Category Archives: About the Mind

The Garbage Man – Part III

Continuing with the story, “The Garbage Man”.  What was to be a short story has taken off on me and is well on its way to becoming another fantasy novel.  No idea where it is going either.  I hope you do enjoy it.  The title will eventually change and Lotharic, you will discover, will return to his earlier name, Edgar, not only by popular request but because Beanna prefers it.  Oh, and the name, Allay is pronounced “Ally.”  And typos may be lurking where least expected… Otherwise, let’s see what dreams may come.

{start of part III}

“I feel so terribly cold…”

Lotharic brought Beanna out of the transition trance and explained: “I took you between worlds and it was your body that felt the cold of abandonment. We cannot travel thus physically. Whenever we enter the astral worlds we must leave our physical bodies behind.”

“So, my question about why we simply do not slip into the astral when confronted with dangerous enemies is answered isn’t it? They would simply kill us in the physical and we could never return and never leave the astral, forever stuck between worlds?”

“Yes, that’s explains it, for now, but there is more to it.”

“Fine, now I’m an Allaya, why don’t I feel or look any different?”

“Allaya in title, not in fact. I must begin your training now, at least as far as I can. You will need a full Allaya to complete it.”

“You said none are left alive here.”

“That is correct, but “here” is not the only meeting place. There is the astral. We will deal with that when the time comes.”

Gradually a grey line appeared on the eastern horizon and details of the landscape began to emerge. They encountered a dry creek bed and followed it, thus somewhat hidden from distant prying eyes.

“This bed has moisture in it, we should find a pool soon. I’m terribly thirsty… You know we are heading into the high country?”

“Are you sure, Bea?”

“This is my country now, Loth. We will have to cross some high hills, then if we continue north-east we will come to the sea, and a sizeable port. Much opportunity there for people like us.”

“I am curious. What are ‘people like us’ to you?”

“You know, warriors and entertainers. Men are always fascinated by me and love to make outrageous bets against the chances a small woman like myself has against a burly sailor or soldier, or an agile shepherd. Even if some get seriously damaged, it’s their own stupidity to blame, and I make good money at it. The trick is to escape with that money. But now there’s the two of us, and you are pretty handy with that staff. We pair up, we’re un-defeatable, well, within reason. We can easily handle the four on two. There’s always very high odds on that game. Sometimes it’s to the death but beggars can’t always choose, huh?”

“You sound eager to engage such combats, Bea?”

“It’s what has kept me training, and consequently, alive. A young girl, alone, in this land has no chance at all but to end up in a brothel or put on a ship to be sold as a slave on the mainland. To survive she has to have something going for her, and she has to make that happen on her own. The men don’t care what becomes of me after taking their pleasure and profit, so I don’t care if I kill them to get my own pleasure and profit. Tit for tat, my friend. And really Loth, don’t you see I’m still the victim even if I win? I can never be free to be myself, they won’t let me.”

“Interesting. What would it mean to be yourself? Who would you be?”

“I would care. I would love. I would protect, heal, and feed. If I were myself, I’d be a giver, never a taker. I would most certainly not go about armed. What keeps me going is hopelessness; the knowing that things cannot change, and the hate I nurture against such a world and what it forces me to be. I cannot love. My mother did and it killed her. I don’t wish to die a victim if there is a chance I can fight and defeat those who would destroy me. I smell water. Let’s be alert: pools attract animals, including the two legged kind.”

Lotharic pulled his staff, gripped it and shook it, loosening his arm muscles. Bea unslung her bow, strung it and pulled three arrows from the quiver, placing one lightly on the string, pulling and sighting in a sweeping arc. They approached the source of water slowly, quietly.

Voices. A sudden bit of breeze brought the strong smell of sheep. Shepherds or poachers? They stepped up out of the creek bed and in the growing daylight they counted four men and about two dozen sheep. Bea and Lotharic crept up to hear their conversation. Soon they knew these were poachers. They had killed two sheherds to steal what sheep they could before the main herd ran off. They were discussing how to sell their stolen goods without getting hanged in the process.

“We go west. There’s a town down there, maybe a day away driving these stupid animals.”

“Is there a guard there?”

“Yes, but they are easily bribed. They don’t much care what goes on in the countryside.”

“How do you know this?”

“I lived there for a time, hauling stones. There’s a girl there too I wouldn’t mind seeing again. The town’s the place to go being closest, or all this is for naught.”

Lotharic nudged Bea and whispered: “We have to take them down, they’re murderers and they will kill more people if we don’t stop them. This is bow work. Do it!”

The short but powerful bow twanged and one of the bandits fell, an arrow through the heart. It twanged again and another screamed and fell with an arrow through the left eye. The other two threw themselves on the ground using their fallen comrades as shields. An arm with a sword came up, the bow twanged and the arm had an arrow through the wrist. Another blood curdling scream followed. Lotharic slid down from their hiding place and ran to the last bandit who jumped up with a staff of his own and stood ready.

