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Beyond the Island

by John W. Steele

Chapter 20

Young Brian Mudd is proud of his ability to travel in the astral realms — until he encounters Lord Nagual, who prefers to be called “Max.” Brian becomes Max’s apprentice and finds him a harsh, even cruel master but nonetheless an effective instructor. Meanwhile, Brian is taken with Karen Frost, with whom he feels he has a karmic link. And Brian’s karma is trouble.

When we arrived at Karen’s townhouse, I opened the driver’s door for her.

“I’ve got to get one of these cars. They’re awesome,” she said.

We walked to the steps of her front porch, and I stopped cold. I wasn’t sure what to say, so I remained silent. Lord Nagual told me that most people think words are required to make things happen, but often words are a hindrance and disrupt the natural rhythm. He said that the most genuine and veracious moments occur without any intervention, and what is revealed in silence is always accurate, even if it’s a lie.

Karen reached out and gently took my hands. “I had a wonderful time. Thank you for a lovely evening.”

“So did I, Karen.”

We shared a long sustained look. I kissed her tenderly.

“We’ll have to do it again sometime,” she said.

I let out a heavy sigh. This should have been heaven but it was hell. “We’ll be closing the deal on Sky in a week or so. I’ve got a lot of work to do yet. Why don’t you come out to the lodge Sunday, and I’ll make us dinner?” I said.

“That’s a nice idea, Brian, but it’s my turn.”

“No, I insist, Karen. Under the circumstances, Sunday at the lodge works better for me. Please trust me on this. I promise: after that it will be your turn.”

“Well, I have to work Monday but that’s not a problem...”

I saw a pair of eyes staring through the bay widow, and I knew Sammy was watching us.

I wrapped my arms around Karen and kissed her passionately. She returned my embrace, and I felt her body shudder. She gently pushed me away. “I have to go. I’ll see you Sunday.”

“Good night, Karen. I’ll call you.” I turned abruptly and walked away.

On the way back to the lodge, she was all I could think about. I hated myself for my weakness. I was smitten by her, and there was no way out. Love is an emotional disease for which there is no cure. Karen was the person I’d been searching for all my life. But now that I’d found her, I cursed the day I was born. Fate had dealt me an impossible hand. I marveled that such cruelty existed.

I’d been allowed to glimpse a window of a dream everyone takes for granted. If not for selling out to Lord Nagual, my life might have been less broken and more complete. But I knew as well, without his influence I’d have never met Karen. I would never experience the fantasy I longed for.

A deep sense of disillusion fell over me. I pulled the Hummer to the shoulder of the road and laid my head on the steering wheel. Tears rolled down my cheeks, and I wept bitterly a long time. A wall of impossible borders I could not surmount surrounded my island. Some obstacles are impossible to overcome, and I deeply lamented having succumbed to the terrible curse of becoming.

Proceed to Chapter 21...

Copyright © 2009 by John W. Steele

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