J S KHAN - Fictions
J S Khan // Footnotes on the Edge of the Universe
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REPORTS FROM ATLANTIS

Reports From Atlantis by J S Khan. Fiction. First published // elimae summer 2011

 

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Originally to be published exclusively alongside other material recounting her alleged astral journeys (The Ecstatic Divagations of Lady Voluptua, Phaëton's Chariot Press, $24), these excerpts from the Spanish heiress's manuscripts were rushed into print after her tragic and, as yet, unresolved death. For those who disdain to follow the tabloids, who live with heads stretched deep in holes while we keep ours firmly planted in the cultural quicksand, this brief history should suffice as a background for the rather bizarre but haunted account which follows. 

Voluptua de la Luna Galvón, née Maria Galvón, was the mistress of Raul Diego, legendary marine explorer, author, and star of the multi-award winning documentary series El Mundo Secreto: Bajo del Mar. Diego not only advanced echolocation technology for communicating with sperm whales, but also discovered hundreds of species of coral polyps and fishes living in the Great Barrier Reef. Portrayed by his agent as an exceptionally kindhearted man, Diego nonetheless scandalized his family five years ago when he wrecked his sailboat during a thunderstorm near the Pillars of Hercules  with Galvón the sole surviving passenger and witness. Not only was their affair exposed for the first time, but to make the situation even more sordid, only three days prior to their ill-starred voyage Diego named his lover the executrix of his last will and testament, leaving everything he owned to her instead of his wife and three children. 

Best known for her roles in low-budget horror and fantasy films (most notably the cult classic El Canto de las Sirenas, 1993), Galvón baffled everyone by developing an overwhelming obsession with the occult, staging week-long séances in Diego's old mansion in Grenada and holding massive fasts where hundreds sat around tables decorated with lavish but empty crockery. Calling a press conference, she claimed to have developed "el poder prodigioso de clarividencia astral" and changed her name publically to "Lady Voluptua." 

Seeming well on her way to becoming just another harmless (though painfully extravagant) nut, Galvón became the object of media attention again when the Diego family's long drawn-out case over the inheritance produced evidence possibly implicating her in her former lover's death. When police went to question her, however, they found she'd disappeared. Signs of a violent entry were evident in her mansion  broken doors, smashed locks  while upstairs a beribboned but frazzled Pekingese yapped in serious need of consolation. Thus began a search by authorities which culminated two weeks later with the discovery of Galvón's corpse floating down the Aragón River. Was it a coincidence her death mirrored Diego's, or did this symmetry suggest something else  a restless conscience perhaps  or something far more sinister? Although the coroners found signs of a struggle evident on her drowned person, the autopsy was unable to reveal whether the cause of death was murder or suicide. So the case involving Diego's legacy was brought to a standstill again. 

Until now. 

What follows is a literal translation from the Spanish provided by Galvón's disciples, who claim their kidnapped prophetess sent this testimony via standard mail on the morning of her death  no astral readings or beyond-the-grave-encounters here, unfortunately. While the text has been confirmed to be in Galvón's handwriting, it is uncertain what to make of the document's actual contents. Galvónites believe the testimony provides a literal account of their spiritual leader's final days on earth, but even supposing she did write this journal during her absence (the material is not dated), what sort of evidence it provides must be left to the individual's discretion. 

Despite continued litigation, the Diego fortune remains in the grasp of the late Lady Voluptua's mysterious archons.

* * *

Enzo came by this afternoon, that unique gentleman, and being too unique, how trivial. He came by in his electric-blue suit and without sitting began making demands. Enzo always makes demands, speaking slowly, quietly, leering in his detached, calculated fashion. He always pretends to be stupid. To be honest, Enzo is no gentleman  though he can be very stupid without pretending to be sometimes. He is one of those men you often meet who are intelligent enough to know what they should be doing  they talk of it incessantly  they just never do it. The problem with these men, these Enzos, is they are show-offs. Enzo is lazy. 

He says, We were supposed to get married, you and I. You abandoned me and stole our money, you selfish bitch.

I say, I never abandoned you, I ran away from you. You are crazy. And the money belongs to me, remember? My flock is forging the mental elasticity necessary to accelerate the next breakthrough in religious technology. Now get off my property before my servants throw you out! 

Jesus Christ isn't landing in his spaceship to take you to Venus anytime soon, baby, Enzo sneers. 