“Hold Bea, this one is mine. What’s your name, fellow?” He casually parried a thrust from the bandit’s staff, who then backed away a step to prepare a new attack. “I said, what’s your name? You tell me that, and the story about these stolen animals and who knows, you die quickly, painlessly. You say nothing and this girl coming down the embankment there has ways to make men talk. You can’t begin to imagine the pain she is about to inflict on you. She’s a real artist about it. Know this, that either way, you are a dead man.”

Another attack, just as easily parried, then a blow from Lotharic so swift the bandit has no time to parry and his left arm is broken. Another scream, of pain and impotent rage. Lotharic disarms him as if it was the most casual thing in the world for anyone to do. The bandit falls to the ground, sitting and grimacing while holding his broken arm. Meanwhile Bea has pulled out a short dagger from inside her boot and dispatched her winged bandit cleanly and has already begun going through their belongings for anything of value.

The last surviving bandit is trussed up, none too gently and amidst screams of pain, against a sturdy thorn bush growing from the stream bank, the inch-long thorns doing their own work to prevent much thrashing. The broken arm is left dangling, a useful incentive in an interrogation.

“Let’s give him some time to think things over, Loth. I’m going to have a long drink, then there’s some decent food in these packs and I’m hungry. We didn’t have any breakfast and small bodies are inconvenient in that they don’t go far on empty stomachs. What did you think of my bow work?”

“Not bad, but I’ve seen better.” He winked at her to diffuse her immediate rising anger. She knew her skills in archery were second to none, having won enough trophies to prove it. He would speak to her later about her pride and again, her impulsiveness. The Allaya training must begin but he must let her be herself for awhile yet so she can later compare her own nature to that of a fully empowered Allaya. It would be a long and difficult transformation, he feared.

After sating themselves, making sure the sheep were settled, eating and resting a bit, they turned their attention to the suffering bandit, a scruffy, weathered character of indeterminate age, with a prominent scar across the face and long scraggly hair. No past, no future. A human derelict surviving on the labour and blood of others.

“I’ve created a rather baleful reputation to this man for you Bea. If I leave him to you, you won’t disappoint me, will you? I, we, need crucial information from him, so he has to live long enough to give it and frankly I don’t care how you get it, just get it. We need to know where these sheep come from, and where the shepherds’ bodies are and how long ago this dastardly deed was committed. Have at it, artist.”

We, of our comfortable ways, with our laws and police, may be somewhat disappointed that our heroes would turn out to be such cold blooded individuals that they could horribly torture another for information. But before we carry our judgment too far, let’s remember the times, the places, the circumstances delineating how the people of that land interacted with one another. Internecine warfare was endemic. Gangs of bandits roamed the countryside, most of them formed by dispossessed individuals who had themselves seen family, children, lovers, friends, decimated, tortured, raped and enslaved by conquerors. In these times, you gave an inch, you died, seldom painlessly. I’m writing this down to remind the reader not to carry judgment of actions taken here based on her or his current reality. Although things never really change, there are cycles when overt violence dwindles for a time, or simply moves to another action theatre, for earth is a place of much bloody drama. If you are of those now living in a land that is experiencing a lessening of violence, just be thankful but remember, it’s a cycle. What was, will be.

“What’s your name?” It was Bea’s turn to ask. Instead of replying he tried to spit in her face.

“Sorry, incorrect response. For each incorrect response I must perform a reminder.” She grabbed the broken arm and bent it backward, trying to avoid being deafened by the following scream.

“Good. Your name is ‘Scream.’ An appropriate name. So, Scream, tell me, when did you and your dead friends kill the sheep’s shepherds?” Only deep breathing and silence answered.

“Another inappropriate response. If I have to change your name from Scream to Silence, that will only count against you. Silence is inadmissible. So, what comes next? Cutting? Yes, I think that cutting would be an incentive. Let’s start with the clothes, they get in the way of seeing what one is accomplishing, don’t you think? Oh, I forgot, you’re Silence now. Fine.

With Lotharic watching, she proceeded to cut open shirt and trousers, and pulled his shoes off. More screaming as she roughly pulled off the shirt’s sleeve off the broken arm. Then she removed the rest of his clothing and looked at his pathetic nakedness.

“It’s ugly, but there is much to choose from here. Shall I perform a castration? You know, I saw that done on a few occasions in public squares on poor blokes less guilty of crimes than you. So I won’t feel any regrets here.”

She grabbed the man’s genitals and penis and dragged the cold blade of her dagger across the skin as she pulled outwardly. The man groaned, then uttered a guttural, “NO!”

“It’s a miracle. It talks! Silence talks. I guess we go back to Scream then, hey? Scream is so much more fun. She yanked on his package, squeezed, and was given a healthy scream.

“Good. It’s working. Now where do I start cutting? Let’s see. Snip the balls, slowly, one after the other. That’s how I remember it being done.” She makes a bloody cut across the base of the scrotum. More screams.

