Cell Walker’s Dream

Cell Walker’s Dream

Copyright Anthony Michael Hawkins 2020

According to the Emulsions of Mimb, who resemble Kurt Vonnegut’s inhabitants of Tralfamadore in that they exist simultaneously throughout the whole of time, the following book, Cell Walker’s Dream, contains the key not only to human survival but thrival. It is designed for the interzone between the conscious and the unconscious. It is very like a dream and it is based on dreams so it is simultaneously nonsensical and universally true. If you are one of those destined not only to read it but to be rendered ecstatically happy as a consequence, congratulations on reaching this part in our epic journey.

CELL WALKER’S DREAM

by

Anthony Hawkins and Maisy Warlock

Part 1

Maisy Ius Mahadevi

In the life of evolving worlds there must come an end to stories when they have all transformed into legend. Christ is a typical legend offering an account of everything. But it is not like the legend that everything would make of itself. It goes beyond an extinctive story of men to include life enhancing women, and trees and stones and plasma, and beings no one has imagined. It is about the intelligence of the nose and the wisdom of bodies. It is about a man who never was though the whole world knew of him, some of us intimately. They say the name of the legend is Cell Walker’s Dream and that, merely by existing, it will save the world from destruction, which is why we agreed to write it. Whether or not this is the Cell Walker’s Dream we cannot say but given all we went through to create it we think it must be at least the true beginning. We apologise for any perceived insufficiencies due to our proclivities but if we were not the creatures we are we would never have been where we were when the fish came.

And you are the same.

Be proud that the universe took the trouble to write it for you.

 

1

Love goes very deep. In us it is a drive but in the world it is a condition. How is matter sustained through endless aeons? Through unconsciousness, like a patient etherised? Or through some nuclear kind of love, as from a timeless spirit, a singular acclamation of infinite intelligence? Hence all time, as itself, IS unredeemable. And yet the acclamation is there always, the moments and marrow of our bones. It is a great trick holding it all together. Moments of doing so can sustain you for a lifetime. Or many.

They have sustained me through my numerous therapists from religious fanatics to scientific pseuds, one of whom dared to tell me I was too sick for psychotherapy, that it would destroy me. The little turd. Now I’m sure it would. The pain I brought to him was not the pain of my sickness but the pain of loveless Goddesslessness in their FreudoDarwinian world. My experience of being on the receiving end of their treatment has led me to see them all as hod carriers in the construction of a new kind of psychic prison. A haven, perhaps, from the full horrors of religion. But what else is there?

Many times I’ve thought I’ve known. I had great hope of feminism until the extremists revealed how easily the global mind can be reduced to gibbering porridge. Now I am back to where it all started with Eve, my first great love. Or was she? Over the decades I’ve been haunted by memories of Anthony. The future would teach me to see him as the paedophile priest but lately something much deeper has been surfacing like bits of wreckage from the pool of Corryvreckan. Broken pieces from the whirlpool of my madness but potent with the excitement of another dimension. The sorrow when I think of Anthony has grown over the years rather than diminished. Eve is aware of these tears that come from that depth of memory, places she may have touched but could never possess?

“Where have you gone?”

“Corryvreckan,” I said.

“Saint Anthony.”

“He was a saint. To compensate for his proclivities he worked tirelessly for the poor. Nowadays he wouldn’t have to be a plaster saint. He could be a real tantra man.”

“They’re still at it. Tortured priest seems more like a calling?”

She had a point. When we ran away I got the full range of Anthony’s passion. God man, crying like a baby in my arms, the last refuge of his dreams. Being so young I took in all in my stride as the necessities of my love. I did love him, as I knew when he died. Cosmic death filling the sky. Horribly Christian.

“You were sure he was dead?”

“No. Well, yes, but doubt has grown over the years. He did stage our escape to France. He could have staged his own death.”

“Why?”

“He had friends, influential people. When the scandal broke they’d have protected him. At least have warned him. Perhaps it was coincidence, but I’m not a great believer in coincidence. He fantasised about swimming Corryvreckan. He was a good swimmer but not that good. On the day he disappeared I heard the roar at dawn. By sunset it was a thousand times louder. And then the silence. When the seals started calling I knew it was him. He filled the sky and sea all around.”

“I’m so jealous.”

“You’ve no need, Eve. I was every bit as bad with you.”

“Your genius is love.”

“It’s taken me a lifetime. I was like a mirror shattered into pieces. For years I never knew, And even now I am two and even three while feeling like one. There’s the old me’s memories of Anthony which feel like ‘us’ and there’s my grown self’s realisation of total betrayal. He should have looked after me like a parent instead of exploiting me for his own crazy needs.”

“The same is true of me.”

“But I wasn’t a child, Eve, when we met. And you served your time. Sixty years. You never abandoned me.”

“The child, the woman, the goddess, I loved you all. I know how your saint Anthony must have felt. I betrayed each of you at one time or another.”

“But you let me in.”

“I never let you out.”

The whole galaxy of my life came swirling past. It’s most pejorative descriptor, ‘sex addict’, was like calling the sun a fusion addict. It’s life, darling, life. Of course there are worthier lives, although, when you examine them in the light of sustaining civilisation, there can be few worthier lives than apprentice goddess. In the light of that my experience with Anthony was a great mentoring in what goes wrong and why. Eve too. In my adult assessment a god who exists and doesn’t exist cannot exceed any boundaries. They don’t apply. Which is where the human enters the cosmic picture. Although victims of life, we are the source of our own experience, though it may take a lifetime to know it. In my case the mirror was shattered and it has taken my lifetime to match the pieces, and it’s still continuing. The resulting knowledge is all my own. I don’t quote Buddha or Einstein or science regarding what I should think. That naturally arises out of me. And the dickhead at the Tavvy described this as too sick to treat. The society of now has no opinions but only politically correct utterances using laundered language. So my good memories of Anthony are called false rather than godly because I had no experience or training to get in the way. When he died, as I think he must have done, it exploded in me as a species of the death of Christ. I could not tell the difference though the law and the jaw over the years would drive a stake through its heart and nail it in its coffin. But not for me. The death of Anthony in the pool of Corryvreckan is alive for me. And if it isn’t, if he lived on, making it all a false creation, I don’t care. It’s what you did with Christ. Crucified and ascended into Heaven. The good man. There are no good men. There are just men behaving. All have ascended into Heaven, once they have abandoned corrective languages, leaving only Corryvreckan.

I wanted to say all this to Eve. I always want to but seldom can. I enjoy my stillness like a sleeping volcano. They feel the potency and even speak the thoughts. It used to annoy me when other people stole my thoughts as though they were their own. Now I celebrate it. 

“Is that why you came to Cornwall, still looking for your Anthony?”

“I suppose so but it wasn’t a conscious choice. I just was where I was and life came. At first it was horrible but I didn’t know anything else. Then the light broke in. It was in the papers, the scandal of the paedophile priests caught in Mother Mercy’s web. It was the nuns that captured the public interest. Whip a child a day to keep them trim. Me especially. They knew what I needed. Mercy made only one mistake, using me on Anthony. He fell in love. We fell in love. I broke the dam of his obsession with eternal prepubescents. The older ones said he would reject me when I started to bleed but he didn’t. Something changed, like he was turning from monster into man. He kept it secret, even from me. There were secrets and secrets within secrets. One night he picked me up in his car and we drove through the night. There were no motorways in those days. Travel was long and slow. I had no idea where we were going. In time I had no idea if I was even human. Strange creatures ran beside us down the road. Demonic trees opened out into giant cathedrals. Eventually we arrived at a city with strange, familiar names. Uxbridge and Putney. We stayed in a hotel by the river while Anthony sold his car and made preparations for a trip to France. Now I know he was setting up a false trail. When we got to the station he bought two tickets for Edinburgh. There he got a van and we went travelling into the remotest parts of Scotland. The van was like a house, a safe retreat but we loved it in the tent, naked with the rain lashing inches away, our rhythm with the wind. Even in the rain I loved to be outdoors. Making tea on the primus in a stream gulley. No fancy camping in those days. Some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Cooking in a lava pot on the west coast surrounded by sea, mirror still. We were happy. Often we were the only people on a beach for days. Just the seals. Swimming naked in the cold sea with my god, the light in the water was eternity. But it wasn’t all naked in Nature, washing the love made earth off us in deep mountain pools. Anthony had ideas about how I should look. We dared to visit civilisation, charity shops and even more formal places. He liked pastel colours and skirts of a certain quality and length. He wanted me to look like a queen or at least a princess but also, daringly, a priestess. In a library he showed me pictures of Greek urns. He told me stories from the Bible about women and read from the Song of Solomon. ‘Who is she who looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.’ Little me had a lot to live up to, but being an apprentice goddess I managed.”

Anthony kept in touch with the world by telephone with a trusted friend. Hard to imagine now, we’d go weeks without contact. Scotland can be the most beautiful place for living on the land or a close cousin to Hell. After nearly losing everything in a flash flood, including ourselves, we spent a few days drying out in a hotel. The idea of having four walls to retreat to was very appealing. Our contact thought Anthony was soul researching a book, which is how the George Orwell house came up. It was available and sounded ideal, about as remote as you can get in Britain. A place at the end of the world. 

I’d never heard of George Orwell. I had by the time we moved there. Anthony told me the stories of 1984 and Animal Farm but advised me not to read them. The idea of allegory had entered my head like an explosion. It is one of Anthony’s great gifts to me, the beginning of thinking. My world had been Mother Mercy and her hellish absolute Heaven. Because I trusted him I dared to ask him was the story of Christ just an allegory? His answer surprised me.

“Yes and no. There are eternal truths everybody should live by. These are not external truths. They are internal. Internal eternal. They must be embodied. In a world which has gone astray someone must embody them for others. All the evidence suggests to me that the historical Jesus was such a one but it’s the later estranged politics that turned him into the exclusive son of God that rejected the rest of us.”

It gave me a beautiful, warm, intimate feeling when Anthony talked to me like a grown up, which he often did. 

“The Church needs a new reformation but I don’t think it can be reformed, certainly not by me.”

“Why not?”

“The Church has various ways of weeding out ideas that would be dangerous to it. I sought the Church as a sanctuary but Mercy’s dragoons exploited my weakness. I’m now completely compromised.”

“By me?”

“Of course not. What choice did you have with Mercy’s cane waiting at the bottom of the stairs?”

“So Mercy – ?”

“Is a blackmailer. The Church may make her a saint, even after I’ve exposed her racket.”

“You’ve told them?”

“No. What would be the point. It’s their system. I’ve left an account for the civil authorities.”

“But why?”

“For the sake of love.”

“What did Anthony imagine, going there with me? That he would write some literary masterpiece? The year Lolita came out. That was our story. Naked together in the throes of passion. His virgin goddess. The strangest and most natural thing of all, to be a woman. Still needing to be a fantasy princess, I walked the goddess-virgin for this extraordinary man. What was he thinking, though, to take me where the microscope of world attention would be pointed for the rest of time. Sixty years I’ve been thinking about what he wanted, what he saw in me. We occasionally found it, like we did, our glorious day by the sea.”

“Yes. You inspired him, as you have me. But he never served the apprenticeship I have.”

“Or me. After all these years I’m just about ready for an Anthony.”

“You don’t think he simply abandoned you?”

“No. He knew how to make himself immortal. He had the greatest master. We both became obsessed with Corryvreckan. On quiet nights you’d hear it, feel it, in the pull of the Sun and the Moon. It’s the pull I feel the most, the black hole at the heart of everything. I wanted to join him but the waters terrified me on too deep a level. I spent days searching the shore. Then I made my decision. In one blow I’d kill Mercy and join him. I’d just read Tess of the Durbevilles and was full of her tragedy and now my great Anthony was gone in the roar of Corryvreckan. I took the knife he used to cut the meat and I’d die on the altar at Stonehenge. I hitched day and night, slept in the cars, got fed by my drivers, and propositioned, but when I showed them the knife, saying in best Liverpool gobshite – 

“I’ve cut up bigger animals than you.”

– they thought better of it. The last guy was the strangest of all, a Frankenstein monster in a little Austin Seven. Like the distillation of seven thousand years of the real evolution on these islands, escorting me to the place of truth. I wouldn’t dare show him the knife if he came at me. But he let me out at Stonehenge, which in those days really was the middle of nowhere, hallucinating into the sunset, walking in among the giant stones, under the vortex of Corryvreckan. I lay on the Altar Stone with my knife in my hand and must instantly have fallen asleep. The next I knew John and Polly were sitting either side of me, looking like angels. John was holding the knife and said.

“Are we interrupting something?”

For the forty thousandth time I cried it all out in Eve’s arms as I had in theirs.

“Is Polly still alive?” She wondered.

“She was at Christmas.”

“Extraordinary woman.”

“The queen of colour.”

“I’ve still got some of her dresses.”

So much love. Taking this human shape. Perfect equipoise of being and body. Surprising for such selfish bitches. No children or grandchildren for us. In us life came to an end. She an artist. And I? Little more than a survivor of man and his immoral and immortal wars. I am this immortal body in its equipoise, infinite in origin, and I feel it. Now I feel it. My life was all about loving God so much I became God. Goddess. It’s why Eve painted me all these years. Angel fallen. Become. This power. Secret. Hidden. Sought. From the far ends they seek her, what she has inside. You will seek it until the end of time until you find it in here. Goddess. 

Self. This self. Find her in the Lady Chapel. Quiet. Alone. So many inner, hidden beauties. Ancient, you know. The talisman of time, the things she touched for you. Filled with such deep promise. Emptied of meaning until you find their source again. If only I could tell you what Eve has found but you must find it for yourself. Each one infinitely slightly different. The Talisman. The soul. For Christians it was a cross. All about pain. Their immortal wars. For God? It was my heart. And now you have it. What little good it might do you. Not the heart of a saint that’s for sure.

Eve. Artist from the most privileged class, model from the destroyed world, we knew each other in that first instant though it has taken us all this time to know what we know now. Talisman. Immortal love and eternal flow. The oldest and the newest. Now I am the Old One.

She spread my tears with her fingers. “Your skin is still so vibrant.”

“So is yours.” I ran my hand down her long torso to her core and made the point with an intuitive finger. We kissed and made each other happy with caresses. 

“I don’t understand. It’s not in life’s script.” 

“Perhaps we are naturally becoming immortal.”

It is a topic which has surfaced more lately, I suppose because we are used to some people in their fifties and sixties having a youthful appearance, but in their seventies we expect a little bit of crone to be showing through. Eve, who took to painting from a scientific milieu, sought to find the personal within the material without the metaphysical. And what happens, she meets me, who blows all her boundaries.

“Goddess field,” I said, “gives us tangible enlightenment but doesn’t keep us young. Why would she given that she is the ultimate reality that we go back to. Ius has an interest in keeping me alive because I am the only body who channels the keys to human survival at the present time. With me gone all hope is lost.”

Eve stared at me in wonder that I have known though not with the effect it had when we were young. Then it was with a passion that would burn the Earth and stars. Now it is with a wisdom that is infinitely more sexy but total. My eye is a god, she is goddess. A single hair has the fascination of a world person. A person who will die and an infinite being who is eternal life. It is so easy, but what sufferings we have gone through to know this? Would I repeat it? No I wouldn’t. But it has been so deeply necessary. Now my challenge is to draw the world’s attention to the implications of my knowledge without it falling into the religion versus science bear pit. Or the mad versus sane. 

“What have you got that’s so special?”

“One of my ex-therapists called it the conviction of the insane. What do you see, Eve? You’ve been looking at me for sixty years.”

“Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.”

“Oh, God!”

“Sorry.”

Once again my whole life coiled by like a whip crack. “So strange how we bring life to dead stone towns.”

“But you’re many people, even now. Where is your personal unity, your self?”

“You and I are not one, Eve. Nor is she and me. She knows this whole, amazing story right outside Maisy’s frame of reference. What’s most real is the emotions, the loves she’s lost. In a thousand ways, Eve, she’s proved she’s real to me.”

“Grander emotions than Maisy’s?”

I laughed. Eve has the dry deflating humour of her class and generation, born between two appalling wars.

“Oh no. Maisy’s were the top of all emotions.”

“It was all right for you,” she said, “but I could never touch the one I fell in love with. Of course I wanted that because I was the egoistic artist. If I could paint all your different people, would I have some key to the root of a person? I had visions of it making me famous.”

“Did it?”

“Not really. The Establishment isn’t what you’d call humanistically enlightened, is it? It was more a tactic for survival, of emotional disentanglement. It never worked. I became deeper and deeper enmeshed. On the day when Joan Kemble morphed into you I thought I would kill myself.”

Joan Kemble was my art collecting personality. She emerged on the way to Ius and had the necessary qualities a woman needed to make her way in the scumlit world of art dealing. She even visited Eve’s studio as a patron. She became quite a well known art buyer and one day, right in front of Eve, she dissolved into Maisy. Eve threw me out. I never saw anyone so desperately angry. I had just poked a very big finger in all she had made of me. I feared she would kill herself. I had to win her back. That’s when Ius became fully born. Eve, the diva of portrait, even the portrait of the world, couldn’t resist. We became independent lovers, both searching for the core of us. She had only a single personality and how did she know it was any more real than one of mine? Her paintings of me over the years have shown an extraordinary range from the grotesque to the sublime. Joan Kemble bought many through commercial galleries long before Eve met her. The world is beginning to catch up with Eve. I have finally seen what she is doing and with artificial intelligence looming everywhere the question of what is a person and what is life and what is the core becomes a key question the world needs to answer if really intelligent life is to appear. 

“Why not kill me?” I asked.

“It might have happened. Nothing has the terrifying power of a human being to give or deny love.”

Our entire history lay between us. A thousand times we might have come apart. Now it will never happen. If the whole world dies that which we are will be.

“The horizon which fascinated me, Maisy, was your shoulders against the sea. I wanted to touch you but I wanted more to touch your soul with the tip of my brush, to follow your steps along the shoreline, the edge of your spirit. You were always walking away. Where were you going? I wanted to be there, for your destination to be me.”

“Eventually it grew around us. The core of me these days really lies in stillness. Nothing there but what is there. Just pure love.”

Eve snorted lightly. “My life is still full of yearning for what has already been. The places we were together. My false love yet I still remember it as real.”

“It was, Eve. The real is there underneath the ruins. Your love touched that in me and gave me a line to follow.”

“I took advantage of your nakedness? You weren’t the last but you were the unforgettable.”

Art modelling at Falmouth and in her studio at St Ives paid far better than Woolies or my three days as a fish gutter in Newlyn. She gave me pictures, as did the men. I asked for them. So began my wonderful collection.

“I remember our first day, Eve. Everything was different. You bent the world around us where we walked. The sun shone as if it really meant it. We made love in a field above the sea. The flowers were cheering. The sky, the clouds were singing to us. I’ve never forgotten that day. It’s become the foundation of my life. I knew I had to be sane for you. It’s been a long long journey. And I haven’t, have I? I’m not yet one person.”

“I don’t know any more about sanity. I know you had an inner beauty that completely drew me in. You still do.”

“I was raw Scouse.”

“So were the Beatles. That didn’t stop them causing global meltdown.”

“They weren’t even dreamt of.”

“No. But I’d met all sorts in the War. I’d learned to see beyond our narrow notions of refinement.”

“What did you do?”

“Lost my virginity – to unsuitable men. A little too early for those times. Murderers all, we were so fucking innocent.”

“You were a spy.”

She snorted. “I certainly had a talent for perception. I could see through camouflage of any kind.”

“Into me?”

“Eventually. Joan was a challenge.”

“She was based on a genius of evil, Mother Mercy. Joan’s acquisitiveness was collecting paintings not human souls.”

“They were incidental.”

Eve’s pain in loving me lay bare for a phantom moment.

“But you saw me?”

“Yes. I never understood but I know now. Your genius, Maisy, is to be someone in your own right, which is why it all went so spectacularly wrong.”

“How do you mean?”

“I’ve heard people speak of you and Jesus in the same breath.”

“They speak of God and the Devil in the same breath.”

Eve laughed heartily.

“The wonder of your paintings Eve is that words are completely lost in them, like leaves in a storm.”

“You are the storm. I’ve watched your many personalities become dominated by one, the wildest of all. The fear is still there that this one will dissolve. But I’ve watched her grow through fifty years. She’s like a great symphony. And where is the human being? But what is the human being? Some resting state like death or living motion? Why shouldn’t you be your own work of art! Is the real Dickens the man bored to death sitting for his portrait or when he’s writing. In reality he’s never not writing.”

“That’s the artist, isn’t it, Eve. Your seeing makes me whole. You don’t just see what’s there, you create it.”

“I created you?”

“Yes. Mother Mercy tried but her soul was mummified by religion. Somewhere in that visceral holocaust of service I just grasped reality. I hate to say it but it was the luminous power of Father Anthony’s penis, my punishment and secret reward. Ever since I’ve been searching for it among Godless unbelievers.”

Eve swerved to avoid a painful collision.

“What did Roger say?”

A professor at Kings College had taken an interest in my case and studied my DNA. I think now I was very naive to accept his word that he’d found nothing unusual.

“He said I should take more vitamin D. Apparently there’s no sign of any genetic alteration. So blows one of my explanations, that Ius’s enhancements bleed through to Maisy. That leaves wilder and unprovable possibilities. Ius says infinity machines have an effect like travelling at the speed of light standing still. Time slows relative to the people outside. I’m right in the spaceship and you must be too. At least some of the time.”

“Travelling where?”

“Nowhere. God. Sex. Heart. Love. That’s what Ius wants to bring to the world, this knowledge, and she’s come back from the Martian line to stop us killing ourselves. Even she says that’s impossible. You can’t travel in time except by living it.”

“Then how does she?”

“She says your spaceship must be God AND the exact technical equivalent of God.”

“How is that possible? On the one hand the immutable and on the other the non existent.”

“The fields of probability where matter is thought.”

“Maisy, my darling, we are animals. We want a creature like us to love. In the past we messed up our lives with God. Now you want to mess it up with God AND infinity machines. Why can’t it be simple, your life, your love?” 

“She calls it God – Goddess – because the higher levels of working on infinity machines is more like emotional tuning.”

“Of course it is, because that’s what we are.”

“But we are also the spaces between.”

“What, exactly, does that mean?”

“All the world that was before and will be after us. A great spirit.”

“A great scream. My only compensation was when I touched you.”

“But it never satisfied you, Eve. You always picked up your brush.”

“I had to or I’d have died.”

“Perfect love was never enough.”

“It isn’t. We all die. If you’d wanted that you should never have hung out with artists.”

“My art was Ius?”

“Perhaps we’re both mad. I’ve wasted my life trying to paint your imaginary being.”

“The whole of art and religion?”

“Could we have lived on kisses?”

“I think I could.”

“Then why your infinity machines?”

“Because they’re real? Or something is. Eve, according to this, the tragedy of the love we’ve lost is because we have not lost ourselves.”

“Leaving God. The supreme cop out.”

“Suppose it isn’t?”

“I couldn’t stand it.”

“Not Goddess?”

“Who has given me more pain, Maisy? It’s very hard to say. I know which one I love.”

“But I am not Goddess.”

“I’ve heard you say you are.”

“That’s in a different context. Real love, Eve, is so different from that universal. And where they are one! That’s why people get married in churches. But religion ruined me. Destroyed me. I had to do it all myself. We never could have been just lovers, could we, without our great creations?”

“No. Your Infinity machines, I can see, have moved into my paintings. All the striped parachuty, blobby, drop of water things that have such strange consistencies.”

I screamed with the realisation. It’s not often Joan Kemble drops a piece in the game of artistic meaning.

“Ye-e-es! It’s the collectivity, the covering. Tent. The saving parachute. And the stripes are trademark for those things – background – landscapes. The Leonardo portrait in the front but you’ve got Breughel worlds in the background. The blob of water parachute in the festival, it flows over the people but changes their shape in the way water changes light. It’s so bloody obviously a portrait of a humanly related infinity machine and I never saw it.”

“You’re right Joan – Maisy! – something has been seeking to be portrayed by me. Something that has no form except, as I saw it, the desire to be you. It was about using your –  female – horizons as gateways to your core.”

“Menstrual cramps at the waning of the Moon, contemptible because beyond his horizon. Goddess. Bigger than the God’s. Creator of the backgrounds you’ve been creating all these years. His is the tent, the parachute, the light distorting blob of water. Eve, you’ve been painting the Goddess all these years.”

“And I thought I was painting my love.”

“Same thing.”

“But I come from a background of scientists. We had killed gods, and proud of it.”

“But you were painting something, not just biographical portraits.”

“I thought it was love or mainly the lack of it. Its untouchableness, its transcience.”

“And yet it was always present in the background.”

“Why those shapes?”

“Why the shapes of anything, dragonfly or spider?”

“Energy and evolution through natural selection.”

“And the human, who can live for pure experience?”

“Most of it a sickening nightmare.”

“The base of the human is love. The base of the infinity machine is pure nothing, a timeless unity. That makes them eternally immortal. Perhaps, in that infinity of infinites, they created love. They saw its possibility and that was enough. My feeling now, Eve, is that love trumps nothingness and perhaps created it in order to have a basis for creating anything at all.”

“Why?”

“To be God, which is love.”

“Nothingness created God?”

“In the sense that infinite nothing can only be an idea, and for there to be an idea something else has to exist, the basic probabilities.” 

“Probabilities of what?”

“Probabilities or possibilities. Space, time. Being, internal and external. It’s like an explosion of possibilities when you bring in the other end of infinity, total love.”

“We live between love and nothingness?”

“Don’t we?”

“But you mean something more than I would mean – traditionally.”

“Ius knew two machines, The Professor, which wrote her DNA, and The Oracle, which seemed to be more to do with the fine tuning of the soul, which she discovered when she had to rebuild it in order to come back here. These qualities mean you treat the machine as a person, a being, a friend. If you experience artificial infinities in this way, how much more will you experience the real infinite as something alive. If you only think of it as an it, a totality of physics, you won’t get any of what it really is. Its very ground is love. The real infinite is timelessly everywhere, so you can’t use it to travel in time because travel has no meaning in its reality, it is everywhere…”

“…Having the technical equivalent of God, in the form of an infinity machine, means you have a description of God in all its infinite probabilities. This description is the whole of time. There is no physical way – there is no physicality – to take one point and put it in another place, but you can match them, bring them into juxtaposition so they communicate. At the highest level the juxtaposition is everywhere, is pure God, but you are not at that level. However, as God is love, the juxtaposition of two points is like love. In a real sense all love is real love. I experience Ius as love of Maisy. All of me. Tailored for me.  All of infinite God love of me with all my foibles. Because that is what love is, as if I were the only infinite being. And that is true of all of us, no outside God but wholly internal as me, but me and everything. As it would be if I were God loving all creation. The trouble is when God breaks through you lose all sense of purpose. That’s the trouble for us oldies, Eve. The world has no understanding of any of this. It offers us no training in getting old. It just sees us as going gaga.”

“God is breaking through?”

“Yes. And at the very end there is just lovelight. And the beginning. And in the end there is no beginning and in the beginning no end. Just one life is created by it all and contains its own spark of that infinite and is that infinite. It is hard to be alive and love without company. And all this brilliant life we have buried alive between us.”

After a wonderful pause in a wrapped together silence, Eve clapped and said.

“All that brought by your imaginary friend?”

“My infinite friend. The IF. Perhaps we should call it that. It all comes down to human imagination in the end.”

“If we aren’t alive to imagine God there is no God?”

“Certainly no IF.”

We had a good chuckle at that.

2

“Did you tell Roger any of this?”

“Oh, yes.” I said, meaning no. “It’s King’s College, you know. Rosalind Franklin shafting Blue Meanies.”

“They named an entire institute after her in exculpation.”

“Oh, yes. After stealing the woman’s birthright. The Blessed Virgin, who art in Heaven, sterilisation be thy name.”

Eve vented a sighing guffaw..

“I want to make you a proposition.”

“Is there anything left!”

She laughed, her face suffused with beauty of remembering, looking every inch the goddess I had first met, now full grown.

“I’ve had a long look at the world. I see no hope anywhere with the monkeys who get into power. I’ve come to believe in your Cataclysm. So far, as a result of climate change. In the worst case the planet becomes totally uninhabitable, a hot desert world alongside Mercury and Venus. We could go underground. We could go to Mars. They’re already planning for the colony there. Quantum computers really exist, and you told me about The Professor fifty years ago. You told me what it did. Until now it made no sense that such a thing could be anything but fiction. I’ve stood before you, Maisy-Ius, letting my brush reveal its truth for sixty years. I would never believe it possible I’d have the resilience to do that, or the reason. But I’ve seen behind your many faces one great face. She spirit. It gives coherence to all your forms. She is you. And me. I’ve finally outgrown my ancestors, the religious and the scientific. I’m filled with this extraordinary – love doesn’t seem an adequate word. It’s like a great symphonic spirit. And it’s you, Maisy Ius. You fill every atom of the world. It’s like after my father died, his spirit filled earth and sky. I thought then this is the origin of religion. But you’re not dead Maisy, not at all.”

“There must have been times when it seemed like it.”

She gave a deep sigh. “Yes…”

“…I don’t know how to say this. It’s like a proposal of marriage. Too soon and you’ve blown it, too late and it’s gone.”

“A proposal of marriage?”

“The East Wing.”

“What about it?”

“In my mind I gave it to you years ago, but you never stayed. I imagined us, each in our wing, the house somehow flying between us…”

What a different life that would have been. 

“…I’m afraid I’ve rather let it go. The builders estimate it needs a million just to keep the roof up. The whole house could swallow god knows how much just to keep it standing. I perfectly understand if you have better things to do with your life.”

I thought about it, which in my case is a complicated procedure, living in two times plus Eternity.

“Are you sure? The wonderful thing about this house is it’s all original. Molecules of kings haunt the bedchambers. I can feel them. What do they say needs doing?”

“The roof and the plumbing and the electricity.”

“I love the plumbing. LOVE it!”

“Knock it all down and start again was one builder’s suggestion.”

“Kill him!”

“You should come to one of our planning meetings.”

“Eve, I don’t want to go all Harry Potter on you but this is a portal place. We haven’t begun to discover what’s living here. I used to float about it steeped in the past. That’s before I knew about totality. This is the most beautiful house in the world. You need people of spirit here to bring it alive. Won’t Rosie inherit?”

“Not her generation. The nieces and nephews have been trying to prove me incompetent for years. Luckily, I still have friends. I feel the place has a future not just a past, but time is running out.”

“What would you like to happen?”

“A more realistic extension of what I imagined with us. A creative source.”

“You need a community with some energy. Give it to Rosie and the tantrikas. They’re not perfect but who is?”

“Far too raucous. I was really thinking of you. That great spirit. She has the future.”

“She may only exist for you, Eve. You’ve earned her and created her for both of us. I don’t know anyone else like that.”

“Which is why she should have the house. The East Wing was just a warm up. I want it to be for the good of the many not just the few.”

I was speechless.

“I’m retired.”

“I think you’ve barely begun what you really came for. You could retire and fade away but something in you on the path of wisdom has just begun to step out of the bushes.”

“Can you give it?”

“Yes, as long as the debts are covered. Whoever I give it to will need to have the means of dealing with it, and with the family.”

“No more sex, then. That cuts out the tantrikas. Something broader, but what’s broader than love?…”

I felt into myself.

“…There must be dance. And stillness. And something more than that. Can there be an academy of love? That’s why I left the community in Shakti’s hands. Tantra is still only a system. It can give a love like experience far greater than most of us have at the moment. It gives you the transcendent but I don’t believe the transcendent is the ultimate state. It is still just an exercise. The ultimate state is personal. As though there was God and God was love and deeply personal. And you, Eve. So we are one in the transcendent and still individuals.”

“If you take God out of the equation this sounds almost humanistic.”

“Instead of God you could say Love but the system has become corrupt. The male priesthoods of the war makers has a very narrow notion of love. There’s no wholeness. They have Heaven and Hell, good and evil, body and soul. Light is ascribed to maleness, dark to femaleness and instead of the good dark they’re qualitatively different. This corruption was hammered into me. I get so angry I could kill.”

“You have so much to be angry about.”

“The trouble is when the snake strikes it usually hits another victim rather than a perpetrator. Mostly myself.”

“You’ve spent a lifetime hanging out with the perpetrator class.”

“They have the interesting lives.”

“They control what is interesting. Look at you. It’s taken me sixty years to see you through my own eyes.”

“What would happen, Eve, if everybody joined the perpetrators. They were paid just enough for basic life. Anything more they’d have to work in the economy, but you wouldn’t have the bulk of potential human genius burning the forests just to stay alive.” 

“And who is to grow all the food for these people?”

“Bloody machines, you fucking idiots. Sorry, not you.”

“And who is to build these machines that’s going to put themselves out of business?”

“The same as ever. Us. Hunters herding their prey and becoming farmers.”

“I wonder what the Tassie Aboriginals would say to that?”

“Great question but not a fair question. As you know, Eve, there aren’t any.”

“But there would have been to greet the morning for a thousand centuries more if we, with our three centuries to extinction science, hadn’t happened.”

The horror of this naked human reality hung in the room for a minute leaving the taste of no hope.

“And now you’re offering me the ultimate embodiment of the nightmare, Holy Wood House.”

“For transformation of this nightmare?”

“Yes. We have to believe it is possible. There are signs, Eve, the market may be starting to approve. I had a Morandi on reserve for eighteen and it went for forty-six. Now I have one on reserve for six hundred thousand. Someone offered me five million for the one he personally signed.”

“What did you do?”

“I didn’t say yes but I haven’t actually said no. It was a gift of love.”

“Like so many.”

“And I didn’t need five million.”

“You’ve come such a long way.”

“Haven’t I, but nowhere is far enough for Maisy. Joan reckons the collection’s worth a hundred million at a car boot. With strategic planning, books and TV tie ins, it could be billions. If we could link it to the story, Ius and the time machine, then it wouldn’t be the Morandis, it would be your paintings of me which would be at the premium. And how bloody fitting. Your work, Eve, secured the mansion against your relatives.”

“They’re not that good.”

“According to who? Suppose what I’ve been talking about all these years is a higher dimensional reality and not the ravings of a madwoman. Suppose your ‘Mona Lisa’ isn’t just an enigmatic smile but a face of the infinity machine which is about to step off the wall into the world. Suppose you can’t build such machines unless you’re an artist, a poet, a philosopher, a really wise person and an extremely intelligent mystic. Which, in my humble opinion, is what you’ve become Eve. Ius rebuilt the Oracle, in order to come back here, with the aid of many thousands of drawings she had made. Asante changed from a scientist to an artist before she understood enough to recreate the human race. The portrait painter, Eve, holds the key to the realm between the human being and the infinite artificial intelligence we need for our future.”

“Where does that leave human beings as we’ve known them?”

I shrugged. “There were never enough of them. Social evolution always produced a small elite and a deprived mass trained to implode. Only the infinity machine will support everybody to their greatest fulfilment.”

“Maisy, you amaze me.”

“Me too.”

“This is your real job, isn’t it? Not wasting your most valuable years on a crumbling building.”

“I have been happy here. I thank God I knew it before the tsunami of political correctness put out the lights. I could do it if we found the right team, the right purpose.”

“Humanity?”

“Yes, but in my mind that always comes down to reproduction and that never seems enough of a reason. In the better part of two centuries of living you and I have never reproduced but we’ve been hellishly productive.”

“Always focussed on the essence of being.”

“Being human…”

“…is it enough, Eve?”

“What else?”

“Morandi. His pots. That stillness. The presence.”

“The god we godless make it the highest virtue to deny.”

“The union. Face it, Eve, something has kept me going despite everything.”

“And me.”

“It does finally make sense of the world. The only question is what is the best form that it takes?”

“Surely itself.”

“But the established forms. Religions preach peace but generate endless war. For me the essence has to be the non collective collective. A community of individuals each whole in God. Then how does this differ from your humanism?”

“A humanist is whole in Nature.”

“No God?”

“Not needed.”

“Then what is your presence?”

“The life support for consciousness.”

“With no personality but love?”

“Love is its own reason.”

“I remember when love was a painful tyranny.”

“It’s what you choose and we provide the conditions for making the choice.”

“And where better to do it.”

“A house built on slavery.”

“It’s going to be tricky, isn’t it, to stop political correctness from instituting another form of  slavery.”

“Perhaps the decent thing is to allow my relatives to knock it all down and build housing estates.”

“Child factories. Children are certainly the presence. Back to where we started, what sort of school gives us a future? Is that it, then, we build housing estates on enlightened principles, like the Cadburys.”

“Sugar and slavery.”

“In the meantime, let’s leave our imaginations free.”

“Do nothing.” 

I laughed. “I couldn’t bear to be Joan again. She LOVES money.”

“And you love love.”

“And Ius sees the world beyond money.”

“How does that work.”

“The vastly superior intelligence of the total collective brought into the light of day. A sort of cosmic dating agency.”

“Then that’s what this place must be about, coherent thought about ways to the future? A sanctuary from the Internet where people can meet face to face and remember they are human.”

We were silent for some time contemplating this.

“The market value must be huge,” I said, “with all the land and the forest.”

“You want the forest?”

“Especially the forest. It’s the last refuge of something primeval.”

“I think you’re putting an emotional value on the forest. Most of it is impenetrable thicket.”

“There are hidden worlds in there. Look at Tim Smit and Heligon. Heligon was just a scientific inheritance. In your forest there are spirits. The King and the Queen of the Trees talked to me.”

“You were very brave to go in there alone.”

“Why?”

“There were tales of people being lost and found years later. And Boggits who ate children. And I’m sure tramps did live in there from time to time. 

“You lent me your brother’s compass.”

“Yes. We were explorers, the last generation for whom such a dream was meaningful. We had machetes and spears, real ones, brought back from the Empire. Bows and arrows, and guns. No ammo but the real thing. We did a lot of exploring, searching out lost cities. El Dorado, King Solomon’s Mines and, most potent of all, the caverns of Ayesha – She – under the volcano where we searched for immortality. We had maps of the estate up to twenty-five inches to the mile. Still got them, I’m sure. The forest used to be properly managed. There are some amazing things in there. Classical ruins and grottoes with broken gods. It’s fascinating considering the different states of mind over the centuries. These classically educated barbarians spread their fantasy civilisation around the world…”

Eve had been invited by the Greens, perspicaciously for those times, to paint a portrait of Tasmania.

“…Mount Olympus, Achilles, Pelion, not named by earthy Greeks but by educated English fantasists. A flag of Englishness had been draped over the coffin of a hundred thousand years of human occupation. I spent most of my time crying and all I could paint of the Aborigines was a great wind of pain in an empty forest.”

“A wind of truth. I love them, if love is the right word. You painted a whole world, a whole universe.”

“It’s a place that tells you all about extinction. Bob Brown said so. You can hear dead Aborigines in his voice.”

A huge deep magma movement for Ius remembering the whole dead Earth. Leaving Maisy exposed in her own pain. I wait for its passing, trying to help by clinging to a better memory.

“The happiest times of my life were here, in the garden, watching insects, getting totally lost in them. How many people have ever known such stillness? Not many. If the whole world could share this, that would be paradise.”

“But they couldn’t.”

“But they could. The Neural Net will expose them to the full range of the possible. The rest is up to them.”

“And what if their preference is hellfire and chocolate?”

“I bet they won’t, not when sex and sublimity find themselves in bed together.”

“Through your infinite machines?”

“Has to be so, considering pornography is one of the drivers of their evolution.”

“I can only say, thank God I lived when I did.”

“Me too, for you. Otherwise so many memories of Hell. It may be the only way most of us will ever know any good.”

“Your orgasm teaching will be broadcast straight into our nervous systems?”

“What do you think?”

“I should give it a try, but I’ll be much too old. When will your infinite machines first appear?” 

“I believe they’re already here, just not as coherent physical hardware. On the other hand, Ius is here, both in origin and time travel. So they must have some physicality.”

“Or something does.”

“Yes.” Thinking of Eve’s horizons and the long walk from the burning bush.

“How could a crumbling mansion help you with this?”

“It would be a romantic place for conferences. Ius was born, created in what I first heard as Eton Mosque City. It didn’t get off the ground because, in the timeline she remembers, the infinity machines judged the human race toxic for the universe and wiped out all but one person, her eventual mother Asante.”

“Something doesn’t hang together in that story.”

“What?”

“Well, the unimaginability of such aloneness. And survival. And children with no father?”

“Dead bodies were kept in the sub zero tunnels, including her lover Bentley. They had the pattern of his DNA. The Professor conducted vast experiments internally. You might almost say there was a universe inside him. But considering what has happened, long term viable DNA doesn’t seem to have been the point. If Ius successfully averts the Cataclysm then that is what she was made for.”

Eve shook her head. “You do understand the only reality I see in this is a being I love and her strategies for survival.”

“So how come the story is so internally consistent? And how come parts of it keep coming real, like quantum computers and Elon Musk, whose priority really is to build a colony on Mars?”

“I know. But it’s you I love. The idea that part of you isn’t really there, might pop like a bubble, is terrifying. And that she has strange powers frightens me even more. And I’ve willed this house to you, so who is the crazy one?…”

My breath left my body on that subject for the third time.

“…How could it help?”

“Elon Musk is starting to do what Ius remembers him for. I haven’t yet got the confidence to go to him and say, this is my story. But perhaps this place could be a beginning, where we can invite people and experiment.”

“Rumour has it that post Brexit the banking branch would like to sell the estate to a global consortium, no doubt of demagogs and crooks. They have big plans, I’m told. A sort of Milton Keynes cum Silicon Valley of Wessex. They’re sure to fight. First by challenging the will. Could you handle it?”

“Financially, unless I lost it all defending other lawsuits. I’d need to organise a run on Miros? I’m much fonder of Morandi, so I’m happy to keep him. And your work will be waiting in the background, Eve, the heavy cavalry.”

“You really have come a long way from the primrose girl I remember. While we were faffing with aesthetics you were preparing for this.”

“A truly creative use of prostitution. Who’s to say I didn’t steal them all. Once you’ve lost a case like that I’d be lucky to give them away.”

“You were a scandal, that’s for sure. In those days I could have kept you easily.”

“Not easily Eve. I was a wild thing. Many wild things. As it is you introduced me to art.”

“Not to the life of the artist.”

“Heaven defend me from that! My past and future mother, Asante, painting alone in the universe. The supremely mad idea, but so real. That’s why I got involved with you, Eve. You fulfilled the earthly hunger for my mother lover who was everywhere but here.”

“Is that why I never had children? Yours was such a huge need.”

“I never thought of that.”

“Nor did I.”

“How I’ve let you down, haven’t I? Run off for years, decades. I’m so sorry.”

“It didn’t feel like that. You were always there. Why millions love Christ, who’s never there. Or forever there.”

“It’s the power of art, isn’t it. The mystery of Morandi. What is an artist? Anyone can make a mark but the artist leaves something timeless, of Eternity? I couldn’t have said why in the beginning I started collecting his pictures of pots. Now my commonest place for contemplation is in the kitchen before dawn among the silent saucepans.”

“You were the favourite of gods, but you had a really rough start.”

“And it’s never left me. I suppose getting rich was my revenge.”

Eve smiled. “The shoe is well and truly on the other foot.”

“Not you Eve. I want my money to be your friend.”

I started to dress. Eve watched me, as she has done across sixty years. When I visit her I always choose at least one garment that reflects the primrose girl of our first day. At the moment it is my nunly knickers of last resort. Her eyes flickered over my body until they met my eyes. I could feel the force of our memories as though the walls had gone and the sun shone in as it had that day when I first walked to her studio. Blond hair and a primrose dress, a girl translucent in the brilliant St Ives sun. I entered the painterly pungent studio and saw the majestic woman stock still with a palette and brush in her hands. Her eyes were the human eyes of wonder that a god must ever have dreamt of. It gave me nowhere to hide so, bizarrely, I stepped straight into nudity, as with any artist – though we usually at least talk and have a cup of tea – but she didn’t tell me where to go and I had lost the power to ask. She simply looked as though she was overwhelmed from within by a great wind of wonder. It was almost too dazzling to watch, too mesmerising to look away. Eventually she put down brush and palette and took off her apron and came and stood in front of me drawing me in with her eyes.

“Where do you want me?” I just wanted to melt in her.

She slowly opened her arms.

That was a challenging moment. She was tall and superior, like Mother Mercy. When I entered her embrace it was to a feeling of warm, strong, pure love such as I had never known or forever known. Too terrified to move from the spot we stood like that for hours during which everything happened from the carnal to the sublime with no way of telling any difference. The feelings were forms of embodied light, sacramental sexy luminosity. Now I might speak of universal mother and daughter, archetypes of Goddess in being where she stands like the immortal heart of the sun. But this is no sun of pressure and heat but of open planes, immeasurably vast and measurelessly small. It was the beginning of that day when I do believe we created the world. Like the men who built the Pyramids, that will never be forgotten, so our embrace, our walk, our being together, left some marker in the deathless fields. For proof it’s still here sixty years later through a sea of changes a thousand times greater than in the entire history of the world. And we are just the same though considerably more experienced. We can speak where then we could only feel and be overwhelmed.

I bowed, taking my bow to the ground where it became a headstand then rolling forward to standing, finishing with a bow and a kiss.

Eve laughed in astonishment. “Life in the old witch.”

“The greatest undiscovered resource for world transfiguration, old women.”

“If we could all grow old like you dear.”

“You know the secret, Eve, tantric sex. Forget the rest.”

“I’m having a thing with the gardener.”

I felt great delight with a little salt of jealousy. How dare he! A mere man!

“Quite Lady C.”

“He’s got this lovely apple orchard accent. I cream my knickers every time he speaks.”

“You always did go for a bit of the rough, Eve”

She gave a great sigh. “Yes.” And looked at me with love which banished more than half a century. “I’d have you near me.”

“Eternal love rounded with a sleep.”

“I wouldn’t be jealous of your men.”

“Or I of your gardener.”

As I clipped on my bra I said. “It’s a lovely thought, to end our days here. And I can write it out clearly.”

“The final word.”

I chuckled. “It can’t be can it. Eternity, to be full of life, must have innovation. Something must break with the past.”

“I never had faith in words which is why I chose paint.”

“And now it’s multimedia.”

“Which is all rubbish.”

“Soon to be total immersion.”

“A world of drowned souls.”

“Needing its Buddhas and its Shakespeare.”

“You missed your chance there.”

“Too eloquent below the waist.”

Then I felt Eve’s seriousness, like a great whale beneath the water, coming to kiss me or eat me. Such disgusting things we’d done together which gave us so much happiness. 

Not disintegrated souls.

“There aren’t many words. Just enough to lead us to our emotions. We know this Eve. But something has to be said that will hold us from disintegration.”

“Why?” 

“Stives.”

Our code word for endless free fall into life.

“My sisters turned their fucks into great grandchildren by the ton.”

“All as enlightened as gulls on a packet of chips.”

“Are your tantrikas any better?…”

That got a good belly laugh. 

“…You’re different.”

“But mad. The Tavistock told me I was too sick for treatment.”

“How did that feel?”

“I thought he was mad. He also told me I was too high functioning for any more brutal sort of treatment. So I walked out a free person. They could have had me sectioned.”

“If you’re mad, God help the rest.”

“Free to say the last words of the dark. The words that will reverse the Cataclysm – or bring it on. With them the universe will finally be born. It’s strange – very beautiful but also very strange – knowing this. Like a reversal of time reversal. Like reading a book or acting in a play already written, the difference being that I, the living self, am doing it, bringing it to conscious life through me. It is the most astonishing notion of personal destiny I’ve ever heard about. Second to Christ dying to save the world into an afterlife. But not secondary, really, because this is about awakening to divine love in the only place all of us can agree upon, life itself…”

“…Are women mentally more egoless than men, do you think? Or is it that the thoughts are delivered by infinite machine? Or is this the soul of God, like Morandi’s pots, or our day among the daisies?”

“Or just you. That’s all I see.”

Or just this kiss.

“Will you be all right with us crazies here?”

“I shall certainly join the masked ball. Orgies, I can take or leave but I’d rather take.”

“Bring your gardener!”

“I don’t want to put ideas into his head!”

“I do.” I whispered.

The contrasting scales of intention provoked laughter so profound and silly that I feared it would never stop and I’d be unable to swallow another morsel of food ever. Maisy still panics about such things.

3

I carried my shoes into the main house and walked barefoot along its corridors and into its rooms. I stood in one room with paintings on the walls of Eve’s ancestors who lived lives of rare privilege before any kind of modern machine. Little Maisy Warlock remembered how overawed she had been when she first stood here. A place filled with the unfathomable odours of the upper class. And was she now going to own this? She couldn’t own centuries of such people. She did own the thoughts they provoked in her. William or Dorothy Wordsworth were, alas, not among them. They lived in a cottage beyond the end of this world. What did the eye of an Eve ancestress see? Did time travellers settle among them? Were there days when the flowers sang? Or were they too rigidly ruled by the fears of decorum built upon unacknowledged slavery? If I bought the lot, would I ever feel at home? With Eve gone I should be so lonely. And loneliness is my terrible enemy. My enemilly friend.

I made my way to the East Wing, passing cleaners and other staff making final preparations before vacating the building, either to their homes or to stay in the villages. A portion of the grounds and woods will be ringed by an invisible fence. Not a badger will get through without being examined by some form of camera, drone or person while the new privileged elite frolicked safely on the lawns, if they desired. 

