A Tale of Travel to Another Dimension
Part the First -- An Inquiry
The three friends were at the school library, coerced there by their teacher; a teacher who thought that doing a project on ancient tribes and their customs would be a good idea of an education. The class labored away, all of the computers full up with students ardently working. Half of them were simply playing around with the computers, struggling to find anything that will incite even the simplest emotions, just trying to escape the boredom of the day. Others were asleep and still others used the computers to write e-mails. By the time all of the "slackers" were weeded out, about one or two of the students were actually using the computers for academic purposes. These three students -- Argo, Denzig, and Lavar -- occupied one computer terminal, all of them fighting for control of the mouse.
"Give it up, fartknocker," Argo said as he piled across the lap of Denzig, temporarily gaining control of the computer.
"No, butthole," Denzig said, poking his comrade in pressure points, Argo erupting in painful moans.
"Come on, ass plunger," Lavar said, pushing Argo off the lap of Denzig and on to the floor.
"Boys, no rough housing!" the librarian yelled to them.
"You heard the lady," Lavar said, knocking Denzig's chair over, sending the lad into a somersault into a bookcase, and taking control of the computer, while Argo burst into laughter.
Denzig shook it off and got up. He went over and shoved Lavar out of the chair and took control of the computer again, saying, "Don't ever try that again, fuck head."
"Boys, I mean it," the librarian reiterated.
The boys stopped playing around and resumed their normal positions, allowing Denzig to be in control of the computer. "Hey, cool, look!" Denzig said, "Nudist tribes! The teacher said we could do our project in the form of a play, right?"
Denzig looked around for amusement at ancient cultures, while both Argo and Lavar took complete boredom from it, except for the sarcastic remarks made at the internet's vast websites.
Argo lamented, "Man, school fucking sucks." He chin rested in his palm while his eyes drooped. There was no place he hated so with so heart. At least he was in the library of the school, where chaos and havoc went buy much less detected than in a classroom.
Denzig still searched the internet, for something mildly amusing although still along the lines of the project. "Hey, cool! More nudist tribes!" he said.
"Booooo-ring," Argo said, "Everyday I look at my own naked body and I don't react nearly half as surprised as you are right now."
"There's nothing wrong with Nudism," Lavar said, "I mean, those are tribes, and that's their culture. Perhaps if our own society wasn't so repressive of dissidents, Nudists and their activities wouldn't be so vilified. Of course, the hatred of the human naked body comes into line with it all."
"Hey, cool, check it out!" Denzig said.
"What!?" Argo said sarcastically, "More Nudist tribes!?!?"
"No, no," he replied, "This tribe makes alcohol using their saliva! I wish my saliva was alcoholic."
Argo sighed, "You're a fucking idiot. I'd explain it to you, but I don't have twenty years on my hands."
"Oooooo," Denzig said, "And this tribe uses rituals which allows them to travel to another plain of dimension and time. 'Using their primitive cultural ideas, the chieftains of this tribe described the ability to travel to another plain of existence.'"
"'Primitive cultural ideas'?" Lavar said, "Since when is anyone in the Western World justified in criticizing ancient cultures?"
"Hey, I was reading, you douchebag," Denzig said.
"Hey, you're the douchebag, douchebag!" Lavar said.
"Mmmmmm," Argo said, "Accusations of being related to hygiene products. Lovely."
Denzig kept on reading the web page on traveling to another plain of existence. "'By using their rituals and spiritual techniques, these ancient people described leaving the world behind, and going to a peaceful landscape, where conflict and pain didn't exist. In this new world, they described meeting old friends and even deceased comrades, and reliving experiences with them.' Well, I did have a dog that died a few years back. I might want to... ummm....." He stopped, biting his tongue, where he remembered that Argo lost a lover several months ago, and Lavar lost a sibling three years ago.
"It sounds like heaven," Argo said, not at all that incredibly interested.
"I would really like to try doing whatever these guys did and going to heaven," Denzig said.
"Yeah, sure," Argo said, "And what do you want your tombstone to read when you don't come back?"
Lavar spoke up, "How about something like... Bold and brave / had no brains / here in this grave / in hell's flames."
"Haha," Argo said, "Since when the fuck do grave stones have poetry on them?"
"Yeah!" Denzig said, as though Argo's words were a defense of him.
"Meh," Lavar said apathetically, "Sometimes it is the best way to express things. Using only a few words, you can capture the meaning of a 400 page book."
"Yeah, if only Darwin wrote poetry, On the Beauty of Creatures, and then if only he started it out like normal poetry, with something obscure: Buttercup," Argo replied. Lavar shrugged, not really worrying all too much about the comments.
"This looks really cool," Denzig said, "I really want to try it."
"Oh?" Argo said, "And what about the probable risks, dangers, among other things? Besides, I'm somewhat skeptical of it fully delivering anything more than a placebo effect."
"Agreed to an extent," Lavar said, "Our natural Universe is enough to provide for all the inspiration we need, and the cathedral of nature is enough to satisfy our senses."
"Okay, nature boy," Denzig said, "But I'm going to try this. You guys want in on the experiment?"
Argo and Lavar exchanged looks. "Why the hell not," Argo said, "You've done crazier things on your own. I might as well stick around just to see how it looks like when you leave this world. But I'll be missing Star Gate, so it better look cool."
Lavar responded, "Count me in, too. I just wouldn't want to see you hurt yourself."
"Done!" Denzig said.
Part the Second -- The Journey
"So, how we going to do this?" Argo asked.
Denzig shrugged, "As quickly as possible?"
Argo, "Oh, yeah, sure, because that has to be the best possible way. Well, anyone know a store where we can get the necessary ritual supplies?" The two looked to the direction of Lavar.
"Heyyyy," he said, "Well, yeah, actually I do know where one is."
"Sweet, let's go!" Denzig replied. Then the three adolescents piled in to a wreck of a car, and drove off to the shop, themselves nothing more than children on the doorsteps of a new experience. Denzig paid for the necessary ritual supplies. The shop clerk commented, "Hey, you're gonna have a lot of fun with that," -- but she was nothing more than a hick chewing gum. That's what Argo thought, anyway. To Denzig, she was a possible date. And to the illustrious Lavar, she was a soul, doing what she had to do to live in accordance with her nature. The trio drove back to Denzig's house and all of them lauded into the basement, a once quiet house turned into chaos, disturbance of a stream with clanking boots and shoes, conversation ranging from sarcasm to seriousness, and an enthusiasm in all of them to satisfy their curiosity. The basement was where Denzig's room was, and it was outfitted with a computer on a desk, a bed, a bookcase with an assortment of comic books, and a few chairs. While Argo organized the ritual equipment, Lavar looked through the book case.