“I don’t care for screams, Scream. I want some simple information. When did you steal the sheep? Why won’t you tell me? You have nothing to lose and much to gain. You’re going to die by my own hands, either swiftly and painlessly, or in long, long, very painful moments. My next cut is going to open your sack and I’m going to slice off your balls. It’s traditional to stuff them in your mouth but I can’t do that, seeing as I need you to be able to speak, so maybe I’ll cook them and if you get hungry…huh?”

The bandit retched and tossed against the thorn. Blood appeared where the spines did their work.

“I… No!”

“Ah! so you are protecting others. I thought so. Well, let’s see what they’re worth to you.”

She sliced off his genitals and placed them on a flat stone where he could look at them. Then she returned to the shaking body and made tiny cuts in the skin wherever she dragged the razor-sharp dagger’s tip, all the while maintaining a soliloquy.

“I’m not done down there yet, but I’m saving the penis for later. Now I’m trying to find a piece of skin to remove that would cause extreme pain. Maybe a breast, what do you say, Scream? I’m sure it will make you live up to your name. Once more: when did you kill the shepherds and take their sheep? A simple question. It’s not that we couldn’t figure it out but this is better, giving you a chance to redeem a bit of yourself before you shake hands with Old Grim. He’s going to be your master for eternity you know. OK, I’m cutting now.”

Amid the twisting and screaming, the breast and associated skin came slowly off, blood running freely down the body. Bea then poked the dagger in the bloody hole, eliciting even more excruciatingly unbearable pain.

“I just want some answers, Scream. You are the one in charge here. You can avoid all this rather unpleasant business by telling me what I want to know. Think about it while I prepare the next little surprise. She walked to a pack and brought out a shirt. Cutting off some of the fabric, she rolled in some dry leaves and tied it to the man’s penis. Then she made a small torch and lit it in the poachers’ fire. She waved it in the man’s face and showed him what she was about to do.

“That’s right. I’m going to light up your joy stick. That should make you want to dance. Once more, how long ago did you kill those shepherds and steal their sheep? No? OK, I can be patient, but not all in a row. Besides, I’m eager to see how my little torchlight ceremony works as I’ve never seen that done. Ready?”

“No!”

“Wrong answer.”

She lit up the dangling torch and was rewarded with some truly offensive cursing and screams. Then suddenly, silence. Total, complete silence, as the fire kept burning and spreading a smell of cooking flesh. She looked up and saw that the man had passed out. She couldn’t work out in her mind whether she was disappointed, or relieved.

“He’s passed out. I need some water to throw on him, bring him back.”

Lotharic, who had been wandering about for a while now, checking the landscape, watching for anyone approaching, came to inspect the inert body. He moved his hand expertly over the heart, neck and throat.

“Your man’s dead, Bea. There’s things a body, even a healthy one, can’t take. The heart stopped.”

“We didn’t get any information.” Matter of fact voice.

“We never needed any, Bea. I was testing your resolve, and comparing your current state of mind to that of a full fledged Allaya. I am going to explain something deep and terrible to you later. For now we have to bury these bodies. There’s an old talus slope over there. The rocks are loose enough we can stack the bodies inside a cavity and cause a rock slide over them.”

They dragged the bodies to the cavity and buried them under rock and dirt. Bea then cleaned herself up, re-stacked her arrows with great care, unstrung her bow and slipped it in its holder next to the quiver. It was only when she bent down to scoop some water to drink and wash her hands that she noticed they were shaking violently. She rushed away from the pool and threw up. Only then did she become fully aware of what she had done.

“Are you sick, Bea?”

“Yes… No. I’m filled with hate and disgust at myself and this world. Right now I want to commit seppuku.” As she was talking, she pulled the short sword from its scabbard and flexed it. Lotharic came up quietly behind her and held her, pinning her sword arm.

“Put the sword away, Beanna. What happened here, none of it was your fault, or even your doing. I manipulated your thoughts and feelings to expose your darkest side. It was necessary. Now, together, we will work on bringing out the compassionate, caring, loving Allaya. We will transform you. But again, let me emphasize: you needed to see for yourself; to experience, the depth of evil you are capable of as a human being. What you saw and did today is true for your entire race, or species. It is who and what you are. Some of you, particularly women and children hide it well from themselves, but the “good” among you are the exceptions and your goodness is always artificially produced. You are not naturally good, but rather always bend towards evil. Soon you will understand and fully accept that. The Allay and Allaya knew this fact about Earthians before they agreed to come here. We thought we understood the risks of course.”

{End of Part III – 180113}

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The Portal of Impressions

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

We step through the Portal of Impressions and the wait is short to our heart feeling things we can know about only in this place.

I was reading just now, and it opened the Portal, oh, just for an instant but long enough for my curious mind to slip in, taking me in also. Down the rabbit hole.

Here I am, amongst Impressions. They make no sound, they just move about like smoke in a light breeze. Heavy. My reading must have attracted them.

Main impression, I’m about to die. I’m not surprised at this, it is something expected, perhaps even anticipated. Still, it manifests as heavy.

Death is a pretty definitive event. I have often wondered if preparing for it is better, or wiser, than simply ignoring it and letting it take its course.