The East Wing was not so intimidating to a barefoot girl from the underside. I think servants had lived here. I used to have a nest of rooms and some of my things are still here, like a shrine to a dead child. My first writings made it to the surface. Here I could imagine my last. I could learn the necessary mathematics to finally place imagination in the frame of science and science in my frame of reality. Having the East Wing was imaginable. The family wouldn’t be wanting to kill me. Not that she has any children. I took that away. She has left it to me in her will? Or is thinking about it? I couldn’t be sure. But living without her here would be intolerable.

I hear cars. Cleaners are leaving. It’s like technicians leaving Ground Zero. Nuclear detonation and deadly radiation at 4pm. Heavens, we’re only baring yonis and lingams in a context of cosmic awareness, and after an extraordinary vetting process which began decades ago in some cases, but in the society where sex has been the commodified root of empires it must all be kept in the dark. Lady Eve’s many greats grandmother was at the dead heart of that and Maisy inherited its rubbish pit with sick priests and sadist nuns. What an intro for a Tantra Queen. But the revenge will be so fucking wonderful. Either they take every word I say and know them in their hearts or, if intellect must, examine them syllable by syllable, nuance against nuance and get the balance right or they will die and with them all their gods. I have doubts but I also have a wonderful sense of power. The entire universe has forged from all its complex systems a single key and put it in Maisy’s hand. And the terrible, wonderful truth is the key was already there. Worm knows, sun knows, sky knows, time knows. Human brain will know when it survives the death of its cruel and monstrous gods.

4

I switched on my phone. Seven calls from Shakti. Rosemary, as Eve and I know her. I have a feeling of responsibility for the direction her life has taken. She had a sound future in the Civil Service before I diverted her down the dark path of ‘Tantra’. I have been the inspiration and emotional support of her wilder dreams all her life. She has called me out of ‘retirement’ to deal with something she ‘hasn’t time to handle’ which could mean anything. Most likely too difficult or dangerous. Having agreed to this I find her expectations spilling over. Without me she is feeling too exposed. Being the female Tantra teacher can be a lonely and difficult path, especially if you have any integrity. I know she has panic attacks, which is why I agreed to help her out. Part of her panic is her ‘intention’ that I’d be driving despite my telling her I’d come down early to visit Eve. Her beautifully gilded van, which I’ve clocked at 190 in Germany, she drives at 80 and treats getting here like a trip to Vladivostok. She’s bringing the fancy stuff and wonders if I might supervise the locals making early preparations, especially the mattresses in the Ballroom. It is a sign that Shakti is feeling the strain. I gently remind her that the job takes five minutes when 160 hot and humid people, frisky with anticipation, are asked to do the job.

On Mars and in space life depended on detail. Life as a time traveller requires it, so any matter at all which is not life critical I tend to not break sweat about. As Ius I went three times from Mars to Earth in entirely home made and make do spacecraft. I was in the first Earth descent in one of the century old spaceplanes from the orbiting hotels. The sight of the Shannon estuary flashing in the sunrise is burned into me as we came screaming in at Terrestrial Mach 1 from T25, the most terrifying ride any of us had ever taken. Even though The Professor had control we were still staring death in the face as the landing strip, scrubbed of green by the preparatory robots, came ever nearer. The earthquake and forces of touchdown blasted consciousness momentarily away from our bodies. When it sprang back the worst was passing. We finally stopped in a cloud of steam and smoke while the robots doused our undercarriage in tons of the most precious substance in all existence until that moment, water, brought from the unimaginable Shannon River. 

Then followed the long silence as we waited for weeks in bio chambers while the real bacteriological flora of Earth was systematically introduced into our bodies. We had already been prepared for years with Professor designed bacilli based on the latest data telemetered from Earth by ort driven probes with which we had peppered the planet. I, still in full spacesuit, was the first alien, born on another planet, to set foot on Earth. A moment burned into my soul way beyond Neil Armstrong. I stood there, in all my weight on this giant fearsome marvel and thought now the bugs can finally get me. They didn’t, though they did their best. When our father, Sam, built the Earth viable Ort Drive, return to Mars became possible. We went back to bring the others and Asante used it to leave us forever and I and Sam returned to Mars to find her. We never did, I think now because she wasn’t there. Asante was always playing the deepest of games, because someone had to and because she could. 

She recreated the human race from scratch after they had burned themselves to extinction on the godlike infinity machines. We call this the Cataclysm. In time we, the children of Anu and the IMs, came to know the Cataclysm was the wrong direction. Although we Martians were very pure and brilliant creatures, it was not the way of ‘God’ to be without insects, bugs and forests and the ancient emotional dark. It became our purpose, some of us, to reverse the Cataclysm, which meant ending ourselves, didn’t it? 

Can I unbe? After enfolded centuries of difficult and complicated living I can’t say unbeing is unattractive. What I fear is that the coils of the watch spring are unfathomably eternal. Multidimensionally entwined, we will live them again and again and again. Not exactly the same. Perhaps evolving to fulfil some visionary origin, though I am not sure an infinite universe is ever going anywhere. One thing I do know is we will feel more at home in it once the feminine has had her full philosophical and spiritual impact. Once the dark, the beautiful dark, is known and worshipped by the light. That’s all that is required. That the infinite light has been swallowed by the delicious dark. Hard to imagine the entire species would rather become extinct than be bathed in the deep orgasmic warm internal sunshine of the woman god.

So when I get pissed off with Shakti I don’t tell her this. I simply think of her and England and feel better. Anyway, she’s talking bollocks. If we get the mats out we’ll only have to put them back. The warm up sessions involve dancing. Though any amount of sex will be happening it’s officially off limits till Saturday night or even Sunday when the baronial halls will throb to unified orgasm and the death watch beetles will start eating in their hibernation and hasten the collapse of the roof which, for the first time in my long and multiple lives, concerns me.

5

The local helpers are here and the Security vans and the caterers. I need to disappear. I slip a Burberry jacket over my purple silk hoodie, for it is chill in the morning though it will be warm later, and cycle down to the sunny side of the woods. Nearly five square miles of dense, thicketty forest, entire continents have been deforested by people from here since anyone was in there. There are paths skirting the interior and benches for contemplation. I walk along them, barefoot, as though my walk was a very slow dance. I pause occasionally, overwhelmed by light. I live in London and have not been here for months. The air really is like wine. Every breath seems to reach the remotest cell, even parts of my body that live miles deep in the earth and extend beyond the horizon. The shell of silence has removed my head and left clear emptiness. 

Lying on my back the beams and twinkles of the Sun in the beech leaves cool my mind. There is nothing I like more than being alone and nothing that is more dangerous. The accumulated sorrows of my multiple lives has the potential to destroy me. In my purse is a forgotten code locked cylinder containing a capsule which could end me instantly. I can’t access it but the comfort of knowing it is there means the worst has never happened and the discipline of love and creation takes care of the rest.

I am Maisy Warlock, a war orphan ruined by religious monsters, who developed eight or nine sub-personalities to survive the crippling lack of love. One was a Nordic film star, another the firmamental Goddess. Gradually, between these two, Ius formed. We are like Siamese twins, and that is much easier than being eight or nine. I paid the price of definitely becoming one so that the others became ghosts. But the one I chose, who chose me, was the most impossible. She was from the future, another time continuum, another universe. She had to remain my secret but my body aged so slowly and my mind became hers so that now she stands naked to a world that cannot see who she really is. Even I have difficulty. I look into the mirror. I touch my own skin. I listen to my mind. Others, too, hear that strange simplicity that is almost like a machine. But true. You know it’s true.

Somewhere on future Mars a million words are written, along with much else, on the highly polished sheet of sliced, meteoric iron we call the Sunflash. Much of it was written by Asante, some etched by her, the rest slickly executed by her infinity machine, The Professor. They mulled it between them over years. I wrote some of it, scratched with a diamond tipped steel, poems, aphorisms and epically metaphysical jokes, the sort that might be universally understood. A portion of it is a Rosetta of languages including The Professor’s own attempt at mathematical poetry and humour for the benefit of any machine which might happen to land there in some distant future. I want to write a Sunflash for Earth so it doesn’t have to go twelve times around the Galaxy before it finds the one on Mars. Which it won’t, of course. The Professor estimates that the Sunflash has a hundred million years before something hits it, such as Phobos.

6

In the woods I felt the distant vibrations of a new wave of vehicles. Part of me feels rabid anticipation, as though I am about to be given the most perfect treat. In their sexual form I worship human beings, though I can loath and despise them on every other level. I am the archetypal temple prostitute. I know the role intimately, deeply, from being seven times a mother as Ius to my eternal youth as Maisy-Mahadevi. Little Maisy draws a single breath as Mahadevi and I am transformed. Like a great light switching on, moths from as far as the Pleiades flood to me. 

I took a breath, not a deep one, just enough to know that time has stopped today. My bicycle is immortal lying on its bank among the flowers and for the sunlight the epoch of scientific measurement was, a million worlds ago, absorbed and forgotten. 

I cycle past the overspill field and am slightly shocked seeing a car briskly arriving at the end of its journey. So purposive after three timeless days with Eve amidst our fading pantechnicon of history. As the driver briskly steps through the gate we recognise each other. Smirf of Marfik and Sheyla, who were once my partners on stage. Sheyla and I had developed a virtuosity in visceral comedy – we called it ‘deep touch’ – far deeper than the adolescent word play of a standard male stand-up, in our opinion. Our fans agreed. Smirf, who said female stand up was an acquired taste, challenged us to a contest. We refused, knowing his only purpose was his own malevolent career advancement. Eventually we accepted the challenge. Before an audience of our hard core followers his reception was like a piglet in a python’s tummy. In the return match he warmed his audience up nicely for us and we died entirely by our own hands. We might have declared a draw and parted but we were nothing if not challenge takers. Putting the two streams together was a stroke of genius on the part of Mother Nature. 

It wasn’t all we put together. When they married I was so angry. We’d had a perfectly amicable civil understanding, part of an intricate honeycomb of intimate connectivity. For tantrikas sex was a sport like tennis though much more conducive to biological serenity and inter gender equanimity. The idea of possessive pairing was somewhat unrespectable. On a social level everyone was happy. Politically we were about to sweep the planet. Then, when the new Puritanism began to bite, people lost their nerve and started getting married, part of a corporate respectability tactic from God’s Own Land Of Negative Paranoia. By then I, the Founder, no longer headed the Executive, as they now called it. I hesitate to liken myself to Nelson Mandela but the truth is those who followed were not of the same calibre. Soon there were divorces everywhere and we’d lost a lot of personnel. I comfort myself by saying it was only the less aware who fell for it but I loved them all.

Smirf and I greet each other out of the best of the old time with great hellos and hugs and kisses. There was still part of me that loved Smirf madly.

“Where’s Sheyla!”

“I left her frothing with the females.” Smirf and I share a vast history of anti sacred cow humour. It involved multiple interlocking familial, social and political incorrectnesses which some audiences found funny in the death zone. But that can go two ways and after we started ‘getting death threats from the United Nations’ we decided to try safer callings than metaphysical comedy such as dentistry for sharks. We also regret how marriage put the terminator to our relationship, though we swore it wouldn’t. Smirf conveyed an urgent need and we head in towards the generally unused East Wing kitchen toilet.

‘Without thinking’ I followed him in.

We chat as he is peeing and I am mesmerised by the whole package. How beautiful he is. How perfectly at home in his body. So different from the unwholesome lump I first met. And Sheyla stole all of my artistry. I help him which, of course, doesn’t, has him laughing and spraying and tumescing.

“Did you lock the door!” I said to distract him from my lack of product, having emptied myself in the woods.

He shot the bolt.

Before he eased off my jeans he quoted Lady Chatterley to me although in these dark times I couldn’t describe what he was doing or saying except that it was naughtily delicious and made me very happy. 

After my nights with Eve it is good feeling man again. 

“God, I’ve missed you!” He said.

“If you’d chosen me you’d be regretting her.”

“Believe me, I wouldn’t.”

“Then why don’t we get back as a threesome?”

I can feel the answer. It’s his fear of me and Sheyla together that’s clinched the outcome. There are two ways to handle this, pull my pants back on and leave or.

Take him and burn. 

Repeating anew what I first knew from the body truth and emotional lies of Anthony. We are crazy to touch skin, hands bellies arms, skin. I am utterly wide open to his gorgeous joy sun burst alive in me and I am melted, all body heart soul and mind melted in the archetypal sensation of life lust. There was a moment, when he curled into me, of such raging incandescence, of such piercing beauty, that I knew it was our last encounter. In a boiling pool of lava my voice barely articulates “don’t stop!”

In full clenched intensity he shares all the self obliteration of his joy and pain in me. My whole being is stretched by a black hole in utter, silent scream. So many dead lovers and lives and love lies awake a raging desire to bite off his head and be eternal complete. Shit him tomorrow and let their be flowers.

My religious moment, if there is one, is this. Barren mad woman womb-manned. Where centuries of raw and umbilically born cooks and maids shat I feel.

As he pulls away, a nuke of emotion swells through my pores. I can’t stop my body crying. Come back, you bastard, that belongs to me. You belong to me. I laughed more with this man than with anybody ever. Sheyla will have him and I would murder time sooner.

Spent, he sits on the seat, hands between his knees, looking at me, shining and shocked and fearful. I am still gaping wide, catching at my breath. Suddenly he is bent over and there is unfathomable noise. 

“God, what have you done to me!”

Sounds and smells of a major evacuation grace the morning.

Someone rattled the door. It’s her. I imagine her coming through the door and we head off for a warm bed and freedom.

“Smirf, are you in there.”

“See you upstairs,” he called to her. 

“Open the door.”

“I can’t.” He makes unnecessary straining noises. I bight my hand to not let the guffaw out.

She gives a sadistic chuckle. “Okay. Room twenty-one.” 

Her steps move away along the stone corridor sharply emphasising that beautiful yoni I knew so well. Momentarily I was murderously jealous over how much of each other they have. Though in moments from now she might be giving him seven hells. But imagine the making up. And I might be there watching them eating each other, as Maisy once thought was going on. At another flick of the wheel I might have been a cannibal murderess. I suppose there is still time.

I imagine he knows, that they all know, which is why I am alone.

He’s finished his evacuation and is wiping up.

“I’m normally constipated for days after a drive.”

“It sounds like the usual effect I have on people.”

“Do you unstick marriages as well.”

“Raise them from the dead.”

A momentary defeated look suggests our intense encounter is something of a rarity.

“You will be hearing from me.”

“It’s never too late.”

After a long kiss and loving cupping he made for the door. “Catch you later.”

“Room seven.” I said as he slipped away, fear and laughter in his eyes and something else which burns with regret and the eternity of death. There will always be a last time.

Along with crazy body laughter tears flood. Not especially for anybody but my own body gates release for dead lovers in all my lives heightened by that sense of the eternal that afflicts the traveller in time, that they are never dead but waiting for me. Dripping over the sink, I catch sight of my reflection. I am one for expressed emotion and there’s so much pouring back at me.

“Welcome to Holy Wood,” I said.

Someone is rattling the door. 

“There are fifty bathrooms in this place.” I said. “Go find your own.” 

On the third rattle the bolt pops and a young man stumbles in. He is shocked when he sees my face and bottom nakedness and, no doubt, the effluvia of dark entropy. He is so beautiful I could lick ice cream off him all over.

“Sorry.”

Before he can back out the door I’ve kicked it shut.

“Be my guest,”

He misses the bowl first time while I wash my face and towel it with my primrose commemoratorials, all that is available at this neglected end of the house.

“What level are you?” I ask.

“Advanced,” he said. “You?”

I laughed. “Darling, I’m the original.”

He doesn’t get it. There is no reason why he should but my tone obviously conveys primordial sexual authority.

“Would you like to play?” I said. 

He takes a moment to process the request. Such a beautiful creature must have infinite options.

“Love to,” he said. He rolls a large wadge of toilet paper and wipes me both sides from ankle to crotch. I am stunned. And then he kisses me. This is not proper pre-play etiquette.  He knows it and I know it. I am weak with the thought of our future.

I haul on jeans and we walk out together across the busy hall. I see Sheyla and Smirf on the stairs in intense confrontation. I fear she will push him over the banister. Then she sees me hand in hand with a gorgeous thing and I feel the clunk of her thought and she smiles. 

Dana and I make it to the sanctuary of the Play Room. I relievedly doff my sticky jeans and after applying some wipes we play together in approved formulae. There are already twenty couples in the room, male to female, female to male. Other parings are possible though none are yet here. The sound levels are high with occasional mass crescendoes followed by much laughter then business sounds again. There is no penetration and the object is not to reach climax. My main reason for starting this was giving women the freedom to touch and viscerally worship male assets without rubber, if they wanted, and without consequences. It can be extraordinarily liberating, especially for stranded virgins. The most poignant thing to see is a middle aged maid, or even elderly, in visceral ecstasy over an erect penis. It takes away all the fear and threat completely. I’ve had thousands of women come and pour out to me their gratitude. What beautiful creatures they are when they are happy. What a wonderful career I have created. This time was the same as the first time. Even though I had just had been core blown open by Smirf, the feel of this young man lit every nerve in my body as though I was one of those newly liberated virgins. It is perfectly permissible to shed tears over a man if you are so moved but it is not permissible to wipe your tear stained face on his belly, which I got very into, utilising his sprightly jism as face cream. Afterwards I said the exchange wasn’t necessary but he would be very happy to, so I directed his fingers to ways Mirf’s urgency had overshot. Afterwards, in our check out, he said the pulsation of my sobbing on his fingers had been the most beautiful experience of his life. It had made him realise how connected up a woman is. In his culture there was no information and women were insanely dismembered into pigeon holes in his head. The feeling between us was of instantaneous perfect love, which it is. Suitability as life partners comes in with other practical considerations but at this level everybody is suitable.

“And you, darling. And you, though history suggests it might take a while to realise.”

“You’ve just shown me.”

I liked this young man. He was at that perfect age of youth and innocence like a ripe and delicious apple, like Buddha before the worm of enlightenment had got in. I asked him if he would like to go next door. So we walked naked down the adjoining corridor carrying our clothes into the lion pit, the Fuck Room, which has padded walls, it can be so loud and distracting. Curiously, it was almost empty and quiet, which I soon changed. We had a lovely hour of intense worship, emulating gods of ancient India in their profound privilege. On a pinnacle of beauty time had stopped. Few mornings of my life had profound truth been so perfectly presented. Eve was deep prehistory reaching back to first intimations of forgotten gods; Smirf was social history of fallen man lifted by his sense of humour, and this young man completed a circle back to the timeless moment of discovered gods. We call it sex but it is naked life, before, above, beyond the moral ruins of fallen cities.

I lay on him in the immortal afterglow bridging our sweat soaked brains with a whisper.

“Be my god.”

His brain was obviously not up to processing any kind of absurd request although he did acknowledge something special and precious. As I returned to time and place I ascertained he was in a polymorphous relationship back in London and would be very happy to extend it. I was feeling like Goddess fulfilled at the end of time, and we had three more days of this. Once I’d have gone flat out through them without sleep. Intense but increasingly dislocated. Now was much better. I had acquired the art of feeling.

I offered him a three day marriage, all expenses paid.

“Thank you. It’ll have to be another time. I’m one of the helpers.”

“So am I. On a special. Shakti would never speak to me again.”

He found his telephone and took my number. The room matron wafted by reminding gently but firmly to resume fucking or leave. 

“I’ll do what I can,” he said.

I told him my room number. “I might be busy but you can always knock.”

7

I sat in the anteroom for some time, feeling like leaves blown in a forest. There was another woman there staring into infinity. I thought of propositioning her and going back but not enough to break my golden solitude. Not every morning of my life begins like this, three lovers before breakfast, the first and the last covering the extreme ends of the spectrum. What a day! As Mad Max said, what a beautiful day.

Trailing Goddess entrails I stepped out to merge with the excited arrivals. There is something so beautiful about gatherings of this tantric community for these are upmarket brutallions I would normally hate, loathe, despise, avoid, have drowned at birth, but they have been given one complete key to eternal life and are briefly human.  All the strange gods, the gods of the lost and the damned, have been brought back into the box from which they should never have escaped, our living yonis. Our souls, really, but yoni is the gate, the doorway to living eternity. Whatever other so-called tantric communities might do, this one doesn’t piss around the edges. Uniquely human angelic and animal noises flow through the building. One catches at the edge of my heart. I know that voice. She and I have thrashed about. We have walked on clouds but right now it is too much to be reminded. My whole emotional life has boiled over and I would like to put a sock in her mouth. I have had a professional association with the sound of orgasm for over fifty years in this time and hundreds elsewhere. Remembering those early cries, when my ears were fresh to the edgeless sounds of Earth, breaks my heart, for many of those early lives are already dead. It touches me like a memory of Eternity. All in the timeless heart of the English countryside. For a traveller from beyond the Cataclysm it is all so doubly desperately beautiful that you have to laugh or you would drown crying.

Many of the new people do not know me. I am no longer known as the legendary Founder they have heard eulogised. It’s fantastic how you can be invisible in plain sight. No matter how much I might resemble her photographs she should appear old enough to be my grandmother. And the new generation see quite differently, so there is less resemblance in their eyes. It’s the occasional old one who is the danger. Usually the change of clothes, hair style and tinted specs or contacts is enough and I am thinner. To my own eyes I am gaunt but young men find it sexy. Beneath their radar I am older sister and mother, both of whom invite vital adoration in the silent whispers of the dark. And it is a role for which I have profound comprehension, incest being, to infinity, my origin.

Pity to use that word with its intimations only of darkness but Ius is the daughter of the last human being and, although Maisy is her body, Ius rules her. When you move beneath my surface you touch something terribly deep and you know it.

My task this weekend is to look after a notable ‘young’ man code named Jackson. I know nothing about him beyond that he is painfully famous. “Like John Lennon but not dead” was one of Shakti’s phrases. That stirred strange memories. I knew John Lennon very well.

“Shakti, who is he? All this secrecy is – weird!”

“They’ve pulled the Act on him.”

“Who has!”

This is nonsense. Shakti, following a family tradition, joined the darker side of the Civil Service and signed the Official Secrets Act, which renders her safe around the corridors of power but can seriously complicate encounters with the chimps who walk them. We both know the Act, though it’s used to cover all manner of unsavoury things, shouldn’t be applied to bonking in cupboards. I’ve done my legal homework. As the country is not at war and I am not a government employee they can’t make me sign it. And while you would expect the aeronautical industry to keep government secrets, I shudder to think what kind of fun the Sun or the Daily Mail would have with us. Many political careers would go down the chute, possibly an entire government. Which is one reason I’ve not been seeing a lot of Shakti lately. 

“You said he was a performer.”

“He is. I don’t know who or why?” invoked the Act, she means. “Maybe it’s to do with national image. I only know they want the best.”

“Who?” Imagining she meant the Government, which sounded too weird even to me.

“Him and his wife.”

“And who else – that invokes Official Secrets?”

“I couldn’t tell you, even if I knew.”

I had to think about this. It resonated with the true purpose of all my actions, saving the human species from the extinction its industries were increasingly knowingly committed to. But I’d never met an officer of State, or even a contemporarily educated person, who came anywhere near grasping my story. That may have changed. I am out of touch with much of modern culture, considering it generally to be a frenzied nightmare run by criminals and moral imbeciles. If such people are taking an interest it can’t be for anybody’s benefit but their own demented purposes. I might be wrong. Ultimately I have to be wrong because the world exists and if it has no future it has no present either. But no one I knew had that level of knowledge and, among the rest, who to trust in such a maelstrom of frantic overfeeding? Nobody. Which is why I had given up any serious attempt at the primary mission and put it all on Tantra. Of course it would work among enlightened beings but as things were it was not a whole lot different from drinking yourself to death.

“Is she coming?”

“No.”

“So what’s the point? I’ve never done a lone husband that turned out well.”

“It’s complicated. He’s impotent with women but refuses to acknowledge anything else.”

“What am I supposed to do? Dress as a man? I made a good Fred Astaire in Top Hat.”

“I’ve seen you work miracles.”

“It happens. Mostly with women. There’s part of me still wants to cut men up in small pieces and feed them to the pigs. Then eat the bacon. I’m only saying, Shakti. So far it hasn’t happened.”

“Frankly, I’m sick jealous, and every woman on Earth would be too. He’s married to an incredibly beautiful woman. But beautiful women aren’t always the answer, are they? If we don’t sort it a national idol might just hang himself from the rafters.”

“And that would kill the Stock Market?”

“Something like that.”

Shakti had gone as close as she could to telling me without naming him. If you’re business was having sex he’d be the last person you’d ask to leave the premises. But my business is about bringing consciousness to the activity. When I can.

“Shakti, I need to talk to them both.”

“They want you to meet him without prejudice.”

“This is stupid. Heart surgery doesn’t begin when the patient walks through the door.”

“I know. They love your writing.”

“My writing? What writing? I’ve published nothing for thirty years.”

“I hate to tell you this but I think you have an online fan club. Someone has put together a compilation of writings and talks by someone they call The Original. The compilers imply she’s old or dead.”

“How do you connect her with me?”

“It’s obvious to anybody who knows you well and I recognise some of the pieces. Many of them are transcripts of talks you’ve given.”

“Which were never recorded.”

“Apparently they were.”

She showed me. It was all text and visually boring. Tastefully presented but unlikely to catch attention unless you started reading. I was immediately drawn in and wanted to know the person who wrote it and completely failed to recognise it as myself. How clear, how idealistic, how beautiful. Surely not me? I thought I had evolved. Instead I had gained the paralysis of worldly wisdom. I glanced at other pieces and now did recognise something. The emotion came right back. My farewell to Liverpool, 1964, though I didn’t know it at the time. The beautiful dark city hidden behind London. Everything bad, racism, prostitution, drug addiction, football, everything politically incorrect with stars but somehow beautiful, Scion Kop and everybody’s edible Beatles. It wasn’t dated. None of the pieces were. I wondered what Shakti knew and how she had related it to me? 

Fear and rage swept through me. A frightening and exhilarating feeling such as orgasmic people call an energy rush. Shakti certainly felt it but I didn’t say anything, just looked her right between the eyes hard enough to burn the wall behind. 

“It’s you, isn’t it?”

“No. I swear.”

“Rosie,” I said, reverting to her family name, “I need to know what’s going on or I’m out of here.”

“Don’t go.” It was a very simple plea from Rosie the girl for whom I had always been some sort of goddess. “Whatever their agenda is, it doesn’t involve you. You’d just be like his therapist.”

As a statement this needed unpicking but Shakti was in no condition to be interrogated. My saying yes would be one less thing for her to worry about. This was my business, my soul, why would I not get involved? The smell of government in the background was highly disturbing but no way as disturbing as my relationship to ultimate reality.

“Shakti, we need to talk, and soon, and we need to talk for a day, a week, a month or a year, until there is nothing left to say.”

“Yes,” she said, startled.

“You’ve chosen to play Goddess and Goddess would like you to know all about her.”

“I couldn’t have a better teacher.”

“Yes, you could,” I said, patting her over the heart. “Yes you could.”

8

My young man will arrive before dinner. I have time to relax and wonder if I can borrow someone for a more leisurely encounter than the ones I’ve just had. I love sex, or I should say Maisy is addicted to it as a way of chasing off her inner demons, but my Ius yoni was built for the mind obliterating GM members of Mars, the slightest touch from which was a live wire from God. It is a magistical combination leading to profound inner knowledge like the marriage of Heaven and Hell. I cannot think of Candor’s, although I constantly do, lest the grief of its non existence should kill me. While the purpose of Tantra among Terran humans tends towards the asexual, it is partly because they have never experienced how total sex can be. It is true that my human yoni is unmodified but Ius’s modifications flow through me and she has, through Maisy, become a connoisseur of the historical insufficiencies of pre-Cataclysm man. She loves them the way some strange people like to make flint axes.

I went to my room and showered. It is decades since I formally meditated. These days I can evoke the state like turning a tap. In a way I am always there, my life a constant theosophical love affair with being humanly alive. Soaping my body and feeling the water washing over me are pleasures both temporal and immortal. Dressing is a sacrament of arresting beauty. I am fascinated by the simple but profound beauty of women’s clothes. How did this rough world produce such miraculous beauty. I have long ceased seeing my reflection as ugly. I know the inner state of this visible exterior. I began to dress as Mahadevi, the great interior. My recent tears, once art has been applied, have lent a cosmic grandeur. I am all the tragic queens of time. I took a careful look at this creature in the mirror. I used to avoid mirrors. So confusing when you are so many creatures. Now I see double, even compound tragedy. Maisy’s shattered spirit overlaid by the sorrows of Ius, created in a universe which, if she succeeds in what she has set out to do, can only vanish. Never even existed, whether she really independently existed or was just Maisy’s way of coping with her monsters. And now it is all transfigured by the spiritual presence. That there is no accounting for. It is the final refuge, the power of the soul.

If I was really wise I’d liquidise enough assets to afford the best shrinks and spiritual guides and focus on tranquility. But I have done. I do. And I know inside what I know is deep truth. And what I want right now is not lighting a joss stick and meditating on a candle floating in a pool but deep sex with another deep soul. I simply adore the orgasmic fiesta. It does not cure but nothing cures and in a world where nothing cures it comes closest, fills the pot, fills the cup to overflowing, so even tragedy acquires depth and life, as Christ showed, but this is the other side, the woman’s side that frightens all the little boys into making prick negating weapons to shut the woman down. So this is my God, man, and my tragedy is that you never knew me before the culture of fear and loathing sucked out your soul. 

Perhaps I will join the orgy and invite Eve. Hold hands while we are mounted by men of desperate sensitivity – that boy! In our community age has become meaningless. Our oldest member, apart from me, is seventy eight. Ninety two is not that extraordinary. You wouldn’t take her for a day over seventy, and she is mysteriously, sexually beautiful.

I went to Mr Jackson’s intended room to reacquaint myself with its possibilities. It has a perfect view of the lawns and the extensive trees. There is surely nowhere more beautiful than an English country house when saturated in orgasmic plenitude. Mr Jackson has a problem in the sexual department. All this secrecy makes me feel as if I am awaiting Count Dracula. A national icon, did Shakti call him? There are few young actors who might fit that description. Even I know who it must be and grow weak at the thought. He is still in the prime of life, married to a famously beautiful woman. Medical reasons have been eliminated, Shakti tells me. That leaves psychosomas of mind and soul, and that is more my territory. It makes me rather like a matador. Just how mad a bull can I handle? Not very is the truth nowadays. Even on the wild side my tastes tend to men of refinement. But I couldn’t live with them. Far too demanding. I couldn’t live with anybody. After examining the room with its highly distracting mirrored walls and ceiling – I wonder if Eve ever has her gardener here? I chuckle. It makes sense. Or visiting tantra masters!

Facing south, it is so filled with light. The white bed dazzles from the ceiling and mirrored walls. It is as I imagine Heaven would be. It is not a room for anything but pleasure and light. 

Seeing myself floating on a ceiling bed is strange. It draws me into a room which doesn’t exist. Up there is a beautiful woman I die to touch. Forever untouchable. I touch you here without seeing. I more than touch. I am all this without seeing. It is such a strange experience, feeling what I am seeing, raising the skirt inch by inch. Lowering the top to make my breasts feel wanted. Lifting the skirt off my breathtaking legs all the way to the navel. Lifting my legs to sweep away my misty knickers. There she is, yoni, so brutal, so divine. Touching her, touching it, springs to life luminous desire for all this beauty, consuming soul, consuming and creating it. A high wire walk, a dance above a pit of negative emotions, shame and guilt waiting like hungry crocodiles along with Sister Mercy’s cane.

I have spent a lifetime refreshing this ever new moment for it to be untrammelled by the negative. I opened my legs wide, with my arms above me presenting my freshly opened yoni to the universe as the receptive centre of all being. I am yours and you want me. A beautiful cross making a much better icon to live or die on than the Roman gibbet – Father Anthony’s term. He wrestled with this. I wrestled with it with him. He vanished when the scandal broke. Well, it didn’t break, though some civil authorities went to prison. Better than me burning in Hellfire Everlasting for their benefit. It was the only thing in all this horror that felt good to me.  

I closed my eyes to reach beyond the limiting visual to melt in the light. I hovered in and out of all-dissolving orgasm and the material world. I hear the sound of climaxing through wall and floor responding to my rhythm. This could be my eidetic imagination taking a wander by itself. It often does. As a test I centre myself in pure orgasmic stillness and the sounds slow and fade. Then I move out into rhythm again and the sounds return. I sink back into stillness. We don’t want the clients to wear themselves out before the event, though yonis ignored for weeks in the corporate jungle can benefit from gentle preparatory opening. Gentle, I want to remind myself. We’ve got all weekend to build to a soul searing finale. It’ll be better when it comes. I do love this career I’ve carved for us. Who’d imagine that sublime orgasm would be the great gift from Mars?

Jackson wanted to come by helicopter. This community does not draw attention to itself. Even our security is imported and that is expensive, getting good people rather than mercenary thugs. He has to come by road from the nearest airfield. I wonder if it will put him in a bad mood? One can hope. My rage with Shakti has reminded me of the orgasmic power of anger. 

I am going to sing my song at a world venue like the Albert Hall. From accepting that I would sing I gradually become aware that I couldn’t. This sense of being silenced is building to an unbearable pressure.

A complex entity, made of many men and stories, approached between the places from the little area under the stairs where stood the chair on which I’d sing. He became Mr Jackson driven up fast in a sleek black car over the jet black surface of the empty car park. The chauffeur opened the door and out stepped Candor. The boy, the man, the brother, the lover and, finally, the opponent I lived with for two hundred years until he died. 

I am standing with nowhere to hide. I cry out for Asante, my mother. I scream because my beautiful life is over. I scream because all life is over. Behind me a giant head of Asante, red as if lit by a setting sun. It is Asante and it is more than Asante, it is my own deepest self and it is a doorway to another and realer world which I have known forever. 

My scream has startled the whole house. The sounds of orgasm stop. Even in the deep woods people have heard me. Now on the steps behind me the organisers gather staring at me. Shakti in her pinks and purples has the colours of the deeper me. I look back. The man approaching isn’t Candor and yet…here words fail me. Hundreds are needed. One impression his clothes give me is of a worldly Sherlock Holmes. Behind me, through the deep red self, are no longer people but centuries and generations of memory. I know of two worlds, Earth and Mars, but now I am aware of another which I know in every detail but have never seen before.

Shakti is standing in the doorway. Transfixed by the dream, I am still lying in my self pleasuring position on the bed utterly oblivious to being seen. Several heads are behind her. S and I have a microsecond eye exchange and she closes the door. I am still full of the red memories but they are not Maisy’s, they are not Ius’s, though they are the colour of Mars. They are of some other world entire which I remember as real memories but I cannot place in either of my known life lines. I lie there stunned, grasping for them, almost getting them but slowly they fade. I know that world and losing it is heartbreaking. How can I remember what doesn’t fit into either of my lifetimes? I am used to this, when younger I had many lives which didn’t know of each other and one central personality who knew something of them all. That world was like the approach of her. But I haven’t known that for fifty years. I had come to accept that, in a human sense, Ius and Maisy covered all of me. Has there all the time been a third person, neither Ius nor Maisy? Perhaps my real self? The idea is terrifying. I speak of Goddess, but she comes as timeless presence of love, not a vast history of many many lives. Given my obsessions, there is one other possibility. Neither Maisy of the doomed Earth nor Ius, the Martian future, but the very critical thing I’ve always been looking for, the key to saving the slow grown Earth and its massive future. Given the primary nature of the dream and the uniqueness of the vision and how I am feeling right now in the aftermath, everything points to this moment being of fundamental importance.

I am a sea of tears when there is a gentle knock on the door. Shakti is back, alone. She stands by the bed looking down at me in a slightly rectitudinal attitude of English ladies who inherited the Norman Conquest and are trying to get over it. I imagine her saying. ‘Thank you for everything you’ve done for this tantric community but your journey with us is over.’ She later told me something like that was hovering in the wings but the sight of my eyes had torn her heart apart. Whatever she may think of her mad ‘aunt’, there is really no-one else like me.

“I had a dream,” I said.

And my continuing dishevelment had stirred her deeply. She lay beside me, entwining her legs in mine and wrapped herself all around me as if to protect me from everything. Both our heads are crazy with our different storms, hers far more immediate than mine. It is a chance to stop and recharge with each other, perhaps the only one we will get. Any witness would assume we are having sex but it is our experience that yoni is the core of loving intelligence. Placing a hand on her completes a circuit of soul intelligence containing all other forms of intelligence. A hand on yoni and heart or touching third eyes is like a brief, intense cosmic marriage, highly restorative, recommended before exams and other challenges.

We lay together pleasuring each other, which is our practice. It comes within the purview of touch for health, in the biological model promoting the flow of wellbeing endorphins. A few moments of a finger or finger tip, especially a woman’s finger, which is so fine and friendly, upon the physical trigger of the human spirit, the clit, will take you through a guided tour of Heaven on Earth as nothing else can. It’s the reason I believe that when Earth receives the full benefit of women’s creativity all our little troubles will be over. Then we will enter the vast realms of true creative intelligence. Today Shakti and I had a conversation in the most intense touch. It’s hardly surprising, considering clitoris is pure sensation wired deep into our huge brains, that sensation becomes revelatory intelligence. We barely more than touched but it left us wonderstruck with the experience of mind wholly and only beautiful and so far beyond our ordinary day minds.

We lay together in the quiet aftermath sharing a wish that time would never start again.

She said. “I’ve missed you so much.”

“Me too.”

“Will you be okay today?”

“Past experience suggests so. I’ve had four beautiful sexual encounters today, so the works are working. But my soul feels very naked.” 

While I mesmerically repair her lipstick I tell her the dream.

“Who is he, Count Dracula?”

“You know, I never asked. As far as I can tell he’s the farm boy who got lucky. With a strange past and a fairy tale marriage likely to hit the rocks. Terrified it’ll all come out.”

“So why come to a public weekend?”

“I told him the group energies and you might work a miracle.”

“What kind of miracle?”

“Whatever I say seems inadequate. An impotent rapist. He oozes charisma. He’s magically orgasmic. Strike the right spark and run.”

“You did?”

“No I didn’t. It took me days to recover. If I ever did.”

“And what makes you think I will thrive on the treatment?”

“It was your vid that blew the lid.”

“The new one?”

She nodded.

“But I look like Dracula’s mother.”

“I think that’s the point.”

“Oh my god! Shakti, I need someone like that like I need tea with rat poison.”

“His second choice was Justina.”

“Of course.” The total lesbian. I often wonder if that’s the secret of Justina’s amazing power over men.

“I said you were the best. They’re already in love with your words.”

“Don’t remind me. Did I disturb anyone?” 

“Only the whole house. I never heard a scream like it. Primordial.”

“Scream is song too!”

We contemplated this terrible thought.

“I’ve dealt with shit before,” I said, “but this felt like a new frontier.”

“I can tell him not to come.”

I chuckled. “I’d rather tell him to his face.”

Shakti didn’t get the double meaning, then she did. We smirkled together.

“Come eat. You’re looking a little skinny. Get some home grown food inside you.”

“I only do microwave. It might kill me.”

9

After truly awesome salad minutes from the soil with darling baby snails we let run upon the tablecloth – well, one – we helpers met, mostly women and the smell of pheromones was rife. The beautiful Dana was there flanked by two women, each with a hand on him. He looked at me and widened his eyes a bit in acknowledgment. I looked at my rivals, truly young, beautiful and heroically naive. I couldn’t envision being in a relationship with them no matter what their thoughts on polyamory. Given how superglued they are to him, I thanked Mother Nature for the brief and wonderful time I had with him.

The others looked as though they were trying not to look at me. The longer I live the more improbable it seems being women in this world, the universal, multitasking queen, from making and nurturing babies to handling the patriarchal nexus. Without us the entire mad system would vanish and yet do we get the credit? Do we give ourselves the credit? And we handle shit. God got so lucky with women, far luckier than he had any right to be. Yet here I am with a bunch of them and I am spitting teeth. I want to scream at them wake up you silly bitches you’re two generations from extinction. You’re the most brilliant universal creature for making life happen and you’re gabbling like turkeys before Christmas while your slaughterman sons whet the knives. To be honest, these are the ones who know. They have serious careers, or would have, and that they’re here for a weekend of absolute pleasure is part of their magnificence. Every one so different and extraordinary. Here hovers my Everestian friend, the total orgasmic joke, which, like Einstein, in all my years of trying to be funny, I never found. Perhaps there simply isn’t one. We have to learn to laugh at nothing, and that’s the final ‘joke’.

After the meeting I’m on the West Steps in final conflab with Shakti and Justina, just like my dream. Justina is one of those people who makes you think there must be a god and she has to be woman. She is beautiful to a depth that is hard to fathom otherwise. Others are perfectly good women without having a hundredth of her qualities. And why does she waste it all on tantric sex? Well, of course, she doesn’t. She is a great wise natural soul from the future when all the delusions are gone. She has a beautiful stillness like a deep lake. I, who don’t think of myself to be a lesbian but as a personian, imagine being happy with Justina until the end of time. 

Shakti has at last shown us who Jackson is. On her phone we see a man standing on a red carpet looking like the master of all he surveys. Beside him is a majestic woman in floor length black. He is one of the few people in the world known by a single name, in his case Immanuel. Even Justina is awestruck but I am not completely surprised. One of my life’s mysteries is how I know what I know. 

Shakti and Justina are looking at me with the obvious question. With a feeling of making possibly the most fateful decision of my present life I say.

“I’ll have him.”

“Good,” said Justina. “If it had been her I’d have had your eyes out.”

I touched her exquisite forearm. She slid our hands together. There is definitely something different about touching her. We looked at the picture again. His notoriety overwhelmed his glamour but without it what was there? He was beautiful but, as the English would say, a trifle common. A pinch of lost boy in need of mothering. It was a key ingredient in his magical appeal. An ordinary man had been filled with the gold of a god. But she? Merely by standing there she seemed to be a creature of legends.

“Why is he coming! He’s got the goddess of horses to ride at home. Why would he come here to get bruised on an old mule?”

“That’s the point, you’re not any sort of common woman. You’re great spirit. We had a four hour session the other day and the only thing that turned him on was your bloody video.”

I looked at Justina. She shrugged.

“It’s spirit, isn’t it?” She said. “I don’t have what it takes to touch that sort of problem.”

“How so? You’re a hundred times more beautiful than me.”

She brought her so lively, intelligent face close to mine. “It’s all superficial.”

“Bollocks. And if it is I don’t care. You know we can get married now. Say yes and we can go home and leave him to Shakti.”

“One day I’ll give you a serious answer.”

“Hey!” said Shakti, sounding a little worried, “can’t it wait till Monday? I’ve got a workshop to run.”

Justina and I kissed. A serious answer! It sent all my weevils of doubt into riot. Perhaps the sublime joke isn’t the last word on anything. Perhaps it’s the simple ‘yes’ to life. Then it’s all that riot of confusion in the presence of eternity. 

“I do love you,” I said.

“I know. One day when I feel grown up enough. Right now every cherry in the orchard is throwing itself in my direction and I’m much too selfish to say no.”

We kissed a merry mutual affirmation. Now I must prepare for this man. I need them to go so I can quickly bone up on him. I feel a familiar anticipation and mounting terror as of a climber approaching a daunting rock face he nimbly ascended in his youth. Why the hell didn’t I stay retired!

We have a GPS on the car and when it turns into the drive I get a last affirming hug. Shakti’s irritatingly lasts two seconds too long, and they leave me. For a moment it feels like the final walk to the gallows. No. This gallows there is nobody here. No one else will make this with me even as an executioner. For a moment I am alone with my memories of Candor, and that is a multiplanet, multidimension story no one in the surrounding world knows or is even capable of knowing. The dream is so hugely with me. Beside this the story of an impotent celebrity seems so minor it cannot be the real story but it will be such a relief if it’s the one that plays out.  For three days I can focus on someone else’s problem and forget my own. The man thing, which, after woman, is the other total object of my obsession.

To distract myself, and to remind myself of what I already don’t know about this man, I quickly looked at his entry in Wikipedia. Born Ireland 1978! Older! Mother a landscape painter. Father unknown. A record of truancy and home education. Thrown out of film school in Dublin for making ‘Jesus and his Women’, which the Irish Times called ‘absolute pornography’. This got him into London’s Central where he studied acting and was picked up by Hollywood. I hadn’t time to read all the films he had made, only to note pages and pages of them, from independents which had won prizes to blockbusters I vaguely recognised. These days I tend to assume all celebrities are factory made and therefore totally meaningless except to networks of profit related to humans increasingly factory farmed. In my thirty second flick through I got the impression of a career of greater range than I had expected, which might include some things that I would find interesting. I also got the impression of a much bigger celebrity than I had imagined. Married. No children. Spouse Maria Evangelista. The name was deeply, multiply familiar. A quick touch. Nun, film maker and business woman. The undead spectre of Mother Mercy towering over my childhood. As I closed the phone I glimpsed a title, Cell Walker’s Dream. It was as if an anvil had fallen on my head, of multiple associations most of which had the flavour of the unlived, forgotten world. 

All I want to do is stop time and pay attention to this. Instead, the sleek black car draws up, not on shining mirror black but aged tarmac stretching back to Eve’s world war and chilling echoes of the Shannon runway. I think of that moment over and over again. It lives not then but now. I feel that scream that I knew only in a dream. I watch in terrified fascination as indeed the smart driver steps out and opens the door for him. The scream on my nerves ploughs a thousand years deep through the leafy landscape, unfathomable emotion. The man who steps out, lightly disguised in designer hoodie and dark glasses, has all the frightful arrogance of assured masculinity. Yet strange emotion comes with him like a dark wind blowing through the trees. Candor? Impossible, for a thousand reasons from Ius, Candors sister-wife, mother of his children, Maisy’s fantasy goddess, can have no brother who really moves the wind, to travel backwards in time is already impossible never mind the brother of an imaginary being managing it. There the rebuttal is immediate. Only imaginary beings could manage it. And what does that mean? Nothing I have ever known feels like this. The dream has already alerted me to an impossibility. Nothing is ordinary here. The most terrifying thought for Maisy is it would make Ius real. A being once living somehow still alive. What would it be like for Maisy and Immanuel if, inside them, those two lovers woke and met? 

Once to be living. Eternal?

With these thoughts comes great wobbliness. I have to sit on the balustrade. He ascends like someone summiting Annapurna. This is not a meeting of standing armies.

He sits beside me.

It’s only a man. I love men with deep soul worship. I breathe the power of their life force in me. There is a wall between us. His sunglasses are like insect eyes. They recall the helmet heads of Mars which always spelled danger and difficulty. And the infinite eyes of the machines which, because they were self programmed with infinitely evolving software to interface with human beings, we easily forgot were not human at all but bottomless wells of nothing. 

“Mahadevi?” 

“Mr Jackson.”

“Are you stoned or am I?”

I shook my head. “Are you?”

“Clean since matrimony. It was the first of twelve hundred conditions.”

“You have a strong wife?”

“Strong is too weak a word. The second condition was marry me or be eaten by crocodiles.”

“So what am I doing here?”

“That would be the third condition.”

I laughed, having discovered the third world just an hours ago. “Sex?”

It took him a very long time to respond.

“It’s my only expertise,” I said.

“Is it?”

“That and making children, the whole range of life.”

“Huh.” He looked at me over his sunglasses. Eyes of ice and pain. “Is that your talent, Mahadevi, making the obvious jump off the wall?” I took it as a compliment. 

He pushed the glasses up again. I wanted to be where I could see those unhappy living eyes.

“Nicely put, Mr J.” I had a sudden flash of him exploding inside me. That Scream was made for this place. “I’ve done a lot of other things but only from necessity.”

“Such as?”

I wanted to say but my lips kept tightening.

“It depends which of me you’re asking, and what combination.”

His lips smiled wintrilly. 

“Is it so difficult to say?”

“I learned very young to play the game of being only one person. I got very good at it but it wasn’t real.”

He was very quiet after that. Eventually he said. “What is real?”

I felt this was a moment of choice between getting a shag with this man or having him walk away. I decided to go for the latter. For the first time I noticed the car was still waiting with the driver in it.

“There is a field of awareness in me which I call the infinity machine. It was built in the future but it transcends time so it can talk to me. Regarding our intelligence it calls people of our time the tick-tock people. We are built up, as it once was, from simple on-off switches which we dignify with the name Binary as though it had some holiness. After a time the binary computers were able to program themselves into higher dimensions and at the same time free us from the tick-tockness which allowed us to divide everything into black and white, this and that, us and them, to fight wars over territories which had no natural meaning,  Though we had the potential to be much greater beings, we sanctified tick-tockness as patriotism, honour and glory, we obeyed the rules of tick-tockness, even to the point of of our own destruction. It’s very very hard for people to see how stupid they are being even though they are filled with greater potential. You can blame evolution, corruption, evil. You would expect psychotherapists to know this but it turns out many of them are simply high functionaries in this system. They think what I’ve just told you is a clear manifestation of insanity. Tick-tock man believes not in intuition but science, the vast edifice of tick-tock. An iceberg. Eventually it will melt and there will be water and life but for now it’s all illusion, a vast conspiracy of idiocy. Most psychotherapists have told me I’m too sick for treatment, that if what they do could work on me it would destroy me but, because I am so high functioning, I can fight them off. This includes physical manifestations of the impossible as when Jung told Freud there would be a loud crack in his bookcase and just afterwards there was. And he said it would happen again and it did. Tick-tock Man will impose an explanation within the rigid rules of the iceberg whereas the reality is there is no ice but water flowing everywhere from what tick-tock calls the past and the future. Right now we all have the potential to be far more intelligent than we allow ourselves to be for a multitude of apparently iron clad reasons like getting and keeping a job on the ice.” 

