Deity to a dualist, anthropomorphic object out there somewhere. But what if, instead, God is within, as the mystics say? So, if God is omnipresent, as the Orthodox say, we might ask where God is not.

After reading Watts and Suzuki, the answer seemed obvious: why not both, or better yet, what transcends time and space? That was a massive revelation since I thought of God as something out there with the stars, which is why my narrow reasoning made God too anthropomorphic to be intellectually tenable.

However, if God’s Spirit abides in us as god-essence, as these authors seemed to suggest, it would be reasonable to postulate that we indeed are gods, which was consistent with the ancient verse: in Him we live and move and have our being.[20]

Slowly, I was coming around to Luc’s way of thinking, and possibly Julie’s too, albeit grudgingly since I often thought of her as being too far out for my comfort. In any case, before I was prepared to jump on the believer’s bandwagon, I had a few critical questions that still needed to be answered.

For example, what about the problem of good and evil? I needed to take that one up with Luc to see what he might say because nothing I heard in theological circles was intellectually satisfying. However, the question about God’s existence and how that’s to be understood would have to wait until later.

The next day, we agreed to meet for lunch since we both had a couple of hours available before our next class. Though I wanted to show him a copy of my insane email, I didn’t wish to compromise myself with something so questionable. I couldn’t decide if I should do this until the last minute when he asked when I planned to allow Julianne to do a regression on me.

‘I already told you, Luc, I don’t want Julie to be poking around in my head with her psychological sorcery. It’s more a matter of why than when.’

‘So what are you afraid of? You said she’s studying psychology; well, they do this all the time, or at least some of the more adventurous do.’

‘I admit; sometimes I’m tempted to let her do whatever she wants, just to see what might happen. Yet, what if these shenanigans got back to my colleagues? They’d probably laugh me right out of the department.’

‘I think you’re overreacting. Why would anyone care? Besides, how’s it going to get back to them? Who would tell?’

I laughed. ‘Probably I would if there was something too good to hide.’

‘Then why would you hide it?’

Okay, Luc, you talked me into it. So, now I have something for you. No one has seen this, not even Julie; you’re the first, if not the last.

‘What is it?’

‘Something that’s absolutely preposterous… much like my life. It’s an email message I received from someone, but I don’t know who. Though fascinating, it’s almost too embarrassing to mention, but I will anyway.’

‘So, who sent this message… it must say where it was sent from.’

‘I wish I knew; possibly it was me, but not from my computer; that’s why I want to show you so you can tell me what you think since it’s rather hard for me to be objective about this.’

‘James, I must say, you’re full of surprises; they just keep coming. Okay, let’s have it, and I’ll give you my candid opinion of what I think.’

‘Well then, against my better judgement, here it is. Promise not to laugh… unless you find it funny.’

After handing it to him, he began to laugh the more he read. Then, after finishing, he laughed some more.

‘You certainly are the comedian, James; I didn’t know you had it in you.’

‘What do you mean? I’m no comedian, nor could I have written that while in a coma. Look at the date. I was taking a long nap about then.’

‘Your body was, James. But evidently, you weren’t. It seems you were quite the free spirit… literally. Although we already knew that.’

‘Can’t you think of something more rational that would explain this phantom message?’

‘Can you?’ he replied. ‘It all seems most straightforward to me.’

‘I’ve thought of everything and still haven’t come up with a plausible explanation. I was hoping you would.

What’s to explain? To me, it’s evident you wrote this... who else could? Your unique, devil-may-care personality is indelibly inscribed in every sentence; there’s no way of getting around it. I know you.

‘But this isn’t supposed to be possible. Don’t you realise you’re turning my world upside down?’

‘Just as you planned. That’s why you sent it to yourself, not Julianne. Remember, you wrote this in a dimension that exceeds the limitations of our 3D world.’

‘Even so, how can this be scientific?’

‘Superstring Theory in quantum physics has identified at least a dozen dimensions, so why couldn’t you have been in one or more of them?’

‘I don’t have an answer to that, nor do I understand why I would want to write this if she weren’t even going to see it. After all, I addressed it to her, not me.’

‘Isn’t it obvious? You wanted to turn your world upside down, and I must say, James, it was most clever of you, if not crafty, to send this to yourself. Whether you were aware of it at the time, you wrote it to yourself, albeit in self-amusement. Then you sent it from her computer to your email address so you would see it after your return, so you would have to question if you were actually in your body or out of it just as you are doing now.

‘It seems to me you were sufficiently enlightened in this altered state that you wanted to reach out to yourself in the future to convince yourself of your bigger reality. So… well done, James! High five.’

‘Holy crap, Luc; the way you explain this makes perfect sense. I need to think this through.

‘Now, if you can find the courage to show it to Julie, maybe she will understand what you were up to back then. My guess is she will laugh. But you haven’t shown it to her because you’re afraid she might put more pressure on you to do a regression. Am I right?’

‘Ah, I think you got me there,’ I laughed.

‘Well, now that you’ve agreed to allow her, you don’t have to worry about that anymore, do you?’

‘I guess not.’

So, since you’re on a roll, Luc, I have another question for you.

‘It’s about a friend I haven’t seen for over ten years. A few days ago, we happened to meet in a diner coincidently, and he told me I had an email that I needed to retrieve and read. As it turned out, it was this message. So, how could he know that?’

‘I have no idea, but it sounds like the plot is thickening. So why not ask him… I’d love to find out, too. Things are getting weirder all the time.’

‘I certainly will, provided I can find him. Interestingly, he knew Julie and insisted I allow her to do some regressions on me.’

Well, then, it seems most apparent why he wanted you to read your message; it was so you would allow her to do the hypnotic regressions. As to why he wants you to, I have no idea. You know him, I don’t. Who is he?’

‘He was an astrophysicist at Reading until one day, he mysteriously disappeared. Now, suddenly, he has surfaced again.’

‘So what’s his name?’

‘Dr Miguel de Santandrés. Well, actually, I don’t know if he has an earned doctorate; I just assumed he did.’

‘It sounds like this Miguel might be a major player in your drama, possibly mixed up in your equation caper, too. Anyway, find him and get to know what he says.’

‘I’m not sure if I want to know,’ I laughed. ‘When we met, Miguel told me some things regarding the future that he shouldn’t have known. I don’t have time to share this with you now, but if you like, I will later; just be  forewarned, it’s rather scary stuff.’

We left for our classes, yet my mind wasn’t far from what Luc said about my email message. It seemed he actually thought I wrote it! And now, he had me almost convinced, even though it went contrary to everything I believed was possible. So now what?

On the way home, I debated whether I should show the message to Julie. If I did, she probably wouldn’t leave me much choice but to subject myself to her voodoo.

I thought, okay, I would, but first, I needed to talk to Miguel. That might take a while, or it might happen when I least expect it. Was it actually a coincidence meeting him at the diner? It almost seemed he was lying in wait for me. In any case, next time, I’d ask him what was going on… he might know.

 

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

 

HOT COALS

 

 

The weekend was approaching as Julie prepared to attend some woo-woo event near Knottingham with a few friends she met in a metaphysical discussion group. Other than a picnic in the country, I didn’t know what else it might be about since she didn’t tell me. Nevertheless, I reluctantly agreed to come along. Rather than going with her out-there friends, which I wasn’t keen to do, we decided to rent an economy car, and though it wasn’t the Jag I left behind in Switzerland, it was more than adequate for our purposes. Of course, I drove since Julie didn’t yet have a driver’s licence.

Had she told me more of what this was about, I probably would have declined, which was most likely why she didn’t tell me other than she was meeting other spiritual seekers on the same path, whatever that meant. In any case, I thought it would be interesting to find out what spiritual seekers do when they meet on the path... maybe beat on drums to conjure Merlin from the netherworld.

We left on Saturday morning, taking our time to view the countryside. When we arrived in Nottingham, I showed her where I had spent my adolescent years with my relatives, Uncle Albert and Aunt Margaret. That was quite the flashback since I hadn’t been there since they passed away.

From there, we went to the gathering in the late afternoon, which at first seemed to be nothing more than a picnic in the woods. It was a pleasant time with a variety of interesting characters, male and female, and some not so interesting, as you would expect in any crowd.

Nothing seemed organised until the sun was about to go down, and everyone retreated down a path through the woods. I asked Julie where we were going, and she said to a most extraordinary fire walk. I had no idea what that might mean until we came to a clearing where a fire had been set earlier in the day, leaving only a bed of hot embers.

‘This,’ Julie said, ‘is about a fire walking ceremony for initiates and anyone who wishes to join in for the first time. So James,’ she grinned, ‘are you going to show us how to walk across these coals? It’s only about a hundred feet to the end.’

I had heard about such supposed events, although I had never paid much attention to them. So, now, here I was, about to witness what I didn’t believe possible. There had to be some gimmick to this; I didn’t know what it was but would soon find out.

As things progressed, I noticed various preparatory exercises conducted among the initiates, including breathing, chanting, and splitting wood with bare hands.

‘You didn’t tell me about this, Julie.’

‘Would you have come if I did?’

‘Probably not, however, since we’re here, let’s see what illusions they employ for their so-called fire-walking. Obviously, there’s a trick to this, so I’ll be carefully watching.’

‘I wish I had enough courage to try this, she said, but don’t think I do. I’m told it takes training and deep mind-over-matter concentration to walk over the coals without fear of getting burned.

‘I’ve talked to several in my group who have, and not one of them has ever been burned, even in the slightest. But then, they had already trained their minds.’

‘If you say so, Julie, still, I don’t see the point of any of this.’

Then, one by one, the initiates walked across the coals. It wasn't easy to believe this was happening; nevertheless, I rationalised it away as having some natural explanation I hadn’t yet figured out. Possibly, they had insulation applied to the soles of their feet.

What happened next, however, I couldn’t rationalise away. After receiving a call on my mobile, I stood talking off to the side when suddenly, I looked up, and there was Julie, happily skipping across the coals. In disbelief, I almost dropped my mobile mid-conversation. In no time, she had gone the distance while talking to someone who wasn’t there.

When I caught up with her at the end of the coals, I hardly knew what to say as friends surrounded her, congratulating her achievement.

‘So Julie, my insane fire warrior, why did you suddenly decide to do this.’

‘I’m not sure, James, I really didn’t intend it, but when a beautiful young woman came alongside and said, “Let’s do it, Julie,” I didn’t even have to think about it. There was something about her that exuded such love and confidence that it wasn’t possible to feel fear in her presence.

‘And so, I said okay without giving it a second thought. Then off we went skipping, hand in hand, across the coals, laughing all the way. Before I knew it, we were at the end, ecstatic by what we achieved without any burns or pain.’

‘Wait a minute, Julie, I saw you; you were alone.’

‘No, James. I wasn’t alone; I was with Selaris; that’s what she told me. Her spirit felt like that of an angel when she hugged me in a warm embrace at the end of our fire walk. I was about to introduce you to her; however, when I turned back to see where you were, she disappeared. I think she really was an angel… what do you think?’

‘I don’t care,’ is all I said, now visibly upset with her. Not only did Julie defy my beliefs with her stunt, but she was also trying to convince me that she was prancing over the coals with an invisible friend.

‘We should leave now,’ I said. ‘It’s getting dark, so let’s gather our items and find our way back to the car.’

We didn’t talk much on our way home since I wasn’t in the mood to discuss what happened. It was late when we got back, and we were both tired, probably because of the emotional stress my attitude caused. So, without saying anything, we went to our separate bedrooms for the night.

Julie was disappointed with my obstinant behaviour, so she didn’t say much to me in the morning except that she planned to visit her parents for Sunday brunch as she often did. She then planned to return to her studies for the rest of the day.

As for me, I was upset with how things turned out and how my apple cart had been turned over once again. That seemed to be happening a lot these days. Though I wanted to clear the air by talking to her about what happened, I thought it might be best not to since I had no defence for my petulance.

 After I returned the car, I spent the afternoon walking along the Thames as I often did on Sundays. I had much to unpackage as to why I reacted as I did yesterday.

Having ruined Julie’s excitement of walking over the hot coals with her invisible friend, I knew I had been a wet blanket, so I couldn’t blame her for scarcely saying a thing to me all the way home last night. I got the message… I had to do better if I hoped to win her.

I needed to talk to someone, but who? Someone I could confide in who knew me well enough to see my weaknesses. Though Luc St Pierre was becoming a good friend, I didn’t wish to involve him as my councillor and analyst.

Then it struck me: how about my old girlfriend, Madame Peyroux? I hadn’t seen her for almost three years, long before my fall and subsequent coma. By no means was she a shrink, and yet she knew me better than any of them. She didn’t need to analyse; she just knew.

Since I had a few hours to spare between classes, I decided to drop in to see her tomorrow if she was available. Generally, she didn’t take phone calls to make appointments because she felt whoever was meant to show up would, and at the most appropriate time. Curiously, that seemed to work for her. I guess being magic has its advantages, I thought, chuckling to myself.

True to form, as though waiting for me, there she was with her Tarot cards. After poking my head in the door, she told me to wait outside a minute in the hallway until she finished her reading with a client. Not long after, she became available, greeting me with a big embrace.

‘Nothing seems to change with you, Madame,’ I said. ‘Everything inside seems the same, the smell of incense, the heavy curtains on the walls and the draped silk canopy on her ceiling; it’s like coming home to an Arabian tent.’

‘So where have you been, James? I sense you have been somewhere far away for a long time.’

‘Well, yes, up until the last few months, I lived in Switzerland for several months.’

‘That’s nice, but I’m getting you were in a much different place before that. I can’t tell where, just that it was exotic, if not otherworldly.’

‘You probably didn’t hear, but I had a severe fall while mountain climbing in Chili almost two and a half years ago. I then spent almost a year in a coma here at a hospital in London, but I can tell you that wasn’t exotic.’

‘As I recall, I saw something like a fall coming,’[21] she said, ‘but you interpreted it as being symbolic of your love life.’

‘You’re right; I forgot about that. You have an excellent memory.’

‘I do for certain clients,’ she winked. I think it’s time I gave you another massage.’

‘Another time, for now, I need to know what you see happening to me. I ask because I have another wonderful young woman in my life. Although, as you know, I always seem hellbent on sabotaging relationships before they even get started. Why do I always do that?’

‘See a shrink; all I can do is predict where you’re going based on the trajectory of the timeline I see you’re now on.’

‘So, how does it look?’

She shuffled her Tarot cards, then asked me to split them into three piles and select two cards from each.

‘Damn, James. Something has happened to you, something big. You’re not the same person I knew… not quite.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘This is almost frightening… like you’ve become some kind of freak, or at least your body has. It appears something significant occurred to you.’

‘Well, as a matter of fact, I was treated with a special laser to awaken me out of the coma, and it worked. Some say its photons might have also affected the structure of my chromosome, substantially increasing them beyond the double helix strands, although I have no idea if that’s true or how many. But I can say I’ve experienced a marked improvement in my health, strength and mental acuity.’ 

‘And sexual stamina?’ she asked, smiling. ‘By the way, I still offer tantric lessons.’

‘That probably won’t be necessary; I think the girlfriend I had in Switzerland is still recovering,’ I chuckled.

‘Hyberbole aside, the cards say a genuine romance could be coming your way. In fact, it’s already here; however, you don’t know what to do with it since you’re afraid you might drop the ball again.’

‘And that’s why I came to see you since you already know about my past failures with women. Regardless, I have no wish to fail again, especially with Julie, the nurse who cared for me while I was in a coma that year.’

‘James, where were you while in your coma? And I don’t mean the hospital.’

‘What do you mean; where was I?’

‘I think you know, but you’re not saying.’

‘Okay, I wasn’t going to show you this. I found it in my computer files the other day, dated two years ago. Mysteriously, it was sent from Julie’s email address, except the message was for Julie, yet it was sent to me. Weird, eh?’

I then gave her my copy to read. Her reaction was the same as Luc’s, not disbelief, but laughter.

‘Well, there you have it, you were in your spirit body in an altered state of consciousness the whole time, just as I intuited when you said you were somewhere exotic. Now, you need someone to regress you to recover some of that memory. I don’t do that, so you’ll have to find someone who does. It could get expensive, though; you probably have years of regressions to be done.’

‘As it turns out, I do have someone. Julie is studying to be a psychologist specialising in regression therapy. For some time, she’s been after me to get into my head; still, I keep saying no.’

‘Are you crazy, James? Your friend offers to do this for you, and you say no?’

‘Well, I don’t, or at least didn’t believe in that sort of thing. It seems too flakey.’

‘I’ll tell you what is flakey, James: your dismissive prejudices. You’re too proud to step out of the bubble of your narrow philosophy. You’ve been brainwashed, and until you recognise it, you’re not getting anywhere with this woman.’

‘I hate to admit it, but you might be right. On Saturday, we went to a hot coals ceremony near Nottingham, and to my dismay, Julie did it. That upset me because it wasn’t supposed to be possible. I expressed my displeasure, and she didn’t talk to me the whole way home. In fact, she has hardly said a word to me since. So now I don’t know what to do.’

‘It's easy; admit you were wrong in raining on her parade and then do some grovelling by telling her you’re not as bright as you thought you were.

‘I guess you’re right.’

‘Of course, I’m right, luv. Doesn’t this letter say it all? What more proof do you need?’

‘Beliefs, James, beliefs. More often than not, they are wrong since they derive from the illusory ego. I mean, what do any of us know? So don’t let them control you; let them go, then look to the truth. Now, how about that massage? I need to make a living, you know,’ she laughed.

After receiving another one of her extraordinary massages, I told her how much I appreciated her insights, and then, after paying, left the studio.

I felt the walls closing in on me; first, Luc, and now her. I also needed to come clean with Julie before my obstinance cratered our friendship. I wondered what Miguel would say. Likely, he would pile on, too.

I rushed off to my class on epistemology. How ironic that I was teaching this discipline here while in an epistemic crisis, wondering what to believe or how to discern the distinction between truth and falsehood. Wasn’t that the essence of epistemology… the philosophy of knowing?

When I got home after class, Julie was again conspicuously absent, back at the library, not bothering to have dinner with Tony and me. We had a simple spaghetti meal with a bottle of his favourite Italian wine, fermented in an orchard not from this home village in Tuscany.

‘So, Tony, what do you think Julie’s problem is these days,’ I asked my roommate, fishing for what he might say.

‘How do I know? She hasn’t talked to me either; that’s just how it is with women at times. Don’t worry about it. I’m sure she’ll be back to her usual, cheerful self soon enough.’

‘I hope so; she’s been out of sorts since we went to Nottingham for a ceremonial gathering.’

‘What kind of gathering?’