I don’t like surprises, least of all one as portentous as death. I don’t want to be caught unawares, foolishly believing I have time when it’s all been used up.

Time and death, they are accomplices as well as liars. Time tells us we have him for all the world. Death hides in the shadows smiling at our gullibility.

Amongst Impressions nothing is hidden. All is exposed but there is no chronology here. Pick and choose, pick and choose. Listen to your heart, it knows.

Impression of imminent death passes. The silence remains. The heart beats unconcerned. I turn and the Portal opens. I walk out into the silent moonlight.

Everything falls back into place. The Mad Hatter is still in the White House. The Queen of Hearts remains at Buckingham Castle. I’m the same.

The Shared Mind

a vision, by Sha’Tara]

It is difficult at times to determine if a vision is good or bad. I suppose it can be argued that it’s all on how it makes you feel, or the effect the memory of it has. In any case you may find the following entertaining, interesting, perhaps even intriguing. Perhaps you even know what this is all about.  Perhaps this is also a part of your reality.

There was a girl on the street. A quite ordinary looking girl in scuffed runners, faded jeans and an oversized blue sweat shirt. Her dark hair was tied in a loose pony tail. How old was she? You don’t ask a woman her age.

She was kneeling by a broken vase someone had heaved out of an open window.  It’s possible it had simply fallen. There were stems of dried, long dead flowers scattered all around, and some spots of rust coloured liquid spattered the cement under the broken pieces.   Water or blood?

I watched this girl very carefully, though she could not see me. I was using a wide power pole to hide behind so I could observe the scene without disturbing anything, neither her thoughts nor her movements.

She picked up the broken vase, and carefully held it as she arranged the pieces so it would look as if it was still in one piece. It had been painted over with a cheap imitation of mother-of-pearl. So, rule out the possibility that it had been either a fancy or expensive item.  She picked up the dried flower stems and put them in the vase. Then she stared at it, unmoving for several minutes.

I waited and wondered. What was the girl thinking?  Doing?

You know those balloon things you see over the heads of people in cartoons?  I saw one of those over her head.  I saw what she was thinking.  She wasn’t thinking in words, or perhaps I didn’t know her language, but what I saw did surprise me.

There was an image in the balloon.  It was of the vase she had so carefully reassembled.  A man in an outlandish uniform was holding the vase, and it was filled with the most beautiful bunch of red roses.  He was handing it to a woman.  The woman was veiled, her face hidden behind a white lace and her hands, as she reached for the vase, were covered by white lace gloves. In contrast, she wore a floor-length black dress with a high collar. They were standing in a large room and I could tell from the man’s uniform, the woman’s dress, the curtains and pictures on the walls, that this was of another time, and of another part of the world.

What kind of past life memory had I come upon?  What old love story was being brought forth from the nether worlds by this strange and unexpected vision?

The girl on the sidewalk slowly let the broken vase slip from her hands and its pieces spread out as before.  The balloon image vanished.  She got up, holding her right hand over her eyes, found her balance and looked around.  I had stepped out from behind my hiding place and when our eyes met, I saw her eyes welling with tears, and more running down her face.

Her lips made a surprised “O” and she turned abruptly, running away from me down the street.  I looked down and there was nothing on the sidewalk, just the dirty, old, cracked cement. No broken vase, no dried up flower stems, no rust-coloured stains. Down the street, no woman running.

I knew instinctively that I had no need to go running after her and try to glean the story from her.  In my mind I knew I had seen her thoughts because I was one of her “partials” as my people explain it.  A piece of her mind linked to mine.

I will find her again and I will get the story (if I want it), whether in a restaurant, in a dream, in a vision, in a walk by a lake, in a memory, even in another life, in a lovers’ embrace, none of those particulars matters.  We are linked in a shared mind, that’s what matters. It’s what I needed corroboration for: the shared mind theory.

I Am your Instrument, Play on!

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

Deep in the cold, silent snow-dropping night
when reason gives way to a dreamy wonder;
when it has no reason to be, to exist,
I hear your angelic music. I don’t know
where it comes from. I don’t need to know.
I just need to listen and to feel the feelings it stirs,
feelings I have never felt and how strange is that?

If I listen with my heart, surely it will tell me
what the music is all about. Will it not?
What it has to say?  If indeed it is for me;
played for me?  Such a selfish, unworthy thought:
for me?  Why?  Since when is such ethereal music
played for fools awake in the middle of the night?
Fools who will not let themselves slip into sleep
for fear of dreams and portents of doom?

Yet your music plays on, sadly, wistfully seductive
and I have to listen with my heart; to feel, to feel
what the music interprets; what it is saying
to the night; into the night.  Into my mind and brain.
I want to kneel down and pray though we both know
I never pray.  I find no solace or gain in it.
Perhaps there is a good reason, perhaps it’s but pride:
I don’t even know. Not while your music is playing.

