It's the future, Jim, but not as we know it...

There's more to tomorrow than robots, flying cars, and a faster internet.
22C+ is all about Deep Futures, futures that matter. Welcome to futures fantastic, unexpected, profound, but most of all deeply meaningful...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Light: latest extract

For those who have been following my online nove, Light, here is a longer extract from the book. The first 30 chapters can be read here
In this part of the book (approximately the middle) the main character, Greg, has been doing the odd psychic reading for other students at Morgan Hall, the student dorms on campus. After one reading a medical student (Chloe), gives him some money. Another med student (Jonathan) was offended by Greg's insights. This gets Greg into a bit of trouble. Dr Dusker is the Director of the Hall.
Note a couple of changes (it's a work in progress). The name of the Hall is changed to Morgan Hall (the previous name is a real-life campus residence, and I think it best not to push my luck with legal implications!) Secondly Greg's friend Paul is now living on campus (previously I had him living off-capmus). 
The other change is that the concepts and language are more adult. I don't want to write another Celestine Prophecy or New Age tome with super-nice, super-spiritual characters.
There are no chapter numbers.
Feel free to give feedback, especially on whether you can understand what Greg is doing with his "mind-reading".

*     *     *
Chapter X
I ambled into the Hall office and walked over to my pigeon hole. There was a single envelope there with the Hall logo on it. However I was too tired to wonder much about what its contents might be, and headed back to my room and lay down on the bed. I didn’t bother to get up as I opened it. My eyes widened as I read on.

Dear Greg Marks,

It has come to our attention that you have been engaging in inappropriate matters relating to religious and spiritual engagement on Morgan Hall premises. That this has also involved the soliciting of money from other students is a very serious violation of Hall protocol. Under section 11.7 of the Morgan Hall Rules and Regulations handbook, this violation may involve expulsion from Morgan Hall and legal prosecution.

You are requested to attend a meeting to discuss this matter on Wednesday, 17.00, in room C220. You are strongly advised to be present. If you will not be attending, please advise immediately, as your nonattendance may result in legal charges being brought against you in your absence.

Dr. David Dusker, PhD, MSc, JP, NIID.

Director, Morgan Hall

“What the fuck?”
A large, black ball of nausea filled my stomach and I felt the darkness pierce my skull. Then came the anger.
What the hell was this all about? Inappropriate religious and spiritual engagement?
This had to be about my readings. It had never struck me that they might be against regulations. But money? I hadn’t been taking any money. Then I remembered. Chloe’s twenty bucks. I knew I shouldn’t have accepted it. A steady sense of panic began to overtake me. Chloe? Why would she have told anyone about that? It didn’t make any sense.
I stopped, took a deep breath and connected with her energy. I could see her in my mind’s eye. But there was nothing strong that I could sense. There was no agenda against me, nor malicious intent.
I saw it then. She opened he mouth and spoke a single word to my inner ear.
I slapped my forehead. That was it! She had mentioned the reading to that tall streak of misery and he had gone and blabbed to Dr. Dusker. I shifted physically, instinctively turning anti-clockwise and bringing my attention to Jonathan. I am not quite sure how this exact process came to unfold, but it was instinctively what I came to do whenever I wanted to read a person’s energy. I would stand and see myself standing at the centre of a circle of infinite size. Then I would bring the person to mind, and instinctively I would know at what precise point in the circle the person’s energy was residing. For some reason each person would be located at the same position every time I channeled them, relative to me. Dusker was always at about 2 o’clock, my mother at 12 o’clock, and Paul came in at around 1o o’clock. Don’t ask me why. When Jonathan’s face came to me I knew I had to turn to half past one. Then I saw him clearly. His brow was furrowed, lips forced down. Immediately I could feel it.
“You are a fraud. Full of shit. You humiliated me. Now you must pay.”
I didn’t need to look any further. His intention was clear.
I shook my head. “What an arsehole!”
Next I turned slightly to find Dusker. His energy came in strong, dark. Ghoulish.
“You are finished here. I will destroy you.”
“Shit, shit, shit!”
I paced back and forth across the three-meter breadth of my room. I felt like a man already tried and convicted, waiting for his final all-expenses-paid trip to the gallows. Yes. I was finished at the Hall. There was no way out. But a legal conviction? That would surely end my uni days. They were sure to run the story in the student union newspaper, emphasising the part about my psychic delusions. My future was lying in ruins before me. What employer would hire a guy with only a high school diploma, and who had been kicked out of university? Who would want a convicted felon, a delusional who talks to your dead grandmother, no less?
 I was screwed.
In that moment and for the first time, I regretted being able to read energy. Not only was the entire world turning against me, I could feel their energy closing in on me, circling like buzzards about a wounded zebra lying bloodied and helpless on the African savanna. I could see the myriad twisted faces, feel the lecherous thoughts, hear the cacophony of voices clawing their way into my skull.
Look at you, you pathetic fool. Do you think you are the messiah? You are a joke. You are nothing, a piece of shit! We will destroy you
I lay down, hands on my head, trying to turn it all off.
There was just one other thing I knew, something I felt just as strongly as the terror that filled me. I was starting to lose it.