‘I don’t know what you would call it, but there was a group meditation that I didn’t pretend to participate in, then one of those insane walks through a bed of hot coals in bare feet, probably about a hundred feet long. I’ve heard of these in primitive tribal areas but never witnessed such an event. I must say, I still don’t know what to think.’

‘What does Julie think?’

‘Oh, it’s quite clear… she actually did it. Now, she seems upset for me not congratulating her.’

‘Well, had I the courage to walk on hot coals, and you didn’t at least give me a high five, I might feel the same.’

‘Yeah, I feel rather badly about that now; she deserved better, so I probably need to apologize for being such a dick head.’

‘So James, why didn’t you walk on the hot coals with her? If she could do it, why not you?’

‘I don’t know, possibly because I didn’t believe it was possible, and she did.’

‘Sounds like there could be a lesson here for you, ol’ chap.’

‘I suppose there is, but how do we get past entrenched beliefs?’

‘You’re the philosopher, you tell me.’

‘I’m going out now; finish the wine and get back to me with an answer in the morning,’ he laughed.

I sat in the living area with the last glass of wine, thinking about his challenge. What was the answer? And why do we hold to beliefs that no longer serve us? Why did I default to believing so much was impossible when it might have been possible?

Aren’t philosophers supposed to have open minds instead of being closed? Rather than discover new lands with high vistas, we’re trained to be sceptics in the Flatlands. Flatlands? Where did that word come from? It’s like it oozed out of my past somewhere.

From now on, I would challenge my students to keep an open mind rather than fear going out of bounds. I did that when I wrote my thesis; that got me into trouble, but at least I had my integrity. That was before I compromised myself for job security. Now, however, it was time to return to my old freethinking ways by looking at things differently, even if it cost me some of my pride.

When she returned late that evening, I asked her how her studies went tonight.’

‘I didn’t go to the library; I was out with Freddy. He just bought a new BMW Sport.’

‘Oh, well, that’s nice. So, did you have a good time?’

‘Of course, Freddy might be a doctor and scientist; still, he’s far more open-minded than you.’

Now, there was a gut punch I wasn’t expecting.

‘Ah, yeah, I suppose he is,’ I said, not knowing what else to say.

‘Julie, may I have a few minutes of your time to discuss some important matters?

‘If you think you need to.’

‘Yes, I’m rather certain I do. First, I’d like to apologise for my behaviour on Saturday night. It was inexcusable. Just because you had the belief and courage to do what you did, and I didn’t, didn’t give me the right to claim I was morally superior.

‘I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about my attitude towards beliefs I assumed to be possible and not possible. It seems many of my old views are being proven wrong these days.’

‘I’m pleased to hear you say that, James. We can discuss this later. I’m tired and need to get to bed since I have an early 8:00 AM class.’

‘Sure thing, if you’re not busy, maybe tomorrow night.’

‘Maybe,’ is all she said.

Evidently, things weren’t going as I had hoped. Seemingly, my oblique attempt at an apology wasn’t sufficient to regain Julie’s favour, so now might be the time to show her my email message. What did I have to lose if that’s what it takes?

I might even be open to having a regression with her so she would realise I wasn’t completely closed to her practises. Hopefully, that would ingratiate me or even put me in the same league as Freddie, even without a BMW.

The following day, after my last class, I met with Luc for coffee and told him about Julie’s firewalking and how badly I blew it.

‘You’ve never witnessed firewalking before? Really? I thought you were a man of this world,’ he laughed. ‘It seems you need to get out more and try some new things.’

‘Maybe, but not on hot coals. How about you, have you seen this before?

‘Not only have I seen it, but I actually did it in India after much mental preparation, so I realise very few can go in and do it cold like Julie.’

‘Well, I suppose if you say so, it’s possible in a mind-over-matter sort of way, but it’s nothing I would try.’

‘That’s fine; possibly you can do something else to impress Julie, such as levitating,’ he laughed.

‘Of course… then I’d be able to sail over the embers merrily.’

‘By the way,’ he said, ‘I meant to ask if you showed Julie the message you wrote her. If that doesn’t impress her, it might at least shock her.

‘Not yet, although I probably need to show it to her soon to get on her good side. I might do it tonight if she has time for me.’

‘Let me know how it goes; this should be interesting.’

‘I might even let her do a regression on me; that should cement the deal. Nevertheless, she wanted me to know that Fred had taken her for a ride in his new BMW Sport. So, do you think he’s maybe making a play for her again? Because if he is, I can’t compete with him on a material basis.’

‘Then, why not compete on the only basis that matters to her? To do this, you might have to align more with her interests in spirituality, or you may not get too far.’

‘Possibly, you’re right. My psychic friend, Madame Peyroux, said more or less the same thing when she gave me hell for stubbornly holding on to all my old, entrenched beliefs that were no longer serving me. Until then, I didn’t realise how these were holding Julie and me apart. My disregard for her firewalking illustrates the price I’m paying.’ 

‘So, James, you see a psychic; that surprises me, considering how off-script that is for you since it seems you have little regard for esoteric phenomena. So how did you meet her?’

‘I’m not sure; I just seemed to show up after seeing her sign as I was walking past a pawn shop. Anyway, I felt drawn to scamper up the old wooden stairs to her gypsy studio.

‘As soon as I opened her door, I could feel its old-world charm, much like her presence. I never believed in her psychic abilities; still, I continued to return because she was a great masseuse who knew how to invigorate my body while consoling me whenever I was going through another breakup.

‘Then, one day, after a massage, she gave me a short reading where she saw me falling down a mountain long before it happened. At the time, I didn’t take her seriously, preferring to interpret the vision as me falling headlong for another woman. That seemed a safe call since it was predictable.’

‘So, now that you know she got it right back then, did you ask her to read your future?’

‘Not really; she just said there are several timelines I can follow, so no fate is determined. It’s up to me what path I wish to follow.’

‘As I’m sure it is for all of us.’

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

 

THE GREAT REVEAL

 

 

Again, Julie stayed out late, presumably at the library, and was ready for bed when she got home. Her insouciance was most evident. I was still being punished, so now was not a good time to get into the email message with her. In a way, I was relieved since I remained reluctant to have her regress me into my past. It all sounded flakey. Besides, I kept telling myself giving over control of the mind is not what good philosophers do.

The next day, I got a text from my friend, Madame Peyroux, saying: tell her, James, tell her now. How did she know I hadn’t? But of course, I laughed to myself; she’s psychic. No doubt about it; she had my number. I had to do it now before talking myself out of it, or I would be in big trouble with her.

The following evening, Julie came home while I was preparing my lesson plans in my room. I heard her going directly to her bedroom and then closing the door behind her as if to make a statement.

Okay, this is it, James; disclosure time! So, would she be willing to see me before bed?

I knocked gently on her door.

‘What is it?’

‘May I come in for a few minutes, Julie? I have something to show you.’

‘Okay, but I’m soon going to bed.’

She was already in her nightgown, looking sexy… just as I imagined her in bed.

‘What I want to say, Julie, is tantamount to a confession. You know how you thought I was out of my body during my coma?’

‘Yes, at least there might have been occasions you left your body to be with me, such as that night in Camber when I wrote you a poem.’

‘Well, you were right; I was out of my body. I’m not sure how it happened, but now I have proof.’

‘Oh really,’ she said as she sat upright on her bed. For the first time in almost a week, I clearly had her attention.

‘Here it is, an email message I wrote to you on your computer the night of a party here while you were at work. Remember when you kneed that lout in the groin?’

‘I remember.’

‘Well, as it turns out, I was there.’

‘What do you mean you were there?’

‘Believe me, I was there… you’ll see it in the letter. It was addressed to you, although I didn’t intend to send it to you. At first, I wrote it as a lark since there were things I wanted to say to you but knew I shouldn’t. At least, not until now.’ However, after completing it, I realised, unwittingly, there was another purpose for writing it that hadn’t occurred to me earlier.

‘Is this some joke, James?’

‘Why would I joke about this? I’ve been putting this off for days because it means admitting I was wrong. And you know, I don’t like being wrong,’ I chuckled.’

‘No, you sure don’t. So, where did you find this so-called message?’

‘Remember when Miguel told me to look in my computer’s inbox at university? Until the other day, I hadn’t bothered to go through my email mail messages since my coma. That’s when I came across this email with your name sent to my campus computer.

‘At first, it shocked me, then confused me as I looked for an explanation of how this could have happened and who could have written it. Recently, I concluded that it could only have been me who wrote it.

‘And why was that?’

‘As I said, I sent it from your computer to my university email account so that one day, hopefully, I would find it and become aware I was fully out of my physical body and conscious while still in a coma. However, I didn’t intend for you to see it, only me.’

‘I’m not exactly sure what you just said, James… but read it anyway. You have me intrigued.’

I sat beside her on the bed while reading the mysterious message. Occasionally, I paused to get her reaction, yet I saw no expression, though it seemed she was processing every word.

After reading it, I felt a little sheepish about its cavalier, if not presumptuous and slightly disrespectful, tone.

‘It seems I was just having a little fun writing this to you after you left for work that night since I wasn’t serious about sending it to you. Still, it must have occurred to me later this would be an excellent way to trick myself into realising I was out of my body. And as we can see, it worked!’

‘James, thank you for sharing that. I didn’t laugh, although I might later. May I keep this? I want to read it again before I go to sleep.

‘Of course, keep it; I made a few copies. I wouldn’t have bothered to show you if I thought it would offend you, but I wanted you to know this has caused me to reevaluate my attitude towards you and your metaphysical interests. So, Julie, may I now claim you as my spiritual mentor?’ I smiled.

She stared at me as she had when we first met on the park bench. Then, unexpectedly, she threw her arms around me, pulling me down beside her. Much to my amazement, she began to kiss me, releasing what she had been holding back all those months of caring for my body. 

Then, as she realised what she was doing, she suddenly jumped off the bed, embarrassed, and exclaimed. ‘Off to your room, James; you’re not helping matters,’ she giggled. ‘I’ll see you in the morning. We can talk then.’

Reluctantly, I got up and dutifully left, blowing her a kiss with a smirk on my way out. I wasn’t sure what to expect in the morning but was soon to find out.

‘As I was having my morning shower, Julie knocked on the door, stuck her head in and announced she was making a fry-up and that I should hurry. After throwing my bathrobe on, I greeted her with a kiss while she poured me coffee for a traditional English breakfast. How things had changed from yesterday, I thought as she surprised me with a kiss on the cheek after pouring me coffee.

‘Did you sleep well last night, Julie,’ I asked, wondering what had happened to her and her complete change of disposition.

‘I slept wonderfully, and you?’

‘I had a happy sleep, knowing you’re talking to me again.’

‘I think, James, we might have turned the corner on our relationship. We are no longer opposed but of one mind now. At least, I hope we are. So, can we start with a regression on you tonight? I want to know where you were in spirit while I was with your body all those months.’ 

‘Ah, yes, I suppose so, as long as I don’t have to give away control of my mind.’

‘James, I told you before, it’s nothing like that at all. You still have your will and can come back anytime you wish. Believe me; I’ve done these dozens of times with volunteers.’

‘Okay, I’ll bite the bullet and see what happens.’

‘That’s all I ask; I must now be off to class. Enjoy your breakfast; I’ll see you later.’

I got up to hug her, something I wouldn’t have dared to do yesterday. It was a long embrace as she put her head on my shoulder, relishing this moment of our new intimacy.

‘Sometimes, James,’ she said, remaining in my arms, ‘it feels like we have known each other for a long time. Do you believe in past lives?

‘I’ve never believed in any life other than this, even though at times it seemed my mother was trying to get through to me. But let’s not push it, Julie. I’m more interested in this life than the next.’

‘Are you? Then how about when you were with me while in your coma? You know, watching my jujitsu feats when not hanging out in my bedroom writing me a love letter, suggesting something was happening between us. It seems you were  having a most enjoyable time on that side, too.’

‘Yes, of course; perhaps we’ll find out more about what other shenanigans I was up to after you do your hocus pocus on me.’

‘These will not be my regressions; they will be yours, nor will they be hocus pocus; rather, they will be the real thing. You need to listen to my instructions and not be so dismissive. Remember, I’m your mentor now. You even said so last night.’

With that, she put on her coat, grabbed her books, waving on her way out the door.

I wondered if I had been too dismissive. If I wanted to hang on to what we got started last night, I probably should take her seriously and be a tad less cavalier. After all, I did agree to her mentorship.

Later in the day, I texted Luc to see if we could get together for lunch in the campus cafeteria so I could update him. He agreed; twelve-noon prompt.

‘So, how did it go, my friend, or did it?’ he asked as we sat down with our food trays.

‘Had I known what would happen, I might have told her the moment I discovered the email. Now she’s all over me. Well, not quite, but I’m sure she will be once I allow her into my head.’

‘Consider yourself fortunate, my friend. You’re about to embark on an adventure you will never forget. And good luck with Julie; I think she loves you,’ he said as he got up to leave for class.

That evening, after dinner, Julie explained the theory and process of hypnosis and regressing into the past. Tony was there, listening to what she had to say, though only mildly interested.

‘So James,’ he snickered, ‘before you allow Julie to send you off into la la land, be sure to buy a return ticket. We don’t want to lose you.’

‘Don’t listen to Tony,’ Julie said. ‘Now, sit upright in this chair while I recite a special meditation for you.’

‘So where is your swinging pocket watch? Isn’t that what Freud used, or was that just a story?’

‘James, settle down. Try lying on the couch to get into the zone, then do thirty slow, deep breaths. Exhale deeply on the last and hold for as long as you can, then breathe in and hold for six seconds, and exhale before returning to normal breathing.[22]

‘Good, James, you actually went almost two minutes without breathing; that’s exceptional for the first time. Now, I want you to relax and imagine seeing a bright light at the end of a tunnel. And don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you are dying; only your ego is as you feel yourself becoming lighter than air.’

‘So, tell me, James, what are you aware of? What do you see?’

I didn’t say anything, then something in me responded, ‘I feel, yet not as myself but as nothing… no body, no identity… completely embraced in love, floating on a cloud. And in this peace… I just am.’

‘Enjoy this, James. Feel it deeply, then tell me what happens next.’

I sense an angel near me in a soft blue light, so full of love. I ask her name. I hear her say Solaris, or possibly it’s Selaris; I’m not sure, but she’s telling me she will help me to return to my body. And now I’m hearing someone singing a melody. It sounds like Ave Maria… so beautiful.’

‘Then what?

‘I hear a beeping sound in the distance as I feel myself being sucked into a vortex, descending quicker and quicker down to Earth.’

‘Now what, James? What are you feeling?’

‘It’s awful, I’ve been dumped into a body bag… doesn’t feel good, so restricting. I open my eyes and see a bright light over me and people standing around. Then I see someone I know. She’s holding my hand. I yell at her.’

‘What did you yell?’

‘YOU!’

‘I moan, feeling agitated; something is bothering me, like a trauma from the past.

‘Continue to rest, James, then slowly return to us.

‘If you’re ready now, I’ll count to five, then open your eyes. One, two, three, four, five… wide awake, wide awake.’

My eyes fluttered, yet I said nothing.

‘Are you okay?’ she asked.

I smile. After a few moments, I proclaim, ‘never felt better. That was quite the spell you cast me on.’

‘Not a spell; more like a trip back to where your subliminal mind took you when you came out of your coma. And yes, I remember you yelling at me. If we go further back next time, possibly we’ll find out why you did that.’

‘Sure, maybe,’ I said, ‘as I sat up to drink a glass of water.

‘So, Tony, I found my way back, didn’t I?’

‘That was freaky, James; you were utterly gonzo there for a while. So, Julie, what did you think about James’ trip?’

‘It was fascinating. But you know, it was more than fascinating. Remember I told you about the beautiful young woman who asked me to walk over the hot coal embers with her?’

‘Yes, your invisible friend,’ I chuckled.

‘Well, James, she wasn’t invisible to me because I had eyes to see her and even feel her as she took my hand. But do you know what she told me her name was?

‘No, I don’t.’

‘It was Selaris. Now think back, James; in our session, you said you met an angel who told you her name was Selaris, and she was there to help you return. I can replay the recording if you wish.

‘You’re right. I remember this as a vivid dream.  

‘You said she seemed like an angel, just as I, too, thought before crossing the coals with her; otherwise, I wouldn’t have done it.’

 ‘So help me with this, Tony, how many women do you know with the name Selaris… be they human or angelic?’ I asked.

‘Approximately none, although I love the name. Too bad you didn’t get her number; she sounds lovely.’

‘Indeed, she was lovely,’ Julie said. ‘Unfortunately, she evaporated into thin air as soon as I turned to introduce her to James.’

‘I know what you mean,’ Tony said, ‘I’ve had many encounters with angels like her who always seem to disappear after I introduce myself,’ he laughed.

‘Ah, yes, Tony, another day and another mystery with Julie,’ I chuckled.

‘Oh sure, James; how about what you wrote to me but sent to yourself while you were supposedly in a coma? What was that, if not just another mystery?’

‘You’re both weird,’ Tony laughed.

‘No doubt things are about to get even weirder if James allows me to do more regressions on him.’

‘I must say, that felt good. I almost want to relax on a cloud without a body. It’s hard to describe… a quiet ecstasy to remain in forever.’

‘Okay, then let’s do another session tomorrow evening, Julie said. ‘Do you want to come along for the ride, Tony?’

‘I have to work tomorrow evening, but go ahead and have fun on your next adventure. That was surreal.’

It was evident that Julie was pleased with what a great subject I was. Without telling me, she called a taxi, and off we went to the King’s Arms pub to celebrate my first foray into the mysterium of the unknown. Or, more simply put, down my rabbit hole.

We were both slightly light-headed when we returned home from our celebration. I thought it might be an opportune time to make some moves but then decided it was best not to push my luck, although I felt like it. So, after a few deliciously prolonged kisses at her bedroom door, we said goodnight and, regrettably, went to our separate beds.

 

I didn’t realise it then, but things had been happening behind the scenes while I was settling in at university. It seems Kiko’s father thought he would have me vetted in case there was a chance of me reconnecting with his daughter to get married. He was as thorough as he was controlling. It seemed Kiko’s mother liked me more than I realised while I was in Hong Kong, hoping something might come out of our relationship.

When Mr Haiug learned I had broken up with his daughter, he understood that was just a negotiating ploy to be expected from a competent suitor. He admired that since no one in their right mind would walk away from his daughter and all she had to offer without having a plan. The only question was how high my price might be. We could talk… be it a stake in the company, influence, a dominant title over Kiko, a villa in Tuscany or a penthouse in Macau… whatever.

First, though, he needed to ensure I wasn’t just a frivolous philander taking advantage of his daughter. He was also wary of his daughter’s extracurricular adventures, hiring a high-priced London detective to spy on us.