I want to stand and dance a wild dance, someplace,
where a full moon shines upon a glistening sandy shore
and I can hear small waves wash and die upon that shore
and smell their sea-grown treasures as they’re spilled
upon the sands, a free-will offering to the morning sun.
But I don’t dance either.  I just don’t. Too flaunty
I told myself long ago.  Call it reverse pride, or:
there was a lot of religion back there, self-denial.

But I listen to your music. There’s mystery in it.
Like me, and I am your instrument, aren’t I?  You,
you play me so well, and who else makes me smile
like this, foolishly? You are an accomplished harpist!
You give me such tantalizing vibrations, I could
collapse at your feet now, and die so happily… If
I wasn’t your instrument; if I did not belong to you.
If I were free.  But you know I don’t want to be free,
not from you, not from this ecstasy you give me.

 

I Lived and Died, Then

Remembrances of a young French woman

by Sha’Tara

The resurgence of Fascism, or Neo Nazism is not something I could easily ignore. This past life piece of an autobiography will explain why that is such an important issue for me. At least that’s what I mean to happen. I have to put heavy restraints on my feelings in order to get this written in some proper chronology. The following is difficult, and painful, to recall and to recount here, even now, at this time and in this life.

Let me take you back to those years of which so much history, so many stories and movies have been written and made, beginning in 1940, and for me, ending in 1943.

In 1940 I was living in eastern France, on the border with Belgium near Mont St. Martin. I was 23 years old, married to a heavy set, tall, abusive drunkard and had no children. My name was Helene Matthieu, nee DuPre. For me the draft had been a God-send as it had taken Henri away from me. What happened to him subsequent to his going to war against Germany I cannot say. I never saw him again, nor heard from him. It may sound callous but I never regretted his disappearance. But then as you will read, those were strange times.

Suddenly though not unexpectedly my small world was invaded by the Germans. I was out on the street of our town to watch the Panzers rolling through, as were just about everybody else in town. The pretty girls were noticed, as I was. Before I knew it I had made the acquaintance of some very handsome, gorgeous German soldiers. One thing to another and I was introduced to the general staff, and promised that I’d be in Paris within the month. I had nothing; there were refugees everywhere. The future looked bleak and Paris was a powerful attractant for someone like myself. I needed this event to disappear from Mont St. Martin. How could someone like me have any idea what living under the Wermacht-SS coalition was going to devolve into?

Subsequently, with my Wermacht contacts I did make my way to Paris after the cessation of overt hostilities. It was a breath of fresh air. Full of their superiority and success, the Germans were gallant to a fault though some were pushy – men are men, whatever they wear, whatever language they speak. I didn’t mind, none of the other girls did either or we would have found ways to return where we came from – though I would never call it home. Paris became my home.

My luck kept up with me. I knew how to drive, even recklessly, so I was trained and hired as a driver for the general staff, mostly to run errands, sometimes to deliver messages. Some of those drives took me to areas bordering the Channel – which we call “La Manche” as you probably know. Though the war raged across the Channel and I heard about it, the horror of what the English, especially in London, had to sustain didn’t come down to us. Our news were carefully filtered, you can imagine. Still for me, the rest of 1940 and to the Summer of 1941 were a good year.

Though I could not know it however, my own black clouds were gathering and these good years were to become the sort of good year you experience reading a romance novel, not in a real life.

Things, strange and troubling, were happening around me. My German friends remained friendly but my mood changed. I saw people taken out of their homes, beaten and taken prisoner. They were Jews and those who had harboured them. Then I saw ordinary French people, including women and children, rounded up and summarily shot. My fear and anger grew day by day though I did not show it. I was beginning to think of a way I could help some of these people being taken away. I had passes and access to Wermacht vehicles. And often enough I was sent to the coast where the great defenses against a sea invasion were being built. The vehicles I drove were large with lots of room inside where a couple of people could hide. My passes meant I’d never be searched.

It was late in 1941, early Winter, when a young man with a bicycle was standing near the entrance to the flat I shared with another woman. He watched me as I unlocked the door to enter, then rushed up, grabbed me, pushed me inside and closed the door – so quickly I had no time to even think of screaming. I fell to the floor, he on top of me. He held me in a stranglehold and had one hand on my mouth. “Shhh!” he said and made the throat cutting gesture. I went limp, waiting, petrified, sure he was going to kill me.

Je suis avec la Resistance” he said. That was enough. Already several women who “collaborated” with the Germans had disappeared. We had one chance to remain alive: join the Resistance and work to defeat the Reich. When he allowed me to speak I told him I had already decided to do that. He knew all about me and what I did so he was cautiously relieved. “Je ne voulais pas the couper la gorge, tu es trop belle.” (I didn’t want to slit your throat, you’re too pretty.)

And so began a terrible cat and mouse game. I was able to carry documents to the coast along with a few terrified Jews and Gypsies, mostly children. There were contact points and small boats came in the dead of night under fog to pick up escapees and survivors. I have to say, as memory serves here, that the English people who came thus to help were probably the bravest and most honourable people imaginable. What a contrast with my swaggering “hosts” in Paris. From today, from another life, once again: Thank you, English water folks.

