Courtesy of Sotheby’s © Frank Jeffrey Edson Smart “The Road”
Doeliana chose to have her daily blood bath in seclusion and isolation. Even Jonar and the High Priestess could wait. She recognized that someone was talking to her but still had no idea who or what it was. Pauline continued to reside inside Doeliana’s mind like a pinprick in this emanation’s consciousness; where she observed, experienced and absorbed all the sensations and imagery. By now, her memory banks and sensorial reactors (and inhibitors) continued to wage war within her.
Pauline had grown accustomed to feeling like a twin-soul inside other bodies but felt that she would never get used to the blood lust that pulsed from deep inside Doeliana’s belly. She continued to be dazzled by the interiors of this golden pyramid. The bathing room had bronzed walls and everything was dark and mysterious. There were many strange plants lined along the walls and the oval shaped pool in the center of this sumptuous room was deep, crystal blue, making Pauline feel like she was sinking into liquid lapis lazuli.
Four attendants – bald and dressed in blue lap laps – stood on either side, while Pauline let the controls switch over to Doeliana. She noticed how much this emanation enjoyed all senses being stimulated. A hush grew over her body and Pauline recognized the feeling of slipping into the trance that teleported her from world to world. This time, she didn’t want to leave – at least until she understood what was going on underneath the surface.
As she focused on retaining her consciousness, she noticed Doeliana fading away into the trance. When she began to float out of Doeliana’s body, she felt an initial rush of anxiety over being separated. When she saw her Oversoul hovering above the scene, her instincts kicked into overdrive. She darted directly to her Oversoul and pulled up only inches away from him.
This time he was appearing as a wisp – like a perpetual vapor flickering like quicksilver.
“I trust that you are gathering material for your evolution, Doelanda.”
“I keep forgetting my soul name. I barely remember my name back in Melbourne – which I assume is my true emanation, right?”
“Correct.” It said with a shivery voice. “Although all your emanations are true representations of your total soul. The only reason you think the life in 2016 Melbourne – in that particular ripple in the Universe – is the only true soul is due to your assumption that all the emanations have found a doorway to the parallel portals.”
“Oversoul – if that’s what I call you – why did I have to experience this emanation’s life? It was terrifying!”
The wispy, silver ribbon pulsed brilliantly for a few moments.
“Oversoul is fine, unless you find another name that feels right. As to this emanation, you needed to see different perspectives – especially those which disgust you or make you recoil in horror. We rarely allow ourselves to see that we too, have nefarious elements lurking in our subconscious. The question is, how did you really feel about even the most terrifying acts? Was there any time where you found yourself enjoying – even reveling in the experience?”
Pauline was feeling another wave of paranoia hit her. These ones were more difficult to deal with as they were linked to her fear of being a non-material entity – far removed from the emanation where she felt most comfortable. She knew in a theoretical sense that the life she’d left behind was a mild – maybe even boring level of experience. Why shouldn’t she grasp at the opportunity to grow in ways that most humans are not afforded?
“Doelanda, you should take heed. The longer you stay away from your current incarnation, the harder it is to get back. Always remember each initial entry point. If you make it back there within a twenty four hour Earth cycle, you will be able to go back to 2016 – or whatever time you happen to be in. Then you’ll have time between each emanation to reflect and absorb what you’ve experienced.”
“What happens if I can’t get back?” Pauline asked – feeling her soul trembling.
“You’ll be stuck in whatever reality and emanation at the time – no matter how terrifying. The automaton in your place will then start growing a soul of her own, which will make it even more difficult to return – unless you happen to find a way in the Prism.”
Before Pauline had a chance to ask another question, they noticed a misty white cloud lighting up the bubble in time – where they were conversing. When she looked down, she saw Doeliana getting out of the blue bath and being dried off by her attendants.
“She will be meeting with the High Priestess soon. She intends on exorcising you from her body. If they are successful, you could be lost in spirit form forever, without the possibility of ever being able to enter another body – anywhere – at any time.”
“What do I do?!” Pauline asked in a spiritual panic.
“Go back into the body. Gain control. Get her to board that same ship that you rode into the city. Once aboard, meditate on exactly how you felt and what you saw when you first awakened in this world. The ship is thought-guided – so it will take you back to the initial entry point. From there – you must focus on getting back to Melbourne.”
Pauline hated not having hands to wring or hair to twirl.
“Really? What if their guards chase me?”