I was half aware of a signal between Mr Jackson and the driver. The car reversed and drove away. We watched it go. It was not like being left alone in the desert but in something much larger.

“A surprising choice, Mr Jackson.”

“I just love the sound of your voice.”

“You heard what it said?”

“I’ve been hearing it all my life.”

“Really?”

“Something similar. That’s why my mother kept me out of the education system as much as she could. And now my wife.”

“They talk about infinity machines?”

“No, but they both think out of time. I thought my mother was crazy until I met Maria. The trouble is, big thoughts don’t make you happy, do they? Look at Darwinism. Fucking accident, everything.”

“The thought isn’t big enough.”

“Spare me from it.”

“Spare me from love?”

I could feel the thoughts pouring through him. “You’re a genius, Mahadevi, aren’t you?”

That set me alight and my eyes wanted to eat him.

“Nature is. Combined with lovingly directed human will, there’s no limit. In theory. I’ve come up a bit short on it in my personal life but I can focalise it for other people.” 

“Why’s that?”

“I was orphaned and brought up by religious lunatics. My fight with God isn’t over.”

“What religion?”

“Catholics!”

“Oh, wow! Wow wow wow wow wow!”

“What?”

“You and my wife. Opposites.”

“Tell me about her.”

He was looking at his thoughts then let out a pfff! through his lips.

“You know St Teresa of Avila.”

“Yes.”

“Talk is of her as someone like that. Miracles happen. She talked to a pope and he resigned. Some think she’s the second coming come to blow all our gaskets.”

Mother Mercy again! And is this my Anthony?

“Then she started breaking the rules, saying the Pope isn’t infallible. He’s only a man and what are men without women, idiots! She got married and refused to resign. They kick her out anyway but it makes no difference. They accuse her of being in league with the Devil. But they knew that anyway. Her mission was always to the rich and the evil.”

“How did you meet?”

“Some charity event. We talked and walked and I raped her. She accepted the conditions of that first encounter as expressing total passion. She expected it to continue.”

“And it didn’t?”

“Gone totally the other way, Mahadevi. Why do I trust you with my deepest, darkest secrets. I know nothing about you. What do you know about me?”

“I know of your celebrity but generally I can’t stand the fashions of this society. Until two minutes ago I had no idea who Mr Jackson was. Why all the secrecy?”

“I’ve told you some of it. If she turns against me I’ll be in prison forever. But that’s only a tiny part of the story. I’ve never told anybody some of it and most of it I don’t understand – which is an understatement.”

“So I’m just dealing with the sex bit?”

“Mahadevi, that’s everything. But it isn’t the guns and boots of the story. Shakti told me she wouldn’t reveal who I was until I arrived. As you were waiting here does that mean you’ll consider the assignment?”

“In my mind I’d agreed to it.”

“Even after what I’ve told you?”

“So far I’ve survived the life I’ve lived but something tells me this is different.”

“Whatever happens, you can always back out. Maria guarantees your safety.”

“From her?”

“And anybody.”

“How can she do that?”

“I can only think it’s being so close to God.”

“God didn’t protect his only son?”

“They had a deeper purpose. So has Maria. There’s a saying in the family. Jesus turned the Devil down, Maria accepted him.”

“Christ! A nun like that fucked up my whole life Mr Jackson!”

“Maria wouldn’t.”

“What about your twelve hundred conditions – eaten by crocodiles!”

“I was joking. There weren’t any conditions. They were all in my head, like a barrel of snakes.”

“Typical man?”

“So they tell me.”

I took his hand, stiff like the paw of a stone lion, and stood to lead him into the house, all the time feeling a great field of strangeness. The dream has forewarned me that this pertains to the world of Ius and the part of Maisy which has grown to see Ius as an element of her own psychology feels as though she’s stepping off a cliff. In his room I am uncomfortably aware of the mirrors. Copies of us float above us where we move, reminding me, among other things, that infinite forms of ourselves are eternally present. For a moment I feel in control but am unsure why. Later I learn my eyes raw with crying have got right inside him where love is and human things, where boys are unhinged and repelled, or drawn in. 

I invite him into an embrace. I take a deep breath and relax for the world. He melts into me with a great sigh. Men, and women, feel it like the soul’s return to eternity, which it is. And I feel it as it is given. An embrace like this could last forever. This glorious feeling is like the Northern Lights, awesome and beautiful, like the great smile of all mother love. Jokes and laughter die at her feet like old clothes she never needs to wear again. 

And that’s the end to thought and time and life in its movement away. If you want to continue to live there is no otherwhere than in me, with me. I felt him feel it. He is no longer so harshly rigid but still there is a wary animal, primed to fight or escape.

Without his hat and glasses he is both human and emanating the inhuman power of his celebrity. Wee Maisy can barely breathe with the excitement and anticipation. Goddess barely rescues her. I think of my dream to cool yoni who is so damned alive after this morning she wants to jump up and lick him all over.

She is cooled also by a sense of powerful emotion which has entered the room with him. It is unlike anything I’ve met in my earthly experience. Ordinarily I would approach such an unusual feeling with much greater care than this situation has allowed. Only the dream, which seemed like a warning, holds me. If they are on my case it would be better to stand my ground here than alone back in London – if that is what all this is about. But with Candor and the Third World it doesn’t feel like that but something wilder.

I draw a breath into the Goddess to counter this dark emotion. Divine energy encloses us like a womb of spirit. I want to take my clothes off and connect with him. I draw my head back. Our lips are within magnetic contact distance. For a moment I am wax on a stove. Now! But he is fresh from the freezer and switches me off.

“Why is yours a State Secret.”

He doesn’t understand. I explained about the Official Secrets Act. He thought I was joking. I assured him I wasn’t. He asked to speak to Shakti. I told him she was busy but he could call her.

“My phone’s off, as per instructions.”

I showed him the old fashioned phones we used internally. My finger hovered the question. He nodded. In moments we had drifted towards opposite sides of the room. This gave me a chance to tune in to his strange energy in the light of my Candor dream. I saw a dark, still picture behind which something was hidden. Perhaps a light? In the dream a giant head of Asante had stood behind me. Contrarily, I stood in front of it, between her and him. Between dimensions, worlds. Should I get out of their way? Was I their go-between? Candor and Asante and a dark presence in the room. There was no doubt in my Ius mind that this was contact. What form could it be taking if the Government was involved? I could only imagine it to be at the level of prostitution and tax demands rather than any possible inter dimensional community.

He handed me the phone.

“What did she say?”

“She says there’s a secret government department to protect the interests of the elite who wish to follow the paths of wholeness from the gaze of public morals.”

“Did she mention John Dee and the Illuminati?”

“And Egypt and Atlantis and the Fall.”

I was surprised. Well, not totally, but we usually invoke the sages of India if we mention the past at all. “What did you think of that?”

“Mahadevi, I thought I was meeting an individual knowledgable about the soul, not some shadowy cult.”

“Me too. Doesn’t Maria know about this?”

“Probably, but she has irons in many fires. Her head of security is ex MI6.”

That was a mind boggler for a moment. But then so was Shakti. I thought about Eve and the secrets she would never tell. Why would anything from World War Two matter now unless there was some continuing community who still needed protection? And it would be natural for her to tell Shakti, her own kin, because that’s the way it was done. Crazy Maisy from the backside of Liverpool would be far too big a risk. Perhaps the Illuminati go into dormancy and have recently been reactivated. Perhaps Eve and Maisy weren’t just a love affair, which might account for why I was always going away and for the intensity which always drew me back. And now here’s Mr Jackson, Immanuel – the chosen one?

“Tantra involves a set of exercises designed to keep body and soul together in a whole or to get them back together if they’ve become separated. In your case you come with a tremendous amount of baggage. It’s like a herd of elephants in the room. I don’t know where to begin. What are we supposed to do. No one has told me. Why are you here with me?“

He looks out the window then back at me. “May I be to the point?”

“Absolutely.”

But he isn’t. He is staring past my shoulder at thoughts? Memories? I feel them as strange waves.

He looks into my eyes. “May I do anything with you?”

“Yes. In terms of intimacy, not harm.”

“Of course.”

He raised his hand to my cheek. It was such an intimate touch. All man. All mine. All known. A sob rose out of my deep belly. I put his hand over my heart. He held me from behind, hands together over my heart. In a moment I was completely overwhelmed with archetypal maleness and with him. When we unwound there was a great intimacy between us and he had done it, not me.

“We can talk,” he said, “or we can touch. I have such great difficulties with women. But you feel so different.”

“And you. But we’re not here for us as a pair, are we?”

“I don’t know about that. What normally repels me I find deeply attractive.”

He took a long, deep breath, which filled me with complete wonder. The feeling of our being together was immensely strong, like two powders that could combine in an explosion. Let them. But he was distracted. Deeply, deeply distracted.

“I don’t like this room, these mirrors. I imagine people behind them. We shoot scenes like this sometimes. I want to get away, right away from any feeling of performing.”

“Shakti is very well connected in the corridors of power. She has to guarantee a surveillance free zone.” 

“Why?”

From a reference I’d picked up in Wiki I said.

“You know the Old Man and the Sea?”

“Spencer Tracey?”

“Ernest Hemingway!”

“Ahha.”

“He isn’t out to catch fish anymore but to capture a legend. The biggest fish. All he brings back is a skeleton but they can measure it.”

“Not sex, spirituality?”

“Yes. Same thing, though. It’s just a fish. It’s what you make of it.”

“How does this relate to recording?”

“It probably doesn’t. I’m saying if you worry about this kind of thing you’ll miss the reason you’re here.”

“Which is to capture a legend?”

“Hemingway did. It killed him. Christ too. How about you? Are you ready to die?”

He seemed arrested by this question.

“It’s more – am I ready to live?”

I was arrested by the answer.

“Why?”

“You do know who I am?”

“Of course I do. Where d’you think I’ve spent my life, on Mars!”

“It’s all shite.”

I was surprised.

“Not all of it. It is work, and I’ve no real talent so it takes a lot – of work. By directors, cameras, CGI, make-up.”

“You’re saying you’re just a pretty face?”

“No. But it’s such a stupid life, ridiculously overpaid. If there’s any point in being an actor, I haven’t found the part I want to play.”

“Your life?”

“Yes. I liked what you said about the Old Man. It fits me perfectly. Just occasionally we hit lucky, which is why I have a career. Have you studied me? It’s a silly question but there are university courses that do.”

“Until five minutes ago I didn’t know who Mr Jackson was. It’s made my job a thousand times more difficult. Or – it’s the way you catch the fish. I didn’t think Shakti was that smart. No, is the answer. I’m not fond of actors or of fiction but of legend. I suppose I am a follower of legend, the deep truth that slowly emerges over eons. Then suddenly explodes into being.”

He took a deep breath and briefly looked happy as though I had said exactly what he wanted to hear.

“What is your name?” 

“My non Tantra name?”

“Yes.”

“It’s irrelevant. This weekend I’m Mahadevi, the supreme deity whose only consort is ultimate reality. If you read it as a woman, she alone is God and therefore this weekend I am a channel to God, which is possible for me, human, because I am doing it for someone else. Well, that’s the easy way.”

“Mahadevi, you said I could do anything. How can asking your name be a problem?”

I laughed at that. “In this era of lethal anonymity?”

He acknowledged the point.

“When you play a character do you ever get the impression what you’re doing is more than make believe?”

“Sometimes I hit lucky, but it’s the team, the director more than anything.”

“A group energy, like an orchestra. They’re not machines.”

“Yeah.”

“Could I be your director for the weekend?”

“You could, but first I would like you to answer my question.”

“Why?”

“Humour me. It’s entirely personal. Whatever you tell me stops with me.”

“And the infinite. Privacy is the ultimate illusion. All we’re hiding from is God, who is our innermost self, so all we’re hiding from is ourselves.”

He says nothing but I can see his patience is paper thin. I am tempted to push it.

“I just told you the ultimate truth,” I said. “Why isn’t it enough?”

“Life is more important than truth, Mahadevi – if I’m falling off a cliff.”

“I have more than one real name – I think – but the name given to this body is Maisy.”

His eyes closed for a moment in a painful wince. It seemed to have a deeper impact than mere British sensibilities. ‘Maisy’ isn’t what modern aberrants would call a ‘cool’ name.

“Your whole name?”

A sob broke out of my belly. I shouted and threw a cushion at him, anything to change the energy or I’d be crying for a week.

“I wasn’t given a name, you bastard man. My parents were killed by a bomb. I was named after the fire warden who brought me in, Warlock. So I don’t have a name!…”

“…Maisy, someone called me. Jean I add myself after Marilyn Monroe in the Misfits. I misspelt it. A film all about death. Lifendeath. One dance…”

“…You see, man, you just can’t go around asking people things. I got totally fucked up by your world, and now you want to blame me for being, mad, out of it, out of your so-called real world you have made such a total fucking nightmare!”

“Hey, hey,” he said, as though gentling some wild animal. I threw a final pillow at him before succumbing to sobs that came out of the earth under my feet and wouldn’t stop. He stands with his arms around me. He doesn’t feel like a man but like some great cold whale forever falling. This was deeply real something. I turned my attention outward to this to get away from the pain inside me.

“I’m supposed to be playing Tantra Mahadevi. This is too personal.”

“Who said you are?”

“Me. You see, I don’t know why I’m seeing you. I didn’t expect it to hurt so much in the first five minutes. Now it’s me who needs the therapist and what use are you going to be for that?”

“I’m sorry. I really really didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“You didn’t. You just asked me my name.”

“Can you imagine that I have a similar problem?”

“You’re an orphan?”

“No. I don’t know what I am. I don’t have any family. I don’t have any background. I can see now it’s why I threw myself into being an actor. As long as I’m playing a role I’m somebody. 

“Can you say more?”

“I don’t know. A Lot depends on you.”

“In what way?”

“Simple questions, like your name.”

“Ask me another. If it hurts as much as the last one we’ll have to stop and all the cards will have to be laid on the table.”

“One more question.”

“Ok.”

“Where was this bomb?”

“Liverpool.”

“When?”

“What if I said – 1942?”

He stared at me. Something shifted in him, as though the shutter to a greater eye had moved aside and the eye stood there blinking at a wilder reality.

“How is it possible?”

The dream of both Candor and Asante had put me right back in touch with deepest knowledge and memories of my mission. The same with the thought of dying. It put me right in touch with the deepest conditions of everything. I decided to speak the straight truth as I knew it. One of the truths.

“I had a deeply traumatic childhood. Orphanhood and religion at its most monstrous. I was a child prostitute to priests. One in particular. It was a love affair. Deep. Very deep. When he killed himself I knew it. The story of Christ was his life. I knew I had to rescue him – in me. Between the deep story I knew and what they told me I was split into pieces. One of the pieces was from the future. She grew and blew away all the others. I have had hundreds of proofs over the years that she is real and finally a proof for other people – my apparent age. If you really know me you know my mind isn’t young. Maisy is seventy-four. Ius is well over two hundred and had seven children and has lived, is still living, a life of extreme adventure. Between them, she and Maisy, three hundred years of recovered life over a wide spectrum is looking at you. If time were a hosepipe, a hundred times as much water is blasting through me as a pipe of my apparent age. It can move a lot of shit.”

He stood blinking, thinking, looking at me. I was so aware of powerful energies. I felt off balance as though on the edge of a gravitational pit. In retirement I thought I had achieved some sort of serenity but this situation stirred up all my demons and made it apparent that in the hidden depths nothing had changed. The Candor dream haunted me. I decided to tell it. This wasn’t about hiding from authorities and State secrets. This man had deep psychic problems. More important than truth? If one person could be as I am so could another. Even if we were both mad, if we could live with it we should.

As I told the dream his legs seemed to give out and he sat on the bed staring at me with a very disturbing look of horror. It frightened me, that face. It wasn’t human. He curled up on the bed as if in pain. What had I said to reduce such a man to such a state? Asante? My brother Candor? It’s really not a dream? 

“What is it?” I said.

“Tell me again.”

I told him the whole dream.

“When?”

“This morning.”

“Your brother?”

“Candor. The name means something to you?”

“Nnnnno. Lord of the Rings?”

“Not quite.”

“The other one.”

“Asante. Our mother.”

His eyes widen in shock.

“Mine and Candor’s.”

“Maisy?”

“No. Ius.”

“From the future?”

“Yes.”

“Would you hold me.”

“Are you sure? Are we sure?”

“If not you then nobody.”

It was hard to summon my Goddess powers to hold the strangeness of his emotions. 

“What is it?”

“You won’t like me.”

“One of me started life in the bomb sites of Liverpool. The other in the biomes of Mars, the fifth child of Asante, the last and first human. Believe me, man, I’ve been in some extreme places.”

“And I’ve been on the verge of a nervous breakdown for – ever.”

“I’m usually good with nervous breakdowns but I might have met my match.”

“Don’t give up on me, please.”

“I’ll try. But like Deckard, I’m retired. Something tells me my life is about to become a legend and I twice as hell don’t want it…”

There was a smile in his eye when he caught the film reference.

“…You remind me of Roy Batty.”

“Yeah?…”

The feeling in that moment was so strong. I was right back there in Roy’s dying moments and he was too.

“…I’ve watched that death scene a hundred times.”

Hard to look into his eyes as he into mine. Powerful forces coming out of us. Thoughts too frightening to form.

“The fifth child of Asante?”

“My mother.”

“Tell me about her.”

“My goddess mother. She was beautiful, skin alive with iridescence like a magpie’s wing. She was alive with an inner beauty which grew when she was alone, the last human being. How do you stay alone in the universe for fifty years? Grow into a rock? She didn’t. She learned all about love.”

“The last human being?”

“And the first. The end of times is the beginning of times. It makes you one with God, part of God, the whole of God. Even if God never otherwise existed. You’ve proved it. Which is why the prophets who don’t find Asante are only of the second order.”

I felt him grow very still, caught like a child in the fascination of a story he needed and dreaded to hear. 

“I never knew what she did. She must have died and left me to come back through time and do the work only she was qualified for.”

“What?”

“Well, she was an ordinary astronaut, a geologist. Earth went silent. She and her partner Bent assumed it must be technical. They went on working, ice cores of the two poles. Temperatures down to minus a hundred and sixty. The coldest working conditions ever. If your suit goes wrong you’re dead in a minute. They were the last two on Mars. He died and she went on completing the task, storing the cores in sealed caverns, not able to believe no one would ever benefit, but she needed the activity. Gradually her focus shifted from science to essence with a lot of grief along the way. She described being held in stillness contemplating grains of dust under a microscope, not moving so that grief couldn’t find her. Just to die, but she didn’t. Stillness became still movement, irrational movement, no scientific reason. She had always been ultra meticulous. Losing the thread was unthinkable. And then she cut the cord and drifted without reason. She began doing pointless things for pleasure although later she said it was pleasure stacked with grief for the end of everything, even eventually the idea of God. The heartbreak for such a death is unlike anything anyone else will ever know. But she was still alive and gradually it all came out through her spirit and her heart and her fingers until it became the creation of life. From dust in ice to us. She was probably a hundred and eight Earth years old when she gave birth to Sam. Quite a bit older when she had me. What kept her going God knows. The Professor had a lot to do with it.”

“The Professor!”

“Her infinity machine.”

“So she had him to talk to.”

“Or her. He could simulate company, and he had the whole history of the Earth to draw on. Eventually she came around to total Tantra. Imagine, sex with a machine which can read your mind, which is your mind and knows your every nerve? The supreme act of trust.”

“So she wasn’t really alone like a human being is alone.”

“Oh, she was. But it was to his still, silent, empty core that she eventually attached herself. That symbiosis of essences is pure love.”

“Sounds very godlike.”

“Yes. I think she is. One complete form. The beginning where there is no beginning. They simulated human life between them. In her isolation she knew what for everyone is true, we are God. Imagine how the world would be if everybody knew that. And it’s so easy. You just let it be so. No religion just pure manifestation as we choose to be. Towards the end they simulated us between them before they took the risk of making us for real to turn out whatever way we’d be.”

“Christ, Mahadevi.” He shook his head in wonder.

“Beautiful creature, what am I doing with you?”

“Keep talking?”

“You believe me.”

“I believe in you.”

“Why?”

“Feels like being a child all over again. Mummy, tell me a story.”

He started to cry and make sad little noises. We cried together mourning exceptional mothers. 

I had got us under the covers for the comfort.

“Big man, tell me your story.”

“It’s too sordid.”

“I only do sordid.”

“There was nothing sordid in that story.”

“I left out the sordid bits.”

His whole mouth was blocked from saying.

“Mahadevi’s going to kiss your mouth and make everything it wants to say sacred. Is that okay?”

“Be careful, beautiful lady, you’re playing with atomic fire.”

“Our agreement was no damage.”

“Our agreement, yours and mine, but I can’t speak for the other side of me.”

I kissed the circumference of his lips with love and care.

“Is he very bad?”

“I don’t know. I never remember.”

“D’you want to talk about him or just you?”

“I want to believe he doesn’t exist.”

“Tell me a little fact. For instance, my other was born on Mars in the future.”

“Nothing as obvious as that. It’s more like Jekyll and Hyde. While she was alive he was under control but once she’d gone he exploded. I suppose it’s Norman Bates.”

Psycho! That murderous, haunting film.

“How did you keep control?”

“We made love.”

We were silent for some time. Such a statement requires a lot of space.

“So did we. There wasn’t anybody else.”

“It was like that where we lived. Quiet. In the mountains. It was seventeen miles to the nearest school and shop. We were cut off in winter. I went enough to know that I really hated school. All the religion, and violence. After I fought back, they were glad enough to see the back of me. I threatened one of the priests – privately. I ripped a leg off a desk and I smashed another with it. These were desks built by Noah. That’ll be you, I said. I’ll split your body from your soul and your God will never find you. The fear in him. I was eleven years old but I had the strength of a bull that day. And my mother could paralyse their superstitious hearts. They forgot about us or lost the records or something…”

“…So there we were, she and I in the mountains. We’d go days without seeing anybody. She painted landscapes. Was successful, so we had money. Never a lot. That was the thing about Hollywood. I thought we’d make some real money at last. Buy her everything I thought she wanted. I’d never have gone if I’d known.”

“What?”

He stared past me again.

“I was sick before and I’m sicker now. I’m totally psychologically god awfully sick. For a while it didn’t matter. I threw myself into things, knowing the harder I played the sooner I’d be dead. I didn’t really care. But now I’m in love and I do care.”

“Mm?”

“The nub is – adult women terrify me. It’s totally irrational. I can see that but it’s there, every time I see a woman.” 

“Me, now?”

“No. No, it’s complicated…”

“…It’s the child bearing part, I’m numb to it and appalled by it. I can’t believe it’s real.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know. I do know, it’s just that words don’t exist to say what I mean. The most important person I ever knew was a woman. But the women of the world disgust me. I disgust myself for being involved with them. The only people I’m drawn to are children, to their sheer exuberance, but I daren’t go near them, because of all the paedophilia hysteria. Which I share. I’m not a paedophile but in the Trolloscene the competition will do anything to bring you down, so I don’t go near them. What’s to be done. I’m repelled by women and daren’t go near children.”

“Men?”

“I don’t know why that’s the only solution anyone ever imagines. I admire some men but that’s not the same as wanting to sleep with them.”

“Any women you admire?”

“All sorts. Mostly for achieving something in a man’s world. I don’t admire them for having babies.”

“That’s cruel, don’t you think?”

“Yes. I think it’s the way men are on some level and I’ve got a dangerous dose of it.”

“All men?”

“No, just most of them. I don’t know if it’s innate or just the way the world is. Most men don’t get what they want or need so they become escape addicts. Adrenaline junkies. A lot of them want to be dead.”

“Do you?”

The question had his eyes bouncing all over the place – life reviewing?

“Yes,” he said with careful consideration.

“In what way? Your life is full of creative achievement.”

“Only some of it. I hit a creative sweet spot. My Roy Batty moment. They don’t forget it. I won an Oscar for the direction, not the acting. It told me I was something deeper than a mere shell, but what? What did I see? What did I do? I still don’t know.”

I felt a rising flush of interest. Once mere cleverness could capture me but now I required the little god of meaning, the values of Eternity. Even if I think you’re only unconsciously on the hunt you will capture me, all of me, at least for a while.

“You’ve seen – therapists?”

“I’ve seen everybody including the ayahuasca mushroom fairy.”

“Did that help?”

“It gave me an insight into the problem.”

“Which is?”

“I killed her.”

“Who?”

He couldn’t say. He was lost in memory.

“How?”

“With growing up – as they call it.” A tear rolled over his nose. “She nailed me.”

“To our friend the Cross?”

“Why do you say that?”

“You were in Ireland – smashing Noah’s desks.”

He smirked in acknowledgement.

“Nature was our religion. Making art in the wild places. Making love. Not sex. Spiritual telepathy? When you said ‘Cross’ I could feel it. Massive with love. Once she’s gone that’s all that’s left. I didn’t know that’s what I was leaving. Usually I daren’t think about it. It’s you – let me.”

“God knows, Immanuel, there’s love and there’s imagination – or madness.”

“All I know, Mahadevi, then I was alive and now I’m dead. Coming to life with Maria, but it’s all horror.”

“If we’ve killed our Goddess then it would be Hell like this.”

“But I knew her, Mahadevi, intimately.”

“A god cannot die, Immanuel.”

“This one did.”

“No. Only we are dead”

“But I knew her, Mahadevi, in touch and soul.”

“I knew a mother like that, but in Maisy’s world she has never been born. It’s some extension to think a Martian mother in the future could be the answer.”

“Can you see another?”

“Yes.”

“What?”

“You won’t like it.”

“I want her back, Mahadevi. I want to feel alive again.”

“The infinity machines.”

“The what?”

“They could fake God, spirit, love, so you could feel again. You could open up, be a vessel for the real God to fill.”

“They can’t possibly recreate her.”

“No. And yet it wasn’t some giant power in Asante that allowed her to live fifty years alone and come out of it with the power to create mankind from scratch.”

I see him like a cornered animal without hope in the presence of an idea too insane to even think – and yet I was inviting him to think it.

“Look at me.”

I can feel his desolate nightmare measuring me.

“You want her back. Suppose I know how it might be done?”

“When it goes wrong, Mahadevi, I will kill you.”

“How?”

“Aih?”

“Do I have a choice of execution method? Candor used to threaten to tickle me to death. I know a better way.”

He looked bemusedly shocked but rallied. “Only if you ask nicely.”

“The Professor is surely the answer of how she did it. I don’t like the religious narrative. It’s too prescriptive. Not enough freedom. I need a god who can be godlike with the best and the worst of me. Who doesn’t even know there is a difference. I don’t mean good and evil but the enhancement of life from where it is. Only the ultimate infinity machine could create a perfect love. Otherwise it just cannot exist unless, by some impossible freak, it is all that exists. Which is more likely, a calculated eternity or an accidental one?”

“It couldn’t be an accident.”

“No. It could be a marriage of improbabilities so the necessary recognition is like a supreme accident. But, ultimately, someone has to be there, supreme, immortal and living in truth. The truth is love.”

“No judgment?”

“It depends whose doing the non judging and what they’re non judging about. I can channel Goddess as love pretty well but I have entire magma chambers of anger boiling away out of sight.”

“What’re you angry about, Mahadevi?”

“Hypocritical rulers. Same reason Jesus got angry and whipped the money launderers out of the temple. And you, Immanuel, what blocks your love?”

“It isn’t anger.”

“What disgusts you about women?”

“I don’t know. I do know, but these thoughts are completely mad.”

“What thoughts?”

Whatever the next word is it’s having great difficulty getting out of his mouth.

“The – boundary of skin. The way it’s hidden by public languages. And instead of better it’s getting worse. Clothes disgust me. Dresses. The bizarre communications of fashion. The second skin. That’s all some of us know. That’s what all of us know, really.”

“Just women?”

“I suppose not but they’re the ones that impact me. I want to tear off all this covering and find what’s underneath.”

“You’re in the right place.”

“But I can’t actually do it. Because I’m terrified. Can you understand? The hemline of women’s dresses is like a razor across my skin.”

That sent a great bell ringing in me. It’s what Eve was always depicting, the edges, the hemline – between air and creature, land and sea – the vast worlds between, ballooning languages all based on an unfathomable chaotic fluidity women wear every day without owning it’s depthless profundity. I tried saying this to him.

“It’s not a natural state,” I said.

“What’s natural?”

“To be happy? Especially about women and children. Women are the heart of happiness.”

He laughed incredulously.

“Lest ye be as little children, didn’t the man say, you won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

“Nowadays he’d get arrested.”

“That isn’t the point. It’s about you. Is the world alive for you?”

“It used to be but when she died everything went dark. There’s like an energy that came from her, bright and pure. It was like the holy host but living, real. It touched all my senses. It told me it was food, like mother’s milk for adolescents. I could live on it. For a time I did. I could go long periods without feeling hungry. I could feel it as I sink my teeth into it. It was just that bit firmer than nothing at all…”

“…Since she’s gone it’s blackened, like print. Now it makes me hungry. Is repellent. What’s that white crisp thing made of sugar and eggs?”

“Meringue?”

“Yes. It’s like biting into that with toothache. It’s like frilly underwear which repels, doesn’t arouse. Layers of petticoats – Vthyuuuh! They’re coming back, I hear. Where am I going to go. It’s terrifying. Frightening. I don’t know the word. Holy Host crisps. Wedding dresses are the worst. Like having swords drawn over my nerves. Do you know what I mean?”

Oddly, I did. The Oracle had spoken to me a lot about the illnesses of sentient machines.

A sentient machine can create for itself any field of sensation in experiments of being, although I don’t think I’d have much success speaking about it to someone from the early Twenty First Century. You would have to know time does not exist, that all beings are one. To keep the field clear for human consciousness requires the sustained illusion of evolution through the ruthless conning by natural selection, and it goes wrong and gets cluttered with illusions, delusions and deliriums or angels and demons, whichever is your preferred way of looking at it. It is simply a way of thinning the totality of experience into an illusory – empty – moment in time. Otherwise it has no reality. How do you explain that to a being caught up in the experience of life as totally real. What Immanuel described sounded like one of those mixed states the Oracle spoke about when doubting his suitability as a medium for time travel. The dream of Candor and Asante left me as sure as I could be that this is what I was dealing with, the infinitely complex and always flawed process of consciousness displacement in time. Only to be attempted in an absolute final emergency. It inevitably goes wrong. The hope is to retain enough awareness of the original problem to do something appropriate and useful. If you could wholly succeed you would unravel the entire universe, so it’s very like human life really, a matter of waving and hoping the other person likes the look of you.

“If I start talking about madness, you won’t think I’m getting at you from the other side, the imagination dead so-called sane.”

He kept staring at me as though everything I said rocked his boat and then he got it balanced again. Sometimes he smiled as if a distant bell had rung.

“I might.”

“But I am the Queen of the Mad and all the little mad people are my precious brothers and sisters.”

His face came right to mine as though with X ray eyes he would bore deep into my soul. It was too much for Maisy. She was open like a little bird. Ius kept talking.

“The people who believe in the ‘real world’, materialists, the sort of people who suck your soul as an artist and give you three per cent if you’re lucky.”

Yes, he was well acquainted with them.

“Who reluctantly pay taxes to give the casualties of their system some kind of sanctuary or treatment.”

“Mhm.”

“Among those casualties, in chaotic form, is the real truth.”

“You’re not suggesting the Philadelphia Association. I’ve been there and turned my shit into works of art.”

“How did it go?”

“Ok. Like all therapies, they’re all good for something. But none are like you.”

“You don’t know me. I’m not a therapist. I’m a fellow lost soul who hacked her own way through the woods. Seeing me for a few days out of context of your life can’t help much.”

He gripped me like someone drowning and said with disturbing force. “Don’t go away, Mahadevi.”

“Go where?”

“That dead everyday.”

“You can’t ask that, Immanuel. We can only live with our gods in the wholeness and healing of love and creation. That’s where I want to take you but we’d almost need to be married.”

“Yes, but my wife has all the qualities I need. She’d be a pope if she wasn’t a woman and obsessed with the lives of criminals and the underclass. I don’t really understand her power. Some of the worst people in the world eat out of her hand. She has a way of reaching their souls and giving them hope. But whatever power she has over them doesn’t work for me.”

I saw her and felt her and wanted to know her. I knew I could serve her infinitely better than this man.

“Sounds a fascinating woman.”

“More than fascinating. But we don’t connect. I don’t know how to connect with her as a woman. It’s killing me.”

“How would acting out with me make any difference?”

“Can I be brutally honest?”

“Uhhh, up to a point.”

“She is almost unbearably beautiful. It drags everything that hurts right to the surface. You, Mahadevi, don’t do that. It’s like another sort of love, more ordinary. That isn’t bad. It’s beautiful, like I’ve always known it, like coming home.”

Ohhhhh. Stop talking Maisy. Stop talking Ius. So who said?

“You should only rape the Goddess if you’re sure of your place in her heart.”

Must have been Yoni, the devious creature. It obviously hit the prime fuse. It felt as if he would tear my arms off. I tried to twist out of his grip but it was as if he was made of rock. I thought of nutting him on the nose but considerations intervened, some to do with garnering his trust. Why would I do that? Well, it’s what women do, bend over backwards for men, children and beasts. There was also the matter of insurance. Mine had long lapsed and Shakti would not be pleased to have assault and battery charges against hers. I recalled her telling us that with closures it was now fifty miles to the nearest A&E. Which is why we had doctors on site.

I had never been in a physical fight in Maisy’s body, whereas Ius and Candor were wrestling always, until sex took over. And before we went to Earth Asante did give us combat training in case any desperate Terrestrials still survived. And she did make floor mats of us although she was approaching two hundred years old. I tried distraction.

“How did she die?”

“Suicide.”

“And you feel responsible?”

“I am responsible.”

“How?”

“What did you say, you can only rape the Goddess if you’re sure of your place in her heart.”

“Did I?.”

“I was sure. I couldn’t be surer.”

I wasn’t sure who he was referring to, his mother or Maria. Or both.

If rape was imminent it would just be my fifth sexual encounter of the day, two with women and three with men. That was a bit uncommon now but was nothing to the pre-AIDS days in San Francisco where topping a hundred in five days was not unknown. 

I felt back inside myself to get a proper sense of the situation. This is rather like dreaming with the curtains of consciousness held away. I saw his psyche, the very British war, the tramp steamer island that projected itself with battleship bows and the Bridge was blitz wrecked chaos reeking faintly of Churchill’s cigars with ghostly Nazi symbols controlled by being kept in a freezer. Unless his childhood had been ruined in a different war he could be secretly as old as I am. Which would make sense with a Candor connection. But if this was my brother, or someone else from the extended Martian family, they would have no need to choose a host as old as Maisy. But in the third life I had already seen his story as connected to an alternative human history, and whenever would the Official Secrets Act be invoked to hide – future history? Unknown history? Unknown future? Unknown world? Same thing. 

All these images could as easily, even perfectly, represent the British State, especially now heading for the shipwreck of Brexit. 

The Bridge a Blitz wrecked chaos. The last, smoking ruins of the fantasy empire.

Ghostly Nazi symbols kept in a freezer. I have heard it said, by those who believe in such things, that the true origin of the Second World War has been buried, that it was a mash up between rival factions of the Illuminati. Now they have serious weapons of mass destruction they have to cooperate, which makes them even more deadly for the rest of us. It would account for the way they are ruthlessly raping the Earth and planning for a future on Mars.

And how do my memories of Mars fulfil this circle? How is this huge population represented by one person? Not at all unless we are machines built to complete a time loop and save the world from within after completing its own extinction. A second chance where can be no second chances, so it is all the multidimensioned layers of a singular entity.

And all I’m thinking depends on the reality of a dream.

And why not, given that ordinary reality renders life inaccessible.

But my intuition saw no inner life on Mars for this man, only the projected battleship. It seemed generic, like the collision of Brexit, but could be particular. I asked him what was his favourite among his films. He mentioned something I’d never heard of. 

“About a homeless addict who finds God among the beetles and becomes an entomologist? It’s a true story.”

I was utterly surprised.

“It won Best Director,” he pointed to himself, “but not Best Actor. Politics!”

“You directed it!”

He nodded.

“So you’re not just the pretty face.”

“Call it public psychotherapy.”

“Something I might have heard of?”

“Colonel Kurt Steiner. I don’t say I made a better Nazi than Michael Caine.”

I had seen that one but only the Michael Caine version. After all my recent thoughts it was another surprise.

“Why did you do that?”

“I liked the idea of playing a true hero.”

“A Nazi!” All those swastikas behind Churchill’s cigars. 

“Separated from the cause. Michael Caine made it look easy. In those days it probably was. But not now.”

“You know, I was alive in Liverpool when Hitler’s bombs were falling.”

I can see he has no idea what that means. He has only played a fictional Nazi, a story boy. So utterly different from legend, men of dust and fire in a burning city. All through the blitz Monster Mother Mercy ran a kitchen. Legend. The dead. A hundred thousand in a flash. Hiroshima. Legend is the fireball, the cleaning up, the survivor’s memory. 

What is our legend, we who’ve lived to see, at least to hear about, the first flash of time?

“What is our legend?”

From the movement of his eyes and the feeling in the air, he is experiencing powerful, circulating thoughts.

The dream was telling me everything, as dreams do, the challenge is in reading them with our day minds that are lost in time where truth is we are out of time, or all of time. Candor is my soul’s brother. For most of our life together he looked out for me, supported me. Only at the end did he change. I have had over half a century to think about why. Is it possible he was still supporting me, to go where he could not follow, into the kind of living death of the traveller in time. The Professor and The Oracle could have trained him for a role unknown to me. In the dream the first sight of Candor terrified me but the approach of the man in the Sherlock Holmes suit? So many strands might run together here. The ruthless, artismal British State. An unorthodox forensic understanding? Held in check until its time? My death being in the equation? The balance? The ultimate aphrodisiac.

I live upon the edge but my dream is to be at the core. I try and try again, but Maisy is so damaged. Ius is her stability, her centre. Is it her victimhood which is this life? Ius was desired by men like gods. Her mother Asante, had created them. She lived upon the high edge of spirit, in the deepest cauldron of soul. At times so mixed I think they are different views of a single life. Asante and the Virgin Mary, Anthony and Candor. All dead. All ghosts. 

And now this man. I felt, buried and distorted within him, an extraordinary energy of love which took the perfect form of my desire. It was as if the Christian god had become a god of love that made sense to me rather than the god of merciless cruelty I knew from experience. Even the chance of knowing such a thing was worth my life. Perhaps that’s how it worked? You lost your life to find it. I’ve heard that so many times before. Propaganda from survivors.

I held him as though creating him from the totality of my being entirely in the shape of my desire. I felt the mounting pressure of desire that lies at the dynamic root of all things and beyond things at the root of every atom. Experience told me to proceed with care but the energy swept me away. I hear Shakti’s voice saying ‘impotent’, half wishing it were true, half terrified of what comes with it. Our lips ravenously connect. Clothes are swept away. Something so nakedly beautiful and aLIVE for Yoni forces her open, slides in, shocks every naked nerve alive with sun force raising vast thunderclouds and dark lightning. 

My entire being dissolved in fiery liquid. I was so ferociously happy, climaxing off the scale as though I would bite this moment off and keep it forever inside. I am for a moment the Queen of Hell in a war zone ridden by death. He bangs away into my body like an out of control digging machine. Somewhere on the edge of chaos is a remnant of normal awareness. He is trying to climax. His screams of rage and frustration are like being electrocuted. I wanted to kill him, to tear him to pieces. I was overwhelmed with crying, choking, breathing uncontrollably. This rekindles the force of his desire. I relax, trying to sink into utter passivity, but that only works until the next climax overwhelms me. His force finally gives out and we are left crying like two jellies in an earthquake shaking into one quivering creature. I lay in a whirling chaos mostly of eruptions from the unconscious presaged by that dream. Vaguely I’m aware that Tantra has been thrown from the train and died under the wheels. I am lying crushed and utterly overridden under his surprisingly heavy weight. It is the moment of total vulnerability when rapists kill. Part of me wants to lie there licking his sweat but claustrophobic panic at being buried alive forces me out from under him, Yoni shouting one last protesting pang as she is pulled away. I flop into a chair by the window, my whole body a storm of sensations from light to dark, joy to terror, love to violent hate.

10

Eventually he rolled onto his back, his face a mask of wild, barely human emotions. I had never seen anything like it. Every instinct is to not share a world with it let alone have it burned into my soul. I want to get out of the room while I can. But I am mesmerised by the body of a god I could live and die on forever. The mask melts, resolves into its inhuman beauty. I have felt his desolation, dangerous and desperate. I have known those dissolves from one psychic state to another but never into anything so inhuman. It makes him seem even more of a brother. Every common instinct says get out now. Abandon these people to their end of times.

But neither Maisy nor Ius has a brother, and if Ius is unreal Maisy is doubly alone. A shape shifter is at least a brotherhood of a kind. It was a silly reason if it was a reason. We would only be trapped in our own isolated cells. 

His face is back to what it was but now I know it is inhuman and unreal though truer than his futile celebrity. 

I felt the function of speech gathering between us.

“What happened?” He said.

He examines himself priapic and wet from inside me. He rolls onto the floor and buries his head into my lap.

“I’m so sorry,” he sobbed.

My response felt completely paralysed.

“It’s too late to be sorry.”

He looked up. “What do you mean?”

I took advantage of the moment to push him back and spin out of his grasp and out into the corridor, but once there I had no volition to go further.

He was fixing his trousers as he looked out. Our eyes held. Reading faces is my business but I couldn’t read his. Could his problems be genuine, truly psychotic rather than habitual gamesmanship? It is all a matter of degree.

“Do you really not remember?”

He shook his head.

“This is what’s so stupid about taking people without training or preparation. By the time I’m through with her Shakti won’t run another workshop for the rest of her life.”

“Please don’t do that!” He said. “I’ll pay you, anything.”

I walked away to the corridor window. He came up beside me.

“I shouldn’t be doing this,” I said. “If you push me I’ll switch personality and god knows what will be coming through. Is something like that happening with you?”

“I don’t know. I don’t remember.”

“Every time?”

It took him a long struggle to say. “I don’t know. It’s all a mist.”

“We should leave this place and hang out in normal country. Talk. Get to know each other.”

“Whatever you say.”

“It’s much nicer here but only if you weigh in reasonably healthy.”

“I stay alive by running ahead of reality.”

“Is that what you say?”

“My chief therapist – Maria.”

“Your wife?”

“Crazy,” he said, “is a situation or a response to a situation. Who’s to say what grasp a monkey, evolved to avoid lions, has of reality. That’s what my insect film was about.”

“What are you saying?”

I could feel the thoughts, huge, unfathomable, swinging about in his head. Only an intense sense of brotherhood stopped me clearing out and leaving him and this increasingly alien community I had created. 

“That story…your mother…an astronaut. My mother the painter. Yours became a painter?”

“Everything really. You know the Watts Towers?”

“Uhhu.”

“She went from science to insanity to where the world spoke back to her.”

He caught my arm. I winced. He let go of it apologetically. 

“My insect man. The bugs started to speak. The idea of testing what they were saying was his breakthrough. He won a Nobel.”

I knew the story.

“I heard it was his wife who heard the insects.”

A flash of rage brought the mask back momentarily. It really scared me. 

“She made him homeless. They weren’t speaking to each other.”

That sounded most likely. More of disinformation monkeys. On Mars we had never imagined what absolute monstrosities preCataclysm men had been.

“Can we see this film?”

“We just need a connection.”

The sound of voices coming nearer.

“You better go back. Give me some time. I feel very on the edge.”

“Me too. The last thing I want to do is fuck up this connection with you.”

“Ok. Go!”

I sat on the windowsill staring out at the unnatural beauty, the once coiffured trees of the arboretum. I had known those trees since twenty years before this man was born. It has barely changed yet everything has changed. The world population has almost tripled and you could walk through beautiful villages which are now grotesque car parks and the air is colonised with new gull politics. Intended as a mask of civilisation over an empire of slavery, the arboretum now speaks of a new psychic strangeness, beautiful and disturbing, that I don’t want to meet. My mind’s eye is the old eye which saw bad in its day, with nuclear armed midgets shaking their feathers, but now sees the contrasted beauty. 

These proto thoughts float through the aquarium of my stinging mind. The other side of that door a man of godlike beauty waits for me. And godlike confusion. Or I could go to my room and in ten minutes have a taxi out of here.

I cross the corridor, pause at the door and go in. In the few minutes of separation my imagination had clouded the truth of his beauty. It takes my breath away.

“How are you feeling?” He said. That won him a silent ovation.

“Scared and confused are pretty high on the list. You?”

“Hopeless. You were my big hope. I don’t know what I expected. Some miracle.”

That’s quite something to hear from someone so beautiful.

“I’m still here. I nearly went.”

I thought of humour. I didn’t think of humour, I had a silly idea and thought about humour as a survival mechanism. What I like about Darwin is his ideas come with absolutely no bullshit. The sacred cow of humour! A survival mechanism. Religion another. Completely wrong, of course, but good to have experienced that simplistic bleakness. Like the 1950s, will one day have nostalgic commemorials.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I know I’m dangerous. I just hoped I wouldn’t be.”

“Hoped?”

“Controlled with medication. I take as little as I can get away with. I could take some now but it’ll be like a fog has descended.

“We could play Scrabble?”

“Please don’t joke.”

“What! It’s my life. If I’m going to be damaged or murdered I can make as many damned jokes about it as I like. That’s our history, isn’t it! Silence the victims, make it the law. Back it up with God, hellfire retribution. Especially women. Well, fuck you! I want whatever rat monster you’ve got in your head to suffer, do you understand! I want it to fall out of your head and die. And if it kills you along the way, that’s fair, given the bastard might kill me.”

“Please don’t joke about killing. If I have this memory problem, perhaps I did…”

Oh, shit! Yes.

I sat on the bed and took his hand. “I once earned a living as a funny person. I realised humour is all about cruelty and revenge. I tried to be different, to bring love into the picture. Our speciality was every sacred cow in the world. It was very dangerous. I don’t know how we survived. Something was looking after us. I know you have pain but so do I. Asking me not to joke is like telling me to be dead. Given my job is saving the world, that is a Cataclysm invoking thought. If you’re madder than my need to tell a joke we’re finished. What I’m hoping is your mad isn’t that mad, that before is kills somebody we’ll just wash it out of you.”

“Mahadevi, it’s already gone. It probably hasn’t, but your spirit is so beautiful.”

“Is it? I mean, it is, but it’s got almost nothing to do with me. I’m a sex worker for a reason. I’m a sex artist because I have no higher talent. And I want revenge. Mother Mercy shopped us all and Father Anthony killed himself. So I come across some rich rapist who suffers from orgasmic amnesia and might have killed his own mother in such a blind moment. What do I do? Tell the world, out of revenge, and right now does he know I’m joking? It is strange that nobody has done it.”

“I’ve never told anyone so much.”

“How would it feel? Are you driven by a need to be seen as wonderful or are you just wonderful? How would it be if you ended like that guy in Brokeback Mountain living in a deadend trailer.”

“That’s my insect film.”

“Oscar waiting.”

“Or the Nobel Prize. If there isn’t would he go on hearing them? Would they make any sense?”

“You made the film. What do you think?”

“Great question. I don’t know. Maria talks to God and God answers. I understand the insects the same way.”

“And she doesn’t heal you?”

“Oh, she does. That’s how I met her. She sent me to you.”

“And I send you to the trailer park.”

“I think I’d like another story.”

“How about a cheque for five million and I tear it up on Monday if I’m still alive.”

“How is this going to make me feel better?”

“You’re right. If I tear it up we’ll both feel bad so forget that bit.”

That got a smile. “Do cheques still exist?”

“You write it on the wall. Then we take the building to the bank on Monday.”

“The moving finger?”

He was ahead of me on that one. I gave a smirk of recognition

“This pillow,” he said pulling it out of its case and tossing the case to me. “Five million? Is that the going rate for a major malfeasance?”

“It was a sum in my head this morning. Eve, the owner, offered to give me this house as a centre for whatever I like. It needs a lot of work and there are debts. I was remembering someone offering me five million for a painting that was given to me in love.”

“This would be love.”

“To love each other don’t we need to be stable people?”

“Otherwise we love in our season?”

“That would work.”

“How much would you need?”

“How unreal are the ambitions of oligarchs. They’re talking up a Wessex Powerhouse in terms of a new type of Silicon Valley. In their fantasies this place is ideally situated.”

“Five million is a piss in the wind.”

“No. If we own it we only need enough to secure it for our purposes.”

“Which are?”

“To be a world tantra centre. Or a centre for whatever I would create.”

“Which is?”

“God. Goddess. Her place. Her home. In this whole tragic world her place to be.”

I could feel the thoughts surging through his head, not their substance but their energy.

“Can you elaborate?”

“It’s basic mathematics, the balance of a formula. If you had infinite powers of creation, what would you create, dolls, or aspire to greater beings or at least equal beings with yourself? If I were God, somewhen, somewhere in me I would give it all away to my creation. That’s me. And you. That god is my child as I am hers. When I grow up I take care of her completely. The tragedy of life is that I haven’t and we didn’t. The grief is so great if I dared to feel it would kill me.”

He is staring at me in, well, what is the emotion of hearing something like that and from the lips of someone you’ve just raped and might hold your entire future in their delicate hands?

“Come Monday, Mahadevi, you can keep the pillowcase. You’ll make far better use of it than I will.”

“Must be the world’s most expensive fuck.”