"Why do you have so many comic books, Denzig?" Lavar asked.
"Because you won't find ass-kicking action in poetry books," Denzig said, "In the 89th issue of Power Dude versus the Incredible Slug, there were 37 kicks and 24 punches. Try to find that in your fucking Shell books."
"Eeerrrr, Shelley, please," Lavar corrected.
"Okay, you ready, Denzig?" Argo asked.
Denzig examined the ritual material.
"You sure this is safe?" Denzig said, showing the first signs of hesitancy.
"Well, you have a computer," Argo said, "I'll try looking up additional information." After a few clicks and a few searches, Argo had found a relatively informational website on the experiment they were about to conduct.
"That site looks more scientific than the one we found at school," Lavar said, overlooking behind Argo.
"More scientific?" Argo said, and then sarcastically, "Oh, RIGHT! For leaving this Universe, yeah, totally scientific. But see, we were capable of finding something of more worth now that we're out of fuckin' school. Waste of time that place."
Lavar shook his head, "Friend, you just need to try and make the best out of every situation you are in. School may be bad, but at least you can try and bring books with you. Or maybe just use your notebook to write poetry or stories."
"You know, Lavar," Argo said, turning his face away from the computer screen and looking towards Lavar, "That sounds like the most brilliant idea I have ever heard, totally. But I think I'll stick to playing sick for every morning that I possibly can."
"Okay, enough arguing," Denzig said, "I'm about to leave this Universe. Is it safe?"
"How could it possibly be safe? I mean, really..." Argo said, looking to his friend, "You're leaving the fucking Universe using techniques used by the ancient tribes. And you want me to tell you if it's safe? It could be. Maybe it's not. This site says it's okay, but that's just a physician's opinion. Of course, I highly doubt it would be lethal. So, you ready?"
Denzig took a deep breath and boldly said, "I am ready, my comrades!" Following the instructions that they had read on the website, they performed the ritual on Denzig. It took five minutes.
"So, how you feel?" Lavar said, "Are you all right? Are you still here?"
Denzig shrugged. "I don't feel any difference." He looked at his hand, and then moved it toward and then away from his face, and then he started slapping himself in the face. Argo gave a bewildered look to Lavar. "Yeah, I'm still here," Denzig said.
"Really? I thought I saw you fly out the window," Argo said, demonstrating his unending sarcasm.
"Maybe you should lie down," Lavar suggested.
Denzig nodded, "Yeah, you're probably right." He went to lay down on his bed. Meanwhile, Argo hijacked the computer and started playing violent computer games. Lavar read some of Denzig's books, every three or so minutes stopping to laugh. A good thirty minutes passed and Denzig said, "I'm hungry; gonna get some cereal." He disappeared into the kitchen upstairs and made himself a bowl of Froot Loops. He came back down and stood at the bottom of the stairs.
"Hey, guys..." he said, still holding on to the railing of the stairs.
Argo paused the game and turned around to look at his colleague. "You all right, man?" he asked.
"I... I feel weird," Denzig said. Lavar put the book down and stood by his friend's side, holding his arm.
"How do you feel?" Lavar asked.
"Sort of like, a feeling rushed inside of me, and it's getting stronger..." Denzig replied, "I think I need to sit down."
Lavar guided his friend to the bed and laid him down on his back. "You're still there, right?" Denzig said in a rush of panic.
"Yeah, Denzig, I'm right here, by your side, bro," Lavar said, not letting go of his friend's arm. Everywhere all over his body, Denzig started to tremble. Argo had no idea what to make of this situation. He considered the placebo effect, but thought that it couldn't have such strong effects. And now that he is seeing his friend's body tremble, seeing the legs making rapid convulsions, he had no clue what was going on. He tried to hold the legs down and prevent the constant vibrations, but the leg muscles kept flexing back and forth. By now, he knew that something they did had an effect on the body of his friend.
"I'm calming down now," Denzig said, as the twitch slowly faded away, "I feel... I feel peaceful." He closed his eyes, Lavar never letting go of his friend's arm for one second.
"I don't see him leaving," Argo stated, trying to grasp some knowledge of what he did know was happening, speaking half with sarcasm and half with hesitant truth, just wanting to know.
Lavar still held on to his friend's arm, not loosening up his grip for what he believed may be the life of his friend. "Just hang on, Denzig..." he whispered, "You're going to be all right."
"Yes," Denzig replied, "I know am." He spoke prophetically, but not enough to convince his comrades. Eyes still closed, he tilted his head to where his friends were, and spoke, "My friends... Please, leave me be. I must go now." Lavar loosed his grip, finally letting go of his friend. A tear dripped from inside. He didn't know what was happening to his friend, and it scared him.
Argo went to the computer, where he played his computer game still, his mindset somewhat wracked. Every now and then, he would turn to see if his comrade was all right. Lavar sat in a chair, watching his friend intently. His eyes gazed upon the chest of Denzig, watching the air enter and exit his lungs, seeing the breathing process... Ten minutes would pass, and then Denzig would speak. "Can someone come over here?" he said, speaking almost carelessly, his eyes still shut.
Argo stood up while Lavar practically jumped from his seat to the side of his mate. "Are you okay? Is there something wrong?" Lavar asked.
"No, no," the downed colleague said, "It's just, I wanted to talk about what's happening... I'm here, but I'm not here."
"Do you mean that you understand that physically and logically, you know you are in this room," Argo said, "But your mind is some where far, far, far away?"
"Mmmmhmmmmm," Denzig said, nodding his head in a blissfully affectionate tone that he had never given anyone.
"Do you... like it?" Lavar asked.
"I do," Denzig said, "It made me lose myself, and now I found myself. I think I'm dead."
"Don't worry, Denzig," Lavar said, holding his friend's arm again, "You're not dead, you're right here. You're doing fine."