“Doelanda – you have all that you need within reach. Your fingertips are almost touching it. Allow the memories of the attack on the Darbits to feed your resolve. I hope that you will succeed.”
When the silver wisp disappeared and she was catapulted back into Doeliana’s body, the inertia took a moment to work itself out. She heard Doeliana thinking aloud to herself.
“I’ve never felt an infection like this before. What if that Darbit possessed me? They have magical powers. They dabble in the Dark Arts. We all know it. I must demand that the Priestess performs this rite as soon as possible. I will not allow a demon to usurp me!”
Pauline felt like she had a gargantuan struggle ahead of her. Every time she tried to get a hold of Doeliana’s consciousness, she felt the wall slamming in front of her face. Every now and again, it was a wall of electricity – like trillions of bees stretched out in a blanket of searing pain. The only thing Pauline could think of, was to fantasize about the kill. The revulsion was a huge tidal wave to overcome.
The visions started off as little flickers across Doeliana’s mind. The taste of blood and the orgiastic feeding. The pleasure of total annihilation and slaking a deep thirst started blanketing her mind even more, until Pauline allowed for one final push, where she immersed herself in the memories of being lost in the flood of blood.
The desire in her loins matched the fire in her throat. She longed for the taste of the sweet liquor of life that pulsed so provocatively in the veins of others. In seconds she was not only marching on her way to the ship; Doeliana sent a telepathic message to her army of ravens. When she saw them swoop down on the ship her heart skipped a beat.
The pleasure of the memories was so intoxicating that she didn’t realize that they’d passed the initial entry point after several minutes of flying. Pauline suddenly remembered and had to force herself to now think only about the first impressions she’d had when she’d arrived in this emanation.
The zigzag sensations of being pulled from the pleasure of the hunt to the bizarre lovemaking with Jonar and the horror inflicted on the Darbits was preventing her from totally linking with the memories of her first impressions.
Once she realized that she was see-sawing around the initial entry point, it was too late. Another ship arrived overhead and several guards started boarding hers. The raven creatures shapeshifted again. In their winged humanoid state, they brutalized every guard that stepped down the ramp, but then – a dark, violet light penetrated the scene.
The hues alternated from deep purple to red to black and then gold. When a beautiful and powerful Priestess – followed by an attendant – boarded the ship, Pauline was dumbfounded. The ravens were immediately obliterated without a sound. Only scorched, black feathers wafted down slowly to the floor.
“Doeliana – I command you! Take hold of the interloper! She wishes to align and absorb your energies!”
Pauline heard her own voice breaking through and addressing the Priestess.
“No – that’s not true! I am Doeliana from another world. I am only here to learn and understand! I do not want to hurt her in any way!”
The Priestess held out her scepter, which had a bright red crystal set at the top. It pulsed and shot out billions of red rays of light. Pauline tried to keep a hold on the emanation to buy more time so she could get back to Melbourne. Then she blanked out.
It seemed like an eternity later when she found herself falling down a huge shaft of black light. Strange winds were blowing every which way, while the dull roar of a thousand oceans kept Pauline in a lulled state. She finally had a sense that she’d arrived somewhere, but the overwhelming desire to close her eyes and stay in her cocooned mind was preventing her from focusing on getting back to – where was it?
Then she heard a sound like a huge vacuum being released and she opened her eyes to see a welcoming sight. The late afternoon city streets of Melbourne, looking so much like the art of Australian artist Jeffrey Smart; who used light and darkness so skillfully. She’d loved how his art captured the dark skies and illuminated city streets in a way that made you feel like that time of day – late afternoon to twilight – was a magical part of the day, especially in the city.
As Pauline walked along, she slowly began to realize that she was in a painting – although the streets were familiar and the essence was strong – it was soon apparently clear that nothing was real. When she looked down at her body she saw that her clothing was navy blue but otherwise non-descript. She felt like a two-dimensional representation of her former self.
The body was strangely real and familiar, but only in the sense that she was a partial or separate layer which was like a sliver of a life. She was the depiction of it but alive nonetheless. Something about the shadows made her erogenous zones light up, although the concept of physical sex seemed out of the question.
It was more of a cerebral, surreal and dream-like impression of what was mostly idealized in her life. Strangely enough, when she approached the shadows, they continued to stretch out of her way so that she had to continue chasing them to keep up. It seemed that she was supposed to spend a little time in the darkly golden light bouncing off the walls.