Left alone, I retreat into my backyard near the pool, where even my followers are not allowed to disturb me, and sit cross-legged in my hammock while preparing for the night's sojourn. Just trying to calm down, watching the moonlight ripple atop the waves. Little Samba sits in my lap and wags her tail, licking my neck as the wind blows through my hair. I hear the trees hiss, see their auras sprout above their branches, their black hearts. My clairvoyance grows more powerful by the day; my mind, though calm, rattles like silverware set out in an earthquake. The stars swarm, thrum like telephone wires with their cosmic energy flowing. I finish my last cigarette as the sun snuffs itself out against the horizon. 

During these last few minutes before liftoff  when the violet ray of my third eye opens and my Inner-I hurtles loose from both the physical and etheric planes, into sheer astral turf  things get a little strange. It's definitely the most jarring moment for me. The turbulence induces nausea, the physical equivalent of despair. But escaping time and space, my soul glides above the various stages of existence, existence that stretches below me in the form of a chromatic scale twining in an endless double helix. I splash happy roulades across this metaphysical piano, in concord with eternity's wavelength. For those who have never experienced such freedom and delight, the notes change place but forever maintain the same pattern. The melody is never intelligently designed, though a designed intelligence emerges with every finished blueprint. Curious, is it not? Our lives fall in beat, playing dissonant chords in a complex harmony. 

With a final splash on the keys, my Inner-I descends on the shores of Atlantis, the beach awash with pink and orange sand, the glaciers in the distance roaring with a torrential rush of foam.

------

The footbridges are the first things I always see when I arrive in Atlantis, twining high over the city and pulsing in and out of physical existence, all hanging between the buildings like pearls strung in a bright night. Drawing closer, I can make out the fiery chariots of the gods docked along pisciform airships in the harbor, their membranous wings like dorsal fins and propellers like catfish whiskers. Then the emerald porticoes clear as glass washed by the ocean but overgrown with vines and the massive pillars inscribed with geometric shapes holding up balconies as big as aircraft carriers, and the domed obelisks at the city's four corners that in the mercurial fog rise up like elegant beacons to some alien genius. The bridges twinkle with freefloating lanterns which are not lanterns but stars, stars which have yet to rise higher into the incorruptible regions. They do not set fire to Atlantis' highways as one might think since the dense mist absorbs their heat, making of the city something of a steambath for the gods. 

Enormous phantoms swarm along the promenade, across the bridges in dark pulpous clouds of wet murmuring. Does that make sense? The moist breath of condensing intellect. Such pithy beings. Progenitors of the human race. Listening to their cool whispering, I let their mist soak my soul in like a sponge. The earth is still wrapped in this ubiquitous vapor like an infant in its cherished blanket, a fog which does not disperse since rain and snow have yet to fall. This will change with the Great Flood, which will sink Atlantis at last. 

But for now, at least, the city still rises above the sea in all its melancholic splendor.

------

I suppose I have known for some time that the moment would come when I would have to write of my expeditions to Atlantis. Although I had not perceived the moment directly, the necessity of its coming was apparent in a countless array of other visions. My journeys occur more frequently these days, though they are stretched out further in time, sometimes millennia. This confuses things. As time passes in our epoch, in Atlantis it passes at an accelerated rate. Anyone who has ever complained of jet lag, try imagining astral lag! I marvel the term has never been coined by mediums before. But then, evidence of charlatans abounds. 

Enzo, a petty minion of darkness, a wicked little Pontius Pilate of the spirit, has set for me a trap in which it was my destiny to be ensnared. Like most Black Sages, Enzo resorts to the old master-slave dynamic. Power and domination. Brute force, manipulation. And so I write this record in order that my final incarnation be not in vain. 

It is an actual fact I can see through reality, perceive the spirit in its shell. The soul's cracked nut. Hard to swallow, I know, but I can see through physical atoms, into the real, indivisible atoms of which physicists only dream: the celestial form where spirit inhabits matter. Fire a tetrahedron, air an octahedron, dirt a delightful cube. Et cetera. 

Enzo mocks my descriptions of the Spirit Realm while demanding more. Almost begging. He would rather hear about these things than about my romance with Manu, for instance  of which he is murderously jealous. He is jealous of my access to the Spirit Realm too, but in another way altogether. Reverse subjects. I try to explain the eternal forms but it is impossible to capture in words such concepts in their crystal spray, frozen but forever flowing, glowing as they grow more refined. The Logos in the shell of the earth's tabernacle. A vision constantly revised, replenished with a surprisingly incestuous vigor by the Vortex Engine. Verily, verily, so be it. 

