Typically, a preface is written by the author of the main work, whereas a foreword is written by another, introducing the subject matter to follow. Authorship of The Muse Trilogy has always been a bit of a tricky thing; hence, Iâ€™m allowing you to decide.
Salutations. Iâ€™m Edwin, the third editor of this horrendous project known as the New Millenium Muse. Three books, three editors-- thatâ€™s your first clue that this is no ordinary trilogy.
The editor of the first book, The Thousand-Petalled Lotus: The Flower of Human Consciousness, was a chimpanzee named Ed. He had the unique ability to slip into different time-streams, affording him the ability to draw material from the future as well as the past. Being a monkey however, Ed was somewhat careless in his exploits, inadvertently revealing himself to Martin Dexter-- our main character-- which altered that particular consensus reality. In the end, our time-slipping monkey had created the perfect time-loop with which to ensure his own demise-- sticking his own neck out a bit too far and once too often. I, for one, appreciate his efforts though.
The duty of editing the second book, Butterfly Dreams: The Nectar of Transformation, rested on Eddy. Although perfectly well-intentioned, he ended up being a bit of a lame duck. Eddy was in over his head and was rapidly pulled under by the daunting task before him-- to make sense of a plot winding through subjective realms of intuition and irrationality. Eddy too did not survive his encounter with Martin Dexter. Book Two was Eddyâ€™s undoing.
So here I am, Edwin, attempting to grasp hold of this rudderless ship-- The Muse-- in order to chart the final course to completion-- or rather, perhaps, culmination, as the worlds of time and space never seem to abide in completion, just in nexus points of transformative potential. Please do not fear for my safety during this process, for I have already encountered Martin Dexter face-to- face, and unlike my predecessors I have lived to tell the tale.
Allow me to lead you into chaos and vagary... all the while trying to appease the last traces of rationality wending its way through this slow apocalypse. Iâ€™ll do my best to render sensibility beyond the common limitations of our familiar senses. Apocalypses can be really tricky things, especially when they involve several worlds and dimensions at once. At this point it would be customary to offer a synopsis of what has occurred previously in this convoluted tale in order to refresh and update prior Muse readers. However, it is my belief that such a recounting is simply not possible.
Although these books appear to have an objectifiable existence, their reliance on plot as a primary mode of delivery is decidedly subjective. What actually happens within â€œthe storyâ€ is different for every reader of â€œthe story.â€ Hopefully, you can appreciate my difficulty in trying to delineate such a dynamic variable! So in lieu of the customary synopsis, I will now reveal my strategies for bringing you, dear readers, into the fold.
First, I will reproduce here a smattering of excerpts from a conversation between Martin Dexter and Niels... which was included at the end of Book Two. This strange conversation provides unique insight into the metaphysical backdrop underpinning this literary endeavor, explaining key insights into the first two books. I could issue a spoiler alert at this juncture, but I really donâ€™t think it spoils a damn thing... for any newcomers joining our entourage.
(And a quick note about newcomers: I realize that there are many, many more people reading this third book as itâ€™s being written than ever there was having read the first two. I will continue on the assumption that many-- or likely most-- of the newcomers will not rush out to buy the first books of the trilogy in order to get up to speed. Therefore, it is further my task to provide background and insight-- as much as is possible-- as this new installment proceeds.)
And this brings us to my secondary strategy. I will approach my task of providing adequate context through editorial character depictions as the new story unfolds. As we pick up the threads of each character having a history in this tale, I will endeavor to briefly re-introduce each one by attempting to summarize each of their unique contributions, quirks, and foibles.
And as a beginning toward such an end, allow me to state now the general tenure of the characters within the tale. To the average reader, The Muse appears much like an anthology-- a collection of various writings from a multitude of authors. In truth, Niels is the sole author of this atrocity. He likens these various characters to the variability of personalities inherent in every modern human consciousness. We all speak with different and distinct voices according to whom weâ€™re addressing. I speak very differently with my mother, for example, than I do with my drinking buddies. These characters are these myriad internal personas... personified... objectified... scrutinized.
And I suppose that brings us to the aforementioned excerpts from the end of Book Two. These are snippets of a conversation between Niels and Martin Dexter in a-- as yet-- mythological place called Barfuss.