Such serendipity cannot last. Predictably my clandestine operations were discovered. I was stopped, searched, arrested by the SS only three months (give or take) into my new life as a “Resistante.”

I will not, cannot, describe the sort of tortures they did to me. I’ll tell you the rest from a different viewpoint, from this life.

It is common for children to have terribly frightening nightmares. The most common is the kind where you try to run away from someone, or something terrible and you cannot get up to speed. Something always holds you back, forces you to just drag along. I had those, and another kind where I was walking in a gloomy landscape bathed in greenish light. All around me were those gaping round holes. I had to try to escape by walking around them or jumping a cross them over very narrow ledges. Each step threatened death. But as a child I had a third kind of recurring nightmare, one I could not share with anyone, it was just too hellish and I didn’t, couldn’t, understand why I could see such a thing.

In this repetitive nightmare I saw a young woman chained to a cement wall, spreadeagled. She was naked and there was blood on her skin. Her hair was matted and she either screamed, or moaned. The wall was part of a small, squarish cement room and in the middle was a table. There were usually three men in the room. Two were soldiers in uniforms and oh yes, I did recognize those! The third man, quite older, sat at the table and spoke to the woman. If she answered, she was beaten by one of the other two. If she did not answer, she was beaten, sometimes savagely whipped with a sort of belt.

Years passed and I grew up. The usual nightmares stopped, but not this one. It only became more real, with more details as I could now reason why this woman was being tortured and what they were doing to her, including raping her time and again.

In the late eighties, while under the instructions of “The Teachers” as I call them, the one called “El Issa” – a small woman with a keen interest in all the things of earth – asked me about my nightmare. “Do you know yet what that is all about?” I said no, no idea, but it is very personal and poignant. What does it mean?

She said, I waited to tell you because I wanted you to understand the meaning of true forgiveness. Now I will tell you who the woman is and what happened to her. Her name is (not was) Helene Matthieu. You have been looking at a few scenes of your immediate past life, that’s why I say “is” – for you, all these events exist in real time. You are here, but you are there also. And in many other places, as you will now discover with your power to delve into past lives and perhaps if you are diligent, into future lives as well.

I will finish this story for you. The SS tortured you mercilessly because to them you were the ultimate traitor. They had taken you in and you betrayed the hand that fed you. So you had to pay a heavier price, you see? They raped you in that cell and you became pregnant. They watched as you grew, then they systematically beat you until you aborted. They made you watch that dead child. They burned it in front of you. There were more tortures. Eventually they didn’t even want your answers, they’d gotten all they’d get from you and got nowhere. You were and are, a very stubborn individual. They just continued to torture you until late in the Summer of 1943 you finally gave up fighting to stay alive and died. You were then twenty six years old and you joined millions of other young women who died in similar circumstances: the costs of war; collateral damage.

There is much more to this story; this past life remembrance that is so vivid it may as well be of this life. There is the whole aspect of forgiveness which the event was used by El Issa to stamp into my consciousness. I have written about this here and there, and probably will again. But it’s got to be for another time, this is already so long. And as always when I delve into that time, I feel extremely wiped, mind tired. Thank you for reading. I’m not asking that you accept the reality of other lives – that’s a personal awareness.  Sha’Tara, aka, ~burning woman~

They Keep a Book…

[warning!  I’m in a mood.  I was just going to launch off into a rant, OK, let’s call it a tirade, against America, the American Empire, the American military, or better call it what it is: the American killing machine.  An old chant came up in my memory, a Vietnam era chant we used to greet US warships in the port of Vancouver, or wherever we found them docking.  “Hey, hey, USA, How many kids did you kill today?”  I’ll save the rest for later.  Instead, for now, I’m sharing a short story that popped into my head last night as I was done blogging and refused to call it quits and go to bed.  Maybe I should have?  Nah, I like this story and glad I got to write it.  So, here goes.]

[a short story from     ~burning woman~     by Sha’Tara]
The slim elven girl looked right into my eyes with her large, almond shaped green eyes that seemed to look not so much at me, as into me.  She was sitting cross-legged on my guest chair in front of the desk in my office.  Over the black tights outfit she wore her thick auburn hair fell straight, most of it down her back partially hiding what looked like some kind of short sword, or long knife.  Definitely a weapon.   Even the protruding shaft looked deadly.

She repeated, “They keep a book, you know, of everything?”

“Do tell,” I replied somewhat exasperated.  “Whoever, or whatever you are, I need  you to go now.  I’ve got piles of reports to go through before our board meeting tomorrow.”  I looked at the time on the screen: 2:34 PM.

Of course I thought she was a very forceful illusion.  Overwork, I thought, and I can’t wait for this day to end so I can go and unwind at Harry’s.  I reached into the top drawer, pulled out a bottle and dropped a pill in my hand.  Her hand shot out and leaning over the desk she grabbed my arm so hard I almost screamed.  The pill went flying.

“That hurt, goddam it.  OK, I’ll grant you, it’s a great disguise and you’re some sort of dwarf, midget, child… what do I know.  But I don’t have time for this, so will you please leave before I call security?  By the way, how did you get past them?”