The Platonic Supermarket, Enzo sneers, kicking a hole in the hotel wall. Now tell me, mi chiquita, when is Julius Caesar going to be reincarnated to lead a single world government run on atomic energy alone? 

Since abducting me, Enzo transports me from hotel to hotel in a rental car, keeping a gun loaded in the front of his trousers beneath a bright purple sweater the same color as his lips. Rather than lose heart, I write these words in a little black book I keep in my purse. Enzo has yet to take it, still pretending to be a gentleman. Who does he think he is fooling? After each interrogation, he locks me in the bathroom at the different hotels where we stay, getting drunk and mumbling curses and rearranging the furniture to agitate the maids. I lie in the empty bathtub and try not to listen as the bedside tables are turned upside down and their varnished surfaces scratch across the floor.

Whenever I can, I escape to Atlantis.

------

I suppose I should explain just how I am able to fling my spirit into the astral regions, as well as forward and backward in time, plus the physical mechanics of all this. Suffice to say, when I was a young girl in the countryside outside Seville, my parents, poor as they were, kept a gardener, an old man whose first language was Basque, so whenever he talked in Spanish it was in a muffled, slightly stunned voice. Now this gardener was a secret Master who initiated me into the sacred rites, helping me awaken my clairvoyance with spirits of a simpler nature — that is, with plants. The reason our garden was the envy of our neighborhood was because this man, this dignified, simple soul, could perceive the different flowers' auras and knew how to nourish and enrich them just as he did the soil below. Just as he did a young girl's heart. 

Now Enzo was this gardener's son, but a bad seed, one who refused to dedicate himself to the hard work necessary to attaining higher seership, which is harder to learn than, say, calculus in a foreign language. But I was a quick study and readily absorbed his father's wisdom. 

Many mediums travel in the same way, weaving in and out of the Spirit Realm, and it is a proven fact that we all experience such journeys in our sleep, only most of us do so unaware, mired in unconsciousness as we are. The ignorant element in us all can be very clever in maintaining a state of spiritual squalor. Consider Enzo, who will never be a clairvoyant, and at best a simple voyeur. 

Recently, before Enzo kidnapped me, my excursions to Atlantis altered radically, and it is this aspect of my journeys which will be hardest for other mediums to understand. My Inner-I began to take on more than astral and even etheric dimensions. At first, like others, I was nothing but an unspoken Word, but then I noticed I was a ray of light, a photon of energy. Then, one fatal night in Pangaea, I slipped through a hole in the sky while being chased by apish daemons and fell as a school of fish on the docks outside Atlantis. As physical flesh. Some primeval species  I cannot identify them properly as no fossil record has yet been discovered in our time. I can report with certainty, however, that these nautiloids possessed long snouts, tiny razor-sharp teeth, and uncomfortable fingerstubs squirming in their fins. 

Thankfully, a certain Atlantean saved me, still terrified from the chase, as I flopped on the docks. My benefactor was a recently formed entity that called itself Manu and who gathered my fractured self together  still split among the different fish, encased in scales and an embarrassing mucoslime  and placed me in the water where I could breathe again. Manu conversed with me through telepathy, via our shared psychic slime, amazed at my existence and descriptions of the future. 

Since this time, I have mastered the ability to control and even form my own homunculus to inhabit during my sojourns in the ancient city  especially during the long walks I take with Manu along the bridges high above the crystal skyscrapers on the acropolis. I do not pretend to understand this ability as I do my more modest skills, but I urge biophysicists to unravel their string theories and begin viewing everything as a self-contained whole again. Why should such singularities frighten us? The jack-in-the-box never pops out, content as he is to juggle merrily in the darkness alone. My personal daemon tells me a quantum leap in this field is just around the corner, setting in motion the next phase of our spiritual evolution.

------

Despite the beauty of Atlantis itself, I must confess the city's inhabitants frightened me on first glance  both in their physical and etheric forms. Over a dozen feet tall, their bodies were still very gelatinous, their skin translucent, and their bones soft as clay. Still evolving set physical forms, most were essentially androgynous. While enjoying the warmth of stars melting the nearby glaciers, most would burst at the seams, spilling a radiant goo all over the bridges. At first these sudden explosions disconcerted me, but I realized it simply took a great deal of willpower for the Atlanteans to hold their physical selves together. As their knees had not yet developed, they also walked forward and backward without preference, and their third eye was located on the back of their heads, making this prefiguration quite convenient. Their etheric bodies had only recently developed too and most still had ectoplasmic tatters that fluttered from their heads like jellyfish or Franklin's electric kite still crackling with heaven's stolen fire. The Atlanteans had not yet learned to keep their souls in their heads, you see, and would not for another two thousand years. 

Manu was like these others when I first met him, but after I visited with him several times he begged me to help him secure a less pliable physique. By then we were already intimate, but still I was greatly conflicted, and as I drew in the pink sand the rudimentary form of a man  quickly washed away by the purple foam  I asked him to reconsider. Why take on flesh when it entraps the soul? Why not cut the etheric cord and float free altogether? 

Manu answered: In order for the spirit to evolve, it is necessary it proceed through long eras of materiality. Periods of flesh tempered through storms of desire. 

I acquiesced, and with shaky hands carved in electrostatic rhythms a body for Manu to inhabit. I put his ribcage in order and coagulated his arteries. I suppose I am to blame for the rather ludicrous design of the human aorta often commented on by biologists, the way it winds like some clown's balloon up through the heart and then down to pump blood to the lower part of the body. But what matters of the heart aren't difficult, even lugubrious? Manu had trouble making his bloodflow liquid too and managed nothing at first but a yellow gas that tickled his veins and caused him to burst in dollops of bioluminescent gunk all over the beach. 

Cell by cell, we began again, and while such work made for little excitement, as I gave Manu's head and heart the final proportions, a maternal instinct stirred inside me. As a lover, I confess I like it quick, messy, and rough. Quick as in without dithering or prolonged courtship; messy as in without attempts to dress the affair in false ideals; rough as in without prior planning. Such was my love for my childhood teacher Gustavo and also Raul  although mixed in with my love for Manu is this added motherly element. For the first time since Raul's murder, I have experienced all love's bitter joys as well as love's ecstatic horrors.

------

For a Black Sage, Enzo sure watches a lot of television. When we stop at various hotels he especially enjoys watching the twenty-four hour news channels since they ceaselessly speculate on my disappearance and the police hunt. He laughs as reporters roll their eyes and mock my "bogus hocus pocus." He especially relishes the fact that the police have mixed me up in his crimes. When I saw Manu last night, I confessed my waning spirit, telling him how Enzo mocked me. I was nearly in tears and felt hysterical. On the verge of madness? Suicidal? I wanted to fling my atoms across the cosmos, become one purified thought of the universe. 

Hold me tight, Manu said, This is what always happens when the spirit grows too strong in an individual, my Lady Voluptua. You have entered the Jubilation of Terrors. Now you must suffer the blasphemy of everything you hold sacred. 

I know these things already, of course, but still it is nice to be comforted by someone who understands. 

Another name for the spiritual stage Manu does not know is this: the Crowning of Thorns.

------

There are no temples in Atlantis since the citizens of the city still walk among the gods. Because of this, no distinction yet exist between the arts and the sciences. There is no police or military force because Atlanteans have yet to evolve the concept of absolute materiality, let alone property or organized warfare. No businesses have been established either  though the first schools will be formed in the next millennia by various sophists and magi. There are "libraries" though, and Atlanteans enter these imposing institutions to recite myths they themselves have never heard, that is, they make them up on the spot. Everyone is astonished by the simplicity of this act in comparison to the complexity of emotions evoked. The only self-identifying sect in Atlantis is that which guards these libraries, the Librarians, who convene to name things and create an earthly alphabet in which to contain the eternal forms. It is impossible. Bickering ensues. Manu is one of these Librarians and works hard to distill essences without damaging them, though it is as hopeless as capturing snowflakes in one's warm palm without destroying them. The first primitive etchings are sparked across the library's stone walls, and hieroglyphs are discovered in the shapes along the horizon where sunlight curls off the smoking sea. On the library's walls, the first epics are composed, the first games that glorify danger, the life imperiled by perpetual death. 

The Atlantean spirit evolves through storytelling, what stories are told and in what fashion.

------

How much time is left is unforeseeable, but the circle closes, that much I can say. Enzo has taken me to a cabin in the north, exactly where I do not know. Is this his father's cabin? The time exchange is not exact. My travels between our epoch and Atlantis' have grown dizzying even for me. It is like switching currency between two countries with unstable markets. A thousand years a day, sometimes more. Things change irrevocably, but time unveils all things only to veil them again. 

I am kept in a small room, with a children's bed and desk. Enzo hates that I am able to escape him even though he has captured me in the flesh. When I return from Atlantis, I find him hovering above me and demanding as always I teach him the ability to travel as a medium. But if he would not listen to his father, why would he ever listen to me? He just has the wrong attitude. The life esoteric is simply too time-consuming and requires the moral purification of body, soul, and spirit, as well as the cultivation of an unconditional selfless love. Enzo sneers at this. He is always sneering. This is precisely his problem. He thinks I know some secret to get around the hard work, a simple prayer or magic formula. Pure sorcery is simply beyond him, which is why he resorts to cheap tricks, spells which give an immediate effect but ultimately damage the universe  like his conjuring of the storm that sunk the Elijah. And yet, despite the fact he murdered Raul after hijacking our sailboat  and despite the fact he currently attempts to hijack my mind  still he does not abuse me physically, though yesterday he did threaten to hit me with a George Foreman grill. 

Pop you in the chops like the champ, he said. Make you remember what it was like to be Joan of Arc, yeah? 

As if I was ever Joan of Arc, although I was indeed Lady Jane of Grey! See how well Enzo listens? How abominably unique! How utterly trivial! 

Or is he still pretending to be stupider than he really is? 

There is a pack of manila envelopes in the desk as well as some old stamps, faded red and featuring the Virgin's portrait. I hide the journal under the mattress and wonder if I might be able to send it out in the mail one morning as Enzo lies sleeping. Who knows? I am running out of time  and there is so much left to explain! 

I could try to run, but where? And who can hide from their karmic destiny?

------

Since I first fashioned a body for Manu, he has been teaching the other Atlanteans how to corporate themselves as well, but as they have become more physical they have lost vast amounts of their spiritual power. In our earlier bouts of lovemaking, Manu and I used to project our astral bodies through the naked cosmos, chasing one another into the Helix Nebula in Aquarius and straight into the Vortex Engine's core. We frolicked in the ejaculant spay of souls frothing over the universe and kissed the shores of heaven before descending again in new, transmogrified forms to the earth in an exhausted, rapturous swoon. 

Now, however, Manu and his followers no longer project their astral bodies through time  though they still travel through the physical planes in their etheric forms. But this ability too fades and soon will exist only in a few descendants. A rare and vestigial trait. Pineal glands shrink and charyas solidify. Bones and cartilage harden. Their skin grows less translucent. While still capable of remolding their bodies, to do so now pains them beyond all durable limits. 

Manu and I spend all our time these days in his highrise apartment, in a room overlooking the footbridges. Further in the distance, the glaciers' never-ending roar grows monstrous, almost deafening. Sometimes, when we get restless, we row through the canals at Atlantis' lowest level and explore the gardens and the slime-trails left by the flesh-eating millipedes which have infested the city's alleyways. No one knows where these disgusting creatures came from, but they are causing serious damage to the city's infrastructure. 

I told Manu this morning how I am upset by the changes he and Atlantis have undergone, as well as the fact our relationship has grown too physical, our lovemaking almost mechanical. What has happened to our emotional charge? Our spiritual adoration of each other? He tells me I must be more rational. 

Evolution is inherent in the universe, he says. Who was it that taught me desire anyway? 

Manu is right, of course  I am being selfish.

------

Atlantean politics develop in a fashion not dissimilar from our own. There are two dominant parties. One, the conservative faction, wishes all Atlanteans would return to a purely spiritual state. Like all conservative parties, they fight a losing but ferocious battle. The liberal party, on the other hand, wishes to evolve into physical beings alone, delighted by the joys of materialism, the rigors of scientific thinking, but like many progressive parties, they desire change too quickly and often enough can be dangerous. One sees the parties arguing on the steps of the Library after readings, primitive Pharisee and Sadducee. Ideology does not yet wear a mask. Power is still the motif and the earth a concept to be dissected. Who will brainstorm the most brainchildren? 

Manu is a moderate, as are most sane, rational Atlanteans, and holds to no extreme dogma or political creed. He more than anyone understands how spirit and matter must remain united, and from our astral voyages understands time is a ring, not a stasis or straight line. He and his followers will go on to propagate all future civilizations. This is my prophecy. The conservative party will be marginalized, evolving into minor spirits such as imps, leprechauns, and fairies. They will have little effect on the development of man's future spirit, though they will occasionally act as the proverbial gadfly. Conversely, Atlantean futurists will devolve into dimwitted giants and from giants into apes.

------

Enzo at last realizes I will not help him or his masters. He grows furious and loses his cool, becoming desperate. He claims to love me, to hate me, to adore me, to want to destroy me. All these things are undoubtedly true. 

Why do you think I sabotaged the sails? he snarls. We were supposed to use the money to build a future together! But you waste it on entertaining a celebrity fan club! My poor father must be turning in his grave! 

I remind Enzo that his father was cremated, but add that I suspect he knows more about his actual death than I have yet been able to uncover. 

Enzo raises his hand and I flinch. He does not strike me, however, but smiles and scratches his nose. 

I am beginning to feel as if an incredible weight presses on my shoulders, as if I were walking a vast distance with an unbearable burden. I fear some staggering breakdown but must be strong, I must. My last visit to Atlantis was unsettling. The glaciers thunder and avalanches crash like old brittle boughs in a decomposing forest. The Atlanteans have formed their first government in response to the massive insects infesting the city, a monarchy led by Morya, a female Librarian who will be reincarnated as King Solomon. As Manu and his disciples grow more numerous, she threatens to ban them on the grounds that they unbalance Atlantis' dual party system. 

I fear I am about to lose you, Voluptua, he says to me often now. Poor Manu! From my perspective, only hours separate the years we spend together, but he must endure centuries of longing while I am away. He is now very, very old, and in his eyes I see something I have never seen there before: doubt. I would tell him to keep the faith but faith as a religious technology has not yet been invented. 

My world too is eroding, I say, putting my hands against his cheeks. Do not despair, Manu! 

I will not, he says. For I see your strength in bearing the gods' anger on your shoulders, the Divine Mystery of the Vortex Engine. 

I wake, finding myself locked in my little room again. There is a scraping outside my window. Enzo, who else? I watch him through the slit blinds and wonder if there is still something else I can do. There is not. Enzo has been busy sanding an old rowboat in the grass, patching up holes in its side. Holes, strangely enough, he himself will tear asunder again.

------

I have just returned from Atlantis for what I fear is the last time, although Manu and I shall still see each other in various eras, in various forms. That is how it always is with lovers and teachers. In his future and my recent past, Manu was reincarnated as a particularly clumsy gardener as well as a certain intrepid explorer of the ocean floor. Did Gustavo not sing to the flowers? Did Raul not cry with the whales? And why should such things not happen again? But I will not dilute my final testimony with such circumnavigated truths. My followers may reveal more in due time. 

Manu ordered the building of many ships, and all lined the Atlantean harbor. How different his disciples looked! How mournful! No longer bearing their former physical elasticity, they possessed flat faces, goldbrown skin, hairy rolls of flesh where their foreheads were developing. Their souls and spirits were finally crammed in their skulls as well and caused them no slight discomfort. Several squinted their eyes constantly. All grimaced. A few would not stop crying. 

Manu and I held each other on the docks where we first met, neither wanting to let go. The mist was rising, and for the first time the earth looked naked. The glaciers' roar was deafening and the millipedes with their venomous jaws had grown colossal, over six meters long. They slithered up the sides of the crumbling porticoes and rotting terraces and hissed across the bridges. Thunder broke and frightened the plesiosaurs yoked to the ships that would pull Manu and his followers east, to the land they will eventually call home. In one of the arks a gold tabernacle had been wrought and inside my descriptions of the future had been placed: their Covenant. The kind, dignified plesiosaurs craned their necks and splashed their flippers as thunder rumbled above. Their giant eyes glowed with fear in the lightning's glare. 

The cries of Manu's disciples finally pulled us apart. When they did, Manu surprised me by saying: 

You know, Lady Voluptua, some of my men believe you are to blame for all this. For having taught us to live so fully in the flesh. They have other names for you besides the one I gave you. 

What are they? I asked. 

Sophia, he said. But others call you Lilith.

------

Hovering in astral form over the cosmos as I return to my physical body, I look down on the earth forming below, the Logos still formulating, still working out its grand concept. A masterpiece still definitely in the making. Mountains rear tangled to bite the sky like accidental dentals athwart, and the sky is bloodred like the skin of a bruised peach. In the east, Pangaea shatters to pieces. 

Do not despair, for Manu did not despair. This is my final message. Persist. Change is difficult but inevitable, and even if progress is an illusion  and time spins around only to embrace itself  it is not so much a vicious cycle as one unknowable at its core. We cannot step in the same river twice because we never quite step out of it. The lives and concepts we give shape to are not wasted, but replenished, renewed  an eternal Christmas tree, praise be the Vortex Engine. There is progress beyond progress. Persist. What we need now are fresh modes of thought, new ideas to inhabit  even if they still carry like Noah's ark the seeds of an older vision. The same stories revitalized again. 

And so tomorrow I shall prepare for us a New Golgotha.

 
 

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