Denzig's eyes were still closed, "My friend, brother, and comrade... I can see death for what it is. Peace, bliss, and tranquility. I do not find a pale, amputated figure in it, but rather, there is a light, a sound, a kiss, a touch... I just wanted you to know how I felt after those days."
"Days?" Argo said, "Man, it's been fucking ten minutes."
"Oh," Denzig said, his brow furrowing, spoken like he didn't mind, "Well, I am doing fine, and there's no need to worry about me. I am well, and so is the world -- I now know what was hidden, I have climbed the ladder leading to the brightest star."
"That's sheer poetry," Lavar said, "You would make Yeats proud."
"You may go now, as I am traveling," Denzig spoke.
The ever-supporting hand of Lavar left the side of his brother again, and he sat back in his chair, a little more secure, a little more content. Meanwhile, Denzig traveled through unimaginable dreams...
With the release of his friend's hand, he was thrusted back into the dreamland, where he traveled with curiosity and interest. Ahead of him, he saw a cobblestone path leading through the woods, and he skipped like a child on it. It seemed that the gravity of this land was much less than that on his own planet, and it almost seemed like he was moving through water, with the slowness of his legs. It seemed almost like he was floating, as the trees passed him by with such slickness. Yet everything he saw was entirely unlike the reality that he had known all along. The sky, for example, was a mix of gray and blue, and equally colored in every part, except on the horizon where it turned to strict gray. Judging from the bark, it looked like every tree was dead -- they were pale gray, outlined with a thick black, and each trunk was about as thin as the torso of a man. Also on the trees, there were leaves with such rich green. He looked to these leaves, and they were so pure, so thickly green, he thought that he never dreamed of a green so rich, so powerful. Never in his existence did he ever find such a green, such a color that spoke a thousand stories. He said it once, "It's beautiful," and again, and then he yelled it into the forest, "It's beautiful!" and to his friends, it came out as a whisper. Lavar and Argo looked up from their own interests, and then exchanged glances, before they unanimously decided to let Denzig be. With the shout of this knowledge, every tree shook and he was covered up to his waist in leaves. With the way the leaves were falling, he almost could swear that it resembled snow.... not the looks, but simply how they all fell at the same speed and with the same peacefulness.
He skipped still out of the leaves, and out of the forest, and looked down to find himself at the beginning of a valley. In all his existence, he had never seen a valley so plain and mundane. There was not one strand of grass growing, not one patch of earth that was naturally discolored. Not one tree stump and not one animal. Almost like an empty pottery bowl, but he skipped into it nonetheless. And as he made his leap into this valley, his motion slowed noticeably, and it almost felt like someone was grabbing his arms and his legs, but he didn't fight it, as he was blanketed. Slowly, his vision started turning a bright white, as a clamoring sound became louder. He couldn't identify it. But then, he recognized it: children's laughter. As the brightness came so blinding, that all he saw was white, the laughter of children became intense. And then he found himself on the football field, and he looked behind himself, and he saw his team and the opposing team, and the score board. He remembered this night. It was the night he won that football game that got his photo in the yearbook as Most Athletic. He had scored the winning point. But this was five years ago, and he was on that field this very second. He looked at the team members and he saw everything, his cheering parents and friends, his team mates looking up to him to score, and his opposing team trying so hard to stop him. And he looked forward, and ran with the ball, knowing that he could score again. As he passed the touchdown line, he turned around to see that ten members of the other team were just inches of catching him. It seemed like they ran 1,000 miles an hour, but he had run 1,001 miles an hour, and beat every one of them. The crowd exploded into cheer, and he sighed, "My god..." his friends Lavar and Argo taking notice.
It happened again, just like he had envisioned it in his memory, but this time, every emotion he had on the inside, he expressed in this dream-like world. He was so happy he wept. There is not a football player on the world who would be respected if they cried, so he thought, but that didn't bother him at all at this time, and nor did it bother anyone else in his dream. And in the real world, one tear crawled down his cheek, as he had a half smile on his face. Lavar saw it, and thought it must have been normal. As the world solutioned into something else, the crowd stands of exploding faces full of joy and happiness melted into fireworks, and he was there at the night of the football game... He was on the grass of the field looking at the bright, man-made explosions. Laying on his belly with his feet up, his chin resting in his palms, he looked up to the sky with the bright eyes of a child. And next to him was his dog... "Chelsea," he yelled to the dog, as it turned its head and looked at him in the way he had remembered most, and to his friends Lavar and Argo, it was but a mere whisper. The dog walked to his master and fell by his side. In a fit of joy and happiness, Denzig wrapped his arms around the dog, and exclaimed his joy. Watching the fireworks now with his dog, as it barked at every explosion, he seemed to love what he missed, but once thought of as an annoyance. And then he thought of his journey, and he looked back to the football field and the cobblestone path, and he thought that these things occurred at least a month ago. Time passed by so slow, and for every second that passed in the real world, a minute went by for him, and it was not time doing tasks, but simply marveling at the beauty of the world he was now in.
Hours passed in the real world, finally, as he thought he had spent years in the dreamland. Finally, he started to leave this world. He could feel the colors diminishing, the memories fading, the world starting to go black. And as the sun set on his dreams, it arose on the real world. Eight hours since he started his experience. Then, one more hour, and he sat up from his bed. Lavar was still in his chair, while Argo was not to be seen. "Hey..." Denzig said, "I'm all right now..."
"Hey, bro," Lavar said with a spirit of friendship, "Welcome back. You feeling normal?"
Denzig nodded. "Where's Argo?" he asked.
"He's upstairs making some spaghetti," Lavar said, "I told him I would look on you while you had your experience."
"Everything now seems... so weird," Denzig responded, "Like, light hurts my eyes, and my muscles are sore."
"Photophobia and lethargy," Argo said as he was bringing down a tray of three bowls of food down the stairs.
"Anything else?" Lavar said, "How do you feel otherwise?"
"I feel... I feel like a new man, like I've been refreshed," Denzig said.
"What was it like, wherever you went?" Lavar said.
"It was weird. First, I was skipping through the forest on a path, and then I was at that football game where I was made Most Athletic in the year book, and finally, I was watching fireworks with my dead dog," Denzig spoke, "But it was all weird. Like... not real."
"Surreal?" Lavar suggested.
"Yeah," Denzig said, "It was surreal."
"Was it good?" Argo asked.