Niels: Perhaps I should start by telling you who Martin Dexter really is.
Martin: Okay... this is already getting confusing but... who is Martin Dexter... really? Niels: He is a character in a book.
Martin: And Iâ€™m not him?
Martin: And who wrote the book?
Niels: I did-- well, that is to say, we both did... Itâ€™s a bit tricky, but in the sense that you mean, the answer is that I did.
Martin: So then you are God and I am your creation?
Niels: An apt analogy but a bit simplistic in the terms stated. You see, when I created you, I endowed you with free will. From the onset, you were free to explore any of the Infinite Possibilities within the bounds of my imagination. I had no idea where your story might lead. You chose the experiences, and I chose the words to describe them. It has been a highly collaborative endeavor... and in a way, we have co-created each other.
Martin: But if I understand you correctly, you alone are real, and I am not.
Niels: Not at all. We are both equally real... or unreal, whichever you prefer.
Martin: How so?
Niels: You, more so than anyone I know, have helped to create this character who calls himself
Niels. By allowing you to roam freely through my imagination, you have significantly changed, re-arranged and organized the landscape of my mind, which is this character called Niels. You have shocked and surprised me, frustrated and entertained me; you have shaped me at least as much as I have â€œcreatedâ€ you. There is no one in my physical reality who has had a more profound influence upon me than you. You might be surprised to know that when you died I was utterly dumbfounded and that I cried genuine tears of grief and loss.
Martin: But you knew that that wasnâ€™t the end of Martin Dexter.
Niels: I knew of the possibility, but the choice for continued existence was yours alone to make. For many years you were lost to me; I couldnâ€™t find my way through your death without your help.
Martin: Many years...? But I wasnâ€™t gone that long.
Niels: Not in your version of reality, no. In my world you were gone for nearly ten years. Martin: Ten years! What year is this?
Niels: In my world itâ€™s 2005. In your reality itâ€™s 1998. I know the math doesnâ€™t work, but thatâ€™s because when I started the Muse I was projecting into the future-- or rather, Ed, the time-slipping monkey, was. Now, the Muse is desperately recapitulating the past. Time is very much a localized phenomenon, being utterly elastic and totally forgiving between realities.
Martin: This is all a bit confusing.
Niels: Maybe you should read the book.
Martin: Okay, I think I will...
Martin: Why did you destroy my world? I mean, why did you find it necessary to kill off nearly everyone within it?
Niels: At that time I couldnâ€™t see any other way. Once I learned to actually feel my connection to the Earth, my natural reaction to the massive abuses of our Mother was to get rid of the abusers. I could not see that there was any other way to stop the destruction or turn the tide. The majority of the offenders-- the human race-- had to go.
Fortunately, our Earth Mother is vastly creative, superbly intelligent, and unreasonably tolerant. Her way brings us all to eventual enlightenment instead of sweeping the problem under the rug. Iâ€™ve had a chance to learn that humanityâ€™s problems seem unsolvable only when you look at them globally: from the limited perspective of a single human being, the world situation looks rather bleak. How long can it go on? But only the Planet, the Earth Mother herself, has the capacity for this global view, and I can only look to myself to find those places in which I too am still one of the abusers.
Martin: Why did you kill me?
Niels: You made that choice. I acquiesced. We selected Death naturally as the Bridge between our realities. Death is the agent of Change, and something in the Muse-- something fundamental-- had to change.
At first we were both just playing with ideas... but the thing about ideas-- especially the â€œgoodâ€ ones-- is that they nag us until, eventually, we make them real. Thatâ€™s what weâ€™re doing here right now-- making things real... setting the Bridge in place. You were always the brave one; you trusted that you could face Death and safely come out the other side as long as I was watching. I was always a bit of a chicken-shit.
You taught me that the universe is safe and supportive because we unfailingly draw the precise experiences we need into our lives, exactly when we need them... even if the experience is death. Itâ€™s how the larger Life moves on, learning, growing, evolving. We are equally that life as the lives of these characters named Martin and Niels. We will both discard these names before long, but not before they are sewn within the Tapestry of the larger Life.
Edwin here again. Are you beginning to get the picture? Well, perhaps I can lay a bit more groundwork before we proceed. The preceding conversation reminded me of the need to define a few basic terms or conditions which as editor will be my prerogative to adhere to. First, the relationship of our (Nielsâ€™) reality to that of Martin Dexterâ€™s is of the nature of the Many Worlds Theory of quantum mechanics. There are countless variations of our singular experience, each comprising a complete alternative reality. Our universe is defined by the parameters of being, but every choice made within that singular set of parameters spins off an alternate version of reality. This is the relationship between universe and multiverse.
The universe-- and all of its multiverse variations-- is couched within the larger cosmos or omniverse. The omniverse consists of multiple distinct universes, each having differing parameters of being and experience. They are not variations of each other; they are rather wholly differing expressions which are not translatable from one universe to another. I will use the word â€œomniverseâ€ or â€œcosmosâ€ to depict all that exists-- much of which we cannot even begin to speak of.
Eternal Essence is a denizen of the omniverse. Soul is a limited partnership between Eternal Essence and the singular universe it chooses to inhabit for any duration. God is the Eternal Essence embodiment of this universe of our current experience. Each of us too is Eternal Essence-- just like God-- but we are in Soul partnership with God and within God having this experience until our Souls find resolution... at which time we are free to re-emerge into the omniverse to choose a completely new journey.
Now, in order to wrap up this rambling preamble, Iâ€™ll offer the following appeal by Martin Dexter to the readers of the Muse which also appeared at the end of Book Two. Please note that throughout the first two books Martin was told repeatedly by strangers and sages that he was â€œthe Bridge.â€
Dear Reader- by Martin Dexter (Barfuss â€™05)
You are the Bridge.
Each of us lives in a separate universe, conditioned, limited, defined by our own unique set of beliefs. There is a force which attempts to impose, from without, a uniformity of perception, however, so that we may all occupy the same tiny island of belief. This force tries to shrink the usable parameters of existence to make us more manageable, docile, obedient. We are reared as a herd, fodder for unseen mouths. We are fed a consistent diet of lies to fatten our egos and quash our imaginations. We are effectively shackled by fear and insecurity to the point where we dare not think for ourselves!
Of what use are we to a curious God if we all think the same thoughts, live the same lives, perpetuate the same limiting beliefs? We are all on a mission of exploration. We are all astounding, magical creatures with infinite potential. If you have gotten this far in this narrative without giving up or keeling over from hysterical laughter, then you already know the truth of this. You can feel the magic within you, bristling with the chance for expression.
Do we really want to live on a tiny island of uniform belief? Can we not instead reach out through our imaginations, discover new modes of being, and share our tales of adventure with the gusto and zest which accompanies an expanding, growing, evolving Life? Would this not befit the truth of who and what we are?
I, Martin Dexter, am a creature of imagination. There I was conceived, and there I reside. But you too are just such a creature. Whatever you consistently imagine yourself to be, thatâ€™s what you are! Therein lies your power of choice. The time for thinking outside the box is passing by; now is the time to dream outside the box. Do you dream of riches, of fame, of power over others? These belong to the program of limitation. These are the dreams youâ€™re supposed to dream-- the dreams of obedient slaves.
Fortunately, I am now a voice which has been planted in your head; now I live in your imagination too. But please donâ€™t fear my voice, for I speak in the very same tones which have echoed in your heart for many lifetimes. Let me walk barefoot through your mind... Will I kick up dust and cobwebs? Or will pink, squishy magic ooze up through my toes?
Please do not accept my version of reality-- it is not your own. You are a creator who has come far in this journey already. You have memories of other lives, other worlds, a sacred calling. These too condition your beliefs. Give them your energy, your love; nurture them in the soil of your divine imagination. Find your personal path, for it leads to freedom!
We are the Warriors of Freedom, and it is none other than God whom we deliver from bondage. Where is He bound? In ourselves, of course! We are the prison; we are the warden; and so are we kept prisoner too by the choice to deny our own freedom. Freedom is magic: the freedom to be, the freedom of expression, the freedom to love-- that is Godâ€™s holy trinity. And fear has no place on this battleground.
We cannot fear our differences; we must cherish them. We must resist the urge to squeeze and to pound each other to fit the moulds of our conditioned desires. We are not the huddling, cowering herd. We are stars drifting outward in an oceanic sky, polishing our individual shine, filling the Void with a webwork of Light.