When she looked out at the city, she saw different shop fronts – but they all sold books. When she started paying attention to the names on the windows and doors, she saw that they were all about her. One store was called, “Nightmares and Phobias” while another stated it was the “Cove of Sorrows”. Pauline walked past endless bookstores, completely lost as to which shop she should investigate.
Sporadically obsessed with the shadows, it took a while for her to finally settle on “Kindred Karma” – which was darkly lit even though it was perpetually late afternoon. The small bookstore was only lit from the golden light outside and Pauline wandered through and ran her fingers over several, beautifully bound books and journals.
Then she noticed movement in the back of the bookstore. In the shadows was a tall man with his arms loaded with books. When he moved into the light streaming in from the windows, there was something vaguely familiar about him. She felt instantly drawn to him, even though he was only a two dimensional representation of whoever he was in the “real world”.
“Can I help you with something?” He asked in a pleasant voice.
“I don’t know where I am or what I’m supposed to be doing here. You see, this isn’t my body.”
“Yes – we are all only symbolic images of a moment in time.”
“No, I mean – I’ve actually teleported – or time traveled from another place. I’ve entered this body to learn a lesson, although I thought that I was going back to Melbourne.”
“This is Melbourne.” He stated – still with a pleasant and non-threatening voice.
Feeling like she was talking to a caricature, she turned around and starting looking to see if anything stood out. The man put the books down and came up to her with one still in his hand. When he handed it to Pauline, she saw that it was about Jon Warbanks – her husband.
She took the dark green tome from his hands and found a bay window to sit in. When she started flipping through, she saw all the happy moments and landmarks between them through the years as well as some pictures she was not sure about. The man shrugged.
“We can never know one hundred percent about anyone, you know – but we can about ourselves.”
Meanwhile – back in Melbourne in 2016 – Jon and the Pauline’s automaton were out having dinner. They seemed to have a typically warm time together and had no issues with public displays of affection. Jon was decidedly amorous and continued praising her as they dined at the Spaghetti Tree.
“You know, these past few weeks have been heavenly. We’ve never been so in simpatico with each other.”
“Yes, it’s amazing.” The automaton answered – somewhat like a Stepford wife.
Jon had no idea that he was talking to a shell of his wife, operated by an unknown force while her soul bounced around from world to world across various time cycles – trying her hardest to get home. While she was trapped in the painting, learning more and more about her husband in a two dimensional realm, Jon was in reality with a puppet for a partner.
In the painting, Pauline was finishing the last page – head fat with new knowledge and deep compassion for her husband. When she was done, she laid the book down and looked up to see the man looking down at her.
“So, what do you think?”
“I loved it, of course. Now what?”
He laughed in a way that made her heart swell. In some sense – in the same way that she was a representation of herself – this man was an emanation of Jon. Without warning he sat down next to her and put his arms around her. It was so natural, in the partial shadow of the bookstore, to be canoodling with a sliver of someone she loved – full of understanding for the real man in her real life.
She was overwhelmed with love and a yearning need to feel him for real.
“Where was my initial entry point?” She finally asked.
“You’ll have to figure that out for yourself.”
“Firstly, I wasn’t there when you arrived so I don’t know. Secondly, the rules state that you are only responsible for yourself. You are in relation to but not dependent on the surroundings.”
Pauline suddenly remembered that she had to keep her time under twenty four hours if she wanted to keep her link to her real life strong.
“I have to leave. I can’t lose my life.”
“So, you have something to take to the Prism?”
“Pardon?” She asked – fearing the answer.
“Your Oversoul would’ve talked to you about it by now. The Prism is where every soul in every dimension and time feeds back their experiences, observations and dreams. Every act – creative or destructive – is recorded here. Some people call this realm the Akashic Records. The ironic thing about this realm is that, you can only visit this place if you’re moving on the Astral Plane.”
Pauline stared at him dumbly. She had no idea what he was talking about but wasn’t sure how or what to ask. He went on and on, making Pauline more impatient as she had to get back to the initial entry point.
“I’m sorry – Jon, Mr. whatever – I’m sorry but I have to go.”
“Okay, Jonas. Thank you.”
“Can I get a hug?”
Pauline could’ve laughed or cried at that moment, but when she fell into his arms, she felt warmly comforted – especially in a cerebral sense. Her mind was finally at ease.
When she walked out of the store, Jonas called out to her.
“You’ll see the Prism soon. Usually you only get to go there when you’re dead or in dire straits. Consider it as the heart of the universe – or maybe even the hive mind.”
