Mark’s Trip


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Mark's Trip Mark’s Trip

This is a work in progress, I’m not entirely sure when it will be finished, but that’s part of the excitement of it, not just for you the reader, but also for me the writer, enjoy. As the story expands, I’ll be keeping it on this page, so keep an eye on it.

A New Place

      Mark stood just behind the woman sitting on the subway reading the romance novel.
      He skimmed the words on the page until they vibrated with the woman’s reflection in thought. He sank back into the connections the words made in her head. Her consciousness surrounded the scene the book projected into her mind. Her awareness linked the events to past episodes in the book. Behind this, Mark could feel the woman drawing connections to things that had happened in her own life.
      Her emotions then began to flood Mark. He floated in it feeling light recognitions caressing the edge of his being.
      She could feel Mark inside of her but the impossibility of it wrapped the awareness in denials, and she perceived him as a dream, a pleasant dream, he had a calming effect on her. The anxieties, that moments ago had felt always about to consume her, had dissipated, she could feel herself slowly disconnecting from the rushed frantic life she was just in, it seemed so unreal and complicated.
      Drifting apart, she was able to recognize the totality of her being and all her self doubt vanished. Then she saw Mark. Though he had no form, she saw him as a smile, melancholic but free of irony.
      There were other beings here as well, she could feel them more than she could see them, tendrils of emotion reaching out to caress her in welcome. A sound that felt like sleep seemed to permeate everything and dream images formed and dissipated at random all around. Mark gently showed her how to enter these dreams and ride up through the sensation, dissolving and reforming with them.
      Then all of a sudden, Mark disappeared.
      Mark swam back up to the surface of the woman sitting on the subway, her body was asleep so he gently reanimated with his being, lifting the romance novel and focusing the eyes on the page. He read the words mechanically, getting her mouth to whisper them under her breath. He could feel her rising from within, a new thread flowing out behind her, linking her with the new place. Her being looked like a smile, full of joy, but somehow timid.
      All of a sudden, the smile froze.
      She looked though Mark, out of her own eyes, at a monstrous, angry face, it’s mouth moving like it was screaming.
      As she focused she could hear the angry man shouting, “You’re in there you bastard, stop fucking with her mind! For Christ’s sake lady, wake up and kick this fucker outta your head!!”
      The woman sitting on the subway dropped her romance novel, as she turned to look at the bum standing stunned behind her, that the angry man then began to run towards after shaking her awake…
      Mark awoke in a haze, surrounded by the smell of his own shit, which he could now feel, cold and clinging. His recent memory was gone, he had no idea where he was, but he knew, that if he didn’t get home soon, his parents were gonna kill him.
      As Mark was walking towards the public washroom, to clean himself up a bit, he felt as though he could ‘hear’ the thoughts of the people around him in the station. “No way man, I gotta be dreamin’!”

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      Julian recoiled out of the darkness that was consuming his body, the experience viewed from outside, third person. The sensation reminded him of the time he broke his leg skiing, the pain pushed him from his body, the experience viewed from outside, third person.
      The remembrance flashed like a taste across his tongue. Julien could feel his body was dying, but he also realized that his awareness was not dispersing like the blood below his crumpled body. This realization came with the knowledge that he was not alone, another presence shared this most intimate moment.
      As he focused on it, he could perceive it as a smile, melancholic, but free from irony…
      Mark had been warned by Aldus not to contact people when they were dying, but this one took him by surprise. Moments ago, they had both been at a party ten floors above, Mark’s physical body was still there. He followed him to the party after picking up his ‘sense of other’, (creeping voices, drawn up from Julien’s core, a fiery energy that spoke to his point of awareness, eliciting from his eyes an intense stare, both attracting and intimidating within a single glance) it was around these impassioned souls that the ‘lost’ tended to gather, the lost that Mark felt he was required to ‘help’, trying to undo the knots they had their souls tied into.
      The fall happened just moments after arriving at the party. Which turned out to be a rather large gathering, depositing pools of laughing and talking people in the lobby and in the hallway of the 10th floor, making it easy for Mark to gain access to the apartment at the focal point of the night’s activities. Once there, Mark found it easy to slip into the crowd, he simply forgot he was there, and so did everyone else.
      Mark hung back and watched/sensed Julien walk out to the balcony to greet a friend. He was just tuning in to Julien, to sense through him the people he interacted with, searching out the ones caught within, when he fell off the balcony. Mark followed (in spirit) without thinking.
      As Mark started to focus, to tune in to and communicate with Julien’s disembodied spirit, the whole scene faded…
      The memory drifted away from Mark. He had been getting flashes of memories since waking up in the subway two weeks ago. This memory was strong, but something in his mind was blocking him from seeing the whole thing.
      When he first got back, he found out that he had been gone two whole months! His parents were worried as hell, but were too happy to be angry with him, or at least to show their anger.
      They stopped pressing for details after they seen the pained, confused look on his face when he tried to remember anything.
      It was starting to come back to him now…slowly.
      He could vaguely remember a place that was no place and everywhere, he had it labelled as ‘the Nevermind’, but he couldn’t remember what it was or how to get there, but a part of him craved it, more than anything in his life. Deep down, he knew that he was going to get back there, someday…