If you resonate with the words written here, if you feel that our all-one-ness is realized individually, if you know that your deepest truth is freedom for all-- then so shall it be!
You are the Bridge.
And with that I think we are ready to begin the third book of The Muse Trilogy...
Liquid Immortal: The Seed of God
â€œAs far as apocalypses go, this oneâ€™s a complete catastrophe!â€ -The Anarchist
Edwinâ€™s Note: Niels has suggested that we begin with the end; I concur. But before we dive right in I would point out that any and all of my interjections and elaborations spring from my own personal understanding of the Muse. My interpretations are by no means absolute. Perhaps Niels alone knows the this-and-that of everything Mused, but he does not dogmatically impose them on me. Remember I am but an all-too-fallible guide. Now having said that, I will admit that I donâ€™t really know whether the following story takes place in our own Earth reality, a parallel or alternative Earth reality, within the inner continuum of Mi-Fu, or somewhere else entirely. We may just find out in due time. And so let us begin with...
The End Game
Memory... wherein does it reside? The fruitless search for the elusive engram-- that hypothetical base unit of memory-- has yielded hardly more than a deepening of the mystery for the location of specific recallable events. Where are they stored? Hint: not in brains.
Perhaps it is almost obvious that any physical occurrence is indelibly written or â€œstoredâ€ within the context of the occurrence itself. That is to say that whatever happens alters the very structure of physical reality and therefore is â€œstoredâ€ as the very changes comprising such an ever-dynamic reality. Everything which happens changes the structure of reality moment to moment... and for as long as the universe endures, not a single occurrence is lost or forgotten in the long chain of causality.
Memories exist outside of ourselves... at this point of perception.
This point of perception, our current moment in time, is inside-out. We see our memories as belonging solely to us-- unquestionably. We regard them as internal affairs-- strictly. And more than anything else, memories are what we use most to arrive at our own self-identities. It is for this reason that the loss of memory, particularly during our declining years, frightens us so. We seem to forget who we are... as though such sacred self-knowledge could ever be eroded by our own human frailties.
Recall that this point of perception is inside-out... and perhaps backwards as well.
So let us jump now to an undisclosed moment in time when the Earthâ€™s magnetic field suddenly plummeted to zero. Why should such a happenstance effect memory? The explanation is beyond the scope of our purposes here, so let us just accept that it does. The effect, in a nutshell, is that of total personal memory erasure. It is not, in fact, an actual erasure, but rather a disconnection between the memories and the identities attempting to adhere to them. To those affected, however, it would seem like a complete personal memory deletion... like wiping the hard-drive of a computer... except that we humans are deeply programmed on so many levels.
Such a moment occurred. The duration of its occurrence is irrelevant since once the disconnection was made, there was no subsequent automatic restoration to â€œnormalâ€ memory retrieval. The disconnection endured in an awkward moment of truth.
Stacey had just finished loading the groceries into her car. It was grocery shopping day, and the main task was nearly done. All that remained now was getting them home and put away. Just as she lifted the key to the ignition, the awkward moment of truth intervened. Stacey forgot herself-- completely.
All memory instantly dropped away. She knew not who she was or where she lived. She had no recollection even of how she lived. The key in her hand was as meaningless to her as the metal box of her car housing her temporarily in this moment of truth... with the groceries-- these strange alien companions.
A moment of what-the-fuck panic seemed most reasonable, and Stacey had always been most reasonable. She panicked with a determined dignity and decorum welling up from an untouchable place within. She searched about peering through the windows of her car, trying to take stock of the total situation.
She was in a place of many domiciles, tightly packed variations of the metal box she sat within. The vast majority of them appeared to be empty, but here and there she could make out the panicked faces of her neighbors. The ability to read body language and emotional expression was something wholly beyond any reliance on conscious memory. Perhaps others were experiencing the very same... unknown... she was experiencing. She would have liked to go and speak with them. For the rudiments of language too required no conscious memory, no self-identity. But for the time being, Stacey was unable to remember how to open the car door.