Chapter X

I dragged myself into the dining hall at 18.28, two minutes before the doors closed. The reason why I was so late is that part of me had descended into paranoia. As I came in through the double door I looked around nervously. But nobody seemed to be looking at me. The energy felt fine.
Still, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling. Maybe the kitchen staff knew. I grabbed my tray and stood behind two other latecomers. I was served by Wendy, a not totally unattractive but terrifying woman of early middle age. I remembered that it was mixed grill night, and gave a heavy sigh. This was the night that Morgan Hall added to its heavy karmic debt by serving up the carcasses of several hundred slaughtered beasts for the hall residents. There were always three varieties of meet served up with a couple of vegetables on mixed grill night.
Wendy saw and smiled, as she always did. That’s why I say she was terrifying. The way she looked at me, with that certain twinkle of the eye. I shuddered as she looked me up and down once too often.
“Let’s see.” She said softly, tong in hand. “This looks like yours.” She fished an extra-large sausage out of the sausage tray and plunked it onto my plate alongside the bacon and pork chop. She kept moving the sausage around the plate rather delicately, as if to emphasise a point, one I didn’t care to contemplate.
I smiled, terrified and hurried out of the serving room and into the main hall. There I was relieved to find Paul sitting by himself at one of the long tables, and I made my way over.
“Take a seat my good friend.”
“I will, thanks.”
I sat down and scanned the room again. There were only a couple of dozen students present, on account of it being right at the end of serving time.
“That’s a mighty big sausage you got there. Looks like Wendy saved that one just for you.”
“That’s not funny. I’m never coming back on mixed grill night again. Not ever.”
Paul just smiled.
I spat it out. “Have you heard?”
“Heard what?”
“The Doc. He’s got me by the balls.”
Paul raised an eyebrow. “Sounds painful.”
I told him about the meeting.
“You’ve been doing psychic readings? What, are you Uri Geller now or something?”
 “It gets worse.” I found myself leaning across the table, whispering. “They’re saying I took money for the readings, and now they might evict me from the Hall and are threatening to press charges.”
“Shit. That sounds serious. Well, did you?”
“No, of course not.”
“So what are you worried about?”
“Okay, the bit about the money isn’t totally true. Chloe Wilder did actually give me a twenty for her reading. But I didn’t ask for it. Honest.”
“Shit. So what are you going to tell them?”
“The truth. I refused, but she insisted.”
“She made me do it. That’s a great defense, Greg.”
I put my head in my hands. “I’m screwed, aren’t I?”
Paul looked at me, his eyes just slightly wider than normal. I didn’t even need to read his mind to know what he was thinking.
“I warned you about this psychic bullshit.”
“But it’s true!” I looked at him, pleading. I felt my eyes moisten, but managed to pull myself together.
“Okay, maybe you can just peer inside the Doc’s soul and find out what his line or reasoning is going to be. Then you can prepare your defense in advance.” Paul shoveled some bacon into his mouth. He tried to suppress a smile, but I saw it. “Or better still, go deeper. Everyone has secrets. Why don’t you just get right into his dirty laundry and fish out some dirty underwear? I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s running guns and ammo to the Middle East or something.”
I hacked at my sausage, and tried to eat a bit. It was horrible. I had nothing to say. Well, not for a minute or so. Then it came to me.
“Yes!” I jumped up.
“What the…?”
“Thanks. You’re a genius, Paul.” I picked up my tray, pivoted, then reversed and pivoted back like a robot on a Japanese assembly line. I put the tray back down on the table, stabbed my partially eaten sausage and deposited it on Paul’s plate. “Here, mate. Wendy would want you to have this. She hates to see a good piece of red meat go to waste.”
With that I left.
I don’t know quite why I had never thought of Paul’s idea.