It seemed surprising to him that I was again employed as a part-time university professor in good standing with faculty and students. Each day, I went to class and returned home, seldom straying off course. No woman was in my life besides my roommate, nor was there evidence of me tomcatting at night. I seemed so dull that I was almost too good to be true. His wife, Ms Huang, was impressed.

As for Kiko, that was a bit of a different story. Yes, she was intelligent and diligent in her studies, though also quite the party girl who occasionally had overnight company. Though he realised she could have almost any man she went after, as she often did, he didn’t realise Kiko was a bit of a nymphomaniac. Although it wasn’t always for sexual gratification, sometimes, it was to exercise power over males… another aphrodisiac for her.

Her father felt the time had come when she needed a good man to satisfy her so she would settle down, marry, have children and be a credible heir-apparent for her future role in his company. It didn’t seem to bother him I had no qualifications in business… these could be taught… and bought. With my PhD credential, it wouldn’t take long to earn an MBA at LSE or anywhere else in a year or two.

Indeed, I would fit in very well with a compatible, non-competitive role as VP of Marketing with offices in London, Singapore and New York. Then, one day, I would be qualified as President, Kiko CEO, and with him, honorary Chairman of the board. A PhD on my business card would give the right look, adding a little extra prestige to the company and, therefore, to him, with me being his son-in-law.

He realised I was articulate and would likely be a good fit to bring more corporate clients to the company, such as Amazon, Walmart, Apple, and a few other shipping contracts he coveted.

He also had plans that would be hard to say no to, and if I did, we could negotiate an acceptable arrangement. As with everything, people can be bought… and cash flow was good.

He also admired me for not accepting Kiko's plans for me to be a kept man in Switzerland with nothing to do. I was willing to walk away from all that and her fortune to find my way without anyone’s help.

As a self-made billionaire who made it on his own, it wasn’t lost on him how much we might be cut from the same cloth. He admired that Kiko couldn’t buy me if it went against my independence and determination.

However, if he paid me a million pounds a year to train and educate myself in business in preparation for a senior management position, surely that wouldn’t go against my pride and ambitions. How could it? It was an investment.

Had I realised the plan being hatched, could I have said no? For the rest of my life, I would have wealth, independence and power.

The only problem with the scheme is that none of this interested me. Besides, I was falling in love with Julie, not Kiko. And if that wasn’t enough, something overwhelming was soon to befall me that would reset the course of my life.

 

CHAPTER NINE

 

A FLASH IN THE PAST

 

 

The following evening, before going into another regression, Julie and I discussed what was revealed in last night’s session and how it aligned with my earliest recollections after waking from my coma.

We were both mystified by this spirit or angel, Selaris, in how she showed up for me, supposedly ushered me back into my body, and later came alongside Julie to walk over the hot coals. It no longer mattered that I hadn’t seen her do this that night since I realised my mind wasn’t open to seeing into the spiritual world, and Julie was because she viewed the world through the filter of her heart.

So who was this Selaris: an angel, celestial guide, or off-world alien in some category of entities no one knew about? Reading the email I had written about cohabitating with two departed spirits, Mo and Eli, had opened my mind as never before. I was now ready to consider any reasonable possibility. Of course, winning Julie’s affection motivated me to stay on my new path towards more magical wonderment. 

Julie hoped Selaris would show up in some way to help us with the regression work since she was new to this and wasn’t sure where to begin. If I had been aware all that time, there would be a lot to uncover, almost a year’s worth of experiences. We talked about this, then decided a good place would be from the beginning of when I lost consciousness during my fall down the mountain.

We then went ahead with the regression, much like last night with the meditation, deep breathing and relaxation. This time, Tony wasn’t around to observe what happened. What occurred was something I wasn’t prepared for and likely never could have been.

I expected my recollection of events would begin when I parted from my body, so I didn’t expect my subconscious mind to take me to the moment I actually fell. As I took that last step across the chasm, I felt the ledge give way under my feet as my body tumbled down the abyss, sometimes striking the canyon walls. I relived it all… right until that last hit.

Then, I observed my body lying at the bottom in a pile of scree that had caught my body at an angle, providing a bloody yet less impactful landing where I slid over the snow, rocks and bushes. Likely, this would have tempered my fall, helping to preserve my body’s mortal life.[23]

As I relived the incident, Julie was about to stop our session and rescue me as I began to panic over my impending death. Then, after a few minutes of silence, I calmed down and began to peacefully and impassionately describe how I saw my unconscious body lying on a path of snow, bleeding to death.

As Julie slowly brought me out of my traumatic trance, the room swirled about after reliving my descent down the chasm’s canyon walls.

‘James, James,’ she whispered, ‘it's okay; you’re safe with me at home. Here’s some water; now rest as long as you need.’

I didn’t just rest; I fell asleep for at least an hour before stirring. ‘What happened, Julie? It’s like I just came out of a horrific nightmare.’

‘You didn’t just dream it; you lived it… your fall.’

‘Really?’

‘It might take a day or two for your mind to reconcile what happened, but you should go to bed now and sleep off your trauma; then, we can analyse things in the morning. It may not have been pleasant, yet you faced your worst fear and how you survived through it all. You can move on now; nothing will daunt you.’

I trundled off to my room and collapsed on my bed, not bothering to remove my clothing.

I don’t know if I dreamt about falling that night, but after almost twelve hours of deep sleep, I felt surprisingly refreshed. It was Saturday, so neither of us had any obligations other than Julie going to the university library later on.

‘What you went through, James, was horrific,’ Julie said as we recounted last night’s session over breakfast. Do you wish to take some time off before we continue with more regressions?’

‘What am I supposed to say? That I’m not man enough to carry on? So hell, yes, I want to find out what happened next. It can’t get much worse than that.’

‘Fine, then we’ll do another tonight when I return.

‘Do you think it would be okay if my friend Luc St Pierre comes over to observe, or would that disrupt the process?’

‘If it wasn’t a problem with Tony, it probably won’t be with him. If it is, he can step away until we finish.’

I texted Luc, telling him we had a couple of sessions, and it seemed to work, so if he would like to come over tonight, we plan to pick things up from where we left off.

He agreed, showing up after dinner, enthused to witness my flash in the past, as he called it. Once again, we went through the pre-hypnotic procedures.

When she asked what I was experiencing, I said, ‘A foresty helicopter is circling above. It descends, though not entirely to the ground, as one crew jumps out to wrap my body in a sling before being lifted into the fuselage and whisking me off the mountain.’

‘Then what happens, James?’

‘I think I must have fallen asleep for some time; possibly it was weeks. Ah, now I’m climbing to the summit. It’s all so effortless. I see two men on top; they speak to me, but I can’t hear what they’re saying. I don’t even know what I’m saying, although I see us passing around what appears to be a bottle of champagne. One of them shakes it to spray me in the face. We all laugh as a second bottle appears after we empty the first.

‘Ah, now we’re partying around a campfire with loads of food and wine… all my favourites. I see us laughing and talking, yet I hear nothing. It’s now late and dark outside; I crawl into my bedroll and fall asleep for the night.’

‘Is there anything else you’re aware of, James?’

‘I’m getting up in the morning as a rainstorm blows over the ridge. I seek shelter, now finding a protruding rock to hide under. The rain has stopped; I smell smoke coming from somewhere and follow it. I see a cabin not far below the summit ridge. One of the men from last night is sitting on a railing outside. I think he’s yelling at me.

That’s fine for now, James. I’m going to ease you back, and we can discuss these experiences.’

‘I still feel a bit groggy, so how did I do?

‘That was quite the performance,’ Luc said. ‘Bravo! Too bad you couldn’t hear what was being said between you and your friends. I wonder who they were and what they were doing there, although it almost seems they were your welcoming committee.’

‘I, too, wish I could have heard what was being said.’

‘For now, we’ll just have to fill in the blanks,’ Julie said.

‘As for who they were, I assume they were the two characters I referred to in my email.’

‘Yes, Mo and Eli, as I recall,’ Luc said.

‘I get the impression they’re not of the earth-plane,’ Julie said. ‘Didn’t you write that the three of you teleported to see your body and me in the hospital? From what you said, they seemed like real-life characters, literally and figuratively, only not of this dimension.’

‘I was wondering about that too,’ Luc said. ‘So, what would that make them? Out-of-body spirits, off-worlders, or were they deceased acquaintances, in which case you would have been hanging out with spooks from the other side.’

‘When you put it that way, it sounds extraordinarily bizarre, if not sobering. Nevertheless, I’d like to find out more. I came away feeling we had a superb time, like a celebration. If only I knew what we said.’

‘As you get more comfortable being in these regressions,’ Julie said, ‘I’m sure you will eventually pick up on what you heard.’

‘As you continue with these sessions, Luc said, you should record all your impressions. Even if you can’t hear what was happening, it would still make one helluva book.’

‘That’s a good idea, Luc,’ Julie said. ‘After we record the sessions, I can do a transcript of what James said and then later add whatever other impressions he might remember before his memory of the session fades.’

‘I wonder how long it will take to do these regressions,’ I said,’ ‘since I remembered everything as if it was happening to me in the present, not just what I reported when responding to your questions. It’s as if hours had been condensed into the minutes I was under.

‘If I wrote about everything, it might require an inordinate amount of time, effort and dedication. With you working on your Master’s, Julie, I’m not sure you should take this on, at least not yet, since we have no markers or points of reference to work with. So things could end up a real mishmash where we’re all over the place without any linear coherence. A chronology of events would have been helpful, but where are we going to get that.’

‘I’m not sure,’ Julie said; ‘still, I think we can string together a plausible narrative of what you were up to while in your coma. I guess we can figure that out as we go along. Besides, we don’t know if you were unconscious most of the time, so there might not be as much going on as we assume.’

‘According to my email message, I never was in a coma; the fall guy was.’

‘Oh yes, the fall guy,’ Luc said. ‘I remember that. Most clever… whoever thought that up. It makes a rather important distinction between you, qua you and your body, the fall guy. So, which are you?’ he laughed. ‘I dare you to ask your ontology class about that to hear what they have to say.’

We spent an hour or two reviewing more details I hadn’t mentioned before, and then later, while in my bedroom that night, I recorded everything I could remember while in this altered reality. Would this become a book someday? I didn’t know, but it was possible.  

 

CHAPTER TEN

 

THE JOURNAL

 

After we did a few more regressions the next week, we were disappointed I couldn’t tell us much of what was going on, except I seemed to be arguing a lot with my companions about something or another. I wish I knew what my problem was, but I had no idea. It seemed I often got riled up, even more so while they patiently sat back with bemused smirks.

Meanwhile, I was living the good life with plenty of wine, ale and everything in between. I don’t know where all the food came from, but whatever I wanted was there. It seemed I often took long hikes along the summit ridge while taking in the breathlessly beautiful vistas of the surrounding sierras.

Then, on Thursday, I received an unexpected text message from an unidentified source. All it said was: Package for you. Stasher Storage, Piccadilly Circus, Pavillion, Unit G2. Tomorrow 21:00 HR. Come alone.

I didn’t say anything to Julie about this in case she wanted to come along. All day Friday, I thought about this mystery. In a way, it sounded like a drug deal coming down, so who knows what I might be getting myself into.

I texted Jule to tell her I wouldn’t be back until later in the evening. After class, I took my time and stopped at Café Lido, where Miguel and I met last time. I wondered if I might see him again, waiting for me in the shadows of the back corner table. This time, however, he wasn’t there.

Near 21:00, I walked to the Piccadilly Cirus storage area as instructed. I was greeted by someone who acted as if he might know me, though I wasn’t sure I had ever met him.

‘You look vaguely familiar; did you once drive a taxi?’

‘As a matter of fact, I have on occasion. Why do you ask?

‘Just wondering. So what’s this about?

‘There’s a package in storage that’s been sitting here with your name on it for over a year. The time has come for you to take it. Don’t worry, someone paid the fees, so it’s all yours.’

With that, he led me to a storage unit down the hall and unlocked the cage door. Inside was a sizeable box.

‘So, what in the box?’

‘Something you lost.’

‘I didn’t lose anything.’

‘Oh yes, you did.’

‘Then where did I lose it?’

‘I understand somewhere on the summit of a mountain in the Andes.’

‘Bloody hell! That’s where I had my fall. So what’s in this?’

‘That’s not my business.’

I lifted the box and took it out of the unit.

‘It’s not light,’ he said, ‘but I’m sure you’ll manage.’

‘I have a question for you; why did you ask me to come here alone?’

‘I was told no one needs to know about what’s inside… unless you decide to share its contents. Have a fine evening, Dr Phillps.’

‘Yes, of course.’

I had no desire to lug this box on public transit, so I called Tony to see if he could come and give me a ride home, explaining I was carrying an awkwardly large box.

‘Sorry, James, I’m out of the city for the weekend.’

‘Never mind, I’ll call Luc and see if he can help since he has a vehicle.’

‘What’s up, James,’ Luc answered.

After explaining my situation, he apologised, saying his wife was out with their vehicle tonight.

‘So what’s in the box,’ he asked.

‘I don’t know, but it must be something large. I’ll tell you more after I open it. Meanwhile, don’t worry, I’ll manage. I’ll take the Tube, then catch a taxi the rest of the way home.’

‘I could hardly wait to see what was inside, but I also wondered who it was that met me, how he knew of me and why he had the key. All he said was that the time had come for me to receive it… whatever that meant.

It seemed he might have been the Caribean taxi driver who helped me up the stairs a few years ago after driving me home that bloody night at the Pig and Whistle – the one who told me to breathe in the fresh mountain air. I should have asked him, but I didn’t.

It was most peculiar how this could find its way here from a mountaintop in Chili when there was no return address, in fact, no mailing address either, only my name. Most extraordinary. I wanted to take a peek inside; however, it was so thoroughly sealed with packing tape I would need a sharp knife to open it.

Julie had already gone to bed when I arrived but got up to greet me, surprised to see this big box on our kitchen table.’

‘What’s this?’

‘I have no idea, but I think we’re about to find out,’ I said as I got a kitchen knife out of the drawer.

‘So, who gave you this box?’

‘I don’t know that either, he didn’t say, but he reminded me of the cabbie who helped me up my flat after an altercation I had a few years back at the Pig and Whistle. But you’re not supposed to know about that,’ I laughed.

‘In any case, he didn’t say much except that it had been in storage for over a year, suggesting that now was the time the contents be revealed to me. Like him, everything seemed shrouded in mystery.’

‘But didn’t he say where the box came from?’

‘Oh, right, I forgot to mention that. According to him, I lost it somewhere high up a mountain in the Andes.’

‘How could that be possible, James?’

‘How? I have no idea… maybe magic,’ I laughed.

‘If you ask me, I’d say this looks like Rhom’s magic. If he could have brought the equation to earth, he certainly could have managed to bring this box to London.’

‘Why not… maybe in his cab or spaceship,’ I laughed, ‘I don’t know which.

‘This is exciting, James. Hurry and open it; I can’t wait to see what’s inside.

I slashed the tape and ripped open the box.

‘What in bloody hell!’ I exclaimed.

‘It appears to be full of hand-written pages,’ Julie said.

‘Oh, my God… oh, my God,’ is all I said.

‘James, what’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.’

 ‘I think I have… my ghost-writer.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Julie, do you recognise my handwriting? I have a very peculiar style.’

‘Are you saying this is all your… you mean you wrote all this? There must be several thousand pages in this box.’

‘I need to sit down… this is bloody unbelievable. I don’t remember writing any of this. But I must have; no one else could; it’s my handwriting exactly.’

‘But why would you write all this?

‘Maybe, if we read them, we’ll find out.’

‘James,’ she shouted as she skimmed a page near the top. ‘This is about your fall, describing things exactly as you did in our session.’ 

‘Holy… do you know what this means, Julie? It means while I was supposedly in a coma, the whole time I was journaling about my experiences in an alternative reality.’

‘It’s all so extraordinary,’ she said. ‘How could this be?’

‘It’s bloody unbelievable, and yet, here it is. So, let’s see what’s below. 

‘I can hardly wait to see what you wrote about what your friends had to say at your welcoming party on the summit.’

‘As I recall from my regression, it should be just a few pages after my fall.’

‘Let’s see; this one seems to be about your campfire when you first arrived there… the one we just did a regression on.

‘What does it say?’

‘Let me quickly read it, and I’ll tell you.’

‘Oh my… one of your friends named Mo is correcting you on a verse you quoted him from the Iliad. He says it was from the Odysee, which astonished you that he would know more than you. It seems, James, you met your match up there,’ she laughed.

‘Which would also explain why it felt as if I was arguing in that last regression. It’s evident from the email message I wrote that these men aren’t of this world, although it seems I hadn’t figured that out at the time, thinking I knew more than them. Am I really that arrogant?’

‘Not since I got ahold of you,’ she giggled. ‘I can hardly wait to read where you, the atheist, get your comeupance after finally realising where you were. That should be fun to read.’

‘I’m sure… at least for you,’ I chuckled.

‘James, it was brilliant of you to record what happened and all that was said; now we’ll be able to understand what was said and put everything in chronological order, provided that’s how your writing is arranged. Isn’t this exciting?’

‘This will change everything. I can hardly believe I had the foresight to do this, but I’m glad I did. This journal will prove what I was up to all that time without spending years doing regressions without having sequence or context. But now we have that, so let’s be careful to keep everything in order when we pull up the pages below to find what’s going to happen next.’

‘Oh, look, you number them at the bottom of each page, so we don’t have to worry about that. I can hardly wait to find those poems we wrote to each other when I was in Camber.’

‘There is so much here,’ I said, ‘it will take us months to plough through all this. But best of all, we can be selective where you regress me because we’ll have context for what was happening at the time.’

‘One of the first things I’d like to find out is who pushed me off a cliff into the ocean. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t have been able to write about it since it would have been the last thing that happened before I awoke. Possibly, it was just a bad dream, although it seems so vividly real in my memory.’

‘If this actually happened, it couldn’t have been me who pushed you off the cliff since I wasn’t on that side; only you were, so it must have been someone who reminded you of me, which would explain why you yelled at me in the operating room.’

‘Someone like who?’ I asked

‘Selaris. From what I remember at the fire-walking ceremony, she appeared to look much like me, only prettier.’

‘I find that hard to believe; how could she look prettier?

‘Oh, please, James, I saw her, not you. Regardless, you said you recall her telling you that she was bringing you back to your body. Do you think she was able to do this by pushing you off the cliff?’

‘I suppose anything is possible in this crazy rabbit hole we’ve fallen into.’

‘Well, at least I can regress you back to then to find if it might have been more than a dream, even if there’s no written record of this final event.’

‘It’s getting late, Julie, so let’s pick up on this in the morning and see where this goes.’

‘Oh, this is so exciting, James; how am I ever going to get back to sleep?’

‘Let’s take our spring break next week to read as much as we can while doing some regressions as we go along. Once we read the journal, we can pick and choose whatever we wish to regress and see what we come up with; otherwise, it might take years to complete all that’s written here.’

‘For one, I want to find out whether you were coming on to me while I was sleeping in Camber, you rascal. I think maybe you were,’ she laughed.

‘Well, if I did try to jump your bones, as they say, then perhaps I should try it again,’ I said as I kissed her. ‘This tension of us remaining apart is keeping me awake at night.’

‘I know James; me too. Come to bed with me; we don’t need to do it… we can just snuggle. I so much want you to hold me in your arms.’

I didn’t need to be convinced since I desperately wanted to make love to her there and then. Yet I sensed she wasn’t ready, maybe because she was waiting for something more than just intimacy… such as marriage, although I knew I could never wait that long, and I doubted she could either.

That night, we came close, but then she fell asleep, breathing softly in my arms. Apparently, she had more resolve than me.

‘James, she said in the morning as I was waking; I made us breakfast.’

‘As I got up and dressed to join her, I thought how wonderful it was to sleep with her last night. I could never remember feeling closer to anyone.’

‘Joining her in the kitchen, I said, ‘I have something to tell you I wanted to say for a long time.’

‘She turned from the counter after pouring my coffee. ‘What is it, James?’

‘I think you already know… I love you!’

‘As she put the coffee pot down, she embraced me while kissing me passionately.

‘Dear, you have no idea how long I’ve waited to hear you say that. All those lonely nights at the hospital, waiting by your bedside, wondering if this moment would ever come. But now it has, and I couldn’t be happier.’

‘Nor could I. I think we know what the next step is.

‘Are you asking me to marry you?’

‘I guess I am, although I never thought I would so soon. I’m hardly prepared since my career remains far from secure. Besides, I haven’t even met your parents, and then there’s always…’

She didn’t let me finish as she took my hand to lead me up the stairs to her bedroom, where she slowly took off her clothes so I could see her just as I imagined. Unbelievable, I thought. 

Then, after removing my shirt, she pulled down my pants and shorts, teasing me with her hands and mouth before pulling me into bed, where we made passionate love like I had never experienced.

It wasn’t just about acrobatics or the merging of our bodies; it was far more, an ecstatic rhythm that expressed a far deeper melding of our souls where, in our unity, I was whole. In that instant of climax, we both felt married… the papers could be signed later.

When we finally got up about an hour later, our breakfast was cold, as was the coffee; regardless, our bodies remained warm for each other all weekend, with lots of happy activity throughout the house while Tony was out of the city.

Later, we went to the university library to make copies of my journal so we could read it whenever we had time. The original would remain safely stored in my files.

By Sunday evening, we had read or skimmed several hundred pages while doing a few more regression sessions on me, such as when I got caught on a ledge while supposedly descending the summit.

‘That was scary, I said. I thought I was about to die until Eli came by to rescue me. I felt relieved, yet humbled for having subjected myself to such unnecessary fear and ignorance.’

‘This experience teaches how fearful beliefs can ruin our lives,’ Julie said. ‘Though you thought you would perish, you were free the whole time.’

Indeed, I was free. With Julie, I no longer feared being abandoned on love’s ledge. As with Eli, I could rise with her to become more of what I was.

Considering how things were developing, I thought it might be time we visited Julie’s parents to tell them we were seriously discussing our future together. After all, they hadn’t even met me as her new roommate, let alone something more.

Though Julie could care less about me not being able to afford an engagement ring, I didn’t wish us to announce our plans until I could prove myself as a fit and resourceful partner by first bestowing her with the elegant engagement ring she deserved.

Again, I thought about bartending on weekends to save enough for a ring, but Julie would have none of that. Instead, she preferred I concentrate on uncovering my secret life in an alternate reality, saying: Seek ye first the kingdom, and all the rest will be added to you,[24] a verse she learned years ago while attending vespers at St Mary Undercroft chapel in Westminster Cathedral. Of course, she was right. Still, I had my pride and dignity, wishing to be self-sufficient.

Without me knowing it, Julie asked her mother if I, as her new roommate, could come for brunch on Sunday. Until now, her parents knew nothing about me since they had been pinning their hopes on Frederich. In particular, Adeline loved the idea of her marrying an up-and-coming medical doctor; nevertheless, she remained concerned about the rocky, non-committal relationship they had the last few years.

Fred had just graduated as a certified medical doctor, so he was no longer just an intern. They assumed he would now have more time for her, and possibly, wedding bells would soon be ringing.

So it came as a bit of a surprise to them to learn she had another arrow in her quiver when I showed up with her on Sunday morning.  Not just that, I’m sure our body language told them all they needed to know that I was more than just a roommate.

I’m not sure if this pleased them or not; I couldn’t tell. In any case, they were most cordial, and so, with my best table etiquette, for which I have my dear Aunt Margaret to thank, I did my best to assure them I was worthy of their daughter’s affection. Of course, they were interested in my background, so I told them my story in brief.

‘After my parents passed on when I was just a lad,’ I said, ‘I was raised by my Great Aunt and Uncle. I’m proud to say Uncle Albert was a respected educator and administrator in the Nottingham area, and so I owe much of my inspiration for higher education to him.

‘Prior to that, I was little more than a rebellious ruffian before they took me in after years of living in foster homes. Upon graduating, I spent a year as a merchant sailor, primarily in the Mediterranean, possibly to relive my father’s sailing adventures.

‘When my romance with the sea had run its course, I enrolled at Reading until graduating, then did my graduate work in Canada, finally completing my doctorate at Edinburgh. For now, I’m biding my time at King’s until I can secure a lectureship in philosophy somewhere in Britain.’

I didn’t say how many decades that might be. In any case, Julie’s father seemed more interested in my academic accomplishments than my financial wherewithal, which was fortunate since I didn’t wish to be embarrassed. And so I was relieved they didn’t seem to have a problem with me being a part-time sessional philosophy instructor.

In many ways, they reminded me of the upper-middle-class family I was with as an adolescent; only Julie’s parents were a generation younger. Like Uncle Albert, Edward was a teacher, except he was also a headmaster at a performing arts school. Julie’s mother, Adeline, was once a music instructor and occasional opera singer in Sydney, where they became acquainted at a conference.

‘So, James, I’m curious, how did you come to meet our daughter?’ she asked.

‘That’s a long story, so I’ll let Julie answer that.’

‘James was one of my patients after a mountain climbing accident in the Andes. I cared for him while he was in a coma for almost a year, but then, just after his awakening, I had to run off to Australia after Dad’s heart attack. Meanwhile, James was convalescing in Switzerland, and he didn’t even know me at the time except for a brief, mostly incoherent, yet fascinating, conversation we had the day of his awakening.

‘Then, one afternoon, by chance, we happened to meet on a park bench by the Thames, although I’m not entirely certain it was mere chance. At first, I ignored him, but then I suddenly recognised him as my former patient. We chatted briefly before meeting again a few days later. Since then, we’ve become good friends and housemates after Karen moved out.’

‘It appears to me that you’re more than just good friends,’ Edward chuckled.’

‘An astute observation, Edward. Let me just say you have a lovely daughter, Edward.’

‘Yes, it’s astonishing how much she takes after her mother,’ he smiled.

‘It’s an honour for me to be her roommate, the nurse who so diligently cared for my body for almost a year. I owe my life to her.’

‘I think I can say the same for her,’ Edward said. For a while after my heart attack, things were nip and tuck, but somehow she got me through.’

‘I’m intrigued by how you met,’ Adeline said. ‘Julie never mentioned any of this to us. I find it interesting how serendipitous your meeting was and not contrived.’

‘Serendipitous is a most appropriate term. I was so lucky; what were the chances? I could easily have sat on the next bench, and yet I felt drawn to where I saw this pretty young woman reading a book, hoping I could strike up a conversation with her.

‘I had no idea she would recognize me and then, to my amazement, start to cry. I didn’t realise then she was one of my devoted nurses. In fact, my most devoted.’

‘I remember,’ Adeline said, ‘Julie mentioning one of her patients was in a coma after falling down a mountain and might not live much longer.’

‘Yes, that was me having a very long nap,’ I chuckled, ‘after tumbling far down an abyss. I was rescued by a corps of angels flying by in a helicopter, then, after being medevaced back to London, I fortuitously ended up in a hospital under Julie’s care.’ 

‘I admire your adventurous spirit, James,’ Edward said. ‘I also did some scrambles in France and Austria in my younger days before my marriage. I guess those days are now over for me, but I hope you continue with your exploits. There’s nothing like viewing the world from a high peak.’

Our visit proceeded most cordially, then, after, Julie said, ‘I think they like you, James. See, you don’t have to be rich, just authentic.’

‘Yes, I could tell your parents are a very down-to-earth couple; I look forward to visiting with them again soon.’

‘I have an idea, James; why don’t we all drive down to Camber next month, where my Great Aunt Emma used to live? I stayed there recently. I want to show you where I believe we exchanged our poems. Hopefully, you recorded them somewhere in your journal… if so, I’d like to find out where.

‘My parents are friends with the tenants, George and Ingrid, so I’m sure we could have a BBQ there since they’re such wonderful people. I’ll talk to my father about this and see if we can arrange a day trip.

‘You could drive my father’s car since he hasn’t driven it since his stroke. He said he would give it to me, except I don’t have a licence, but you could drive it. I’ll check with him on this.’

‘That sounds like fun. So, do you have something else in mind for this trip?’

‘Yes, James, you read my mind… there is. If you are willing, I would like to announce our engagement there… among the dunes where I played as a young girl. This place is so special to me; it was a property my great-uncle owned along the beach.’

‘Then let’s do it, Julie. It sounds like the perfect place for the occasion.’

The week went by quickly, and soon spring break was upon us, where we would have time to read through my journal with as much time as we could make available.

Since our sessions took a while, we decided to read the entire journal and then prioritise the events we wished to return to later for whatever past events would interest us most. I suspected, however, that would include most everything.

Meanwhile, Julie arranged to have someone type the journal so it would be available digitally, where we could effortlessly look up anything with word search rather than having to peruse thousands of pages. At first, I thought it was just a friend of hers who was volunteering her time, not realising Julie was paying for this service.

Before having a chance to read very far, Miguel came by unexpectedly early one evening before Julie returned from the library. I’m not sure where he got our address, and yet there he was with his fedora, grinning as I opened the door.

‘What a surprise, Miguel; do come in,’ I said. ‘What brings you here, or is this just for a pleasant visit?’

‘It’s always pleasant to visit with you, James, although it might be even more so with Julianne. Is she home?’

‘I expect her shortly. I don’t believe you’ve had the opportunity to meet her. I’m sure you will be delighted with her. I know I am; we’re getting along famously.’

‘I’m sure you are, but then, why wouldn’t you?’ he smiled.

‘I thought I’d drop by to see how you’re doing with your journal. Have you read anything yet?’

‘How do you know about my journal? Only a few people have heard about this, and you’re not one of them. So who told you?’

‘Why does that matter?’

‘I don’t want anyone to find out since it might be considered unbecoming in my profession. You know, job security and all.’

‘I don’t think it would be unbecoming, especially when it’s all about you becoming. And oh, by the way, did you ever come across that message I told you about in your email files?’

‘As a matter of fact, I did, and it turned my world upside down. So tell me, Miguel, how did you know that email from Julie’s computer was in my files?’

‘Simple, you told me.’

‘I told you… when?’

‘While we were sailing. You may wish to read your journal about our voyage to the virtual islands.’

‘Just who are you, Miguel? You seem to be suggesting you were with me in my altered reality. So how is that possible?’

‘If you were there, then why couldn’t I? And by the way, it’s not an altered reality so much as a rarified alternative to this constricted third dimension. We were in a whole new octave, the sixth, to be exact. If you remember the holon principle, higher dimensions include and transcend what’s lower. In this case, the earth’s density.’

‘Miguel, are you telling me you’re a frikken alien?’

‘No, I’m not an alien, just a visitor. There’s nothing alien about me.’

‘Wait a minute; tell me you’re joking.’

‘Why would I? I know who I am, just as I know who you are… the fall guy who doesn’t know his limitations when climbing treacherous mountains.’

Just then, Julie stepped inside.

‘Oh, hi Julie. We have a guest I’d like you to meet. Meet my friend Miguel; he’s out of this world.’

‘Very pleased to meet you, Miguel. James mentioned you were his friend when he first enrolled at university. I believe he said you were an astrophysicist.

‘Yes, I dabble in the stars when I’m not sailing the seas,’ he smiled.

‘Most recently, James told me you tipped him off to an email he wrote to me but sent to himself. How did you know about that when no one else did?’

‘James did; he just forgot; I only reminded him.’

‘Oh, I see. Well, actually, I don’t, so I’ll let James explain this to me later.’

‘Julie, you might be interested to know that Miguel already knows about the journal.’

‘Really, that’s surprising; I didn’t think anyone was supposed to know except a couple of friends.’

‘Am I not a friend? In fact, we  go back much further than you or he can imagine.’

‘How far back?’ she asked. ‘Do you mean when James sailed as a merchant sailor in the Mediterranean before enrolling at Reading?

‘A bit before then… back on a spice trading vessel in the Atlantic. It was just after Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. There for a while, he was my First Mate; that’s why I call him Sebastian; that was his name then and, for me, still is.’

‘Oh, so you believe in the preexistence of souls. That’s nice; I’m not sure I do, although I know some hypnotists who claim to do past life regressions.’[25]

‘I came here to help James clarify certain events he recorded in the journal,’ Miguel said, ‘although he was mostly accurate with what he recorded when we sailed to the Flatlands and the Hillcountry in the South Pacific. You can read all about it midway through the journal.’

Julie looked at me, completely mystified by what she was hearing. I looked back at her, astonished, not knowing what to say.

‘Ah… seriously, Miguel… can you prove any of this?’ 

‘Why need I? It’s all there in your journal, in your handwriting. Besides, wasn’t I the one to tell you about your email to Julie that was lost in your university files for almost two years?’

‘Yes, but still…’

‘I have an idea,’ Julie said, ‘why don’t I do a regression on James to prove if you were with him as you say… would that be fine?’

‘Yes, of course,’ Miguel said, ‘that’s an excellent suggestion, Julie.’

‘So, where would you like me to take him?’

‘I have the perfect place. If you are willing, James, allow Julie to regress you to when we met just before embarking on our recent voyages; that should be convincing enough.’

After I lay on the couch with the usual preparations, Julie asked what I saw when I first met Miguel on an island in the South Pacific.

‘I see a man wading through the surf. There’s an ancient ship behind him, something Columbus might have sailed in. He’s approaching me… looking what I imagine to be a pirate. Some of the ship’s sails are flapping in the wind. There’s an old flag on the pole… might be Portuguese.

‘I don’t know what to expect; still, I stand resolute, feeling wary yet curious about who this might be, although I get the feeling he might be the ship's captain. He smiles as he steps up to me on the beach. It seems he recognises who I am.

‘I can’t hear anything; however, it seems we’re talking as he pulls something out of his coat that appears to be a canister. He motions to offer me a drink. I decline as he takes a big swig. We talk some more; now we’re heading towards a hut.’

‘I think that’s all we need for now,’ Miguel said. ‘Bring James back, and let’s see what impressions he takes away from this.’

After a few minutes, I take a drink of water and ask, ‘So, how did I do?’

‘You did well, my friend, but don’t take my word for it; let’s see what you had to say in your journal. Take a look at page 2,394. It seems you’re still finding your feet, so if you would, Julie, please read what James wrote.’

Julie found the page and read from the top:

 

I was about to take my final walk around the island to say goodbye to my exotic and often noisy feathered friends when something curious caught my eye, emerging from the ocean’s horizon in the distance.

Most peculiarly, it seemed like a far-off pole sticking out of the water several knots away that I had never noticed before. But as it drew closer, a ship’s hull appeared to rise higher and higher from the skyline.

Eli and Mo said vessels didn’t come this way since it wasn’t near a shipping route to any ostensible destination where ships would have a reason to sail. I wasn’t sure what it might be, perhaps a navel surveillance ship patrolling the waters for suspicious activity. However, as it grew larger, I could see this was no ordinary boat; it was an ancient ship, sails billowing!

As it sailed closer towards me, I wondered: what’s this… has Magellan lost his way? Indeed, the approaching ship appeared sixteenth-century vintage, similar to Columbus’s Santa Maria.

So, what was going on here, some crazy time-warp delusion? I knew my friends had sent me to a distant island, though I didn’t remember them saying anything about being thrown into a remote era of history, too.

The giant hull continued to loom directly towards me as if I were its target. What was I to do? As a spirit, I could have easily picked up and zapped myself back into the safety of the mountain lodge since I was going there anyway.

However, that would be bad form; Eli would never let me live it down if he found out I didn’t stand up to whatever this was. After all, I had recently confronted my demons, so how could this be worse?

I didn’t move, remaining steadfast beside my hut, amazed as the bizarre scene unfolded before me. I must admit feeling intimidated as the vessel lunged towards me, not slowing down or anchoring but ploughing onto the beach about fifty yards directly in front of where I stood my ground.

Now what? Would I soon be having company from this old beached ghost ship? Fine; if they must, they can have the hut, I’m done with it anyway… and the island too if they like. Whoever was on board would likely be here long since there would be no way of getting this marooned ship off the beach, even with a fleet of tugboats pulling from behind at high tide.

I waited patiently. Still, there was no sign of life on board. Possibly, it was some ancient ghost ship, even if I didn’t believe in that sort of thing, although I’m not sure why not, considering my current state of existence.

Nevertheless, things seemed disquietingly spooky; the massive hulk and masts loomed before me, sails flapping in the breeze. There was an insignia on one sail, although I wasn’t sure what it represented although, for some reason, it occurred to me that it might be from medieval Portugal.

With some trepidation, I was about to cross the beach and investigate when I suddenly noticed a tall, lean pirate approaching me, waist-deep in the surf, from behind the ship’s hull! If he wasn’t a pirate, it sure appeared that way with unkempt captain’s attire, seemingly from centuries ago. Nothing was remotely contemporary about him unless unbeknownst to me; I was now living circa AD 1500. By now, I knew that anything was possible.

Despite having docked at various ports in Spain and Portugal, I knew little of these languages, so I wasn’t sure how much I could communicate with someone from a past era.

After walking unabated through the surf, the man reached shore and kept walking towards me without pausing. I thought this was another good thing about being in spirit form; no one can harm you, be it with guns, spears or arrows… except women can. No matter where you are, they can hurt your feelings, although that’s another story… this was no woman.