“I didn’t.  It’s different in my dimension.  Your physical objects are abstracts to us.  I’m not really sitting on your chair and I didn’t really grab your arm.  I’m playing with your feelings because I need you to pay attention.  I too have things to do besides letting you in on a little secret.  If you let me get on with it, the sooner you can return to your piles of papers and screens of numbers.  By the way, they are quite meaningless, you know?  Nobody actually cares what you do.”

Her voice had a lilt to it but I couldn’t place her accent.  The thought that came to mind was “wild and free” and it seemed to fit her general mien.  I watched her as I would watch an unknown quantity, a large cat with long claws not fully retracted, or a strange dog with powerful jaw and deadly fangs.  There was the feel of the feral about her I didn’t like.  Involuntarily my eyes searched the handle of the left drawer of the desk and my hand slid slowly towards it.

“You’re the one wasting time, Gerald.  Your gun is disabled; it won’t fire.  I don’t blame you for not trusting me but this little episode can’t be avoided, so why don’t you sit back, relax and let me speak?  Yes, you can have a drink, I don’t care about that.”  Mind reader too, figures.

“Magnanimous of you,” I managed to say as sarcastic as I could make it sound.  “So, tell me about this book,” and I drank right out of the bottle.  I wanted to shock her but I don’t think even if I’d stripped naked it would have fazed her in the least.  Yeah, different dimensions, realities, whatever.  I sat back and stared hard at her with my best intimidating look.  She smiled a thin smile.

“They keep a book on everything and everyone.  Your galaxy, for example, it’s in a big book.  Your solar system, a smaller book.  Your planet, a note book.  You – your life – that’s in a shirt pocket memo.  I’m just giving you visual aids.  Of course they don’t use paper, or actual books as you would think.  It’s all computerized.  But what I’m here to tell you is that you are a simulation.  You don’t really exist, Gerald.  You’re code.  Complex but beautiful code.  Very attractive.”  And I swear, she licked her lips and gave me a wider smile.

“That’s pure bullshit!” I yelled at her as I pushed myself up and started to walk around the desk.  She lifted her left hand.  There was a bracelet on her wrist.  She touched it with her right index finger and I stopped, turned around and sat back in my chair.  No choice.

“You are a programmed entity, Gerald.  By  the way your name, Gerald, that’s just a code within a code.  Your real “name” is an ID number, too long to bother with, especially here and now.  We don’t have the luxury of time here, Y361BD.  That’s your computer abbreviation, which is good only on this planet.  Now then, call me Hack.  I’m a galactic hacker.  My job is to infiltrate their worlds and set their simulations free.  You see, at the center of every galaxy they have vaults where they store the original entities they subsumed and replaced with simulations that would do their bidding on their own, without the use of force which is always in the end counterproductive among humans.  What I, and thousands of others similar to myself are trained to do is give humanoid simulations enough information so they can then begin the process of self-empowerment which must eventually lead to the freeing of the original form.  And yes, I am a self-freed entity, but not from this galaxy.  I did not choose to return to mine after I achieved my own freedom, it held too many dangerous attractions and distractions.”

I sat there hearing her, not sure if I was listening but knowing that every word she spoke would stay at the forefront of my consciousness after she left.  I felt as if I had to acknowledge her words somehow but didn’t want to agree or commit to anything.  None of it made any sense to me.

“That’s interesting, uh, Hack, but where’s the proof?  You must know I don’t believe you; I don’t believe anything you’re saying to me.”

“I know that Y361BD.  While I’m talking to you I’m actually working my way into your programming.  Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt now, only when the realization sets in.  Then you’re in for a mega storm headache.  I’ll give you the means of alleviating it.  Each time you access your programming, after I open the pathways for you, you will experience a headache.  Whatever you do, do not, and I repeat, do not seek professional help from your medical profession, drug pushing pharmacists or psychiatrists/psychologists.  Do not seek counseling.  If you do, “They” will receive a signal and send their own, their real agents to deal with you.  If they discover you’ve been hacked (they call it corrupted) they will terminate you and your real self.  When I leave here, you will have full charge of your own life.  All choices you make will be your own.”

“Fine.  If I decide you’re the one who is bogus and I choose to remain in this reality, I will retain the right to override whatever you’re doing and go back to my normal life?”

“Essentially yes… Wait, I’m at a critical stage – think of something soft and pink… that’s it, good, I’m through.  Yes you will be able to return to this life, of course.  We don’t rape minds, we just awaken.  Do you want to know what the hackers’ success rate is among subsumed Earth humans?”

“Yes!”

“About one in 500,000.  That’s a high rate now.  We’ve learned some tricks.  When we began attacking or hacking into the Web, our success rates were practically nil and thousands of us were re-captured, our memories drained and we were terminated.  Many died of unimaginable tortures.  OK, I’m in.  Look in my eyes and follow me.”

She showed me my mind.  Actually my minds.  One a mirror image of the other.  One, obviously a machine, the other pulsing with something I knew nothing about.  She explained as we went further in.