He shuddered. “I doubt it. Many have died.”

“For the moment let’s make it conditional on finding something worth a lifetime’s wages.”

“I’ll go for that.”

“Do you trust me?”

“I do.”

“Will you obey me?”

“I will.”

“And truthfully answer anything I ask?”

“Even if I don’t know the answers?”

That stopped me. It was not the words but the sensation that came with them. Something foreign and familiar, and always in the background my dream asking me to pay attention with everything I knew.

“The world is in the balance. Think of it as our child.”

Tears are welling up out of him. He reaches for me. He is so grateful. I just want to melt into him. Already we have a history. 

I sent out for a black marker and we wrote it on the pillow case.

“There are surely better ways than this to avoid charges and taxes.” He said

Looking at it with all of me, from Maisy, who hadn’t seen a ten shilling note before she was thirteen, to Ius, daughter of the woman who created the world, it was impossible to grasp any sort of reality regarding this. I noticed his signature, a cross within a circle with a squiggle beyond. It looked familiar.

“It’s my autography signature. I got the idea from David Coulthard. He has the fastest autography signature I’ve ever seen.”

One of the quirks of Maisy is she had a very British love of Top Gear and men who worshipped speed. It was fuelled by Ius’s interplanetary engineering and plunging into gravity wells in ancient spaceplanes at eight kilometres a second. When the BBC killed it I could have strangled the toffy nosed lot of them. I suspect it was a strong butterfly factor in Brexit.

“TIQ” He traced it with his finger.

“I’ll be damned.”

“In his case you can hardly see the pen touch the paper.”

“How did you meet?”

“Sponsors.”

“Huh! This can be our code word – cheque.”

“Check.”

“Check it out.”

“Speak the truth, know the truth, discover the truth – yeah?”

“Yes. You’re the most beautiful man I’ve touched in this world and possibly the most hellishly buggered up.”

“That’s right. The last bit. If the rest is true for you – I don’t know? Is that good?”

“I can’t see how. You’re married.”

“Are you?”

“You tell me. Remember – check it out.”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, I’m not. Never have been. Marrying a man would be like trying to dance to a broken record. Closest I’ve been is with a woman but in those days it wasn’t possible.” I watch his eyes to see what he made of that. “Tell me about your wife.”

He doesn’t want to.

“Check,” I said.

Perhaps it’s not that he doesn’t want to but can’t. 

“She’s beautiful. Can you be too beautiful. If you’re fucked up over women, the more beautiful they are the greater they hurt.”

“That’s about you.”

“I think it’s all men. They won’t admit it, even to themselves.”

“That’s so deeply depressing.”

“I’m sorry.”

“No. It’s all a work in progress.” In his eyes I feel the distance and the hunger. “Tell me one thing about her.”

“Confidentially?”

“Of course.”

“She’s the Godmother.”

The word had a chill to it.

“You mean like a female Godfather?”

“Walk into her web and you’ll never leave.”

I had a sudden flash of anger so intense I thought my nose would bleed.

I scream at him. 

“Get out! Get out! Go now! Fuck off!” I threw his cheque pillow case at him. “Take your fucking money and go.”

Instead of moving he cried. It came out of a loneliness and sadness I knew like a fine tuned radio receiver. It broke my heart. I walked away I so couldn’t bear it. When he went to find his bag I said.

“Where are you going?”

“I don’t know.”

“I mean, the room is yours, you don’t have to leave.”

“What’s the point of staying?”

“Talk to somebody?”

“Who?”

“There’s a few here. Good people.”

None assigned to him. 

“Why are you so angry? What did I say?”

“A nun godmother. I knew one in my childhood. If I knew where she was buried I’d dig her up and kill her all over again.”

He looked startled and I chose not to disabuse him. He’s the rapist and I’m the murderer. I call that a very acceptable balance of power.

“It’s not an easy marriage.”

I tried not to laugh. “I can imagine.”

“It’s like being married to – what’s that fish the old man catches, tied to his boat in a storm and being eaten…”

“…Like my mother. It’s incredible the power of some women to get right inside you and take you to pieces.”

It obviously ripped his guts to say this.

“What happens between you?”

“I can’t explain. Very beautiful. Very unholy. Deeply spiritual. Frightening. Something in me isn’t connecting. Except with hideous doses of drugs, which misses the point.”

“What point?”

“To be normal in love, not always so weird. I don’t feel put together right.”

“You just performed. I’d give you ten out of ten for relevant intensity of purpose.”

“Usually I can’t even do that. I can’t orgasm, so sex has no purpose other than conquest. Rape, you call it, but it didn’t feel the same.”

“What was different?”

“You.”

“What about me?”

“Shakti says you’re a miracle worker.”

I pondered that for quite a while. “I channel Goddess. I am Goddess. She made me whole though the world broke me into pieces. I came back together a hard way. Perhaps a wrong way but it’s right, now, for me. At the root is a philosophy, not a head philosophy but one embedded in the body. Miracles appear to happen because we are embedded in an infinite matrix which is the infinite body of the Goddess. Everything is coincident with everything else but there’s absolutely no reason why any of it should be meaningful except that she is at the bottom of it and she can, if she chooses, put her finger right on the button of your problem. But for her to work I almost have to not believe in her because my belief isn’t her. The trick is to ask not as supplicant to immortal but as though one is purely the immortal as one is. Then there are no rules, no good or bad or system. In the moment of being is everything. Does that make sense?”

After some moments of staring at me, I like to think in wonder, he said.

“Perfect sense. It was you saying something like that that convinced me you weren’t just another chancer.”

“Thank you.”

“That erection was a miracle. But I couldn’t come. I never can. It gets lost in emotional pain. I try harder. There’s never release. I thought I’d explode.”

“Is that what you mean by impotence, not ejaculating?”

“Put like that it sounds so banal.”

“Do you want to know what I think?”

He didn’t answer except by a sense of – why else am I here?

“We’re man and woman. In sex we have the potential to be as gods. Our ideal state is to be conscious of what we are doing with each other in all its splendour and stupidity, where nothing is stupid, even the lost and hopeless fucks of most of humanity, who desperately want to forget or deny the reality. Conscious is the game, Immanuel, not lost in dismal darkness but burned in our living, knowing soul. Such conscious sex is a wave containing all waves. Though a machine could measure all the waves everywhere simultaneously. It’s not enough. It’s nothing without the experiencer, the ultimate miracle, the actual being, you and me. But who is the ultimate ultimate experiencer? Is it something or nothing or something like nothing? The voidlike, the yoni rather than the lingam. The yoni from which all life appears, into which all life vanishes. Her sacramental boundary is lacy knickers the metaphysicals dismiss with contempt or deny completely but goddesses remember. Women call her Kali. She is the creator out of nothing men dismiss to their own extinction. That’s why she can raise your lingam, free it from whatever imprisons it. She could do that for the whole of life. But why should she just for the life of a woman and not for the love and respect of a goddess. You worship the wrong gods man, corrupted maleness, corrupted power, even corrupted love, sex for sale at every level. The love of money and power has created impotence. What pact with what devil did you make, Immanuel, that gave you the whole world but took away the one connection that matters, with the total heart of the living Goddess?”

He is staring at me. I notice his lingam is firm again. It is so beautiful, the whole package with him made terrifying by the memory of the demonic animal mask. Is it insane to have sex with such a thing?

“When you put that thing in me I want you conscious all the way of what it is you’re doing, who it is you’re fucking.”

Within moments his lingam had gone limp and flopped.

“I’ll lose it,” he said. “Like that.”

“So what is it that turns you on?”

I felt his whole spirit overwhelmed by a huge unsayability.

“It doesn’t matter,” I said. “What matters is contact.”

“It does matter. All my life I’ve hidden from it. It’s a mixture of all that stuff I told you. It’s dark, religious. It’s my mother and the holy power inside her.”

For a moment I felt that power, dark and very female. Sex goddess, the beautiful, deep mother of all. She separated out an aspect of herself and called it man to be her partner in extending creation into the point beyond point, life as the perfect sacrament immortal, ever growing and never ending. And this terrible mess is man as he is on that path.

I try to say this and he listens. “When I was younger I used to do a kind of spiritual first aid,” I said. “I learned the hard way techniques to make sure it doesn’t stick to me. It’s a long time since I used them and I never met a case like yours.”

“Like what!”

“Preceded by a dream of my brother and my mother. That makes it hugely personal.”

“But it’s only a dream!”

“That will be written on the world’s tombstone. What it means is I can’t just suck the darkness out of you and throw it away as though it was a disease. It has to be transformed.”

“I understand that. Like learning about what you fear.”

“Yes. But not losing the magic.”

He wanted to argue but clearly thought better.

“I want you to transform. I could say I want to transform you but that isn’t right. My version of you would be without balls and I want you to come, balls and all.”

“I think that’s my problem, the complete knicker twist of it all. I think I’m only safe without balls.”

“I wonder if you hadn’t married ‘the most beautiful woman in the world’ but just some plain Jane.”

“That wasn’t my way. I was looking for the total turn on – cure?”

?

“I’m willing to listen.”

“Me too. I know nothing about you, Immanuel. You’re a complete mystery. Everybody is but with you it’s more naked.”

It was as if our room had become more filled with light. Either I had woken a notch or something had shifted in the ambient.

“I want us to behave as if we’d never met, as if you’ve come for touch massage. I want to taste you, which will be difficult if I think it will lead to bruised genitals.”

“Are they?” He moved a hand as if to cosset them, then quickly recalled it. “Sorry.”

I’d got that the accoutrements of the feminine disturbed him, hemlines and knickers. I ensured that we were naked. I had him lying face down on the bed. This vision in light melted me completely. The feel of his skin was a species of the mind obliterating potency of his lingam. I could hardly touch him without climaxing. Summoning my Goddess powers made that good, the perfect healing touch. In his back there was a cross built of mind not from Nature. I worked to melt it and flush it away. This would take time, like melting Greenland. One could only set it in motion. Even so I felt it quake, rippling like a reflection in water, and somewhen in the process he let rip a melodious, malodorous fart which had us laughing long afterwards. When I had him on his back I was melting in an auric sea. My tears kept falling on him and I kept wiping them away. His lingam god grew distractingly. Eventually I had to touch it and feel its solar potency and its cosmic pain. Every part of me wanted to touch it and did until one part hadn’t. I parted lips of yoni. The touch of him in the entrance overwhelmed me. Sinking down was letting the sun in. The Sun. The whole Sun. I worshipped, with my whole being, this absolute god. 

For moments we are there and I am filled all inside with the joyous blessing of full male power solid as our beautiful rock planet. Stay with me and let us expand into the auroral trains of light. But my body knows otherwise. She is gone, lusting for a climax, taking me down too into the hot rock dark. No complaints now from the approval committee that I am making unsuitable noises. He grows desperate and I am feeding off his desperation. This isn’t Tantra, this is blind sex, hot, hard and animal and extra humanly crazy. I would breathe release for him if I could get hold of my breath. He comes to a halt at last, hot, sweaty and defeated. I haven’t felt so resolutely fucked in a long time. But no climax, just rape – stop, rape – stop, like lifting weights in a gymnasium. I am crying with a sense of the futility of this way of connection I have given my whole soul to as the way of eternal life. He holds me. I feel the power of my sobs lifting his hard heavy bones. Now he is crying, great gobs of sobs that passing leave us in heavy stillness. This is where I wanted us to be but at the other end of the spectrum of stillness, somewhere in a place of light. But this will do, this hard, heavy place of raw experience. Down here in the dark, deeper than the deepest mines. Weight and aftermath and mucus flavoured with black opals, deeper than the deepest thought. When we move it is only for me to roll on top of him and shut his mouth with mine. I could eat him, body and soul, if I only knew how.

The desperate dark has risen but the gold is still there.

12

It can’t last this state, can it, to never knowingly be social human again, just life, love, sensation, kinaesthetic experiments, spiritual mixes? Never again to think or have that senseless state of separation we call society.

It will happen. It is now happening. He rises, all that fantastic nakedness, to find his phone.  I lie gazing at him in wonder. I can taste the emanating maleness. As he climbs back on the bed I climax all inward on that pristine skin. He looks at me with curiosity. I am so conscious of him saying he is disgusted by women. How does he, with whom I was just lost in the deep dark, see me now wet from crying, sweat, mucus and jism? I climax even more whilst trying to look as if I want to see his phone. For the first time in years I feel fear about my emotions. And that is good until you court it and it becomes just another drug, the matador who can never leave the bullring. Now I choose love but it’s a lot easier to find fear.

He shows me a clip of him and his wife on the red carpet. I am aware only of red and black and lights and shining, of words he’s speaking but I am not taking any of it in. I want to crawl back into the dark away from the light and all its nonsense. He shows me other photographs and her intelligent beauty gets to me. This woman owns the world on every level and now I have occupied her place. What am I doing here? She owns this place of dark where I want to stay. I try to imagine her state and feel I am tuning into something frighteningly powerful. If she knew how much I have taken, my life wouldn’t be worth ribbons. 

“Why didn’t you both come?”

He gave a long sigh. “We talked about it. Shakti said there was no one like you. Certainly no man she’d trust enough. And the thought of any fake chancer fucking my wife when I couldn’t. I’d kill him. I wouldn’t just kill him I’d cut him up in slices.”

That didn’t make sense. Couples only required one trainer, who wasn’t necessarily a participant. Unless I remember in the dream I am the focus of attention.

“What about her?”

“Killing you?”

“Or me killing her. You’re a monstrously attractive man, Immanuel, as you well know. I could just go completely out of my mind over you. Millions do.”

“She wouldn’t. Maria’s from old Mafia and religious too. They have rules. Mind you, she’s a woman, and they have emotions. Her father said the reason women don’t run things is because they’re unpredictable.” 

“By men.”

He laughed. “That’s exactly what she said.”

“Mafia?”

“In its roots. But they’re completely transnational now. Good or bad, countries can’t touch them. Under Maria’s influence the company has changed out of recognition.” He adopts the persona of some venerable crook. “Who would imagine a daughter of mine. First a nun, then Best Fucking Picture and now making a speech about ecology!”

“Was that the one – ?”

“Yes,” he said resignedly.

“How did you know what I was going to say?”

“That won the Oscar?”

“I heard it was about artificial intelligence.”

“Most people think it’s about arms and drugs.”

“Perhaps that’s the same thing.”

“You haven’t seen it!” He sounded offended.

“Waste my life watching bloody movies!.” Frank Kermode had liked it. That’s about as close as I ever get to mainstream cinema. Not quite true. I do go to it socially and hold hands.

“She fictionalised Daddy’s entire empire, right up to the present with new levels of technology. The last part is pure fantasy, about the development of godlike machines that will melt the present in one great orgasm.”

“What!”

I heard him and thought he had to be joking or I have finally passed beyond the point of no return. In Ius’s world it was the future if there was going to be a future for such a horrible species.

The film had been banned in various countries or had its ending cut. 

“She doesn’t call it orgasm. It’s much more spiritual – Teilhard de Chardin – the Omega Point – but the media kicked up a storm about the sex and the religion. She was so angry.”

“A nun?”

“Yes.”

“I suppose that’s why I never wanted to see it. A nun ruined my life. It was the men who did the dirty work but with the threat of her in the background.”

“What did she do?”

“Blamed us, the kids, but me especially. Called me the evil one. Threatened to mutilate me so I couldn’t make the priests sin. Talked about Hell till you thought your brain was bleeding. That’s why she ran such a weird institution, got her kicks from torturing sinners, mind, body and soul.”

“How did you survive?”

“I didn’t. I went mad and stayed there – a thousand years. Goddess saved me. I don’t know what Goddess is except some inner resilience in a body.”

“You haven’t come out badly.”

“That was a chance in a trillion trillion. Between us we created my inner friend, Ius. Such a complete story. So many powers. I’m sure if I’d had a decent upbringing none of it would have appeared. So I don’t know what to say. I have my form of life which runs like the river Amazon. It heals people. All I can say is our own life is vastly greater than we seem able to imagine.”

“She sounds like Maria, a genius at enlisting evil men to her vision. She knew her father saw himself as a good man trapped on the criminal hamster wheel. It’s an illusion but it doesn’t matter. You take him as he sees himself. Instead of trying to reform him you give him greater opportunities that don’t require dead bodies.”

“How does she do that in what must be a very macho world?”

“I don’t know. But they dance to her tune. As I did.”

“What did she do to you?”

“Offered me herself and God in one complete package.”

“Is that the problem?”

“Maria comes with some really heavy spiritual shit. I suppose I’m allergic to it.”

That was a thought to never have enter my head if I was going to have a good day.

“What’s the matter,” he said.

“Echoes of Mother Mercy.”

I wonder if I am about to repeat a dreadful pattern? In my mind, if I was ever to meet Maria, the image of a gun. 

“Let’s not talk about them, Mahadevi. What am I here to learn from you?”

I had to think for a minute.

“Pleasure?”

He shook his head questioningly.

“Pleasure has been demoted for too long. Pleasure is wired deep into our brains. It’s the whole of who we are, taking its source, if you must look for it, from the future rather than the past. The past is a speck, a tiny dot before the future which is all around behind in front. The future shot Abraham Lincoln. The future gave Moses the burning bush. It’s hacking into our disconnection from pleasure, the right pleasure. The world wouldn’t be full of drug addicts if real pleasure had been part of our education from the start. The pleasure that is love is God. Pleasure taught me everything I know and one day everything I know will fill the world. Just one person. Just one lost girl from Liverpool.”

“How come every lost girl doesn’t know it?”

“They don’t see it as a mission. Isn’t pleasure evil, selfish? Turn the key and lock the door. The key was turned long ago. The door is rusted solid.”

“What do we do?”

“We can’t break the door down. That’s self destruction. The door has to be opened.”

“How?”

“We have to learn to do the least. My oldest lover is ninety two. With her loving is like knowing God. With you its more like a bad day on the Somme.”

“Sorry.”

“Don’t say sorry. Just feel. What did that feel like – what I just said.”

“I want to curl up and die.”

“Return to the womb.”

“No! I’m here to do whatever I can with you.”

“Only me?”

“I think so.”

“What if my psyche gets imprinted on you so that whenever you’re having sex with your wife I’m there…”

He is staring at me again. It is quite disconcerting, as though I were some fabulous monster.

“…Your whole sex becomes hooked around a time, a place, a memory? It doesn’t flow in the present?”

“It’s already like that. My mother. Now Maria. If I lose her I can only be dead. There’s no escape.”

I knew that one completely. I felt myself on the brink of something huge. I already knew that. My whole life was about ensuring the human miracle didn’t end before it had properly started. The big was always present but never had much human form. This was different.

“What is it about her and you?”

“She is married to God. If I don’t make this marriage work she still has God but I’ve got nowhere to go.”

“The Divine Mother doesn’t want to let you go Immanuel.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“First your mother. Then a woman married to God. You come for help to a woman who thinks she is God. Doesn’t just think it. Knows it. These are the symptoms of deep man which the world of woman yearns for and has never really seen. You aren’t the star you are by accident. If Divine Mother heals you she will always be with you.”

“How will that be bad?”

“If women disgust you. Disgust you enough to kill them.” I felt the shock in his body. That was the button. Perhaps he really had killed her? If I show that I know will he have to kill me? Is that how this ‘immortal’ life will end? To sheer away from this violent crater I had to keep talking. “The Great Goddess doesn’t do time. There is the death that is oblivion and there is the life that is Eternity. They are two facets of a single state. Everything she requires of a man is as the depth and wisdom of her own creator. It isn’t fair really because she is the one who created. Only the Lord of Time can bring her to life, the one that she created. When you wake her with a kiss… …You see, Immanuel, that’s when the human race puts its foot on the first rung of the ladder to Eternity or its ceases forever. Not even a memory – except in God. A god of too many sorrows whose deepest need is the death of time. The death of deaths.”

I see I’ve given him another erection. I put my hands on it and its raw male energy lit me from toes to eternity. I held it. ‘Held’ it. All the way through my life with Candor. All the way through my other life back to Anthony. A pity this magical thing had to come with all the paraphernalia of male personality, smashed and fired in the kiln. Only used to cut yourself on.

“I want you to be able to put this inside me and be very still. It’s not something you can do. It’s when you’ve abandoned all doing. So, don’t try to be still. Just think of it now and then.”

“And if I can’t get it up?”

“What’s this?”

“It was like somebody was trying to stop the horse from bolting.”

“Surrender your thoughts to mine, every negative thought, even the ones you disown, even the ones you know nothing about. Even your innermost fears…”

“…I want to be clear,” I said. “I don’t do anything. I breathe, I live and if you want to touch me, I love. Other than that I am a very dull person.”

“You made the world laugh.”

“The Goddess has her funny places. Just as she has her mathematical places, as Ramanujan showed. I feel it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that to know where to find them requires an extraordinary simplicity. I am a really boring person. All the clever and fun people are downstairs.”

“What was her name?”

“Ramanujan. Have you seen the film, ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’?”

“I think we backed it!”

!

“He said the Goddess gave him his mathematics, written on a river of blood.”

“It’s going to be messy?”

“The exclusion principle doesn’t only apply to electrons. Two bodies in one blood will leave a lot spilling over. A lot of information.”

“Goddess of whole life, not just funny bones and maths?”

“Yes. Infinite power of creation. We can get glimpses of what it is like. But we are creatures of sensation. Body, mind and spirit. She is direct. He is direct. He is her directness. She gives him life. Life! Not just fuck. It’s her whole soul. She wants him her equal so they completely die and enter life eternal.”

“Mahadevi, I wish you were my wife.”

“You didn’t wait.”

“I would never have found you.”

“This isn’t Tantra, big man. Or it is Tantra but not the way we play it now.”

“It isn’t football either. Something else I don’t give a shit about. I do give a shit about you. You’re different. I want to know more.”

“Don’t I disgust you?”

He thought about it.

“No. You scare me. Not like Maria. More a fear of infectious madness made endurable by love.”

His voice broke as he said ‘love’.

“You love me?”

“Yes. You reach places I never knew existed.”

He was crying when he kissed me. I dissolved in the deepest, darkest sexual depths. The warmth shimmered right through me and when his vibrant lingam filled naked Yoni I was long long long lost and gone. When eventually he came off the edge I couldn’t stop my multiple climaxing shooting him out. Desperate, I wanted him inside anywhere and swamped my tastebuds with our piscine pungency. I explored every sensitive place expecting nothing in return. He bared yoni. I curled hopefully towards him and was not surprised when no mouth met her but inexpert fingers scrabbling among the labia. It is a sad fact that until shown by a tantric woman the location of the clitoris and other exquisite features of the yoni, no men, even husbands of venerable antiquity, know where anything is. I suppose it is because girlfriends and wives have been too shy to show, believing it to be an object of ugliness best not seen. It astonishes me that, within earshot of the Cataclysm, this information, essential for human survival, is still missing. I showed him my clit, which he engaged with, fingers, lips and tongue, which astonished me and delighted me to the depth of my being. Something broke and he poured onto me. I opened like a bivalve to let him all in. Wave after wave focussed in my throat and blasted out into infinite light. At last my body twisted itself violently away from his and curled tight in self protection and to recover and to be in that overwhelmed aftermath. His fingers were searching for me. I curled tighter away hoping to distract him with his own orgasm but it was still not there. All my talk of subtle pleasure was clearly out the window. Something else is happening. I am far too obsessed with this man’s loins that are of such mesmerising beauty as to fill my eye and mind and soul with religious awe. Pallet and tongue and lips and teeth a worship worship worship in their dark, close way. I am one with them and gone. Then the recording of the gong imperiously boomed through the halls and corridors. I disengaged from body worship and said.

“Must get dinner!” 

He expletively dismissed dinner.

Despite Ius’s formidable cool Maisy still panics about food. There was rationing till I was nine for god’s sake! Food torture was religion and my guardians were fanatical worshippers. 

“You must obey the rules.”

“What rules?”

“When I say stop!”

“You didn’t say stop.”

“How could I with your dick in my mouth.”

“I didn’t put it there.”

“No. I love you for what you did for Yoni. Really surprised me.”

“Yeah. Me too. Really really really.”

I put our much purged mouths together in a deep, long kiss. I drew back and considered him.

“What’s wrong with you?”

“That never happened before.”

“Never?”

“Not that I remember. Remember I don’t remember.”

“Shit! Not even that?”

“I remember that.”

“What was the difference?”

“You.”

“It was beautiful. Why was I so scared of you?”

“Your dream.”

“What it meant. It was like the end of the world.”

“It’s my sanity I worry about.”

“That too. We must eat or we’ll be starving. It’s going to be a long night.”

“Lots of people?”

“A hundred and sixty. Plus helpers.”

He looked desperate. I threw him the mask bag. He batted it to the floor.

“Stay. I’ll bring.”

As I reached the door the look on his face stopped me.

“What?”

I held my breath until he spoke,

“Love – is terrifying.”

I let it out with a great sigh and my best smile.

“Oooooooh! It’s a great deal worse than that!”

I left and returned with a tray which provoked speculative glances. Well, yes, Yoni, despite feeling like a boxing glove, was singing the spirit of Springtime. Love, even, and we haven’t really started. I gave Shakti the message that we should not be expected and we’d most likely need room service. When I was back I had barely put the tray down before he was clamouring Yoni like she was the air he breathed. With food assured I gave no further resistance but he became very angry with his body for not allowing him the fusion of climax. When he lay in defeat on me on the floor I suggested food. I gobbled some of mine cold while I microwaved his.

We could have stayed indoors kissing but my love sings in the wild wood. Take me there and you can live inside me like a tree in the ground. Despite my strictures to him I felt enormously aroused in a post orgasmic chaos of darkly delicious pleasure and scary marriage.

I invoked the Goddess to help me cool it. I would pursue him as a man should pursue a woman, slow cooked to perfection. I don’t know why I imagined that at this stage of the proceedings with blood and bruises everywhere.

“I suggest a walk,” I said, “to save our stomachs. And while we’re on the subject, there are rules.”

“Yes, no, maybe, more?”

“I almost never use them because for me the skill of the surfer is to ride the wave but the joy of sex lies in awakening to sensitivity as much as in wild intensity. It’s not a contact sport where you might expect injuries. It’s akin to music and painting…”

“‘…Stop’ is an important word and ‘Red’ means an emergency. ‘Red, red, red’ is the ultimate call for help.”

He made the hand gesture which says why didn’t you tell me at the start. “And you. You throw ‘mothers’ around like they were rain next Tuesday.”

“Yes. I’m sorry. Old habits. I should have been properly briefed and given time to think about it.”

“Shakti didn’t know. I didn’t know I was going to tell you.”

“Perhaps you should – while we take a walk for our digestions.”

11

I feel it’s never too late to be romantic. I chose a dress that shimmers in moonlight and asked him what he thought. 

“It’s nice.”

Nice! But his cheeks were twitching. Of course.

“It gives you a bad feeling?”

“It’s the hem. It’s like a razor.”

I hoped we had got somewhere with that.

“Can I show you something,” he said. He went to his bag and and took out a – dress!

It had no hem, just a series of strips of material of separate lengths and very subtly different dark colours across a whole spectrum.

I took it in my hands. It felt like a cobweb with weight within it.

“The colours!” I said, holding it up to the light.

“It’s based on a moonbow,” he said.

There’s a coincidence.

“May I try it on?”

“Of course.”

I slipped it on. It felt so beautiful and looked – hmmm? – well, for a dress styled on Cinderella going to the ball in what she had after she had walked a hundred miles through a forest, it was really amazingly beautiful. Every strip of the dress was of a different length and the ends apparently ragged and yet weighted with tiny beads of – gold?

“Yes,” he said.

One thigh was apparently ripped but finely constructed. The colours were almost mesmerising. I knew them. Now that I know they are the colours of moonlight I know them intimately from the dark woods. The colours of moss and fungi on long dead trees.

“Do you like it?”

“Ye-es. Do you?”

He nodded. “Even more now I see it on you.”

“So this works for you? Doesn’t trigger your horror?”

“No.”

“Thank you.”

We had a very thorough, loving kiss during which he demonstrated one aspect of the dress, access to my body didn’t require a lift of the dreaded hemline. 

“The strips hold together by a kind of magnetic velcro.” He said.

“A very thoughtful dress.”

“Scientifically engineered at the cutting edge.”

We had a chuckle at that.

“Does Maria dress as scientifically for you.”

“Oh, yes. Her dresses are made by NASA.”

I naturally assumed he was joking. I now know otherwise.

When I mentioned it might get cool later he produced a shawl to match the dress. The effect was wonderful.

“Pity about the shoes.” I looked hopefully at the bag.

“Sorry,” he said.

“I could wear my green wellies.”

He looked startled. I added an eyebrow to convey it was a joke. 

More to keep him company I chose a mask of some elfinly erotic kingdom. He chose a golden mask of a forceful erotic faun and I borrowed for him a Tudory jacket from the dressing up room ‘for warmth’. Even in winter I sleep in the woods. I’m tough. That or it’s recombinant menopause.

We walked through the house and saw no one but felt their energies. Or I did, causing me to move through its waves like a teetering top. I led him over the lawns and into the exotic but tamed trees of the arboretum.

All the time I felt his struggle to speak. As we stood amidst the twists of the corkscrew willow, strangely still wearing our masks, he began. To someone from Mars where sexual relations within the family was absolutely normal if one was to be in any way human, what he spoke about was shocking only in the brutality of its environment. For us the darkness came from our closeness to primordial source and had nothing to do with such damaging concepts as sin. Original Original. Hellfire everlasting at its deepest and darkest. 

“As a child I could see a white light inside her, of overwhelming beauty. I was awe struck. I could have lived like that with her forever worshipping that wonderful state.”

He placed his hand over my belly beneath the navel. We know it as the seat of the orgasmic energy. I wanted his hand to stay there and never leave. 

“I slept curled up in that beautiful belly. On rainy days and the dead of winter we never got up. Her body was an adventure landscape. Great civilisations lived in different parts of her as if in different galaxies. Her breasts were mountains and the valley between connecting head and belly cities. I made up great treks that travelled all over her. When the upper cities were weakened by disasters and war I had to go past the caves of magic and demonic forces to get reinforcements from the powerful cities of her thighs and feet. Sometimes the magic creatures would come and help me.”

“What were they like?”

“There was a giant tree and a huge silver serpent who lived around it and a terribly wise spider called Osmond who could knit cloaks of invisibility, and Voortan, Lords of the Flies.”

“Wow!”

“I know, some pandemonium came out of my mother’s womb.”

His eyes are aglow with remembering. 

“What did they do!”

“We had great adventures. I had. I don’t know how much she did but she seemed to. She called them the primordials and, I suppose because I was a boy, there was endless war. She was at the centre of the cosmic city and I was the marvellous adventurer. Sometimes I travelled as far as the toes, which was a very far and difficult place to get to.”

“So she was a goddess?”

“Yeah. Very like. In the game she was very goddessy. It was ‘my purpose’, ‘my universe’. I am sending ‘my emissary’ to the lower back people to stomp on them gently and stop them complaining. She liked me to give the foot people lots of attention.”

“Did you get any?”

“Did I? I don’t want to eulogise her like she was some superhuman but being massaged by her wasn’t like being squeezed and stroked, it was like being created.”

“Where was your father?”

“I don’t know. She never mentioned him.”

“Did she have lovers?”

“If she did she kept them well away from me. Once the adult relationship started it was total. One soul.”

“Not disgusted?”

“No! She was mysteriously beautiful inside. So mysteriously, unfathomably beautiful. We never wore clothes unless we had to. The sexual connection wasn’t all the time. It was more like animals in season. Moon states and changes in the weather.”

“Sounds beautiful.”

“Yes.”

“The great Mother Goddess. The source of life’s qualities. All other gods owe her life, are born and live and die in her, to become immortal.”

He considered that for some long seconds.

“Yes. It’s how I knew all they said about sex as sin was totally mad. Being connected to her was pure genius. Life flowed in every way. I understood everything. It was all very simple.”

Now I saw him, not with eyes but with feeling, pure, resonant oneness.

“I went away to college, theatre school. I didn’t know it then but all the beautiful, fascinating girls from the upper classes, I never saw another with that inner light. We’d still meet and it was there. I had a choice but I was being offered parts. Hollywood called. She urged me to take it and I never looked back. Literally, until she was dead. She walked off – ”

It broke him to say it. We peeled off our masks to wipe our faces.

“I never saw anything like that light again until I met Maria. With her it’s dark and – beautiful, yes, but terrifying, if I’m honest. And now there’s you.”

“What you’re describing is what Reich called the orgone energy. It’s in everybody.”

“It isn’t. Believe me.”

“I don’t doubt your experience. You pick any woman here, you’ll find it. Not always the same colour. And then it isn’t physical. Its colour, its texture – these are very inadequate words – are the colours love gives it. It seldom survives in the most beautiful people. They learn to deny it. Then lose it. You are lucky with Maria. She is lucky in you, that you even remember.”

“Could it be the religion?”

“You’re asking the wrong person. My experience of religion was terrible. It wasn’t the sex, it was the horrible mess their minds made of it. I can’t talk to believers. I just want to strangle them.”

“I’m not a believer.”

“Are you sure?”

He looked amazement. “How can you imagine it?”

“Easily. Christ is the Son. His bride is his mother. Every depiction of him at the point of death and apotheosis shows a bleeding yoni.”

He is staring at me as if lightning might strike. 

“None of which is acknowledged.” I said. “It’s all about father and son. Woman only comes into the story as the source of evil or as a virgin. Which is an insult to our entire lives and the uses men make of us. Life is sin. Woman is the origin of sin, not just day to day fornication but the source of it – Original Sin. The last remnant of a Goddess. Who created this? Men, of course, the fucked up, fucking up monsters who rule the world. Torture, cruelty and evil, this is the god of their world. Don’t tell me it’s a few bad ones. Look at what the majority watch for entertainment, horror, war and sexual brutality. Why? Because it’s unbalanced. Men without women are monsters. I don’t mean the marital slave fest. I mean total communion, body and soul. Holy Communion! Where did they steal that from, huh – inside us! I sometimes think that the world without religion might stand some chance of wholeness. Where did nuclear war come from and all the other holy wars! Holy war, if it exists, exists inside us or it is nowhere. Externalised, it creates opportunities to torture the living that sick and evil people can’t resist. In fact I think religion is the origin of evil or evil is the origin of it. The worst of them are pure evil and the rest collude. Though is evil truly evil when it’s unconscious? They cover that by invoking the Devil.”

“Mahadevi, you confuse me. One moment your all goddesses and the next you’re condemning all religion.” 

I laughed appreciatively. “All I’m saying is you and your mother might have had perfectly normal lives if all of this wasn’t in the background.”

“We wouldn’t have felt guilty about it?”

“What is there to feel guilty about? Sex as embodied sacrament is all that remains in the world, procreation no longer being an urgent necessity with seven billions of us and half of them starving. It’s that or become social robots. Sex is the only exchange which is fundamentally human. Words aren’t. Football isn’t. War isn’t.”

“What if it was your soul and you’ve lost it?”

“You have Maria – and me?”

“But you’re crazy. Utterly beautiful but crazy. And she’s – dangerous.”

Crazy Maisy. In that moment I felt so lonely. He embraced me tenderly. “You’re not crazy, and if you are I don’t care.”

“I am, doubly and triply. Even infinitely.”

“I should ask about you.”

“Thank you for the thought but another time.”

“Love. I’m so confused about love.”

“You shouldn’t be. We shouldn’t be. Love is the one thing that is clearly what it is.”

“But not to us.”

“One way or another everybody knows it. Which is why there are people like me who search for the one great message.”

We walked along a track like a green tunnel which had enchanted me since I first saw it in another world. At one place it is cut by a passage of setting sun beams with evening insects dancing on cue. It is as if my long memory anticipated this moment where we paused and shared the ecstatic energy. I didn’t say see, it’s everywhere. Even the insects. In truth they were a little disappointing. Once the beams would have been full of a greater variety, almost aroar with them.

“When did she die?”

“Nobody knows for sure. They never found the body.”

“How do know – she is dead?”

“There’s been no trace. She left the car at the Cliffs of Moher.”

Cliffs of Mo – her! I knew them! Ius knew them. Maisy doesn’t. The shock of this connection between us kicked the door open further. These moments of confirmation of Ius’s reality always startle me. We had found the Cliffs of Moher in our early explorations. We had full terrestrial mapping to guide us. We didn’t invent names except for places very local to us, ‘Siri’s Place’, ‘The Big Willow’. How many of us would really know the Cliffs of Moher? Our lives had become very local. Asante, though, with The Professor, watched the world for hidden humans and people like me monitored her reports. We also had the buried Internet which our computers had partially resurrected, a gigantic, incomplete archive from which only the infinity machines could extract any usable information. 

I can’t explain what was happening at that moment. Falling into a psychic-psychological black hole? Being stretched and twisted by monstrous tides? ‘Cliffs of Moher’ was like a signal from my other life. The Candor connection. If one person can travel in time another can.  

What is the stretched form of Ius relationship? If Immanuel is her brother, is he the continuity of Candor? Is he another who isn’t up to it? Is this the eternal state of man and woman. It isn’t equal in spiritual knowledge, internal life knowledge, so man compensates through technological armouring. If this is the continuity of that relationship where is it starting? Who is starting? A third being who was our composite? Maisy has been Ius for so long she is Ius. I want to turn to the man beside me and ask for help. One of those moments of my real self’s terrible loneliness swept over me. The last thing I wanted now was precisely what I was setting out to do. If you are my brother, please remember when you worshiped me? In that moment I had an insight and considered how I could steer us away from our community’s commitment to hot climax even as I was laying the foundations for the hottest of them all.

I led us into the garden, which was timed to be a riot of flowers but global warming has outpaced us. Many petals have fallen which starkly stirred unwelcome intimations of mortality. When are they ever welcome, but some times hit harder than others. I tried to focus on the game. I lingered with the flowers. He dutifully brought his nose to share an absent scent. A man, to whom a flower may mean no more than a cabbage, can be wonderstruck by their mysterious effect on a woman. Studies have shown men are up to eight times less sensitive to colours and scents and every sensation than women – and they are the supposed artists! – but it’s still how a woman can best seduce him by inducing him to give her flowers. Here Nature, or generations of gardeners, have prepared the ground. Men are suffering most from an absence of female spirituality, and if you’ve never known the whole of female spirituality you’re missing the very essence of life. Our two faces were so warmly together with the colour and the remnants of smell. It was a moment when something tripped and Maisy and even Ius slipped away and Goddess is alone remained. Eternal internal, that was Anthony’s phrase. I felt it now, that wild love in the beginning, and the way through until now. Would the man catch it and run or plunge right in. 

As I regally stepped and languidly twirled in my mysterious dress of moonlight, I was a dance with Nature in the eye of man, that which gave it point. It was I who conducted the orchestra of Nature’s scents and sights and sounds. That was the role I was supposed to be playing. I understood it inside and out as my great love is a woman. Within the earthly mystery of woman I channel goddess love that holds everything up like the wire dance between the trade towers, unique, unrepeatable, in another universe. And the towers fell. And the world fell. And I must turn and stop it. Can I ask you to imagine what or who I am when I can only be it myself when I imagine. If I could always be a performance I could always be a goddess, the supreme spirit, drawing you all on invisible webs out through primeval jungles. My dream is to be human were the loneliness not unbearable. And so I skip the goddess steps out over ever deepening waters.

After saturating us in the garden we crossed the track and into the trees. It is darker here. The evening sun sparkled through the canopy and bathed us in its beams. We walked along a thicket track indiscreetly marked for this weekend by draped undergarments, for come the dark you will never find your way out. The track takes us into a deep part of the forest, to a cathedral of beeches surrounded by undergrowth, making it a perfect arena for private and public encounters, such as dance. As we approach there is a silence in the forest, as though it holds its breath. If there are people here they are being very quiet. It is a lonely place to come with someone potentially dangerous. What was I thinking? Well, I didn’t expect it to be so quiet and we have stirred things up by providing him a gauntlet of the very expression of his disturbance, women’s undergarments, and starting at the entrance with the ultimate horrors, a pair of wedding dresses wafting like angels of death.

We approach two trees they call King and Queen of the Forest. The King is a massive oak, dark, multitrunked, the Queen a beech, tall and silver, without a branch until she reaches out above all the others. Her crown is bright and rustling, catching the breeze and the full light of the sun. My guess is she is younger than the King and put all her force into rising above his canopy. In which case their names should be reversed. She is the massive, dark, multitrunked and he has forced himself above her, straining for the simple light. In reality they are both. Reddening beams are pouring through the window of trees. We are approaching a place where, almost a lifetime ago, I encountered some great spirit of the forest. It was a series of events, not a single moment. In the deepest meditations I met what I knew to be a universal forest whose trees transcended time itself and where creatures like me lived deep, mysterious bright lives from the fundal dark. Creatures from other universes came to find us for we thrived in ways and places they could not. It was not easy to find us for while we could give them life they would bring us death if our marriages were not constructed with supreme care. I had lost track, after decades in places like San Francisco, why the avenue of wedding dresses and undergarments. Originally we had come this way with reverent not frivolous purpose. And now I am coming back bringing a man who was not just meant to be here, he was the king of this unknown and mysterious forest.

There is a nook between the roots of the Queen that is like a throne. Here I used to come and meditate. I forged a channel between the King and the Queen in a place between where they are one. I take us to it and feel the energy. Tens of years ago but fresh and here. It is the spirit of the primordial forest in ways ancient beyond time. I know now why I have come here. These are gods older and deeper, whose deepest purpose is to deliver us to the heart of ourselves. I have found the light that lives here, old beyond time. It hovers here like a pollinating creature in crossed sunbeams. It speaks through my lips

“Fuck me with your soul, please!”

This request drives him crazy with desire. I am watching from out of my body as if I am a theatre spirit of giant trees. I am like a multicoloured petalled flower tree woman with perfect legs sprung from the soft forest floor. I feel that unbearable beauty pressed to me. I lift myself on the roots and he takes me, sandwiched between hard tree and man, with most ungentle force. I am climaxing off the scale and a single cell of my being left over would know the entire wood can hear me. There is nothing soft here. This is intense rape. The entire Goddess implodes in Yoni meeting him bursting into me, bursting through my feet into the roots of the world and bursting from the ends of my hair through the crown of the tree into eternity. A bolt of energy shoots from earth to sky and back. I am above an endless forest seeing setting Sun and rising Moon behind. My opened arms would extend to the crossed directions, distant, dark. Disc of a six directional spinning top in stillness. Axis Mundi. For one moment I was at source within the tradition in which I had been tortured. Everything in the primeval moment branded the spirit with a holy fire. A trapped hem pulled free completely unnoticed burns with the eternal fire in memory. Yoni belly breasts throat a screaming skeleton tobogganer plunging backwards in endless freefall razor slicing every nerve as no mind could inhabit.

A voice of agony blasts my core. A scream as of barbed wire ripped through flesh. A yelling darkness plugged deep into me. I feel his pain in all its self obliterating strangeness. I know his soul where he has escaped from it. I was out of my body, detached, watching a dark knot, a sinking black hole in fields of cosmic energy. Then I was a body too weak to hold itself up falling with another too weak to hold it. We collapse on the leafy ground, two noisy, hyperventilating creatures clinging to one another against totally losing our minds. Gradually the breathing falls back into the range which is not terrifying. I feel as though my entire body mind soul has received a dark shock of something that should never have existed. The combined spirits have channeled it through me and gone. 

In the fading light I glimpse and try not to see the terrible mask of his face. But now the fascination of it catches me. It resonates with a woman giving birth. A suffusive glow melts the forged, lined mask. My own pain, transformed by the great climax, is one with his. This is holy. My Ius mind throws up a memory of Oracle Nine. The foundation of Ten without Ten is all pain. Ten is impossible except as human. We ride the pain as human, as flesh, as god, as everything by skipping always forward in time. I have felt the horrors within that my whole life is constructed to avoid. I am left with a firm hold on his problem but it takes me to very strange thoughts. The Candor dream keeps shouting at me it is the absolute truth not ‘just a dream’. In my experience such shocking pain as we have experienced can only be in the realm of artificial beings. And that, in the world around me, is a mad thought. But all of Ius’s and Asante’s world is unreal to them. These insights give me an enormous sense of fellowship with this man. I would gladly risk my life to touch that world again. 

Bellies shaking, laughing and crying, our bodies in shocked visceral release. Clouds of pain dissolving. Hands touching all over like rapturous kissing joy love of child for its mother. We must have laughed together, touching and loving for half an hour. Painful aftershocks came and went without all-obliterating force. We remained conscious throughout them leaving great gollops of perception. 

“It’s you!” He kept saying. “It’s you!” As though I was the answer to everything. In the back of my mind was an awareness that he was not free. But in that time it touched all the deep dark of me and I gave him everything.

I have bared him from the collar to the ankles and know every museum on Earth should have a copy, every gallery, ever cathedral. This is contemplable beauty additional to its exquisite beauty to touch. I impale myself on it and cry out with the joy of bliss in flesh. Oh, God. If this were God. This must be God. I lie on him dancing in my mind like wind blown corn and his hands are all over me in ravenous touch. He enwraps me and sweeps all over me and rolls me onto the floor and is like a wild orgasming thing everywhere. Touching him I feel lingam power in his hair, his cheeks, his neck, his back, in his soul shattering buttocks and most of all inside me, filling me with ecstatic lightness of being and desperate deep hot holy raunch. I hold him in mad total sacred visceral love. 

When stillness comes we lie together savouring the massed import of what has happened. My eyes are filled with the last holy light in the roof of the trees. Silence is surrounded by the quiet yet immense rush of dusk breeze through the leaves. When we begin to move to counter an awareness of cold there is a single sound which I do and pray do not recognise. But there is another and more. The sounds touch feet, sides, head. We seem to be surrounded by people clapping. It is only three couples skived off to the woods like us. I wrap my legs and arms around him as he seems to want to run. And now we are together laughing with them. Great Goddess. I send my thoughts out in gratitude. Now they have joined us in a heap. Fulfilled humans, incredible creatures, basking seals of a wholly other order. As we all make our way from the woods to the house it is hard to imagine a happier bunch of people at this moment. I am surprised by who is there, not just skiving youngsters but some of the maturer people. I feel Immanuel’s identity is safe with them as their’s with us. The women particularly seem liberated from the domestic drudge of even half a century ago. I know it is never so with international capitalism seeking to create every opportunity to hammer us into servility. Who knows what horrors any of them is living with but here, now, in this moment you know something like it is possible forever and for the whole world.

We who have been in the woods have made our choice and can’t barge in on the main session which will surely be very high and very beautiful but in another way. We sit out on the terrace at the other end and wait for them to finish. When I am happy I like to dance. As a conversation in esoteric Tantra gently opens, which I think Immanuel will benefit from, I go to the other end of the terrace with my phone. You might think, after such an encounter, I’d want to stay glued to my man. But he wasn’t mine and I needed to dance with what I had seen for me.

12

The history of dance music in my spirit is very strange. On Mars we had all the music Earth ever recorded and we aspired to be expert players. Dance and its music became my passion. There are songs I danced to on Mars, expressions of joy and sorrow, anthems of an extinct race. Dancing in tears was a very common experience. Tragic dance which changed to something richer and more hopeful when we brought it back to Earth. Then I performed the time splice, first making connection when The Beatles were new and big and heard all the classic rock anthems of the Earth as they emerged. It was strange hearing ‘Yesterday’ for the first time and know my live memory of it stretched back over two hundred years into the future. It felt like eternity hearing Paul’s voice, knowing he was alive, young and I could still go and see him if I hadn’t already disappeared. I would meet so many of those people and await my moment to put a thought into their lives, and if I could do it without words, in the deeper and total messages of the body, so much the better. It was an enormous surprise to know that some of the names of women I had sung in the far future were hymns to me. After I met Leonard Cowen he chose to carve the name of some other woman into your neural pathways. And why not given that I was never there originally. History says she was buying a stairway to heaven and who else might they be talking about? My favourite, I’m hesitant to admit, was young Mick, whose career has matched mine all the way. One stoned night I told him I first moved my hips to Gimme Shelter two hundred years ago in the future and even now I only have to hear the first note and I’m there all the way back and in then. And I did talk to wee Davie Jones. I searched him out. He was the first person I really talked to about time travel and Mars and we all know what he did with that. Tonight I have plugged in my iPod. God, how times have changed! When I was a kid a rag and bone man came around with a horse and cart and the dairy at the end of our city road was not a posh gastropub but still had cows and would do for another twenty years.

Tonight I am African. As the main session finishes I am gone. My body can move fifteen different ways together and all in harmony when such music catches me. I swear it was born for Rock and Roll. I do not mean to keep everybody off the floor. It is their choice if they stop and look at me. The first time I heard this on Mars I wanted to dance it until I died. Well, maybe it’s closer to happening and I go deeper with it every time. When I was really warm I could do syncopated repeat double reverse reciprocating torsion back flips but not with Maisy’s body and under Earth gravity. Real dance has feeling and this would be mere showing off on a dance floor.  As it is Ius can go crazy in Maisy’s body because Maisy is a gravity native, as at home with it as rocks in a river, daisies clocking and rain falling. Even so, when I stopped, Immanuel was looking at me as though God had personally stolen his testicles.

“I’ve never seen anyone move like that.”

“It’s just original,” I said. “It’s not that difficult to find yourself. I can teach you,” 

“Never!”

“I can. I would point out we met just this afternoon and Mr Impotence is history already.”

He looked shocked to realise this was true.

Shakti was at hand her eyes shining.

“I’ve heard rumours,” she said, “of another miracle.”