Denzig wanted to respond so much that his face was just went blank and his jaw just opened, and then he spoke, "It was the most beautiful experience I've ever had. It touched parts of me I had not known were there. Truly very much unlike anything that I had ever done."
The friends of Denzig would leave shortly after their meal together, which very much helped his vitality. He would go to sleep early, and awake some time around seven o'clock, with minutes to spare before his father would come in and tell him that he has school. And when he woke up, the lights seemed brighter. It felt like he had slept for a thousand years, and he was ready to be awake for a thousand years. It was unbelievable how good he felt, what a positive attitude he had this day. It wasn't anything abnormal or surreal like his experience the previous night, but it was very much like a natural good feeling.
Denzig took the bus to school that morning, like every other morning. As he looked out the window, he felt a bit dazed. Everything in the world around him felt crisp, with a difference in it. But he simply shrugged this off as something that comes with such a traumatic event in one's life. Once in school, he met up with his friends.
Argo stood shaking from the cold of the morning wind in the lobby of the school. "Maaaaaan," he said, "I fuckin' hate this place. They should burn it down or shoot it up. I don't give a fuck. As long as I don't have to come any more." He looked up and saw his friend, Denzig.
"Hey, bro!" he said, "How you doing?"
"Denzig," Lavar spoke, "How are you feeling? Are you all right?"
Denzig responded, "Yes, I feel quite fine. In fact, I feel sort of refreshed, like I was born again or something."
"Don't get all religious on me, dude," Argo said.
Lavar's frame of mind alternatively switched at this time, "Denzig... Tonight, I think we should do the ritual with me." Denzig smiled.
"Whoa..." Argo said, "You saw him twitching and convulsing. I thought he was going to die. What if he almost died and we barely saved him?"
"I don't think that was the situation," Lavar said, "From what he said about his experience it would seem quite true that it is something spiritual and moving. I certainly would not like to leave it out of my experiences on this planet."
"Fine," Argo said, giving in, "Go ahead and kill yourself with the ritual."
"Are you going to be there with me?" Lavar asked.
Argo paused, and sighed, "Yeah, I'll be there."
Part the Third -- Untraveled Place, Destination Not Unknown
The three friends had purchased the tools necessary for the ritual, and had paraded again into the basement of Denzig. The first place they decided to send one of their friends into another world is just as decent a place to use for the next time they send their mate spiraling into a new world.
"Are you ready?" Argo asked Lavar.
"Yeah," he said, "I'm ready... Just one, thing, though. Is there anything I should know, Denzig?"
"Just one thing," he said, "That what you're about to go through is entirely unlike anything you've ever been through."
There was a cordial nod among all the men, and then the ritual was complete. Twenty minutes would pass, and Lavar would speak, "It's starting." And as he thought it, it came out in words. It was as though his spirit was being torn from his body, slowly pulled away. He didn't purposely say "it's starting." It was, rather, just a thought, and the disconnection of his body simply made him automatically speak it as he thought it. So it would be with all his other thoughts. "I'm losing grip on this world," he said, holding has hand up to the light that poured into the basement through the window, and flexing his fingers. He was trying to hold on to something familiar, something he knew. But everything that was familiar to him was being ripped from his mind.
He closed his eyes to reality and opened them to his dream world. In front of him, he saw one, gigantic tree. Its branches were limp and droopy. There were no leaves, just incredibly bright blotches of green scattered across the limbs of the tree. The color of the wood was a mixture of gray and brown. It seemed that the tree was breathing, inhaling and exhaling. As he approached the tree, it grew in size, almost reaching monstrous proportions. Its breath was now accompanied by a deep wheezing noise. It was asleep. Lavar didn't know how he know this, but he knew it. The tree was sleeping, and contently away. Lavar pressed his ear against the now enormous tree trunk, listening to the breath. He could feel the inside of the tree. It was an entire oddity to him. He knew that in the natural realm, there is no tree that has lung, nor is there any plant life that thrives on oxygen. He looked passed the tree and saw a pond with several low-lying clouds passing by above. The water seemed like glass, so perfect, so crystalline, so undisturbed. As he moved closer, it became more serene and beautiful. He tried to look in to see his own image, but he was only capable of seeing a murky, black, cloaked figure. He waved his hand across the pond, and so did his unidentified reflection. Poking his finger into the water to see what would happen, the pond made several, jello-like ripples. The clouds from the sky drifted lower, lower, almost as though they were going to smother him -- at least, now he was noticing this. But he had no worry. It seemed that all those emotions of insecurity, worry, fear, pain, suffering, misery, and discomfort -- they had all disappeared. He was, in a very real way, pure. He stood up and held his arms out as he was blanketed in the cloud's mist. And then he looked...
He was gliding through the air, over the pond, which now looked enormous. When he looked down, he still saw the murky, black figure as a reflection, but he paid no worry to this. As he continued to travel in the sky, looking forward to the dark, blue atmosphere, he was invaded with a feeling of complete perfection, of unbridled purity. It seemed that he was not just flying, but he was leaving his body behind entirely. And now, he only had the senses of his soul to feel the world that he was gliding through. Shredding his body, not unlike a snake shedding old skin, he closed his eyes, and simply felt his way through the air. And as his eyes were closed to both the dream world and the real world, he would see beautiful colors, of bright white, bright green, bright blue, all of them intense, and he was happy. Of all things, there was that: he was happy. There was a beautiful world that he was now exploring, but it wasn't just that. There was much more to it. It seemed that he was not scared of anything. It was like nothing would be able to hurt him now. For his entire life, he could remember, every achievement of his was learning not to be afraid to say how he felt, becoming adjusted to the revolutionary idea that our emotions are to be honestly expressed. As his mind traveled through this landscape, he was truly free, uninterrupted, and at peace. When men and women have terrors in their lives, and they spend the rest of their days trying to forget what happened to them -- Lavar had gone to that land, where there was no knowledge of cruelty or sadness. Just peace and tranquility.