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Aldus Tyne

      Aldus Tyne could see the light on in the house, hear the deep throb of rock music. This was not what attracted him to this house full of intoxicated teenagers, nor was he attracted to their minds that were swirling in psychedelic haze. No, there was one specific mind inside, that he could sense reaching inwards, no longer dazzled by the shifting rainbow patterns dancing across his retinas, this mind journeyed inwards to the nether regions that most minds wrap in fear and confusion.
      Aldus observed as the mind struggled, he idly wondered whether it was going to make it through, without being crushed between the vision and the void.
      It was time for Aldus to train an assistant, some one to take over his work, he didn’t have much respect for these new upstarts, playing willy nilly with powers far beyond their capacity. This was a new age, though, different from when he was a seeker, searching through old books for clues to string together, forming the keys that would unlock the inner rings of power.
      Aldus grudgingly accepted the change, and proceeded with his work…
      Mark’s mind pounded with the rhythm of the music. His thoughts and emotions had become textured with the sound of feedback and power chords. The words though, the effected him in a new way, made a different kind of sense, formed a new place in his mind.
      Even on acid, Nirvana had never effected him in this way, but he went with it, letting it happen, he knew that if this was just a bad trip, just flowing with it was the best thing he could do. He took a long, slow deep breath, and down he sank, becoming the sensation. His being became a braid of excitement and fear, with a strong sense of point of view. His being revealed itself to him, striking him with the same impact as the words and sounds that had lead him here. All around, his fear and excitement conjured demons and angels, the scene horrifically beautiful.
      Mark’s first urge was to fight, to give and take the torment, but a calm pressed up through him, giving him the strength to make himself slip silver and slide, through and between. He understood the whole and no longer felt the need to engage in the specific, he let go of the battles, which he now realized were unimportant.
      He started to feel the sensation of motion, and a pulling as gentle as the current in a small stream. He could see his destination, a golden light, beautiful and radiant. He felt like a kid again, running towards a newly found playground to adventure in. The light transformed itself into a man, whose name inferred itself into Mark’s awareness… Aldus Tyne.

