by Bill Bowler
Chapter 5: Wandering Soul
When Thanatosius had struck the rocks, Straker’s soul felt a great release. The oppressive spiritual stench that had pervaded the monastery grounds, infecting every soul that chanced to come there, was lifted, dispersed, and the life-force of nature resumed its natural cycle.
Straker’s spirit hovered near his lifeless shell, which lay on the monastery grounds near the edge of the cliff. Hope was clinging to the body and sobbing uncontrollably. Sonya and von Holzing were trying to comfort her. Only Sonya seemed dimly aware, if aware at all, of the presence of a spirit in their midst.
Straker called out to them, reached out to touch them, but his energies were confined to the non-corporeal plane and he was unable to transmit to the lower physical levels. Hope’s aura was strong, and Sonya’s perhaps even stronger; but, at least for now, the portal had closed and Straker could not communicate, no matter how he tried to focus and connect to them.
When they buried Straker’s body and covered it with earth, a wall rose between the planes of existence and Straker felt the finality of his absolute isolation. He was between worlds, between levels of consciousness. It was time, at long last, to abandon the corporeal, to let go, to detach and dissolve into the ether, to rest at last with his ancestors.
But something held him in this intermediary plane. He was loathe to depart from the physical. Even disconnected as he was, he was still drawn to the rich life of the earth, sky and forest. Something held him, as if he had unfinished business.
And so he drifted between the levels, between Earth and Heaven but part of neither, alien to both. He drifted in proximity to his loved ones, staying near as they returned to New York, to their busy lives.
Sonya shone with a bright, piercing light. He could home in on her at any moment and von Holzing’s protective glow was always near her. Josey and Tricia sparkled with young love. Hope pierced the veil with a sharp, throbbing grief that never subsided. Her soul knew the agony of loss and clung desperately to what was gone. The waves of her grief that surged through the ether wracked Yanosh’s spirit beyond endurance.
Straker tried to communicate with Hope, to comfort her, to convey his undying love, but she received, it seemed, only part of the transmission, a weak, distant signal in the form of fond memories and vivid dreams.
The strongest communication Straker could establish was with Madame Sonya. When he coalesced around her, her recognition of his presence came back to him like an echo of his own cry. Sonya would even speak to him.
“I know you’re here, Yanosh,” she would say, seated in her parlor. For brief periods, when the portals opened, Straker would send her messages and answer questions through the Ouija board or mingle his essence with the mystic cloud that ever swirled within the crystal globe. As Sonya watched the drifting mist inside the Power Stone, a sense of contentment came over her. The cloud seemed to take the shape of wings, soaring in the heights.
“Poor Yanosh,” said Sonya quietly to herself and no one. “Everywhere yet nowhere. Attached to life, yet cut off from its source. Drawn to this world, yet dwelling in another, beyond the pale. Perhaps the globe can reveal what’s next in store?”
Sonya gazed deeply into the globe. The swirling cloud, translucent, iridescent in shimmering colors, thinned and parted. Sonya saw two sad eyes looking out at her. She recognized the steady gaze.
“I see you, Yanosh,” said Sonya. “We miss you. But don’t despair. The inevitable continues to unfold. It seems relentless, at times unfair, unjust, but it is the great leveler, the common denominator. We struggle in vain against the ceaseless tide. Better to ride it wherever it takes us, as we’ll end up in the same place nonetheless.”
Madame Sonya rose from the table, took her Ouija board from the shelf, and placed it next to the globe. She rested her hand on the planchette and emptied her conscious mind, the better to receive Yanosh’s signal from the other world. The planchette began to move.
“L - O - V - E.”
“Yes, Yanosh, that is the key that unlocks the door, the light that shows the path between the worlds, the power that subsumes all resistance. Let it fill your spirit and mine, and let us follow where it leads.”
* * *
Swirling in the endless gray of the netherworld, surrounded by faint shadows of shadows, aching and longing, Yanosh felt a weak pulse, a faint signal. It drew him like a beacon, like a magnet, and he sought it out.
It was a spark in the total darkness, a pulse of potential energy, of new life about to form. Yanosh was afraid to hope but not afraid to love. He focused on the point of light and sped through the ether to its source. In growing terror, Yanosh plummeted through the darkness, following the faint trace. Yanosh gave himself over, gave himself up to it, dissolved to nothingness, drowned himself in it, merged with it so he and it were not two but one, not separate, but the same...
Yanosh knew nothing, remembered nothing, understood nothing, and was capable of nothing. He was suspended in a warm ocean, floating free, dormant but living and growing, weak and helpless but gathering strength slowly. Through the dim, glowing veil, he felt murmuring shadows all around.
* * *
Josey and Tricia had just made love and were lying in bed in each other’s arms. Josey was drifting, eyes closed, relaxed and content. Tricia was alert, thinking and planning. Her mind and body were active. She felt different. Was she imagining it? Her body was telling her something had changed. It was just a whisper, but something new had entered the equation. Trish kissed Josey.
“That was wonderful.”
“Oh yeah,” Josey mumbled into the pillow.
“I have a good feeling inside.”
Jose lifted his head. “You think?..”
“That would be so great!” Josey sat up and hugged and kissed his wife again, full of hope and wonder.
* * *
Nine months later, in a delivery room at Mt. Sinai Medical Center on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Tricia was in the final stages of labor. She writhed in pain, another spasm wracked her body, she screamed and pushed, and, after these many exhausting hours, gave birth to her child.
The parents were overwhelmed with happiness and relief. The proud father, Josey, sat at her bedside as Trish nursed the newborn.
“Look at that little vampire,” said Josey as the baby wrestled with Trish’s nipple and sucked voraciously.
“He’s hungry,” said Trish.
During visiting hours, Madame Sonya and Professor von Holzing arrived with a young woman Josey and Trish had not met before. Sonya put a bouquet of wild roses into a vase on the table.
Josey stood up with a proud smile to greet their visitors.
“What a beautiful baby!” said Madame Sonya, rushing to Tricia’s bedside. “He has your nose and mouth, Tricia, but those little cheeks are Josey’s.”
The baby released the nipple, burped, and closed its eyes, going limp in its mother’s arms.
“Eat, sleep, and poop,” said von Holzing. “What a life!”
“Trish, Josey, this is Hope,” said Madame Sonya.
Josey shook Hope’s hand. “We’ve heard all about you and what happened to you and Yanosh.”
“I feel like I already know you, too,” said Tricia. “Sonya has told us everything.”
“She’s told me about you, as well,” said Hope. She turned to Josey. “I know what a good influence you were on Yanosh.”
“It’s the other way around,” said Josey. “Yanosh taught me never to give up. Never.”
“Can I hold the baby?” Sonya asked Trish.
“Sure,” said Tricia, beaming proudly.
Sonya took the newborn in her arms. As she held it, she sensed something familiar. It was a vague sensation, a weak impulse received deep within her subconscious.
“This one has an old soul,” said Madame Sonya. “It has travelled far and long. I can feel it.”
“Have you decided on a name yet?” asked Hope.
“We’ve been talking about it,” said Josey. “I’m pushing for Joseph Jr. but Trish has some other ideas. It’s up to her.”
“I’ve made up my mind,” said Trish quietly.
“Well, tell us, dear! Don’t keep us in suspense,” said Professor von Holzing.
“His name is Yanosh.”
The room fell silent.
At that moment, the infant stirred in Sonya’s arms and opened its eyes. Sonya looked into the innocent, angelic face and felt a bolt of electricity.
To be continued...
Copyright © 2008 by Bill Bowler