Then it occurred to me; wait a minute, how can he see me? I’m not supposed to be visible to mortal eyes. Yet, he looked directly at me as he continued his brisk pace, ever closer. Would that mean he was a spirit, too? Until now, I hadn’t seen anyone in this realm other than Mo and Eli, so this was a bit unnerving. I hoped he wasn’t from the dark side, should such places exist in this cosmos, as Mo had indicated.

About ten yards away, I could tell he looked like a captain befitting an antiquated pirate ship. He appeared middle-aged, unshaven, with long, slightly grey hair. I resolutely stood my ground without flinching, expecting almost anything to happen. Except for what happened! 

‘As you were, mate,’ he said.

Then he laughed a big belly laugh.

‘Who and what are you,’ I asked incredulously. And that ship there?’

‘Sebastian, you don’t recognise your old ship and captain?’

‘Pardon me?’ I asked.

With that, he pulled out what appeared to be a rum canister from his long coat, motioning it towards me to have a swig.

I declined, whereupon he took a big guzzle then smiled at me.

‘You gone dry, matey… what kind of sailor are you?’

Then, for an uncomfortable moment, he stepped closer, looking deeply into my eyes with a penetrating gaze. Then, laughing heartedly, he asked, ‘What do you have to eat?’

‘Some fruit off the trees,’ I said. ‘By the way, you seem a little light on crew; are you looking for recruits?’

He grinned and said, ‘If I were, you’d be the first one I’d hire, First Mate Sebastian de Cartagena. You were one bloody scallywag sailor, even before I ordered you as my successor,’ he chuckled. ‘I’m not presently accepting applications; I only appoint.’ 

‘Do you remember when you took over my ship several centuries ago when I decided to take my leave mid-way across the Atlantic?’ 

‘Oh, yes, I remember it well,’ I said sarcastically. ‘It was on one of those cruise packages through the Caribbean islands – wasn’t it?’

I wouldn’t take him seriously until I knew this wasn’t a ruse.

‘Good memory, Sebastian, indeed, we sailed out of Jamaica, Guadalupe, St Martin and a few other islands before they were known as such. However, there were no tourists; our only lading was a variety of spices.’

I looked at him incredulously; I had never visited any Caribbean islands, although I had considered a winter holiday in Jamaica.

‘Allow me to introduce myself,’ he said, ‘since your memory seems to have lapsed from when you were my First Mate.  You once knew me as your friend and Captain, Miguel de Santandrés of Portugal. That might seem a while since we sailed between Europe and the Caribbean islands, trading in exotic cargo.’

‘Then tell me, Captain, why are you here if you’re not trading spices?’

‘Get me a beachside table, preferably with a view, and I’ll explain why I sailed all this way to meet you for breakfast in the South Pacific. And, oh yes, in case you were wondering, I’m able to accommodate you in your dimension, including several other zones, as need be.[26]

Then, when she finished reading this section, she put the pages down and looked at James with astonishment.

‘I can hardly believe it, James; it all fits with your regression. And not just that, Miguel, how did you know the exact page it was on in the journal? Did James give you a copy?’

‘No, he didn’t; I’m still waiting for my autographed copy. Must have been a lucky guess,’ he said, grinning.

‘Yet you hardly look like a pirate, Miguel. You appear more like the urbane professor James says you were.’

‘I was a Captain, appearing just as I was when Sebastian and I sailed on this same Portuguese ship I hauled out of a time warp. We all looked like pirates back then, or what you imagine as such. Authenticity is important, don’t you think?’

‘I look forward to reading about this episode where you say we sailed off to these islands,’ I said. ‘As you might imagine, Julie and I feel overwhelmed by this revelation.’

‘And that’s why I’m here to help you through your adventures so you understand what was happening. If you publish your adventures, they’ll probably not be much different than your journal since you did a superb job recording them.’

‘Anytime you want to relive our times together, Julie can transport you there, and if you wish, I can help you interpret our virtual reality. I suspect there are some events you will want to live and relive over and over because they are so laden with meaning.’

‘Like what?’

‘Oh, I don’t know; maybe something like falling in love.’

‘Can you give me the page number where we can find that?’

‘As I said before, what occurs prior is essential to understanding what comes later, so if you want to appreciate the full import, read your journal from the beginning since it’s the weave of what you have woven into your life. It’s all good, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.

‘Though we jumped ahead to the incident of meeting on the island, it was only to prove my point that I was your Captain and guide to explore the virtual islands.’

‘Virtual islands… what’s that?’’ I asked.

‘You will find out when you read your journal’s account of our adventure into this exquisite virtual dimension that might now seem more like a dream without being a dream. That’s because the third dimension distorts things unless you come equipped with higher interdimensional strands, which, by the way, you now have thanks to the light code infused in your DNA. It’s just that you now have to activate them.’

‘Why am I not surprised you know about my DNA upgrades, too? Regardless, how am I supposed to do this activation?’

‘Intent, James, intent. Your genomes need to align with the frequency of higher consciousness. The densities of mind and matter intersect when you raise the receptivity of your microtubular cells. Once you raise your consciousness, you only need to intend to activate what’s already there.’

‘I can get into this more later. For now, though, I’m off to attend to some important business related to your planet. One day, I’ll tell you all about it.’

‘Before you go, Miguel, tell us how we might get hold of you if we need more help with these regressions.’

‘Send me a text; you need only do it with your mind. I’ll be sure to get it.’

With that, he left, but not without first looking at Julie’s palm. ‘That’s an improvement,’ he said.

Julie laughed, though she wasn’t sure why.

‘What was that about?’ I asked after he stepped out the door.

‘I’m not certain, but it might have been a tip-off.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘James, do you think Miguel is Rhom?’

‘I don’t know since I’ve never met Rhom… unless I have. From what you read in the journal, he introduced himself as Miguel de Santandrés of Portugal, but maybe we’ll find out more about him as we read on. Meanwhile, we have thousands of pages to read; many we may need to edit out if they’re too philosophical for the reading public.’

‘As for Miguel, I must say, James, you have some rather interesting friends in this world… or should I say, out of this world.’

 

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

 

CAMBER CAPER

 

 

The weekend was coming up in a few days, and we, with Julie’s parents, prepared for our trip to Camber. We decided a day trip would be too short, so we planned to spend Saturday night there, too. I wasn’t sure what the sleeping arrangements might be; however, I needn’t worry; Julie handled it all. She and I would sleep upstairs in George and Ingrid’s residence just as she had last time. Her parents had booked a room nearby in an upscale lodge on the beach.

When we arrived in Camber in the early afternoon, George and Ingrid were ready with an elaborate assortment of food in the backyard near the dunes. It was also a surprise birthday party for Julie, who would turn twenty-six tomorrow.

It was to be unlike any other birthday she ever had.

On Sunday morning, after breakfast, Edward asked Julie if she would join him for a stroll along the beach. 

‘Of course, Julie said. Do you mind if James comes along?’

‘I prefer not. Our beachcombing should be just for us since I have a few things I wish to speak to you about privately that will likely affect your future, which I trust will be for the better.

‘But before I go into that, first, tell me more about James. I know you have spoken to your mother about him since you brought him to meet us, and I must say, we were most impressed… a true gentleman. Certainly not the brawling scallywag he purported to be at the ports, albeit jokingly.’

‘Yes, he likes to brag about that, but don’t believe him. Well, perhaps a little. Just in case, remember I still have my black belt,’ she laughed.

‘From what you told your mother, I understand that you are in love with him, or at least think you’re in love.’

‘I don’t have to think it, father; I know it. It’s most extraordinary; I can’t explain how I felt this even when he appeared lifeless all those months in the hospital. I could never understand why I was so devoted to him; it seemed the magnetism between us became stronger as he got weaker. Of course, I didn’t tell anyone about this… except a taxi driver. But that’s another story.’

‘Most interesting… and we thought you had eyes only for Frederick.’

‘I’m not sure I ever did, certainly not since James arrived on the scene. At least when his body did, though not him.’

‘What are you saying, Julianne?’

‘I’m reluctant to say much, and I hope you won’t think I’m crazy. I recently found a whole lot was going on between us, even while he remained in a coma.’

‘And how would you know that?’

‘Well, thanks to you and Mom, I’ve diligently pursued my psychology studies, specialising in therapeutic regressions. It’s not exactly mainstream, and yet it continues to gain acceptance. My thesis will centre on out-of-body experiences, and James will be my focus. That’s if they let me.’

‘Why James?’

‘Because I have regressed him several times now and have discovered much that can’t be explained other than he had to be out of his body. In fact, some of these experiences were with me.’

‘Can you prove this?’

‘I will attempt to do so in my thesis. Some will believe me; some won’t; it doesn’t matter. I hope to win over as many sceptics as possible with rational and reasoned arguments. I could hardly care less about the cynics whose minds remained closed to anything outside their narrow boxes.’

‘That’s fascinating about James; I would never have suspected that about him. I’d like to hear more sometime when you complete your thesis.’

‘Why wait? You may read it now in his journal. He is using it as a template to write about his life while in a coma as he interpolates what he experiences in the hypnotic regressions we’re doing with some of the major events he recorded in the journal.’

‘I’ll be interested in taking a look at it later. So, how does James feel about going public with what he’s recorded?’

‘It’s a concern for him since he doesn’t wish to compromise his credibility with the university faculty. He hopes to secure a full-time position as quickly as possible, with or without tenure, so I’m not sure how he will handle this disclosure.’

‘Why is that such a big deal for him? He’s young, and there’s plenty of time to establish his career. Is it because he’s concerned about money?’

‘We don’t talk about finances since he has little to contribute as a part-time sessional instructor. I’m sure this weighs heavily on his mind as he considers our future together.’

‘Speaking of which, Dad… spoiler alert! James and I are going to announce our engagement tonight.

Edward stopped and faced her, looking a little bewildered.

‘Are you surprised?’

‘Yes, of course, since we only recently met him before this weekend. Still, you know him better than we do, so I’m pleased if you feel he’s the one for you. Your mother and trust your judgement. So, congratulations! You have our blessing, Julianne. Your mother and I talked about this possibility, although we didn’t suspect it would happen so soon, even though it was apparent you both were in love with each other. I won’t say anything to her; I’ll let you and James surprise her.’

Having gone some distance, Edward was ready for a short rest since he didn’t wish to push things, given his heart condition. After finding a large driftwood log to sit on among the dunes, they continued to chat. He laid his hand on hers, not something he would have done prior to his heart attack, but now he was much less inhibited in expressing his affection towards her. It was apparent he must have something exceptionally personal to say to her.

‘So, now, my sweet daughter, I have a surprise for you. It’s something I’ve wanted to tell you for a long time; however, I promised not to say anything until your twenty-sixth birthday. Now, since this is that special day, I can finally tell you… but only when your mother is present. I want her to be part of this announcement.

‘But who said you can’t say anything about whatever you’re about to tell me?’

‘Your Great Aunt Emma; it was to remain a secret and has remained so all these years.’

‘Then give me a hint; I love secrets but love them more when they’re no longer secrets. So what can you tell me?’

‘I can tell you that you were born at 8:15 pm on this day twenty-six years ago, so your mother and I wish to announce this to you tonight at that precise time. To honour Aunt Emma, that’s how we planned this. Remind me if I forget,’ he teased.

‘I’m rested now, so let’s head back to the house. I believe we have a little party planned for you.’ 

While Julie was with her father, I remained upstairs in the bedroom, absorbed in reading my journal with much fascination and, at times, astonishment. I was thankful that my summit companions had the foresight to insist that I journal all I was experiencing, including many of our deep philosophical discussions.

  I couldn’t wait to share with Julie how much I was learning about my alternate life. As for Miguel, it seems he already knew my story and, in fact, was very much part of it.

After Julie and her father returned, we celebrated Julie’s birthday, complete with wine, Vodka,[27] caviar, much laughter and, of course, cake with candles. By then, Tony, my new friend Luc, and his wife, Kathleen, had driven to Camber to join us in this intimate celebration.

They weren’t the last; later, Bridgett, her lifelong friend, a few close nursing friends, and their boyfriends joined us later in the afternoon. Julie and I had already decided this would be the perfect time and location to announce our surprise engagement. To spare Fred any humiliation, we didn’t extend an invitation, which is why he remained noticeably absent.

George and Ingrid had gotten to know Julie after she rented the upstairs bedroom a couple of years ago, and so they often communicated after Edward’s heart attack. They had known him for as long as they had lived there since, unbeknownst to Julie, he was their landlord.

Julie told them how she enjoyed watching the boys fly their kites along the beach when she was a young girl. In particular, she remembered the blue and red kites swooping, soaring and diving in the ocean breeze. So, it was a pleasant surprise when Ingrid presented Julie with her birthday gift of two kits, blue and red; one for her and one for me.

Naturally, Julie was thrilled. After we ran down the beach and managed to fly the kites as high as we could in the ocean breeze, everyone else wanted a turn, too, turning into a big hit and a happy distraction from all the wine and food.

As a side note, a couple of weeks later, Julie jumped ahead in the journal and came across a description of this incident of watching the red and blue kites as a young girl.[28] How could James have known that, she wondered, since he wasn’t there? That shouldn’t have been in the journal. So, who told him? It was an enigma she thought about for days without resolution.

Now, as the sun neared the horizon, Julie gathered everyone together.

‘I’m so happy many of our closest friends could be here to celebrate my birthday. Thank you, everyone, for coming all this way. I know it wasn’t just to fly kites,’ she laughed.

‘But there’s another reason we invited you here. James and I have an announcement. James, would you like to say a few words about what we have to share with everyone?’ 

‘Ah, yes, Julie. I thought you were going to do this part, not that we had it rehearsed. Okay, so I’ll be blunt. Julie and I plan to get married! We haven’t set a date, but we will soon. You’re all invited.’

At first, there was stunned silence, then whistles with shouts of bravo and congratulations.

‘And now, I will allow Julie to say a few words about why we wish to marry.’

‘Though we’ve only known each other well for a few months,’ she said, ‘not counting that year I knew him as just another stiff in the hospital,’ she giggled. ‘I must say, he certainly has come alive, hasn’t he?’

Everyone laughed, knowing all too well about her faith, fortitude and dedication to my body that year. Julie then said how thankful she was for her healthcare sisters, who helped bring me back from the brink of death.

‘I would be remiss,’ she said, ‘if I didn’t mention Frederich and his crucial role in advancing the new laser technology that jolted James out of this slumber.’

‘Here’s to Fredrich, I said, raising my glass of wine.’

‘To Freddy,’ the crowd responded. 

‘Now bring out the Champagne,’ Julie shouted. ‘Let’s party! For anyone wishing to camp tonight in the dunes, we’ll have a simple English breakfast for you in the morning.’

Shortly thereafter, Edward took Julie aside and asked if he and her mother might have a few words with her. With everyone celebrating her birthday and engagement, she had almost forgotten what he said earlier about a surprise, nor had she given any thought to what this might be.

While I was sitting at the outdoor fire behind the house, having celebratory drinks with Luc, George and a few other men, she told me she would be upstairs in our bedroom with her parents for a few minutes. I suspected they wanted a special family time to wish her well regarding our engagement since Adeline was beside herself with excitement, having no idea we would be making this highly significant announcement tonight.

‘We won’t keep you long from your friends,’ Edward said while sitting with Adeline on the side of the bed. ‘We have a special birthday gift we want to give you. We’ve been looking forward to this for a very long time, although it’s not really from us; it’s from your Great Aunt Emma.

‘Before her passing seven years ago, she asked us to give it to you on your twenty-sixth birthday. It’s now your birthday, precisely eight-thirty PM, Greenwich time. So here it is.’

‘I can hardly imagine what this might be,’ Julie said. I don’t see anything, so what is it? Aunt Emma’s elegant dinnerware or some other treasure she stored away?’

Her mother looked at Edward, scarcely able to contain herself about what he was about to tell her.

‘Julie, I believe you have some fond memories of this house and property, do you not?’

‘The very best; my times here with Aunt Emma were among the happiest days of my life as a girl. And yes, I love this house, particularly this bedroom I stayed in all those summers. So much remains the same, including the books of poetry on the shelf and possibly even this bed we’re sitting on.’

‘It was so special when I rediscovered this place when I came to Camber a couple of years ago on my little retreat. It was like I had returned to my home on the beach after this time.’

‘So, Julianne, what if you really did return to your home?’

‘What do you mean, Dad?’

‘I mean, what if this was all yours and has been ever since Aunt Emma passed on?’

Julie appeared wide-eyed, gobsmacked.

‘What Edward is trying to say,’ her mother interrupted, ‘is that Aunt Emma left you this property in her will.’

‘It’s now yours, Edward said, ‘no what-ifs about it and here are the keys.’

‘I’m not sure I know what to say,’ Julie said, still looking bewildered.

‘Let me explain,’ he said, ‘it gets better. Aunt Emma willed it to you, along with a great deal of assets that have been held in trust for years, to be released to you on this date. Since I was appointed the executor of her estate, I have overseen these assets, including the rental of this house.

‘You probably didn’t realise your Great Uncle Oliver owned several beachfront properties in Camber. He was not only a banker in London, on the side, he was also quite the entrepreneur.

‘All but this house and one adjacent lot was sold several years ago, with about half the asset proceeds distributed to her few surviving relatives. In accordance with the will, the remaining half was to be split evenly between you and us. We wanted you to own this house because we knew how meaningful it was and remains so for you.

‘Your portion of the cash assets we have held in an interest-bearing account now amounts to well over two million pounds and continues to grow more every day, not to mention the value of this property.

‘So… happy birthday, Julianne!’

Still, Julie didn’t say anything. Then, as it began to sink in, she started to weep profusely as her mother embraced her.

‘Now, Julianne,’ he said as she composed herself, ‘you are free to do as you please with these assets. When we return home, we will transfer the funds and property titles from the estate to your name. Henceforth, you will need no one’s authorisation but your own.

‘We know you will use your inheritance judiciously and wisely. That’s why your aunt wanted to wait until you were at this stage of maturity. We would advise the fewer people who know about this, the better.

‘Should I tell James?’

‘Of course, although you may wish to wait for a time you deem most appropriate. As I’m sure you realise, this splendid largess from Aunt Emma could create problems for both of you if you don’t handle it expeditiously.

‘Yes, you’re right. I know how badly James wishes to prove himself to me and, I suppose, to himself too, on how he can make it in this world. As you know, he’s beginning to write a book he believes could earn him some respectable cash in the future.’

‘Meanwhile, you can tell James so he’s not to worry about money as he continues to write his story. With me being the executor, you can truthfully say the money for Julie’s living and education expenses came from our inheritance, so he doesn’t feel diminished or beholden to you.’