Pauline was a little creeped out by the visions swimming around in her head. She didn’t want to be a cog in a machine. The thoughts of the ramifications of being like an ant repelled her. Soon she found herself near the section where she had arrived. She wandered back and forth as she searched for the right spot.
In the blink of an eye, she was sucked up into a vortex so powerful she thought her soul would be ripped to shreds. Then she opened her eyes and found herself to be in a kind of clear crystal honey comb. There were trillions of hexagram rooms which stretched out as far as the eye could see. Pauline was in such a room, with newspapers and magazine articles stacked neatly on a ledge sticking out from the wall.
All the articles were about Pauline and her life. Embarrassing, shameful, jubilant and terrifying events were reported on. Her stomach lurched and the tears flowed as she endured a crash course in how she was seen by the world. Then she was distracted by a large, manila envelope on the floor. When she opened it up she found a file with her details on the front.
It read: “Classified: Pauline Warbanks – Suspected Infiltrator of the Parallel Portals”. Then she saw the full name of her own emanation and status: “Doelanda 999 from Earth on the 5th Ring – Balancer”.
She wondered what that meant and when she looked inside she saw an updated account of all the emanations she’d possessed since her trip to the 1950’s. Someone was keeping track of her and she was considered to be a suspected infiltrator. Her Oversoul had told her how she was fortunate to have access – but there were never any warnings about using the portals.
She knew that she was in the Prism – that part had become obvious to her – but what was she doing there? Jonas had said that you only went to the Prism if you were dead or in dire straits. She hoped for the latter, but once again – the sensation of dropping into a trance took over her body. She did her best to focus on getting back home, but her fear of ending up back in the painting diverted her attention.
It was however – a totally different realm – and she wasn’t sure if it was good, bad or ugly. What she was sure about was the fact that she was under water – the sea – to be exact. She floated for a while as she tried to get her bearings, but it hadn’t dawned on her yet that she was breathing normally. When a swirl of bubbles surrounded her, she saw something whiz by and disappear into the distance.
As she twisted this way and that, more bubbles and shadows zipped around her. She then began to hear telepathic voices ebbing and flowing, like the messages were sent in waves.
“Come on, Doelara!”
“You’ll miss the ship!”
“Why is she stopping?”
The voices were all female – with a variety of high and low pitched – bubbly and whooshing around her ears. That’s when she looked up and saw the sun beating down on the clear surface. She also noticed waves curling and moving the sea onward. When she remembered that she was under water and breathing normally, she began to panic. Then she looked down.
A long fish tail was swishing underneath her. She didn’t realize that it was hers until she deliberately swished the tail and saw where her belly ended and the tail began. The scales were iridescent like metallic armor of all colors of the rainbow – like glistening peacock feathers. Her breasts were small and her long blonde hair wafted in the current.
Suddenly a hand shot out and grabbed her the wrist – dragging her along at great speed. She felt the strong tail instinctively propelling her forward as she tried to keep up with the stronger mermaid. In the distance, she could see the base of what appeared to be a Viking ship. The beautiful, brunette mermaid looked down at her with large, almond shaped eyes the color of fuschia.
“It’s about time you had your chance to twist a man!” She advised with glee.
It dawned on Pauline that she didn’t know how she’d find the initial entry point, but then the other mermaid pointed – their heads only a few feet under the surface. She looked up and saw two soldiers leaning against the side of the ship. They were both sporting long, blonde hair and Viking clothing.
“Doelara, you must make the first strike. The others are talking about you.”
Pauline found herself saying, “I don’t want to twist anyone against their will. Every living creature should have a say in their destiny!”
A red haired mermaid swam by them, grinning from ear to ear. Her emerald eyes shone in the combined, golden halo of the group of mermaids.
“I’m not waiting. You better get in quick, Doelara!”
She surged upwards and broke through the surface of the sea, calling out in an eerie siren song. The two soldiers looked over the edge and shouted excitedly. Three more men came to the edge and stared in astonishment. The red haired mermaid asked if they could come aboard their ship.
“Will you guarantee our safety?” She inquired.
They all looked at each other and were soon nodding. They reached down and one by one, lifted a mermaid out of the water. The raven haired mermaid dragged her up and passed her arm to one of the soldiers. Pauline saw the mixture of disbelief and the dawning of possibility in his lustful, blue eyes.
It was then that she began to scream.