Thomas had always been lucky. When the awkward moment of truth came upon him, he had been walking his dog in the park. The moment dropped like a waterfall from the sky, washing all self-recollection from his very bones to seep instantly into the parched Earth beneath his feet. Tomâ€™s identity was buried instantly in muddied inaccessible unmarked graves. He stood as though naked, frozen to the spot, the loop of a dog leash around his wrist.
The dog barked and looked up at him questioningly. Tom wondered whether he was meant to understand the creatureâ€™s utterance. After all, they were tied together, obviously partners of some sort. He reached his free hand down to the dogâ€™s head and gently laid it between his ears. The dog sat down contentedly, wagging its tail above the short grass of the parkâ€™s lawn, and looked up to his master who scratched now behind his ears. Allies... even friends, for sure, reasoned Tom. He was thankful for the companionship in such a bewildering and awkward moment.
The park had been relatively deserted. Only a handful of children had been playing on the swings when confusion had dropped from the sky. Tom looked to the children now, hearing their whimpering in the distance. Somehow Tom knew instantly that this predicament was not his alone; they all shared its awkwardness, its bewilderment. He could read it on their faces; it was written in their stiff postures. Tomâ€™s first inkling was to render help. He and the dog went to where the children cried.
Karen freaked right the fuck out! She was home alone when the power cord to her brain got suddenly pulled. Virtual electricity and any semblance of sanity shot straight out through her ears in a flash of consuming ignorance. Not only did Karen not know who she was; she couldnâ€™t even discern what she was... beyond this suddenly raving maniac, blubbering from room to room in her spacious house, desperately looking for someone who might yet hold the reins of her vanished composure. She wet herself... incidentally in the bathroom, but Karen was too far gone already to make any rational guesses as to what a toilet might be for.
After her initial frenzied romp through the house, searching in vain for the moorings of even the most ephemeral sanity, Karen eventually found the front door. She opened it and stepped out to peer down the streets of her neighborhood still looking for bearings of any sort. What she found instead, much to her horror, was that apparently a few of her neighbors were having an even more difficult time than she was as evidenced by the few crazies screaming and dashing about in a most haphazard way.
Karen ran back into the house and promptly shut the door firmly behind her. And then, most curiously, Karenâ€™s hand-- apparently on auto-pilot or infused with ample muscle memory-- shot the deadbolt to the locked position. And then she collapsed in a sobbing soggy heap right there against the front door... safely locked inside... of her own misery.
It can now be told that there were those on and around Earth at that fateful awkward moment who knew the moment was coming. They knew precisely what was to occur. And in such knowing, they knew how to prepare themselves for the eventuality. Furthermore, a significant portion of them knew precisely how to profit from just such a moment.
Thomas sat in the grass amongst the children. He had no clue as to whether he had ever been a father or not, but the situation naturally drew fatherliness from him regardless. They were all in the very same boat, but the children nevertheless looked to him for guidance and leadership. He knew nothing... and yet he provided what they needed. The dog too followed his lead in providing the simple comfort of friendship based on nothing more than proximity and shared circumstance.
They were calm, talking together, mostly reconfirming to each other that they each were indeed bereft of any personal recollections of culture and identity. They knew nothing of their real biological family ties, but here in the aftermath they were quickly becoming all the family they needed to ride out this storm together. In perfect vulnerability, trust was a familiar treasure to all.
A man in flowing robes approached the driver side door of Staceyâ€™s car. His face was calm, smiling. He waved to Stacey inside. She instinctively waved back, not knowing what else to do. She smiled unconvincingly. He stopped at the door and reached for the handle. It was locked-- something which he immediately communicated to Stacey, though she had no means of understanding what he meant.
â€œThere should be a button or a switch beneath the window that unlocks the door,â€ he instructed. Stacey promptly located and pressed it. The door clicked and the man tugged at the handle. Fresh air, for which Stacey was quite thankful, streamed inside the open door. The man continued.
â€œToday is Judgment Day, a time of reckoning for all of humanity. Greetings, I am Jesus Christ.â€
Thomas and the children had followed the man in the flowing robes to Staceyâ€™s car in the grocery store parking lot across the street from the park. There was just something about the way he moved with perfect confidence through the awkward moment which beckoned â€œFollow me. Follow me.â€
They had stood behind but well within earshot when the robed man had introduced himself to Stacey as Jesus Christ. He knew his identity! Thomas envied him that.
â€œYou have your memories,â€ said Tom, and the man turned in surprise. A shadow of something unidentifiable crossed the robed manâ€™s face before he resumed his calm, confident demeanor.
â€œIndeed. I know who I am.â€ He looked upon the children and smiled.
â€œHas your memory been restored to you, or did you never lose it in the first place?â€ inquired Tom.
â€œI have always known who I am. I am the Light and the Way. But the restoration that you seek is well within my purview and power to grant.â€
There was something in that answer that just didnâ€™t sit quite right with Tom, even as the children noticeably perked up at the pronouncement, as did Stacey too. What was so special about this Jesus fellow? Why should he be different than all the rest? What special power did he wield?
â€œYou can restore my memory?â€ asked Stacey excitedly. â€œFor real?â€ â€œQuickly, easily and painlessly,â€ came the answer in smooth confidence. â€œHow is it done?â€ interjected Tom.
â€œA gentle placement of my fingertip upon your brow, nothing more.â€
â€œWhy?â€ asked Tom suspiciously.
â€œWhy what?â€ came the quick retort with perhaps a hint of annoyance.
â€œWhy do you alone possess this special power over others?â€ There was something about this kind of elitism that Tom could not reconcile with a fair and just universe. Certainly he had no specific memory of the universe ever having been just or fair, but deep down inside he simply knew that it was... ultimately.
â€œI am God,â€ proclaimed Jesus. Stacey and the children gasped while Tom slipped into a quiet almost amused anger.
â€œInteresting that that wasnâ€™t your opening line,â€ mused Tom aloud. â€œWhat are you selling?â€ Terms from a merchant culture just seemed to naturally spring to the fore.
â€œEternal everlasting life is free for the asking,â€ countered the robed man. â€œAs it has ever been.â€
â€œThen why now?â€ pressed Tom. â€œWhy in this moment of greatest vulnerability should God come among us in such a manner granting memories individually? Why take them away in the first place?â€
â€œSo that each could face his deepest fear-- his unknown self. Already many have not survived this day. This reckoning has taken a terrible toll. Fear is self-consuming if not for my merciful interventions.â€
It still seemed to Thomas that he was being given half-truths at best, but at the current cognitive disadvantage he was unable to muster any further argument. Then one of the youngest of the children stepped forward to stand before the robed man.
â€œMr. Jesus sir, Iâ€™d like to remember who I am. Please.â€
The child was lightly touched upon the brow with that exclusive aristocratic finger, and immediately she fell to her knees. Her chin fell to her chest and she began to sob. â€œI want my mommy. I want my mommy...â€
The robed man scooped her up and spoke to the rest. â€œWalk with me as we find this little oneâ€™s parents.â€
Stacey abandoned her car and newly purchased groceries to become one of this enigmatic manâ€™s entourage. She followed alongside Tom. Observing with keen awareness they walked up a residential street lined with fancy houses.
â€œDoes the little girl seem better off for knowing?â€ whispered Tom to Stacey. The girl still sobbed into the shoulder of â€œGod.â€
â€œSheâ€™s just frightened,â€ Stacey whispered back.
â€œWe all are,â€ insisted Tom, â€œbut now she seems almost inconsolable. Thereâ€™s something going on here that just ainâ€™t right.â€
â€œWhat are you suggesting?â€
â€œI donâ€™t know. How could I possibly know? I donâ€™t know a goddam thing... and yet I know. You know?â€ Stacey nodded almost imperceptibly.
The little troupe was suddenly outside Karenâ€™s front door. Karen was still a wet and blubbering heap propped against its inside. Jesus knocked and set the little girl down on the stoop. Shrieks of terror answered from inside.
â€œDo not fear! I have come to save. Please open the door.â€ The face of bat-shit crazy stabbed through the curtains of the bay window beside the front door. Moments later the deadbolt clicked and the door opened a crack. Karen was incapable of coherent speech. â€œI return your daughter to you,â€ said Jesus through the crack.