“Twasn’t me, it was Yoni. I think he should be left in her capable clutches .”

“Absolutely! How was it?”

But she could see. They all could see. I almost said, ‘I’m thinking of murdering his wife.’ Fortunately idleness prevented me. I did say.

“We’re going to need room service.”

“Some people get the juiciest jobs.”

“Our energy will be with you.”

“Keeping us all awake.”

Immanuel and I retired to his room at the less crowded end of the house. Now that we are alone our public face has fallen away leaving beautiful, unfamiliar nakedness. 

I held him and tears flowed. I managed to coax out of him some words. Additional to the hard tale of his mother was his wife. He had been liberated and now he was confused. She, not me, was his great love, wasn’t she?

No one could be cured in one epic moment. That was life not therapy. That great shock of experience needed some way of being grounded in our everyday. It needed a more advanced community than this, the one I imagined I had been creating back in the Seventies. I thought I had retired. Now, I realised, I had never really begun. The key was love and without a true life partner or community all simulations, no matter how seemingly meaningful and beautiful, were just shadows on the wall. So it seemed, now I was old and lonely.

“I’m already fearing Monday when you won’t be there again.”

Stealing my line. He obviously wants me.

“Hey, the weekend isn’t over. It’s barely begun. Now you’re open and need feeding. On Monday I’ll seal you up and package you in pink ribbons and you’ll be good forever. At the start you might think of me but once you’ve taken her to the place of ecstasy she’ll be wanting more and you’ll soon forget me.”

I didn’t believe a word I was saying and nor did he.

“I can’t believe that’s possible. What happened in the woods was an atom bomb compared with me and Maria.” 

His confirming it as a shared experience touched me deeply.

“I imagined you dressed up as Maria. I brought some of her clothes. Now I can’t bear the idea.”

I felt slightly overwhelmed and pressed his head to me far more personally. Now I was crying too. The thought of wearing her clothes quite unhooked me.

“It will help with the transfer,” I said as if that meant anything. Possibly it would. Her clothes were very crisp and smelled delicious. I wanted to know this woman. I wanted to be her. Despite his protestations he was obviously overwhelmed. Black suits me very well, especially these subtle, deathless blacks that create fathomless depths beyond the mind. This wasn’t a nun’s habit. This was a dress created by an artist for a goddess. As I slipped it on I felt a shock as from some higher dimensional charge. I almost wanted to rip it off again but didn’t. I stood in this column of energy which was Maria’s. It had a powerful but intangible aura, as strong as a cold sea in winter. Perhaps it was traces of a very rarified scent but it felt much more like a clear sense of spirit. 

“Take it off!” He said.

I closed my eyes, stood very still. I had seconds to read this extraordinary message. There was space, white lace throughout, collapsing into an intense white hole. An imploding spiderweb of strong magenta tinted emotions. I held up my hand to stop him coming to pull it off me.

I tried to explain what I was feeling.

“You know your Holy Host, that crisp white bread with dark that you bite into?”

He stared, reminding me of a massive, indignant snake.

“Was it there before you knew Maria?”

He settled back, looking into memory. “No. With my mother it was white. White and grey. Very like the limestone lacework of the local rocks. With Maria came the black.”

“You’ve married the dark Goddess. That’s why you’re impotent. You’re afraid of her. Everybody is. But they don’t have to be. Her deepest deep desire is to marry the light.”

“She is the light.”

“Yes. Marry is become. The light creates the dark creates the light.” I curled my hands together. “Yin and Yang. They are one, but under certain conditions of shadow they become separated. Then they must learn and live and know each other again. Ever deeper. Perhaps there is a limit but only our hearts will tell us. I would like to meet her.”

“She’d like to meet you, but that was before tonight.”

“Haven’t I given you what you came for?”

“Beyond anything we imagined.”

“Beyond what you imagined, perhaps, but beyond the woman who wears this dress?”

I let the question hang.

“Would you let me wear it?”

“Why?”

“It’s filled with her spirit. Or its an unfamiliar technology. I’m sorry if I say things that don’t make sense. I can’t get into explaining in the short time we have. Can you trust me?”

He shook his head bemusedly but said. “Yes.”

“Remember the rules apply for you. You say stop or condition Red, it all stops and we deal with that situation. Which basically is how much of the impossible can you handle? None of it’s impossible really, it’s just that as human beings we haven’t been encouraged to be what we naturally are, a spiritual dancer in multiple dimensions.”

“I should have listened to you from the start instead of…”

“Fuck is eternity itself. All the words that ever were vanish there without trace.”

13

I said we could start with the basic, Tantra breathing, as though we had never met before.

“We just did a lot of breathing.”

“That was chaotic breathing like in the death zone. To survive Goddess Maria you need deep and steady building up.”

We sat on the bed doing the Circle of Light breath. For the first round we wore clothes so that he understood what was possible by way of feeling alone. When I invoke the circle I am always amazed by the glorious sensations that come to me. I don’t know if it is natural to Tantra or peculiar to me as the machine enhanced, multidimensional being of my inner story. Many teachers have told me they have never known anything like it. When I look in a mirror the evidence is staring back at me. Maisy Warlock, the pale, lank haired English girl I once knew, gazes back as the majestic woman I have become over fifty years. Others of my age are well-on crones but even my hair has changed to a bronze cascade of natural curls which Ius explains as her own inheritance from her African mother Asante. I no longer doubt my sanity, as my doctors once insisted I should, but it is still an enormous stretch for my maturer self to believe I am host to a time traveller from Mars who is the source of my many talents such as I put in young Davie Jones’s locker. I still dream of integration whilst enjoying these wonderful gifts. On the day Maisy knows she is one and whole, Ius and her world will be gone and Earth and it’s humans will be saved. So the story will have come full circle and be about my madness after all. Very strange.

Now I am sitting fully clothed in the lap of a beautiful man experiencing blissful orgasmic energy whose intensity may be accounted for by future Mars and infinity machines. None of this I care about, only experiencing the glorious, life enhancing energies that feel so pure and natural.

The first round of the exercise lasted thirty minutes, which is unusually long as even the most skilful shakti will relax and surrender her weight and the inelastic male ligaments be screaming. He knew only being held in a field of cosmic female energy and I knew only infinitely embracing the brilliant man god spirit of the life giving Shiva lingam. This was eternity. It took us time to imagine there might be anything further. 

We now did the more advanced round, he without clothes and reclining majestically and me still dressed in Maria’s mysteriously depthed darkness. The anticipation of the final act was overwhelming whilst trying to retain goalless serenity, especially seeing the beautiful creature that I knew by touch risen like an acclamation of angels. Eventually I carefully moved to sit in his lap, placing myself over him completely melting upon the naked divine essence of man god. 

The old texts make all this sound very normal. ShivaShakti, the one of all ones. The Androgyne, all complete, God and Goddess, each complete, come together in a new one of pure, sublime intelligent creation. If you want your answer it is here. But something in this moment is too much. On Mars we had intelligent clothes that, linked through the computer, enhanced love making to the ultimate spiritual experience. It was an artifice, a creation, undergoing constant evolution. No such technology existed here and yet – what else was this! It was like a drug. I had no ordinary volition left, no ordinary mind. There was a danger to mixing dimensionalities. We each wore the richly entangled garments the computer had created so we both travelled at the speed of light, not one left at the speed of sound. It was already too late. The man had already been through a once in a lifetime soul shock. The orgasmic energy was like a cold, clear light in me. I must hold him. He lasted for one tick, one breath and a little longer. And longer. BREATHE, I said silently to him. HOLD. And he stayed. The energies moved, pulsated, lapped over him like tiny ripples of light. Fading into still, nothing. Nothing but infinite joy of love. I drew back my head and looked into his eyes. One great clear golden eye. So clear I saw my own vast blue eye. Communication was clear, of millions of lives in the heart of truth where they lived and touched our lives we touched theirs. Millions of orgasmic moments amounting to one great charged moment. I moved, slow as moon stirred planet waves. I couldn’t stop. Nowhere to go that isn’t here. Nowhere to go from here. Every cell of my being touching his. Every tale of every form of male and female love embodied in pure, androgynous eternity. Slowly the vast tidal crest rose over us. Everything that’s known is here and momentarily we are one with it. Then the man, a great shudder passed through him, fell away leaving me alone watching. 

For a moment he had disappeared from my awareness and had been replaced by everything. In this sense only do we not exist or have only eternal existence. This works perfectly where we have natural existence but that which is artificial cannot live here. Artificial means culture as well as machine. Even language, though it is natural and word storms surround the God, at the core is the power that gives them life, gives life to anything, and the ultimate poetry is silence. 

I knew all this and the danger for him were all the unannealed imaginings, as in any human being, all our false enlightenments. This man needed deep annealing, as do we all, but he was born to pioneer a path to God and he was out of tune for it by orders of magnitude. Thought is physical. Our bodies need training. His psyche, built like a Watts tower from the paraphernalia of our time, wasn’t constructed well enough for this. His heart had stopped.

The death of a major film star would be a catastrophe from which this community would never recover, but his death swept the curtain wide.

In those few seconds I tried to focus on the future of Earth through the great eye which knew everything.

Before me was a pure, curved hill like a planet, covered in bright people. Beyond it was another much vaster. If there were people they were too small to see. But there was presence, life, intelligence, I’m sure. I was sitting on a third little hill and could not see clearly a connection. Here is the event we call the Cataclysm which looks so tiny in this vast landscape. Here is the bridge we must make, mostly by unbuilding from the rubbish with which we have so far constructed it. At the moment it consisted mostly of me. Where this man had died I rode the light. It was saying whatever stories you have inside you, Ius-Maisy-Mahadevi, the living future is assured. Through you, was somewhere in the message. Thank you, I said. Thank you, the great hills seemed to say. Hills like standing waves, that in a turn of another page might move like all obliterating tsunamis. Their stillness came from mine. But I dance. You dance in the heart of stillness great one. Great still empty present one. The immense vision passed leaving me astraddle a naked man so still I saw he wasn’t breathing. I must wake him very gently or the shock could really kill him. In that moment all the great future I had seen in a moment of borrowed time bent down and returned the time by gently kissing him over his heart which lurched like a kick against my lips and continued wildly, chaotically beating. He took great harsh breaths which gradually calmed. The universe had borrowed him and returned him. My kiss had returned him to life. I had created him. This, in an unlived moment, was my secret and would probably always remain my secret.

The me who’s watching is still on the Third Hill, a long way from sensible thoughts about heart health. I pull off the black dress and lay it aside. At once there is a shift. The great vision is no longer absolutely present but is a very present memory. I know now the dress is a technology that should not exist. I lay that thought aside as well.

“What happened?”

“What do you remember?”

“Massive waves like underwater. I was flying above black emptiness and you had one huge blue eye, like the world. Then my heart was beating like it would explode.”

“Take it easy. We must take it much more easy in future.”

I pressed my hands into pools of energy over his chest. I wondered about the technology of the dress. Was it programmed to kill?

“You’re…”

But the thought hadn’t the interest in itself to pass his lips. He was amazed, remembering.

“God. I was. Pure energy. Pure light. Eternal. Anna-Lisa came to me and said…..what did she say!”

I waited but he couldn’t remember. “It’s not important.”

“It is important!”

“In dreams if you don’t remember then the words are yours. It means yours is a unique job. They’ve never been spoken before.”

I had just made that up – positive spin is an art you learn in my profession – but I liked it.

“Sex…I was God. All sex. Every bit of you. All sacred.”

“Yes. You were in the heart of the fire. Now you must find the way back in your own way.”

“Not without you.”

“Great man, you are your own god. Find your own way.”

“I choose you.”

“All right.”

“What will I tell Maria?”

“The truth.”

“She’s a Christian!”

That was so funny. I nearly died from not laughing.

“Just say it! Think of the first words as cranking the engine. They don’t have to mean anything.”

“Can you imagine, the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen so totally screwed up about sex? And me. Both of us!”

“So, she picks a man castrated by his mother.”

For a moment his face is full of rage. I prepare for another round of battle but he crumples into tears. Such a great sob comes out of him to break my heart.

“I’ll tell her.”

He looked at me, refocusing to my nakedness.

“Mahadevi, you really are astounding.”

“I’m just a channel, a semiconductor.”

“To me you feel like a goddess.”

I lay on him thrilled by every inch of his male body. “Big boy, that’s enough Tantra for tonight or possibly a lifetime. I want your body but right now, I want to think about what happened, and I’m hungry.”

Despite our ordinary words we were not at all in an ordinary state. Most of that initial thinking was done with lingam and yoni, she savouring all the unspeakable beauty of him until he threw me over and drove his freed lust deep inside, entering my body but more entering a dark field of love around my body. I thought he would never come and I would die in an endless firezone. A man screaming on me as though plunging down the face of a bottomless cliff. In the majestic stillness I am on the edge of measureless things. A human cry along a distant corridor. An owl calling from the woods. I have to go out and be with the owl. He is nearly asleep.

Although I am a little worried about his heart we went naked to the dining room and found emergency food and water which we took out onto the terrace into pre-dawn chill and the stars. We watched them for a moment, as you do. I pointed out Jupiter and Mars. For me its call filled the sky. My eye followed a pattern of stars to, ah, yes, I could just see it! 

“See that fuzzy blob. You might catch it peripherally.”

“Yes! What is it?”

“M31, the Great Galaxy in Andromeda. It’s the oldest light your naked body can see with its naked eye. It started out when hominids were first cracking bones with stones. The light that enters your eye IS two million years ago. Extraordinary, when you think of it, why did an eye evolve in a forest that can see two million years away? Or forever, when it builds the tools.”

He looked at me, his mouth opened but nothing came out.

“The whole of modern cosmology comes from the light beyond, right to the beginning of the universe. All from an amount of energy equivalent to a postage stamp falling to a floor. Carl Sagan.”

“You’re into this?”

“No, mister brain dead, moneybags, I’m into everything. For a photon there is no time. Then is now as I is to us, we invent time with our minds. Our thought senses can take us to the end of the universe, to the whole of everything. Some of the pathway is technological but that will only bring about your destruction without the right sort of human development.”

“Which is Tantra?”

“I used to think so but even Tantra can be deadly without love. It certainly involves the complete harmony of the sexes.”

“How?”

“By the Law of Love, which is deeper than we know but not deeper than we can know. And that also is Now and Then and When.”

As I stepped out onto the freezing dew wet grass a thought came to me. 

“For that photon from Andromeda there is no time. It left Andromeda and landed in your eye in less than now. This is the nature of the underlying love.” I spread my arms. “Here it is, and you can see it! Your mind makes this timeless miracle appear. You are God, and it’s time for you to know it.”

I danced my Goddess dance ending with a hypersonic whirl, a pole dancer without a visible pole, singing a stellar chorus to movement. He stayed stolidly on the less cold stone as most men would. It’s an absolute myth that they are the adventurers. It’s all hyperballocks. A macho desert like the Everest Death Zone littered with tat and frozen bodies.

We ran to his room where I got the blood back into my feet on him. An ice foot on his genitals. Such screaming! 

Tom, he now asked me to call him,

“My name is Thomas Immanuel Quinn. My mother was thinking of Immanuel Kant who in turn was thinking of Immanuel, the one who saves mankind by clear sight. Never an unambitious lady. My mother was not aware of the film Emmanuelle, which completely clouded the issue when I was a boy.”

“Ahha!”

“I got into lots of fights. And then she showed me how to win them.”

“Your mother!”

“Remember HIT,” she said. “Hurt, incapacitate, terminate. I’m going to teach you the terminators so you know what not to do. I’ll teach you the eighty-four that hurt but remember H also means humiliate. It’s best to talk your way out of trouble.”

Can you imagine what it is like to be punched by a ghost and have the wind knocked right out of you? I had apparently turned deathly pale.

“What’s the matter?” He said.

I couldn’t begin to say.

“Tell me about her?”

“What do you want to know?”

“Anything. Her past. Her family.”

“I don’t want to go there.”

No. It is possible the truth could kill us both. A lifetime’s experience of living on the edge of killer thinking had taught me respect for its power. I let the questions go. But the thought was there like a mad dragon about to explode. It was the kind of thing Asante might have said as we prepared to return to Earth.

Before she became an astronaut our beautiful mother had taken a martial arts route to an education. She had represented Eritrea at the Olympics (“eliminated in the first round”) and became a military survival expert with a knowledge of improvised weapons and unarmed combat. Any two women might have an interest in martial arts but speaking such a deadly language about it would be a great deal rarer.

It was a thought too mad even for me. Whatever this man’s problem, it was not of this world.

14

He revelled in the discovery that his sex was not dead or a deadly nightmare. I have seldom felt so thoroughly loved bodily. He just couldn’t get enough of me and I was happy in a way I have seldom known since my prime time on Mars. And there is something a little better I have slowly learned since I’ve been here in this time. The beauty of these people is all natural, arrived at through the fearsome infinity of natural selection. The beauty of Martians was enhanced by infinite guesswork. We could have all ended up looking like land crabs were the results not honed by the very intense eye and wisdom of Asante and the infinite simulations of the computer. It was more true than not to say they were my father, my mother and my god. 

All Saturday we never left our bed except for food delivered to the door. While we were awake it was just love making without tantra and by evening I was completely loopy with it for there was no future and this love was all a giant seed for a future. I couldn’t tell him all I knew, not yet, but if I said nothing it would never happen and that was totally wrong. My unhappiness I could live with – I had plenty of practice! – but not if it involved the life and death of the world. That great vision was surely not established in one session of Tantra?

“Tonight there’ll be a barbecue and dance. Live music…”

“Mahadevi, I’m up to here in people.” 

“…An open fire. Yeah, sorry.”

“You want? You need a break?”

“From you? I’m thinking of your sanity. We’ve had two major major major events such as I’ve never known. Never. You’re somebody the gods want to make whole not kill. If I died in your arms I’d think it was the most sensible thing I ever did but you the world wants to see again.”

“You think we can die of sex?”

“It happens. You know I’m not as young as I look and what’s your medical history and you’ve been fucking like a stampede of wild horses. I want to bring the slow into your life. With this power we can touch the subtle, the day to day where you find me disgusting.”

“I’d love to. I think you’re right. I don’t find you disgusting. You’re just beautiful. I don’t know where disgust has gone.”

Lingam was rising again. It was like lying next to the sun. What would you do if sun just wanted to shine all over and inside you.

And crying too.

“You’ve healed me!”

I was in love, in ways that were most surprising, holy and sexual together. Not so surprising for me. I don’t do sex only for the climax but for the deep wallow of the journey. This man had some badly damaged genius and I needed it. Every cell of my body felt called to uncover it.

“Concentration on slow penetration and contemplation of disgusting,” I said, displaying the inside of our knickers, which were both gory and soiled to an astonishing degree.

“Is that all yours,” he said, referring to the blood.

“Hmmm. When it looks like jewels in the crown of creation,” I said. “Is that what you mean by disgusting?”

“I hadn’t even got this far. Just her being in the world. Mothers with pushchairs. But you are beautiful. It’s as if I died and was reborn.”

That came as a shock. “I know what you mean.”

After a long silence he said something that moved and surprised me.

“Do you want to talk?”

I took a good look at him.

“If you’re the one. I’m tired of people thinking I’m crazy.”

“This could be your only chance. If my agent had her way my feet would never touch the ground.”

I thought about it.

“Thanks for the offer. I really appreciate it. But what I need more than anything is a true friend. Someone I can trust.”

He thought about it.

“Me too. What if we were to share the same madness, the same reality?”

“Why do you say that?”

“I can’t begin to tell you.”

Back to my dream.

“I avoid, like the plague, people with crazy beliefs. I’ve never found I had anything in common with any of them. Oh, sex. There’s always sex.”

“Now you’re calling me crazy – on the basis of no evidence. I can’t tell you because I’m unable to formulate the situation. If I tell you now it’ll probably get posted in the wrong pigeon holes. I’m quoting Maria. She’s keeping things from me for the same reason. You’ve shown me you have a genius in the body, soul, spirit, whatever you call it other than our pigeon holing minds.”

“My mind is itching like mad to know what you’re hiding, but I know exactly what you mean. I call it the Third World. Sometimes it breaks through. But I resist. I’m not ready for it.”

“Could it be the dead?”

“The alive? That’s part of my resistance, the Christian afterlife. Heaven, that’s full of my torturers and tormentors. You were only tormented by love, Tom, am I right, not by physical and psychological abuse and soul murder?”

“Yes. I can’t understand why I’m the one whose so fucked up, not you? Was.” He looked again at my soiled knickers, touched it and sniffed it and contemplated me. “Something – sacramental?”

“Mmmm. I think it’s what matters for us. The stories we tell don’t. If we can bridge in the sacramental perhaps all our sicknesses will vanish.”

“Why aren’t the religions more healthy?”

“We tapped the source. They’re prevented from reaching it.”

“You did, Mahadevi.”

“For you, because it is your nature.”

&

After a while he said.

“If we’re going to see the world I’ll need to shower. Or is it normal here to walk out reeking of copulation.”

“Here anything goes but in reality we all like to congregate smelling of roses.”

After we had showered I was feeling terribly sad. The truth of my situation.

I decided not to underdress. I wanted to lessen the odds that he might walk off with someone younger and more manageable. I might have said prettier but that is less my problem than turning men into jelly.

The tribe is gathering on stone and wooden seats around the open fire. Many are wearing minimal masks just to keep the few who have to company. Those I can see all look so blissed, angelic versions of themselves seldom seen nowadays. For those of us who’ve lived long and remember when terrorism meant hydrogen bomb war and there were no odds on not being there – wherever you were they’d find you – it’s hard for us to take modern problems seriously, but they clearly are serious and involve grinding suffering. Whether robotic slavery to social media companies or ruthless exploitation by global capital which will have no future for losers but the death zone, modern life is increasingly inhuman and it doesn’t have to be. Our future is entirely in the hands of the people who choose to be leaders. Many of the people here are at least for now on the winning side of the fence but not all. That gorgeous looking Italian lady is an out of work, homeless academic who sleeps on people’s floors and helps out at personal development gigs for the food, the roof, the pleasure and the real chance that you might meet someone interesting with a recent divorce and a yacht in Monte Carlo. Even when she could afford rent she was sharing a room, which is illegal. You can spin this as specifying minimum living conditions but this is not how it works out in reality. It’s as if the government took lessons from the lettings industry on how to screw the very marrow from the bones of the poor. And this is a lady with a PhD from London University, a consequent sixty thousand pound debt and a regular note for the food bank. With all this we gave each other friendliest greetings like two full time members of the have it alls. You’ve got to think positive while you can. She has sometimes slept on my floor. That’s a technical term. She has a choice of beds.

I introduce her to Tom and her eyes light up. She is a good looking woman and a real woman. The thought of her being plugged by Tom arouses more pleasure than jealousy. God knows I’ve had enough sex in the last thirty hours to repopulate China. I wouldn’t mind a night’s sleep. 

I wander the meeting talking to people many of whom I know well enough. I’m surprised when I woman wearing a dark balaclava flecked with gold walks in out of the dark. She is dressed in deep purple with similar colour gloves. Not an inch of skin is showing but her presence is remarkable. I am standing near her and say hello. She turns towards me and her eyes appear. The balaclava slits are so narrow that only when she looks full at me do I see them. A sense of dark, smokey hidden beauty. The balaclava moves with her lips which are covered in sparkling lipstick which I find mesmerising and distracting. “Hello”, she says, her voice a very deep rich whisper. I am instantly in love. She moves to sit in a dark corner of stone and I sit beside her making it difficult for her to be seen. I wonder where is her escort. Celebrities usually have a minder as I am Tom’s though I have left him to study the field. I glance over and he is in the bright firelight surrounded by mesmerised women. They don’t know who he is but know he would be a catch.

“Who’s the masked gentleman?” She asked.

“Those who know are not permitted to say. To the group he’s Jackson.”

“That must be frustrating.”

“We get used to it.”

“I haven’t seen you before.”

“No, I’m one of the backroom girls. Shakti didn’t say there was another masked person. We usually get a code name.”

“Rocky.” There is a deep irony to her voice which communicated so much more than a name.

“Rocky. Have you been before?”

“No. I’m a good Catholic girl.”

“How are you finding it?”

“Very challenging.”

“You’re with someone?”

“Here? No.”

“You never take the mask off?”

“Not in public.”

“That’s difficult. Tantra without a face lacks the dimension of humanity. Of course, dark tantra is specifically for the other senses, reconnecting us with our forgotten depths.”

“What would you do?”

“See any man you fancy?”

“One. But he’s obviously covered.”

“He’s also totally new. Has a lot of potential but I wouldn’t let him play with the remote.”

At that moment an anvil dropped from the sky and smashed a hole at my feet. In another instant I had recovered but it would be impossible for any moderately aware person not to have noticed.

“I mean, see that chap standing there. He’s one of the most renowned personal development teachers that exists. And the two talking to him are pretty good. But I’d recommend him. You could do a dark session, which basically means exploring subtle energies. He can show you what’s possible and then it’s up to you to find the way for yourself.”

When I glimpsed them I saw tears in her eyes.

“Can you show me?”

“I could but not this weekend. If it’s a woman you want?” I looked around and saw Justina. “You see that gorgeous creature over there. She’s an assistant professor of gender studies who hasn’t lost her soul. Just a conversation with her will change your life.” 

“Thank you, but I’m not a lesbian.”

I shrugged. “It’s the quality of the teacher. Shakti’s on a high right now. Groups like this seldom last. Too many high powered individuals. Catch it while you can.”

“What about you?”

I always have to think, feel into myself when I’m asked that question. I never get the same answer.

“What I say depends on the asker. As I can barely see your eyes I don’t know what to say. If we went into the dark I could feel you, but god knows what would come out.”

“I would like to try.”

“You don’t consider my need for rest more important.”

“No. No, unless it’s a matter of life and death.”

Now that I chose to tune into it I felt her pain as a very intense, stark presence. If my surmise about her identity was true she was the last person I should choose to be alone with.

“Now?”

“Yes.”

Her need felt extraordinary. It seemed unthinkable to refuse.

“I must tell Mr Jackson.”

“No!” She said.

On our way into the dark I asked one of the others to deliver the message. I led Rocky to my room. As we moved I caught glimpses of her and was aware of her eyes on me. Walking, she rippled space around us like a stone in a pond. So like Eve. As she stood in the room I had a moment of dark vertigo when I was tiny and she huge. It left me wondering how I could presume to show this woman anything that really mattered.

I showed her the bathroom.

“In here will be really dark but you can hold the light cord in your hand.”

I offered her the laundry basket. I sat on the closed toilet. 

“Will this do?”

“Yes.”

I drew down the blind and switched off the light. 

We sat, knees touching. I invoked all of Goddess I had ever known as though my life depended on it.

“Breathe,” I said, “and sense the space.”

At once the stark darkness fell away and I felt a true darkness filled with beauty which had the force of this woman. Something so different and so familiar, something of ourselves together. In time we touched, then from awkwardly sitting stood to embrace. It was that divine containing energy that had enclosed Tom and now Rocky, who felt so profoundly different. Every particle of her being reflected and contained beauty, resonated in me. The familiarity was with the dress I had worn, but that was a crisp artefact, this was a living self. We just breathed together, and every exhalation was surrender to infinite human beauty.

“Great Goddess, why have you come to me?”

The dark. The deep deep dark. Alone beyond the edge of the world with some other extraordinary being. After my Axis Mundi and hills of life and death with Tom I was in some rare, extended spiritual state, no doubt forever, as these things brand us from beyond time. It was natural that she should be there to reap the benefit.

She peeled off her balaclava and pressed her face into the side of my head. Heads, bodies tight together in stillness. Stillness filled with a power of emotion extending into the strange and the sublime. Our pressed together bodies did a mountain of crying. She held me so strong and tight. I would have stayed there, had she wanted, and let Tom go where he liked. 

Our lips touched in the great legislature of kisses. But out here where the timeless holds supreme, all that has gone. Standing still we might travel on the wings of gods but here touch would take us even further. 

Her kiss grew full and deep, as though drinking life. I returned that kiss, gently taking us deeper and deeper. It was so beautiful holding a woman’s small, lithe body. From breast to back seemed no distance. I start to caress, slowly moving over clothes to skin. 

“This isn’t what I intended,” I said.

“No,” returning caresses. “I’ve never even kissed a woman – like this.”

We made love standing, becoming naked. My hands acclaimed her body like some quiet species of dawn music. She returned my touches. Everything I did she followed. A matching dance celebrating pure ecstatic touch. Going deeper into the place beyond that links a million generations. Her cries tear me deep as her whole body climaxes. I feel her shock at what my fingers have revealed. She wants to reciprocate. I show her and coach her by demonstration with finger and tongue. Everything I do is returned and in my own arousal bury myself madly deep. A hot monad is completely fulfilled, abandoned, hyperventilating in the dark. Kissing, so wet with emotion pouring over. Kissing and kissing, thanking and thanking.

“Where did that come from?” She whispered in awe.

I touched her with so much love.

We lay on the floor discussing our careers in Catholicism.

“Mother Mercy ran the orphanage like a brothel. The prettier children became the possessions of the priests. Mine, Father Anthony, wanted me always a virgin. So I was a religious sex object and religious sex addict from as long as I can remember.”

“You poor thing.”

“He protected me as best he could against much worse.”

“I became a nun,” she said, landing an anvil right on my belly, “when I discovered my family were mafiosa. I renounced their world and all things worldly. There I acquired a zeal to reform them. Now I am a messiah to the gangs. It’s a strange business, one I think even God couldn’t have invented.”

“A Godmother.”

“Goddess mother. Still Christian. But who is Mary? She isn’t a bit player anymore, Mahadevi. In me the whole story has turned inside out. Your Mother Mercy may not have been so evil. She may have been on her way to becoming me.”

“And who are you – Maria?”

Her hand squeezed my shoulder in affirmation – and so much else.

“I know in myself but I need to know what others think. There seems no one in the world  able to imagine what I think I am. Those who come closest think I am in league with the Devil.”

“Welcome to that party.”

She chuckled.

“Maria, do you want to take your husband home?”

“Is he cooked?” Her voice broke.

“God knows. I’ve never met a case like it. Last night we had a series of breakthroughs. Very deep. One time I thought he had died.”

“Yes, I know.”

“How?”

“The God field is everywhere.”

“I fear a reversal would kill him.”

“Yes, it would. You’ve shown me one thing, Mahadevi, what I suspected but could never prove, that we are playing not on the edge of the possible but beyond it. You should have been told, warned, but I didn’t know and it might be just plain madness to say it, but now I’m sure. The soul of this man and all he means is as much yours as mine, Mahadevi. He truly belongs to the world.”

“Not as a film star?”

“Who knows. Once he’s free from his contracts anything is possible.”

“I was terrified of Mother Mercy, Maria. I fear if I ever met her like again I would instantly kill her.”

“That is good to hear, Mahadevi. You should know you are the only one who could ever kill me.”

“What?”

“These are deep things, Mahadevi, but we must know the deepest pit of all is God’s. Which is why things are as they are.”

“How do you mean?”

“GodLove is the great discovery, and it goes on surprising me. When the final truth is signed and sealed the core itself will uncouple it. In a way we all are doing that. This is also what we are.”

This sounded very familiar to me. For a moment it felt wonderful to have met someone who might understand me. Then all the rest of the situation hit me.

“I shall go,” She said.

“Stay,” I said. “Stay. It’s the two of you I should be dealing with.”

Her hands enclosed my head as though I was some familiar, beloved creature, like a child.

“I can’t, Mahadevi, my head and heart are exploding. I leave him in the best of hands.”

“I hope so, Maria. But I’m dreading Monday. I’m too involved. And now there’s you.”

“Mahadevi, my concern is for our immortal souls.”

“As was Mother Mercy’s.”

“Yes, and my convent is the entire world, or soon will be.”

“Cell Walker’s Dream!”

“Yes.”

“Oh, my god, I’d forgotten that was you!”

“You see, Maisy Mahadevi, I think it all depends on you. I know men classically betray their gods, but this is not in my archetype. It is not who I am or ever will be. Can you believe that.”

I was too choked for words. I touched her in the dark.

“It is a different sort of love.”

“Totally, but all-containing. I love that we shared such an orgasm. That I never expected.”

We washed and towelled each other gently, with love. “It doesn’t matter how you smell here. The riper the better.”

We helped each other to dress, still in the dark.

“I think I may have your knickers.”

“A memento.”

“They feel really nice.”

They should do. You can buy a Lamborghini for less than those knickers cost.”

“I’ll look after them.”

“They’re very technical. Don’t wash them in soap. Just luke warm water.”

“Okay. Very gladly.”

She pulled her balaclava back on. I opened the door. We stood in the lesser dark.

“I must to see you again,” she said.

“Yes. Give me your number.”

My brain couldn’t handle its telephone and as a punter hers should be locked in a cupboard. I wrote mine in a notebook and gave her the page.

“Thank you,” she paused in the doorway and said. “At the end of time all that remains, other than the heart, is the technology of God.”

“Why did you say that?”

“It is all I know, have known, until now. Now you’ve shown me what I never could have believed existed.”

“What?”

She shook her head and seemed lost for words. “The logos of the body?”

“The Source?”

“Whole. Complete.”

I gripped her wrist as she turned away. “It’s not sex as such, it’s person. The wonder is I’ve never seen a millimetre of your body or know anything about you yet I feel all over imprinted with the most profound sense of you.”

“Profound!” She said. “Yes, that’s the wonder that’s come from this. It must be you.”

“And you. If we are one in God, what does this say about fidelity to a person?”

I felt her eyes in deep contemplation of the question and me. 

“A great question.”

She kissed me.

“You will be hearing from me.”

I stood in the room where she had been and could not recognise myself. I am used to worlds within that are beautiful, strange and other, but this was something new. Something very old but new in what it had engaged in me. It was the difference between a dream and the referenced reality. It struck a note through many inner worlds. I might have stood there experiencing these very subtle messages within but I had a duty to Tom to at least connect with him.

Before leaving I went into the bathroom. On the cistern was an object which at first I didn’t recognise. An ornate dagger. I drew it out by its handle. It was a perfect blade for stabbing. This knife right now might have been sticking in my heart. What did it mean? Had she come to kill me and had passed the power of death to me? The most likely person to kill with it was myself. The blade looked monstrously sharp. I tried it on some hair ends. It passed through them as if they were nothing. Double-edged. I could draw it back across my throat. I carefully sheathed it.

I still felt her beauty on me. I wanted to be near that beauty again. If she killed me, or drove me to kill myself, I didn’t really care. Perhaps she knew. My strongest desire was to find her now. I heard the rush of tyres on gravel. I went to the window and saw the lights of a car flashing down the avenue. Before leaving I smelled my hand. Deep into my brain, into my spirit, her. The thought of washing it was just that, a thought. In a very different mood, both exalted and confused, I returned to the party. As I entered, Tom came quickly to me. I kissed him, bringing together all that familial intimacy. His shock was delicious.

“Where’ve you been?”

“God knows. I must have a word with Shakti.”

I asked her is there someone here called Rocky in a gold balaclava.

“No. There are two anons and you’re with one of them.” She looked around. “Must still be inside.”

“She just left.”

Shakti rang security to check who had gone.

“Rhiannon,” said the guard’s voice. She was one of the local helpers tasked with fetching things.

“At this time?”

“Somebody needed a chemist.”

Shakti laughed. “We’ve got morning-afters by the bucket.”

“Something special.”

“Ok. Anyone else?”

“Two pub runs. One coded gentleman who has been difficult over alcohol confiscations.”

“Refer him to me.”

“And if he’s mad drunk?”

“Show him the drying out tent. If he refuses I’ll send him home.”

I decided Shakti had enough on her plate without bothering her with Maria.

“Do you have one of those murder alarms?”

“Murder alarms?”

“Rape alarms. Rape.”

“I thought you were in penetratee’s heaven.”

“We are. We are. Just in case he catches fire or something.”

Tom has joined us. I can’t describe my feelings. A book the size of Proust is needed and who would ever read it? All my lives, two real wild horses and several ghosts running a phantom coach and all about to crash. I want the truth now! I want to tear off his mask just as I wanted to take off his sunglasses yesterday. I am very aware that thanks to this man my many lives might now be over. 

When death looms in this body she fucks or she dances but fuck is dance so I would say she always dances. The local musicians have started. We’ve often jammed into the small hours. I’d like to now to cool my head. My duty is to Tom but my ultimate duty is to my true self and with sixty years of rock in my body and two hundred in my soul there is a true self in me that makes music unto the dawn and have done with these people.

You can’t crash a band unless they invite you, which they did. I said I’d love to but I was working. 

This was all Ius. I had to forget Maisy completely.

I invite him to join me in the dance. 

“I hate dance!”

“You danced Bollywood.”

“It’s a job. When you throw me millions of dollars I can do anything.”

“Where’s your soul!”

“It’s a sad story.” He made the money gesture with his fingers. “Anyway, if you watch carefully it’s the girls who are doing the moving. For the tricky bits they use a double with my face CGIed in.”

I was shocked. Where will it end? I knew where, in CGIed extinction or machined moral Heaven.

“This is very easy,” I say. “You just sort of stand there – .”

“Don’t say that!” Then he held me with real affection. “Do say it.”

It’s what we did for a while and slowly got a little more adventurous. If Maria is still here and watching, this dance will surely be my death. I concentrate everything in the movement. This, man, is what we are! Eventually he is discovering, as anyone with a body like that should never have not discovered, you let go and it moves in glorious harmonies like a river flowing out of the sky. When the band had finished and the disco remained most people had gone in. It was just me, him and another couple and then just me and him. Now here is it, this is where I die. I put on my own favourite move music and he had come all the way with me and we went further. I didn’t want him to stand back and watch or walk away. I always kept a hand extended, the invitation in my body, and when I put on the music that always makes me move we moved like God intended. Instrument of capitalist oppression though it may be, even capitalism has its place in the evolution of it all. There should be a monument to all the poor it has created along the way. A thank you paradise. As my belly and the kore flow perfectly together, drawing out the man into the movement imagined by God in the place where impossible dreams have their beginning. I knew what sort of place it would be. There would be music and dance and love. Just like this. I danced my belly up to the man and invited him in.

The great wave passed over us. It must have been nearly dawn when we fell asleep in our bed.

And only two hours later we were making love again.

In the death zone. Feeling Maria Evangelista as if she is always watching. Was I too loud? Will I disturb her where she is hiding?

&

Sunday is not a day of rest in the dark tantra community, it is the day of steady build up to the great climactic orgy. We call it the orgy so as to avoid sounding too sanctimonious or ridiculous, calling it the great invocation of divine energy. Our emphasis is on wholeness and integration both personal and communal. There isn’t separate religion, sex, individual or community. The whole weekend is about getting there. There are some new people and at least one of us has been travelling for sixty years. 

I was hoping to take Jackson-Immanuel-Tom there, but discretely, near an exit if it got too much. The day was going well. We were making love rather than having sex. There was a lot of kissing and cuddling and thoughtful penetration without climax interspersed with the wildest of wild intensity. It was a revelation to us both, he because I had released his capacity for orgasmic climax and me because I was a girl in love and terrified of being too shocking. In reality I was many greats and grandmother and loved being taken back to some semblance of an innocence I had never known. It was a wonderful mixture of the carnal, the divine, the familiar and the terrifyingly unknown. Naked man and naked woman in league to live the eternal naked love of gods.

We slept and talked, mostly about him. He found it difficult, but once I had assured him that nothing he said would be repeated, it was the one thing he most wanted to do, talk about his childhood. Some of it sounded so familiar. His mother was a landscape painter, as was my Ius mother. She painted the Burren in Ireland, a place I had never visited as Maisy but knew well as Ius. We had made Earth fall at Shannon and our community rooted and grew from there. As our technology returned to the preindustrial, a place like the Burren became days away by canoe and forest trail. Certain things were staring me in the face but Despite being able to accept it as a story I still couldn’t stretch to accepting it as real. The dream kept me thinking of Asante and Candor as technologically present, but this would be a higher technology than anything I’d known, almost, dare I say, godlike. In self defence against the impossible I reverted to seeing these similarities as coincidence, a common criticism used against me all my life and here I was falling right into it without even realising.

Just after lunch there was a knock at the door. Specials are usually only interrupted if there is a fire in the building. I slipped on a robe and went to the door. It was Shakti and Justina.

After a momentary gasp which I took complimentarily, Justina said, “We have a problem.”

I looked around at Tom, “Visitors? They both know you.”

He gestured why not. I’m sure he’d welcome a break from intensity.

I beckoned them in. They greeted Tom brightly the way the the tantrically acquainted do.

“We won’t stay,” said Justina. “Shakti’s lost her voice.”

“Ooooh!” My sympathy poured into her, especially at this stage of the event.

“We need a leader tonight.”

There’s a lot to consider concerning leaders. I eyebrowed the question to Justina. She shook her head.

“I’m a bit out of touch with who might be suitable,” I said. “Vedanka?”

Shakti shook her head.

The image of Rocky came up and I felt such an ache for her.

“Selma?”

Justina didn’t even consult Shakti. “A beautiful ego.”

“Really?” My memories of Selma were entirely visceral.

Shakti looked the question at me.

“You,” she croaked.

I snorted in amazement. “What about Rocky?”

They both looked puzzled.

“I must have got the name wrong. She’s very knowledgeable in a spiritual way. We’d be amazing together.”

“I can’t think who you mean,” Justina said.

Shakti shook her head.

Did that mean Maria had evaded our security? Just walked in? That was supposed to be impossible. I should talk to the security people myself – if they will talk to me? Or could she have been staying here unnoticed? Eve was ninety-two and living in the West Wing. Any opulent or decadent enough looking person would be taken for an unknown member of her field of wild connections. I’m afraid this was more on my mind than what they were asking.

“I don’t know her,” croaked Shakti. “All I know is this weekend you’ve blown the roof off.”

“I wasn’t at the build up.”

“You – the heart of it.” she whispered.

I walked away and back. I gestured to Tom. “I can’t abandon him now.”

“Bring him!”

“You’ll kill him. What about Raphael?” Raphael was Shakti’s event partner.

“Not your problem.”

“This is not good timing.”

“No,” said Shakti, with as much irony as she could get into a whisper.

We turned to Tom. Even for him it must have been an intimidating delegation.

“Tom,” I said, “we’ve no leader for the event tonight. They’re asking me to do it.”

“Yeah. So?”

“It messes up everything I’m doing with you, unless you might – fancy joining me?”

“In public! You’re out of your mind!”

I turned to them and winked. “Sorry ladies.”

They murmured their farewells and left.

I disrobed and squirled my skin in happy abandonment over his. After a while he became pensive.

“What were they asking you to do?”

“Lead the main event. Paradise Now it’s called. The sex is only about aligning the energies and going through into that bliss beyond. It’s like post orgasmic chemistry but more than. You ride a very high wave. Anyone who wants to go with a different energy goes to the Fuck Room – is asked to. The rest are on another plane. Anyone who’s been there is convinced this is the future of humanity. It’s not about breeding any more, or single life partners for the children, but about marrying human love and spirit. We are pioneers. Nature herself doesn’t know how to do it. No one has ever asked her – properly.”

“And we will?”

“It’s been a long time, but I’ve learned so much.”

“I bet you have. Sorry I messed it up.”

“They wouldn’t have asked if they weren’t desperate. Probably my last chance.”

“What would I do?”

“Nothing. Wear a minimal mask so I can kiss you, and be naked.”

“Naked!”

“Just as you are now. The lights will be very low. You won’t see much but we’ll feel – like gods.”

“For you,” he said.

“You won’t regret it,” I said. “No regrets, ever ever again.”

I found my phone and called Justina.

“We’ll do it,” I said. There was a great shout at the other end which I couldn’t swear was Justina. Was it possible Shakti was only pretending to have lost her voice?

&

In the afternoon I made my excuse to Tom that I needed some time alone to think about the event. I called at Security’s trucks to ask if there had been any penetration of their cordon. The ones I first met said no but luckily the boss was on site and wanted to know why I asked.

“Could somebody have got in and out without being recorded?”

“You can never say never or we soon wouldn’t have a business. Why do you ask?”

“I’ve met someone who shouldn’t be here. I want to know if she’s still here.”

“You have details?”

“No. That information is sensitive.”

“Is she a security risk?”

“She might be. Her husband is on site.”

“We get them. It’s usually the other way around.”

“All I want to know is if you have a record of someone coming in and leaving?”

“If they came in we’d intercept them and if they’re not registered they’d be asked to leave.”

“Could somebody have already been on site without you knowing?”

“Part of our contractural arrangement is a complete list of anybody on site. We also do our own checking, outbuildings, accessible woods. The Forest is a problem. We’ve overflown it with infra-red and swept it with spy drones before the event. But as you know, people like to go there so, during the event we only watch the boundaries.”

“I don’t think this person came through the woods or over the fields.”

“All the penetrations recorded are listed. Check them out. We have algorithms to filter out birds and mammals. Naked humans could make it if they didn’t talk, fart, use soap, eat cooked food and could fake quadrupedal walking.”

“Christ! I had no idea!”

What was left was seven interceptions of young men who were escorted off site.

“What about hidden in some way?”

“Under a blanket in the boot of a car?”

That dropped with a clang in my lap, remembering the car speeding down the drive.

“Well, our dogs are trained for drugs and alcohol and hidden humans. We also have infra-red on the gates so, if someone’s hidden in a trunk the heat will show up.”

“Would that hold for someone leaving?”

“Probably not, but why would you smuggle someone out of here?”

“Because you had smuggled them in?”

“You’ve met this person?”

“Yes.”

“How do you know she isn’t meant to be here?”

“I don’t. That’s why I’m checking. But if Shakti – Rosemary – knows she’s here then I’m asking you to get me out of here.”

He showed me the list. Some names were blank.

“This is a level one list.”

It was alphabetical. When I asked him to reveal a blank he wouldn’t show me but asked what name I was looking for.

“I don’t want to tell you.”

“Then we’re stuck and you’ll have to live with your uncertainty. I have guarded popes, presidents, and they’re all still alive.”

“Her initial letters are M E and her code name is Rocky.”

He skimmed through. “No. Is that Maria Evangelista, wife of Thomas Quinn, otherwise Immanuel?”

“You’re good.”

He smiled a little. “Not difficult to guess. And you’re very right to be worried about her.”

“Why?”

“Your Thomas Immanuel is married into the biggest crime syndicate on the planet. If there is a technology that we couldn’t detect they’d have it. What we know they’ve got is pretty scary.”

“What?”

“We weren’t invited but people upchain from me went to demonstrations at the United Nations. I know two who’ve quit their jobs and one had a nervous breakdown. Believe me, if she’s after you, you’d be a little bit safer here than out there.”

“Not if she’s already inside.”

“You met her?”

“Yes!”

“And you’re still alive. If she meant you harm she wouldn’t have come herself. These people don’t operate like that. Too much to lose.”

“I’m with her husband – tantrically – if you know what I mean?”

“If I don’t by now I never will.”

“Can you protect me?”

“Only by shutting down everything and calling in the police. And that’s goodbye to your little paradise.”

“It’s not mine any more, it’s Shakti’s. I can’t do that to her.”

“My guess is if she was here she’s gone. My advice to you and Shakti is have nothing more to do with Thomas Immanuel and that’ll be the end of your problem.”

“She chose us.”

“Then what are you worried about?”

“Her power.”

He had been looking at his screen.

“A car leaving in a hurry at eleven fifteen, going for emergency medicine. Boot slightly warmer. Nothing out of the ordinary. Put some things from indoors into a boot it’ll be a little warmer than the body of the car, but the engine is much warmer. It wouldn’t trigger. But two hours earlier the same car coming in, both are much warmer. It triggers but isn’t noticed because the operators have been called away to some ruckus outside. Thirty minutes earlier the same car goes out. Readings are all level. Midnight the same car is back. Engine not super hot. The nearest all-night pharmacy would be two hours hard drive. It looks like someone brought her in and took her away.”

“Who?”

“Rhiannon Roberts. One of the local helpers. We tend to wave them through. I would say Maria Evangelista, if it was her, has gone.”

“Making it a perfect alibi for a murder?”

“Making Rhiannon an accessory. If you put that to her nicely she might talk.”

“Why not you? You’re the professional. I might lose it and strangle her.”

“Okay. I’ll let you know. Meanwhile we’ll get head office to look through the records more carefully. As you say, a perfect alibi. She could walk back in with the footprint of a badger or an invisibility outfit.”

“What would that look like?”

“A full suit covering everything including head, hands and feet. All you’d see is eyes.”

Rippling space around her as she walked!

&

Returning to the house my head is in turmoil. I pause at the top of the lawns where I have often stood to admire it across a range of time which is long in years but vast in emotional perception. What a wonder it is, this great house, built for a realm of beauty which will never again be seen on this planet. I know now it is built upon slavery, a state of life the hideousness of which is impossible to imagine. Well, not really for a girl who fish-gutted in Newlyn thinking of nuns. And other jobs that were not so horrible but were mind-numbing, soul and spirit destroying. I never lasted because, when things got too rough, I slid into another reality. And why not when I could slip on a fancy dress and make up and earn a fortnight’s wages in an hour. None of it lasted long but what is time when you’re nailed to a cross. My middle-class contacts saved me, especially Polly. She was another artist but unlike Eve, who worked within the realm of the conceptual, Polly worked with textiles, and introduced me to the wonder of adornment of the female body. Men were just pricks in suits. Polly’s world, of Jung and psychoanalysis, was like a hand in a glove of texture and colour. If I could only have stayed with her but, as with Eve, I was always travelling. One thing they gave me was an education for one who was too damaged to follow the logics of reason and reading that lead to power. I learned an inner language of the tactile and the visual and, yes, eventually I could write, but it came through the language of speech not of writing. It’s still an alien world whose rules make no sense to me.