‘For now, I think that’s a reasonable approach,’ Julie said. Still, I want him to know this beach house is mine and that I don’t intend to sell it to anyone… ever. This bedroom will be our get-away love nest, and so I will arrange with George and Ingrid to reduce their rent so they won’t need to sublet the upstairs to subsidize their rent. That way, James and I can occupy the upstairs suite anytime we like while our renters continue to maintain the property for as long as they remain here.’

‘And don’t forget, Edward said, ‘the net rent you collect on this property means you will continue to receive a monthly income besides the interest accruing to you on your cash asset account. I’m sure you will be interested in finding out how much the rent and returns on trust account investments have accumulated and compounded over the years. It’s most impressive, but we’ll go over all that when we sign the trust account over to you at the bank next week.’

After discussing this new and exciting twist in Julie’s life trajectory, they went outside to join the happy revellers around the campfire. It had been a long day, so after a while, her parents returned to their lodging not far down the beach.

Julie could hardly wait to tell James about her owning this house; however, she thought she should wait until they were married. She realised he wasn’t marrying her for her money since he didn’t know about any of this, so it might be best to keep it that way for a while.

For the rest of the evening, she was more than her cheerful self, feeling like she had just come into a fortune. With her on such a high, we assumed she had a few too many spiked mimosas. Why not? It was her birthday and engagement party. By the time we happily retired to our bedroom, she had her share of libations, as did I.

The next day, on Easter Monday, we returned to London all very pleased with how well the weekend had gone, although some friends who camped in the dunes and stayed up half the night looked a little green in the morning.

Julie knew her life would never be quite the same as she thought about her new-found wealth and how they could settle into marriage without having to worry about money. She thought about how I would be free to write as I pursued my career while she continued her studies to become a psychologist.

Still, she preferred the simple life, so things wouldn’t have to change that much; they could have a down-to-earth wedding on the beach, with George and Ingrid catering.

We already had her father’s car to go whenever we wanted and didn’t need much more, although a camper would be nice to travel through Europe. If we wanted, we would go to Camber each weekend, where Julie could prepare her thesis upstairs while I shared a vodka with George on the back veranda. It would be perfect.

After spending Tuesday morning in Central London with Edward taking care of her new account, they decided to celebrate with lunch at the Café Lido diner, where she had met Rhom well over a year ago. Possibly, he would be there again.

As it turned out, he was, just not the Rhom she remembered. Instead, she found Miguel waiting for them as if reading her mind, which he likely did.

Surprised to see him, she said, ‘Dad, I’d like you to meet Miguel, one of James’ friends who once taught astrophysics at Reading.

‘Miguel, this is my father, Edward.’

‘I’d like to congratulate you, Edward, on raising such a wonderful daughter. As James’ friend, I know her better than she might suspect. Without a doubt, they will be most happy together since they are the perfect match.’  

‘Wait a minute, Miguel, how did you know we were planning to get married? We just announced it on Saturday.’

‘You didn’t need to say anything; you’ve been announcing it to everyone who’s seen you together.’ 

‘I think you’re right, Miguel,’ Edward said, ‘my wife and I picked up that the first time we observed their body language.’

After our order was served, Miguel excused himself. ‘I must now take my leave; the heavens require my attention.’

‘I suppose that’s all in a day’s work for an astrophysicist,’ Edward said; ‘those constellations just won’t stay put, will they?’ he chuckled.

‘Nor will Julie and James; they are headed for the stars; it’s only a matter of time.’

‘Pleased to meet you, professor,’ Edward said. ‘Until next time.’

Julie wanted to say a few things about this mysterious man who accompanied James to some alternative dimension. However, she thought it might be best not to say too much. What Miguel said was often too weird to be believable, even though the regression was spot on, proving him to be who he claimed to be as James’s Captain.

‘I wish my typist friend doing the digital format for James’ journal would hurry,’ she said, ‘but then, there are a lot of pages to type.’

‘Why are you waiting on just one typist, Julianne, when you can afford to hire a secretarial pool? About an hour ago, you signed the bank documents and are now rich with more cash accruing each day, so why not spend some of it on a worthy cause?’

‘You’re right, Dad; I’ll do it.’

‘After the journal’s non-disclosure agreements for are signed,’ he said, ‘you could scan and distribute a few hundred pages to each typist, and within a week or less, the journal could be online, ready for editing and publication.’

After lunch, I picked Julie and her father up at Trafalgar Squares. For now, neither said anything about their business downtown, so I didn’t ask; however, she told me they ran into Miguel at the same diner where he recently encountered him.

‘That must be a hang-out of his,’ Edward said. ‘He seemed most affable, although there was something about him that seemed a bit alien. You know him well, James, what do you think?’

‘I get that impression, too,’ I said with a smirk, ‘although I’m sure for an alien he’s harmless,’ I laughed.

Julie smiled, still unsure what to think about my friend.  

It was spring break, so for the next week, we both bore down and read more of the journal’s exciting intrigue, including where I first learned how to teleport after I thought I was stranded on the ledge.

Things would have gone much quicker with our reading, but since I couldn’t resist Julie regressing me whenever I had a question about something I said or did in the journal, we didn’t get as far as I had hoped. I was always wondering what it was like and how it felt then so I could better elaborate on what I had previously written in the journal. For one, I was shocked and flabbergasted to learn I could teleport anywhere. How could something so impossible be possible?

As for Julie, she appreciated having these opportunities to practice her hypnotherapy on me. Not wasting time, she found an agency to do the typing with a pool of online typists. However, she didn’t tell me, wanting it to be a surprise when it was done.

And done it was… all by the end of the week. After reviewing several pages and finding them reasonably accurate, with only a few punctuation marks and the odd quotation mark missing. She then downloaded the file on her hard drive and backup stick. There were 3,293 pages, close to my hand-written version.

She then printed a few copies for us to share. Though she could have afforded to have it printed commercially, she justified copying this at the university since this journal would be part of her thesis research.

Even before giving me a copy, she couldn’t wait to find where we seemingly exchanged poems one night in Camber, wanting to see if I recorded what we partially remembered.

Sure enough, it was all there. Simply going to Word’s Navigator feature, she typed in the word poem and then located where it was composed in the journal. It wasn’t long before she found the poem I sent her when she thought she was dreaming.

All this was astonishing to us, not just because it verified the poems we sent to each other but how I could have gotten my words into her mind while she was sleeping.  Next, she typed in Rhom and found hundreds of references to him.

 

 

 

Then, in amazement, near the end of the journal, she read about her encounters with him, including when he drove her home from the pub in a taxi with me, unbeknownst to her, my astral body sitting beside her in the backseat – no wonder Rhom knew everything that was going on in her life.

 Yet it wasn’t just him that intrigued us; it seemed I had a girlfriend who, for whatever reason, was also called Julie, who seemed to be an intimate part of my life during the last half of the journal. That was most concerning to her, and so she would have to immediately find out who this was and get to the bottom of what was going on between her and me.

With her curiosity piqued, she could hardly wait to find where I met this Julie. However, I reminded her, just as Miguel advised, she needed to read the entire journal from beginning to end to understand what was going on and have some context for what was being said and by whom.

That was fine; still, she couldn’t wait. While scrolling down the pages the next day, she noticed something in Vienna that troubled her. Astonishingly, one of my friends, Jan, said she was rich, or at least soon would be.[29] Of course, that was true, yet how could he have known that back then, even years before she did?

Regardless, it wouldn’t do for me to find this little disclosure in the journal, at least not yet. Realising I had been honest about Kiko and how I had rejected the life of being a kept man, Julie couldn’t risk me finding out about her wealth in the journal, lest I reject her as I had Kiko out of a sense of pride or inadequacy.

Yet her concerns weren’t unfounded; it was interesting that in these few pages of dialogue with Jan, I, too, acknowledged this potential problem. And so, there was no way around it; she would have to do something about this by deleting that conversation before I saw it.

One day, she rationalised, she would confess what she did, but not until we were married and enough time passed when I was secure as a professor or whatever else that might be… possibly a successful writer. But for now, she wanted to preserve my dignity lest her wealth come between us.

It wasn’t difficult for her to make the necessary revisions to the journal; nevertheless, she would have to reprint it from that point so that the pages would align.

The only risk would be if I saw this conversation in my handwritten journal, although it would be possible to remove a page or two where I might assume these pages somehow got lost. It probably wouldn’t matter, however, since I’d only be working with the computer copy once she got it into my hands.

Still, that was a close call. Hopefully, nothing else in the journal might compromise our relationship. So, early the next day, Julie returned to make a revised copy. She was now well over her copy limit for the year. That didn’t matter. She had the money, so all was well and in control, except she felt a little guilty about her sleight of hand, though it might be for a good cause. 

That evening, Julie presented me with a printed copy after forwarding a digital copy. Obviously, I was delighted to receive the journal in this format. Not only would it be easier to read, but cross-referencing with the computer would significantly accelerate the editing process. It surprised me the typist could have accomplished all this so quickly. All Julie said was that her friend had some help.

For the remainder of the week, I continued to read while making additional notes of my experiences after each regression. It would take more time, yet well worth it, to interpolate my deepest thoughts and feelings into the manuscript.

It was then we decided that Julie should include her private experiences in my story, such as her initial encounters with her doubleganger, Rhom and her retreat at Camber. She was an integral part of my story, so over the next while, she composed her part in this year-long drama. We then interpolated her unique events and perspectives into the digital edition of the journal at the appropriate junctures.[30]  

Though this added significant content to the books, I decided some of the deeper philosophical discussions need not be included in my book, or at least this book. Even I struggled to comprehend some of the deeper esoterica that Mo and Eli discussed with me.

By the end of the week, I had read up to where we made our intercontinental leap to London to meet Julianne and my body, which I had dubbed the fall guy. Julie thought my fall guy appellation was hilarious yet most appropriate.

I asked her to do a regression on me where she walked through me in my hospital room so I could feel if it turned me on or not. She laughed before regressing me. It was a weird and wonderful feeling. Though it didn’t feel sexual, yet there seemed to be a quirky intimacy to it as she passed through. It felt good, so I asked her to regress me again.

‘Just like when we make love,’ she laughed. ‘Always wanting more.’

It was true; my libido and sexual stamina remained in overdrive since my awakening. Julie didn’t complain, except sometimes when she didn’t get enough sleep.

Only months later, near the end of the journal, did I fully understand my new sexuality, what else was happening to me and how the equation’s light code caused my DNA to expand into more stands, allowing me, once activated, to achieve all kinds of extraordinary feats. As I was about to discover, these would not be limited to conventional physicality but also various multidimensional abilities.

Much began to happen as I returned to my classes after Easter break. For one, several students in my classes remained genuinely interested in knowing what it was like to be in a coma and then wake up after being asleep for so long. As before, I couldn’t resist asking them why they assumed I was unconscious, just because my body was laid up.

That raised the question of out-of-body experiences and how this could be real if we’re nothing more than bodies.

‘But are we?’ I would ask.

Beyond that, all I would say is that they could read all about it someday when my books came out. Some of the more militant atheists in my class didn’t like me leaving the door open for any possibility of metaphysical experiences. Too bad, I told them…what made them think the third dimension was all there was to reality?

Some of my colleagues must have gotten wind of my story and begun to ask me more about this supposed dream I thought I had. Since I can never resist stirring the pot, I would ask which dream, the one I came out of or the one I entered into here with them.

The more we read my journal, the more we became curious about who Mo and Eli were.

‘Notwithstanding what Miguel advised us, Julie said, I sometimes find it hard not to jump ahead here and there. Well, I confess I did this again today, and fortuitously, I happened upon a few sentences where Mo and Eli were encouraging you to contact them anytime if you wish.’

‘Oh, really? And did they say how?’

‘Do you know someone by the name of Madame Peyroux?’

‘Yes, in fact, I just saw her not long ago after I found my mysterious email to you. I’ve been seeing her for years for her stimulating massages.’

‘Stimulating?’

‘Well, yes, but not like yours,’ I smiled. ‘Anyway, what did my friends say?’

‘You can find out for yourself by reading it in your journal… here’s the page.’

‘Ah, that’s amazing, I said after reading the dialogue. But how would they have known I knew her?’

‘Maybe you told them.’

‘Ah, right. Of course, I guess I did… now it makes sense.’

‘We should go to see her sometime and find if there’s something they wish to say to me now that I’m back on this side of the fence. They might also be interested in knowing if I recovered my journal, but then, if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have known about them except for what little I wrote in my email message. Also, I wouldn’t mind having more discussions with them, provided they’re not too busy strumming their harps.’

‘Is that what you were doing?’

‘No, however, from what I read, I used to strum Eli’s guitar at the lodge.’

So, if we go, James, what else would you ask them?’

‘I won’t know until I finish reading my journal. I’m sure I’ll have lots of questions. Most of all, I’d like to find out how things are where they are and what they’re up to now that they don’t have me to argue with.’

‘Aren’t you going to ask them about me?’

‘From what I’ve read in the first six hundred pages, that might not be necessary. Remember, they’re the ones who set me up with you.’

‘At least you could tell them we’re engaged.’

‘I have no doubt they know. I’m more concerned Eli might ask me if I have enough money to get married when I can’t even afford to buy you an engagement ring. That would be just like him.’

‘Who cares about that!? Instead, why not write me a book of love poems? They say diamonds are forever; well, they're not; only love is.’

‘Yes, but I’m a philosopher, not a poet. As it’s said, all good poets are philosophers; philosophers are not good poets; however, with your charm, you might turn me into a Lord Byron aficionado.  Would you like that?’

‘Lord Byron… how do you know about him? He was such a romantic.’

‘While you were walking on the beach with your father at Camber, I was upstairs reading my journal, then noticed a book of English poetry your Aunt Emma left in our bedroom. For some reason, I was drawn to Byron. I knew about him, although I don’t recall reading his poetry. So, guess which poem I happened to turn to?’

‘I don’t know; which one?’

‘She Walks in Beauty. I even remember a few of the lines:

 

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright.

But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!’[31]

 

‘Ah, such romantic words, James. I’m delighted you would remember these.’

‘It was easy; all I had to do was think of you.’

‘That was sweet, if not a bit unctuous and out of character for you,’ she laughed. ‘So, my dear Lord Byron, if that’s how you feel about me, see if you can write a poem like that for me, and I will forever wear it, not on my finger, rather I will wear it on my heart.’

 

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

 

   SPECTRE IN THE STORM

 

 

Edward seemed quite fond of me, his future son-in-law, and so wanted to do all he could to ensure his daughter’s marriage would be successful. As things stood, my career path appeared to be stalled, and it could take years before I would be granted a full-time lectureship, let alone a tenured position, unless I sought out greener pastures out of the country.

Yet, he said he would do whatever he could to prevent this from happening. With his compromised health, the last thing he wanted was to be away from his daughter, who had taken exceptional care of him and may have saved his life. Because he had a close call with his congenital heart condition, they considered selling their house in Melbourne so they might remain close to Julie year-round.

Interestingly, I soon discovered that Edward had a secret he never told anyone about, not even his wife. Though he had lapsed into unconsciousness earlier in the day of his heart attack, no one realised how deeply.

‘After he found something was going on with me while I was in my coma, he became interested in knowing how this might relate to what he encountered across the unknown.[32] So when Adeline told him she would be out most of the afternoon at her bridge club, he called to ask me if I had time to come over to discuss something he considered of importance.

Since I had no classes that afternoon, I told him I’d be over by 2:00. I had no idea why he wanted to meet me except possibly to pass on some advice or wisdom about his daughter.

After sharing some port, he surprised me by saying, ‘I was wondering if you could help with something I’ve had on my mind this last year, but I didn’t know who I could talk to about this concern.

‘I’d be pleased to help if I can. Is there something I should know about Julie?’

‘I’m sure there is,’ he chuckled, ‘although I likely wouldn’t be the one to know. You can find that for yourself. I’m sure all will be fine as long as you don’t get in her way. Women often surprise us when we least expect it, often delightfully so. For example, Julianne recently mentioned that you’re writing a book on what might be of interest to me. Unless it's a secret, would you care to tell me more about this?’

‘If it is a secret, I hope it won’t be for long once it’s completed. I expect it might turn into a tome containing several hundred, if not thousands, of pages since there’s so much I wish to say.’

‘The only reason I wish to keep it a secret for now is some of my disclosures could be considered controversial among certain colleagues in my department. Securing a full-time position and gaining tenure is very important to me, especially now that I’ve committed to Julie. I want to be a good provider, not an unemployed, overeducated professor. So I’ve got to be careful how I handle this.’

‘I don’t mean to pry, but would you be willing to tell me more about the subject of your book? What little Julianne told me about your ill-fated expedition to Chili has piqued my interest, and so I wish to share a secret I’ve kept hidden since my heart attack. Being your future father-in-law, I think it's safe for me to tell you in confidence what’s been on my mind.’

‘Most definitely, you can trust me with your secret, then I can tell you about mine.’

‘That’s jolly, then we’ll be even,’ he chuckled. ‘I think we mutually share some very extraordinary events in our lives. From what Julianne indicated, I understand some interesting things occurred to you while in a coma.’

‘That would be a vast understatement,’ I laughed. ‘But before I say more, tell me what happened to you, and we can take it from there.’

‘I died.’

‘You what?’

‘I died, I literally died, but was sent back to this world from wherever I was. It was such a magnificent place, or, I should say, a state of existence, that I will never forget it. In fact, I wasn’t sure I wanted to return to this world. It might have only been seconds, but I remember it as hours’

‘Well, then, Ed, in that respect, I think you got it on me. I didn’t die, although I lingered for a long time, in fact, almost a year.’

‘That’s amazing, James, but how do you know it was that long and not just a time warp like mine?’

‘Oh, that’s easy. I kept notes. More specifically, I journaled everything I experienced the whole time. That’s how I’m able to write my book; it’s all there. I don’t know what the sceptics will say, but I can verify it all because some of it had to do with what I experienced here in London, not just there.’

‘You mean with Julianne?’

‘Yes, with her and a few others. Sometimes, she practices her hypnotic regressions on me so I can fully re-experience what I wrote about.’

‘From the sounds of it, you went far deeper down the rabbit hole than I did.’

‘So far down I came out the other side,’ I chuckled. ‘As I often say, Alice has nothing on me.’

‘Now tell me more about your experience.’

‘After being rushed to the hospital at a crucial time in the middle of the night, I experienced the most surreal moment I could have ever imagined, overwhelmed by light beings in a mysterious dimension, more beautiful and profound than words can describe.

‘There was little I could say in the aftermath of my stroke, so I kept it all to myself. If I had tried to tell others, they probably would have said it could easily be explained by what my brain had contrived in that stressful state.