The door opened wider and the little girl saw her mother. She threw herself upon Karen screaming â€œMommy! Mommy!â€ while Karen scrambled backward muttering â€œWhat the fuck! What the fuck!â€
There was not a trace of recognition in Karenâ€™s eyes. The robed man stepped up swiftly and made his solemn offer. â€œI can restore your memories if youâ€™ll permit me.â€ Karen looked at him ever more dumbfounded, trying to pry the little girl from her waist. The little monster was unrelenting... and finally she nodded to Jesus. And the finger of â€œGodâ€ restored her to her former self with but a touch on the brow.
â€œMegs! Oh my god, Megs! Itâ€™s you!â€ Karen knelt down for a proper hug, and they both began to cry and blubber and collapsed in a heap. After a time Karen began to mutter quietly again â€œWhat the fuck... what the fuck...â€
To Tom and Stacey it all seemed rather inappropriate and somewhat ugly.
Eventually, Meagan released her mother to turn to the others outside on the stoop. â€œCâ€™mon Aaron,â€ she said. Apparently the oldest boy was her brother. He looked upon the scene in the house with a modicum of disdain.
â€œWho me?â€ he said. His sister nodded. The god-man made his offer, and Aaron shook his head, no. â€œUm... Iâ€™d rather not just now,â€ he said. The disheveled picture of his dysfunctional family seemed somewhat unappealing at the moment. He could clearly see that those who were restored to their former selves were not in any discernible way better off than the others... and perhaps they were worse off. â€œI need some time to think things through.â€
Karen was still incapable of approaching anything resembling reason, and so could not offer her son the correct words of reassurance.
Jesus was perturbed. Clearly this whole escapade had not unfolded according to his designs. He knew not what else to do but make his same offer again. â€œAnyone else? Whoâ€™s next?â€
There were no takers. Stacey and Tom and the three remaining children walked down the front steps to take their leave of an insanity none of them could define. The man in the flowing robes looked mildly defeated. He stayed to presumably minister to the broken family heâ€™d helped to restore... or perhaps he stayed for purposes wholly unknown.
The group of six-- Thomas, Stacey, the three children and the dog-- walked together back to Staceyâ€™s car and its cache of groceries. As they arrived, Tom proclaimed â€œI am Thomas. I remember myself... from before I ever was born.â€
In the days to follow they each discovered that the identities they had long carried with them throughout this lifetime-- wedded to their own shoddy memories-- were dilapidated ones, distractions to the truth. It had long been talked about on Earth throughout history that there was a veil of forgetting pulled across the human mind, so that human beings never really knew who or what they were. Paradoxically, that veil of forgetting was always comprised of egoâ€™s selective memory. The reset button was that awkward moment when everything familiar periodically falls away... so that all that is real and true and enduring might resurface in those who have prepared the Way.
Shifters (The Old Earth) Episode 1 â€œTwinsâ€
Edwinâ€™s Note: This series is brand new to the Muse. However, its antecedents lie in the series The New Earth, and to a lesser degree in the series Mi-Fu. The New Earth series spawned the majority of Muse characters, including Martin Dexter, as it followed a group of post-armageddon survivors in a parallel Earth-based reality. Very briefly, the Mi-Fu (Mind Fusion) series has been focused around an android named Mi-Fu who has the unique ability to assimilate the complete life memories of any person wishing to join the Inner Continuum, essentially creating a digital copy of assimilants and allowing their interaction within Mi-Fuâ€™s light-based data storage unit called the Refraction Module. The Refraction Module is housed in the bowel region of the android, and currently the android Mi-Fu sits at the kitchen table in Martin Dexterâ€™s cabin. None of this will appear to be particularly relevant to the first installment which follows.
There came a time in the long history of Earth when the planetary sentience was â€œforcedâ€-- through circumstance-- to withdraw her mindfulness from the third- dimensional expression of her body. She laid down the physical expression of herself to die whilst her conscious spirit journeyed forward into higher dimensional experience. Earthâ€™s torrent of consciousness poured into the shining expression of the ever-evolving New Earth... until her old 3D expression spiraled aimlessly around the sun in its familiar orbit as a huge dead rock. That dead-- or rather dying-- thing is the Old Earth.
Despite appearances, death is not often an instantaneous thing; it is a procedure... which can sometimes last an interminably long time. At first, the Old Earth seemed very much the same as it always had been. Life on the surface continued on without drastic interruption for quite some time before some of the more astute inhabitants began to realize that something subtle and insidious had indeed changed... but they were quite at a loss to fathom what it might be.