Chapter X

When I got back to my room I got straight to it. I turned on my desk lamp, then switched off the roof light so that the room became ghostly dark. Next I sat down cross-legged on the coarse, thin carpet, propping my back up against the brick wall for a bit of support. I began to breathe deeply, deliberately relaxing all of the muscles in my body, starting with my toes and working my way up. It was already evening, and after the heavy meal I was feeling a little drowsy. This was the perfect time to do an insight meditation.
With all the inner mind work I was doing, there was one thing I was coming to realise fast. The human mind is like an FM radio stuck on one frequency all day. We have a host of radio stations to choose from, but it’s like we don’t know that there is a knob for changing the channel. In ordinary waking states of consciousness the mind is busy and distracted. There’s no way that we can tune into other signals coming from the minds of the people around us, from pasts and futures, and from spiritual realms.
But just a few milimetres away on the channel display there are a host of other stations. I was about to tune into Dusker FM, and I had a feeling that the song selection would be a whole heap of crap.
I relaxed even more deeply with each passing breath, deliberately allowing myself to feel drowsy. Within a few minutes my head became so heavy that it tilted to one side, and I had to pull myself upright again. That was my cue.
With my eyes closed I turned – or maybe tuned – to Dusker. I felt his energy immediately, and in that same position on the psychic circle, at about 2 o’clock. I began to move in closer, closer, bringing his mind into contact with mine. Then I saw him, saw the slightly sunken face, sallow with advancing middle age. Part of me gave a little shiver. I could feel it, feel the darkness within him.
Then there came an image, a giant image that crossed out Dusker. It was a large and familiar octagon, red with a single word emblazoned in the centre.
The image was strong enough to shock me into a more alert state. I pulled myself full upright, eyes still closed. Even though my mind was slightly clouded and slow, I knew exactly what I was being told. I was not to go any further.
That pissed me off. I needed Dusker dirt, and I needed it fast or he was going to eat me for breakfast. So I put out the question, whispering into the darkened room.
Why not?
I’m sure that whomever – or whatever - it was that was listening in the spirit world picked up my indignation. No answer came. There was nothing. Just empty space. But I wasn’t giving up.
Why not?
Why not?
Why not?
Just when I was about to give up a dream opened up before me. It wasn’t so much a dream as a flash, coming and going in a few seconds.
I saw a room. It looked like a board room for a big company meeting. The boss was there, standing at the head of a long table before half a dozen subordinates, all dressed in coats and ties. No sooner had I seen this than the boss changed. He became me, still dressed formally. I was throwing down a report onto the huge boardroom desk. The subordinates had now changed into old men with long white beards, waiting patiently, and seemingly bemused at my antics.
“I want this now!” I yelled, angrily.
Suddenly there was a close-up of the booklet’s front cover as it sat on the desk. It had just two big words at the top.
The Agenda
Below that was a single simple image of a black pistol.

I opened my eyes. No translation was required. I knew exactly what I had been shown.

Chapter X

I didn’t fight the understanding that I had been given by Spirit. I knew immediately that it was true. I had an agenda alright.
There was more work to be done. I knew that I had to reign in my psychic projections, or the drama would not abate. So I stood up, turned on the light and brought myself into attention in the middle of the room. I faced the tall mirror on my wardrobe door, then imagined Dusker right in front of me and let my anger speak. I couldn’t really say the words out loud, given that my neighbours’ rooms were just metres away through the brick walls. Instead I allowed the thoughts and projections to move through my mind. I found myself waving my fist at my reflected image, even as I brought the thought of Dusker  into my mind.
Fuck you Dusker! You are going down! I am gonna make you pay. I will humiliate you in front of the entire student body. You are a pathetic, weak and old fool. I am better than you, smarter and more powerful! I am The One, not you!
Everything became instantly clear. I wanted to kill that old bastard. I wanted to shame and humiliate Dave Dusker. I wanted to bring him down.
That was the motive behind my wanting to look at Dusker’s psyche. I had thought that I was going to pull out some dirty little secret of his and use it to protect myself. Now I could see that I had been about to step into the darkness to fight it. That was a battle that could never be won.
It was not that I was actually going to do any killing or shaming in the literal sense, it was just that at a deep level that is what I really wanted to do. And that intention would be sure ensnare me in one hell of a shit fight with the Doc. It was a fight that I was not going to win, neither at the real world level, nor in the psychic world.
I didn’t bother to look any further. I had seen my agenda. Now that I had admitted it I realised just how insane that agenda was. I had dragged myself down to his level, seeking power and control through shame and humiliation.
I sighed and allowed the idea to fully work through me. I prayed.
Sorry, God. Yes, this is what I am in this moment. Dave Dusker and I are the same, both damaged, both dark.
Then I started to laugh. What an idiot I was! What a silly little human being!