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      Mark was in awe of the presence before him. It’s existence proved to Mark, on some level, that this was not a dream or hallucination. This being was far to strong, and just to foreign to Mark to be just a figment of his imagination.
      An underlying instinct told Mark that he must be careful, he had finally broke through, and exciting as it was, it was also very dangerous, in ways that Mark just didn’t comprehend.
      He wasn’t communicating directly, but there were certain things that suggested themselves to Mark, about this Aldus Tyne, the strongest of which was that Mark was being examined, thoroughly. He had the urge to throw himself at the feet of this person, to offer himself completely.
      “No!”, screamed Mark, his punk sensibilities telling him that subservience was death.
      “Strong, but no sense of discipline.”, Aldus said in pictures stronger than sound.
      “Now, go back to your body,” Aldus continued, “and come outside the house, I’ll be in the back, waiting for you.”, then he vanished from Mark’s awareness.
      Mark travelled what seemed to be an infinite journey back to his body. “Gotta be dreamin’.” Mark said to himself as he opened his eyes. The music, that seemed moments ago to be so ecstatic, now sounded like a metallic buzz that aggravated the headache pounding behind Mark’s eyes. He was no longer hallucinating from the LSD he had taken earlier.
      He shook off his lethargy and moved to search out his coat.
      As he walked through the party, the faces seemed familiar, but somehow removed, he couldn’t quite remember who anybody was, only one name was clear to him, the name of someone he didn’t even know existed… Aldus Tyne.
      “Hey man, are you okay, you look like shit?”
      “I’ll be okay, I just need some air.” Mark made his way outside…
      He could only vaguely remember getting out here, like disconnected dream fragments, Mark came to the realization that his body and that of Aldus Tyne were engaged in some form of sexual contact. This would have freaked him out completely any other time, but somehow he knew that this was another way of reaching this higher state of consciousness. A new universe opened up around him.
      “Life and death is the dance of the universe,” Aldus was saying, “we are merely thoughts in a mind so vast, that it created, and constantly recreates, the entire cosmos.”
      Mark could feel that know, the vastness of the universe, and his own minute, but essential, place within it. This revelation led to an even greater one, that he himself contained, holographically, the entire universe! All the old bullshit clichés made perfect sense now, all is one and one is all.
      Mark felt as though he was going to explode, and then did, in an orgasm that lasted forever, and that didn’t seem like anymore than a taste of bliss…
      The orgasm brought Mark fully back into his body. He was in the bush behind his best friend Dave’s place, he could still hear the music and talking of the party. He felt so relaxed, his headache was gone. He looked around, the forest smelled amazing, everything seemed so ALIVE!
      He came to the sudden awareness that his half naked body was still entangled with the strange man he knew better than anyone he’d ever known, but didn’t know at all. He seemed so ancient and timeless, but the wrinkles around his eyes made him seem all too human.
      For a moment, Mark saw his uncle’s face in those eyes, sending through him a wave goosebumps and nausea.
      Mark tried to make a joke, to lighten the mood, but he choked on the words. Aldus gently caressed Mark’s face, and it calmed him to the core. Mark smiled.
      “You’ve the smile that could melt the heart of a god.” Aldus whispered.
      Then he straightened up, starting to dress, saying, “But enough of the niceties, we’ve work to do my boy, let’s get you trained.”
      “The music, did it somehow, how did I…do…do you know, what happened?”
      “You’ve found the next level my boy. The constant rhythm induced a trance state, assisted by the intoxicants you had taken, and you’ve been… studying. Those occult books you’ve been reading awoke some deeper memories in you. Have you been meditating?”
      “Well, I’ve tried, but I didn’t think it was doing anything. It felt pretty cool sometimes, but I thought I was just imagining things.”
      Aldus laughed, “If only you know the power of ‘just imagining’ things! You opened yourself up to this experience. You first heard the thoughts of your friends, then followed the common threads back to the region of consciousness that all humans share, but you know, you had a much higher chance of driving yourself into insanity, you are insane you know, think about it, how do you think you can live you life normally now, you can hear other peoples thoughts?!”
      As he said that, the memory disintegrated in Mark’s mind.
      It was like reading about a place he couldn’t find a way to get to. He could still “hear” other people’s thoughts, a bit garbled and indistinct, but as Aldus had said in the memory, it was really hard to live normally.
      He tried going back to school, but just started skipping out, there was no way he could put up with the overwhelming volume of all the other kid’s thoughts, particularly because most of them had to do with him. Everybody seemed to understand that something was up, they just didn’t have a clue what, neither did Mark, but at least now he had a grasp on how it started.
      But who was Aldus Tyne? Where was he now? And how could Mark get back to that place?
      He tried meditating, but nothing happened. He knew that now, all he could do was wait, wait and remember…