It was the nature of the human inhabitants of the Old Earth to give no credence to the very idea that their planet was ever alive, let alone had been sentient. Notions of planets having intelligence and volition simply did not fit with their primary beliefs. And it was this paradigmatic stance which granted them all their tickets to ride out the last days of their stifling beliefs on that cold dead rock they had always imagined Earth to be.
In a small hamlet somewhere off the beaten path there lived a woman of stern countenance alone in her ramshackle hut. Her name is not important to the telling of this tale, as she merely serves as the progenitor of our protagonist(s).
It had been one of those nights when loneliness bears down with unreasonable weight, bending oneâ€™s gaze to the cold ground, stooping the shoulders in surrender to the lack of any sure remedy. She simply could not, this night, bear to be alone. At the lone tavern at the outskirts of town she met that night the other parent of the â€œchildrenâ€ yet to come.
The father too is of little import to this narrative, providing little more than his special agent of fertility in order to bring about the initial incident of this taleâ€™s true beginning.
So, at the risk of certain indelicacies, let us properly begin with the conception. In a wooden garbage stall out back of the tavern, the deed was done... efficiently, without much preamble, and certainly without the lingering embraces of tenderness or sentimentality. It was a pragmatic fuck, executed with the diplomatic and political expediency of mutual goal-oriented behavior. There was, however, a peculiar strangeness about the whole encounter in that both parties at one point or another felt the distinct presence of a third participant... yet assuredly, no one else was there. And it was precisely at the ejaculative moment when this other invisible presence penetrated any last vestiges of denial among its human cohorts. It was felt like a hand groping from the inside... and well, letâ€™s just leave it at that.
â€œFilthy witch!â€ spat the man as he abruptly withdrew, a look of genuine horror and fright twisting his already somewhat grotesque features. He shuffled away hurriedly, or as best he could with his pants around his ankles... and then his knees... and finally to the place at his crotch which demanded protection from... from... whatever.
â€œDevil!â€ she called after him. She stood up abruptly allowing gravity to pull the hem of her dress to the ground restoring a fragile sense of decorum. She stood a moment somewhat bewildered and shivering in the dark alley, a trickle of indiscretion running down the inside of her leg. For some reason she couldnâ€™t actually bring herself to hop up and down to better rid herself of the whole affair. Besides, even in that moment she already knew that something untoward had taken up residence inside her. And for the next nine months she indulged in a great deal of internal dialoguing to convince herself that it was just biological and perfectly natural.
And here, please allow a brief interjection, even at the risk of revealing too much too soon. It can be rightly said that all forms in existence are mere thought-forms in the mind of God... you and I included. A thought-form is an idea... an idea with the veracity to take on a life of its own. You and I however have the added benefit of proper ensoulment. These souls are our living contractual obligations to God, keeping us on course to the fulfillment of ancient agreements, no matter how far our individual journeys may stray from logic and sensibility. To the unensouled however, the full exploration of all manner of perversions is, well, natural. Souls connect us organically to all that is truly godly. Soulless thought-forms-- especially once they achieve self- awareness-- are a type of wholly inorganic being, standing outside the typical cycles of nature.
And with that let us now proceed to the auspicious moment of birth. Medical systems upon the Old Earth were in a state of decline and outright disarray. As such, our expectant mother hardly bothered to consult or attend with any medical advice or personnel. In her ramshackle hut she delivered the twins, a pair of identical girls, alone. And here we must place extra emphasis upon the the word â€œidentical.â€ Biologically, identical twins are the natural result of the fertilized zygote duplicating itself, and then each copy subsequently develops along its preordained fetal course, producing what we refer to as identical twins when in actual fact they are merely just uncannily similar. Not so in this case. One was the perfect mirror image of the other, with not a blot or a blemish to distinguish between them. In all cases the biological mother of twins is able to distinguish between her own progeny, and even in this case too it may be supposed that this mother would be capable of the critical distinction as well if she was willing to look with a depth beyond her mere outward gaze. To all outward appearances there was simply nothing to differentiate the two girls.
Such total and complete exactness was definitely not natureâ€™s way.