Chapter X:

My session had left me with a sense of peace. It felt like I was at home. Not my literal home, but just really feeling comfortable in my own skin. So much so that I was able to do a couple of hours of study after the session.
If only a sense of peace translated into long-lasting tranquility.
It was when returning from a lecture the next day that I realised that I wasn’t quite as Buddha-like and bullet-proof as I thought. As I made my way along the track I looked up to see a tall figure walking towards me in the opposite direction. I knew who it was right away. A sense of dread filled me as I realised it was the Doc, on his way to the main campus. It was worse than mere nervousness. My heart rate soared, and a feeling of what I can only describe as dread came over me. I felt like a tried and convicted man. As he came to within a few paces I managed to glance at him and bravely spoke a single word.
Don’t ask me why I bothered? What was I expecting? A cheery “G’day’? A high five? No. Dusker’s eyes flickered my way for a moment, but there was no response other than a slight air of contempt. He just walked right past me as if I didn’t exist.
That was all it took. The fear was back. More like paranoia, actually, and it was no passing feeling. Even after I was back in my room and sitting at my desk I couldn’t stop thinking of that cold look on Dusker’s face as he passed me. And I couldn’t stop thinking of the upcoming meeting, which in my mind was taking on the character of a trial for some awful capital crime.
For twenty minutes I tried to focus on the reading for a History tutorial the next day, but it proved impossible. The sense of Dusker’s energy about me was overwhelming. And I could feel my own blood beginning to boil once again.
Eventually I gave up. I just had to do something about the energy. I pushed my books aside, and propped the cushion up against the wall and sat down. I focused for a moment to read the Doc’s energy. Nothing had changed. He was going to destroy me, and that was the extent of his intentions. Simple.
Worse still, my anger was back. Thoughts circulated through my mind like leaves tossed about in the wind, and they were not thoughts of world peace.
How could they do this to me? I hadn’t done anything! Not a thing! All I had done was try to help a few people with their problems. And the money? I didn’t want Chloe’s damn money! She gave it to me! The world was against me, out to get me, to eat me up and spit me out. I was back to square one, the same space I’d been in twenty-four hours before. I couldn’t help but thinking that if all it took was one square look from someone to mess up my mind, I was a pathetic excuse for a human being.
“Fuck it! I give up!” I yelled the words and I didn’t give a shit who heard them. I threw my hands in the air, stood up, and slumped round-shouldered at my desk.
I tried to study for an hour or so, but I felt heavy, lethargic, defeated. The Doc’s darkness was all over me like a computer virus on a piece of crappy software. The energy was so heavy I was completely exhausted. I crawled into bed and slept within seconds.
But there was no peace, no escape. No sooner had I lost consciousness than a Linkin Park song roused me from my slumber, pumped at full volume into my head.

I've become so numb, I can't feel you there,
Become so tired, so much more aware
I'm becoming this, all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you.

“Shit, not again.”
I wanted to sleep like a starving man wants a Sizzler’s voucher, but I knew I was being told something important. So I flicked on the desk lamp and wrote the words in my diary. As soon as I was done I closed the diary and fell asleep again.
I don’t remember a thing about that night. I was so out of it I slept like a dead man. Yet as I woke in the morning the same song was still there, just a different verse.

And I know
I may end up failing too.
But I know
You were just like me with someone disappointed in you.

Okay, okay.” I roused myself, sat up and scribbled down the words. Then I looked over the words I’d written from the previous night. The song was loud, heavy, dark, angry. It was about telling someone to go and get fucked. I wrote down my thoughts.
This is about my father, I know. I am pissed off. Really pissed off. I want to destroy the old bastard.

At the dining room breakfast table I sat by myself again. I barely looked up from my bowl of crappy Weet-bix. I wanted some brown sugar, but they only had the cheap white stuff at the table. One of the kitchen staff - a young, thin woman - was walking by at the precise wrong time. I raised a hand.
“Excuse me, can I have some brown sugar please?” I was Oliver Twist. Only older, crankier and with a lot more evil thoughts circulating through my shitty brain.
She looked at me as if I’d asked for gold chopsticks or something. “Sorry, we don’t have any.”
“Why not?” The words came out as sharp as a blade to the throat.
Yeah, it was a pointless question. And I already knew why they didn’t have any brown sugar. It was the same reason they didn’t have any chilli sauce, skinless chicken or caviar. This was a student campus dining hall. It was a production line, not an uptown New York restaurant. But I asked anyway.
“I’m sorry but if you are going to be rude, I am not going to serve you. I’m not your mother.” With that she walked off.
“What the…?” I blew a heap of air from my lips. What the hell was it with people? Couldn’t a man have some brown sugar to go with his Weet-bix? Was that too much to ask? A couple of uppity-nosed med students sitting just up from me stared at me for a second, like it was all my fault. I just shrugged my shoulders.
“Anyone would think I was asking for a blow job or something.” I muttered the words half-under my breath, but I’m pretty sure the girls heard me. They looked away in disgust.
I was starting to see something. It was all very fine being honest about feelings, about what lay within my deepest, darkest mind. But seeing all this stuff was making me feel like a basket case. I was starting to hate myself. From what I’d seen I was a walking ball of murderous, rapacious rage. I was Jack the Ripper.
And I was starting to hate the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment