On the desk I found a typewriter, with a few pages next to it. There was a single sheet of ordinary white paper in the typewriter, stuck halfway through the page, with typing on it, and there were some loose sheets next to the typewriter. I picked up the loose sheets and began reading. Here is what I read:

Acting inconspicuously is a contrived action and therefore a theatrical artform. Trying not to draw attention is not what most artists set out to do, criminals and scientists have other motivations for that goal. Being invisible or hiding in obscurity is my only way out. If I am discovered, it all begins again. The insects hoover nearby waiting for a chance to feed again. They have to feed again. They follow their needs, and finding nourishment is not a crime for the hungry, it is perceived as a crime only by those who are eaten.

Laughter and horns can mean joy and celebration, but they can also mean insanity and danger. Sensing this remotely and having no further context, I choose to move directly forward and to let this matter fall in any way.

The dawn is comforting. My journey continues. The birds welcome my presence without naming me, as far as I can tell. Maybe they are judging me, and I am not aware of their role in the day ahead. The birds have little to offer for my escape, they are features of the landscape. Who else is listening to them now? Am I listening but not properly hearing them?

Opening the door changed everything, I was trying to progress in my own way, now I am calibrating what I see and trying to fit in. My path is lost sometimes. Another door is in front of me.

After the car wreck I was shaken, I had no explanation that would work so I pretended to be asleep, and they let me go. But the chase continues. I am ahead now, for a change. It was not always so easy. When I was caught up in the drama, I had to sustain my existence, this was not their choice. That is when I first learned to become invisible. To be invisible requires only to be mundane and of no interest.

I found the pictures. I had no explanation, only clues. The story was both obvious and easily distorted by the facial expressions. Murder? Theater? Pride? Or did they think no witness would catch them?

Predators like spiders and certain large fish have only one way to survive, and the story is either bloody murder or a culinary artform, depending on who is telling the story.

Time to run. If I follow the path my speed is telling, if I fall off of the trail my progress is somewhat more hidden, but always noisy. There are more opportunities to hide and wait quietly, which can lead to either escape with patience, or disaster. A decision is made once, survival and possible healing sometimes only requires re-telling the story in different ways.

Telling the story requires more than words, it takes skill. Liars and professional actors have a specialized form of skill.

I wait in the thicket trying not to make noise. My body takes up space. My body is the target. The enemy is close. Silence is better when there is a distraction. Luck is a form of transportation. Now I must become uninteresting as hard as I can.

I hear the searchers, quite a way off. I proceed inward. I trust in my boredom. I am hidden and they will pass me by.
When I was small my parents were criminals, I was not asked to join in their crimes, I was left to make my own. I failed as a criminal, so I feel free now. There were murders, I had evidence, I could have tried to hide it but I kept it confidential.

They tried to make their activities my crime, such as criminals do. I stayed strong and insisted I had nothing to fear. They gave up, and I grew up. I became what I am today, and I am still hiding from searchers. The old searchers have died and there are new searchers today.

One of the crimes was the murder of my first friend. I saw it all. I stayed hidden. I could do nothing because the story I had was not enough to keep me clean. I continued, and I have to find my own luck again.

I waited for the searchers to either find me or to move on, I hoped it would be the latter, I hoped that I was successfully hidden and that there were no dogs, dogs would find my smell and celebrate that discovery. I did not hear any dogs. Not moving, I probably fell asleep, but it took a long time.

That was the first set of pages. The second set is longer. There are more corrections made, but in the light here I can read it all. Now I am sitting at the desk. The room is still quiet, and I feel comfortable sitting here, even though I do not belong here.

On the strange desk I had a typewriter, with a few pages next to it, and there was a single sheet of ordinary white paper in the typewriter, stuck at halfway through the page, with typing on it. There were some loose sheets next to the typewriter. I picked up the loose sheets and read them, and then I came to the second group of pages. It appears to be much longer than the first group of pages. Here is what I read:

I was in an old hotel; I was searching for something. I wandered the halls, I went up and down empty stairs, I waited for elevators. I would be surprised by people, but they took no notice of me and yet felt I should evade them, but not conspicuously. I tried to hide but the hotel guests and staff kept coming around the corner or suddenly opening doors, and I had to remain normal in appearance and boring. I was making an appearance of looking through drawers of cabinets in the hallway. What was I looking for? I was not a thief, I was urgently looking for some kind of tool, a small object, a solution to my problem, I was looking for a necessary device that would solve my curious frustration. What form would it take? There are many drawers to open and then close again.

The hotel had long corridors and rows of elevator doors. I would avoid the elevators because there were more people there and I would have to stand next to them for extended periods of time, waiting together. There was nobody there now, but I was planning, in case they would come. They would ask me questions and I did not want to lie. I would instead head for the stairway and calmly go either up or down into the darkness of the stairwell.

Then there was a group of people around me. We were in the stairwell all standing around. They said that they were all going to see the Mayor. I said that I wished them well, and I would be going on down the stairs. They said no. They said we are all going to see the Mayor. I said no. I tried to get past them, but they smiled and laughed and simply stood in my way. The atmosphere was light, and I played along, just to see what would happen. We all went to the hall, where the carpet was old, and the ceiling was stained. It did not smell bad except it was stuffy.

We stood in front of the elevator making small talk. Time went by. One person looked up and then hit the button. We stood in front of the elevator all looking at the lights, there were numbers, and we followed the numbers as the elevator came to us. We stood in front of the elevator for two hours. I had a watch that I took a sneaky look at from time to time. They all smiled and watched the numbers light up. They did not see my watch-peeking, or they pretended they did not see me peeking at my watch. I went along. It worked for quite a while.

Finally, the elevator doors opened up, but the elevator was not lined up. We had to jump down into the elevator. There were chairs, odd chairs, mounted on the floor. There were enough chairs for seven, and there were ten or maybe twelve of us. Three or more remained and waited for the next elevator. Most rode with us.

When it was my turn, I sat in my chair. The head rest was a bit low, so my head was tilted back, but I went to sleep. The elevator went on and on, I could feel it moving.

The time passed slowly until elevator doors opened. I was sitting, now there were straps holding me down so I could not get up. The Mayor came and sat in one of the empty chairs, so now it is just me and the Mayor, with five empty chairs and the doors closed and the elevator took off like a shot, like we were just falling. We were laughing. The Mayor laughed and we talked about all kinds of things, he was easy-going, and the hours flew by. He seemed interested in my story, but I could tell he was not really listening. I kept sneaking a look at my watch. It was almost midnight now, or was it noon? We talked and snoozed. We talked some more. Now it was seven. The elevator kept falling. We were both strapped in and laughing.

Now it was almost eleven, the elevator was slowing down, it was hard to tell, it was slowing down just barely. We kept talking about the future and the past, and about good government. Best practices. Liabilities. Plausible deniability. The elevator was still falling, but not as fast. I checked my watch; it was just after three now. We had nothing to say any more, we were looking at the empty chairs. Snooze came again.

The elevator stopped when I woke up. We sat there, looking puzzled but not saying anything. I checked my watch again, it was one. I asked the Mayor how long we had been sitting there in the elevator that was not moving, he told me he did not have a watch and laughed, embarrassed. Then the light went out, and the elevator doors opened. There was fire off in the distance. The Mayor said he was frightened, he whispered this to me, then he made a big smile, I could see it in the fire light, and he laughed out loud, but his eyes still said that he was frightened.

He boomed, “I am glad that is over! Now we are here!”

I said yes, but here is where? He laughed and said it was going to be alright. He said that everything was fine, and we are going to be alright. His eyes said the same thing as before, his eyes said that he was a liar, but he was comfortable with that. He laughed and raised his hand in salutation to me.

The Mayor got up and walked towards the fire in the distance, out of view. The elevator doors closed, I was still strapped to the chair with my head turned a bit lower than was comfortable, and the elevator started to move. I watched the numbers turn, there were a lot of numbers.

I woke up in the darkness, still strapped to the chair but my head was comfortable now, or maybe I was just accustomed to the angle. I always could just lift my head up. I could see my watch, it said it was a quarter past seven. I remember thinking, seven AM or seven PM? The watch did not tell me that. I needed a 24-hour type of watch.

The elevator was not moving, I could see my watch, and the numbers above the elevator door, but nothing else. Then the doors opened, and the light was blue, like there was water and the light was reflecting off of it onto the ceiling or the walls somewhere, but I could only see out of the elevator door.

My watch said eleven thirty.

I sat and waited. A very long time went by slowly. My watch said twelve twenty.

I figured out how to get the straps off, or maybe they were now loose, they were snug before, but now I got out of the chair and left the elevator. I found comfort, I needed to find comfort and I found it.

Behind me the elevator doors closed, and the lighted numbers started to rise. I turned around and looked into the darkness to see where the water was, down the hallway. I am listening. I hear an infant squall. I hear a mother coo, quieting the infant’s cries. This is coming from a big chamber with water, just ahead but out of my sight, around the corner in the light ahead, which is casting the shadows of reflected light on water. Is it a swimming pool? Maybe it is a cave with an underground sea.

Here is the third and evidently the final set of pages, there are almost no typing errors. I am listening and the room I am in, sitting at this desk, is quiet and safe. The two stories so far do not fit or connect together in any way.

I am waking up, in a huge bed, why is it so big? I look around, there is a picture of my family, I remember this picture from my childhood, it is a portrait of my family from when we were young. The picture is on the bed table. On the table there is my watch, it is much bigger than my hands are now. I look at my hands, they are the hands of a small child. I am in my mother’s bed, alone, and it is already morning.

There is nobody else here, I am a small child, I find my old room, everything is just the same, my pants are in this drawer, my underwear is here, my shirts are up in this drawer. My watch is still back on the table by my parent’s bed, and it is still too big for my little wrist, so I leave it by the bed, telling the time alone while I roam free.

I make myself breakfast and wander around the house, puzzled, how did I get here?

I spend the morning looking around, in the house, in the yard, in the garage, nobody home. It is a regular ordinary morning, and I am here, alone.

The television is not working. I try the telephone; I pick it up and there are voices.

Someone is talking about her husband; I think it is someone I know but I cannot remember the name. Her husband is angry all the time now. He has taken his gun with him, talking about how the government is not going to get away with something anymore. He has frightened everyone. She would call the police, but he is a police officer, so there is no call to be made there. She does not know what to do.

I hang up the phone gently and ponder the situation.

On one hand, I am a small child now, so I am not expected to do anything. On the other hand, my neighbor is in distress, and needs help. Maybe I can do something. What can I do?

I could try something. I picked up the phone again, but the line is quiet now. I sit and think, I could go on and do other things, or I could assume the voices are of people who live nearby, or I could bring in other adults to deal with these questions. I dialed the phone. I rehearsed what I would say in my mind, and when it was time for me to respond to whoever answered my call, I noticed that my voice sounded suspicious and childish, and I could not pronounce certain words. My child’s mouth would not speak the way I intended to.

That is where the pages stop, I am not going to look at the page that remains stuck in the typewriter just yet. Now, there are three sets of pages.

I am sitting at a desk with a typewriter, looking at some pages that I found next to the typewriter. The first story that I found, forms a philosophically meandering beginning. It seems that there are artists trying to hide in a hostile world pursued by some kind of danger. Are they guilty? To escape that danger they go, pursued, into the forest, and are cowering under a bush, hiding and somehow eventually falling asleep. Will they be easily found, or will they get away? Does sleeping change the story? Sleeping is ordinary, but unexplainable otherwise.

On the next set of pages (the sequence of the three sets is unclear, now it is the second, it might be the first or the third or it might be alone) we are in the old hotel, wandering aimlessly and avoiding others until a group of happy determined people corral and propel the narrator who has no purpose into the world’s slowest elevator, where the Mayor, obviously a parental or generic but minor and therefore more accessible authoritarian government figure, accompanies the narrator on an endless ride on the elevator, at what feels like is a high speed motion, going downward for hours. The Mayor gets off where there are flames down below, that could mean punishment and guilt, and our story rider continues much further down to a subterranean pool.

Then in the next story somehow the main character wakes up as a small child in mom’s bed, alone. The transitions are impossible, there are no transitions. These are three ideas that are unrelated: pursuit, discovery and then the main character is a small child, playing with the telephone. Some kind of time distortion.

On my way out of the office building I notice that the sky is changing, the weather is different from when I arrived, and I do not like the look of things. I probably should have left the pages I found, but I decided to bring them with me. While waiting I decided to change the order of the sheets, but as I examine them there is only one way that makes some kind of sense.

It was when I was leaving money for my favorite busker that I realized something was missing. I long ago stopped carrying a wallet, lately I have been carrying a simple money clip containing a few items, my identification, my plastic cards and a few old-fashioned dollars, which I can use if I need to. I checked my pockets several times. Everything was in order, but I realized that I had no watch. I always carry my watch to know when I am supposed to be somewhere at any given time. I felt my sense of normality vanish.

I completed my tasks and was heading back. The pages from the typewriter were secure in my folder. I decided to look at them later, after I returned home, but for now I tried to imagine what I might find out about them. Do they stand alone, or do they go together? It was frightful weather now, at the end of the day.

As I was climbing, I took stock of my situation overall, career-wise. I have come a long way, my first job was working in a laboratory, then for a few years I was washing dishes, which was followed by the bookstore. My accomplishments include some inventions, none of which were successful but all of them were personally satisfying. The disappointment of my family drove me to striking out on my own, I found new ways to solve my problems.

She is making a strange face again; I have asked her what it means, and she never tells me. It looks like she is signaling with urgency, danger or death or distress. I try to respond, but the shadows are in the way again. Why does this keep happening?

The watch is more important now, I need to know the time. Time goes on anyway, like it always has, but if I can measure it, I feel like I am in control somehow. That face, it keeps coming back to me. What does it mean? I think I need to change. Or maybe I need to change my attitude and make strange faces back. Do I need to decide now? The moment has passed. Practicing making faces is an option, but it might cause new problems.

How do you prepare for a flood, when it could be a tornado? Do you hide in the cellar, or do you position an axe up where you might need to chop a hole in the attic to get out on the roof and signal, hoping the others are kind? What if the water keeps coming, over the roof? There are always bigger problems. I only need to fixate on the problems I have now.

The way I play the game, the ending is not the thing, I am focused on the beginning, the set up and the unfolding, and then the only question becomes, when do you know the outcome? That is when I quit, as soon as I know the outcome. That moment is part of each game, the pivot from puzzle or bluff to certainty and formally playing out the obvious conclusion. Then it is time for another round. New things begin all the time. The last part, after you know the outcome, is only motions with nothing revealed, no mysteries to discover, you already know and just follow the course. I am only interested in the beginning and so on until the outcome is revealed. Then I am done and ready for the next.

As I was a film student, I am wiser than the legions of ordinary film voyeurs that crowd the mall theaters. I know the importance of the credits at the end of each movie, but I only watch if I know someone or need to know something in particular. Do people study the credits, besides the ones who consider themselves to be in the industry? The credits are when you make your move, head to the light, gather your stuff, get your hat ready, figure out the best path for the walk to the open the door and once the moment is right from the seat to rise. Go on to the next thing for that day, whatever that might be. There is the industry and there is the general public, each one a ghost sitting in the dark staring straight up into the magic lights, wondering about the action as it takes place. These are your friends and you are alone with them, the other world, the world of seats and smells and other people sitting all around, they are not important, the only thing that is important is the action up there.

I was reaching to unlock my door, I saw my pet inside, already celebrating my arrival. I had dinner figured out and was thinking about what comes next. Things happened fast after that. There were two grey uniforms, one on each side of me, they were friendly and said my name and told me they had a few questions to clear up, this will only take a few moments. I thought no way, but I said “sure, okay” because it is better not to make trouble. They immediately took my folder and shared a silent confirmation with each other without actually looking in the folder. I asked them again, and they said not to worry, this is going to be cleared up right away. They never did actually look inside the folder where the typed pages were. Do they know what is in the folder or do they think they have their missing pieces? Folders hold papers and papers are not all the same, except for the size and shape and color of course. The contents are the thing. The cover means only that there are probably contents, or that there eventually will be contents, why else would you have a folder?

They took me to the car, I said wait a minute, where are we going? They said it would only take a few moments, hang on and it will be cleared up and I can go back to my evening I had planned. They had me in the car, in the backseat, where there are no door handles or means of window roll downs. There was a plastic barrier between me and the two gray uniforms who were calmly talking to each other, I could not hear, and they could not hear me either.

We drove at a moderate speed for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then we went on the highway and time flew by. They came to a place where they could see ahead that there was a roadblock and got out their guns, they looked grim and said nothing. Then they said I should maybe keep my head down. They never did respond to any of my questions so eventually I stopped asking. There was a line of cars, we had to wait. There was no way to turn around now.

When it was our turn, they rolled down the window and were friendly. The guy in the blue uniform said to step out of the car, I did not see any other blue uniforms or anybody else besides the cars behind us.

After they shot the blue uniform guy, they made the tires squeal and sped on out of there, and told me I did not see anything, and to stay down and be quiet. I had a hard time with that.

The first bullets came from behind and went over my head and into the plastic barrier, but then another car smashed into the side and we spun around, then more bullets and the two gray uniforms were certainly dead, there was smoke and the car that smashed into us caught on fire. I did not see anyone else, but I did not want to wait around. I was able to kick the door open and was headed anywhere away from all that, but decided to get my folder, it was under the dead gray uniform, flat and dry, so I took off with it. I heard sirens. I did not see anyone else alive. I was gone.

Now it is night, I have some distance to go up this hill, but I am not sure of where I am now. This is not my part of town. I know many people just walk normally, but if I am seen running, I will be grabbed, so I am watching from the corners of my eyes, pretending to look for rain, and getting some distance.

From the hilltop here I can see the action now, more cars with blue uniforms arrive where the cars burn, here come the red trucks. No ambulances? I must go. The fire is soon out and the way ahead for me is urgent. How close was I to forever?

Now I look back, watching the blue uniforms. When I turn forward again, I have five black uniforms around me, they are wearing masks and have no faces. They say nothing but they force me into this metal slam, they are not as kind as the first gray uniforms. I am bound, my folder is taken again, and I wait.

There is movement but I am bound in darkness. Time is slower again. I try to reason but there is only cruelty. I could fight, but I do not see how. My arms are tight, my eyes are covered, and there is no one there. I can wait. I have a voice and I will keep it. I have plans and I will make more of them. They have taken my time, but I will remain. What happens next? I know how to wait.

After weeks in a bigger metal cage, or slam is what they call it, I notice that the doors are always tight. I can still dream and make my freedom in my head, but my body is fed by rote and kept aside, with no explanation. I am trying to find a small opening that I can cultivate. The black uniforms with no faces say nothing and they bring pain. I am still waiting. I have a face and I will save it.

One day, they come for me, they take me, they bind me, they cover my head again, and away we go. Something is happening. Now I am seated, bound and sightless. Now someone comes to me and checks my binding, then they remove my cover. Everyone is wearing white here, with faces that have personalities and with clipboards and pens. Where am I now? Is this an office? The light is bright and the men in white are all looking at me, with kind faces. Which is worse, the cruel certainty dressed in black or the questionable friendly faces around me now? Who is the liar? I need time to figure this out, they appear to be different from the hostile faceless black uniforms.

They want to know about my health and my family health history, they want to know how my parents and siblings died, they want to know about this mark and that bad habit. They remove the binding, and tell me to wait where I am. Now I am alone. Time goes by. I stand up, and I test the room. The door is unlocked. I investigate cautiously. I remember the punishment. I am where I should be now, and I might be somewhere else, how easily? Can I trust this?

Beyond my small door there is a hallway. There is silence. Should I hurry? Only trouble hurries, I am looking for the bathroom, people do that. That is my story. It works for now. Would I be able to see the cameras or hidden guards if there were any? How likely is it that I am forgotten, and able to make my own way now?

There is a room where I find rows of papers, folders and letters. I follow the rows, I find my name, and there is my folder, I check it, here are the pages. I put it back. Nothing happened, no sign. I might go now. I take the folder again. I carry it with me. I am still looking for my place here, but I am traveling further and turning when I can. Now there is an exit.

Now I am gone from here. Is it that easy?

I blend in, I walk on. I remain calm and I make some miles. I see no danger, just the same as before, before I was locked up. Before something happened, what was it? I might be on my way home again. I might be headed for someone else now.

There is an old man, sitting. He is not afraid, he is not off, he is waiting calmly. I might need to know where I am, he might know. I sit and nod to him, I am waiting calmly. He nods back and we watch the passing traffic. We make small talk, it is easy.

He tells me what I need to know now, just by making small talk. I do not ask direct questions, like where this is or how do I go somewhere. We talk about the traffic and share our favorite ideas. He has a good heart.

We look at the folder, at the papers. He asks me about them, I tell him what I know, but I do not tell him about the gray uniforms or the blue uniforms or the black uniforms with no faces, or the slam, or the men in white with pens, or where I came from, or how I got here today. I act normal and we are both at ease. The time keeps going. In the mundanity there is comfort. There are no answers, but time goes by.

He reads my papers very carefully and tells me I have something here. I am not too sure, but I agree, because it seems like the right thing to do. He gives me back the papers. We sit for a few more hours, small talk, then soon no talk, while we wait.

A car pulls up and I get tense, what now? The old man is standing up, he wishes me well and he gets in smiling, he sits and closes the door and waves at me, I wave back, the faces in the car window all wave, and they are gone.

Walking by the river, I can see fish swimming. Some of them are quite big. I stand and watch them; I can see colors reflected. The biggest ones cruise slowly, schools of smaller fish nervously rush past the big fish, trying to get out of range. I am watching the biggest one, it is slowly moving its tail and when it moves its head the smaller fish all dart away, some jump out of the water in their haste to get out of danger.

It takes me a few minutes to absorb what has suddenly happened. I do not remember the event, but now I know that I am dead. I look at my hands and I know that everything has changed. I am in the dead place. I have been joined by my pet, who perished when I did not return home to provide it food. I was so close, standing at my front door about to open, but they asked me to come with them.

My pet lived for a week or more, but there was no food, so it died, and now it is here with me, we are both dead now. When it was alive it was a tiny animal, I could pick it up, I could put it somewhere, I could watch it go under the table. Now we are the same size, now it is big enough to eat me, if it wanted to. It tells me that the name I had given it was the wrong name, now I know to call my pet Shenoa. We do not have genders, so that is something else I am getting used to. What shall Shenoa call me?

Getting used to being dead is difficult at first, because nobody tells you that you are dead, you just are dead. I could have fallen into the river, or been pushed, or shot, or run over, or the uniforms could have killed me, they like to kill. I have seen them kill. Something could have failed inside me. I could have taken the wrong medicine.

There are a lot of possibilities for how I became dead, from internal organ failure to some kind of external event. I could have died with everyone during a massive climate event, or I could have died alone, but now it is just Shenoa and me. I could have been killed on purpose or by accident. Now I know it does not make much of a difference, as I am here now.

The folder. I remember the folder. I am looking for the folder, but I am not sure why, it is my task or activity now. This is all that I am doing, this is what I am here for. Where do I look? Where did I have it last? The old man and I were looking at it, after that, I had it in my hand when I was at the river.

Now I am at the river. Nothing. Just the river. Now I am where I sat with the old man. Nothing. Just the bench. Now I am back in the place where I escaped.

The doors do not matter, I am not lost, I am just directly in the room where I found rows of papers, folders and letters. I follow the rows, I find my name, and there is my folder, here are the pages. I reach for the folder, but because I am dead, nothing happens. I know the pages are there, I can read them, but I am not able to grasp or in any way move any objects. Shenoa wants to go now, and I follow. We are not opening doors or passing through walls, we are just in a different place now. Now we are above the city, looking down at the building where we just came from.

I am looking down at people walking along. If they were to look up, would they see me? Is this like dreaming? With dreams you wake up, but during the dream the notion of waking up is not important, it is usually not wrong during that present time. I am not asleep, I am dead. Where is my body now and how did I die? I have no answers to those two questions, but somehow, we continue. Where are we going? Where were we going?

Shenoa does not “talk” but we easily communicate. Now it is time to join the others at the monastery. Shenoa leads the way, as usual. I am lucky. Although the distance is extreme, the time required is almost instantaneous. The monastery is an old center for our new work.

Once we arrive, we are greeted and welcomed to our places. The work begins again. We are all together, and we perform our rituals according to the old original plan. There are special times, we build the order according to our roles in the pattern. The time is not measured like it was when I was alive, it has more emphasis on sequence rather than synchronization or chronometry.

To get some answers we are going to need to make some new studies, which will require travel. Our physical bodies had so many requirements, such as nourishment and maintenance, rest and repairs, but now that has all changed, now we are working continuously.

I am remembering the time before I found the pages. When Shenoa was my pet, so small, and I was bigger. Then I decided for both of us absolutely everything, such as when to lock the door or what food to buy and when to eat, and what precautions were sensible. All that is meaningless now. Now no more master and pet, it is Shenoa and I and we are coincident. No more meals or locked doors. No need for sleep, no hygiene, this is a much lighter way to be, and the view is amazing. Not being able to touch or move physical objects takes some getting used to, but then, I have only been dead a short time. This is just the essence. What is next? How long will it take?

The journey was unremarkable, in our new state distance is not familiar anymore. Shenoa led me to our new station. The view here is amazing, just like a beehive there are boxes, our host is from the Epsilon community. The work is difficult, but the community is supportive, and time goes by quickly. It is hard to believe that we have come so far.

At first, we were learning the new territory and the community is including us in their routines, their rituals and honor ceremonies. The work we must do brings us away from that and we soon create our own routines. They respect our priorities. They expected this and their work continues without us. This is agreeable to all parties.

There was a long period where they were indifferent to our presence. After that we were just another part of Epsilon and progress continued. The view is of the community structures, surrounded by what might be described as the garden or wilderness. The hive gathers and converts the natural elements, we have our research to do, there is no conflict. There are occasional emergencies where repairs and inventions must be made, sometimes unusual elements emerge and must be accommodated, sort of like our arrival. Then that becomes normal.

The time came when we realized that the research was complete and we had the necessary answers to share with the old monastery, so we rehearsed our presentation of the answers, and practiced the exact sequence for the new explanations. We provided for every contingency. We knew we were complete but none of the Epsilon community had any idea of what we were discovering, they had other priorities and business to conduct. We worked even harder at getting this adaptation right, the telling of the story is more important than the gathering of the evidence and elements of proof.

The journey back was different, so much time had passed, everything looked unfamiliar. This return journey took us much longer, as we had to provide for our navigation. There were times that we changed our directions, we reversed our path or corrected our course. There was a long period where we were lost and had no idea of where to go next. Much time went by. We gave up more than once and adapted to our newly discovered territories. We blended in, until we developed a new idea of how to continue our journey back. So, we set out, again and again. It seemed like we were headed in the right direction, and that the journey was complete, but after not finding what we expected we were discouraged and began to doubt, and then we would stop and let some time go by while we figured out what to do next.

During this time we explored new interpretations of our research and came up with a better solution to present at the monastery. We spent hours talking about how this would change everything and how much better the work will proceed. We had good results; it was only a matter of telling the story properly.

On the last part of our long journey back to the monastery I thought we had far to go. I saw some old places that did not look familiar, at first. Shenoa knew where we were, it took me several attempts to figure out what we were looking at. There were some ruins, buildings that had collapsed and only the edges of the original walls remained, there was no roof and no true appearance of what I remembered. The monastery was an old building in my memory, but this was not even a building, it was rubble where walls once were, less rubble where a roof had fallen, only the barest appearance of the same old location. But this was probably all that was left now of the monastery. Where are the others who were there?

The old ruins were yet another lost piece of someone else’s history, but Shenoa observed that the location was the same, there was solid proof, and after some time I too came to see that this was indeed the original monastery. No sign of life, no presence, no clues about where they went, the monastery had been abandoned for ages and had fallen in, only the outline of the old property remained. We spent a long time looking for the biggest part of the monastery story. What happened? What do we do with the answers we have worked for and journeyed to bring back? Nothing makes sense now. We kept what we had and looked for the new answers.

We went towards the city, and from a distance above we tried to see if we could find out more. The life there was somewhat familiar, the same patterns, some of the same landmarks, but the small details were all different. I found the place where I left the men in white, but it was bigger now. I found the old place where Shenoa and I lived, back when we were alive, but it was all changed except for the doorway. What else, the river. The place by the river was the same. I even found the place where the blue uniforms killed the grey uniforms. Much was different, and from above we did see that the blue and the grey and the black were still competing for keeping their own forms of order in the city. They were probably still battling each other for greater control. We could not get close enough to find out more, but even though we were now dead the idea of being captured again or even just noticed by the uniforms was frightening to me, so I kept us clear. They probably could not see us, but it has been a long time, who knows!

If so, many people have died since the beginning of the story of humans, there should be many more dead people now than there are living people. Where are the other dead people? Since we are dead, they should be here too. It appears that Shenoa and I are alone now. Should we go back to Epsilon? We had a place there, that was the last place where we belonged, except for the places we found on the return journey. All of the journey was about figuring out about making our new place from nothing, we once belonged in Epsilon, and we once belonged in the monastery.

The way from here is not certain. The past has left some clues, but everything is different now. We will have to see what happens next. I am distracted by a memory, there was a place I used to go. There were people I used to enjoy visiting. Can I get there? What would I find now? I set out. I close my eyes and allow my thoughts to guide me. Shenoa remains, not waiting, Shenoa has other priorities. I am alone again.

I am to research an important book I knew before, there are many authors. This will take me far into the future, and to remote locations. How to prepare? Meditate of course. I have no physical needs as I am dead, so that simplifies all but the anticipation of the future. No need to acquire supplies or arrange for logistical specifics, I have no physical body now.

The journey is pleasant, I am walking rather than taking flight, except when I have to cross oceans. The book’s elements are located in various places and the authors are in different circumstances, a few have not been born yet. My first stop is with the original person that started everything. Time spent with this person is a joy, they are relaxed and full of fun, they have a remarkable natural attitude about life and the future. No wonder all this developed into such a gigantic human phenomenon. I know that things do not end well for this person, do they know this? According to the original legend, the tension of the unknown is what drives the convictions of the believers.

Faith is a form of focused self-delusion as well as a necessary counteraction to evade or simply forestall a perception of doom. If you are aware of doom at every moment, the natural defense is to count the moments remaining, which causes much distraction and a loss of alternate potentials. What if the prophecies are wrong or misinterpreted?

So the question remains now, does this eventual leader understand their role and destiny? According to some, the wisdom is infallible, therefore they do and they accept this all with patience and optimism, generating a positive atmosphere. This positive atmosphere is very important for the larger movement.

I am an observer, as I am dead and not in the world at this time, except as a witness, so my presence is not detectable by my subjects. I can only watch and collect moments of evidence; I cannot ask questions or otherwise take any actions that might influence the moments I have for my work observing.

Patterns of behavior are emerging. My subject today is not obsessed with the future, I cannot tell what they are thinking, but what I see and hear them say gives me what I need to collect.

So, for the main player in this unfolding history, I can report that they are naturally blessed with certain personality traits, they have a love of learning and of listening rather than pontificating and self-obsession. They are not narcissistic or messianic. They are fully aware and responsive to events around them.

Next, I go to the person who betrays the principal actor. Do they know they are evil? Is their act of betrayal deliberate? This drama has many elements, and I am to clarify the questions that will emerge. The story has many unknown assumptions, I am to collect support for others to digest and make further conclusions about. I do have my own ways of asking my questions that do lead to supporting assumptions I have. My job is not to explore my subjectivity, but to perform as quickly and naturally as possible and simply collect indicative moments for my reportage.

The betrayer is innocent, well acquainted with the main player, and overall supportive. I believe that the assumptions about the betrayal are wrong and the moment when the events changed was accidental and not premeditated. This is a tragedy of immense proportions, but not a crafted event.

Next, I go to the leader of the followers, the one who also watches these events and ultimately protects the evidence and promotes the conclusions that create the movement. I spend more time here, observing how they have narcissistic tendencies and thrive on amplifying events to benefit their own interpretation of both their own importance and the overall growth of the movement, both during the events and in the aftermath.

The leader of the followers has more of an active role than do the principles, the messiah and the betrayer. The principles are oblivious to the drama, the leader of the followers is crafting the final portrayal of the drama and its mythology. Here is where the conspiracy exists. Here is where the intellect is responsible for the shape of this destiny.

The leader of the resistance has the most complicated role. There are numerous factions of the resistance, all that unites them is the outcome. Some seek to uphold the status quo, some seek to gain either personally or to serve the status quo, some are truly evil, some are innocent and mistaken. Most are not involved with the story beyond the actual moments of dramatic fulfillment. Most are oblivious to the work of the messiah and the meaning of the unfolding events today.

Next, I go to the scholars who interpret the initial events. There are many more of them, they are removed from the physical elements, they have lives that are sequential and take more conscious deliberations based on the drama. They shape the legends more than any of the active players. They add their own personal motivations to the legends, embellishing and adding details that otherwise do not have relevance.

I am returning to the principal actor again, this time to look at the circumstances that preceded. I need to know more about the parents and early companions, the influences that created the setting for this drama.

There is the messiah, who has no awareness of the importance of these events. There is the immediate family who was affected by the events, they are blinded by their pain and motivations for trying to protect the path of the principle. There are the events themself, how they actually transpired. There are the motivations of the immediate surrounding factions, the followers and the resistance. There is a huge population of neutral actors who respond to perceptions and suggestions. There are the assumptions and the actualities, which are reflective of each other and responsive to each other, but are otherwise independent and inert. There are the scholarly interpretations long after the moments and events have completed, the ones who resolve the message and the interpretation of these recollections. My role is liquid, I am able to observe both the truth of the events and the errors of the historians who promote the eventual results of the actions of these living people. I do not presume to have privilege, I only collect facts about events and utterances, not thoughts or motivations, but I am not limited in my work.

Mythology is evidently based on a likely specific event but is far removed from that moment and creates an effect that is useful to support later motives. The notion of reality and truth is useful that way. Appearances can explain without the need for verification, conclusions appear to be final while the story keeps going. I spent the equivalent of seven years on Earth time reworking my notes, preparing them for what comes next. I took to the sky and returned to the old lands. This time I found the monastery and Shenoa was glad to see me. I sheltered and meditated and nourished my story. There was a new colony there now, built upon the rubble, which is hidden below now. Things look new but the action of the monastery is ancient.

The time came to share the work I had done with the others at the monastery. There was a big feast, I watched as I have no use for food, remember, I am dead. The ceremonies went on for a long time. I grew weary. Then I was to tell my tale.

They were spellbound. I had no explanation, this is merely my daily labor, I visit the past and gather the moments I can, and I make them my story. I have no use for the final judgement, I prefer to continue as I am, visiting the past and gathering the moments. I am not a teacher, but I can report. There was a crowd, an audience.

But the monastery was quiet, and all eyes and ears were upon me. I knew nothing, but they decided otherwise. I was chosen. I tried to escape. They were having none of that.

There was a meeting, and I was a captive, but they called me the chosen one and were trying to find a way to show their approval. They discussed many things, I was a prisoner in their midst, I had no choice but to endure their plans for making me immortal. How ironic! I am dead, mortality is beyond my way. I have been beyond their grasp all along, yet they suffer me to accept their way of finding the world.

Shenoa offers me an escape, and I take it. The monastery is in pandemonium, and the cause is my abrupt and mysterious absence. I have just cause and have taken it away from them. We rise and vanish into the ether; they weep and gnash their teeth below. Now they must find a new holy one. I am relieved to have release from this destiny they pressed upon me.

We leave but someone is following. We continue. When I look back it appears empty, but I know that there is still someone following. After a long time, when I look, they are still following, at a distance. Now I can see them, they turn and hide.

We linger, they remain at a distance, watching. We resume our journey, attempting to evade this follower. As we made our way, we discussed applying lessons from the three stories found by the typewriter, specifically the first one. Keeping humble in expression and seeking to hide in the wilderness. I pointed out that the protagonist fell asleep, and Shenoa pointed out that the outcome of this tactic was not disclosed.

We made our rapid advance and identified a place to practice this technique, hiding in the bushes, keeping quiet while the pursuers pass by. The danger would only lead to the annoyance of being discovered, nothing as drastic in implication as in the first story, where discovery would result in doom.

As we are both dead, falling asleep is not an option, so we only wait.

Presently the pursuer was heard approaching. They were clearly suspicious of our tactics and were on the search for any clues as to where we were, quietly searching for our trail.

They stopped. They reversed course and then began again with a very close observation of our trail.

The pursuer was soon joined by two more. The three of them decided on a strategy and worked their way passing us. Or were they putting on a show to draw us out? After the trio had made their way past us, a fourth came along. Then a group, I did not attempt to count them, they were noisier and more obvious about their intentions, they were determined to discover where we were, where we are going, and what lessons they might derive from this. They have no harmful intentions, but they are persistent in their goals. They say that they only want to learn more.

Our hiding place was secure, but the followers continued to grow in number. We decided to prepare to head off in a new direction, perpendicular to the direction we were headed and the direction the growing crowd was approaching from. It appears that the crowd has decided to remain in this area and to wait for more news about the advance searchers.

This is indeed the last place we were seen.

That is when we found the tunnel heading downwards. Really it is just a hole in the ground, gradually descending at a slight angle and then blackness forever down and down. I could sense the gathering of people in the distance, but I had some moments of peace. Shenoa went to see how close the people were now. I looked down into the abyss and wondered what was down there.

I thought about dropping a rock into the hole and waiting to hear what might happen next. Nothing (I am not equipped to move physical objects). The hole is about 30 feet across, and does what holes do, it just goes down forever. I thought about getting a bigger rock and crept closer to the edge, to imagine throwing it in. I waited.

Shenoa and I communicate without words, we just seem to feel each other’s thoughts. The people were gathered about ten minute’s walk away from where we are. The only problem I had with this crowd is that I want to be free of their adoring gazes and annoying assumptions. I have no use for a following.

As I looked down into the hole in the Earth, waiting to hear some kind of noise, reporting back how deep they have fallen, I heard a noise behind me. There was an eager pilgrim, making a discovery. With a shout of joy, he turned and ran. Now what will happen?

Shenoa reminds me, we can just go up in the air, we are dead, we are not limited by much of anything. How simple. So we rose into the air and watched from above. Why didn’t we think of this before? Sometimes the easiest solution is hiding in easy sight.

Soon the pilgrim returned with a small group, they followed my trail to the edge of the hole, where the trail stopped. The group grew, from about twenty followers to fifty, eventually the entire crowd assembled by the edge of the hole. They had grim faces and moved slowly. They pondered the abyss where I had last been on the Earth.

Nobody looked up, we were plain to see, so we went further up, hoovering and watching the activity of the crowd below. They started singing. They sang for hours. Then they were silent. Next, they sang the song of celebration, one of the oldest songs shared by the monastery and the community living around the monastery. There was a feeling of great happiness and shouts of joy. Then they formed a line, and one by one, they leaped into the hole.

This should not be happening. What were they thinking? There was a great crowd and now there are just a few children left. Those children left and returned to their homes with only a story to tell.

Shenoa and I left the area, greatly troubled by the actions of these followers. This began a time of wandering with no plan, only a great perplexity, what is the meaning of being a human being on Earth? Why do individual people have such great potential and why do some large groups of people tend to lose their way and invite trouble? Why did those followers so easily decide to celebrate and then jump into the abyss before them? What is their faith leading them to? The monastery existed for centuries with a great sense of the importance of faith and the meaning of life, doing the work of devotion and bringing goodness and great inspiration to all.

So why did they jump? What will the surviving children tell the world about what happened? How can a lesson be offered about this strange tragic event that just happened?

Shenoa and I talked about how this idea can be transmitted. We talked about the tools we have, and how people tend to interpret and learn from things that happen to them. They learn to avoid danger, that is the first message. Do not go here, there is danger. They learn to share their sustaining resources, here is good water, here is good food. They learn to celebrate their unity, here are our friends, here is my special friend, here are our children. They learn to teach their children how to live. They learn to share all kinds of ideas. They celebrate life and they honor the lives of those who lived before this time, and they find ways to improve their conditions.

They find ways to ensure that those who come afterwards are able to directly build upon what we have established so far. How easy it is for them to go wrong, they find that defense is necessary to survive when facing danger, but if the defense grows too strong it tends to become a danger. They find ways to protect the helpless, by isolating the confused, but then that perpetuates the confusion and creates an unknown that is feared.

If a message is codified it can be shared, but then new messages can cause confusion. Conditions change and adjustments must be made, this can sometimes be seen as opposition to the original message and become a source of conflict.

Shenoa and I went into the wilderness to allow some time to pass, and to ponder our situation. Shenoa tends to think that beauty is the goal of existence, I tend to think that innovation is to be celebrated. We had lots of animated conversations. We might be two sides of the same object, but I tend to think I am more correct, innovation is needed to adapt to changing circumstances and discoveries. Shenoa might be correct in that beauty is a goal to achieve perfection and create positive outcomes.

We remained in the wilderness for a long time, observing the natural processes and cycles of existence, celebrating beauty and learning from change. We compiled vast knowledge and developed conclusions that we thought were worthy of sharing with others.

I decided to visit the old places, to see what people were doing. It has been very quiet in the wilderness. Our concept of time has become unmoored, and we are uncertain about how long we have been in the wilderness, the dead have a different sense of destiny.

While exploring the old city, now deserted, I found a building with many rooms in it, and in one room there was a typewriter. I sat for a short time. My fingers do not have physical form, but I imagined what it would feel like to type. I thought about how it would be if I filled a few pages and left them by the typewriter for an unknown person to find.

I thought about what I would type if I could type. Then I went outside to look at the empty streets and wonder why things are so quiet here in the old city. Shenoa met me and we rose above the city, discussing the possible reasons for the empty city. Although nobody could be seen, the streets were as if they had been abandoned moments before we came upon the scene. The usual trash blowing in the wind and the usual loose objects scattered around, the streets were clear, there were no rows of decayed abandoned vehicles, and not one fallen corpse rotting in its tracks.

I went with Shenoa back once again to where those original papers had last been seen, the three stories in their folder, and all was as it had been, in the room where I found rows of papers, folders and letters. I follow the rows, I find my name, and there is my folder, here are the pages. I reach for the folder, but because I am dead, nothing happens. I know the pages are there, I can read them, but I am not able to grasp or in any way move any objects. Shenoa wants to go now, and I follow. We are not opening doors or passing through walls, we are just in a different place now. Now we are above the city, looking down at the building where we just came from.

Quiet prevails. We hoover and watch. Nothing happens. We wait some more. Time goes by. We grow curious about other things, what became of the old monastery? We return to that spot and find that now only the ruins remain. All is as it was, abandoned and in full decay. We return to the wilderness and resume our familiar activities.

There is a new community living in an area we (Shenoa and I) just came upon, a place we had not been to before. I think we will be returning. They are sustaining themselves on the plentiful flora and fauna nearby. This appears to be the balance that the crowds of the old cities constantly cried out for, taking just enough to survive and respecting the greater whole of the ecology and all its parts.

Does the life you personally know matter more than the lives you otherwise vaguely know about but are not personally acquainted with? Or to put it another way, back when I was alive and growing up, in school, there was an exercise in ethical thinking. It goes something like this: If you could save the community by sacrificing several individuals, is the loss of a few lives too high of a cost for sustaining the greater number of fellow humans?

This never resulted in any conclusions, I do not think that was the intention, but the discussion was very informative and led to reconsidering the role of the individual in society and the moral obligations of both the individual and the larger culture.

They are living, we are not, they cannot see us, but we can move freely amongst them and find ways to influence them. We have ways of causing objects to be discovered in a meaningful arrangement, we are learning their languages and they have a written form of communication with symbols, we have great hope for being able to provide clues and to see how they interpret signs.

We are what might be called their guardian spirits. We can stand right next to them, among them, and experience their journey, not accompanying them on their travels, but participating in their evolution as it were. The journey of their community, learning and growing.

At times their youngest children follow our motion with their eyes, we think they can see us, but of course they cannot speak or communicate our presence other than by watching us, sometimes the parents notice they are watching and try to see what they are looking at. As the child matures, this capacity to see us diminishes. Once the child develops an ability to communicate, their memory of detecting our presence has shifted to a focus on social activities and identity. There are exceptions but this causes more disruption than advantage, so the child learns to filter out signs of our presence and to use their perceptions to achieve social rewards.

Shenoa and I shared some observations. First the two parents kindle a romance, there is an attraction and they come together. The fluids mix and the miracle starts. After a good amount of time the third being emerges. This being is nurtured by the two parents and grows. This new being is given the hopes and dreams of the two originators. The new being grows, eventually the new being recognizes that it is not merely a dream of the two originators, who struggle to find the best path they know of, and the originators struggle with this transition. The new being eventually overcomes the two originators and becomes a truly independent new being. Soon the new being meets another being to kindle a new romance and begin the cycle all over again.

This is not the only pattern, but this is an important form, this is how the species proliferates. The beings find ways to survive.

If they only consume there will be an exhaustion of the resources, so the beings must learn to balance growth with sustained awareness of the resources. The capacity to anticipate supply and demand cycles is a key to sustaining the species.

We observed that each being has abilities that they do not develop, and that some beings are able to manipulate other beings to their singular advantages. Some beings have the capacity to empathize and to seek the larger conglomerate advantages. Due to resource scarcity, some beings sacrifice their own comfort to create advantages for their offspring.
There are circumstances that illustrate this awareness, and other circumstances that negate this understanding.

Leadership often cultivates a stronger sense of direction and decision-making ability which offers an advantage. Competition between leaders consumes much awareness and often brings about a loss of direction, resulting in a distraction and focus on the struggle.

A belief in a superior omniscient being allows an individual to focus on the collective destiny, and to overcome the blind devotion to self-comfort and advantage.

There are circumstances where the collective adherence to these customs and practices become essential to the survival of the species. Codification of behavior norms becomes necessary to ensure efficient social dynamics and consistent problem solving.

What keeps our attention is the gradual collective wisdom that is developing, as these people adapt and learn from their experiences. We have found that by inducing hardships there is a greater advantage to this growth, when there are no hardships, the collective awareness shifts from seeking knowledge about the outer world to developing individual pleasure and advantage over other individuals. When things are too easy the people tend to create drama and distraction, they seek gratification and do not see the greater patterns that surround them.

The middle ground, between extremes, is fraught with complacency. Challenges and barriers create motivation to overcome stasis, which tends to deplete resources. Dynamics of conflicting perspectives creates more opportunities and experiential diversity, thus increasing the rate of development and wisdom.

The youngest seek to adjust to the older ones just ahead of them, and to avoid the yet younger ones behind them. As they age, they develop compassion and the capacity to anticipate. They develop an appreciation for wisdom and shift from individual growth to exercising the collective advantages.

Learning happens in an individual as they are able to absorb and utilize new ideas. Nubiles transition into maternity, youth transitions to leadership, the cycle from infancy to age repeats. Circumstances change and new priorities emerge. Conventional wisdom becomes a barrier to learning new things.

That is the New Testament of Enlightenment, the Old Testament of Enlightenment is different. Traditionally, in a predator society the biggest one eats the smaller ones, and everyone understands the order. Aggression leads to more nourishment and access to resources. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Weeping and gnashing of teeth. Dentistry is very important.

Shenoa suggested we visit the river, so off we went. We were gone for a long time. When we got back everyone was dead. We looked for some clues, what had happened. They were not just dead, they were skeletons. We looked through the entire village, no sign of what had transpired while we were gone except the obvious, something killed everyone quickly. We could find no reasons for all the deaths, nor could we figure out what happened. Had some invasion happened? Did they fall upon each other? In that case there would have been someone remaining. We did several careful searches of the area and found nothing but skeletons.

The dead are alone, we could find no evidence that revealed what had happened. Had death come in an instant? Poison in the water? Predators? Had it been invasion or some form of robbery there would be dramatic signs of force. All we found were random skeletons throughout the village, some in huts and some on the streets. No sheltered clusters or signs of distress.

We have decided to stay here and try to learn what happened. We made a map of the locations of where the skeletons were found, and we are watching as small animals continue to move the bones, mostly everything is staying in place, there are not many of these hungry animals. Insects have stripped away the flesh.

There are seventy-eight complete adult skeletons; it appears that the infants were consumed immediately by subsequent marauding predators, as was all the soft tissue. Twenty juvenile sets of bones.

They are positioned randomly, no large clusters in shelters, no gatherings by the water. Whatever killed them did it quickly.

We rise above the trees to see if there are other scenes in the wilderness of this area. Storms are frequent normally, but lately there have been really big storms. Perhaps this season has been one continuous storm.

There is motion below which attracts our attention, a single human walking, carrying a burden of some kind. We investigate. The beauty of being dead is that we can get right next to this person, within inches and freely communicate amongst ourselves, usually without notice from our subject at the time. We do so, but this time the human notices something, pauses and carefully surveys the area, his eyes catch mine directly and he smiles but otherwise simply warms. Then he looks to Shenoa and nods. Then he picks up his burden and continues his original steady path. We join him, this time not speaking to each other, only observing. We nodded to each other and silently agreed to this.

The trail goes on for days. The burden is great, but the curious human carries on.

We come to a cave, and the human proceeds inside. We follow. Again, the way is long, but the human takes no notice of the dark, his caution is not increased. Ahead there is the noise of civilization, of many people. He increases his pace and lifts high his burden.

Others join him and they relieve him of his package, there is rejoicing. They glance at us and hold us with their eyes but do not react, we all go into the great chamber where there is a fire. Food has been prepared, a place is set for everyone, including Shenoa and I, a plate of steaming delicious food, which of course we cannot touch, but are honored to be included. People point their head at us and smile, as if to say “welcome!”

Now we see that they are all blind. They do not need light. Somehow, they appear to sense us, but they never address us directly.

We spent much time visiting these people of darkness, who have perceptive skills that we have never before encountered. Shenoa watched from above while I kept close to the fire.
We learned so much.

Later we talked about the joy of these blind people and how strong they were. We will be returning to this friendly colony.

Now we are watching a new light in the sky as it becomes bigger, someone is coming from the stars. This is to be measured. Something is coming.

Up in the mountains Shenoa finds a singular human male, an old man who is living his quest for perfect meditation. We wonder amongst ourselves, if he is causing no harm to others, and is free of interference from others, is he not safe? No, he is alone and imagines his happiness. It is his destiny as an old man to reach the end of his life, and he is finding peace.

Is he lost or is he found? Should he be just sitting there? Is he waiting to die? Is he doing what he is supposed to be doing? This is not a question we can answer. We must learn. Our abilities are not to change or move or in any way affect material objects, but we are here to observe and to gather conclusions. Reader, you join us in our predicament, observing and gathering conclusions to establish our insight into the ways of this physical place.

We are here to watch.

In the sky, from the mountain, the light comes closer. The old man would sit in the lotus position, with his legs folded and his back straight and his arms reaching past his knees, listening to his own breathing. This went on and on. The man was breathing. The air was cold. The man was not eating, or moving much, but he was breathing. The light in the sky was up there.

This went on for a long time. Breathing in, then breathing out.

We continued our discussion, I don’t think the old man could hear us, but if he could, we were not distracted, we figured out answers to lots of the questions we had from the things we have been doing, gathering experiences, watching what happens. We talked on and on, then we noticed that the man was no longer there. The light in the sky was still getting closer, but it was not here yet.

We went back to the old village, the skeletons were gone, and nobody was there. We went back to the monastery, it was busy. We watched for a long time. We remembered all of the things we had done. We continued to watch things that were happening. We heard a sound and went into the basement of the monastery to see what made the sound.

There was a student in the basement. The student intended to build a miniature house. He worked on it for a long time. He made a strong box but he did not build a miniature house the way he intended. He used the box to create a platform and intended to create a castle. He worked on it for a long time. He did not build a castle the way he had intended. He had a platform and used the platform to create the next thing, he intended to create a treehouse. He made something to put up in a tree he knew of. He carried the materials into the forest and to the tree. He fell out of the tree. He left the monastery and became a sailor. He discovered an island where there were jewels.

When he was rescued from the island ten years later, he was able to start a successful business creating specialized furniture and residential sculptures. By this time things had changed in the wilderness, there were more people. It was a simple life, hunters found game and tribes celebrated bountiful conditions. People were thriving and the forest rang with their music, along with the birds and other singing or signifying beasts.

During nights the light in the sky was now dominated not by the moon in her cycles, but by the big light that keeps getting bigger, very slowly.

Naturally, with more people there came more competition, there is a tendency to protect the tribe and the exclusive hunting grounds. There were seven major tribes in a certain area, and they had a long history of working together, until each of the tribes grew so large that they wanted to have exclusive control of the land.

On the first day of the great war, there were guardians of the homeland gathered in various corners of the forest. The body count was not significant, probably thirty or more. Each group took away the beloved new heroes, which caused the tribes to generate more new heroes who would charge into the battlegrounds, some foolish enough to be cut down within minutes of arriving, some survivors who stayed just behind the areas of trouble, ready to pounce on the enemy.

By the end of the month, there were fewer areas of confrontation, but they were all much bigger in scope. Now the body counts were astronomical. There were forays into the villages by enemy forces.

Shenoa and I would weep and cry at this new world. We did not know what to make of the useless slaughter.

By the end of the first year there was less open slaughter but there were new technologies being developed. New tools for killing.

By the end of the second year, there were the freedom loving independent forces which were scattered everywhere in the wilderness. Some had developed methods for monitoring the larger unified and technologically advanced forces of great strength. Further from the battlegrounds there were cultures of avoidance and peace.

Now there was a unified killing culture who were seeking revenge for the wrongs they had experienced, as well as telling a story about wanting peace and being willing to die for it. This proved to be a powerful recruiting method. Some of the new technologies were far advanced from the jungle cultures. We observed that some of the wilderness-dwellers have been going into the ruined cities to bring back objects that could be utilized for their purposes.

The burial practices changed, now there was a garden of heroes, where the outstanding warriors are honored, and a much larger burial pit, which was fed a constant stream of anonymous dead, people from both sides of the conflict who were disposed of quickly and conveniently.

Now, instead of village forces, there were unified military authorities and the anonymous masses who dwell in the wilderness and have no organized base. When a significant resistance became organized, spies and betrayers led the authorities to them for immediate destruction. This came to bring about a time of constant military discipline, with new cultural roles, those that exhibit strength, and those that support them with nourishment and healing arts.

The light in the sky was now constant, this was creating a situation where there is no more night, the new light was so bright that it was always daylight. Shenoa and I watched as some kind of vehicle passed from above, presumably the light, to the jungle below.

By this time the mastering forces were confident in their position, controlling all the villages around. Shenoa and I kept track of the disparate forces and observed that they were rallying in secret and had been assembling their forces for a powerful blow against the empire.

All we could do was watch. We were as curious about the newcomers from the light as we were about the struggles below, between the central authorities and the wandering free forces. Those forces are clearly oblivious to the newcomers, but are aware of the new constant light. We have been wandering amongst the humans in the wilderness and they have many theories but no plausible overview of their situation.

Mostly the humans are busy with their war. I suspect that the newcomers are performing reconnaissance functions, preparing for annexing the resources here. Shenoa has darker suspicions. I would call the newcomers pilgrims, Shenoa calls them pirates.

One day I came upon one of the newcomers, a being from the forces of the new light. Like the humans, this being is oblivious to my presence, allowing me to observe everything quite closely.

Physical appearance: it appears to be able to manipulate its form and material presence, I have not observed any consistent appearance of the newcomers, be they pilgrims or pirates.

Therefore, their intentions are still unknown. There has been no observable activity beyond cautious observation of the humans in the wilderness. The shapes I have detected so far (there probably are other forms) are all based on context, the newcomers tend to be cautious and blend in with the surrounding environment.

The activities of the humans remain focused on their internal struggles, the new light has allowed them to operate their military activities under constant illumination. The status of forces of authority versus the independent rebels or by-standers continues to focus the activities. They all require gathering food and processing it, only the authorities have the luxury of employing advanced techniques.

The authorities have established a strong fortification, the outsiders (a combination of rebel forces bent on resistance, and bystanders, bent on independent survival) are slowly developing a strategy for their own prosperity. Further from the fortifications there are large gatherings, as well as scattered incidental independent settlements. The authorities see all of the outsiders as enemies and seek to dominate all they survey.

The rebel forces have been developing methods for resistance, usually any gatherings of rebels are detected by the authority forces and decimated. The general attitude of the outsiders is fear of the fortified forces, they usually simply avoid the troublesome authorities. There are a few rebels who are emerging quietly as leaders, if you could call them that. Generally, the authorities are unopposed but because of their natural aggressive behavior and quest for domination, they are repulsive to the outsiders.

Shenoa and I agree that eventually the authorities will either soften their aggression or fall beneath their own tendencies to dominate and create resistance. There are examples of both behaviors, but they are isolated and take place far outside of the fortified colonies.

What will the newcomers do?

Now I see that I was mistaken, the beings from the light are not singular entities, they are more like a swarm or hive of individual creatures. That is why they are able to assume shapes so readily. They are tiny particulate beings that can flow together into forms at will, as quickly as they can detect a shape to resemble they can mimic it.

The authorities are preparing for a major sweep of the rebel forces, which are really just the individual people who are surviving outside of the fortress. I shudder to imagine the bloodbath that is about to take place.

There are evasions, the powerful army is ready to clean the area of resistance, but the rebels are clever and continue to elude the killing forces, picking off stragglers and scoring psychological victories. They know to remain out of reach, they have methods for surveillance of the brutes that are well equipped for their warfare.

Today we found that several of the humans have been taken up to the light. Shenoa, quite by accident, witnessed this abduction process. The human is taken from behind and then lifted unawares and quickly submerged in the cloud of visitors, evidently taken by surprise with no opportunity to express any reaction. Then the mass turns into a neutral color and quietly rises, we did not follow to see how they entered the vessel of light. The light is evidently caused by reflection, the vessel is positioned just above the shadow of the earth and maintains a static appearance seen from below, in fact the vessel is traveling at a high speed to continue this focus on our location on the planet Earth.

In the wilderness below, the tensions between the forces continue. The authoritarians are massing and capturing wandering individuals outside of the fortress. The wanderers, hardly rebels (as they are simply conducting their lives and not offering resistance) are withdrawing from their accustomed habitat. In remote locations we are looking for any massing or forms of organized forces, but there are none.

The constant light has created an emotional stress amongst the people. Their sleep has been disrupted. There is stress and hardship. Now there are killings within the two communities, more than between the opposing factions. The worst is in the authoritarian community, it struggles to achieve purity in conformity, but that is just not part of human nature.

So what is human nature? Part of human nature is to question and to find improvements, part of human nature is to crave stability and perpetual comfort. Most of human nature is inconsistent and responsive to changes in the circumstances. Human nature is the source of paradox.

We have decided, Shenoa and I, to try to visit the newcomers. We rise.

As we get further from the Earth, the light increases but the singular nature of its source diffuses. Does it indeed reflect the sun as we assumed? There is no firmament up here, only the increasing density of the almost liquid particular presence. Liquids have weight and presence, these little dots are more light than form.

We find comfort in each other as we pass deeper into the endless formless presence. We are finding things we have never before come upon. The particles pass through our forms, they appear to be oblivious to us.

Now we have detected the captured human forms ahead, very distant but we have a link to human consciousness and are drawn closer to them in this cloud. There are seventeen humans ahead, they are in a mostly static cluster, the particles are holding them in place, and we are starting to sense more of their presence as we gain physical proximity to their location. We are finding no resistance or awareness of our presence.

We continue to seek these captured humans. We assume that they must have to overcome the natural fear of being in an unnatural place. Humans have always known the surface of the Earth, gravity has always kept them oriented. Here things are different.

As we approach we detect one of the seventeen floating humans to be in motion, possibly heading back to the surface of the Earth. We position ourselves to observe, as they move towards us we want to know how they are kept from exhibiting signs of panic as the altitude and atmospheric conditions are so harsh and threatening.

Contact is coming about, we are growing closer to this human presence in motion. They appear to be in a dream state, with a relaxed posture and facial expression. We move closer and follow along. We speculate about where the landing will happen, the authoritarian community is dense, but the wilderness is the most likely place to bring this returning human traveler. This prisoner. This restored interception.

Are the humans aware of these seventeen missing persons? How were they selected? How much do they know about what just happened? Will they attempt to announce their exceptionally strange experience? We follow and speculate, observing what we can. The distance is gigantic.

The descending borrowed human is being enveloped by an increasing volume of particles, which creates a shield that both protects the fragile living being and provides a disguise in the sky. If any of the humans below were to look up, they would see only the unchanging new light in the sky.

We stay near as the human is returned to the wilderness. The descent is slow and careful and if we had not been close we would not have been aware of this process.

The gentle cloud slowly descends, the human is shifted to an upright vertical orientation and simply is deposited, the enveloping particles diminish in density and the newly returned human is in motion, walking along the path as if nothing has happened. We stay close and detect no transitional emotions, the human appears to be unaware of what just happened. They are on a walking journey and simply return to their village with nothing to say, no announcements, no amazement. We linger and continue to observe, but there is no sign that anything unusual has just happened to this person, a teenage male. We take up close positions to see if there is any change in behavior. Nothing.

Now we have more questions. We watch and wonder. Should we split up, one remaining to observe what happens here, the other returning to the remaining sixteen presences above?

When we return to the sky, and begin the long journey into the cloud of light, we detect that there are now about thirty humans suspended ahead. They float peacefully as the particles gather and perform what we assume to be their own observational operations. Are they preparing to increase this relocation process? Are they gathering information to use to perform further intrusions into the oblivious human population? Are they going to harvest or extract resources? These are things that humans would do if they were emerging into a new environment. Are they going to enter into the operational reality of the humans and surface cultures? Are they going to influence the outcome of any of the human processes underway?

As we consider these issues, another several humans are arriving from the Earth below, we watch as these presences in neutral relaxed states float into the denser areas within the cloud of light. We observe only that these peaceful humans float within the cloud, experiencing no awareness of their location, no sign of distress or emotional engagement. They appear to be in a sleep state, moving slightly, normal “rapid eye motion” with their eyes usually closed, sometimes just relaxed and partially open.

Are they being implanted with a program to perform? Are they being observed and prepared for future influential behavior? It appears that nothing is happening, and the volume of traffic between the surface of the Earth and this cluster of human subjects is not accelerating as far as we can tell.

How does the constant presence of light influence the behavior of the humans? We are concerned that there is increased stress with the light-dark cycles disrupted, now with a constant illumination? Are there other environmental effects, such as increased foliage and botanical responses to this boost of photons? There has been a slow increase of light, and a slow decrease of the day-night rhythm.

We expect that the increased militarism and internal authoritarian hostility is an effect of the disruption and new constant light. There does not appear to be a major reaction to this change, most humans are simply adapting and reducing the duration of their sleep periods. They react individually, withdrawing from social activities and settling into a dormant state which is accommodated by their peers.

Shenoa reflects that space travel would create this same loss of circadian stability. Is this intentional? Are they here to facilitate some kind of migration? Perhaps they are here on a mission of discovery, to assess the resources available here on this singular planet. Is there similar development on other planets? Do they perceive the variety of planetary environments as humans do? The particulate presences do not require new technologies that we can observe, the humans are really quite fragile.

So far there are no signs of hostility or anything but information gathering on the part of the newcomers. Are we missing something? We observe the arrival of more humans from the Earth below, and now have detected the motion of one of the floating humans probably returning back to the Earth, and we follow again.

This time the captives were deposited very near to other people, with the usual subdued and easy return to surface life activities, with no awareness on the part of the voyager about what just happened to them, everything is ordinary.

As detecting the abduction is impossible, we are going to focus on the return process. We continue to prefer to work together rather than separating and observing separately. By sharing our comments and combined perspectives we are able to improve our capabilities for learning more about accomplishing our investigations.

It is always singular, and the human person appears to be completely unaware of this interruption, the surrounding persons have no reason to be suspicious of this intrusion, and there is no sign of harm on the part of the intruders.

The abductee appears to be in a dream state, do I have access to them using our unique abilities as a former human? I understand Shenoa does not have this perspective, though we function as peers now. For the sake of learning more and for experimenting with our observational and information gathering process, we decided to try separating. Shenoa will observe the activities in the cloud of light above us, and I will see if I can make contact with humans using their dreams.

I have never tried such a thing, but as I once was human and know what dreams generally are, which is something Shenoa experiences in a different way, I might as well see if this is a way to find out more about what the abducted human beings are experiencing.

First, I tried just lingering in various sleep chambers. Nothing. I tried getting really close to the sleeper. Still nothing. I tried imitating the sleeper’s posture, this might be closer. I tried simply meditating quietly and allowing my thoughts to wander. I got a noise from the sleeper, or rather from the body of the sleeper, but that might have been a coincidence. I kept trying to open my thoughts and keeping my intention quiet.

Some sleepers present more opportunities than others. Since my presence is not detectable as far as I can tell, I had lots of latitude for trying to reach more people. The younger ones just felt like the connection was possible. And some individual older sleepers. Generally the results were not very promising.

I kept trying. Then I found an individual, an older person who appeared to be receptive. I lay down next to them where they were sleeping and simply let go of my thoughts, my mind was blank, and I keyed in on the sleeper’s breathing. Time went by.

I let go of my intentions and allowed time to pass, I felt myself starting to learn to listen. My role in dreams might be entirely passive. I am unable to connect or communicate with any of these dreamers, but this one case appeared to start to open my abilities.

I wanted to find out more, but I know that intention, in psychic matters, can lead to the satisfaction of the intent rather than gathering any new ideas. I was busy teaching my mind to be quiet and I almost missed the first clue.

There was a sound, it must have been the voice of the dreamer. I was annoyed by it until I realized that this was my first good sign. I was not generating this new opening, I was learning to connect and to allow it to happen.

Here is a short excerpt of what I brought back from this experience. I am attempting to recreate what I received, there are lots of flaws, that is my feeling, most of the meaning was lost and the words here are captured delusional fragments, but now I am learning to tune in to their dreamers presence.

the skull to the aim
bound hand and and the
have for such technical and
he want to on the
toward and soon there came
from the blow of the
on his watched with interest
soaked in it would be
to on the he seemed
local other things will solve
fast as he found marcos
nearest to the nick led
the what they all crew
side of the he selected
new cup to hold a
and fell hard against the
the and nick carter heard
turned the boat with the
pulled it wide enough to
to do with the affairs
the low for an instant
hazardous living by exposing the
like a as that term
want me to is agreeable
are all explained in low
its next is your orders
his dry clothing and explaining
them the door of the
fire season in the national
his dry clothing and explaining
a box of of a
to interest myself in others
its next is your orders
it would be possible to
particular because i have been
crew are all explained in
and always suddenly a house
bound hand and and the
he want to on the
and leaning his strong chin
exposing the skull to the
garments are the kind you
regular from the look of
prisoner should not break it
i you returned will be
at its next is your
in muttered nick he does
aim of snipers at there
here have he after the
wound along the foot of
can i depend upon an
conceded does not seem at
orders will come through shall

Unfortunately, working with old people often leads to the same natural outcome, they die. In this case, even though I am indeed not alive, I am just as dead, I was not able to reconnect with my new dreaming partner after they passed on into the afterlife. They simply left me alone. I am alone again.

I decided to find Shenoa and see what was going on up in the sky in the clouds of light. The journey upwards was uncertain, but I was finally able to locate Shenoa and learn what was going on now among the particles of light and the floating sleeping humans.

Shenoa was watching the current population that we discovered, we do not know if there are other such groups up here, the particulate presence does not allow extensive vistas. Now there are ten floating humans in a coma state being held by the cloud of light.

At one time Shenoa was watching over 50 of these humans. The population has reduced to as few as seven of them, now there are eleven, a new arrival has just emerged. They seem to linger for as short a time as several hours, most of the ones here now have been present for the entire time we have been watching.

Now we are following one of the returning abducted humans, our questions now include whether any influences or changes have been made during this period of captivity? Where are they going to be returned to? Where did this process begin? Have there been any variances in the conditions of this capturing, holding and returning human specimens? What is the purpose of this intrusion into the terrestrial life forms? Have any creatures besides humans been taken?

When did this start? What are their future intentions?

The transition from sky to normal life continues to be amazing, the stolen person simply wakes up walking, it has to be in the wilderness because someone would see if this happened in the fortress. The returned corpus has no idea of what happened therefore is not alarmed, they simply sort of wake up and are walking, their life has no abrupt awareness. They appear to feel like they have been walking all along, and simply go home to their ordinary lives.

The fortress is humming with activity, there are expeditionary forces gathering, preparing to sweep the wilderness in increasing waves, thereby eliminating the remaining local population outside of the fortress. There is no resistance from the outside. The larger population has migrated further from the fortress simply to avoid the killing sweeps.

Each day the expeditionary forces gather and prepare, then they head out, clearing the land in wider and wider sweeps, each day going a bit further, and killing everyone they encounter. They find this to be their task, serving the safety of the fortress dwellers. For a time there was resistance, the hostile forces met no opposition, but any stragglers or small parties would be taken and revenge for lost family members extracted upon the forces of the fortress. Then there were none remaining in the wilderness nearby, the people simply grew tired of the killings and cleared the area and kept away from the fortress.

I shared what I had accomplished in my attempts to find a dream connection with the people, Shenoa was baffled as well. This appears to be a one-way process, I have not found a way to reach inside, I have found a way to determine something about what is inside. This might be a first step, or it might be all I can do.

the skull to the aim
bound hand and and the
have for such technical and
he want to on the
toward and soon there came

garments are the kind you
regular from the look of
prisoner should not break it
I you returned will be
at its next is your
in muttered nick he does

aim of snipers at there
here have he after the
wound along the foot of
can I depend upon an
conceded does not seem at
orders will come through shall

Who is Nick? Probably a familiar of the dreamer. Marco as well.

Skull is mentioned more than once. Does that mean death or does that mean the bone within? And snipers? These new humans have not re-invented firearms, so snipers must mean something besides marksmen.

Without the day story of the dreamer, these are only poetry, full of suggestion but no useful correlative facts. I find them pleasant to ponder and find no hidden meanings, just the puzzle of cultural context and possible interpretations, no urgent messages. Fragments of the life of the dreamer, only meaningful within, not without.

Shenoa finds these words to be much less interesting than I do, probably because I relate to the dream flow, and Shenoa’s past was outside of the society I inhabited when I was alive. Shenoa was cut off from her kind and lived alone, kept inside of my world, interacting for brief interludes often daily, but otherwise Shenoa was alone. That must have been difficult to adjust to. More likely this congenital condition seemed normal within Shenoa’s day to day life, and my social routines appeared incidental to Shenoa.

I am from human origins, so I understand implicitly the dream fragments I have captured, they portray a mood of ordinary bits of daily life, they are unaware of the observers from other places, the particles of light which are new now (or are they accustomed to this?) and Shenoa with myself, now deceased and observing the ways of these surviving and reformed progeny beings on Nova Earth. I just made that up. Nobody says Nova Earth, I want to say Nova Hearth. I like that better, so that remains. Nova Hearth.

Now we have a new perspective to explore, could these beings, the particles of light, be ancient visitors returned, and familiar with our ways on Nova Hearth?

We appear to be inert to both of these cultures, only observers as they proceed with their internal goals and processes.

The people are busy with struggles between the fortress culture and the outsiders, which pose no real threat to the fortress dwellers, but the fortress dwellers appear focused on conquest.

The particle beings of light in the sky appear to be interested in collecting individuals for varying times, successfully removing them and returning them without the awareness of the people dwelling in the world below. Why do they focus on the easy taking of the ones who dwell outside of the fortress? Perhaps the complexity of the fortress is too bothersome to accommodate.

If we assume the apparently random captive humans are being studied, that might lead us to a different conclusion than if the captives are being harvested somehow, something taken and then the subject returned to their natural place below, or programming introduced to accomplish a goal we have not deduced. Why are the clouds of light here now?

And why are we here? Are we intentional or accidental? Shenoa and I certainly have plenty to ponder. We invent our various assignments. Do we exist only to discover our possibilities for our destiny? Humans have always looked for their purpose, we simply exist and proceed from there. We are outside of the curtain of certain death which awaits the society of living humans and focuses their goals. Are the particles the same as individual beings or are they collective in nature and singular in that collective?

Shenoa and I continue to ponder and watch. What other options are there for us? We are not breeding, we are not struggling to evade the end, we are not called to travel and explore new worlds, we are gathering observations about our original world here on Nova Hearth.

I have decided to return to the place where the city once was, outside of the wilderness, where I once lived. All that remains are fragments and broken rubble, with some exertion there are tools and pieces of things that had been created and used in their daily lives. The people are all gone, and what appears are rough broken ruins.

What about the blind cave dwellers? They had some wanderers, but otherwise they had no need to extend beyond their cave. They had plenty. What remains there? With this question I will seek out that place, back into the wilderness in places Shenoa and I once inhabited but are distant from our present situation.

The old familiar cave is empty so far, we have not gotten deep inside. This was the place where we once were, we have found familiar chambers and fountains, places where the cooking fires once burned and the people once gathered. What might we find if we were to venture deeper into the darkness? It is silent. We leave it undisturbed.

We return to the sky. There are now over 100 floating captive humans, almost too many to count as they drift about. We linger and watch. We will follow the next one that is returned to the surface of Nova Hearth. I like that name for our planet Earth.

I will probably continue with my attempts to make contact using the dream state of the people, and Shenoa will continue with watching the floating captive humans high above.

That is our intention at this time.

Repeating my process, trial and error, identifying sleepers that present me with some kind of external signal or expression has not been successful. I continued by trying more older sleepers, then extremely young sleepers. Then random subjects as I came upon them. I went to the fortress and replicated my experimental investigation, with no significant results. I admit that the scant results I did acquire are confusing and inconsequential to our quest.

Shenoa has returned and suggests that we turn our collective explorations to the particulate cloud of light. I agree. The activity on Earth has settled into a pattern of aggression by the forces in the fortress and the caution of the individuals roaming the wilderness. The fortress exhibits patterns of more cohesive knowledge acquisition, but it is clouded by the whims of the surviving authoritative forces and their evolution in how they project their power. We ascend.

Now there are 14 floating human subjects, also clustered in the same positions. They exhibit the faces of dreamers, their motions are random and not connected to exterior circumstances. The rapid eye motion is consistent.

What if we could find the center of the cloud? Navigation is difficult, we can sense the presence of the floating humans, so this will require the two of us remaining in proximity to keep ourselves oriented. We work in a spiral, gradually increasing the range of our sweeping patterns. We are using the presence of the Nova Hearth as our main navigational strategy, and increasing our distance from the planet.

Will there be a greater density of particles? Will the sensation of illumination increase?

It was like passing through a forest and into a clearing. The key was adjusting our sense of scale, which was not so difficult to do. We focused on the area of transition and recognized a new landscape, which we entered into with wonder.

Never did we see any person or physical being, but we sensed welcome and were greeted with warmth. We detected a mutual love of wonder, understanding and exploration. We spent an extended time there, in mutual reflection and investigation, Shenoa had an immediate affinity with this place, and I was happy to share in the novelty of this strange new sense of location with someone familiar. I was glad to have another form of being to exchange observations and impressions with. A physical being. This place has different proportions and dynamics, I feel more like this is a formless expression of existence that does not allow for description in terms that physical elements need for clarification or find natural.

As time went by we reflected on our sense of place, we had many questions about what was going on with the cloud of light over Earth, but were not able to obtain any specific answers from our new circumstances here. Understanding does not always have to have specific answers, we have a feeling of resolution but still have issues with the circumstances in our original home. Our sense of time is different here, place demonstrates correlative objectives, motion is part of physical expression, this place operates on different principles.

We decided that this place better suits the name Nova Hearth, as our familiar planet Earth is a specific place, and this is a new sensation or new form of existential location. Earth has all the familiar expressions of physical forms and life, variations and elements that play a role in forming a sense of ecology and mutually beneficial interaction. Support and conflict, Earth has different dynamics than this new place, this oasis in the cloud of light.

One of my recent interests has been to develop a way to use dreams to reach human beings, and a new understanding came to me. It was so simple, only a matter of intention and attitude, learning how to ask the intended inquiry properly. This new technique came to me while I was reviewing our discoveries and projects in a form of dialog with the Nova Hearth welcoming presence. Singular and plural are irrelevant, we felt more that we were other and this place was constant and present. Our reviewing the past we have experienced is beneficial to understanding internally as well as presenting it to this new phenomenon.

Lots of time went by while we were “in” or “with” or “at” Nova Hearth, the calibration of chronology was irrelevant there. No seasons, no cycles of day and night, no nutritive requirements, we had much in common with our new place without physical atmospherics. We sensed no danger or any kind of physical challenges from our new circumstances, or mortality. No storms or calm, no changes. We continued to learn from each other, Shenoa and I, and felt the presence of the “other” here, compared to life on Earth or with humans.

Our conclusions were never fully confirmed by a sign from any presence in this new place, Nova Hearth is as good as any other term for it. The distant opening within the cloud of light. The concept of physical distance or location was not part of that situation. Using words to describe what we learned will continue to present a challenge I will gladly accept. Right now the only thing I want to say about this phenomenon is that we both, Shenoa and I, felt welcome and comfortable there, we had no needs or requirements either way. We experienced things that were unique to that place or state of being.

We returned to see what was going on back on Earth. We could have stayed longer, and we probably will return to this place. We continue to experience our curiosities and perspectives for learning. Nova Hearth offers peace and belonging, we feel a continuing connection with our past back on Earth. The answers we find at Nova Hearth are not calibrated to the original Earth.

To travel back we simply pointed our path the way we arrived from, and we were back on Earth. Things had changed muchly. The cloud of light has gone, there is no more strange presence that was illuminating the sky negating the natural night cycles. Day follows night in regular patterns as they always have, as they did before the cloud of light.

The wilderness was lost, there may be bits of green struggling to emerge from the constructions that surround the entire planet, except for the surface of the water. It appears as we begin our acquaintance that the forces of authority have prevailed and dominated the land. Agriculture is gone, completely eliminated and the dwellers derive nourishment from harvesting minerals and depend on the sea for vegetable matter. All of the surface of the land is capped with concrete, various structures emerge from the horizon, ranging from exhaust chimneys to antennas and surveillance structures. We theorize that the constant light drove the humans to create a shield, and that the departure of the constant light was not noticed.

As we proceeded with our returning tour, the presence of humans was overwhelming. Every bit of the visible dry land is covered with constructions, and the people flow like the ants of old once inhabited the underworld. Everyone is inside, secure within the shelter of the concrete and steel.

We wandered on the surface first. By appearance the place is empty of individual beings as far as the eye can see, underneath there are millions of people organized evidently according to region. There is no open wilderness anywhere we have seen so far this time. We wish to exhaust this premise and begin a wider survey.

Proceeding across the planet, we begin at the equator and make a careful study. The surface air is constantly hot, as is the territory there. The temperature prevents surface activity by humans, but there are robotics performing various maintenance tasks as well as towers evidently to allow observation for purposes of tourism and sightseeing on the surface of the Earth.

We are looking for signs of botanical life on the surface, there is no sign of traditional farming or tracts of open land in the form of wilderness. There are eruptions of accidental green plants, but they appear to be under attack by the maintenance facilities. What about mountains and deserts?

The deserts are mostly open, but barren. The mountains are all developed, there are no open areas. Instead there are structures supporting clear shields which allow for atmospheric control of pretty much every bit of the surface of the land. The more scenic vistas are now shielded and protected from atmospheric disturbances. There are horrendous winds above the surface of the planet, which makes air travel impossible. Instead there are advanced trains which do not use rails, they float in tubes, suspended by electromagnetism. This allows for speeds never before considered, and requires oversight by robotic systems to eliminate any possibility of collisions or other disasters.

The northern and southern hemispheres are symmetrical, development is pretty much equal above and below the equator, all the way to the polar regions. The Arctic and Antarctic areas are equipped for tourism with an emphasis on scientific research and awareness of the history of these barren regions. There are huge open areas surrounding the development at the very axis regions.

Physically, the surface of the planet is only open in the oceans, there are extreme temperature variations that would not permit human life. The winds are extremely destructive but the architecture has eliminated any risk from this.

The interior zones where human inhabitation thrives is our next area of study and observation. The volume of population has increased. There do not appear to be conflicting forces or regions, but there are conventions of public and private compartmentalization. Education has removed any sense of competition or domination of one group over another. There are physical expressions, instead of sports there are elaborate rituals of motion and precision. There is no problem with health based on pollution, obesity or bad habits.

The stasis of the population has been a goal and has developed into an aesthetic. The dietary requirements are not based on agriculture, instead there are mining and recovery programs extracting resources that were previously landfill disposal zones. Nourishment comes from chemistry instead of farming. The forms of epicurean expressions have flourished, and there are regional specialties and customs that are shared and celebrated, you can get the basic materials for creating nourishing meals readily everywhere.

My sleep studies commenced immediately. I started surveying sleep chambers, while Shenoa ventured into surveying regional conditions, wandering across the land. We would meet up with each other frequently to share observations. My first conclusion is that the level of stress has been reduced, and there are fewer troubled sleepers. Shenoa reports that the culture and practices are fairly uniform, everywhere, due to excellent communication and education systems. The concept of resistance and competition has radically changed the way people live. There is an emphasis on innovation and excellence, with physical culture as well as science and the arts. What is missing is literature and history. There is lots of emphasis on the moment, the past is irrelevant and not part of the way people think.

Our studies proceed for years, we are amazed at the way things have changed. We are not able to trace the way this has come about, the development has been shaped by practical improvements communicated instantaneously using the standard means of technologies, which continues to evolve. Literacy has shifted from codification and the use of phonetics to a form of hieroglyphics and visual symbols and photographic icons. Language arts have been evolved into a common medium, everyone can communicate universally.

Stasis has replaced innovation, there is an emphasis on efficiency rather than non-utilitarian decoration or elaborate expressions. Places that had been contaminated by pollution during earlier civilizations were a lasting danger and were identified and treated, the dangerous poisons were neutralized and new purposes were found for these materials. The practice of creating pollution and abandoning areas that contained poisonous elements was reversed. Many benefits resulted, and more land was brought into conventional uses. The influence of genetic poisons were mitigated, which allowed for a more consistent form of life to thrive.

Because the surface is ignored, the practices related to seasons and day-night cycles have been treated as an aesthetic anomaly. There is no awareness of the heavens above or the conquest of space travel. Nothing is suppressed overtly, the language does not include such issues. There is much emphasis on good health practices and evolving epicurean culture, as well as fashion and visual aesthetics, but no concept of traditions or history.

We sense a great sense of redirection, compared to the conditions before we left, with the fortress and the wilderness, or even the ways of the cities before that. Before that was a culture of competition and surveillance, with conflicting private forces that included a wider sense of place, person and culture. History was a key part of the identity of those people. Innovation was based on dominating and creating advantages for regional or economic communities. There were winners and losers.

The barrage of asteroids took the world by surprise, as there was no awareness of activities on the outside of the concrete shield that covered the land. After the shell was cracked in places there was a series of earthquakes. Ninety percent of all human life was lost in a ten minute barrage, followed by extended dangerous conditions where the shielded habitats had once prevailed. Once again everything changed, in the following years the harsh weather conditions eliminated much of the remaining human population, and the survivors lived in isolated pockets, learning to survive using resources that had been developed and accumulated for various purposes and conveniences.

In a relatively short period of time, and as certainly as the coming of spring once again, there were emerging botanical outgrowths. In less than ten years most of the surface of the Earth was green, the weather changed again, calming into a prosperous and supportive condition and a new equilibrium came about. Humans that tenaciously survived learned to exploit the benefits of plants as dietary resources. The wilderness returned and once again new forms of life emerged.

Shenoa and I witnessed the slow evolution of these creatures, some inhabitants of this planet we call Earth resemble humans, some resemble fish and birds and terrestrial furry types. We are powerless to influence these tedious and iterative attempts to survive, but we take great joy when their activities result in thriving new populations. The remnants of the past are meaningless to these new inhabitants, they assemble what they need to solve the problems they find at hand. They discover the rubble of the past and make their new plans on top of it with no thought about how it got there. They have new ideas, and they repeat failed old ideas, but sometimes they have new results. Those old philosophers were wrong when they suggested that repeating actions expecting new results is a sign of insanity.

Perhaps persistence itself is insanity. Here we go again. I roam the hallway. I find an empty room. There is a typewriter on the table.