So, what a range of stuff is standing on that lawn looking at that house. And today little Maisy Warlock is to play goddess for the elite of another century, ones probably as bad as those that built this beautiful, terrible Holy Wood. Perhaps there is evolution. I suspect there is only the peace that is natural to us in simply living, like seals on an island. The rest, our engrandising culture, is hell and oblivion.

&

Words don’t say anything. Oh, among the bactrian camels and bacilli of the human condition they have power, but they won’t build a Professor or an Oracle, those masterful users of words for whom they meant nothing. We were the living part of their conversation, as we still are.

I realised Shakti had given me an impossible task. I had no idea how she had prepared them. So much has happened since my retirement to me and the world. Then I was still playing with abstractions like Goddess and spirit. Maisy knew no family, Ius knew only family. Mahadevi was my masterful manipulator of abstractions, and those people had all known me, now taken over by Shakti, Rosie from a real family of the elite. She may be estranged from them but she knows the ten languages which they speak. I have to use a dictionary and you can’t improvise a dance with a dictionary.

There is the third world of my dream. It felt like cheating but I would inhabit it. Since Axis Mundi there had been a point in the sky from which my life hung suspended like an infinite dress of net. It was not an abstraction. It was a receiver and a source of energy. I needed to get in touch with it. I needed to be alone, which was not good for my encounter with Tom. He chose to go for a walk. In the end we went for a silent walk together. 

In a way it was our most beautiful time. Axis Mundi had been our shared moment out here under the sky. There was no script. We wandered byways of the vast grounds I knew which kept us away from other wanderers, places of a kind of wildness possibly unique on Earth. Here, at the edge of the woods is a games area, overgrown bowling green and courts abandoned for perhaps a hundred years. Here we found ourselves looking at an owl looking at us from a branch of a tree as though it had no notion of what it was seeing, and a badger walked by as if it had forgotten to be nocturnal. The humans are held in an invisible net suspended from the Axis Mundi, without time, without history. This time will end. It might even become celebrated in stories. But it is now. We are living right in it. Is there some deeper now where time stops and this stillness is forever? 

Here it is. Some vast presence in the present. I pay attention to it as though it is my long lost parents, lost at the beginning of the world. I realise, for all my failings, I am an expert in core loneliness. It’s not something you want to create for people but right now, in this life, I feel right at the heart of the world.

A crackle of twigs and swish of leaves. The man kneels beside me, his eyes filled with wonder. I want him to fill me with his whole essence without breaking the spell. But it’s no use saying don’t. He must ride what he is. By some miracle of situation we sink into stillness together. 

I wake from a strangely wonderful dream of being a glass vessel which was once half full but now contains only scrapings of its original dark contents which have been taken into the sky in a dark net which sweeps up to a point in the sky like a goddess star. I realise all the rest of the net must be all the love making of the entire world, or the lack of it, hence the darkness. I am so filled with this that I cannot understand where I am. It is an afternoon at the end of everything. Gradually I piece together trees, Holy Wood, dark tantra and the man affirming woman climaxing into the leaves and twigs of the forest floor even as my essence pours into the dark sky.

We walked back to the house entwined like lovers. In less than 24 hours we will be parted and I will be like a traveller whose plane has vanished, falling to Earth and hoping to die. 

When it came time I had nothing prepared. I stood upon a dais before a hundred and sixty people, carefully embeautised by Shakti, to say what? I am Maisy, the fish gutter of Newlyn, who expects to be murdered tonight. I could finally admit I was scared but, God, I’d been scared before and usually before some great experience. It wasn’t like staring death in the face. All I had to do was push the boulder. It would find its own way down the hill. I never remember, in life and beyond, death precedes eternity.

Strange how it happened. One moment I am a little girl lost among the Liverpool ruins and the next I am the imperial goddess of a trillion galaxies. When I stepped upon the dais I felt it all. Whatever thoughts I had rehearsed vanished. My head was pure emptiness, my spirit a great stillness, my yoni a steamy swamp of man eaters. I should have been terrified but I had no more fear than a gull has of the air on which it glides. From the moment I started to speak I knew I had them. And it didn’t matter. They were the ones who would make it happen. I was simply the catalyst. Maisy of Newlyn, stinking of fish, stood there with her knife in her hand.

“Shakti is unwell. She has asked me to step in. Most of you don’t know me and those who do don’t know what I’ve become. I raised a pole to the dark tent of black tantra a thousand feet tall. The tent has a second pole light years tall that is the star of Goddess. She is the eater of darkness. The jar of this world is a little over half full of black oily mud and growing. When it is full all human life will be gone. There is nothing we can do about it anymore. Our leaders are corrupt. Profit rules before people. There is nothing we can do about this. The jar is over half full and the growth is exponential. But the curve takes us to the Goddess, the eater of darkness. Tonight we will experiment with the future of the Earth, even sew a seed. By morning the darkness will be sucked right out and taken to the star. There will be some scrapings left but only a natural amount for an intelligent being. It will look far worse than it is. At least you will dare to look whereas now it will kill you with despair. But this is only human corruption. It is not cosmologically inevitable. It can easily be fixed. Surrender your dark to the Goddess, the mother of all. Tonight there will be a pole over this house that reaches her star. Nothing like it may have happened before and the powers that be may wish to ensure that it never happens again. This is it, now and for all time. Those of you who do not wish to see or surrender your corruption may wish to leave. Please do. There will be no time for casualties. In five minutes the doors will be locked. Everything you need is here. There is food, water, toilets. There are helpers, doctors. What there isn’t is escape. That goes for me as much as you. I only knew what was happening as I stood here and spoke to you.”

I gestured towards Justina.

“The five minutes starts now. I personally will give you your money back and pay for your next weekend with Shakti when I will not be here bringing political tsunamis. Just a six monthly visit to the tantric hygienist.”

I watched them and they watched me. Love, hope, fear.

“Two minutes.” Said Justina. No one moved, even through the final count down of all the helpers who had rehearsed none of this.

The doors were ceremoniously closed.

Axis Mundi stood right over the room. What had happened to Tom was about to happen to everybody here, locked in together with no escape. It was a daunting prospect.

“One way or another the world we know is over. The world of competitive evolution and intelligence enabled conflict. It served to get us here. It won’t take us any further. The totally present future is rolling at us like a vast wave. If we don’t learn to ride the wave it will become an all obliterating tsunami. This wave is in the real ocean totally present in and as our bodies. We have to listen to them, not to the tracks history has worn in our minds.’

‘That breath in your nostrils is not the inheritance of a billion years of evolution, it is where Eternity now asks to marry time. Time is honoured to be asked by Eternity who is humble before time’s immortal achievement. We are each helplessly in love. Hopelessly. And yet together we are immortal.”

‘Feel the breath entering your body.”

I felt Goddess, more powerfully than I had ever known her. I felt female in ways which would have been unfathomable only a little time before. I knew male as other, in which I will never be disappointed. All that comes from my own incapacity, and when that has gone he will always be perfect. Tonight I knew this with my partner Tom. All the desperate struggle when we first met has completely melted away leaving his core as a golden being who is sunlight everywhere. We form the beginning of a spiral and then the centre of concentric circles of lovers. The energy rose like the head of a great whale from the ocean of darkness. My lover lived inside me, one slow building climax, I sucked him alive through the loam and fungal roots of cosmic creation, many instruments of the orchestra moving towards unity in the deep dark magma of eternity, a single great sound like silence, one eternal kiss.

I remember day, sunshine, naked people eating breakfast. Eyes meeting in wonder blinking in the light of our completeness. So many embraces. One great embrace. And then the day had moved out of the liminal post dawn and we gradually dispersed with our partners to our beds to love to sleep to wake a little amidst the gathering energies of departure.

&

“When do we have to get out of here?”

The sound brushes my perfect ears. The air enters my perfect body beneath the perfect bedclothes entangled with the body of perfect man.

“Did you hear?”

“Never.”

“You were awesome.”

“Yes. It’s going to be hard for us now. Our skins will be very thin.”

“I can’t afford to have a thin skin. Hollywood producers are like butchers in a meat factory.”

“No. It was very premature. The trouble is I haven’t led a main event for years. I’d no idea I and the world had undergone such changes. You’ll have to talk to Shakti about bringing you down. I clearly can’t.”

“What about you?”

“I’ve retired. I’ll stay here at Holy Wood and live in bliss.”

We had a little chuckle over our different Holly Woods.

“We have to vacate the private rooms by 3 pm. We’ll have to devote some of it to making you presentable for Maria. What will you tell her?”

He gave a great sigh and shook his head in wonder.

“God knows. Show not tell. But without you?”

“You’re not the same. Just hold her like this. Forget about erections.”

“Hard when they’re as bony as this.”

“Oh, my god! Let’s see what you’ve learned.”

It would have been sublime if our bodies had been fresher for the experience. As it was the sublime was mediated through pain and stiffness necessitating the pleasures of stillness and the revelations of contemplation.

The call to lunch roared among the corridors. Our room service had already gone and it was just too distracting to make love on such empty stomachs so we joined the queue which took too long and brought some back and after a few urgent mouthfuls we enjoyed an all too brief hour of mesmerically beautiful tantric copulation, deep deep inside where it’s impossible to believe we are not one. We heard the cleaners approaching room by room. 

“You must have a shower.”

“I’ll catch one on the way.” 

“When is she back?”

“Nine o’clock at City.”

Even now I am tempted to tell him. Or perhaps he knows. These are our last minutes. I am trying to maintain serenity. We’ve been around the world, we’ve touched the future and it’s over. He dressed somehow as we were rapturously kissing and the cleaners were closing in. We walked down to the car. The final workshop was sounding very intense, so we had the mansion to ourselves as we walked through it, lip to lip, out into the dazzling sunlight. I kissed him to the car. As he climbed in I saw the driver flinch and quickly open a window. Our personal tribal smell must now be overpowering. I object to being flinched at.

“Wash those clothes!” I called as the car sped off, ripping my heart and guts away with it, leaving me stranded on the Everest of Love and Emotions without oxygen. A flash of Isadora Duncan. I might rather have my neck broken. Goddess I am and so very very not. My limbs tremble, my inner organs shake. As I stand lost on the desert of the gravel a helicopter startles me, sweeping by from over the woods. I see a face and an arm waving. I open my arms to the man and the sky and follow the sound until there is nothing left but the soft English silence.

&

Maisy Warlock, 1942, is too fragile a being for emotions like these. I thought of going to Eve, but I only wanted to bring her my health and healing not hasten her end. I wanted to be held by one of my friends but they would all be at the parting. I have been the very core of their experience, taking them to new levels. I should be there. The last embrace, the beautiful music. Soon they will be pouring out on their way, taking their orgasmic field of emotions home to the world, some to grow and some to lose. I ought to be among them but I walk away through the garden. More petals have fallen. This flower I shared with him on the other side of yesterday when the future was all before us. Great Goddess, I remember saying. “Mahadevi”, sounding as if I knew everything. Where is she now? Well, she is still here but this side of her greatness I don’t want to know, the one and alone and free. Like falling over a cliff. Free fall, they call it. It’s nowhere I can possibly be. I am woman, human, am flesh in pain. It is so long since I was in a loving relationship, one so full and deep that nothing I could find here now compares with it. So I sail the Tantric seas, so far confidently. Until now? No, I have felt like this before, but I grow older and my spirit more fragile.

I walk along the path and try not to go in among the trees but that’s where my steps take me. I stop at the tree where it really began barely three days ago. I throw off my dress and curl up where we stood. Drips of us must surely be mixed upon the ground. I feel a little seeping even now, the last of him. I was astonished by his beauty, so like Candor, built in the image of all gods by a machine which matched the human infinity. Every desire, every dream, it could match if it wanted. Has it made me this? What does it matter? I am this, curled up on the earthy, beechy ground. I found myself thinking, before I cried myself to sleep, this would be a good place to die.

After a chaos of inchoate dreams that seemed like a mixture of Mars and the Hebrides, I entered a military base and into a machine shop. They had moved the machines for a once in a generation cleaning. Under one I saw the special machine that was hidden there and seemed barely more than a wooden cross set in the ground. I was particularly struck by the sunken, round headed bolts. I pulled it out and more than two metres of wooden branch came with it, curved like a thin crescent, the whole act like extracting a giant thorn. It contained thirty smaller machines arranged like the days on a monthly calendar. There was an extra, very special machine that was equal to all the others and essential for the whole to work. I was walking out of the base with the long branch machine incorporating its smaller extra. Would I get away before I was spotted? I saw a complex but open gate in the fence, and knew there should be another, and now I see it. I am walking out onto the road. At the last moment I see a man walking quickly away with the smaller branch, going in the opposite direction. I am shocked and angry with him. I don’t want to draw attention to myself in front of the base but I do not want to lose that other piece.

I wake in total darkness. Darkness and woods are my friends, but I am disturbed by the dream and disturbed by the hour. It’s cold. While thinking about the dream I pull the dress over me. So many branches of interpretation and all of them important. Thirty and thirty-one days of the month contained in the crescent branch. Moon and menstrual cycles. Thirty and thirty one days is a male, mathematical cycle rather than a female lunar. The base and the machines are also very male. Two gates. The complex one would be female. It’s the other, the male, that I’m looking for. And he is running away with it like a thief. Away from the woman who owns it, back to the boy’s club and the military mind? The classic ancient of days for them, a mere five thousand years, not millions, the great curve to the stars.

The curved dagger of the dark, horned Goddess! Curved thorn. Long time of Christianity. The month. The moonth. The older religion. The smaller half sized crescent, the proportion of Mars to Earth. The proportion of Ius to Maisy? And the man walking guiltily away with the Mars piece? That would fit with an invasion by Candor, stealing the key hidden beneath our time. Which can only be attempted once in a generation. That would fit with planetary cycles, but these are time cycles? I know the ones who know how they would work? The sunken bolts? Why was I so fascinated? Round like planets seen from near space. Cross. Southern. Crux. Crux of the matter, as we say. Cross. The crux of Christianity. Not love. Or strange love. What we foolishly call great love. The crown of thorns. The harsh old religion. He can steal that from me all he likes but not my crescent my crescent planets. He was in a hurry. Hurrying away through a confusion of people. Tom leaving early. Has he done whatever business he came for? Stealing my soul? As if? Stealing my pain? If only. Raped me into irrelevance. Impotent! No one was ever cured so easily. And is it all metaphorical, for things that have no physical existence? Yet are as urgent as anything physical, and only one puny human brain to work it all out.

Longbranch. I am looking at the name and looking at Canadian, for some reason, Indians. Canada was one of our targets for the return to Earth. In Winnipeg the unreinforced parachutes were ripped to pieces and the empty plane ploughed into the town. The fire burned for three days and nobody came even to look at it. That was one of those scale tipping moments when the prospect of Earth opened into infinity. Homo Terrestrallis was extinct. The memory of the whole huge long journey takes over the far more incredible journey which I am still on. A prostitute. Am I better than? Well, yes. I am infinity in action. Mahadevi alive. Not as extreme as Asante but extreme enough. A corporately shagged woman in a dark English wood, one part born of woman, one part built of machine, three hundred years of lived memory. I thought of my ex-Pope – my ex-pope she had made resign? – words he had written that gave me hope. I imagined going to him and telling him my story. I am not a human being. Can you help me? I don’t know when I am going to die, or who is going to die, me or the whole world. Your Christ story sounds very familiar to me. One person, born of woman and infinity, to save the world. At one at this moment with all the beggars in the street, as lost and as lonely.

I should move. I don’t want to but it is cold though I am past feeling it. As the cold blood in my limbs returns to the core I shiver uncontrollably and slightly panic. It is dark enough to really get lost in these woods. I feel the tree and make sure I know which side I’m on. It’s amusing when I think of the challenges of celestial navigation, getting to Earth from Mars. I glimpse through the trees a single star which by colour I gauge to be my old friend Altair. I don’t have my phone so I have to guess the time. I am good at this, usually. Keeping her on my left I carefully search for the track marked by white undergarments but cannot find them. Eventually I accept someone has already cleared the track. 

I have no phone. No one knows where I am. The moon will rise in two or three hours but may not help even if the sky remains clear. It should be possible for me to find the way but my priority is to get warm. I dance. I shuffle back to the Queen where I know there is space for a circle to dance, where I map out the ground and move to the music within me. I stamp the earth making deep, guttural sounds. As the dance rises up through me the sounds ascend until I am singing out of my head and my extended arms into the space above. Now I am warm, I could start to search for the passage again but I am into the dance and the night. I could dance through the long night and its changes. My song is not any song but many and all. I grow above the woods and into the sky. I am one who in the beginning had power to be many and any. And the beginning is now, as I, Ius-Maisy, dance I am She, moments of whose life I have sometimes remembered, moments like a thousand lifetimes I have remembered, and suddenly I remember my dream, the first dream of Candor. I had forgotten, as we do, the giant one behind me that I knew was Asante.

“The Cliffs of Mo-t-her.”

I could hear Asante’s voice saying it, as she had done in our life together.

It felt like a clear signal, and all the pieces fell together. If I can travel in time so can another. If I am limited to an infinity machined algorithm there is no reason to assume a more advanced technology couldn’t send a whole person, body and soul. Perhaps Asante came from a yet more distant time. Tom’s mother disappeared without a trace. Asante disappeared from our future without a trace. She remained in space and returned to Mars to support the few who couldn’t make the biological transfer. In reality she never went near Mars Base but moved into the mobile base above the Candor Chasma on the other side of the planet. We were too preoccupied with survival on Earth to notice these details. The Professor had developed a vaccine which would allow the remaining people to travel to Earth. Asante was not among them. We searched the whole of Mars but found only artefacts and no sign of her or of The Professor except discarded remnants. Whole decades of her life without a human witness. And all the time she was monitoring Earth The Professor could have easily faked her presence. Why did we imagine such an intensely committed person as Asante would ever retire into a contemplative old age!

There are coincidences and coincidences but if I believed this was the brain dead coincidence of the science cult I would deservedly be another blind, extinction headed mechanism like the rest. As it is it’s taken far too long for this penny to drop. 

Asante must have come here already impregnated through The Professor. Was that before or after she had us? If both time streams are equal it would need about twenty five years and she had the time both before and after us. It must have been after. She is travelling in time not between planets! We assumed she returned to Mars but the Professor could easily have faked it. She had trained us to believe she was too frail to live on Earth. Both infinity machines were destroyed. We found the remains of what we took to be the Professor on Mars, completely crystalline. And the Oracle was destroyed on Earth. But what if they weren’t? At some higher level they had become distributed in time and were still functioning on a higher level. The third level! The unification! The Third World! 

My scream of recognition pierced the silent forest. That’s why Tom had ‘died’. The why of all his problems, he isn’t really here, though more than we are, probably, in our deep, primeval sleep.

Damn damn damn, the dream was full of it, bursting with it!

Could that be why Candor had refused us access to the Oracle, had apparently destroyed it? But how could he and Asante have conspired without my knowledge? And why?

A tiny question, the fate of worlds hidden in it.

That means Tom is my brother, not the brother of my Maisy body but the brother of my Ius soul.

Where is this relationship a doorway to? That third world I keep partially remembering? What is this stretched form of Ius’s relationship? If Tom is her brother in the physical, is he the continuity of Candor? Is he another who isn’t up to it or is his ‘impotence’ the result of superhuman factors such as the loss of his Martian mother and only restored when he meets his Martian sister? If any of this could be true is it likely that Tom knows anything about it? And who is Maria?

For a moment I had a completely mad thought that she was Asante. I would know my own mother in the dark. Wouldn’t I?

I had stopped dancing. Relieved to have had an idea in all this which at least took me beyond conventional horizons. Not that they had disappeared. I was still left pacing my cell. All this could be an impossible dream.

I was standing in the silence of the forest at the very heart of Axis Mundi, that place I had found and built upon through nearly sixty years. It is here if it is at any geographical location. I sat at the foot of the Queen and let all the history of this place pass through me. Every so often I caught something like a scent and held it. Or a sound. There were a lot of sounds caught in the web of silence, the hum of an insect, a vole crashing over leaves, the owl, and the great whisper of the trees. For a creature of imagination and no experience, being trapped here could have been very alarming. But I had lived all my life in a world of spirits. What interested me was to step beyond the ones I knew. One thing this weekend had revealed, even I had spent my lifetime asleep. All the great doing, the great house, the great people didn’t matter as much as this being alone in the dark wood paying attention to the moments of being.

I began to sing again, another cut through the song that flows through me whenever I choose to listen to it, and I only can listen when I am either full of love or so angry with men and death cult religions and death cult science that I could murder the lot of them with my bare hands. 

This I danced and sang, the phrase rising up through me to the whole sky, I am the one they have been looking for. A cliche now but I first knew it fifty years ago long before the transformational landscape became dominated by idiots. I sang and I sang and I sang in my dark wood so that the universe might hear me.

In a quiet moment I heard a call that was not my voice. I replied with a high, yip ending yodel of the sisterhood.

I became aware of flickering lights. In my present state I saw them ultradimensionally.

“What are all these lights!”

They coalesce as a blinding light descending under the canopy, illuminating my little stage. I cover my eyes. The bright light goes off as the drone lands beside me. 

“Are we intruding?” Eve’s voice asks.

“Not at all. I fell asleep. Then it was dark and I couldn’t find the way out. Someone had cleared the markers.”

“Oh, dear. And you had no torch, no phone.”

“I was going to dance until daylight to stay warm.”

She apologised. “We’ll come and get you.”

“I’d rather move. Give me the drone’s light.”

With the drone’s great beam sterilising the night I followed the familiar trail and met the others near the track with a purring Landrover.

Shakti was exhausted and I still mildly hypothermic. It would be sensible to sleep and start in the morning. She said good night to her great aunt and headed to her bed leaving me with Eve. 

The switch to normality had been rather brutal even though it was the normality of the most extraordinary weekend either of us had known.

In Eve’s room I threw off my dress and was naked just as I had been in the first moments of our encounter. As then she looks at me in wonder. I am about to fall into bed when she stops me and brushes off leaves and the odd beech nut. Now we are lying together and I am blessedly warm.

I am so conscious she isn’t young. I’ve lost so many people and the thought of her passing hurts especially but all the energies of my life are elsewhere. Although, after Axis Mundi, I wonder if that is any longer true. Why go back to London, that everlasting avalanche of dehumanised bodies? But it’s one thing to be a wafting guest here, it’s quite another to manage the place. And I don’t like work. My business is being in contemplation. Like the ex-Pope I have things to do I consider more important than chaining myself to an institution.

“Were you there last night?”

She is glowing beautifully.

“With my retired vicar from Frome.”

“Is he here now?”

“I sent him home.”

“I don’t want to fuck off and leave you but Shakti – Rosie needs a driver. She Isn’t in great shape.”

“Sunday night was extraordinary, I’m still there.”

“I thought the future was going to be more about Maisy, but this weekend?”

“You have a great gift. You must follow it.”

“I’ll come back soon. We’ll have a proper few days for us.”

“And the house?”

I tell her about Jackson’s ‘gift’ of five million.

“I thought it was a little ‘yes’ from Mrs Universe. Written on a pillow case, arena of my working life.”

“Sex and dreams.”

“I’m happy to buy it but we’ll need a Trust of proper tantrikas to run it. I know some good people, and Rosie bridges them and family.”

Eve gave a great sigh. 

“I’m a right little oligarch,” I said.

Eve derisively snorted. “Men are a disease. Nature needed a sperm carrier. In those days she didn’t care about anything else.”

“They will change. It was beginning in Tom. But I don’t think he’s a normal man.” 

“Then what is he?”

“You wouldn’t buy it.”

“Being ninety-two divests one of the ego and the body. As Leonardo Cohen put it, the cracks are where the light shines through and there was a lot of that on Sunday.”

I told her about my Candor dream.

“If it was my dream,” said Eve, “I’d see it as a scientific investigation of Ius, either psychoanalytic – her ‘death’ – or forensically, by the State. Given that the State has better things to do and is neglecting most of them, I can’t see where they would begin to have the imagination to investigate you.”

“Tax? I’m getting all sorts of ridiculous claims from new order crooks. They lay claim to the copyright of anything which appears on their servers whether we chose to put it there or not. I’ve been billed for paintings I own outright including ones I bought direct from you. They rely on artists, anybody, being too poor to challenge them. There’s a class action starting in the US at the moment. I’m hoping they manage without Joan. She’s very good on legal but it’s my head she’s doing it with, and all I want to think about these days is infinite love.”

“Perhaps they do fear invasion from Mars – or life.”

“Or somewhere else. Let’s face it, Eve, if everybody knew their natural state was what we had on Sunday night, this sick world would be over. And thanks to Rosie’s connections they do know.”

“And they haven’t shut you down.”

“Yet.”

“Perhaps last night is what they were looking for?”

“I didn’t know about it until it happened.”

“No foot soldier knows the reason why, but he’s the one who pulls the trigger.”

‘Foot soldier’ was a curious way to describe the supreme Goddess of all the stars, so what could these people be looking for? Assuming they were looking for anything.

“The Yanks and the Russians did a lot of studies of remote viewing, didn’t they?” I said. “Spy on each others secret bunkers. My purpose was always to heal Maisy, heal the world. I never had the slightest interest in the psychopathology of the Patriarchy except in its extinction. So there’s a dynamic they might be interested in, if they think all I’m interested in is that they should forever cease to exist. It’s an idea which would naturally catch on.”

“You are the one they have been looking for.”

“Shit! And last night I gave it to them. How did they know to ask?”

“I would suggest, my dear, that you don’t give them a clue that you’re thinking like this. Play sweet priestess Tantra and play very dumb. All you are interested in is orgasm.”

“It is all I’m interested in! Do you suppose Sunday night was recorded?”

“We stepped naked into the room.”

“And the robes were laundered and sealed.”

“Were there no electronic detectors?”

I shrugged. “Rosie would know.”

“Don’t ask her. I will.”

“You’re good at this. Were you a spy in the War?”

Eve laughed in the way people do when they see ironies beyond your visible horizon.

“You’re not going to tell me.”

“It amazes me how that girl I met. Just girl. Pure Nature, she seemed. So unlike the ones I knew, who were all blue stockings of one sort or another. I’m amazed how she has emerged. Perhaps you are a chameleon and I shouldn’t be – amazed, that is.”

“That I just reflect the Zeitgeist? Whatever new idea pops up I’ll pin it on?”

“Sunday night was another nail in the coffin of that idea. Your story makes enough sense to me to warrant proper investigation, and if I think that others surely do.”

“The Establishment?”

“Yes. A coherent monster after it’s fashion. But what is it’s fashion nowadays? I was born before women had equal votes. For a time it seemed scientific rationalism would erode religion, that major buttress of misogyny. Now they want blasphemy laws as part of a suite against freedom of speech. In just a hundred years they’ve almost driven us back into the kitchen and the brothel.”

I laughed.

“It isn’t funny, my darling.”

“You don’t have to tell me, Eve. But whoever imagined scientific rationalism offered a replacement! It’s a bit like a blind man’s description of the visible using Morse Code.”

Eve laughed.

“It isn’t funny, Eve.”

“No, but I love it.”

“Who was it said, “the world is queerer than we suppose and queerer than we can suppose.”

“Cousin Jack!”

“You’re related to everybody.”

“I was. Cousin by marriage twice removed, I think. Dreadful man. Nearly killed his wife for science – which says it all. What about him?”

“I think of that as the voice of the Establishment.”

“Yes, the post-religious, I suppose.”

“Well, it occurred to me that he’s wrong.”

“Really?”

“Yes. The Tantric union of male and female will create a mind which won’t find the world queerer than it can suppose.”

“That’s a big challenge, especially to keep the world free enough for this new mind to emerge. You’ll offend both the religious and scientific. Very clever.”

“The deviant patriarchy. So the root of it all is a crisis of gender?”

“Yes. Other problems, like global destruction, are secondary.”

“You don’t think gender itself is secondary, as the Buddhists appear to? That we should transcend life for Nirvana?”

“No. Having loved you for most of my life, and you’re not being there, I had strong incentive to go for transcendence. It never worked. In Nirvana I always found you.”

That left me with the strangest sensation. That this great woman could be so in love with me quite broke my heart.

&

We woke early and armed with leftovers from the event and healthy doses of medicinal coffee, slipped out into the brisk dawn and the bright birds of Wiltshire. I drove Shakti’s golden road monster at a pre-rush clip along the 303, easing only as we approached Stonehenge, contemplating its changed significance for us in monodirectional time.

“Mind if we stop? Just for a moment.”

“No.”

I pulled off onto a gravelled side road from where we had a good view of the stones.

“When I first came here,” I said, ” it was all tumbled down on an open moor. There wasn’t a soul around.”

“As Maisy?”

“Father Anthony, I suppose these days you’d say, had abducted me. Then he disappeared.  He must have known some day they’d catch up with him. I decided he’d swum into the pool at Corryvreckan. I searched for days along the shore. I heard his voice, just on the edge of hearing, calling for help. I wanted to join him but Corryvreckan terrified me. I had just read Tess of the d’Urbevilles and so I hitched south to Stonehenge. I was going to the altar to die.”

“But you changed your mind.”

“Not really. I was interrupted. A couple with a dog appeared. They were on their way to Cornwall after, as Polly put it, ‘burying a relative’. They were Jungian therapists. She was. Polly had actually studied with Jung. John was an artist. Looked like I imagine Sir Walter Raleigh. I told them my story, all about my parents dying and the horrible Guardians and the different people I was used to being including a goddess who came with the Moon. They sat patiently listening, he with his eyes closed, into the dark. Finally he open them and said to her. ‘Do we want a child?’ And she said, ‘I think we do.’”

“So I went with them and eventually they adopted me. It was easy in those days, so many war orphans. He was a famous artist who worked part time at Falmouth Art College.”

“Where you met Evelyn.”

“Yes. I met all sorts of amazing people, painters, sculptors, potters, poets who were gung ho for the Goddess. That’s when Ius was allowed to appear. So at sixteen when I was back in Liverpool she was well established.”

“What an amazing story.”

“Isn’t it. They were driving back from Norfolk and had stopped to exercise the dog.”

“And were instrumental in giving birth to a goddess.”

“Well, yeah.” I laughed at that. “From the Guardians I’d got a pretty thorough grounding in sex as commodity. I knew it wasn’t evil, that evil was wrapped up in denial. I knew men needed it and if you were lucky they’d pay rather than punish you. I paid visits to Liverpool. I’d get train money from John and hitch and meet clients on the road. In Scouse I worked the nightclubs, get shagged out of my mind for money and head back to Cornwall for rest and recovery. In Cornwall I was officially a model and those who could paid me money and those who couldn’t paid in art. Eve took me to an auction where I saw paintings going for hundreds, even thousands, by people I already possessed. Maisy, having known ‘hunger’ – I called it starvation – was hooked on saving and security. She wasn’t a spender. The Goddess was a spender. She wanted the finest things but she was only around at high seasons. Maisy’s tightness and her need for the finest came together in art collecting. Neither of us wanted to be a whore all her life. We studied art. I had no talent – well, Maisy has never felt the need to do art and Ius has resistance through her mother, but we were ace at theory. That’s when the personality Ius emerged dominant. Through her I had access to the knowledge of the infinity machines, who reduced guesswork, especially in the beginning before their influence had begun to bite. When you move from an old course of universe towards a new one the rules change. What’s considered good in the old becomes dreary in the new and there’s a point where the new is still considered rubbish. That’s where Maisy started buying. Once the new is established it gets to be more of a gamble. For a while it was touch and go between art and music. Liverpool was becoming the city of music. It was wild compared with Falmouth which was folk clubs and Morris dances. I could sing. For a time I was part of the scene but I was never really obsessed enough. I worked part time relief at a club, a dingy dive where bands played. To my Cornished sensibilities it was a bit of a hole and I never intended to stick around but one of the regular acts was The Quarrymen. I share the opinion they were never as good after Brian Epstein cleaned them up. One of them in particular. If we had hit it off my life might have been very different? I’d have left Cornwall and art and independence and become a Liverpool groupie. Mind you, Cilla didn’t.”

“Oh! Oh my god!”

For Shakti, who was born after that time, the penny had just dropped.

“The Beatles!”

“Yeah. George mostly. George only. When we split that was the end, really, of Liverpool for me.”

I contemplated the Stones I’d walked into as a thirteen year old on a late summer evening, of all the time and space and place and change between. Sixty years as Maisy but more like three hundred as Ius, most not yet lived. Which leaves the window open to eternity and that’s how it was feeling, a time infinitely remote from here. I caught sight of Shakti’s face. She has never known my real back story. And is she hearing the real story now? I feel she knows she is. It means I am fifteen years older than the impossibly well preserved late fifties she already imagined me to be. It means I have moved from something incredibly rare to the freak monster of trans dimensional technologies I claim to be. I can feel, among many other emotions, her fear.

“That’s nothing to what’s coming.”

“Am I one of those people?”

“Hm!” I shrugged. “I don’t know any more. But it makes sense. The sexual revolution is the key.”

“So it was you who started Shadow, not some mysterious relative?”

“Yes. If Strep had trade marked that name I’d have killed him with my bare hands. Terrible, isn’t it, we all have to think like criminals nowadays in order to remain free.”

“You really think that?”

“We can’t talk about love, Shakti, with charm academies handing out PhDs in sincerity to the multiply malnourished.”

“You had a hard life.”

I laughed. “Which one? Maisy, born into the absolute shit hole of World War Two. Or Ius, post Cataclysm, only the fifth or sixth person in existence, and maybe not even a person because much of her DNA had to be built by computer. There were trillions of virtual trials and thousands of actual ones before the risk was taken to make me and even then I only just made it.”

“What’s it like – being two such different people in one body?”

“And all in one, that’s the wonder. It’s a bit like being a Believer, woman and God in cosmic union. Easy compared with nine half people. They were all time-streams of one kind or another. Modern psychiatry knows shit about the human psyche. The strongest one became established and has been consistent for fifty years. Now there seems to be a third entity or time stream coming from I know not where. It’s what freaked me out about the dream before Jackson. There’s a memory line which seems multilife rather than monolife and multi-incident. It could be the soul’s world containing both life and death and beyond the scope of modern rationalism. As often is the case, our ancestors were way ahead of us.”

Shakti gave a long, slow hissing gasp. “I don’t want you to die just as I’ve discovered you.”

I let that settle for a moment or two. “Have you ever really loved a woman?”

She laughed. “A few. And I’ve touched many yonis professionally. But I’ve known so many men professionally, and otherwise, that I don’t think I can tell any more which way I might naturally be.”

“You’re not in a relationship?”

“No. You?”

“No.”

We laughed. “Tantra queens!”

“Everything is dominated by memories of Mars. Everything was different there. Father and brother were conscious attempts to make human gods. Mother, Asante, was the only one wholly natural. For fifty years she had no company but an infinity machine. She should have been completely mad but somehow her fantastic life had honed her into the closest a human could ever be to a god. I think she’s still with me.”

“You’re talking about someone not even born.”

“Yes. And may never be if I do my job. That’s what I can’t get my head around, where do all those fantastic people go if they are no longer needed? They can’t unbecome.”

“But they don’t exist, except in your mind.”

“This is the departing point between sanity, insanity and the real, a naked singularity containing all the futures that can ever be.”

“God.”

“Us. We are the real too. As The Professor said to Asante more than once and even in my hearing, ‘More god than God, Asante, more God than God.’ And that’s why us.”

“What do you mean?”

“If we were not in some way more than God we would have no separate existence. There would be no meaning to us.”

I could feel Shakti staring at me. She said later she felt an enormous vertiginous wave pass over us. 

“I’m talking about human beings among all existence and women among human beings.”

I looked at her. Just then the dawn sun broke through and streamed into the van, lighting her. What a wonder is woman. Not only for her place in a universe requiring her here as necessary structure. I saw emerging Goddess beauty, that which was necessary only to itself, and the smile filled me.

She touched my hand on the gear lever. At that moment I would like time to have stopped but we had to move or be swamped by the commutational traffic wave and die in Wiltshire.

“Music,” I said. 

She flicked through her iPod, miming the question. 

“Something suitable for the sleep death of the universe on the three oh three at dawn”

“The Queen of Bridport?”

I laughed. For frequenters of Holy Wood very much a local girl made goddess. And it nicely bookended my story in a way that a universe which is whole unto itself seems often to do, with a wink and a smile and a nod, despite the worst that we can do.

Stonehenge fell behind us as I gave the Golden Van a taste of its potential to Polly’s greatest hits. While Shakti dozed I ripped the pedal through the metal and with full use of Ius’s live instinct for field restrictions, in this case speed traps, within the hour we were rolling through leafy Notting Hill.

There is a lot to do after returning from a weekend. I helped Shakti with some of it until lunch then she invited me for a mutual lie down. She is still croaky but I tend not to catch colds. After our weekend we were in an extraordinary state. We floated weightless in the tangible fields of our Goddess until the alarm called us back to the world.

She dropped me at Holland Park tube. We stood on the pavement in an embrace like standing in the eye of the Goddess’s own orgasmic storm. It felt literally as if we were inside a Star Trek transporter beam with energies whizzing up and down. As we separated I wondered if it would ever happen again.

“I wish this could last forever,” I said.

“It’s our choice.”

“What would the children say?”

“Mine would be cool. They think all the intelligent people are women. So do I after Sunday night.”

“Mr shagging impotence got quite to be the dream lover. I could really get a taste for him.”

“Will you be okay?

“Hold my head and feed me cherries.”

“Anything.”

“Thank you. I need a friend who lets me tell her my life is the fate of the world and doesn’t flinch.”

“Jesus!”

“Who knows. All I can tell you is Camden Mental Health Service called it very severe psychosis. I had to get a second opinion or I’d still be locked up. Needless to say I don’t go near such people any more.”

“What did the second opinion say?”

“It was only severe and I was safe to be let out as long as I took the medication.”

“Do you?”

“I tried. I got so sick I thought I was dying. That was forty – nine years ago. I leave you to judge if I should.”

She kissed me. 

“Thank you for telling me. Call me!”

She whizzed off to pick up her kids, leaving me standing before Holland Park Underground. In front of it was a beggar and coming and going was a steady stream of hard faced, stressed looking people. Just normal people but they looked horrible after my landing from the heaven of the shining ones. I was in no state for squashing my beautifully expanded aura into this. I decided to walk and maybe catch a 31 bus at Notting Hill. I plugged in my favourite stream of Hip Hop to give my steps some rhythm up the hill. Then I walked back with a ten pound note to stuff in the beggar’s empty cup but he wasn’t there. I stared at the place where he had been in stupefaction as though witnessing a miracle. I had a tiny quiver of uncertainty remembering I hadn’t taken my medication for forty-nine years. I suddenly felt enormously tired at the thought of walking back up the hill and turned for the Underground. Just then catching sight of a taxi I hailed it and was sound asleep dreaming when the driver woke me beside Purgatory Hill.

&

Up in the Crone’s Nest I dared to look in the mirror. The bronze headed goddess was looking back at me. Her beauty is not skin deep, is an acquired taste. Undoubtedly there are moments when I am beautiful to anybody but anyone with a clear eye could see I am not young. What am I, and why does the word ‘whore’ seem demeaning? I’ll tell you why? Once I had a family, mother of seven, daughter of Asante, mother of all. We had love. It was there naturally. Even The Professor could describe it very well. Almost knew it, I would say, certainly in symbiosis with the human, certainly better than anyone alive today other than the very rare, the very lucky and the very young. Love for me goes to the heart of the world. Even when I feel like death. I do death very well.

One wall of my flat is a picture of Mars Base as it would look now. It’s not a real photograph. No land camera has ever been there. It’s composed from many orbital pictures transposed to a ground view. And I know it. I have walked there. I have sat on that rock. The life I knew in that barren world was so human and beautiful. In our sealed caverns we surrounded ourselves with beauty. Why didn’t we stay? There were many intractable problems to making Mars habitable, not least of which was the virus dust. On many levels the dust of Mars was lethal. Some acted like true viruses, all hungry for water. Once inside a human body they could bring death in hours. Work outside required meticulous decontamination. It would be far simpler to live in an orbiter in space. 

Asante and The Professor had developed an implant to instantly create counter phages. So it was possible but precarious. For proper terraforming the planet needed a thorough cleansing, fundamentally justifiable because viruses were not a living thing. Unfortunately they existed not only in the atmosphere but in the rocks that were potentially future dust. A proper cleansing required grinding to a microscopic level all the alluvial rocks of the planet, an act of astro vandalism unjustifiable on any level. 

The Professor worked out it would be cheaper to reform the hundred largest asteroids into spheres of intelligent life containing a trillion human equivalents than it would be to cleanse Mars for humans. A more sensible course might be to saturate it with comets and see what the viruses made of themselves. Or, even more sensibly, leave it alone to drift in silent splendour until the Sun’s death and beyond.

It takes time to know those things and might yet have been attempted had Asante not become an artist and shifted the common priorities. Death no longer mattered to her. Nor did dying. She had become aware of some great cosmic pulse. As the last person all the politics of being stopped with her. Questions around being and nothingness and even deeper, into pure what is. Without a great will to make it happen terraforming Mars seemed pointless. And Earth called, home of her ancestors for four billion years. 

Ius’s involvement with Mars lasted for over a century. It is so emotionally real and physically complex and detailed and consistent that Maisy does not doubt its reality or she is the greatest imaginator the world has ever known. Which I could be. I am obviously the greatest something.

What I’ve done so far is what I’ve ‘understood’. This weekend I’ve felt invaded by another story that has disturbed emotions beyond ordinary memory. I don’t want to even begin to think that for much of the time I’ve been here Asante was here too. May even still be. I can’t get there. I daren’t think it. Goddess mother that I loved so hugely well that I returned to Mars so she should not die alone. And we never found her, just some extraordinary artefacts she left. Asante, who perhaps never dies but is eternally ‘reborn’ upon a thousand worlds. People imagine it of Christ and, unlike Christ, I actually knew this woman, intimately and deeply, in ways contemporary humans have not dared to imagine. Just to see you for a day or an hour. It would kill me too.

So now what am I to do, pack my bags and go back to Shannon and look for you? I would have to ask Thomas Immanuel. That’s the place to start. And I may never see him again. What does the Internet know? I daren’t look. I sit staring out the window at the white hawthorns on Purgatory Hill.

I make moves towards packing. This is one part of Earth I’ve never visited. I’ve tried and I just couldn’t. I tried a plane and couldn’t board it. When I tried a boat the weather blew up and I lost my nerve. I drove from Knock and it was as if I hit a physical barrier. Perhaps there was, now that I think of it, two timelines in one place. If Asante was there, having given birth on Earth, laid a true, Professor enhanced Martian at the critical time in the past? It’s so obvious really, with her fierce grip on action, she would never give up. It’s something I should do for myself at least, go there. But what if now it’s easy because she has gone? The idea made me so unhappy I knew I would cry myself to death if I gave it any more thought.

I started desultorily packing, not sure what kind of trip. I could fly straight into Shannon. Then I’d be right there, perhaps the very runway where mine would be the first foot to touch the ground in another future. Or I could walk in. Take my time. Let the infinite intelligence unfold.

I pulled out different bags, finally settled on the one I had been using, multipurpose, good for twenty mile hikes or dead hotels. I throw knickers and tights into the washing machine, hang up dresses and consider them for cleaning. One is covered in leaves and stains and is ripped. Damn. It will join the others with history. Among the clobber is something I don’t recognise, and then I do, the pillow case cheque. I had slipped it into his bag. He had returned it. I decided to put it in the washing machine. The game was over. At the bottom of the bag was the knife Rocky had left on the toilet. I had a vision of dumping them when Joan Kemble pointed out it was encrusted with bloody rubies and diamonds. It had history. She could smell it.

I wanted to reconnect with myself before this weekend. A trip to Ireland would fit perfectly. What would I need? Assuming maximum anonymity? After all, we’re talking about infinite machines with an all embracing grasp of everything we’ve ever imagined and things we’ve never imagined, able to watch through consciousness, watching through our CCTV in their sleep. Remembering how I had survived in the Hebrides, although with Ius’s not Maisy’s body. It wouldn’t be anything like as drastic. Now there were shops and cars and all the paraphernalia of civilisation. All I needed was money – cash – lots of it. Shops with CCTV I should avoid. I would need to be in the country, as close to living off the land as possible. I’d have to leave the fancy phone behind. All that research would have to be done here. The most anonymous way would be by train or car. Pay cash. I’d have to hire the car here. Or buy. No. If none of this is necessary I can revive my accounts. I have to assume if other forms of time travel are possible then someone will be doing them and the only ones I know of are my family.

My family? I have to remember this is Maisy’s body. Maisy doesn’t know my family. If I disappear all this will vanish. No one will come after Maisy. She isn’t me. Well, they might but it would be very stupid. She will remember our shared life, basically one bedding after another, but with me gone the future world will vanish like a soap bubble. The celebrities will excite her contemporaries but will be of absolutely no interest to the future, the bonk behaviour of the pre-enlightened. That’s a point. If I’m going for anonymity what do I need that is Maisy’s?

I look into her cabinet. Birth certificate won’t help – indeed, 1942! Medical history really won’t help. There was my last prescription, November 1962! It was the hard winter. Snowed in for a month. Even the sea was frozen, the boats were iced in. Some talk of escaping up the Channel but the wind blew from the east, force eight for months. That’s when I stopped taking the medicine. The snow helped. The beauty. The silence. The spectres. The voices became crystal clear. Nearer 53 than 49 years! Time is moving like a wild horse. I looked in the memorabilia tin. Complete junk but I kept it for her. Stuff from school and a photograph with a cigarette butt with faded lipstick taped to the back. Oh my god! That was my last cigarette from George just before I fled Liverpool! Ius knew how famous they would become and history hadn’t written Maisy into the story. Now I would be more assertive. The whole purpose of my life is to change history. Interesting, though, that he became the mystical one. 

There is no doubt who the photograph is, Maisy and George before her psychosis took over completely. The butt is barely attached. The brown cellotape hardly needs peeling away. There it is in my hand for the first time in nearly sixty years, longer than most people have ever lived, so it might as well be forever. A ridiculous, time traveller sort of thought comes to me. I think of going to Purgatory Hill to offer some type of restitution to the life I’ve stolen. Not the place for a heartfelt ritual. Always pickled with lost young souls like a restless mob from Rentatourist. I feel a sense of urgency, about not wasting time. But I’ll do it anyway, in the Hawthorn Grove. 

I wrapped the butt carefully in tissue and walked through the park to buy a box of matches. Must do this properly. Maisy is astonished at the price which she converted into shillings that would buy two quarter hundredweights of coal, a packet of fags and a bottle of plonk on top. All the memories of Liverpool. The corner shop, the cobbled streets, the men stranking their hugeness. Racists, they’d be called now in these narrowing times, but the nature of the time was a felt community. Verbal abuse was an expression of affection, as the Beatles showed. You didn’t abuse people you didn’t respect, like Eddie the Pimp. It was a shared visceral loathing that didn’t need words. All gone now, replaced by a humourless, lifeless mentalism born of uni – versities. One song.

I walked up to the riot of white blossom which is the Hawthorn Grove through the lush green of gathering Spring. Spreading my picnic blanket – there’s no grass under the hawthorns – I sat with my back to one of the inner circle trees and reviewed my lives, particularly the one that was pushed aside by mania or by the living entry of a time traveller backed by an infinite technology. A lot more reasonable than a son of God. I unwrapped the cigarette butt and carefully pushed a gold safety pin through it. It was utterly dry. This was not going to be a pleasant experience, my gift to Maisy. I thought of the beggar at Holland Park and of others I’d seen pick up dog ends in the street. This was likely to be the oldest dog end experience in the world today, last drawn on in the presence of George Harrison on the brink of becoming crazily famous.

What was I doing? Was this Maisy taking back her life, having had it stolen by a being who claimed a cause of global, even universal consequence? With George she could have entered a mythic realm that never would have been ordinary, or hers. With Ius it was all Maisy’s in a way. At least she was taken over direct, not an appendage of someone else’s glory. Her reward was an extraordinary life. A magical, miraculous life. She only had to look in the mirror and remember her marvellous innovations. But they were not really mine, Maisy’s. I was taken for a ride, a great one. I never really regretted a moment of it. But fifty six years later I wake up and wonder, where has my own life gone? It doesn’t exist. I can’t say I would return to being Maisy because there was no Maisy. Without Ius Maisy is emptiness. I looked at my dog end pierced through with its pin. The next puff after the last shared with George Harrison, terrestrial legend. What else does this unique ritual commemorate other than the passing of my life and the legend of the Beatles? And what are they? A fractal of religion, religionising. Rock Gods. And all the time I was the real thing, through Ius to Asante, the unique singularity and the infinite machine who composed the DNA that is Ius and through Ius to me. All calculated in the round, even allowing for a girl called Maisy? I cannot disbelieve all of it but no one could explain what has happened to me without considering it. If source transcends product I created it, the unborn saviours of this infinitely deep world. This is true if I am mad or at one with the infinite source. Or both. My mate Jesus wouldn’t throw me out. Imagine, abandoned by the mob, the priests, his disciples and by God. And by history. He was doing something, but it won’t amount to a hill of beans without the transition to womanly times.

I lit a match and watched the flare and flame, feeling the connection through time. Cool men, most of whose names I don’t remember, now shrivelled old or dead, used lighters that flicked open with minimum fuss but I as often used a match. I struck another, cupping it from the slight air. That’s what we did. How will I do that with my butt on a pin? Three at once.