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Separate Togethers

      Mark’s training under Aldus Tyne consisted of studying all kinds of religious and occult stuff. They seemed to be a bunch of different ways of describing the Nevermind… that was what Mark called it, the Nevermind.
      He called it that because it reminded him of a feeling he had sometimes, when he was depressed, the times when the world just seemed so fucked, and he was helpless, and angry, it was like, if he went to school, he’ld just get a life pushing paper and being paranoid about his mortgage and kids, priority implied, or, if he quit school he’ld just go from one back-breaking, mind-numbing job after another, either way it just seemed pointless, because we are just killing ourselves and the planet anyway.
      When Mark thought this way, he’ld stay in bed all day and just want to sleep forever, he’ld steal some weed from his dad’s stash, which he wasn’t supposed to know about (his dad told him how drugs are bad and don’t do them, adult’s are so full of shit and just don’t get it). He’ld smoke a joint, and that would make the knot in his stomach hurt a little less, and keep him from wanting to break something, but the thoughts in his head would just keep getting louder and louder, until, it just didn’t matter anymore, he would just nevermind.
      And that’s what the Nevermind reminded him of, except, in reverse, it wasn’t empty, it was everything that wasn’t something, it wasn’t being happy by forgetting, it was seeing everything and having it make sense by making no sense at all.
      Mark’s training took place at Aldus Tyne’s hidden house. It was in a small town somewhere, they went straight there after meeting behind Mark’s friend’s house. They got in Aldus’s van and driving all night out of the suburbs and away from the city.
      It was just after dawn when they arrived in a parking lot behind a bunch of stores lining the main street of a one street town. They walked up to a rock wall that had a crack in it, the crack seemed only inches wide from a distance, but as they got closer, the crack got bigger, until they walked into a huge cave.
      Although, Aldus’s place looked more like a museum than a cave. It was full of all kinds of trippy occult shit, and books stacked forty foot high…
      The memory of the books seemed charged in Mark’s mind with a feeling of boredom and fascination, his mind couldn’t connect with the details of the memory, just the general sense of it, going over the books with Aldus Tyne and drawing connections between them and the Nevermind.
      Mark still couldn’t remember specifically what Aldus had trained him for, or what happened to him that he couldn’t reach the Nevermind anymore.
      He had to split from home because his parents started to talk (and think) about sending him to a shrink. He knew that if he told anybody, and especially a shrink, about what was going on with him, they’ld put him away, or put him on so many drugs, that he may as well be locked up.
      So he went back to the subway station that he had woken up in three weeks earlier without a clue as to how he had gotten there. He hoped that maybe something might come back to him.
      Then he got a picture of himself, not how he physically looked, but how he looked in the Nevermind, the image didn’t come from his own mind, but from someone else in the subway station!
      At first he thought it might have been Aldus Tyne and felt a strange rush of fear, but it didn’t feel like him. He looked around and tried to focus in on it’s source.
      It was a woman, middle aged, long strands of dark brown hair wrestling in and around an elastic hairband that was desperately trying to keep the strands back from around a round plain looking face with worried eyes.
      She then noticed Mark.
      She rushed over to him, the worry in her eyes intensifying and mixing with excitement.
      “Oh my god, are you all right? I didn’t think I’ld ever see you again.”
      Mark was dumbstruck, the woman’s thought patterns felt vaguely familiar, and her recognition of him was definite, but he had no idea who she was or what to say. The one thing he could sense for sure was that she held another key to figuring out the mysteries that plagued him.
      “I blacked out after that man started beating you. Then, after I woke up, I wasn’t sure if it wasn’t all just a strange dream, but I couldn’t get it all out of my head, that wonderful feeling, that other place… but here you are now, I can hardly believe it.”
      The words rushed out of her, and she kept touching his shoulders, as though to assure herself that he was real.
      “You don’t look well, have you got a place to go? Come on, I’ll take you back to my place, and you can rest there.”
      The woman helped Mark to his feet. She ushered him outside to the street and flagged a cab.
      The world fell into a strange haze for Mark as the woman took him home to her small apartment. He was so exhausted he just passed out on her couch without saying a word.