He opened his eyes to this dream world again, and looked to the pond to see his reflection. And it had changed, from a black, murky figure, to a softly pulsing, bright white light. Everything faded to nonexistence, except for that white light. He was now in a pitch black hallway, except for the light. He walked to it, to see what it was. His fear was gone and patience smooth. Face to face with the light, he dipped his hand into that brilliance of shine, and it felt like warm water to him. The light exploded all around him, and blinded his eyes, but to him, there was no pain, and as the light finally dimmed, he came to see someone. He was in shock... Because he was looking at his younger sister, wearing torn overalls with a thousand freckles, and a cute smile, but she was dead. He remembered her funeral, those thousand nights of distress and tears, the sickness of loneliness that never found a cure.... She grabbed his hand, and looked into his face, smiling. They walked together, their faces never glancing away from each other for a second. Lavar couldn't believe it. He squeezed her hands tightly, trying to feel the reality of what he was with. Her palms were still dirty from playing in the back yard. Her curly, red hair just had as much magnificence to it this moment as it had any day of her life. And Lavar wanted to know... "Where are you?" he asked the spirit, as he words became a mumble to his friends.
Her face suddenly turned with a mix of sullenness. She looked down and then up. "I'm dead," she said.
"I'm sorry," he said, "I'm sorry...." He remembered what the car looked like after the accident. He remembered the police report of a drunk driver. He remembered the date it happened.
He wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly to his chest, crying, both in the spiritual realm and in the real realm. Argo gave a look of concern to Denzig, and Denzig told him to leave Lavar alone. Lavar held her tiny, precious body close to chest, never loosening his grip for a second, as he felt his tears staining the curly hair of his little sister. She closed her eyes and rested her head on his shoulder, and spoke, "It's okay, big brother... It wasn't your fault."
He said to her, "But, I forgot how you were. I never forgot I had a sister, but I didn't remember how bright your hair was, how gentle your touch, how charismatic your face was. I promised never to forget, but I did."
"Then hold me for now," she said, "And don't forget again. I love you."
"I love you, too..." Lavar spoke. As the two held each other with surroundings that were too vague to be remembered by Lavar, hours would pass. He didn't want to be anywhere else...
Hours would pass, and he would finally come back to reality. "How do you feel?" Argo asked.
"I feel... weird, but in a good way," he responded.
"Tell me how it was," Argo asked.
"It was just beautiful and spiritual. I met my deceased sister..." he said.
"He liked it, though," Denzig said, "I can tell you that much." It seemed like Argo was incredibly anxious to get every drop of information he could from his comrade whereas Denzig was only partly interested.
"It's true," Lavar said, looking up to Denzig, then back to Argo who was more interested, "I liked it."
Argo stood up, and paced the room fervently for a good minute, and then he turned to his two friends and said, "I want to try it. I'm going to do it after school tomorrow, okay?" They all shook hands, seemingly making a pact between all three of them.
The next day would come buy, and Lavar and Denzig would wake with peaceful tranquility -- coming to consciousness with a perfect world. Argo, on the other hand, would wake up with apprehension and anxiety. He was scared.
The school day would go by notoriously slow for him, like every other school day. And he would not pause or hesitate when he thought it was a waste of time. "I'm a senior in high school, and you're trying to teach me about the fucking Underground Railroad? Are you trying to say that I'm fuckin' stupid or something?" Just to waste time, he would purposely get sent to the principal's office, get yelled at, and then make a sarcastic remark, sometimes borrowed from a masterpiece film. After the conclusion of the principal's lecture, he responded, "I'm sorry, I wasn't listening."
The moment would finally come when school was over, and he had four more detentions. Once he was in the basement of Denzig, he would forget all about that. He took a deep breath and released it, and then spoke, "Okay, I'm ready for the rituals." And it began. It would only take minutes. The he would lay down on the bed of his mate, and relax. Soon, his mind would be a tumult of passion and experience. Soon, he would find another reason for living. Soon, the world would fade away, leaving behind only meaning. Soon...
Argo, among his friends, was a skeptic. This may seem paradoxical to his other side: he was also the intellectual of the group. Now he was embarking on a journey that he friends had already traveled, but for each of them it was different, as it would be different for him. While Denzig was capable of enjoying it for the moving experience, and while Lavar loved it because of his spiritual nature, Argo's journey would be different, in that he was unlike Denzig and Lavar.
Slowly, the world washed away. Argo closed his eyes, and it looked as though he was looking out the window, watching rain drops drip down. It seemed... simple and peaceful. He watched each drop slowly drip down the glass, listening to the pelting of the droplets as they crashed against the window. And he saw his reflection... he was a five year old boy again. As he focused on this image, he began to feel immensely relaxed and tranquil. He looked outside further, and the rain stopped. No longer inside, he was walking down the sidewalk, as a five year old. The sun was shining bright, his palms were tiny, and the world seemed so gigantic. He fell in love with the experience right away. As he examined the world around him, he just kept on walking down the sidewalk of his neighborhood, the one of his far, far away childhood. He remembered the sunshine and the red shorts his mother bought him, and he remember the wind blowing gently in his face and the trees swaying with tender movements, but these were all simple things that helped him remember something greater: the feeling that everything was new, that he was about to start on the journey of life, that there will never be a day again when the sun's warmth is so bright. Being brought back to where he was as a child also brought back the mindset of being a child. Still skipping, he was a free spirit again. There was no worry about school, or relationships, or family, or a job... Just the blue, blue sky. And he walked through this neighborhood and it had been reconstructed entirely as if it was just copied from his memory. Echoing almost like a phantom, he heard his own laughter as a child...
The neighborhood melted away, but his image of himself as a five year old remained. And now he was no longer walking down the sidewalks of streets, but he was walking through a scene that was plain, gray and white. It seemed that they were hills , and he was walking, with just a peaceful, blissful knowledge that he found something more. He was happy. This was true. Looking down at his tiny small hands, he remembered how small he once was, and that there was once a time free of worry. He looked up to the sky and just let out a great laugh. And slowly, everything started to turn colors... An intense blue took over his vision, and it felt like, just for a few moments, that his heart started pumping, and his lungs stopped breathing. And he started to fall. Opening his eyes, he looked down, to see that he was falling from high in the sky. Yet this was to no alarm of Argo. He simply smiled as he made a continuous drop. He was free, and there was nothing holding him back. All fear, pain, misery, and insecurity had left him. It felt like several days had passed, just falling nonstop. But soon, everything slowly started to turn all black... And he looked, and saw a familiar face...
"Tikka," he said, almost using all of his breath and feeling exhausted. He looked, and saw his lover. But she was dead. Months ago, she was dead. She was stabbed in an alleyway by a mugger. Yet now, she looked to him with a pleasant smile, wearing the outfit that she wore most, a Boyscouts shirt with shorts that went down to mid-shin, with a loose, long coat over it all. He was instantly attracted to her again. Tilting his head closer towards her, he kissed her neck, and she wrapped her hands around the back of his neck... There almost seemed no surprise in it any more, no shock or amazement. He simply spent what seemed to be weeks, looking into her eyes with a content grin. There was not one moment where her smile faded, where her bright eyes seemed dim, where her face did not deserve the compliment of "beautiful." He fell in love with her again. Then he finally spoke, "I miss you."
"I miss you, too," she said.
And Argo started to cry. Tears welled up in his eyes, in the dream and in the real world. Then he wiped them away, and looked to his lover, and saw that she stopped smiling. He put his hand on her face, and spoke, "Please, don't ever stop smiling... There will be one less reason to live if you do." And she began with a flattered smirk, like the ones that were always followed by his clever compliments. And he kissed her. Pressing those lips again, while their bodies both fell limp, it seemed like there was something more to this all. Then he looked to her eyes again, and felt the longing that he had always known as a human man. "I'm sorry I wasn't there," he said, "I'm sorry I couldn't stop him."
She looked down thoughtfully for a moment, and then looked back up again... "Argo," Tikka said, "What happened happened. I am gone now. But a piece of me will forever be with you. In your dreams, I am there. There is nothing else that can be done. If you forget, then you'll forget the meaning of life... Nothing is eternal, but together, we can be something more. I love you."
"I love you, too," Argo said, "And now that I am with you, I am afraid that maybe I did forget. In the midst of all my sorrow and pain, of the torn life from blood... I think I forgot the good in the mess of tears. I never want to forget you for how you were. Please..."
Tears coming still, he grabbed her and held her tight. He felt her arms wrap around his back, and pulling his body closer to hers. He loved, and was loved. Her smell was not unlike the one he had remembered. "Never let go," was spoken, but the moment was so pure and crystalline, that it was unsure who exactly said it. And so he held on tightly, for what he thought was weeks. Rubbing his hand across her back, under and over the bra strap and on to the soft skin, he remembered again what it was like with her on those lonely nights. Her skin was perfect and uninterrupted. And so he held on to her, forever. Yet nothing can last forever. And slowly... slowly........ Slowly, everything started to become black, and he only held on tight, while her grip loosened. Ten minutes would pass, and he could no longer see her, but only feel her body. And finally, time would come, where she was gone entirely. Nine hours had passed since doing the ritual, and it no longer had him under a spell.
Argo lifted his head up... "I am back," he said, as a tear fell down his cheek. Lavar went close and hugged his friend.
"Are you okay?" Denzig asked.
"Yeah," Argo said, "It's just... I didn't expect for any of what happened to happen. Given the circumstances or not."
And so the three friends parted their separate ways, Denzig staying in his own basement, while Argo and Lavar went to their own homes. All there of these travelers went to sleep early, and woke with an unavowed respect for everything, and a desire for peace and an end to conflict.
"Shiiiiiiiit..." Argo said, almost with a bit of laughter in the way that nothing could bother him, "I fuckin' hate school!" And this sentence was said with a smile and pleasure. It simply didn't bother him today, but it was routine. The three colleagues decided early that morning that they must meet again in the basement of Denzig, to talk about their experiences with this other realm. Now that all three of them had had the journey, there was no denying what it was capable of. So the school day would go by slow, all of them with a thousand thoughts on their mind that they would love to discuss with others who knew what was bothering them. But finally, they would be in that basement of Denzig, perhaps a portal itself into other dimensions.
"So, what should we call it?" Denzig asked.
"Heh, we need a name for it?" Argo said, with a sly smirk.
"I don't see why not," Lavar replied.
"Why not 'Nautical'?" Argo said.
"Huh?" said Denzig.
"Nautical..." Argo said again, "It means... anything to do with traveling the seas. It has been further extended to infer further exploration, such as astronauts, cosmonauts, aquanauts, among others."
"Okay," Lavar said, "That sounds fine." Denzig agreed. "But," Lavar continued, "How will we refer to it as? Is it that someone who explores this way is called a Nautic? To travel this way is called Nauticalizing?"
"Yeah, seems good enough," Argo said.
"Hey, those are big words!" Denzig commented.
Argo simply replied with a roll of his eyes.
Then, as they were to move on to the next topic of discussion, what was on all of their minds was quite clear: shall we go there again tonight? And unanimously, three to zero, it was voted that they will. So they did. Doing the rituals as described in the ancient texts, they each went to the land of dreams. All was good. All was perfect. All was fair. Nothing could harm them any more. For weeks, they would meet every other day to travel to this land of far away, and see things which they had forgotten, to meet people they had lost, to experience beauty and spirituality as it had never before been accessible.
Part the Fourth -- Going Too Far and the Result
One fateful night, however, something went awry. Denzig sat alone in his basement, as his friends were each home. It was the day after they decided to Nauticalize together. Yet the hunger inside Denzig was a bitter, starving craving. He had to do it again, so alone, he did the ritual, and went to the land of dreams... But not fully. He was only partly there, and partly in reality. Unfortunately, he did not think well about his actions, and he decided to leave his house. With his mind part way in another dimension, as he walked down the side of the road, it was only an ingredient for disaster. Then he ran into some police officers, he thought he was looking suspicious, which he was.
"What's your name, son?" they asked.
"I am free," he responded in calmness.
"Tell me your name, or you will be arrested," the police officer replied. Denzig looked down, breathing heavily, and looked back up at the police officer, ten seconds, and then he smiled. "What???" the cop said in utter confusion. A moment, and Denzig was in handcuffs and in the back of the police car, being driven to the station. Several charges were being held against him: Disrespecting a Police Officer, Obstruction of a Public Passage, Criminal Trespassing on Public Property, Disorderly Conduct, Intent to Impersonate a Sidewalk, Leaning with Intent to Fall, Obstruction of the Due Process of Law, among a few others. The list of charges against him were for two reasons: he kept talking while the police officer wrote out the report, which irked the officer, and furthermore, the police officers of this district -- like those of any district -- had to get a quota of charges, or they could risk employment, and they received a bonus in their paycheck for every arrest.
