Part 57 of the ongoing saga of The Great Being, the One Self that manifests as each of us.
We have been following the experiences of two Agents of Cosmic Intelligence, Melchizedek and Layla, here on a mission that started in 200,000 BC. To infiltrate the Rebel forces on the planet, they walked into the near-dead bodies of Blu and Ska around 40,000 BC on the coast of northwestern Spain. Taken into the Rebel Stari-ki’s army, they have trekked southward and have just made a miraculous crossing over the Straits of Gibraltar. Previous episodes.
The intensity of recent events, from the mysterious appearance of a land bridge to a fierce battle to defend the bridge, put Blu and Ska in deeper touch with their true selves. Unbeknownst to them, Stari-ki was experiencing his own true self, and is baffled by a new sense of not wanting to kill or hurt anyone. These feelings were private, in the peace of the last stretch of the crossing. As the bridge behind them slowly sank, by design, they were suddenly confronted by the sight of something not human coming across the land bridge. Who or what was this?
Blu and Ska stopped and watched as the small monsters approached in a long single-file line. They had no word for these creatures. They were like tiny men but hairier, the lower part of their faces protruded forward roundishly, their arms were long, and something about the way they moved suggested they might be as strong as men. Their eyes showed a human-like intelligence as they regarded the men with something like wary respect. The men had never seen monkeys or apes before, since their tribes were European, and humans were the only primates in Europe. Later this species would be called Barbary Macaques, often referred to as Barbary Apes. The macaques had seen men before and been hunted by them, but often had coexisted peacefully with them too. Men were unpredictable. Their females often vocalized in a friendly way toward these hairy little cousins, but the macaques tended to keep their distance.
Stari-ki’s army stopped to watch as the little monsters warily passed. The females and some of the males carried babies who looked curiously at the humans, some seeing humans for the first time, and wondering what their relatively fur-less cousins were, and what was going on inside them?
Blu felt there was some larger meaning to this moment, a secret he needed to decode. Ska tried to imagine what had caused the monsterettes to pick up and leave their home to cross this land bridge that was rapidly eroding. Go fast, he thought at the monkeys, by now you’ll have to try to swim the last half mile at least, and you will probably lose some of your weakest, including many women and babies. Even here the land bridge could be seen dissolving at the edges and sliding back under the waves. They themselves had not much more time to get the whole army onto the other continent before they would be also swimming for their lives.
Blu noted that the leader of the tribe, the sleekest and largest of them, had a glint of purpose in his eyes. He appeared to nod respectfully at Blu and Ska as he passed, but it was hard to tell since his head kept swiveling to observe in all directions including upward and back at his people. Now he picked up his pace as if somehow hearing Ska’s thought. His followers struggled to keep up.
Blu and Ska were in an unusual frame of mind. In the past couple of hours they had relived the worst moment they could remember, when they were kings of the slaughterhouse, holding off all of Stari-ki’s army singlehandedly by dint of the terrain they had chosen to make their stand upon, which funneled the enemy into a front no wider than one or at most two crowded fighters. The experience of being killing machines had been so repulsive that it had collapsed their full consciousnesses into repressed subconsciousness as they lost the battle they had been waging against the powerful new brains they had stepped into.
Fighting Aldus’s army at the northern tip of the land bridge was so similar that it brought back a wave of horrible memories — but with them a glimpse of who they used to be before that traumatic shock, a glimpse that wouldn’t go away and which they intuitively knew not to share with Stari-ki, or even think about too much, which was their way of carefully guarding information in their minds from his notice. They didn’t yet understand why they felt that way and had no chance to even whisper to each other about it, which could be dangerous with Stari-ki always sneaking around in their minds.
On top of that, they had seen for the first time what Stari-ki could do with his mind, as he had mind-blasted more than a dozen men to their deaths. They also saw how this weakened Stari-ki, a sight they had never before beheld as Stari-ki had never shown the slightest signs of weakness or even fatigue before.
And now this string of little hairier men — yet somehow different from men, perhaps the ancestors of men, something less noble it seemed, and yet there had been that look in the leader’s eye, a hint of vision and purpose, a sense of mission, fully as noble as any man or woman they had seen. It was all too much to assimilate. They felt themselves to be in an altered state of consciousness, somehow intoxicated with life — each sight brighter and more detailed, suggestive in its movements; even waves seemed to have some reason to move as they did. It all made a kind of sense they could not begin to explain.