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A New Friend

      Mark woke up in a small living room.
      Out the window was a view of the side of another apartment building, most of the windows were darkened, the main light was the glare of street lights below shining up onto the geometric lines of concrete outlining the holes within which the hive like humans lived their lives. A thin floral print curtain framed the scene with it’s pink trim.
      He could smell coffee.
      He looked around the room he was in. On the wall, behind the TV, there were a bunch of plastic framed pictures of people in dressed up clothes at weddings and stuff, looking at them brought back to Mark’s memory and awareness the woman he could hear in the kitchen, the woman who’s apartment this was, the woman who had brought him here.
      He roused himself the rest of the way out of sleep.
      The walls of the living room were lined with glass shelves containing little glass figures of elves and unicorns.
      Mark looked sheepishly into the kitchen, the woman was sitting at the table of the small cube shaped room, a cup of coffee clutched in her hands. She looked up astonished, she had been waiting a long time.
      She was wearing a pink nightgown under a white tarry-cloth housecoat. Her eyes were wild with staying awake, drinking coffee, and worrying.
      “We haven’t actually been introduced, I’m Mark.” Mark said in a self-conscious, sleepy voice.
      “I, uh, I’m Judy. What are you? Who are you? How did you do those things before, and who was…”, she blurted.
      Mark cut her short, raising his hand, saying, “Hold on. I don’t know what’s going on any more than you. I just woke up in the subway three weeks ago with two months missing from my life, and a wicked headache that hasn’t gone away since!”
      “I’m sorry”, Judy said, a little more calmly, “it’s just that, through you, I had the most incredible experience of my life, and I haven’t really been able to figure out what’s real since then. I have to find out what happened or my life will never go back to normal again.”
      “I have some memories, but, they’re all kind of vague, hard to sort out. I don’t understand what’s happened, or what’s happening for that matter. Maybe together we can try and figure out some explanation.” There was a desperate plea for help in Mark’s voice.
      “Maybe we can go back to that place, the magic place you took me to before, I know now that it truly does exist, because you exist! What is it?”
      “I don’t really know what it is, I can only vaguely remember it. And I haven’t been able to get back to it, and I want to get back there as desperately as you do, believe me I want it so bad, I can taste it! I call it the Nevermind.”
      “Yes! Like the neverworld from fairytales, only, in the mind. Speaking of neverworlds, I’m getting tired now, I need to get some sleep, I don’t know if I can, I’m so excited by all of this, but I need to lie down for a while.”
      “Yah, I’m still pretty tired, maybe some sleep will help. Things might seem a little more real in the morning.”
      They went back into the living room and Judy pulled the couch out into a bed. Mark realised that, by sleeping on the couch, he had kept Judy from going to bed.
      “I’m so sorry, I didn’t know I was sleeping on your bed.”
      “That’s okay, I wouldn’t have been able to get to sleep without having talked to you anyway, but hopefully I’ll be able to sleep now, my nerves are frazzled!”
      As Judy got into bed, Mark felt the need to sit up and think things over a bit, and maybe do some meditating to get grounded in this new situation.
      “You know, I think I need to think things over a bit. Is there any of that coffee left?”
      “Oh, yes, help yourself. Sugar’s on the counter, milk’s in the fridge. Help yourself to some food if you’re hungry.”
      Mark felt a wave of gratitude at her hospitality.
      “Thank you so much, I’m really glad that I’m not alone in this anymore. And you’re so nice…”
      “I like you too Mark, this is the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me, and I feel like this is only the beginning. I, uh, (yawn), I don’t think I’m going to have any trouble getting to sleep. I just hope this isn’t some some crazy dream that I’m about to wake up from.”
      “I doubt it, but even if it is, I don’t think it will make much difference anyway.”
      When Mark thought about Aldus Tyne, he felt afraid, like he had done something wrong, and Aldus was going to punish him for it. This feeling was part of what had Mark hoping that this was just some insane trip that he hadn’t come down from yet. Although, that didn’t make him feel much better, because if his head could come up with a delusion that felt this real, then he was capable of anything.
      Mark could remember helping people with Aldus Tyne. He and Mark would get into the person’s head, and would find a part of their awareness that was tied in a knot inside the Nevermind. Aldus showed Mark how to look into the person’s mind and find symbols like the ones in the books Mark had studied. Aldus would then draw the symbol between the person’s awareness and the knot in the Nevermind, then ease the person back to their seat of consciousness.
      Mark’s attention wandered to the sound of Judy stirring in her sleep. He reached his mind out to find her in her dream.
      Judy was standing on a hill top, surrounded by ancient trees. In a clearing in front of her, two unicorns were dancing in a circle. Dust spiralled up in the centre of them. The dust rose and started to shimmer, turning into silver butterflies tumbling in the breeze.
      Suddenly, the ground began to shake, and the blue sky began to darken over with big angry grey clouds. The clouds formed the face of a huge screaming face.
      Mark couldn’t believe what he was seeing, the face in the clouds was the face of Aldus Tyne! Before Mark could stop himself, he screamed. Judy turned in the dream to see where the new yell had come from. The horror on her face changed to confusion, and then to anger.
      The scene burst into black red.
      “Mark!”, Judy yelled from the living room.
      Mark sat up and opened his eyes.
      The kitchen swam around his vision, and came to rest on Judy, with fire in her eyes, in the centre.
      “You were in my head, in my dream! How dare you!? Why didn’t you tell me you could do that?”
      “H-how do you know Aldus Tyne?”
      “What? Who is that?”
      “The face, in the clouds, in your dream, where do you know him from?”
      “He attacked you, in the subway, it was the last thing I remember from the first time we met. I passed out after that. You don’t remember?”
      “I don’t remember anything really, accept little bits and pieces, I just woke up in the subway station, with 2 months missing. I can remember meeting Aldus Tyne, I was on acid at a friends party. That’s all this is, a bad trip, a delusion my mind created, one of those nightmares you never come out of. I’ll probably just end up killing myself or someone else, or wind up walking around talking to garbage cans the rest of my life! You’re probably not even real…”
      “Oh, but I am real, I’m right here with you, and we better get it together, because I’m pretty sure this Aldus Tyne character is out there looking for you right now, and we better have some idea what’s going on before he finds you!”
      “I just want this all to stop, to go back to normal, to the way it was before…”
      Mark hunched over in the chair and started to sob. Judy took his head into her arms and held it to her chest.”
      “It’s okay,” Judy said, rubbing her cheek against the top of his head,
      “I’m here now. You’re not alone, I’ll help you get through this.”
      “Okay,” Mark sniffed and sat up, “let’s try to figure this out.”