In the Holding Cell, he sat in the corner by himself, surrounded by other criminals, many of them aggravated and full of anger. Six hours would pass, slowly for our hero, before he finally left the dream world. When he awoke in jail, he looked around in bewilderment. He had no idea how he got there.
More hours would pass. Finally, he would be allowed a phone call, and he would call home, to tell his parents the embarrassing truth. He felt too dazed, too confused, to really feel bad about it. All he really knew, deep in his heart, is that he wanted to be back home. And when he thought this, he wondered which home he longed for: that of another dimension, or that of his basement, and then he quickly concluded that either of them would be better than behind prison bars -- though later, he would confess to himself that he desired to be Nauticalizing more than anything. The next day, both of his parents would visit him, and he would see them through a glass window.
"Hey, mom...." he said, biting his bottom lip, sort of humiliated.
"Hello, Denzig," she replied.
The conversation they had dealt with what happened. It occurred along normal lines first: denial, then shock, then outrage, then helplessness, then hope. Denzig didn't follow any of these. Just his fanatical parents did. After twenty minutes, he was called back to his cell.
The next day would be his hearing. There were thirty inmates, each chained to each other and wearing orange, standing in the court. Then they called Denzig's name, and the judge would ask, "Denzig, on the counts of Disrespecting a Police Officer, Obstruction of a Public Passage, Criminal Trespassing on Public Property, Disorderly Conduct, Intent to Impersonate a Sidewalk, Leaning with Intent to Fall, Obstruction of the Due Process of Law, and Vagrancy you stand to serve up to three years. How do you plea?"
"Not guilty, sir," Denzig would respond.
Then Denzig was being ushered back to his cell, but before he did, he took a look into the crowd, and he saw his parents, and he saw his friends Argo and Lavar, both waving their hands and trying to look hopeful. As Denzig exited the room, he looked away and tear came down. "You'll have a trial in twenty one days," a police officer told Denzig.
"What? Twenty one days of being in prison when I haven't been convicted?" he said, "What about innocent until proven guilty?"
"Yeah, good one, kid," the police officer said, putting him back in his cell.
"But that's what it says in the Constitution," Denzig offered.
"Yeah, but you have to interpret the Constitution properly," the officer replied, "They meant, you are innocent until proven, except not really. Besides, what would you know? You're in jail."
The weeks in jail would seem to pass by extremely slow, and the hunger for an altered reality started his first day in. He didn't have the equipment necessary, though, to perform the ritual. His friends and parents would come to visit him several times. Then the date of the trial, foreboding in his mind with every night he laid in his cot staring at the ceiling, would be at his door step. He would think about it, now and then, while in his cell. "What would they ask? What would they say? What should I say?" He had so many questions in his mind, yet the state denies suspected criminals a lawyer until the court date. He sat in a waiting room with his lawyer alone, awaiting their turn to go to court. He had a brief conversation about the lawyer about his charges, and then he was called in to the court room. In the court were his friends Argo and Lavar, watching intently, both concerned. Then, he was asked to take the stand.
"What experiences have you had?" the prosecutor asked Denzig.
"What do you mean?" he replied.
"I mean, the experiences of another world that you described to officers as you were taken in," the lawyer said, "Here, let me show you the police report..."
"No, that's okay," Denzig said, "The experiences I had were with ancient rituals, where I would travel to another world. In this new place, I would see old memories I had and relive some of them."
"And you expect us to believe you?" the lawyer said sarcastically, "You're just a teenager. On what account can we believe that your experiences are true?"
"Try it yourself," Denzig said, somewhat sullen still.
"No thank you," the lawyer said, still demonstrating sarcasm, "I would prefer to still be alive. But you know, whatever excuses you have, whatever claims you have about it.... It doesn't change the fact that you committed certain crimes. You are aware of this, right?"
"I did not commit any crimes," Denzig said.
"There are a slew of charges against you," the prosecutor said, "Obstructing a Public Passage, Disrespecting a Police Officer, Criminal Trespassing on Public Property.... How do you react to those crimes?"
"Those are crimes that a police officer could charge against any person at any time if they wanted to," Denzig said, "It's simply one of their abused powers."
"Oh, so now it's a Civil Liberties case, is it?" the prosecutor said, again denoting with sarcasm.
"It's all right," Denzig said, "I never would expect anyone paid by the state to take Civil Liberties seriously. In every past instance of a struggle for rights, the government has never befriended the people."
"Mass conspiracy theories, huh?" the lawyer said, "Tell me more about your experiences. I just want to hear about those more."
"Well," Denzig said, trying to be honest even though he was faced with opposition and conflict, "We... I completed this ritual that I had researched. I was just curious to see if it would do anything. And it did. I traveled to a place far, far away. It was here that everything seemed so beautiful, so tranquil, so peaceful. It was like... a visualization of spirituality. I was in this place when the officers picked me up."
"Oh, right," beginning with a sarcastic comment, the lawyer continued, "And now we're supposed to believe you're just a New Age Spiritualist. Religion doesn't give you the right to commit crimes."
"It's not a religion," Denzig said, "What I had in that place... It wasn't anything that any church ever gave me, and I doubt any temple or cathedral could either."
"It was more than a religious experience?" asked the prosecutor, lifting his eyebrows up in satire.
"It was very real," Denzig said, "But at the same time, as I was in this other land, I was still here."
"If everyone decided to leave this realm and travel to another realm, why would they want to come back?" asked the lawyer.
"I don't know," Denzig said, "It's a learning experience that helps you deal with problems in this realm."
"Why should we let you off of this crime you committed?" the lawyer said facing the accused face on, "What you did was reckless, not only to your own body but to those around you! It should not go unpunished! What if you could have killed someone!?"
"The emotions I were having didn't make me feel violent at all!" Denzig responded, becoming angered much like his interrogator, "They gave me peace, liberty, and happiness."
"And it is that, which is a crime... what you did," the prosecutor said, resting.
The police officer...
The trial would go on, where the two arresting police officers were interrogated. "What Denzig did that fateful night... do you think it's immoral?" the defending lawyer asked one officer.
"It was illegal," he responded without second thought.
"That's not what I asked," the defending lawyer said, "In Nazi Germany, it was illegal to harbor Jews in your house. That doesn't mean it was immoral. But what Denzig did, his own willingness to experiment with another dimension... Do you think this is immoral?"