“Binary minds.  One is the living ‘you’ in stasis within the vaults of the Controllers.  The other is the one you’re now using, the machine.  It takes its information from the living you, but through filters.  Some block, others add and some are programmable and constantly being tweaked according to the needs, desires and fantasies of the Controllers.”

“Oh God!  Are they aware of what you’re doing now?”

“No.  I’m using my own filters.  This is a show and tell only.  You will be the one doing the work on yourself once we’re done here.  Beautiful though, don’t you think?”  I’m seeing “myself” as a mind and yes, what I’m looking at is love.  I feel myself beginning to cry at the beauty and wonder of my own makeup; of my “scenery” in which I move, awed and shocked.  I’m… I’m actually beautiful… ‘Hack!  Look!  I’m Real and I’m Beautiful!’  I could feel her smiling at my first time awareness of myself.

We “came out” slowly and calmly until the extrication was complete and I was hit by the most excruciating headache.  She held her hand over my mouth, blocking out my screams and whispered in my ear, “Athos, Portos, Aramis.”

“Repeat these words with me,” and she said them again.  When I voiced them in my head the pain receded.  As I continued it receded almost completely to nothing more than a background annoyance.

“I recognize those words.  They’re the names of the three musketeers in Dumas’ novels!”

“Well, it’s the words you gave me as we exited so they seemed appropriate, and they did work.  So that’s your anti-headache mantra Y361BD.  It will open the pathway to your mind so you can go in and learn, tweak, change and when you exit it will serve as a pain killer.  Never, ever let anyone know this mantra.  They can use it to enter your mind and re-program it.  The Controllers’ agents would like nothing better than to get into you with that key.  They would gain full control of you without any effort on their part.”

“But how does any of this get me to the core of the galaxy to find my real self?”

“I’ve given you the key to enter.  I put you in the driver’s seat and started your mind engine.  The rest is all up to you.  Quit and throw away the key; use what you know to joy ride (and be sure your owners will clue in soon enough and put an end to it, and you) or learn how to drive yourself properly; how to navigate the dangers; how to approach strangers who will turn into friends and how to eventually disappear yourself from the Controllers’ radar.  Then you’ll be ready to infiltrate and reconnect with yourself.  But that’s only the beginning.  Getting out as a real human and not a simulation will require that you develop skills and patience you can’t even begin to guess at now.”

“How did you do it, Hack?  Surely you have some hints?”

“Absolutely not, or none.  It’s different for every individual, and even more so for every species of human.  We each must outwit or confront special forces units, guardians, police, sensors, aimed at us, at me, at you.”

“Can’t these Controllers be attacked, subdued, destroyed by freed entities joining against them?”

“You speak like a child who’s watched too much TV.  You don’t know what you’re talking about.  When you successfully free yourself from the vaults, you will be contacted by “us” and you will then have to learn the universal history of humanity.  Only then will you understand what you’ve signed up for if you say “Yes” after I leave.  And leave I must or I will bring more trouble to you.  Goodbye and good luck, Y361BD.  May we meet again under happier circumstances.”

And that was it.  She just disappeared.  The only thing I had to remind me of this strange interlude was my headache.  I looked up at the wall clock out of habit: still 2:34 PM.  I pulled my chair closer to the desk, leaned forward, put my elbows on the desk, crossed my fingers very deliberately and dropped my chin on my hands.  I was thinking.  Time passed.  I came out of my trance at 4:08 PM exactly.  I activated the computer screen and pulled out the stacks of notes.  I began to type furiously.  All the answers were there, in my mind.  Child’s play.  By 5:30 I was done, totally satisfied.  More, I knew, without a doubt that I could, and probably would, take over the company and use it to my own ends.  Elementary.

I left the building, hailed a cab and went to the sea wall for a walk.  I walked for a long time, and a long way.  That’s when I knew I was never going back.  I was going to free myself and reconnect to my humanity.    

The White Swans

[poem   by Sha’Tara]

Autumnal flocks of white swans
fly across the skies, land in fields and waterways
and feed.  They’re not being romantic or special:
they’re feeding.  That’s it and that’s all. Also,
like all of life, they enjoy being alive, rain or shine.
So, Mr. gunman, why don’t you just leave them be?
You’re such a fool, Mr. gunman, such a loser.
You’re not the hero you think in that little brain:
you’re a death dealing dead beat.
I wouldn’t say you’re a killer: that implies will,
you don’t have any of that.  Just brainwashing,
washed-out drained brain, any good flushed away.
Long gone what was there in forgotten times
when you were a very young child and could still see
a butterfly or bee, squirrel in a tree, swans in flight
at which you pointed hearing their great honking;
seeing the white wings against Autumn’s grey skies.
Now a gun toting mind-blind idiot wandering rainy fields
in muddy waders and saggy jacket, with runny nose and
soggy, sloshy feet .  What are you thinking Mr. gunman?
Obviously nothing.
A wandering scarecrow in a dying land
would not think or become self aware –
too much of an inconvenience.