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      Aldus and Mark stood just around the corner from a man sitting and muttering on a bench in front of a closed store.
      It was 1 a.m., and Aldus and Mark had been following him for a couple of hours, waiting for him to sit down. They reached their minds out to his. Inside the muttering man’s mind, thoughts whirled in confusion. Mark started to lose his equilibrium.
      Aldus’s voice surrounded him with the word “steady”, and the word became an anchor for Mark to hold while he waited.
      As Aldus looked around in the cacophony, he said,
      “It’s like a house with nobody home, but all the lights and appliances have been left on.” Aldus searched deep into the man’s memory.
      Mark first saw him as a chef gathering ingredients from a pantry, and then as a medicine man gathering alms in the bush, collecting them into pouches on his belt. Aldus transformed into a vibrating sphere. Mark was pulled into its centre. The images and sounds danced on the surface like a rainbow in a soap bubble. The globe changed from swirling scenes of faces and buildings and streets with its litany of hostile voices, sirens and horns blasting, doors slamming into impossible hues of colour forming faces with intimate expressions speaking emotion, a child’s cry. Becoming throbbing tones vibrating primordial shapes, the colour of touch.
      The sphere dissolved and Mark was in the Nevermind. It was infinitely more complex than the man’s mind, and although Mark did not feel the same disorientation, he could still see the tunnel leading back to it.
      The tunnel lead past Mark to a loop playing. Inside the loop, the sound of a fist hitting flesh flashing the colour of rage. The anger was focused on a small child.
      “How many times do I have to tell you, DON’T LEAVE YOUR BIKE IN THE DRIVEWAY!
      “Do you know what I had to go through to make the money to pay for that piece of scrap metal under the car out there! DO YOU?!”
      The last words brought a deadly blow. The little girls body lay limp.
      The space exploded in guilt and sorrow. Then the loop started again beginning with the beating.
      Aldus took the form of a god, and in a corridor between them, Mark saw Aldus, as a medicine man, reach into his pouch and throw a cloud of dust at him.
      The cloud surrounded Mark and transformed him into the child from the loop, dressed as an angel, the memory of her flowed into Mark.
      Aldus approached the man watching himself end a young life with his frustration over and over again.
      The man turned to see Aldus and fell to his knees. Head down, he grovelled apologies and half prayers at who he took to be God.
      “John Truman, it is not time for you to be here.” Aldus intoned to the man cowering at his feet, “You must go back and finish the rest of your life on earth.”
      John Truman turned to see his daughter, an angel. He burst into tears, running and catching her up in his arms.
      “Tanya, you’re alive, I never thought…”
      Mark let the memory of the girl speak through him, guiding the words as Aldus had trained him to do.
      “No Daddy, I’m waiting here for you, but you have to go back now, and come here later. Not now, it’s too soon for you to be here.”
      “No, I deserve to rot in this hell for what I’ve done! You were my reason for living, and I killed you!”
      The man collapsed, sobbing, becoming a dragon devouring its tail in self-hatred.
      “No Daddy, you must be strong. Stopping your own life won’t change what you did, nothing can, but you might be able to help stop somebody else from doing the same thing. Teach others what you learned the hard way. You must do this, it’s what was meant to be.”
      The little girl took the man by the hand and led her up to a big house. At the front gate, she stopped.
      “Go see Father Monaghan, he’ll help you, please Daddy, be brave, for me.”
      John Truman gave his daughter one last hug. He knew he had to be strong for his little girl, he had to make her proud.