‘As a nominal Church of England adherent, I didn’t think about the afterlife or religion too much, even though I encouraged Julie to attend catechism classes when she approached adolescence. As a result of my NDE, I thought more about my mortality and where my soul might be destined. Hopefully, it will be to a place much like I visited, where I met more than beings of light; there were many others that I hope to see again on those distant shores that were just like me.’

‘I’m curious, Ed, did you see anyone you knew on the other side?’

‘I remember a few of my relatives, including our dear Aunt Emma. There may have been more. I should get Julie to regress me like she does with you so that I can remember more.’

‘Oh, really… Aunt Emma! I danced with her. What a charming woman.’

‘Wait a minute, James, there’s no way you could have known her since you never met her in this world.’

‘No, I didn’t, but she knew me. In fact, I just read about her in my journal. Sometimes, just for fun, I skip ahead to see what’s coming. This morning, I opened it randomly and read I was dancing with a beautiful, strawberry-blond young lassie who told me she was Julianne’s Aunt Emma.

‘She mentioned how Julianne used to stay with her at her beach house during summer when she was a young girl and still has as much affection for her as ever. I was told to take good care of her favourite niece.

‘She also enjoyed participating in the Riverdance, which I witnessed her doing that night. Very agile.’

‘That’s astonishing, James; she did have Scottish strawberry hair and loved to be in Riverdance performances while in her youth. To me, she was just as beautiful when she was old as when she was young.’

‘If you don’t mind, I’d love to read more about her and some others you met. Julianne indicated she would get me a copy of your journal if I wanted.’

‘Yes, please read it. But you ought to write about your experiences too so we can compare notes. Though I remained on Earth, I existed in a higher dimension. It wasn’t heaven, although, at times, it seemed I was somewhere along the way. Unlike you, I didn’t make it the distance since I was somewhere in between in a state I call Elysium’s Passage.

‘Well, now that we have all that established, we can be relatively confident we’re both off the beam,’ he laughed, ‘so it doesn’t matter what we think about each other’s craziness since it’s mutual. And to think I once wanted a son-in-law who was a doctor, lawyer or engineer, but you take the cake, James.’

‘If I do, it’s not because I intended any of this to happen to me. I went up that mountain an agnostic and sometimes atheist, then came down to Julie in a mystical sea of divine light. So now I’m still trying to figure it all out.

‘At least I have Julie to help me understand all this since she seems to have a good handle on all this soul stuff I’m not conversant with… so good that I’m making her my spiritual mentor,’ I laughed.

‘She has always been inwardly astute, yet, until recently, has never connected much with like-minded seekers. That’s why you two will be exceptional for each other.’

‘Speaking of exceptional, did you know your crazy daughter walked a hundred feet across a hot bed of coals and didn’t even come away with a blister? How does one even get the courage to try something like that?’

‘No, I didn’t know that, but then, with Julianne, nothing surprises me; she  can fend off men twice her size and leave them sprawling on the floor with a few well-placed jujitsu moves.’

I laughed. ‘I just read in my journal where Julianne left some poor lout writhing on the floor after kneeing him in the balls after he tried to grope her. I’m sure he won’t forget that she isn’t about to share her blessed breasts with just anyone,’ I laughed.

‘I didn’t hear about that incident since she’s not one to brag about anything or anyone… except you.’

‘Okay, then, Ed, I’ll email a copy of my journal since Julie had it typed. If you’re interested, next time I see you, I can also bring a copy of my original handwritten journal, which proves the authenticity of my experiences since no one could have duplicated my writing.’

Before leaving, I shared with Edward some of my early experiences on the summit with my companions. He was utterly enthralled by these stories, realising now that he wasn’t alone in what he experienced in his own otherworldly encounter. Finally, I left just as Adeline returned from her Bridge game.

I had planned to read more in my journal tonight; however, Julie suggested we go out for dinner at our favourite Italian restaurant… the expensive one. She seemed exceptionally excited, only saying she had something special to share with me.

‘Okay, James,’ she said after we were seated, ‘surprise time… can you guess what it is?;

‘Every page I turn in my journal is a surprise. I don’t know how many more I can handle,’ I laughed.

‘And yet, James, your journal isn’t done; what if the biggest surprises are yet to come?’

‘Of course, now that you’re part of my life. What could be bigger than that? So what is it, Julie? I hope it’s a happy surprise. Would this involve your thesis?’

‘No, that’s not it... not yet. What I have to tell you is far more important than that.’

‘I waited to tell you until it was all signed, sealed and delivered. That’s why I was with my father in Central London yesterday. We were at the lawyer’s office doing some extraordinary business. So, now I can tell you what it was about. Hang on to your seat.’

‘Okay, that’s a jolly build-up, Julie, so tell me what’s so extraordinary, or will you keep me hanging?’

‘This,’ she said as she took a document out of her purse. ‘It’s a Certificate of Title.’

‘Yes, it certainly is, and I see your name on this Certificate with two lot numbers. That’s interesting, yet what does this legal description reference? I can see this transaction just occurred. So tell me what this is about. It appears you have just acquired some property.’

‘I have, James; can you guess where?’

‘No… give me a hint.’

‘Sure, where do kits fly the highest?’

‘Probably along the coast.’

‘You’re getting close. Now think, where did we get as high as a kite.’

‘Ah, I got it; at our engagement party. But that was at George and Ingrid’s place.’

‘No, James, that wasn’t their place; they’re just renters. Are you ready for this?’

‘Indeed, I am.’

‘That’s my place. As of yesterday, I own Aunt Emma’s house and the lot beside it.’

‘Are you kidding me? You must have saved a lot of money nursing to afford this beach house your aunt used to own.’

‘Do you actually think I had any money left at the end of the month after paying my expenses and making my student loan payments?’

‘No, of course, it couldn’t have been that, so what’s the story here?’

‘Aunt Emma willed this property to me to take possession on my twenty-sixth birthday. All this time, the property has been held in trust while accumulating rental income. I didn’t know a thing about this since Aunt Emma wanted to keep it a secret.

‘But now it’s mine. Can you believe it? I scarcely can. My father has already notified George and Ingrid. I directed him to tell them I plan to substantially reduce their rent with the understanding they are not to sublet upstairs. That’s now our bedroom suite, reserved just for us.

‘So, how do you feel about this, James? You haven’t even congratulated me about this or anything. What’s wrong?’

‘It’s is a bit of a shock, Julie… but I could hardly be happier for you.’

‘No, James, not for me… for us! I want you to be happy, not just for me, but for us. We are getting married, aren’t we?’

‘If we weren’t, we sure are now,’ I laughed.

She laughed, too, relieved. ‘You know, James, this will make our life much easier. With the accumulated money held in trust along with the monthly rental income, you can write your book without any financial concern.’

‘That’s most ensuring since I, too, have a significant student loan to repay, so I’m grateful to hear we’ll have some additional income. Nevertheless, it remains my primary objective to gain full-time professorial status, be it at King’s or elsewhere in London.’

‘Yes, I realise that your career path is of utmost importance to you, and that’s commendable, but don’t you think you should remain open to other possibilities you might find even more fulfilling, such as becoming a full-time writer? Look how much writing you’ve accomplished this far with thousands of pages of exceptional work.’

‘And that’s just while I was in a coma; think what I might accomplish while I’m awake, I laughed. Seriously though, as I read the journal, I was surprised by what was going on with me. Imagine me… teleporting to mountain peaks all over South America.’

‘Who knows what other leaps you might take by the time you publish these writings about your surreal adventures? You could do a lot of good in awakening humanity to their soul’s purpose.’

‘Now you’re beginning to talk like Miguel. He, too, seems to think I need to save the world from itself.’

‘And possibly you will, just by doing your part with whatever means you have, teaching, writing or something more technical on social media like podcasts. Many possibilities will come to exist once you know what you wish to say. From what little I’ve read in the journal, it seems you were passionate about many things that were of deep spiritual significance, as were your companions on the other side.’

‘Yes, there are times while reading the journal I almost felt I was reading about someone else.’

‘And yet, is he not the man you are now becoming, or should I say, rediscovering? You’re no different than you were; you just don’t remember him; however, you will as you read on and continue to do the regressions. Soon, your mind will catch up with your heart. And be clear, James… the heart knows.’

‘Soon my mind will catch up to my heart? That was quite the statement, Julie. So, who am I now, what I was and will be?’

‘Ask: what does your heart tell you? If there’s anything that tells us who we are, it’s the affections in the heart. Essentially, we continue to become more of what we are… that which we love. It’s constantly changing for the better as we intentionally choose what’s highest and best. That’s what we’re all called to do after we wake up from our spiritual coma.’

‘That’s very true; I learned I had little or no affection for what I thought I desired after being indulged by Kiko’s wealth and lifestyle. That’s when I discovered the importance of my interior life… as my companions kept saying: as within, so without. The great imperative from earliest antiquity, Know Thyself, sounds simple, yet it’s much easier said than done… at least for anyone who’s not an avatar.’

‘So, what does it mean to Know Thyself, James? What did they teach in philosophy?’

‘It seems modern philosophy skirts that one, no doubt because it’s too personal or, sadly, not important enough to be considered socially relevant.’

‘I wonder if you had many deep conversations on this while on the summit with your companions? If so, hopefully, you recorded it in your journal so we may read what they had to say. All we need do is punch Know Thyself into Navigator, and we’ll be able to read what you discussed on this topic.’

‘Sure, great idea, but we should take Miguel’s advice and discuss the topic after reading the entire journal. From what I’ve seen, I suspect Mo and Eli might have gone rather deep on this one.’

‘I’m looking forward to hearing more on this and what they had to say. All I know from what I’ve read in spiritual literature over these last couple of years is that only our Divine Self is authentic because it is of Spirit, and Spirit is eternal. The ego self is an illusion of the temporal mind, a projection of what’s unreal.

‘Agan, those are profound words, Julie.’

‘That’s why I’m studying psychology, not that Freud would agree with what I just said, although Jung may have.’

 

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

 

MADAME PEYROUX

 

 

I wanted to introduce Julie to Madame Peyroux since I had spoken about her and how she had given me some personal guidance, even having a vision of me falling down a mountain.

After arranging to meet, we headed to her studio late that afternoon to see what might happen. With her, you could never tell. It didn’t surprise me that Julie was fascinated by the studio’s décor with its exotic old-world gypsy charm.

After we settled in with a pot of tea, she stared at Julie for a moment and said, ‘When I look at you, Julie, I see double.’

‘That’s an interesting comment; why do you think that is? I hope it's not because you see me as being double-minded since I endeavour to be single-minded in all that I do.’

‘I’m sure you are. Regardless, there’s much more to you than you realise, as there is with all of us. Have you heard of higher selves or, as some say, over-souls?’

‘I’ve heard those terms, although not in my psychology classes. I suppose the closest might be MPS, multiple personality syndrome, although I hardly think that’s the same.’

‘What I’m picking up is that you may have had a direct encounter with your double, or as it’s sometimes referred to, doppelganger. Has anything ever occurred to you where you thought you may have seen yourself other than in a mirror?’

‘That seems a rather curious question,’ I said. ‘Why would you ask Julie that?’

‘Let her answer, James.’ 

‘Yes, I think I might have,’ she said. ‘James doesn’t know this, but it happened over a year ago after I woke up in my bedroom and went to the kitchen to get an apple. When I returned, I saw someone who looked much like me, quietly standing in the corner. Even though I couldn’t see her that well, I fainted because I thought I had seen a ghost.

‘At first, I thought I was crazy, but after thinking about it over the next day, I had only good feelings about this phantom spirit, with such love on her face, like some angel watching over me.’

‘What I’m getting,’ Madame Peyroux said, ‘is that she wasn’t an angel as we understand angels. Rather, she was you in a higher dimension, or what some refer to as an oversoul.[33] She is all you are, except she is more. When your mortal life is over, you will be all she is, too, because you are her; you are one.’

‘That’s fascinating,’ I said, ‘why don’t they teach this kind of thing in psychology?’

‘Like you before, they don’t know, having limited their knowledge to the third dimension, even though the new physics speaks of superpositions and entanglement. Because they’re not there yet, they can’t understand how these subtle realities apply to spirit. Regardless, this entity remains very close to Julie. You would be surprised how close.’

‘If true, that would be astonishing,’ I said. ‘Since I was in a higher dimension, I wonder if I ever met Julie’s double.

‘I don’t know, but didn’t you say you have a journal? Why not look and find out? Maybe you did.’

I looked at Julie, and she looked at me.

‘Well, if she’s in there somewhere,’ Julie said, ‘I’d rather skip ahead and not have to wait to see if she shows up.

‘As you wish, but after you find her, be sure to return to your earlier readings to find more about her since it would hardly be fair to her or yourself if you didn’t. Then let me know what you find; I might be able to help you from there.’

‘By the way, Julie, what did you think of the message James sent you that he emailed to himself?’ she laughed.  

‘It was bizarre; it seemed he was having a bit too much fun at my house party while I was at work.’

‘Yet the email seemed to work; it certainly got my attention.’

‘That’s true; it did work,’ Julie said. ‘Until he read the letter, James and I were going through some difficult times, and I hardly spoke to him after he insulted me after I walked over hot coals.’

‘So why would you do that, James?’ she asked. ‘After all our sessions over the years, I thought you would have been more open-minded.’

‘I guess your massages only go so far, and I wasn’t paying much attention to the rest. You know how it is when you have a PhD behind your name; what’s possible is what’s possible, not what’s not. Nevertheless, Julie had the audacity to prove me wrong in front of my own eyes. Why shouldn’t I have been upset,’ I chuckled.

‘So where did you find the courage to do that, Julie?’ she asked. ‘Not many would venture on hot coals without significant support and preparation. Even when I was much younger, it took a while to work up the courage.’

‘Oh, it seemed like the most natural thing to do. A beautiful angel, at least that’s what I call her, came alongside me and said, “Let’s do it, Julie.” Then, without thinking, her light and love gave me the confidence to step out with her. We almost danced our way across; it was one of the most joyous experiences of my life.’

‘But when I was about to introduce my angel to James, it was most peculiar. I turned around, and she was gone, not to be seen again.’

‘Interesting; so did she tell you her name?’

‘Yes, she said her name was Selaris.’

‘Selaris, what a beautiful name. Let me look at the numerology of her letters to see what it might indicate.

‘Oh, my goodness,’ she exclaimed, ‘I’m receiving a vision of her; she’s very beautiful, presenting herself in a glowing aura of blue light.’

‘Blue, why blue?’ I asked.

‘Blue signifies several suburb qualities such as serenity, spirituality, intuition, contentment, inspiration and inner peace. Blue is also associated with cooling and calming, physically and mentally.’

‘Can you ask her something for me?’ I asked.

‘Sorry, the vision was fleeting… she’s gone now. So, what would you like to know? Perhaps I can help.’

‘One of the few things I remember while coming out of my coma was a vision of being surrounded by a glow of blue light that seemed softly feminine. When I asked who it was, my mind heard Solaris or Selaris, though I’m not sure which. She said she was here to guide me back to my body. So do you think she was the same Selaris who walked over the coals with Julie?’

‘Why not? How many do you know with the name Selaris?

‘None; still, I wonder why she would walk over hot coals with Julie.’                                                                                              

‘I feel she is closely connected to both of you, possibly a guide or something… it feels like she has never incarnated on earth, although she can participate in your third dimension as a transduced holographic projection of her divine self. I suspect walking over the hot coals was to strengthen your faith, Julie, and, just as importantly, to teach James a lesson.’

‘And yet, she looked so elegantly human,’ Julie said, ‘even holding my hand across the coals; so how could a holographic projection manifest what felt to have physical density?

‘All manifestations of density are projections of electromagnetic frequencies, so a light being would know how to configure these frequencies to create holograms in denser holons. There’s nothing to it since the whole multiverse is a holographic projection that emanates from the Source, even humans.’

‘You sound like my friend, Miguel; are you sure you’re not a physicist disguised as a psychic?’ I laughed.

‘No, but I might have just channelled him since I have no idea what I just said,’ she laughed.

Before leaving, Julie invited her to attend our marriage. ‘Possibly, it will be in the dunes at Julie’s beach house in Camber after we set a date.’

‘I would be delighted to attend, provided I can find a broom to fly there with,’ she laughed.

With that, we left since Julie was anxious to get home to see if she could find out more about Selaris in the pages of the journal. However, she didn’t find much besides what we already knew from the fire-walking and my encounter with this being while returning to my body.

‘This is frustrating, James; all I’m getting are references to some woman named Julie, so if you were having an affair with her, you might want to do some editing if you don’t want everyone to know… especially me after so diligently caring for your body,’ she laughed.

‘We might be surprised by what we find in the journal. Remember what Madame Peyroux said about transducing energy densities, so, who knows?’

‘We should ask Miguel; he might know more about this.’

‘Okay, that’s a good idea,’ she said, ‘however, it’s late now, and I’m tired, so let’s give him a call in the morning. I still can't get used to the idea he doesn’t have a phone and how just putting out the thought could get his attention. I’ll let you handle this; I’m available to meet after classes anytime after four. So let’s go for then if you can reach him.’

‘Fine, I’ll see what I can do. Putting out thoughts to make a call is not something I generally do. In fact, I never had, except possibly in my alternate world.’

‘So why doesn’t he have a mobile like the rest of the civilised world?’

‘If he dwells in another dimension most of the time, and I’m beginning to think he does, then our mobile calls wouldn’t reach him anyway. Considering the ship he came in to greet me on my island, it seems he is multidimensional, so the only way to reach him would be by our minds since consciousness consists of multidimensional frequencies.’

‘I guess that makes sense, as long as he picks up the receiver,’ she smiled.

Sure enough, Miguel was at the door at the agreed time. Curiously, he had a walking stick with him.

‘Did you call?’ he asked, grinning.

‘We did; thanks for stopping by; I wasn’t sure if your system would work.’

‘Why wouldn’t it? That’s how things were set up, at least until humans came along so they could charge for their communication services. So, how can I help you today?’

‘I need some advice after seeing James’ psychic friend, Madame Peyroux. She suggested I might have a doppelganger out there somewhere.’

‘Oh, you mean the one who frightened you the night she appeared in your bedroom. You thought she was a ghost.’

‘How did you know about that, Miguel?’ Julie asked. ‘I only told a few, like James and Rhom, but not you.’

‘Makes you wonder, doesn’t it,’ he said with a mischievous grin. Just read the journal; it’s all there… except what’s not.’

‘Anyway, I’m trying to track down my spiritual counterpart… the one who was in my bedroom. So, if I can find this spectre in the journal somewhere, I’d like to know what she was up to. If I had her name, possibly I could find out in the journal.’