The police officer thought for a while, "Yes, I do. Because nobody should be like that."
"Why?" the lawyer asked.
"Because, it's the law," the officer struggled, "And...."
"It's the law?" the lawyer said, pacing back and forth of the court room, trying to remain animate, "Hitler's law forbade the harboring of Jews in. Does that mean it was immoral?"
"What Denzig did was wrong," the officer said firmly, "And it is simply as that."
"And why should we believe you?" the lawyer asked.
The prosecutor shot up, "Objection, your honor. He's badgering the witness."
"I'm done with this witness," the defending lawyer said, as he sat down.
Finally, the defending lawyer called the mother of Denzig to the stand.
"Do you think Denzig is a good boy?" he asked her.
She was somewhat struck with shock, and even a tint of guilt, that she had to testify on her son's behalf, "He always gets good grades. And he doesn't get in trouble with the school teachers."
"Have you ever seen him do anything that was wantonly, intentionally harmful or dangerous to those around him?" he asked again.
"No," the mother said, "Denzig has always be nice to people. He doesn't believe in hurting others." The lawyer gave her a good old-fashioned smile, like he knew her and understood her, then he sat down.
The prosecutor stood up... "You obviously didn't know about your son's experiments with the paranormal, did you?"
"Well, no," the mother said, "I work late and I don't get home till nine o'clock or so. It's really hard raising a family of six when neither parent has a college education."
"But you didn't know, did you?" the prosecutor asked again.
The mother shook her head.
"Let the record show that the mother shook her head in denial," the judge said.
"Since you were completely unaware of his testing of another realm, is it possible that he could have been shoplifting from stores when you weren't home?" he asked.
"No, Denzig wouldn't do that!" she spoke with passion.
"But, you never thought he would try to enter another realm, did you?" the prosecutor said, "So... is it possible that he could be shoplifting and you wouldn't know?"
"Well, I guess so," the mother said, "But I don't think he would --"
The lawyer cut her off, "What if he joined a gang and engaged in criminal violence? Would you know then? Or how about murder and rape?"
"Objection!" the defending lawyer rose.
The judge looked to the prosecutor, "I think you've made your point."
The lawyer took a look at the mother and said, "So, it's quite true that you don't know what your son does or doesn't do." And then he sat down.
"What we have here," the prosecutor read his closing statement to the jury, "Is a child who had decent, hard-working, loving parents. But to him, that wasn't enough. He couldn't be happy with what he was given. Instead, he had to go out and endanger the world, just so he could travel to another dimension of time and space. Whether his accounts of his journeys are true or not, I'm not going to make a statement on them, only that everything should be taken with a grain of salt. When he decided to experiment, he took into consideration no one around him. And it is this which is a crime. To test a new reality without consideration to those around, and to endanger their personal lives and their safety! This boy," he was now pointing to Denzig, "Engaged in disorderly conduct, where he could have seriously harmed someone. That is what he is charged with, and I hope you find it honest enough, with corroborating evidence, that you will find him guilty as charged. God bless..." And he sat.
The defending lawyer was still sitting, in a fixed gaze on the wall, rolling his pen back and forth on the table. Ten seconds would pass and then he would stand up in a burst of energy. "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury," he started, "The only crime committed her was that of curiosity. Denzig wanted to know. He wanted to know what would happen if he tried this. He wanted to see what it was like. If curiosity is a crime, then the whole human species ought to be cursed to prison. Denzig's experiments with an abnormal dimension, whether or not they are true or accurate, they are his rights to do. If any person wants to experiment, let them. It does not harm anyone. It is cruel, it is not brutal. So, why then, should anyone feel justified in throwing him in prison, alongside rapists, murderers, and thieves? He was not violent, nor did he harm anyone. And you must take something into consideration... He knew quite well how he would feel and how he would act when he was picked up by police. And what did the police report have to say about him when he was picked up!?!? It said, and I quote, 'the boy seemed disillusioned and overly optimistic... he seemed peaceful.' What else did it say!? It said that Denzig replied to one question, with 'I am free.' If he was not in the other realm in which he described, then it is very true he could have responded violently or angrily. By the own admission of the police report, he was not a danger or a threat to anyone around him. Let liberty survive, or we shall have slavery -- I am asking you to plea Not Guilty, because Denzig could have harmed no person around him."
Twenty minutes would come to pass, and the verdict would already have been reached. "Has the jury reached a verdict?" the judge asked.
"We have, your honor," the jury member said.
The judge spoke, "On the count of Disrespecting a Police Officer, how do you find the defendant?"
"Not guilty," the jury member said.
"On the count of Obstruction of a Public Passage, how do you find the defendant?"
"On the count of Criminal Trespassing on Public Property, how do you find the defendant?"
And so it was with every charge against Denzig. His heart sank to the bottom of his feet as the verdicts were read. The intensity of it was so overwhelming. It was so nerve-wracking, it seemed that he was struggling just to breathe. Fortunately, appealing to the jury's sense of justice rather than their sense of law was a success. He should his lawyer's hand -- the Public Defender who had stood beside his client. Denzig was released from prison that night. The last few hours in his cell felt like an eternity, but when he was out, he was a free man, breathing free air.
Part the Fifth -- An End
He was heartily welcomed back by his colleagues Lavar and Argo. There were hugs, tears, and rejoicing. "I'm so glad you're all right, bro," Argo said, hugging his friend. They would meet again in Denzig's basement.
"So, we ready to Nauticalize?" Lavar asked, "This time, now we're all back together... It would be a reunion journey. Are we all ready?"
"Yeah," Denzig said, "But I want to do a lot more this time."
"Oh?" Argo said, "Do you want to try 600 milligrams?"
Recreational drug use, though illegal, can still provide users with much like the experiences of the characters in this story. These parts of the story involving the "ritual" (actually using drugs) are true of the drug Dextromethorphan (DXM)...
Other drugs, such as mushrooms, can provide intense hallucinations, which can change someone's life. But remember, never try a drug unless you are sure it is safe. And there is a place where you can go to get this information...
http://www.erowid.org -- Information on safe, recreational drug use
http://www.drugwarfacts.org -- Statistics on the Drug War
http://www.peele.net/ -- Questions and answers on alcohol, addiction, and drugs
Some more facts to consider....
Think for yourself. Maybe you will find your own piece of meaning in this world of ours...