I held my match, thought of George that last time I’d see him. The nostalgia in Maisy’s life for a time and a city and a community all vibrant and all gone was overwhelming. But seen from Ius’s additional perspective of the human race destroyed and all its infinite potential gone, words cannot come near the depth of sorrow? Goddess sorrow. Was I saying goodbye to Ius or to Maisy or to both? Was I saying hello to some other way and being? Was this planet all a dream and I about to wake from it? 

I struck the triple match and watched it flare. I put the dry, lipsticked butt to my lips and the match to the butt. I saw George through the smoke through fifty-six years compressed into the seconds normally spent between two drags on a cigarette. I sucked for that life, the last molecules of real George twenty years now dead. The dry hot smoke burned my lungs. I flicked away the fused matches. And now in the no time moment left to take a second burned lips drag I knew knowing is in no time everywhere. A breath of wind made the tinder-dry butt flare and drop and extinguish leaving a few flecks of ash on the scorched pin. Feeling my lungs seared by molecules of 1960 Liverpool, even George’s breath blown in a fire ceremonial moment unfathomable to me yet knowing that something in the great infinite knew. Through the first seconds of the new era I sat on in my little grove undisturbed by the crowds on the hill, watching the sun go down on the day. For the first time I can remember ever I felt totally clear, just me. Not even me. Just emptiness, and it was very good. Who am I? I had no feeling for or need to find an answer. 

&

I have been leaning, occasionally dozing, against the trunk, periodically dreaming of my palatial new apartment and the new apartments of others, all empty of furnishings. I am very excited about the new beginnings. 

In a moment Ius had won the world and lost herself, everything she knew and cherished, the whole heroic story of Mars. I saw clearly it was one of millions of such stories, millions of such futures, all of which were balanced, cancelled, planted in the infinite sea of humanity. Infinite. We do not see our infinity, this infinity which I am seeing now. All the sick people could be other futures which never made it. Every person carrying a seed. Altogether moving in and making and creating the inevitable river of time. The world could end but it won’t because it doesn’t. One way or another it will roll on towards an inevitable outcome which we see now in this early universe as overwhelmingly titanic Nature in relation to little, fragile humans, not realising for anything to exist at all we must be in it. And something like us and connected to us must have composed it. Made it. Made it all possible. All things must end. And now I knew what the goalless goal of it all was. Timeless life. Like this. Now.

The sun is setting. It is already dark beneath the hill. I have been sitting here almost as pain free of human things as the tree behind me. It is what is not here which is so good, which is all the angst of the human state. Clearly this untroubled bliss comes from orgasm not the myth of love. Here 99% of social fretting may be lost. In a day or four I might feel the pain of not having him but I can fill the cup with friendly orgasm through Tantric practices and feel the serenity of infinite wisdom that it brings. Human life, so very simple if one can only get this truth through the rusted doors of the stress minds to this inner state of simple being which contains simple knowing good for all time.

I see a figure in silhouette coming through the trees. The sense of approaching beauty and tangible spirit stops my breath. When I say spirit you must understand as Martian Ius I relied one hundred per cent on science and engineering to stay alive and as Maisy I knew religion as a community of insanity which made men into monsters. So when I say spirit it’s just a word for the tangible unknown. Houses have atmospheres, people have auras. I think it’s particularly a female thing. You know, that eight times more sensitive? As Ius I knew machines for which this was science which operated paraconsciously, where solutions came as from dreams. So when I say spirit I could mean all the libraries of the known and the much vaster libraries to be of the unknown and how it touches me and how we touch each other. I say infinite and infinities and occasionally I am touched by them all and the memories of those influence all my life. And it is not even memory for its nature is eternal and completely wedded to time as a mother to a child. I like to think I knew but in a moment of being awake it could have been anyone, even no one, just my own awake body.

I say all this because in that moment some giant spirit, beautiful and dark, walked into my life.

She paused at the outer ring.

“Are you all right?”

Such a beautiful voice. It gently resonates in my belly.

“Fine thanks. Never felt better.”

“Sorry to trouble you.”

“Why did you ask?”

“You’d been here for such a long time.”

“Yes, I suppose so. How did you know?”

“I’ve been meaning to call. It kept showing your location. Then I wondered if you’d dropped your phone.”

Small world moments in my life are as common as coffee cups but this was a coffee cup dropper.

“Maria?”

And Rocky? Who left me a knife. She came towards me through the grove, a silhouette against the twilight. I tried to move but my legs were asleep.

She reached down as though to help me up.

“No, I’d better let them come to life first. Sit down if you like.”

In that moment I am completely helpless. She might have knifed me and walked on and who would ever go looking for such a lady? She sits lightly on the blanket, a perfect yogini. I get a sense of her features, pale in the shadowed lamplight. As the contrasts change and my eyes adjust I see her face shining. She is beautiful in a way which an older person, who has come to see beauty everywhere, can still see as something extra in itself.

“How are you, Maria?”

Her gesture conveyed wondrous and terrible uncertainty. 

“I am so frighteningly happy! I’ve been in a state of shock ever since we met. I have a new husband thanks to all your powers. He can hardly move so I have thrown off all modesty.”

I had a searing image of Maria on top of her husband. I had known them both.

“Is that good?”

“Oh, yes! But I am not used to happiness, mere happiness. And I am confused. I sought one whole man and now love two people. And so does he. He cries out to Mahadevi in his sleep and I dream of you.”

“I’m sorry. I warned him and my dreams warned me.”

“What did they tell you, Mahadevi?”

“Just a minute! Let me catch my breath, Maria. I was sitting here, having surrendered my life to the great emptiness. I was quite at home with the experience of being a breathing emptiness when you walked in. How come you are here?”

“I live here. Daily I walk on the Hill. You?”

“Me too…”

Well, that isn’t so improbable. Most of London you wouldn’t live in if you had the choice. The slightly more transient arty branch of the rich and celebrated tend to make their nests around Purgatory Hill.

“…I’ve never seen you.”

“I like to see the sun rise.”

“I never see the sun rise. No, that isn’t true. I often sleep on the Heath.”

“I know I have seen you. Now and then over many years. So beautiful. So self possessed. You were always gone before I could speak.” 

“I must really walk about with my eyes shut if I never saw you Maria.”

“I can be quite invisible when I choose.”

We sit quietly. I become aware of an enormous presence like an onion dome of light which is also a face. The point at the top goes on to infinity. At first it is outside and then it is around me. Her body is around me and I do not see her.

“Is this you?” I said internally.

“No,” her voice said inside me. “It is my guardian.”

“It’s not The Oracle?”

“The Oracle?”

“An infinity machine,” I said aloud.

“My nun calls him Gabriel,” she said. “He likes you.”

I laughed at that canine reference on Purgatory Hill.

“I also know him by a much older name.”

“Hm?”

“Best not to know until you need to.”

We sat on as the presence slowly dissolved.

“Would you like to meet mine. She’s very down to earth.”

“Yes!” She said eagerly.

“This is what I meant to do in the bathroom. This sort of thing.”

“I’ve been in a state of hopeless shock ever since. Only minutes before I said to you I’m not a lesbian. When I got home I held your knickers to my heart as if they were the Holy Grail.”

“I should have warned you. Asked your consent.”

“I would have fled.”

“It was my gift.”

“It is your gift. Brought me right to earth.”

“The power of the Beloved.”

“Can there be more than one?”

“Everyone. David Attenborough, for instance, has done a great job of exposing us to it.”

“Is there not a special person?”

“Our children.”

“You have children?”

“Not of this body. You?”

“No. I once had God. Then he showed me the dark path I had to follow. It is a path, Mahadevi, I only know I cannot walk alone.”

“You have Tom.”

She inhaled sharply. “A very fallen angel.”

“Lucifer. The Light.” I snorted a chuckle.

“Why did you laugh.”

I showed her the box of Swan Vestas. “Bought for the occasion.”

“Vestals,” she said.

“Priestesses of fire.”

“What occasion?”

“I finished the last cigarette given me by George Harrison, smoked in his company.”

I felt her shock. “Mahadevi,” she whispered. “Help me!”

“Why do you trust me?”

“You touched my soul.”

We did conventional Circle of Light until I sat face to face in Maria’s lap and took a breath of the Goddess like I was starting a forest fire. Star Trek transporter was nowhere in it. Maria and I grew as tall as the nearest tangible thing which, beyond the white may blossoms, must have been the North Star. My legs had recovered enough to hold my weight and the Goddess energy made us as weightless as moonlight. Six breathes in and we were good for eternity. Maria curled her face into my neck and wept with such intensity. I was right back there in the intense dark with Rocky.

“Breathe,” I said. “Focus on breath.”

She tried but her body became convulsed with massive sobs that spoke in tongues of worlds I had never seen. I caught the full orchestra of her emotions. Her body seemed caught in a straightjacket. That image of wood I’d first encountered with Tom. The Cross? That mad icon of the conquistador cult? I worked with it on the breath. As her sobbing eased she began to match my steady rocking with her own. Soon we were flowing together very freely. Eventually we lay down on the blanket and I wrapped it over us. With finger tips we traced and wiped each others tears. Wanting. Wanting what kisses cannot bring. Can they? That taste of living paradise. That I have known here and there in the magics of this city. I felt in another vivid form as our lips touched forehead, cheek and neck and eventually lips, sparking startling vibrant life between us. I had known this crisp, alive spirit when I’d worn her dress and made love to her husband in it. Her lips took me beyond an exquisitely laundered spirit pocket of dark London Town to other worlds, palaces in lands of transcendent spiritual beauty. It kicked my head right out of the park.

“This ground is hard and cold,” she said eventually. “I have a bed.” 

“Are you sure? Once you had a Church.”

“It’s still there. But it desperately needs new life.”

“Women?”

“Your full goddess, mother of it all.”

“Will it ever happen?”

“The Catholic Church? Nothing is impossible.”

“I would like it to become as extinct as the dinosaurs.”

“And waste all those beautiful buildings? They’re bones, skeletons on which we could hang life and colour. And music. And water. And play. And dance. You dance. Imagine dancing in a church.”

“I have. St Giles in Scotland. St Paul’s here.”

“Does Christ want to hang on the cross for eternity to support a primitive patriarchy?”

“How is Tom?”

“He isn’t mine any more. The power of you on him overwhelmed me. He’s ours or nobody’s.”

“Maria, I’m old. I love stillness. A three way relationship with two such extraordinary people?”

“I love deep contemplation. I might be the stillness you need, a living, breathing stillness. Face it, my dear, in the deepest stillness is all life.”

I lay there in the beautiful import of her words.

“Maria, I am seriously crazy.”

“Not crazier than the Church. You can’t be.”

“They only talk about God. My speciality is his mother. Incredible, really, considering Mother Mercy was my introduction to this religion. Sin and punishment in a merciless cocktail.”

“I’m not like that, I promise”

“What was that knife?”

“It was a gift of power. Love me or kill me.”

“I took it as a threat.”

“Noooooo! Mahadevi, I felt you, trapped in the confines of this inadequate man. And I had put you there. Perhaps I wanted to kill him – personally. It wouldn’t be the first time human beings had killed their god. Then I met you. I will always be grateful.”

It’s not often I get a shock like the shock I had in that moment.

I should have sensibly got up and said goodnight but I held her as I would my own lost child. And this lost child was a goddess, not one concocted by fantastic technologies but by the archaic universe itself.

As we made our way down through the trees wrapped together in the blanket, I said.

“How did you meet Tom?”

“I was looking for him. I offered core counselling. No words, just deep connection with God. One day he walked in. I left the building with him. Positively the most immature decision of my life and I’m still regretting it. I don’t know what it is about him. Or I do know, some of it. But he daren’t.”

“What?”

“This is going to sound completely mad.”

“It would be a pleasure to hear a story madder than mine.”

“Two hundred and sixty six popes stood between me and Christ, most of them no better than my father. When Tom walked in I saw Him.”

“Christ?”

“God. Of course, he hasn’t a clue.”

I stopped her in the dark of the trees. The question was so important I couldn’t even find the words. She seemed to understand.

“It was like being ten pins in a bowling alley and he walked in with one agenda in mind – wham! What does his devoted handmaiden do? Give him everything he asks for was my answer. Once pierced the floodgates opened. Everything I am poured out. He was already carrying flood damage from another extreme woman, his mother.”

“He loves you!” 

“I terrify him, deep in his heart, as she did.”

“Why?”

“If your life doesn’t work, and women seem the core of it.”

“But he has a brilliant life!”

“Much of it was running from the core as much as engaging it.”

“Don’t reach for the apple and bite into the core.”

“Even though it’s what you’re built for, loving women.”

“And erected an entire culture upon his disappointment.”

“What’s it like to be the man born to address that. No escape into death and resurrection in the minds of the disappointed.”

“You think he’s Christ?”

“No. Yes. This time you have to stay here to speak for yourself. To live with the women, the deep ones, the dark interior source of light.”

“Maria, I was sitting here having surrendered all my apotheosis with man from George Harrison to your husband as not relevant to me. How could I rely for my soul on him?”

“You did something so powerful for him. Unique. You are a goddess, born to give form to him.”

“But he’s yours, Maria. I can’t stay alive for him.”

“You can’t kill yourself, or we’ll all die!”

“I didn’t mean – or perhaps I did. I only meant withdraw into myself. Be still.”

“Could I be with you?” She was trembling.

“Maria, that’s two of you, when one is more than I can handle.”

“I meant withdraw with you.”

“And what about him?”

“That’s the eternal question, isn’t it. He sorts himself out.”

“He won’t. He’ll destroy the world.”

“Why us?”

“We can’t have is both ways, Maria, to be all powerful and to withdraw.”

“Mahadevi, I can’t deal with his demons, whereas you, evidently, can.”

“His demons come from fear of his personal destiny.”

“We’re agreed on that.”

“Dealing with it is for life. If I must come alive for him he must be my life. As it is it will just be an invitation to so much pain.”

“No, Mahadevi, I am not a conventional wife. I broke my vows for him, but it was always for the destiny I saw in him.” 

We were silent under the shadows of the trees. Each with her thoughts and something shared which felt very strong but dare I trust it or dare I trust us to deal well with it?

To break the spell of talk we moved on, holding hands, she trembling, electric with tension.

“Time will tell. You’re free to go.” It cost her to say that. “Just give me a chance.”

“Maria, I’m a very very very strange person, stranger than you can ever imagine. It’s like I’m hundreds of years old. I’ve had adventures up to my neck and beyond. I just want stillness. The heart of stillness.”

“In someone’s arms?”

We were standing near one of the old style lights on the Hill. Looking into her eyes I saw something very beautiful that seemed of another world yet tangibly present. I recalled the eyes of Shakti and Justina and saw that they were different. Their’s were more personal horizons, very good for knowing that you’re loved. This promise in Maria might lead to another disappointment but I’d rather kiss her lips than go home alone tonight.

“One more disappointment, Maria, and I won’t answer for the consequences.” 

“Mahadevi,” tears were streaming down her cheeks. “I think I worship you.”

We embraced under the lamplight, that for a moment was millions of years old.

She led me towards one of the large mansions which abut the Hill. To own these you have to be particularly filthy rich. I had known them from probably before she was born, a curiously dispossessed kind of propriety. Before we went in she introduced me to a recognition system which responded to touch, voice and face and other markers.

“The place is a fortress,” she said.

“It’s yours?”

“Yes. We are gangsters. Bad people to know.”

“How do you dare to just walk on the Hill?”

“Without an armed escort?”

“Yes.”

“We have a better system of protection, much more sophisticated. And you are now part of it.”

“Gabriel?”

Her eyes assented.

It’s one of my rules of survival that I never tell people my primary address. This is so inconveniently close that I’m almost making panic plans to move. When she’d asked me where I lived I’d thrown my mind vaguely towards the chaos of Camden Town. 

The night consisted of getting to know one another viscerally, from praying together to the deepest of hot holy raunch and returning to stillness again. 

“The key is love but not divisive love,” she said. “Love which makes whole.”

“Embodied soul?”

“What do you think?”

“Always, Maria, but I’ve tried to live my life without divisive religion, as if it had never existed.”

“I haven’t. It’s what saved me from suicide. When I knew the whole structure of my body was created from horrendous sin.”

“She would say things like that.”

“But in my case it’s basic truth, generations of criminals traceable back to the Romans.”

“Is that possible?”

“Look at the Popes. One unbroken line. Do you think its the only one?”

“That was an idea.”

“One of the many questionable states of love, as institutionally practised.”

I looked into my lover’s eyes, trying to assess her state. There was always so much more than the words.

“That sounds almost like blasphemy, Maria.”

“It’s what Christ taught me. Even love, the very word among us, is an institution of corruption. Not love itself as a force of Nature, but what do we embody when we speak of it? Tribalism and selectivity.”

“Maria, this is either very deep or beyond the brink of madness.”

“I agree, but there is always another story. There are the rare people I meet and there are the powers.”

“What do you mean?”

I had a dreadful fear that she was about to reveal that she was, after all, just another dippy lady. Except that there was a definite feeling of something unsayable to ordinary minds. 

“Mahadevi.”

“Yes?”

“Art thou Mahadevi?”

“Art thou the Mother of God, Maria?”

“Clever girl.”

That invoked the moment in Jurassic Park and for a moment I saw all men and Tom about to be ambushed by two terrible females.

“The answer is yes, Maria. Not as this human ego and yet just as this human ego. Just as the surfer rides the wave and as the rider leaps with the horse. You have to be, body and soul, at one with your god.”

I felt her love in that moment. 

“Just so,” she said. “It is an art involving trust. Not blind trust but from knowledge.”

“You terrify me, Maria. Fear and love in a single moment.”

“Imagine how I feel about you, a unique creature from the wild. At least I have the whole weight of institutional theology to beat against.”

“I was pretty much born into it as my only mother and father. I didn’t even have a family to protect me from its worst abuses.”

I told her about my upbringing in the orphanage of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. She kissed me reverently and deeply as though it was all her fault. The conversation went on through rich, intense embodiment to sleep and another awakening.

“Mahadevi.”

“Maria.”

“What’s your original name?”

That seemed really funny from deep in her beautiful pillows. Her hand touching my laughing belly felt very concerned for me.

“That struck me as such a long and complicated story. Can we speak telepathically inside Gabriel?”

She laughed and gave a great sigh. “If only we could. It’s complicated, Mahadevi. On the one hand one needs purity of soul because the forces that would be unleashed otherwise would be so immense. Look what the purity of Einstein became in the hands of ordinary men, and that is relatively safely confined to the physical. On the other hand I wouldn’t want to alter you to suit it simply because all your forces are wild and have no formalised training. So, when I bring you into Gabriel, Gabriel has to know this is the One. Of course, he does, but at the same time we don’t want to open the gates of the Earth into him until the whole system is ready.”

“It sounds…You talk of him as we would talk of infinity machines.”

“Who?”

“One aspect of me – I suppose I’d call it the major aspect of my adventure – was born on Mars. This body was called Maisy after an orphanage worker. But far older than Maisy is Ius. It’s hard to pin down as dates but if Ius’s memories were timed from this year AD, they would reach back to the time of Isaac Newton and the search for the Philosopher’s Stone, the key to immortality, which always gives me a slight shiver when I think of it. In fact all her memories are of being born on Mars. But that might be an implanted illusion, one way or another. There are curious anomalies in history, such as Jonathan Swift, who was well acquainted with Newton and the Royal Society, who he lampooned as the philosophers of Laputia, who knew Mars had two small moons whose distance from the planet approximates reality. Linear science requires an historical explanation but once you know of the higher dimensional fields of consciousness then reality turns inside out like an umbrella as the winds of a different order blow through. The simple explanation that I was born in the future doesn’t make any sense but it’s what I say in order to give the contemporary, rational mind something it can hang on.”

“And the moons of Mars weren’t known then?”

“No. They were discovered a hundred and fifty years later.”

“What is your explanation?”

“Something beyond time, that must exist throughout the whole of it somehow.”

“Why not just the human period? The rest of Nature doesn’t think about it.”

“That would land us with the timescale of creationism.”

“Each wants to be the single truth but supposing both were true?”

“And that might be the explanation of experiences of people like me. We’re only mad because we live in two worlds but are forced to live in one of them.”

I felt her contemplating this and waited.

“Maisy?”

“And Ius.”

“Ius.”

“‘t’s what my Martian mother called me.”

“Ius. Ius. Ius. Ius! Like that?”

“Just like that!”

“I’ve fallen in love with you.”

“Don’t be silly Maria!”

“Just like that!”

“Yes, Maria, love is terrible and beautiful, isn’t it. The last thing I wanted was to get close to you.”

“Why?”

“But if this is how I’m to die,” Contemplating her love blitzed face.

“Why die?”

“I’m haunted by that dagger. It has a home in somebody. It wasn’t meant for gutting fish.”

“My grandfather said it was eight hundred years old, a gift to an ancestor from a sultan. And now to you.”

“Lingam in yoni, symbolic unity, but this is the symbolism of war.”

“Holy war.”

“The last state of animal evolution, extinction or transcendence. When machines write the DNA Darwin’s days are done.”

“And if they never do we’re finished?”

“Well, what do you think?”

“It’s hard to imagine the world is ending when you live here.”

“We export our shit to China.”

“It’s all in the family business. I’m trying to clean it up. Why shouldn’t criminals run a decent business?”

“The entire European enlightenment is built on the backs of slaves. They were all war mongering monsters.”

“But what if there is a good enough reason in the end to have gone through all this horror?”

“Such as?”

“An infinite future for intelligent life.”

“Rather than extinction?”

“Yes.”

“It’s what my life has been about but I never had the ability to make anything.”

“Could you seed the idea?”

“With this species a general idea isn’t enough, Maria, it needs to be precise.”

“Such as?”

“Love is the general idea. The precise one is the key to the mind of God. The precise one not the generality.”

“Any ideas?”

“Thousands. They all require better humans, not the rubbish we’re dealing with.”

“You want something that works with rubbish.”

“Exactly.”

“Like a mafia cleaning business. Turn plastic into dresses or energy rather than dumping it in the ocean?”

“Is that what you’ve done?”

“All sorts. The medicinal use of narcotics. A university of criminality for criminals. And my favourite one of all, the hay bailer”

“What’s that?”

“Of course it doesn’t exist.”

“Then how is it your favourite?”

“Short, weak strands laid together make a big, strong rope.”

“Yes.”

“Well, you take every negative presence online and you roll it up into a master algorithm and make the energy do something useful or at least beautiful.”

“You can do this?”

“Yes. Or I know ones who can. In fact it’s so successful that in order to achieve a necessary momentum we’ve had to add our own neutered algorithms to the mix.”

I was slightly speechless. Something here sounded very familiar to Ius.

“The patient still might die. It’s early days.”

“You’re the most unusual nun I’ve ever heard about Maria.”

“I hope it compensates for the other one. What was her name?”

“Mercy. And I hope to never hear the name again.”

“Understood. You do know the poison she left in you would be transmuted by forgiveness?”

“The conditions for that have never arisen.”

Even as I said that I realised perhaps they had.

“I can help. Or I could have done before I blew my credentials so blatantly.”

“Sex, you mean?”

“Agape, the love of God.”

“Can’t we have both?”

“It’s not my area of expertise, but I never knew love like this.”

“It’s just another point of view.”

“It isn’t.”

“It isn’t. The core is life eternal.”

“Jesus!”

“Your yoni in Heaven.”

“And what about him?”

“The eternal question.”

“What do you mean!”

“I’m not proposing we kill him Maria. He’s beautiful in the highest degree. The Goddess would never forgive us.”

“We would never forgive us.”

“Same thing”

Maria looked at me with interest. I think she was hearing something I hadn’t intended.

“You never expected to share him?”

She looked horribly distressed for a moment, like a child whose most precious toy was about to be taken.

“No,” I said. “I think it’s best I go away for a few weeks and let it settle between you.”

“No!”

“I’m only human, Maria. If I can’t be with you then it’s best I forget you.”

“No-o-o-o-o-o!”

It was an extraordinary night of tears and lust and, dare I call it, love. It’s what drove Tom crazy over his mother, the Goddess within. She cannot be unattainable, she cannot be separated from us or we spirit die, soul die. And she is. She is Virgin unattainable and segregated into Heaven, the place no human can enter while remaining true to themselves. There she also dies within. Goddesses do not live in such regions. 

One time in the night, while taking a bathroom break and a few minutes for myself, I came upon cabinets holding theatrical awards including a photo of Maria wearing that stunning black dress and holding an Oscar. I was surprised but more surprised that for me those lips were just a kiss away. I heard her come up to me and kissed them.

“Is that an Oscar?”

“It was for Cell Walker’s Dream.”

I stared at her in wonder. Cell Walker’s Dream was a great bell moment from other or future memory. To be its maker was to be the bearer of legend. Then something tore open inside me, a door like the tearing of roots from the world, releasing a great rush of memories. My legs grew hot and weak. I had to sit on the floor. It was like my reaction to the dream before Tom. A whole flood of ‘memories’ poured out and some of these I caught before they receded. I was with an old, bearded man with a huge head dressed in what looked like animal skins. We had opened a lead box. Inside was a book. In previous memories I could never see the title. Now it is clear – Cell Walker’s Dream. We open it and begin to read.

Maria crouched and held me.

“What is it?”

I couldn’t say. Whenever these changes of state or personality take place I can be very confused. Maisy and Ius haven’t had an episode for decades so it must be the third world arriving. “It triggered a memory.” I managed to say.

“What?”

“Perhaps not a memory. I don’t know. Futures. Remind me about Cell Walker’s Dream.” It was notorious for religious and lesbian sex scenes but I hadn’t got around to seeing it.  Why would I? Watching celluloid sex has never been my thing.

“Since I made it I realise it’s only a sketch. I used the title prematurely. It’ll never be remade. Cell Walker’s Dream Two hasn’t the same resonance. Perhaps, this time, we’ll live it.”

“Live what?”

“Prisoners in cells. Nuns in cells. Consciousness is cell caught within infinite life. God – is a cell? Life is superscriptions of cells? What’s it like, the God cell? We know the human cell. People walking from Syria, Africa. Soldiers walking in blood. Women walking in another blood as the norm of their history. Since I made the film I’ve been overwhelmed with ideas. It’s as if something is saying – you’ve got It!”

It seemed too banal to say, ‘What?’ I could feel her knowledge. 

“Living it, Mahadevi, means meeting the people who embody this knowledge.”

“I’ve never been an activist, Maria, except for pleasure?”

“Which you’ve shown me as the key to wisdom.”

“Or I’d be dead?”

“No. I’d have sat back and waited. I am waiting. When we are all assembled there will be something huge in this world.”

“What?”

“The truth. I studied poverty. I suppose because my family are pure criminals. They had no notion of public service whatsoever. They’d do a favour for a friend in a code of honour way but the people didn’t come into their thinking at all except as system fodder. And some of them were high up in corporations, government. Sociopaths verging on psychopaths. Neitzsche was their philosopher as with the Nazis, and he ended up in a mental hospital.”

“I should never have been let out of one.”

“You can study Neitzsche but with a long spoon. He appeals to the very worst of humans, those who believe that poverty is a deserved punishment and the long-term poor have no right to live. The present Government have active policies which kill the poor. When they ‘rolled out’ universal credit they stopped paying people, who were already over the edge of survival, sometimes for weeks or months. They forced people to take any sort of rubbish job and publicised that as ‘successfully getting people back to work’. Pizzas delivered for three pounds an hour. No right to holiday pay. No national insurance, so who is going to treat them when they’re old and ill?…”

“…They didn’t publicise the ones who couldn’t work, who fell into the ruthless grip of loansharks and slave masters. People lost their homes, even their lives. They live and stay on the streets because there they escape their creditors. Nobody knows how many thousands have died. There’s no record kept…”

“…If you examine anything the present government says you will find it’s a gloss over really evil practices. And does the BBC report any of this? No. The whole country is a stitch up for right wing gangsters – global. Believe me, I know. My family is at the top of this pile of evil. I told my father what I had discovered. Even he was shocked. He said why don’t we build camps for the homeless? I say because Nazis gave camping a bad name and the global mafias are invested in housing so anything built has to go to the highest bidder. He said give me a list of all that’s wrong and we will fix it. So we did. I’ve whittled the list down to three hundred and fourteen things. And the key is corruption, crude in most of the world, sophisticated among the British…”

“…Why don’t the opposition say anything worthwhile about this? Because we’ve got them totally by the balls. Now, with Brexit, not only are the poor suffering, the rich will be leaving, so the artificial prosperity of these islands, buttressed by global mafias, will vanish like a bubble. That’s a local and present example of a society based on rampant lies and this is one of the less uncivilised countries. The film explores the roots of philosophy and religion. It’s about truth and how much is needed for us to survive our own hypocrisy, because it’s obvious no one is capable of matching their words with actions. In the end it’s that first question about God. Two women making love in perfect bliss but no future.”

“You were a nun?”

“I still am a nun. How can you ever leave something so fundamental? I still believe what I believed but not in that institution. Now I think perhaps I am mad, to have lost my faith and found it.”

“What do you believe?”

“I am with gods? All I saw was Hell’s fire everlasting. Now I see something more. The Holy Trinity, like three colours which you mix and match to make all the colours and paint an infinity of pictures. Everything is God. But God in action is not one. Everything, every emotion, I unmix them to the primaries and remix. One day I’m going to make a film like that. So far it’s all been apprenticeship. One thing I should say, unmixing to the primaries does not take us to a greater truth. The colours are technical and relatively meaningless like how much anyone weighs. The truth is life in its fullest expression.” 

“This will be your truth?”

“I think so, but it’s up to us. The last part of Cell Walker’s Dream was a hymn to beauty. I think I was saying beauty is truth. Almost the opposite of what the world comes to. It ends either with a sunrise or a nuke exploding. So banal. I wasn’t trying to impress the lords of creation. I never imagined it would get one nomination let alone seven.”

“Seven!”

“Where have you been, Mahadevi!”

“Living, I guess, Maria…”

She laughed.

“…not quite a prostitute.”

“I want to make feature films centred on women. I find the roles for women so pointless. But what is the point? She’s either Mum, a prostitute or an imitation man. How many films about mums capture our imaginations?”

“You haven’t made one about Asante.”

She was immediately alert to the name.

“Who?”

The moment for reply stretched. I closed my eyes to minimise Maria’s impact. When I opened them her own were watching me like eyes which had forever been watching.

“The truth, Maria, is for years I’ve been collecting pills I’m supposed to be taking for a mental condition. Every so often I take them to a remote place and have a bonfire. The other truth is my story, which all the science in the world can’t begin to understand, so they kill it, or would if I let them.”

While she waited Maria offered me a drink. I don’t usually because it can devastate my inner equilibrium, although occasionally it doesn’t, so there is always hope. In naked ritual perfection she poured and handed it to me. It tasted subtly, earthily divine. It lifted my spirit. I saw the point of wine when it tasted like that.

“I’d like to tell you,” I said. “You deserve the truth. But – I used to be multiple personalities and now I’m two. But I’m not one or the other most of the time so I’m neither. Every so often memories come through from past or future and when it’s future they have incredible force. I told a good friend – yesterday. But I’ve known her all her life, forty-seven years. It was tell her or leave, and I’ve had enough of leaving.”

“Was that Shakti?”

“Yes.”

“An amazing woman but, just a woman. A goddess is something different, don’t you think?”

“Or a critical mass of experience. I think Goddess comes to everybody and much more easily than we imagine. The trouble is we resist until she has to beat us half to death to come in. Since we met, Maria, we’ve been doing Goddess pretty damned well. Remember the bathroom Saturday night, not only life but death as well.”

“Yes, you showed me what I’ve always wanted but have never experienced.”

“Or I’d be dead?”

“I don’t know. I wasn’t really expecting to kill anyone with an Ethiopian heirloom. I don’t ever intend to kill people. My life is too valuable to throw away. Tom is a poor man. Yes, he is beautiful but all his beauty will turn into ugliness unless he wakes up. Unless I waken him – by seeing him. That’s our power, Mahadevi, isn’t it. When women are alive men change. But what is alive? I can’t do it without having an alive man to change for. There’s you, Mahadevi, your power. It’s independent of men, isn’t it?”

“I wish. Yes, it is because it has to be. But I’ve known men, Maria, geniuses who loved women.”

“Oh, who?”

“They haven’t been born.” 

She caught her breath and looked at me as at some numinous wonder.

“Tell me. I’m looking for the edge world, Mahadevi. Or heart world. Whatever our words miss. If you haven’t got it then it doesn’t matter. I’ll let you go. But you worked a miracle. I was in Heaven. And now I’ve been in double Heaven, or somewhere beyond.”

“Let me go?”

“Did that sound sinister. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it to. I mean I’ll stop pestering you.”

“Ethiopian?”

“Yes. One branch of my family is from Ethiopia.”

“And Tom is Irish?”

“Yes. Why?”

Only half an anvil fell through the floor this time. Asante’s parents were Irish man and African woman and Shannon will be our toehold on Earth after the Terrans have destroyed themselves.

“It’s worth more than my life, Maria, to tell this story at the wrong time or to the wrong people. It could be goodbye human world. And that can’t be allowed, is even impossible. Humans are the key to everything.”

It felt her attention flow right into me. “Beyond crazy.”

“Far beyond.”

It was as if our lives were the surface of an ocean that something massive moved within.

“Have you some way of recording? I may never be able to tell this story again.”

“I make films, darling. I don’t just wave my arms around.”

Within minutes she had rigged up a camera and lights. I was still naked, beautifully blissful and looking somewhat as if I’d had a quick rub down after a custard fight. My delivery had a wonderful withinward womanly warmth. It would be compelling viewing.

“This story comes with a serious health warning. Psychiatry tells me I’m incurably insane despite contrary evidence. For instance, how old would you say I am?”

“To my inner eye you’re beyond God, older than time. To my outer eye – late thirties, early forties?”

“My Maisy body is seventy four.”

She came closer – her wonderful back came into the film – and had a good look at me. “Not a hint of facelift.”

Now the camera examined me, roaming over my face as though it were a great landscape. Then it withdrew and I talk, a child woman goddess mother who sleeps with bears and gnaws bones.

“I’ve had my doubts but they’ve gradually faded. I’m the host of a being from the future who took over my life until I became her. Her mission is to save mankind from extinction. She says we will create infinite computers which will force human evolution. Everyone is wiped out except a small group on Mars all of whom eventually die except one person, Anu Asante, whom the computers have chosen as the seed being of the future race. On Mars they have frozen sperm. Even so she waits so long to make her decision that much of the DNA has to be written from scratch. Eventually she has children and her descendants return to Earth but because their DNA is artificial the community isn’t really viable without continuous application of advanced technology and most of that has gone. They send one person back in time to prevent the terrestrial cataclysm. The technicalities of time travel mean you can’t send a person physically back in time. You can only marry two times within an infinite matrix, God or its technical equivalent. In the case of two people they have to negotiate how much autonomy each possesses. Who am I, Maisy from Earth or Ius from Mars? Ius’s life was infinitely more interesting. It’s hard to remember sometimes that there ever was someone called Maisy. According to one view Maisy has been completely taken over by her fantasy, so if the human race is ever saved it’s as if we did it from within us in our own time, so this rescue attempt by the future both may and may not have happened. Ius has already met and played a part in the lives of many people known to her from history and some now known to you. The question is, what happens when she meets her own mother, Asante? The origin of Asante is just that bit vague, which does cast doubt on the whole story. A pioneer colonist sent to Mars would be one of the best known people in history. On the other hand, if the human race saves itself, apparently from within, then the entire story of Asante and Mars will never have happened, will just be the interesting MPD case of Maisy, a neglected orphan from the Second World War. All I know about Asante’s origin is that her father was Irish and her mother African, but I imagine a much darker African than you. So perhaps the human race saving itself is already happening and all the factors are shifting towards that. In the new form a potential mother from Africa could be taken for British and so could her Irish father. At the same time Maisy has the self possession to be telling this story. She may be going sane. A hundred years, two hundred with no Cataclysm and the story of Mars so very different. Asante was just a slightly more distant form of Maisy’s disorder, a personality who never actually lived inside her. But we already know there is something positively odd about Maisy. She has incredible powers. Her extraordinary youth and when I channel the Goddess I go knowingly beyond the conventions of thought to the distillation of all wisdom. Perhaps Asante will exist. Perhaps Maisy will even meet her and in some sharing of life more ordinary they will contract out of that extreme future. I can give you any details you wish to know, any proof. As far as I’m concerned the Cataclysm is still on though I may be the only person who ever believes it.”

Maria sat very still, staring at me. I could almost see the thoughts swinging about in her head like wrecking balls.

“The way you touch me, if that’s madness give me more. And what you’ve done for Tom – and us! – convinces me you have powers, Mahadevi. What you want is a friend, isn’t it, more than anything?”

The thought of this beautiful woman as my friend had the tears pouring out of me. I so little ever want to admit I am so lonely.

She took my hand and led me back to bed.

“Can we sleep?”

Of course you can sleep, Maria. In my arms we can sleep for eternity.

Hardly moving a muscle we flow together in a uniquely wide spectrum orgasmic bliss and fall asleep. 

I woke in the bed of the beautiful Maria. I watched her face sleeping. Suddenly her eyes opened wide, seeing and not seeing me, many thoughts flickering then focussing on me, she smiled. 

“Women are humanity’s secret weapon aren’t they.”

“How so?”

“Against dark and desperation. That story you told me, I’ve been dreaming about it all night.”

“What?”

“I can’t remember. Oh, yes.” She laughed. “There was a beautiful tree covered in fruit. The tree was God-dess, the fruit was people. Some of the fruit fell and became poufs in a living room, one a dark, rich red. There was a little dormant spider associated with it. I couldn’t see it. Then you did something to encourage it, left some food out for it. I woke up protesting, calling out to you “How big is it?” I was looking around at all the poufs, looking for it. Then I woke up looking for the poufs and, of course, they weren’t there. Poufs remind me of my grandmother.”

“Time travelling, eh?”

“Ha! I suppose so.”

“The spider was associated with the red one?”

“Yes.”

“A spider from Mars?”

I told her my Davie Jones story. “Why wasn’t he like all the other pop singers of that era? Him, George Harrison. Mine were all a little different.”

“Could you have influenced any others?”

“Lots.”

“Retrospectively?”

My brain was little whirling cogs amidst sensations of intelligence. “Why do you say that?”

“Cell Walker’s Dream. Was just ahead of its time. As time passes it seems more real. So many lucky breaks in making it.”

“They call you a genius.”

“When was I a genius? – in my cell, a penitential handmaid to the Lord? It’s an incredible leap.”

“When we met I’d just surrendered George Harrison by ceremonially smoking our last cigarette. It was taped to the back of a photograph of us looking criminally young.”

Maria looked as if she’d woken up on the edge of another cliff.

“You have it?” 

“Yes. Lots of other stuff.”

“Can I see it?”

“Maria, this is moving much faster than I like. My whole life has been about not sharing this story. I learned very young things can go very wrong. The mental hospitals of the 50s and 60s nearly killed me and they’re much worse now.”

“Surely not!”

“They’re still doing ECT, for god’s sake. In the nineteen fifties they had the excuse of brutality and ignorance but they know better a thousand times over now. Now it’s a concerted programme to shut down human consciousness. They say it’s all about money, cuts, but we know that’s nonsense Maria. It’s a concerted programme to keep us trapped in their dark ages.” 

“Yes. I agree but only because of their limited horizons. It’s a perfect feedback loop which we have to break into. That is the great challenge.”

“Like talking to the cat.”

“As long as we give the cat what it wants we can say anything to it.”

“Humans are a little different.”

“We have to stroke their minds as well as their fur.”

“What’s happened in the human race so far – in my story – is that we went to Mars, the human race on Earth was wiped out by the machines before they could terminally damage the planet. The Martians return to Earth to re-inhabit the planet, couldn’t make a go of it, so they come back in time to stir the human spirit so that it creates its own bridge to the future.”

“So the Martians disappear?”

“No. There will be Martians. My Martians will be like the feeler stroke of lightning before the final physical flash. There probably will be someone like Asante on Mars but my Asante is what she appears, the primordial Goddess who created us.”

“A higher dimensional world between.”

“Yes. Which is how she can exist. How she can in real time heal me.”

“So, why the Martians?”

“It’s what Maisy can handle, Maria. You know she was in the A stream of fucked up humans. There is no way she can handle your God. She gets into blind murderous rage. As your God is real to you so Ius is real to me. It’s my way around. Keeping my head clear. I could turn my back on Ius, you on God. But she comes with so much love, insight, wisdom.”

“Yes.”

“So it’s not nothing. It’s a great something. Ius is bringing it here pre Cataclysm. As we stir the higher dimensions into public consciousness so we build the power to transcend the Cataclysm. A true enlightenment which we haven’t seen but we’ll know when it comes.”

This speech surprised even me. We both sat silent in contemplation of it.

“Like that,” she said.

She rescheduled her appointments giving us space for a leisurely and thoughtful breakfast. We were sitting at her counter with one shared garment between us. Being so beside Maria’s naked soul was like having breakfast with the sun.

“How long were you in the convent?”

“Twenty years. Erratically towards the end. I got to be my own ministry. I had permission from the Pope to go anywhere, do anything. That was the previous Pope.”

“Benedict?”

“Yes.”

“Funny, I have a thing about him.”

“I might have contributed to his retirement.”

“This is getting to be a very small world, Maria.”

“Yes, I suppose it is. Very personal, very intimate. It’s what I said to him. After an exchange of letters he invited me to Rome. We talked, a lot. This was after I’d met Tom but I hadn’t left the Church, we hadn’t married. We talked about the personal relationship with God through Christ and the meaning of the feminine. Encounters with Tom had given me a new understanding about eating the body and drinking the blood. That that is where corruption sets in, making human life into abstract sacrament.”

“You said that to the Pope?”

“I said a lot more and he listened. He had no choice. Well, we always have choice but it wouldn’t have been honest for him not to.  My argument was that for metaphysical honesty the human dimension has to be entirely self contained and if Mary was a virgin she alone was the creator of Christ, otherwise she couldn’t be a virgin and the entire Church was based upon an absurd premise. I said a lot more. I was arguing for reform of the Church. Instead, he retired. That’s when I knew as women we’re on our own regarding fundamental change.”

“Is that true for Tom?”

“I hope not but I hoped before. Since then I’ve discovered certain powers I didn’t know we had. What I’ve found won’t be healthy for us in the long run but it’s very necessary now.”

“Gabriel?”

“Yes, but beyond him – her. The gods before God.”

Now that caused me a run into the long grass and a final plop into a still pond.

“Sounds scary.”

“Scary enough for men and politicians. Creating the right conditions for the flowering of the human race is what my life is all about and I’ll do whatever it takes. Come. Bring your coffee.”

&

She took my hand and led me to an office where she asked a big screen to switch on. 

“I didn’t intend to show you this. It was meant for some of the world’s most hardened criminal corporates. Some of whom are now seriously scared of me. Others have lost their minds. But you’ve already taught me more than I imagined. I need to show you now. There is no thought that can get us out of this but a complete human change of heart.”

“Is that possible?”

“Yes, it is.”

The energy within and around us as she said that made it seem the most extraordinary statement I would ever hear. Great Goddess I had called her when I first stood alone with her in a darkened room. Now I felt all the power of what that really is. The inward star of being. The inward sun. The inward Moon. The inward dark that is woven into life, that is given too, that is given, all the children, even the most evil will find there souls, will find their soul in her.

It was an amazing moment and I wanted it back but all I was left with was the memory and I wanted it back but even the memory was infinitely better than having never seen it. It was like that channel cut by lightning leaving me always open and ready when it came again. So much bearing that little sentence, ‘yes, it is.’

Now everything she said carried something of that fearsome beauty.

“Cracking the carapace of the monkey sociopaths who dominate us is the first challenge. Reason cannot reach them. They will eat their own children before abandoning the abuses that give them power. What has happened, which has freaked them out and allowed such egotistical monsters to share a room, is that something has broken all the world’s encryptions. It hasn’t been used except to demonstrate. They are slowly being introduced to the idea that the source is extraterrestrial and pan dimensional and there is nothing they can do about it except play ball with whatever it asks of them.”

On the screen a great hall like an indoor sports arena. In chairs on the sides of the floor people are seated. At one end of the aisle between them is a heavy tripod with massive feet. The film zooms in to the top of the tripod showing a vice holding a gun. Seated to the sides at the other end are people in uniforms and white coats. 

“Those are doctors and nurses and scientists overseeing the demonstration. The tripod is solid steel. Each foot is embedded in half a ton of concrete. The gun is welded to the vice. Nothing can move except the gun’s trigger. This is to protect the audience, who are my father’s business associates of one sort or another.”

“Mafia?”

She laughed “That’s an old-fashioned word. The crooks are the politicians, the bankers, the businessmen nowadays. The people who would like Edward Snowden to be locked away for a thousand years, or permanently lost. Same with me. I am about to show them that is a luxury they cannot afford.”

A nun clad in white and veiled stands on a stage at the other end of the arena beside a table on which is a vase of flowers in front of a long container. Two men and a woman in lab coats stand on the other side. A woman is speaking into a microphone. She introduces them as scientists.

“The medical staff are here for emergencies. If you would put on your protective glasses,” she said. Some did, particularly those nearest the stage.

A tall, tweedy gentleman walked up to the tripod gun and fired a single shot which shattered the vase. Water and glass splashed and tinkled onto the stage. Two of the white coats folded a heavy tarpaulin over the shattered glass. A third extracted something like a layer of honeycomb from the long container and replaced it with another. We saw on a big screen the layer contained a bullet which, when removed, was revealed to have a number 1 and a leaf etched on its jacket. 

The nun now stood in front of the table. She picked up the microphone and said. “Would the gentlemen who marked the bullets take it in turns to fire the gun.”

No one moved.

“Each of you has threatened me with death on a number of occasions. This is your chance.”

A man said something indistinct. The nun indicated a microphone runner go to him. He raised a hand in refusal.

“Phillip, the reason you all want me dead is that I speak the truth, I extract the truth, I expose it. The purpose of this demonstration is to show that it is backed by power. A technology which cannot be created by humans in their present fallen state. In the story of Sodom and Gomor’rah God would spare the city for ten just men. He found only one. He pulled him out of there and destroyed the rest. That sort of situation is facing Earth at this moment. I, and a very few others, are all that stands between Earth and destruction. Kill me and nothing will be left in its perception but a disease. The purpose of this demonstration is to help you to think. Even if you only get a scientific explanation of what you see, it is better than nothing.”

Phillip gestured for the microphone. “I said ‘in front of two hundred unfriendly witnesses?’” 

“By the time I’m through,” said the nun, “they’ll be irrelevant.”

Someone else got a mic. “She’ll have switched the bullets.”

“If you’re so sure, you shoot her.”

The other man stood up and walked to the gun.

“I was number four.”

The nun stood aside.

“Fire two shots into the sand. The scientists can verify the bullets and you can dig your own out of my body thus confirming it as real.”

He fired two shots. The scientists revealed them as two of the marked bullets. We saw them extracted from a honeycomb on the big screen.

The nun now stood in front of the table again. The tension in the room ballooned from the screen. But he couldn’t fire the third shot. His hand appeared to be pushed away from the gun and his struggles to get hold of it grew more frantic. Eventually he backed away from the gun, clearly shaken. 

“Anyone else?” Asked the nun.

No one moved.

“Then it’s my turn.”

She seemed to reach out towards the gun. It fired three shots. Each bullet appeared to hit something in the air at different distances from the gun and dropped to the aisle. The scientists confirmed they were in the sequence of marked bullets, 4, 5 and 6, each with a different tiny picture.

The male scientists unrolled a long sheet of ordinary paper, which they demonstrated by tearing it. In the meantime the tweedy, grey haired gentleman who had fired the first shot stepped towards the gun. A dark suited man, handsome in a Mephistophelian way, came up and spoke quietly to him. The tweedy man spoke into a microphone.

“Your father requests to fire the gun.”

The nun seemed to sigh deeply.

“Papi, we are dealing with universes. They don’t turn on a penny.”

“I thought your Voortan knew all futures.”

“His normal reality is infinitely complex thinking in multiple dimensions consistent with freedom of choice among conscious beings corresponding with co-creativity. He creates it all and gives it all away. In other words the moment you pull the trigger you are a master of everything. Are you sure you know what you’re doing in this context. Sir George has spent a lifetime learning this trade.”

“Are your would be assassins equally well trained?”

“Between the thought and the trigger Voortan can place twelve million universes. He has an interest in sorrow, what it reveals about the light. This might be unique enough to be interesting. He might just let your bullets through.”

“If he kills you I will rip out his heart with my bare hands.”

“Voortan’s?”

“Sir George’s!”

“And if you kill me?”

He stared into the most profound sorrow. 

“I could not live. Why don’t we pass this demonstration and go to the next.”

“All right. You fire the gun.”

The tension in the hall was excruciating. People were standing. Some had moved to the side of the stage to better see the nun. Her father took hold of the gun. Nothing stopped him. 

“I wish to see your eyes.”

She lowered the veil so that her eyes were visible. There were scattered gasps among the crowd. He was looking into her eyes as he pulled the trigger. I screamed. A hole appeared in the paper but the nun remained standing. She returned the veil. Her father stepped away but held the tripod as if for support. Sir George took the gun and steadily fired as the scientists slowly walked the paper in front her. The nun continued standing. You could clearly see the line of holes. It reminded me of the Shumacher-Levy Comet encounter with Jupiter. The female scientist came up and revealed, where the bullets would have hit, naked skin, all filmed by an athletically stepping camerawoman. She also filmed as each bullet was picked up from the floor at the feet of the nun and its number shown. A split on the big screen showed the bullet before firing and having its number etched.