      With tears streaming down his face, he went through the front gate and up to the front door of the house. He turned one last time to see his daughter, the angel, glow and rise, becoming a star in the tapestry of the dream night. He turned and opened the door.
      Mark was standing with Aldus Tyne, watching an old looking man get up quickly from a bench in front of a closed store, and rush off into the night, a renewed sense of purpose invigorating his step.
      A ripple went through the scene, and Mark stirred himself awake. Opening his eyes, he found that he was lying in the bed of a fold out couch in a small living room. Looking up, he saw a blue sky framed in the pink frill of a floral print curtain.
      He sat up and wiped the sleep from his eyes. He could smell coffee and bacon, and hear Judy moving around in the kitchen.
      He got up and started to make the bed. As he was folding the coach back, Judy called from the other room,
      “Good afternoon, what do you take in your coffee?”
      “Huh? Oh, uh, double double. What time is it?”
      “It’s 2 o’clock. Hope you slept well.”
      “Yeah, it seems to have been rewarding, some of my memory came back.”
      “Good, you can tell me about it as we eat breakfast, and about anything else you can remember, I don’t want any more surprises like the one last night.”
      While the ate together, and sat drinking coffee, Mark told Judy everything he could remember. About meeting Aldus Tyne at Dave’s place, about Julien’s death, about the books he had studied under Aldus, and about “helping” John Truman. As he told the story to Judy, it became a little clearer in his head, helped him feel a little less freaked out, and Judy’s questions and concerns made him feel less alone, allowed him to clear the fog inside.
      Judy listened intently. Mark’s use of drugs shocked Judy, and she would have dismissed the whole thing as an hallucination, but he had been in her dream, and on the subway, he took her to that other place, the Nevermind, as he called it. Something very extraordinary, and more than a bit magical was happening here, in this scared teenagers life, something a lot bigger than he was.
      It was something that made Judy very excited to be a part of, but it was also very frightening, pulling apart all her previous ideas about reality, but revealing to her a deeper set of ideas that she seemed to be carrying deep inside for a lot longer than she could remember.
      She also realized that she was Mark’s only link to reality right now, and his only link to sanity. He needed her help. She thought about what they had to go on. About the only things that were tangible in the situation were the places that the main events took place in, and the only ones Mark could remember how to get to were the subway station, and his friend Dave’s house. Going back to the subway station carried the risk of running into this Aldus Tyne character, which she didn’t like the prospect of, so she suggested that maybe they should go to Dave’s.
      Mark had Judy call Dave’s place in case his parent’s had the cops looking for him, and Dave’s mother answered the phone, but It was Dave who answered the phone. Judy passed it to Mark.
      “Hi Dave, it’s Mark.”
      “Hey man, what gives? Who’s the chick?”
      In Dave’s voice, Mark could hear the old world calling to him that he and Dave had created through years of hanging out together, and going through a lot of changes. Mark wanted that world back, but even if he could get Dave to believe him, he didn’t want Dave mixed up in this.
      “She’s a friend I’m staying with. Listen man, is your mom home? I want to come over.”
      “A friend indeed! Yeah, you can come over, you know my mom’s never at home on the weekends, he’s at Chad’s.”
      The sour singsong way that Dave said his mother’s boyfriend’s name brought back all the wonderfully trivial concerns that his life used to be based around.
      “Okay, we’ll be there in a while.”

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