‘Did you try looking up Julie… that’s your name… is it not? If she’s your doppelganger, wouldn’t that be her name too?’

‘I didn’t think of that; I just assumed that this was some woman in another dimension trying to trick James into believing she was me.’

‘Never assume what might seem obvious.’

‘Okay, good advice; so what can you tell me about my double?’

‘What’s to say, she’s you, albeit in a higher dimension. As such, consider her your guide, manifesting in spiritual form, such as she did in your bedroom. Realise there’s much more to you than you’re aware of. Think of her as a more inclusive, higher aspect of you that often speaks to you through your intuition. Though you don’t always listen to her, at least you’re getting better.

‘Remember, everything you experience, she experiences. Nevertheless, how she experiences, you seldom experience… sorry to say. That’s because what’s higher understands what’s lower, and what’s lower seldom understands what’s higher except occasionally by intuition.’

‘When she was with me in my bedroom, my doppelganger had a body I could see, and yet how can she when she’s not even human?’

‘That’s easy; she’s a divine thought form, just like you, except she’s not limited to physicality. While she exists as a spiritual expression, you are a physical expression of your soul’s divine pattern. Please don’t take this the wrong way; however, your doppelganger is a more perfect version of you that’s holding your place in a higher octave.

‘Rather, think of yourself as an echo of a more rarified soul. Because she’s closer to the Source, she’s capable of various superpositions. That’s how she, as you, and you as her, could be dancing with James in the sixth dimension while changing the fall guy’s sheets in the third.’

‘Ah, so you were with her,’ she said as she threw a pillow at me. ‘So, what else were you two up to besides dancing?’

‘If you wish, you may read about it somewhere two-thirds of the way through the journal where your counterpart first appears in the journal. It’s most revealing,’ he chuckled. ‘James didn’t hide anything, so try not to be too hard on him or scandalised. Don’t forget, she is you, only in a higher dimension, so there’s no reason to be jealous of her being with James.’

‘Yes, but still…’

‘Get over it, Julie. Oh, before I leave, did you notice, James, the Sheilagh I left at the door?’

‘I did. So, do you use that for walking?’ I asked.

‘No, but you did. Don’t you realise you carved this on the summit? So take it… it’s yours.’

‘Look, James, Julie exclaimed, here on the side; I see a carving of the equation.’

‘So how did it get carved there? I asked.’

‘If anyone, you should know,’ Miguel said. ‘Didn’t you read about this in your journal? Remember when you were sitting on the ridge carving just before you and your friends jumped off to London?’

‘Oh, so, this is the same stick.’

‘It is, so I thought you ought to keep it as a memento since the equation you inscribed represents the elixir that saved your mortal life.’

‘Ever since reading about this, I wondered how I could have known what to carve since it turned out to be the left side of the equation.’

‘Just as I etched the last half of the equation in the sand, I had already etched the left side in your mind. It was easy; you were exceptionally relaxed as you carved, allowing your subconscious mind to attune to my instruction.’

‘According to the journal, though, we hadn’t even met, so how could you have intruded into my mind.’

‘Did you also miss reading the part where we sailed the Atlantic centuries before, not to mention being your astrophysicist confidant? Over the centuries, our times together established a bond that keeps us aligned, which is why we don’t need a phone,’ he chuckled.

‘No, I haven’t got that far yet. Whenever I try to read my journal, it seems something comes up, or Julie does another regression on me, which takes time by the time I detail all my impressions.

But anyway, what am I supposed to use with this shillelagh… use it to defend myself in the classroom?’

‘If you like. You already used it to fend off the demons you imagined attacking you on your island. You probably haven’t read that far yet either, but something happened on the island one night during a tropical typhoon. I won’t say what. It will shock you when you read it.’

After sharing a glass of rum and some laughs, he left… who knows where. I then had time to read up to when my companions sent me to the South Pacific to spend some time alone there to meditate and journal for a month or two without any distractions.

This stay, they said, would serve as the practicum for my Summit U graduation. Having helped me build my hut, they left, and I didn’t see them again for some time. That’s as far as I got since it was getting late. But immediately after I got home from work the following day, I could hardly wait to read what this shocker might be that Miguel referred to. Before moving on to my exotic adventures to the virtual islands, I came to the night of the tropical storm. 

To say I was overcome by reading what happened would be an understatement, not just for me but for Julie, too. Reading about it was not enough; I needed Julie to immediately regress me so that I might re-experience this surreal encounter.

As I lay on the couch, I was caught up and overwhelmed by what I encountered on the beach as the lightning flashed and thunder cracked in the raging winds of night, the backdrop to seeing my beautiful mother as the spectre in the storm, hoovering over the crashing breakers.[34]

When I awakened, I was emotionally exhausted, so Julie brought me a pillow and blanket, where I remained sleeping on the couch until morning. Finally, I awoke after hearing her prepare breakfast in the kitchen.

‘Good morning, James. That must have been some deep slumber. I was expecting you to crawl into bed with me later in the night. So, do you still remember your regression?’

 ‘It was as remarkable as it was a traumatic and cathartic purge of unhealthy emotions. I need to record my impressions right away and can’t wait to read how I felt on the beach the next day. Something got resolved with me that night and remains with me to this very day.’

‘Yes, James, it seems this encounter might have reconciled your beliefs of abandonment that have been the root of your troubled relationships with women in the past.’

‘I think you’re right, so how did you know?’

‘I read ahead.’

‘Yes, of course, as will I later today. For now, though, I need to shower, change and get out the door before I’m late for my first class.’

While lecturing that day, memories of the island storm continued to ravage my inner world as my beautiful mother’s image kept flashing in my mind. How long had she been gone… three decades? Yet what I saw, whether a phantom or not, was no different than the mother that left me back then… she hadn’t aged a day.

But had she ever left me? As a lad, I often sensed her loving presence by my bedside, and then later, too, even though I wasn’t as open because, in my mind, I no longer believed in an afterlife.

I found it challenging to teach my epistemology[35] class, asking myself if any of what I wrote or experienced in my hypnotic sessions was real. Could I prove it? No, not empirically, as required by reductionists. Though this scepticism is what I encourage in class, my heart wasn’t in it. Again, Pascal’s quote came to mind: The heart has its reasons, which reason knows nothing.[36]

Yes, what I knew in my heart, my mind could not prove. So what? Near the end of my lecture, I asked the class: when your intuition and mind conflict, who do you believe? That was enough for a lively discussion to ensue for the remainder of the class. Good, I thought… got them thinking about something worthwhile.

While taking the Tube home, I read in my journal about the morning after the storm and how the encounter had inwardly reconciled me to my mother as I reflected on my life of feeling abandoned. As Julie concluded, that would explain how my attitude towards women had become much healthier since awakening from my coma and why she remained in my life.

My old fears of being jilted had been overcome, making it possible for me to sustain a secure, loving relationship with Julie. Now, I wanted to find, somewhere in the pages ahead, if my mother would appear in my life again

ENDNOTES



[1] I heard these same words before. Not long ago, Julie said them to me so despondently, the night before we left for Vienna. At the time, I wondered why was she repeating these same melancholy words. In the next moment, it was clear… I had my answer.
[2] Only recently have I come to realise how similar her last words to me were to what I wrote Julianne in the last line of my poem to her: I will love you in heaven as I loved you on earth. The tense makes all the difference giving me goosebumps whenever I think about it.
[3] I had no point of reference and only looking back on it this ineffable experience, I identify with what Plotinus wrote almost two thousand years ago: Man is not the centre of the universe, rather the universe is in the centre of man. (Enneads). Or, in the words of Richard of St Victor: In the spirit of man, the summit is one with the inmost recess – through the ecstasy of the spirit we are transported beyond ourselves or within ourselves into the contemplation of things divine.
[4] This was the complete, all-inclusive love the Greeks identified as Agape, being the total consuming essence of God, experienced as the oneness of Love itself. As stated in ACIM, Heaven is not a place or a condition. It is merely an awareness of perfect oneness and the knowledge that there is nothing else, nothing outside this awareness, and nothing else within. ACIM, Chapter Eighteen, Beyond the Body
[5] Based on this experience, I’ve recently concluded that enlightenment is not merited, only gifted for an eternal moment to those who wish the receive it. Yet the awareness of having the experience is enough to alter one’s life forever, as it has for many others. Illusory material values no longer have significance; only spiritual worth has relevance or meaning. And to ask how long I was in this timeless state would be absurd since there are no measurements staked on the mystical path. Time did not exist for me, so I cannot tell you how long, in sidereal earth terms, my spirit may have drifted along in this nirvana state if that’s what it was doing.
[6] I now realise these words were the echo of the audible voice I heard speaking to me one night long ago while camping in the mountains.
[7] It is finished, the last words of Yeshua on the cross when his mortal body died.
8] This was repeated from a poem I wrote to her in her dream. See, Book Six, The Elixir, Chapter Seven, The Dunes.
[9] In this same Chapter Seven of The Elixir, Julianne had written me a poem earlier that said: Come to me now, away from your prison house. Later, in my poem, I replied: Away from the prison I have escaped.[10] These were lines Julianne repeated from a poem she wrote James while in Camber.
[11] This was repeated from a poem I wrote to her in The Dunes, Chapter Seven of The Elixir.
[12] St George's University of London is the UK's only university dedicated to medicine, science and health and is located in the same area as the hospital where Julie worked.
[13] In the Old Testament’s Book of Exodus, Joseph had dreams that were later fulfilled, to his brothers’ chagrin.
[14] See Book Four of the series, Surreal Adventures
[15] In reference to George Orwell’s novel, 1984
[16] This message is contained in Book Three, Quantum Leaps, Chapter Eight.
[17] G.I. Gurdjieff’s sojourns first occurred at the age of fifteen in the late nineteen century, beginning from his home country, Armenia, and throughout the middle east, living in ashrams and taking in everything he could, including knowledge of the Enneagram. Western culture was not yet aware of much of the esoteric teachings he later taught in London after escaping the mayhem of the Russian Revolution. Much of this is chronicled in P.S. Ouspenki’s book, In Search of the Miraculous.
[18] There were several writers who are thought to have contributed to the Psalms, including David, Soloman, Moses, and possibly several others
[19] Psalms 82:6 and John 10:34 (KJV)
[20] This quote originates from a Greek poet named Aratus (315–245 BC) who wrote this verse for the famous invocation to Zeus. It became even more famous when quoted by Paul in the New Testament in a message to the Greeks in Acts 17:28.  For in him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your own poets have said, for we too are his offspring.
[21] See Book 2
[22] Julie favoured The Wim Hof Breathing Method for those having difficulty in preparation for hypnosis.
[23] The full description of my fall can be found in Chapter __ of Elysiuim’s Passage: the Ascent
[24] Quoted from Matthew 6:33 ) KJV)
[25] One prominent psychiatrist who has specialised in this area is Dr Brain Weiss; Many Lives, Many Mansions, (1988). Also, Dr Ian Stephanson, psychiatrist, University of Virginia; Children Who Remember Past Lives, (2000)
[26] This excerpt is from Book Four, Surreal Adventures, Chapter Three, Voyage to the Virtual Islands.
[27] George (or Georgi, his true name) was a Russian immigrant, who, with his Swedish wife, Ingrid immigrated to England after the Russian Perestroika era. He brought with him to the West his penchant for Vodka and caviar
[28] See Book Six, The Elixir, Chapter Seven, The Dunes.
[29] See Book Five, The Elixir, Chapter Twelve, The Splendors of Vienna.
[30] For example, in Elysium’s Elixir, Chapter Seven, The Dunes, was written entirely by her since it was her experience, not mine. 
[31] Selected from She Walks in Beauty, 1814, stanzas one and three; Lord Byron, 1788-1824[32] With his newfound interest in the afterlife, Edward read a book that he found revelatory, helping to assure himself he wasn’t crazy, but that his NDE experience was authentic and that life continued after so-called death. The book, Across the Unknown, was published by Steward E. White in 1939.
[33] The term oversoul, or Oversoul, is laden with many meanings, yet the idea of transcendence is common to all, meaning that ultimately, the supreme Oversoul is God the Source.
34] See Book Four, Surreal Adventures, Chapter Two, A Spector in the Storm.
[35] Epistemology is the theory of knowledge that concerns itself with the mind's relationship to reality. It asks, how do we know things? And if we do, how and when do we?
[36] From Pascal’s Pensées: The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of… We know the truth not by reason but by the heart.

                  _______________________________________________________

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ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE NOVELS


 Soon to be Published

THE ASCENT: Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage

THE SUMMIT: Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage

QUANTUM LEAPS: Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage

SURREAL ADVENTURES: Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage

MYSTICAL ROMANCE: Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage

THE ELIXIR: Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage

THE RETURN: Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage

 

1. THE ASCENT is the first novel in the Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage that’s foundational to everything that happens in the following narratives that embark on an adventure that will surprise and delight the reader like no other book.

It all begins with an extreme adventure of climbing a remote and challenging mountain somewhere in the Andean Mountains. Just as James, the protagonist, is about to reach the mountain summit, he falls into an abyss that leaves him in a coma for almost a year.

After being airlifted by a forestry helicopter and flown back to London, where his body remains for almost a year. Eventually, he learns it was not him but his body that was rescued. Several days later, without understanding what happened, he continues to climb to the summit in an alternate dimension of higher consciousness.

Fortuitously, he meets two adventurers on the summit ridge who are no longer of this world. After that, his surreal life leads him to several new adventures in the subsequent chronicles that include a rich mix of adventure, romance, and fantasy, along with profound discussions of philosophy, spirituality and the afterlife.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

2. THE SUMMIT, the second novel in the Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage, carries on where James, the narrator and protagonist, is taught more about a multidimensional reality that he finds difficult to comprehend.

Not only does he find he’s not as clever as he imagined, but his off-world companions on the summit demonstrate that much of what he believed about life was not just parochial but wrong. At first, he finds this difficult to comprehend since their teachings are contrary to his limited understanding of non-material reality.

After being tricked into teleporting off a ledge where he was trapped, James becomes aware of the new reality that makes him capable of far more adventures than could have ever been experienced previously in his physical body back home.

Now, if only he would win over the only woman in this life who matters, the nurse on the other side of the veil, who continually demonstrates her unconditional love toward his healing.

Warning: This book may also open the reader’s eyes to a much vaster reality than most might be aware. As with the other Chronicles, there are discussions of philosophy, the spiritual afterlife and what might seem like fantasy.

3. QUANTUM LEAPS is the third novel in Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage, where James, the philosopher-protagonist, teleports back to London to visit his body and make contact with the special nurse taking care of it in his absence. Immediately, he feels an inexplicable spiritual bond with her for reasons he remains unaware of.

Now aroused by a renewed interest in matters of love, the beginnings of a relationship begin to emerge as he attempts to reach across the chasm of their worlds. But it’s not until the fifth novel, Mystical Romance, that he encounters her in a way that he finds difficult to believe.

However, before that can happen, there is much about his failed relationships that must be resolved before he is ready to move forward in his new life in Elysium’s Passage. It is during this time he christens his comatose body as the fall guy since it took the fall for him down the abyss so he could learn the lessons he’s now learning.

That will be the next focus of his life, where in his next Surreal Adventures, he is given virtual lessons to release many of his past beliefs about life.

4. SURREAL ADVENTURES is the fourth novel in the Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage, which finds James, the protagonist and narrator, escorted by his companions to a remote South Pacific Island, where he is left to reflect on what he’s learned.

During the next forty days, he battles the demons of his past as he works through some rather painful issues from his early youth. Here, in a tropical storm, he encounters an eery suspended spectre of the one he loved yet still resents for abandoning him as a child.

After this, he achieves peace of mind and is ready to return to his lodge to join his off-world companions on the Andes summit. However, just when it seemed things couldn’t get any stranger, a sixteenth-century sea captain sails his ancient ‘ghost’ ship onto the beach. Together, they sail off on a mystical ocean voyage to a couple of virtual islands supposedly in the South Pacific, where he witnesses and, at times, participates in several important life lessons.

Near the end, these encounters help prepare him for a new challenge within the interior of a mountain, where he falls deep into a dark tomb of fear. After being rescued by a mysterious stranger wielding his Excaliber, he continues on to where his life is about to be transformed in the following chronicle, Mystical Romance. 

5. MYSICIAL ROMANCE is the fifth chronicle in Elysium’s Passage, which will surprise the reader with a romantic twist of how love is expressed in higher realms. From this lofty perspective, everything about intimacy is understood as within, so without.

After escaping his tomb, James, the narrator and protagonist, makes his way through a maze of tunnels until he arrives at a large oak door, which he opens with the golden key he had been given. There, he steps into Elysium’s Passage’s Great Hall, where his life and recent achievements are celebrated now that his eyes have been opened to perceive a fascinating interior world of wonderment… and romance.

To say more might risk diminishing the multitude of delightful surprises as circumstances begin to open to The Elixir, where James is about to re-enter his earthly body’s existence. 

6. THE ELIXIR is the sixth chronicle of the Elysium’s Passage series that prepares James, the narrator-protagonist, to awaken and return to his body in London. Before that can happen, however, his off-worlder friend presents a mysterious equation enshrouded with a light code frequency that will stimulate multidimensional DNA strands within him.

Much of this narration is centred in London, where his nurse unknowingly becomes involved in how the Elixir’s equation finds its way from a taxi cab driver to higher echelons of science. There are many twists in how she unwittingly brings the Elixir to the attention of mathematicians and physicists, after which they eventually discover how to code the equation into a laser ray to stimulate his fall-guy body into full consciousness.

Ostensibly a new Adam, he is destined to return humanity to a higher multidimensional existence. How this happens is filled with intrigue, as is his shocking return to his earthly body.

 
­­­­­7. THE RETURN is the seventh and last chronicle in the series where James, the narrator and protagonist, has re-emerged from Elysium’s Passage as he readjusts to life in the third dimension. Many of the events experienced in the previous novels are tied together in an exciting, fast-moving, action-packed narrative over several countries.

 At first, it seems all memories have been lost, with his fall guy’s brain not being aware of what happened to him while in his coma. As a consequence, it takes a while for him to be convinced he had been out of his earthly body for almost a year.

Through some rather unexpected events and evidence, along with his girlfriend’s urging, he is brought to an awareness of much of what occurred. It takes a while for his mind to catch up with the changes made in his heart during his stay in the alternate realm. But after experiencing several harsh realities, he discovers what he became within while out of his body. Gradually, he comes to understand the many challenges that lie ahead for him in fulfilling his future mission on Earth.

This book is filled with adventure, romance and personal intrigue that ties together all six previous narratives of the Elysium’s Passage series.

For an orientation to the series, go to WELCOME TO ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE on my blog site posts. 
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/welcome-to-elysiums-passage 

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