More than three hours after setting forth across the sinking land bridge, the forward elements of the army stepped upon the permanency of the other continent and scrambled gratefully onto it, some kneeling to kiss the ground. Stari-ki, now leading the first assault troops onto the beachhead, roughly lifted a soldier to his feet and shoved him forward. “Keep going!” he roared, “get into the trees and head left, keeping the coast in sight!” He pointed eastward, knowing that many of his troops did not know their left from their right, let alone the terms for the cardinal compass points. “Stay out of sight and report any contact!” He pushed his army forward as they stumbled ashore, repeating his instructions again and again to the men and women as they passed. By the time Blu and Ska reached him at the tail of the army, the land bridge had all but disappeared, and Stari-ki seemed to them to be almost back to normal, although his eyes were red and his shoulders hunched. He nodded to them but appeared to have no energy for conversation or even his usual probing looks.
As Blu and Ska preceded Stari-ki into the trees and followed the army eastward, he rushed past them and headed toward the front of the army, and they followed, though not too closely behind him. They were eager to compare notes and hoped that he was too busy to read their minds; nevertheless they would do their best to keep out any thoughts from their minds.
“I think I have made a real connection with my true self,” Blu said quietly. Ska nodded “Me too,” he said. “It’s not exactly the self I was expecting,” Blu added cautiously, and Ska nodded again, once, in an understated way. They were trying to minimize the footprints of these ideas in case their minds were under surveillance. “I know what you mean,” Ska said. Blu stared at him and wondered what Ska meant. He himself was not sure what he meant. He was still surprised at having made a sustaining contact with a self he had not known, and was getting the vaguest of feelings about that self — me, he reminded himself. It was going to be hard to put words on any of this, and even harder doing so while having to maintain mental privacy.
Rich fertile smells dominated their senses as they trekked through the verdant forests of palm and many other types of trees they had not seen before. They were alert to detect potential threats from humans or other dangerous animals, including in the trees above. The day wore on without incident.
Hours later, they ran up against stopped troops and realized that the army had been ordered to make camp and set up perimeter guard shifts. They made their way forward and located Izbel and Asa, and kissed and hugged them, then found two adjacent spots to bed down in. In the distance they could see Stari-ki bellowing orders as his tent was erected for him.
That night, cuddled in Izbel’s arms, Blu had an amazing dream. He knew it was a dream, and yet could not predict what would happen next. Everything was much more detailed than in a dream, utterly lifelike — he stared at the bark on a tree and could see the immense detail as if he had been awake, and he was aware of a color richness that he didn’t remember seeing in any dream before.
First he felt himself float upward, somehow not disturbing Izbel whose arm was over him. He felt nothing of that arm as he floated up. Then — of course! — he saw that his own body was still down there, under Izbel’s arm. What was moving steadily upward was his consciousness only. At the animal skin they had placed above their sleeping bodies, he paused going through the skin. He could see both above and below the skin at the same time as he hovered there right at the point of the animal skin. It was like he remembered once swimming in a calm lake, when he floated at eye level with the water, able to see the two worlds at once, the one above water and the one below water.
Then without willing it, his consciousness continued moving upward through the trees and once high enough he saw the deployment of the entire army, and he saw that there were no enemies anywhere near the army. He looked skyward and saw the glittering stars and his heart suddenly leapt at the sight, as if the stars were his home. In a flash he was flying off the planet. Dazed, he almost lost consciousness but fought to stay awake in the dream. Now by his side, another being was flying alongside him. He peered at the invisible consciousness he somehow sensed beside him, getting a feeling of great warmth and love enveloping him. Then very faintly he saw a beautiful colorful ghost ball of transparency there, and looking into that crystal ball type object he saw a beautiful woman’s face, and heard a word. “Layla” — the name of the woman he loved. But he loved Izbel. Somehow it was different, deeper, and more permanent than his love for Izbel. He tried to remember Izbel’s face but he could not make it appear. What did this all mean?
TO BE CONTINUED
My best to all,