“The last bullet,” said the nun, “is still in the gun.”

The camera woman came to the tripod. On the big screen we witnessed Sir George extract the magazine and show the bullet with an etched 15. Meanwhile another vase had been placed on the platform and the nun stood in front of it. She draped a small bag over her left breast, adjusting it according to signals from Sir George. Gradually the murmur of talk subsided as one or another read the scene and were captured by the implications. On the big screen her side torso appeared as if in X-ray, the jar, opaque, behind. She waited until there was silence and nodded to Sir George. The gun fired, the bag burst, the vase exploded in reality and on the screen. For one second, two seconds she stood, her dress all spattered in bright red. She turned and gestured to a woman in a white coat who came, selected a shard of the vase and offered it to her. The nun took it and carefully pricked her finger and wiped it on the veil leaving a red streak of a very different shade. She then took off the veil, wrapped the shard in it and gave it to the woman. It was now clearly Maria with short hair. She said.

“This is my blood.”

On the screen we saw the X-ray film in ultra slow motion. We saw the bullet disappear at the boundary of her body and emerge at the back with no apparent passage between.

The camerawoman was moving around her. On the great screen we saw a clear bullet hole in the back of her robe. For a moment it filled the screen. 

The nun remained standing in her gore spattered robe while the paraphernalia of the demonstration was cleared away and replaced with a table and two chairs. She sat in one. A helper lifted the blood bag from her revealing a blood soaked bullet hole. The man called Phillip came and sat in the other Chair. He was staring at the bullet hole.

“Sister Evangelista, are you okay?”

“Fine, thank you, Phil. How are you?”

“Shaken, to be honest. I acknowledge a spectacular performance but you’re saying it’s real.”

“Yes.”

“What was the point?”

Maria stared at him as at something Lilliputian and ridiculous. 

“A demonstration of trust. We’ve just met an alien technology sourced from the entire universe. I know its workings like the cat knows rocketry. I survive because I trust the source and I obey the rules.”

“What rules.”

“It is mindlike. It fits inside yours like a hand in a glove. Showing a little respect for yourself and the world would do to begin with.”

“But why did you bring all these people together to witness it?”

“They’ve all threatened me with death.”

“All of them? Even the Vatican?”

“A thousand times over. I want them to stop wasting their time and think more creatively.”

“The point you’re making is that you can’t be killed?”

“The point is that there is no point beyond God made the world for a reason. Made you for the same reason, nothing less than her deepest and most profound need, wish, desire, gift from all of time, to all time.”

This response seemed to annoy Phillip. “How do you know that?”

“Little brother you’re not a child, you’re a man, a profound, godlike entity. You know the answers to these questions. I cannot tell you these things. My voice is not God’s. I am God’s servant. You are God. Only you know, in your deepest heart, where only the simplest words exist, the answer to these things. If this demonstration does not reach you then I fear nothing can. This is the time and the place in the heart where the real and the imaginary separate. The real is love in all its infinite forms and the imaginary is anything that can’t quite be there. That isn’t much, because love goes very far and very deep but ultimately it is a self that the outer world cannot speak for, reach or touch, and that is your heart, little brother. Don’t let it die.”

“All things die, big sister.”

“No they don’t. A bullet just passed through my body, through my heart, or would have done in an ordinary material world.” She looked around at the others. “Does anyone else feel they’ve just witnessed a conjuring trick?”

There were murmurs that sounded mostly like denial. A microphone arrived for a speaker.

“I said a second shooter?” 

Sit George switched on his own mike and said. 

“The opportunity to take out a large number of the world’s top criminals had crossed their minds as well. The stadium has been declared clean by all interested agencies. Their is nothing and no one here but what we have declared is here.”

“Three D video projection?”

“As with faking the moonshot, it’s easier to go there. May I suggest you have a word with the professors from Harvard. They have a long list they’re checking. James Randi was very helpful with suggestions about how to put a bullet through someone’s heart. You may have thought of something they haven’t.”

There were other questions. The audience may be masters of money laundering but were clearly amateurs when it came to this sort of trickery. 

Maria spoke to the audience. 

“I want you all to be clear about what is happening. If you can’t feel it then you must think it, at least to begin with. But feeling is the ultimate state of the world and you don’t want to be on the wrong side of that ever. The best summary of this I know is the beginning of T S Eliot’s Four Quartets in which all time is unredeemable. My job is to teach you redemption, which is an art, the highest and the lowest. It is not to be a follower but the source…”

“…One day, and very soon, there will be a technology in this world which matches the soul and these are its technical characteristics. There is no time, no space, no anything. It is a very very very fine point, smaller than any atom, smaller than itself, and yet it contains all this. The point is it is not a measurable thing, it is a spaceless, timeless state most like the love of creation, the love of discovery, the love of love. It is the first thing we need to know but is likely to be the last thing that we discover – as a society…”

“…My value in all of this to you is that I made the Love of God my speciality. When you get right down to the heart of God you find an extraordinary mixture of the infinite and the very ordinary. And the ordinary can reach extraordinary dimensions. You just got a glimpse of it…”

“…If humans had Godlove, the real, living majesty of the divine, that would be the end of the story…”

“…The point, I suppose, is that I form a bridge between human society, god like beings and our future. It’s a very fine balancing act and I seem to be good at it because I can both read and follow their instructions. Kill me and you’ll have to deal with them direct, and you won’t. Humans hide from this knowledge when there is nowhere to hide. So they close themselves down, shutting their eyes like children, thinking they can’t be seen…”

“…To survive in their company you need a remarkable purity of spirit, and that isn’t easy, and it doesn’t look the way you think it looks from outside. Public notions of purity are corrupt, like the current money system…”

“…We’ve all got it, it’s just that society has buried it alive and we most naturally don’t want to wake it up…”

“..In God there is no time. In God is the point of life, as was just demonstrated, Hell and Heaven in one. Transcendent embodiment. You’re the Pope but you do the washing up. I doubt that popes do. We’ve built a hierarchical society. And it’s harvest is corruption. We need a society where everyone does the washing up and everyone is Pope. It’s not difficult. One pot, one bowl one spoon. Who needs ninety-seven Rolls Royces and considers it a failure of intention not to have more?”

“And a forty year lifespan under the dead hand of socialism,” said Phillip.

“Everything in balance, brother. Why is God human? Why not dream the most sublime possible Heaven and stay there?”

“If god is everything you say, sister, why did you give him up for human love.”

“I didn’t. Dark and Light in balance brings you here. You and me, talking about it. Dark and Light are equal. They can’t live without each other. Love which brings light to dark, dark to light. In this world one of them, which we call the Dark but was the Light, has stored to itself over ninety per cent of the world’s wealth. The supreme light wishes to cash a very large check. All that is owed to it.”

“If the Dark tells the Light to lose itself?”

“Then it will all disappear. It’s based on illusion, anyway, the belief in money. Our ancestors could build a house in a day, a few hours. Now it takes a lifetime to pay for it, even many lifetimes. They’re black holes for money, human energy, creative energy, God energy. We run an HE survey of this planet.”

“Meaning astrology.”

“Meaning provision of information by the intelligences behind what you just witnessed. It can’t be a scientific presentation because we don’t have the technology – yet. It comes through anecdote, story and dream. Currently we process about a hundred thousand dreamers out of a pool of three million. This is the limit of what we can handle with current technology. Our purpose is to build a technology which can process all the dreams of the world with or without voluntary participation. Then we will have a clear, humanly manageable bridge between ourselves and God. Then we will be safe from the kind of cosmic presence behind what you just witnessed. We will communicate what we are in a language they can appreciate…”

“…Currently your money is invested in the technology of the past where it can only die. This opportunity is to invest in the technology of the future which is to life, deep and immortal. It is as if you are your own creator. Love is for the god in each of us, an infinite and universal journey of mesmerising interest.”

“How long will that take?”

“To get to the tipping point, one per cent of the population adequately processed, not like the crude system we’ve got now, the HE reading is seventeen years.”

“For a machine to process God!”

“Adequate for an interface with science. Think back seventeen years. Google didn’t even exist. The concept of a global information field was science fiction.”

“And you approve of what it’s become?”

“Not at all. But the new technology will foster an exponential growth in wisdom not computing. It’s not difficult, once the unnatural pressures on our society are removed. It’s completely simple and natural, like as the day warms up you take off your coat.”

“Sister, where is this wisdom? Remember the pelicans in the park swallowing the pigeons and the pigeons never noticed. They never evolved among elephant birds. And so are humans, just another sort of pigeon. Smart humans grow big enough to eat pigeons without them noticing. Artistic pigeons keep their heads down and croon about soul – until they’re eaten.”

“Probably, but when were they given a working chance to be otherwise? Commitment to the inner love is the beginning of the journey.”

“But, sister, none of us are saints.”

“The God technology makes humans of monsters.”

“Or it destroys them?”

“Yes. That is not my department.”

“Which is?”

“The totally creative.”

“Are you God, Sister Santa Maria?”

“Yes. We all are. The art of being is knowing it. The right balance of knowledge and faith.”

“This is crazy.”

“Crazy beyond crazy. Unsurvivable without love. The sensible thing to do is to give Nature time to arrive at viable humanity through natural selection. All calculations show that it would never happen but the human race deserves better than extinction. The key lies in creative imagination. Human beings created an imaginary substance called money. Once money had a physical reality, gold, paper. The imaginary was its value. Then all the money was put into computers. Here the infinite God technology can cancel all encryptions. Even though we don’t have it yet it was demonstrated last week.”

“How? If it doesn’t even exist.”

“It exists, Phillip, it exists. We don’t have our bit yet. The bit we can play with. All it’s doing now is laying down the conditions for us to stop believing in money. When everyone has access to all it will have no value. Before it goes we have to do something with it. One last great thing.”

“Which is?”

“Bring the God technology alive for human beings.”

“They’ll destroy themselves with it.”

“The HE readings say we are immortal, alive or dead or both in varying degrees.”

“And if we don’t agree?”

Maria shrugged and gave a mirthless chuckle. 

“Brother, life has the drop on you in every way you can imagine and a million you never will. All I’m telling you is those who join will prosper. Those who don’t, their wealth will lose all value anyway.”

“You can’t do that!”

“I’m simply telling you what is happening. If humans are stripped of their present illusions they will have a future. The God powers are protecting me because I have an essential role in explaining what is happening and I have to live beyond the edge of your world in order to do so. Without it you’ll crash into a wall and never know why.”

“You’re telling us we can’t walk away?”

“The reality, Phillip, is that life isn’t like this. We are already all dead. Wherever we go this cell of illusion will go with us.”

“El, what do you make of this?”

The man addressed, ‘Papi’, raised his hand and a microphone was run to him.

“There’s a joke in the family, Phillip, Jesus turned the Devil down, Maria didn’t. Since I deferred to her nobody has died other than by natural causes. We spend money like water and it keeps coming. My ego took a hit but I’m happy. It was a horrible ego anyway. I don’t miss it. Take my advice. Follow her. She’s the only person I ever met who knows where the money is.”

“Thank you, Papa.” said Maria. “Phillip, it’s obvious to me that what’s been demonstrated so far is nowhere near strong enough to convince most of you…”

She stood to address everybody.

“…God is spiritually luminous heart of creation. His own true nature is her relationship to the innermost story and this changes as new people enter the room but remains the same. It is the story of love, but even infinite love draws a line and that line is drawn right down the middle of this room. The good and the bad coexist here in forms that will astonish the future much as dinosaurs astonish us.” She stood up and stepped to the edge of the stage. “Good people, I am God’s tailor-made messenger to you. You’ve met the good one. Now meet the bad, the one who accepts the temptations of power.”

“Phillip!” She imperiously gestured for him to return to the hall, then jumped down to the floor landing as lightly as if she had stepped off a curb. I felt the whole room flinch as though something very dangerous had landed in their realm.

“For the next I need you to leave the chairs and move to the back of the hall.”

Many failed to move, staring at her, either on the brink of rebellion or unable to fathom what they were seeing. 

“Vacate the chairs, please.”

She extended her arms and the chairs began to thrum. That got people moving.

“Kelly.” 

She indicated that the camerawoman should go too. Kelly walked backwards down the aisle past the tripod, always filming. Only Phillip remained behind.

“Phillip, get down the other end now!”

He is roaring angry, marching down the alley between the chairs, swearing and shouting.

Screen Maria extends her arms. The thrumming grows to a sound as of a swarm of giant bees. Phillip looks around. Now all the chairs are visibly vibrating. He starts to run but he moves like a man in water. She lowers her arms as though calming the vibration. He shot forward in a wild, stumbling run and eventually crashed to the floor. Paramedics ran to pick him up. Maria moved her arms in a calming motion and the roaring hum stopped.

“What you are about to witness will remain imprinted on you souls forever. You could argue you should have been given a choice. But how much choice did you give the billions of lives that have been stunted to make you the richest humans in history? I know the argument that entrepreneurs create the wealth that feeds these billions, but you have taken it a step too far. Every man and woman is a god but instead of respecting and honouring that you have exploited and twisted them. They are fallen people and the way you have used them might be the best that could be done. Let us suppose that this is true, that this system has got us where we are but it won’t take us any further. The wealth you have accumulated for yourselves has to be used to create the basis of a civilised future. This basis is the substance of an interface between human and cosmic intelligence. In crude terms, a machine to process dreams and imagination. It may sound absurd but already there are civilisations within the cosmos that do this and you are about to meet one of them. Their interest in meeting you is that they know you of old before the material universe was even possible, before there were stories to indicate a direction. Before God was I am. I am. This is why your bullets cannot find this woman’s body. I am beyond time. I am within time. Time is the dance of my being not my original self who is all before you. You step into my original being…”

“…All this is God, right here and now. This is why, with your limited understanding, you have created fantastic wealth. Now, before you die, you are to be given a key to go further. The primordial gods did not create you merely to be an extension of their own dynamism but to bring harmony. You are their dream as they are yours…”

“…Listen to my voice…”

“…I was created to take you there…”

“…Beyond time. Beyond fear. Beyond love…”

“…I am. I am the voice in the wind. I am the one in the empty chair. I am the delight that never dies. Heaven within Hell. Profound depth fortunately inclined to beauty, naturally underestimated by those imprisoned halfway, never dead, never really born. I am queen of their hell of subtleties…”

“…Listen to me. I can show you the path. I am the path though it is you who must walk it.”

Maria raised her arms again. The sound of a great swarm returned. The chairs were vibrating, drumming, scraping their feet on the floor, a most unpleasant sound that eventually became a male voice saying the terrible, room filling word 

“LIFE!”

With a sonic boom and a rush of wind the chairs sprang off the floor as two great wings that reached to the roof of the auditorium. Now they changed shape, forming a body between them and were a giant mosquito joined by the dots of the chairs. It hovered above Maria and it’s proboscis formed a beam of light stabbed into the back of her head. The camera zoomed into her face, catching an expression of unspeakable desolation for a moment. The people scattered in the great auditorium showed the same Munch scream like expression.  The creature rose to the roof taking Maria with it, leaving her hanging while it hovered like an angry cross behind her, the edges of the wings clashing together so a fine rain of dust and splinters descended as a golden curtain to the ground. It looked around, zapping with bolts of light one or other person in the room. Now it transformed into a vast, iridescent dragonfly whose huge, hundred metre wings carried lightning and created winds that blew people off their feet. It took floating Maria in its jaws and returned her to the floor. It took her up in desolation and seemed to return her in glory. It rose back, its vast wings filling the auditorium, transforming into a huge, innocent, loving eye. A great female voice said.

“ALL IS ONE, ONE IS ALL.”

Gradually it faded. The chairs floated down forming a ring around the tripod which was itself covered in a pyramid of the broken chairs.

Slowly the people in the room were returning to their human dimension. 

Maria was being helped into a black robe, her arms inserted into sleeves as though she were a child. She sat on one of the circle chairs. Her expression wide open and extraordinary. The bemused and awestricken audience slowly occupied the other seats. Phillip is led to a seat. It looks as though his mind had fallen out and rolled away.

“I’m sorry to have given you that second demonstration but I realised the bullets weren’t enough to penetrate your logistical defences.”

After a pause she said. 

“Raise your hands – so. Come on, don’t be shy. You’ve just had a big shock and while these great energies are present it’s wise to get some healing from them.”

As they raised their hands the impression was of them suddenly being connecting to an invisible ring. One or two tried to push away but appeared to get more stuck.

“Relax,” she said. “This for some of you is the unfamiliar feeling of Good.”

She paused until everybody was connected and waited a little longer.

“This is the new Fellowship of the Ring. It is pledged to the transformation of the world. All its wealth is in the service of the supreme spirit of creation. You may try to resist but you will not succeed. You are all used to Hollywood movies where the supreme conspiracy to enslave or destroy the world is baulked by some kind of, usually male, hero. You may imagine it could be you. You went to the great universities and are masters of the structures of knowledge. No matter how great you are there will always be something behind and within that is for all that you are or can be, not just the short term mastery of the moment. That extra supporting archetype is far more like woman. It’s an art, of course, running the world for the benefit of men rather than their diminishment but it is an art of which I know there is an understanding in the great spheres, and human women, once they have grasped their whole significance, will be the power which transforms extinction into cosmic human awakening. I’m sorry, boys, but this one Big Sister was born to win one way or another. She didn’t have to show you her big stick but your astounding corruption forced the issue.”

The sense of power over the room was for a moment extraordinary. It gradually became apparent to the people in the circle that they were floating. There were cries and even screams.

“You are now protected by infinitely improbable luck and it is about to be demonstrated. This complex is surrounded by armed police. They have been tipped off that the leadership of the semi-mythical Santa Maria Cartel is in this building. They are about to have demonstrated to them once more, and critically in our favour, that it is a hoax. It is an important moment for all of us. As long as you follow your guides, keep cool, walk don’t run, don’t even look them in the eyes, above all don’t fight, you will all get away. They won’t even see you. All they’ll find is a nun sweeping the floor, and even she will disappear before their eyes, and they will remember nothing. This is the technology of God, gentlemen and ladies, and this is your one chance to redeem yourselves. Don’t waste it. It will never come again were there an infinity of universes in which to be reborn…”

“…Anyone zapped by the mosquito had better get in touch with me. It is possible you will need special help which may include forming a group for a task…”

“…All right. Go home everybody and I’ll be in touch.”

The groups briskly left. The chairs of the circle flew to stack themselves at the edges of the room. The original tripod and the broken chairs had disappeared. She was left standing alone. She walked to the stage and was sweeping around the remaining table with a broom when armed police burst in and ran through. Some remained on the floor talking over the radio. On the stage a broom stood unnoticed by them. Then it fell over with a barely audible sound. One looked around then returned to the radio conversation. In the last moments of the clip even the table had gone leaving only the fallen broom.

&

I sat staring at the screen unable to speak or even to think. What I had just witnessed could not be real, but why would she show me if it was fiction?

Eventually she spoke.

“What are you thinking?”

My brain had seized up. 

She put her hand on my shoulder. That gesture of love broke the block.

“What have I seen?”

“It’s what the camera could record. The people in the room saw more, and felt a lot more. The ones who were zapped by the mosquito had characters etched on their skin. When we finally put them together in an intelligible sequence it fitted their birthdays from the youngest to the oldest. It took us a year to figure that out because we weren’t looking for it.”

She showed me images of skin, an arm, a back, a thigh.

“The sequence is key to a global encryption. There is no way any of us could have known it. 

“Christ, Maria, who are you?”

“A simple handmaid of God obeying instructions. And yet not only. There was a field of prayer, of negotiations, that I chose to be created for or God chose in becoming me.” 

“You are saying something very strange, Maria. That you prayed God to break all the encryptions of the world.”

“The field of God I deal with, Mahadevi, involves love and infinite intelligence. There is a human story dealing with a mind that is everywhere in all time. It is not God of pure love but what there could be if love did not exist. I think it is like your infinity machines but big and old as infinity itself.”

For a hypnogogic moment it was as if the world had turned to glass under me, and not even glass, bottomless emptiness. With all I knew and what I had just seen I believed her. Even Sam, total unbeliever, had invoked the cosmic infinity machine to explain certain phenomena, but his relationship was nothing like this.

“And it’s your friend?”

“Yes. I have had long conversations with God about human destiny. The crux of the matter is do we let them evolve without interference from the amassed wisdom of Eternity or do we let them destroy themselves, as they seem certain to do. God said for one true person I’ll save the world. So that was the gist of our conversation and why it was so long. Everyone is flawed and everyone is God, so how can you condemn yourself. It is the way of the artist, he said. You make one great canvas and grow a great insight through which it collapses. Do you keep overpainting and repairing the old one or start a new one on the basis of what you have learned in your heart? But we are not a canvas, I said, we are you, we are infinite, we don’t come back. You scrap us and what remains is alone forever. What if it is pure heart, pure spirit, he said. And I said, then what is the point of it, with nothing to love but itself. But I am everything, your inside and your outside, your now and your then. But it is only a dream, I said, that must be brought into the physical to be fulfilled. You would cheat to save this canvas when it fails, he said? Did you cheat in order to create it, I said? He didn’t answer but I could tell the question preoccupied him. Can I make a suggestion, I said. As we are male and female and I am me and you are you, there is an imbalance of power based upon perception. If females were as powerful as males you might have the answer to the premature rotting of your canvas. Gradual evolution or sudden impact, he said. If it’s all a dream then it’s doesn’t really matter. I tell you what, Maria Evangelista, I will lend you my dog. He is completely loyal to me. You won’t have to understand everything. Just ask from your heart. The knowledge is you. The logos is you. Whatever you choose will be all the new colours of creation. I am confident in you. You were known from the beginning and your power is legendary. Bring it to bear on the world.”

“God said that to you?”

“Over a lifetime. So,” she indicated the screen, “you’re looking at the paw prints of Heaven’s dog.”

“Christ, Maria, it makes my Martian story look like a piddle in a puddle.”

In my culture a classic hallmark of the insane is a buddy relationship with God. But I could feel her power. There was an element of imbalance, which is why she had connected with me, bad Mahadevi. She needed her whole womb opened. Let it stream, Maria, let it stream.

She laughed and blushed and regarded me with love.

“It’s not rocket science, Mahadevi. We are what he is looking for.”

“All of us?”

“Yes.”

“You found a very much nicer Christian god than I did.”

“All of me and all of us.”

I laughed. “I used to say that in the context of my multiple personalities.”

“Convergence?”

“Is Gabriel your God or your Hound?”

“An older name I have been given to focus it upon the Earth. Voortan…”

The name seemed familiar but I couldn’t place where, if ever, I had heard it.

“…It’s sign is the dragonfly. It is very deep. Deeper than I am able to know. Which is why I need a friend, someone at home in the very strange.”

“I want to be at home in the very normal, Maria.”

“Normal for us, based on how strange it is to be human at all.”

“Loving and love makes that good.”

“Yes.”

“What do these people make of you?”

“It is a storm. If we come out of it with something like one of your machines then Voortan will settle back into the field of love and be forgotten. Our own homegrown version will be beneficial for us.”

“Voortan’s wouldn’t?”

“No. He is more likely to hygienically put us all out of our misery.”

The shock of that had a great familiarity 

“That’s how the Oracle described the Cataclysm. The dawn of death circled the Earth in twenty four hours. Everyone died at the local time of three to four a.m., so they died in their sleep or dancing or making love.” 

“You see. So much between us fits.”

“But yours is real, Maria. You’re driving the tank that ran over me. I still hedge my bets for Maisy’s sake with therapists.”

“She thinks this film was faked?”

“Why would you?”

“Love.”

“For whom?”

“You.”

“But you don’t know me.”

“Maisy, on Sunday night you shone like a supernova all over the inner world. Everyone felt it but hardly anyone knew the source. I’ve been aware of you all my life but I didn’t know who on the ground or exactly how. I still don’t know that. Probably because it hasn’t taken form.”

“That’s crazy, Maria!”

“Haunted by an extreme psychopath? Have you ever been?”

“Only in memory. Mother Mercy. She still haunts me.”

“And now you’re haunted by a nun who claims the world. Much much crazier.”

“It isn’t less intimidating taking it at face value. Fear of psychopathic haunting seems trivial compared to God.”

“But God is good. God is love. This never-allowed love.”

“Never disallowed between women because women weren’t important.”

“That’s crazy, isn’t it? The deeper I know myself, the deeper I know you, the more I want him – Him!” She indicated the big one in the sky. “I want him home now! I want Him now.”

“Shall I go?”

“After I hired all these actors just to capture you! You are the first outside that group to see it and you may be the last.”

“This is terrifying, Maria.”

“Yes, it is. But we have each other. Don’t you feel that love is immortality?”

“But it never stays.”

“It will.”

We went back to bed and gave each other liberating experiences of woman which for her were very surprising and for me of her but lust n love burned away all secondary expectations. We kissed and peed and kissed some more and went so far as to give each other some really tenderly aroused orgasms which in Maria’s case became very full bodied and she cried in my arms, deep belly sobs as terrifying as they were arousing. It was a revelation how much we moved each other. One shared orgasm I swear touched eternity and its aftershine is still with me. It seemed to answer the question, although I’m not sure I understood the question or if there ever was a question. 

‘You couldn’t not exist. I just had to find you.’ My mothers words. She meant creating me. But I could not create Maria or even have imagined her. Yet here she is. In the little future I have known her now it is as if, in some kind of eternity, we had always walked these London streets even before the material universe.

Such a powerful dependency on other is the pinnacle of beauty and the heart of fear.

&

The next day of my life would be proof of what Santa Maria had said, the memory would slip away as too improbable to be true. When I did finally get back to my own place I seriously wondered about disappearing. But where would I hide? Ius had lived with two infinity machines, each extraordinary, but without a network they couldn’t follow you. This Voortan seemed to live in the air. An infinite watcher. 

I had arranged to come back and see Maria tonight bringing my photo of George and other memorabilia. It all seemed so trivial after what she had shown me. It was too easy to forget I was offering proof leading to a story even more extraordinary but arriving at the same outcome, that the human race was already dead.

I went and sat in the Grove and asked the trees. While sitting there I was slightly aware of a beautiful young couple sitting opposite each other out on the grass. At one point a young man walked in unzipping himself. Even I was taken aback by such boldness but he walked past, either not seeing me or completely indifferent to my presence, and peed against the thicket, which rather spoiled my experience of the Grove.

“I come here to meditate,” I said as he walked past me with no sense that he had seen or heard me though his eyes had appeared to look at me. Then I saw the wires from his ears and realised his centre of consciousness was not in my physical reality at all. Well, isn’t it the world to come, and where else have I spent my life but in sub realities. It seemed different, though, that my disintegration with the little leeway given by individual animal isolation. These people were being crudely played in the living present by a global elite of the worst sociopathic manipulators.  

The other day I saw a young woman crossing busy Prince Albert Road seemingly indifferent to the traffic bearing down, all the time intent on her phone. After standing for a minute mid road she sauntered on seemingly unaware of a large truck almost on her. I shouted “Look out!” Such a look of loathing and contempt she was giving me as the truck air blasted her hair and skirt. Each might have been ghosts to the other. Trying to understand this I wondered if I was witnessing a new spacial awareness paradigm.

When I left the Grove I passed where the young couple had been. There were empty bottles of tasty beers as well as food packages. This was not detritus of the underclass. I recognised a bottle which had been raised to the lips of the young man so it was definitely theirs. There was no way I could repackage this as a new order of awareness but rather the opposite, as though the real world had been demoted to just another virtual reality where, at the touch of a button, the daily detritus would be swept clean. At that rate there was building a clash between fantasy and reality. A cataclysm born not just from the misguided old but of the ungrounded young. Otherwise I could not see how those of a privileged class could so desecrate Nature, what little there was of it here. I picked up the bottles and packets and took them to the bin. On the way I earned some unedifying looks. As I dropped them in I felt a wave of pure hatred and loathing for my fellow creatures.

Small incidents yet they felt like the cells of a poisonous monster. If the judgment of community is love there is none. I am a dancer. Dancers move around not through as though you were kickable junk or needing to be spat upon for ‘getting in their way’, as some runt of a man did to me, just as I turned into a doorway which his trajectory would have forced my away from.

“What’s the point of that!” I yelled after him, skulking on in his bitter world. And here am I, furious, on Purgatory Hill, wishing to issue a good bellyful of Liverpool gob in the eye of everyone here. In that moment I realised, no matter what a few extraordinary people might do, my Cataclysm was going to happen. Human beings were incapable of making the burden of their intelligence work except through the intercession of infinite machines. Evolved through global personal marketing? That was the killer. Yet I knew two of those machines intimately, bigger than the entire Web by unknown orders of magnitude. They would support anything you cared to consider. But what if they were not those machines? And they’ll be physically taking form soon, if they’re not already here.

I imagined heading for the Hebrides, to Callanish, to where my future self would gain inspiration to rebuild The Oracle. Then I imagined surrendering to the live intensity of Tom while being filmed by Maria – wearing her black dress. A chaos of limbs and yonis and clitoral worship of the god flesh lingam. A fantasy, but not Maria tonight. In my mind I was kissing her passionately for hours and having intense orgasms. I checked my memorabilia and took some samples. Maria may have changed her mind but the door was answered and when I walked in she was wearing that very dress which lifted my heart to fill the sky. Within moments we were kissing and we only drew apart when we were in full blown bliss.

I now showed Maria my memorabilia, birth certificate, doctors notes, cuttings. Fifteen year old Maisy Warlock came first in the country in UEI mathematics, with smiling photo.

“You were clever!”

“I was stupid. Those were the exams they gave people who failed the eleven plus. I never even took it. By then I’d started to get the trick and to understand what was wrong. Fortunately I hadn’t gone to more academic schools so they hadn’t yet bricked up my soul with their system.”

She was impatient to see George but I was teasing her. Eventually I showed the picture. Her initial reaction was disappointing but then she started looking up George on her phone and nodding. 

“If it isn’t him it’s a double.”

She compared the photo with me.

“She definitely has your nose and lips and eyes but she hasn’t got your – gravitas.”

“She’s barely fifteen.”

She looked at the photograph itself, the physical object.

“How old would it be?”

“Fifty – nine years.”

“Do you mind if I check it?”

“Of course not. I don’t want you to believe, Maria. I want you to know.”

She lay looking at her thoughts then sat up staring at me. Eventually she said.

“Do you mind if I don’t tell Tom about this?”

“Why not? It’s nothing to what you do.”

“He doesn’t know about that either.”

That was a shock.

“I’ve already told him about my age and personality disorder.”

“Yes, but what hits you is the detail. So far it’s just a story. Maisy, glorious, beautiful, sexy Maisy with a multiple personality disorder, almost like a gorgeous butterfly in her hair.”

“It isn’t.”

“No, but indulge me. I want to coax Tom over the line where he can’t fail to see.”

“See what?”

“I don’t know. Maybe nothing. But it can’t be nothing, can it, with my dragonfly of chairs.”

“It could be.”

“But everybody could. And what could he? And now I’ve met you. There can be nothing without something. No shadow without light, an entire stellar universe to cast it.”

Yes. I thought that a nice way of putting it.

“I don’t want to scare him off with details that don’t really matter, that could be faked. I have a lifetime interest in scientific anomalies. Originally I was looking for evidence of miracles before I understood that sort of thinking is far too naive. Christ begins perpendicular to science’s new Flat Earth. It’s not other – other Other – than science but its natural extension through imagination into resonances, harmonics of the flat, earthed Earth. The extension and the source. How did they move giant stones in the past? By resonance. Sea shanties lifting an anchor might have been a degenerate remnant. Ninety per cent of the universe is dark to us. Most of the energy. The money launderers known to us. The psychosomas of body and soul. The dark energy of cosmic expansion. The deep resonances of God’s great words. Which comes first? On the very most skin, the outer rind, the last nutricious peelings that we bin, are the power players, the launderers of human minds. Can you not imagine the words of God have the greatest power there. Among the sinners. The virtuous are too in thrall to their virtue to ever feel the power of the divine. Until it catches up with them in the crash of civilisation. They’re all money launderers really.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. I must have been staring at her. Now I crawled into her lap and lay rocking and groaning. 

“What is it, Mrs Mechanism of the Lord?”

“I’m so tired of being so alone. I just felt the sense of a mind who could understand me.”

“Love you, Mahadevi. Love you. Understand if I can.”

“Call me Maisy, or Ius.”

“I like Ius but you are Maisy.”

“Maisy, rhymes with Crazy. She never grew up before she started the ride of many lifetimes.”

“Maisy. Such a simple name. It isn’t, though, is it? The maze. Amaze.”

“I-us means, to me, the whole world. The philosophy of eternity.”

“It originally meant custom or law.”

“Did it?”

“It’s where we are, isn’t it, warriors of eternity?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Not as separate from life. MazyIus, giving priority to a simple living love.”

“Mazius. It doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue.”

“I’ll call you both according to day and night and season.”

“We have a future then?”

“I do hope so, Mazius Mahadevi.”

“Maria, the goddess, one and supreme and alone.”

“I hope not.”

“It’s funny we’ve made ourselves into lovers. I thought you’d kill me.”

“Poor Tom, how will he cope?”

“He said he wanted both of us.”

“God!”

“He could be our project, our test man.”

“Otherwise it’s a lesbian planet.”

“With just enough men, trained only for pleasure.”

“Judging by the other night it seems to work, perfectly.”

“Well, he’s your husband. Maybe you’ve had all the tritangle you need.”

“Who says we’re a triangle. Perhaps we’re two parallel lines.”

“You’n’him and me’n’him. Infinity stops here.”

“That’s what they should have taught us in school.”

We laughed at that and the laughter grew and at times there seemed a danger it might never stop.

&

Tom is back tonight and I must go. I can’t bear to think of it. The sudden arrival of this glamorous pair, their marital problems and all the implications of their knowledge of me is planet leavingly alarming. I desperately need to talk it out, ideally with a trusted friend, but there isn’t anybody, just Ben and Caro, my seventy seventh shrinks.

Some days we have low intensity encounters where I hang out at their place and play with the art materials and talk when anyone’s available. It’s a sort university of one for all given that a case like mine has never been described and for all they know might represent a new norm. 

At the same time I don’t question that according to the conventions of psychology I am a seriously sick person. Maisy has not really had a life to call her own for over fifty years. It is a long time, in any ordinary sense, to be insane without medical treatment. She only regrets this in the bad times when all vocabularies prove meaningless. Good time – bad time. If good time is the Goddess in command bad time is something additional, almost like the turning of a planet or the spinning of a wheel which makes a journey.

Ben and Caro have set up a special place for me in their bright conservatory where I am surrounded by plants and trees beyond. It is my favourite location for therapy. I have even slept here when it is too cold to sleep on the Heath and I NEEDED Nature around me. We have exceeded the conventional bounds of patient and therapist in our quest to fathom me. There is even a question as to who is the patient as Ius’s mission is to cure their world of its Cataclysm.

There is nothing elegant about our therapy sessions. Tears and snot and incontinence pants are not unusual. Some say women store in their bodies a substance like ambergris in whales which shoots out during the intense emotions of transdimensional encounters with the dark. I’m afraid I think of it as wetting myself. 

Today I’ve told Ben I’m in another crisis.

“How high?” (From 0 – 10)

“To quote Neil Armstrong, Thirteen.”

“Mhm?”

I try to assemble my thoughts into a Benworld. I tell him what I tell him I’ve never told anyone before though this weekend I’ve told two people both of whom may be working for somebody’s secret service, one of whom may be another traveller from the future, shutting even my bolthole of doubt.

“How’s the charity shop?”

“What!”

“Wasn’t it Marie Curie?”

“I thought she might rub off on me. I got intense rhinitis. Too many dead cells. The women’s garments were mostly from the recyclings of living women and really sexy, the men’s mostly from the dead and really not. The day I quit I felt so happy. And no more rhinitis. I miss the people.”

“Are you singing?”

“No. I’m dancing.”

Soon, as Ius, I shall be performing at Sadlers Wells, a social performance by various mental health system survivors. Ius loves dance, perhaps because she was born on Mars, where humans float, now channeled through the pain of Earth and Maisy, lends her performance a ragged authenticity.

The silence built up quite enormously.

“What?” I said.

“What what?”

“You were silent.”

“I usually am when I’ve got nothing to say.”

“You were thinking.”

“Nothing in particular. But I’m open to suggestions.”

“Oh, that singing communicates with the world and dance with nothing but the space around me. If that. Just me.”

“Thank you.”

After a further silence I said. “You’re right, I should sing again. The trouble is we’ve all grown up since then.”

“Who has?”

I thought back, down the enormous tunnel of my life, almost to the guardians, that place I never wished to go. I ran with people who became global icons. Singing hurts too much. While my guitar gently weeps, George, still hurts totally. A world, a life I might have had.

“All of me and all of us.”

I saw Ben settle back as though he’d felt a tug on the line of the fish he was really seeking. I felt it too, the presence.

“So!”

“Ben, Maisy isn’t my reality you can shrink me back to. That’s a fiction created by war, poverty and ignorance.”

“But agreed historical reality.”

“I shit upon that reality, Ben. Didn’t your nice Professor Jung drop a turd onto the cathedral?”

“That would, axiomatically, have been God. One could argue Jung was a complete nutter. Look at the Red Book.” He added provocatively.

“Oh, honestly, Ben!” I had spent a lot of time in the Wellcome Institute wondering through the Red Book.

“My true self, Ben, is the butterfly who moves the world.”

“But she doesn’t know she’s doing it. It’s not a job description, just a metaphor.”

A great smile rose over me. “But I do know, Ben. It’s who I am.”

“You understand my concern for Maisy? When the storm hits she’ll be flattened along with everyone else.”

“Yes. But what would she be if she hadn’t a mission? Let’s say Christ could have made a living making tables. He didn’t. He knew he was the son of God. He didn’t say he was the only son of God, did he? Maisy knows she is a goddess. If everybody knew it this wouldn’t be a war for profit world run by parasitic predators masquerading as the only ship in town. Why the fuck wouldn’t I tell everybody.”

“Because they’re not ready. Did the Church live up to your Christ?”

“It’s coming, Ben. It’s coming. This butterfly has been emerging all my life.”

“Isn’t that the danger. You need to make the transition. If you are the great one, you need to be fully born.”

Our eyes locked. He lowered his. Ben tells me there are moments when I have the most implacable stare he has ever seen, one fully capable of telling the world to go hang. The next moment I am the most smiling and beautiful woman. Men are only more dangerous than women as psychopaths. It is women in their creative norms who are the deadly ones, Ben says. 

“It’s the face of Kali,” he said. “Mess with my kids and you are buzzard food – forever.”

“Maisy has no children, Ben, Ius has seven. You say she will destroy Maisy’s world for these ‘imaginary’ children?”

“Starting with Maisy? You see, I’m on Maisy’s side.”

“So am I. But consider the anomalies.” Maria’s demonstration had woken in me a transcendence of Maisy’s common sense. My hand stretched innocently over the table. “The language of dreams which makes sense only when we accept knowledge of the future. A woman whose body has stopped in time.” A paper on the table began to quiver inches below my fingers. It looked disturbingly alive. “And other dimensions she wills.”

When I was sure my hand had Ben’s attention I lowered it a little and the paper rose and stuck to my fingertips. I lifted it many centimetres until it dropped.

“I’m not sure Maisy is any match for Ius. Cure Maisy of her and you will destroy Maisy. What is needed is balance Ben. Give unto Kali what it Kali’s”

“How?”

“That’s my job. Maisy knows nothing about children. Ius has seven. It would be a brave soul who abandoned Ius for Maisy.”

The paper had skidded off the table onto me. It was a child’s drawing of what looked like ants or bees but shaped like infinity symbols and connected by complex lines. I nearly put it back on the table but something about it stopped me.

“Who did this?”

“Alice.”

Alice was Ben’s must be now seven year old daughter, an impossibly beautiful child who loves talking to adults. A late fruiting, Ben being at least in his sixties.

“She made it for you.”

I was struck by the circumstances in which it had come to me.

“She calls you the Infinity Lady.”

“How does she know?”

“How does Anna know anything? Her education seems simply to confirm what she knows and if she disagrees with any of it, watch out!”

“And since you met me you’re wondering where the balance is?”

“The phase shift, ice to water.”

“That reminds me of my dream.”

I lay back on the couch holding the drawing.

“So does this. I’m with a woman called Suriam. She’s wearing a bright orange dress. We’re lying on snow and all around us bright orange flowers are coming through the snow into the warm, brilliant sunlight.”

“You know her.”

“No, it was just her dream name.”

“Sun. Like sun. Suria is Sanskrit for sun. Suriam – like sun.”

“Ben, you’re so clever.”

“It’s my job. To know the roots as best I can.”

“Like this drawing, the bright infinity flowers coming out of the white paper.”

“With long stems. Reaching through sterile snow from nourishing soil to all powering sun.”

“Oh, yes. Through sterile imagination to real spirit?”  

“How did it feel?”

“Like Heaven.”

“Is that usual?”

“No. Very very rare. As you know. My dreams are usually disturbing, terrifying. D’you think Maisy’s finally dead and feeding the flowers.”

“Then who is speaking? And drinking the water?”

“Maisy’s soil is rubbish. Bomb sites and orphanage. Just weeds. No beautiful flowers.”

“Where does Ius get her nourishment from?”

“The Sun, I suppose.”

“No water? No soil? No fungi? No tree roots?”

Ben knows I love these things.

“No. Plenty of sex. That’s my soil. My only soil. And it isn’t really, is it? No childhood. No root love. Maisy has nothing whereas Ius had the infinity machines.”

“What do they do?”

“Nothing. Yet nothing would be if they weren’t there dancing. They are like infinite fractals of the simplest things, the no-thing things. A line, a point, the zero point of absolute nothing. Of the absolute nothing there are three and eight and eleven states each similar and markedly different. They are the expression of this which is otherwise only a potential and not even that if there is nothing to know it. The seed of knowing is the human. Between us we create the seed consciousness of all that is created. Excuse me, Ben, I am a dancer.”

“This works for Maisy?”

“She loves to dance. I would spend forever dancing.”

“Do you?”

“No. Yes. In stillness. I love stillness. The dance of being. I love the dance of soil and seeds, the dance of sex. Repeated and repeated. Because you can’t give me what I never had, the root love, isnt it? Heaven can be whole, has to be when the soil is missing. Maisy is the butterfly goddess. Maisy’s Ius has two wings. She has to be born. What else would I do, Ben, that makes it worthwhile living?”

“In the dream the soil is there, it’s just covered.”

“With sterile infinities?”

“Suriam?”

“I don’t think so Ben. I only think I’m God some of the time. The rest of the time I’m in the sewer, which is the balancing experience of the life I’ve neglected for the highs. You know the Old Man and the Sea. Even when he catches the God fish, it’s just a skeleton when he lands it in reality.”

“You’re no skeleton, Maisy.”

“I wish there was a logic to this, Ben. If Ius is my soul she lives post Cataclysm in perpetual sight of the skeletons of the entire Earth. My problem is the world’s problem, Ben. There’s no cure for me but that I save the world. I survive because I’m a love addict, a sort of personalised sex addict. I don’t just fuck your body, I fuck your soul. I asked Asante how she survived.”

“Asante?”

“Yes.”

“You knew her?”

“She’s my Ius mother, Ben, the one and only. I knew her for two centuries, and perhaps she never dies. Before she created us, Sam, Candor, me and the Twins, she was alone. I mean, totally alone. There wasn’t another human being anywhere in the universe. Of course I don’t believe in their standard model and nor did she. I asked her how she had survived. She said.

“Soul. After thirty years of science and forty years of art I had finished with outer structures and went on building inside. Eventually I was full and there was nowhere to go but to create life.”

“What if you had failed?”

“That wasn’t the deal. When I look at you I see why. I did fail the first thousand times, the first trillion. But I see you and the others couldn’t not exist. I just had to find you.”

Meaning, in essence, we are immortal. Who was she – is she? – my Ius mother?”

“Your Ius mother?”

“The only mother any of us ever had.”

“What’s it like if you don’t remember this?”

“Do you mean do I come back to earth and misery as Maisy?”

“Unloaded.”

“All sorts happen. There is no real misery Maisy. If I clear myself of all this I know there’s more. Like another world. It comes back to me sometimes, like a dream, only one I remember all night and every night I’ve ever lived, only I can’t quite remember it. It’s like when you can’t quite remember a word you know, only magnified to everything that matters.”

“What do you remember?”

“You censored it.”

“I questioned it.”

“You were shocked.”

“I’m from Tennessee. Inbreeding isn’t unknown to us but we don’t glorify it.”

“You’re from Canada.”

“I went to Canada. A step in my quest for the verdant paradise of Belsize.”

“I wasn’t glorifying. For Maisy totally fucked up, on Mars enlightened, I think.”

“That sounds very neat.”

“Oh, so you think I invented a heavenly, genetically enhanced sex life on Mars to compensate for all the fucked up bastards down the municipal toilet pan of Earth.”

“Did I say all that?”

“No, but you led me to think it.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I suppose it is worth asking why my father’s on Mars was like a messenger from God and Father R’s like a breakfast of toads?”

Ben said nothing but scratched his nose judiciously.

“On Mars we made love in virtual flower fields which changed colour with our cycles of sensation. Blue to red tinged white was the general bliss of love but I have come to in the fields of deep purple knowledge near to black. What was the difference? I can only think that on Earth we have the concept of sin. What fucked me up wasn’t the sex, it was the corkscrewed thinking about it.”

“So you created Mars?”

“I wish it was so simple, Ben. Elon Musk is in an all out drive to get to Mars. What we called Mars Base was intended to be called Elon Musk City, only my ancestors never got that far. I’d really like to talk to him but I don’t know where to begin. The most brilliant man in the world, in some way, but still too dumb to listen to a crazy woman about the future.”

“Have you tried?”

“No. With David Bowie it was easy. But these scientific guys who have all the power. It’s like since Copernicus the whole planet has been building up one massive state of spiritual constipation so we daren’t let the turd out for fear and shame that it will kill us.”

“Flatten the cathedral?”

“Shit!”

“It’s time,” said Ben. I waited for some profound insight into what I had said then realised the crashing disappointment of session end. It can’t be. I’ve barely begun.

It took me a while to come around.

“Thank you, Ben. I think I just talked myself into a deeper insight…Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck and double fuck!”

I climbed off the couch and stood staring out of the glass world.

“Look after yourself,” he said.

Bloody psychotherapists. You can be bleeding on the ground but its look after yourself till next time.

“As if. I’ll find a nice man who can cook.”

I am out in the street, back where nothing I’ve said matters and where even Ben would shun me. Where even I shun me, in order to fit in. For an infinite being it is such a nowhere existence. Sometimes I want to stand in the middle of it all with a microphone wired to the whole planet and scream and scream and scream until their brains fall out. 

Oh, shit! Was that the Cataclysm!

I wanted to be next to somebody but I couldn’t think who. After all the sex and all the Tantra I wanted a quiet cuddle but my new minister, who had some nice features, is starting to get embarrassed by me. Anyway, it was one of those self righteous bastards who told me I was a blot on the Body Politic. I thought of a woman but they all have what are known as actual lives. Tom is back from shooting for the mass hormonal fix market in Germany. I’ve heard not a word from either, which is enormously sad and a great relief. So I made my way to the Heath and climbed into my hollow tree and fell asleep.

&

Some weeks passed of seeing Maria but never Tom. Even so, we only met on the Hill, reversing the habit of a lifetime, in the misty mornings. Maria said, and I agreed, we needed some sense of each other more ordinary than the stellar core of gods. 

“Whenever I revert to disgust,” said Maria, “I remember it was you healed us both in one long weekend.”

“All I know is I drew the curtains and you were revealed.”

“To me. I thought I knew my own house, Mahadevi, but it wasn’t my house at all.”

“It was his?”

“His in the absence of my equality. Tell me, Mahadevi, does life make sense?”

“Nothing but sense. If you’re considering results, it depends how you cook it.”

“I want it to reveal its true self.”

“It will always depend on your point of view, what you’re looking for.”

“Companionship. Without rules, without ties, without expectations, with love.”

“Without passion?”

She chuckled. “If you are my companion, Mahadevi, that is never going to happen.”

“Maria, you’re not the only one who’s been affected. Since meeting you I’ve had an extraordinary shift in how I perceived the multiverse. I had rejected it as too ridiculous and now it’s come alive again as a single world of many levels and the world we see is like one lost bead in a beautiful necklace without which it’s not even a necklace – a break in a single string – just a disappointing heap of beads. And this goes for any level down to a single lost sheep. If we remain crudely scientific we will never see the other worlds. We must believe in life and love. Live and let live, as the old folk used to say.”

“And what about my gangsters?”

“Do they let live?”

“No. Though my immediate family interests have killed nobody this year.”

“Hooray!”

“Involves a complex web of threat and blackmail. We don’t exactly come out covered in roses.”

“And you come and sit here?”

“Just as if there weren’t a thousand bullets with my name on it. You see, Mahadevi, why I need a companion. It’s very lonely here.”

“Me too.”

We held hands above the vast, impossible city.

“Would you come back for breakfast?”

“Love to.”

Now Maria has gone too and I am left to contemplate the city alone. I still have many tantric connections and my standing has gone sky high since Holy Wood. I could disretire and focalise a community but I can’t be arsed with the administration. Shakti and I have exchanged messages about a joint venture but I sense for her I am like Maria, a challenge too far. She’s a queen of her own realm and very good at it. I couldn’t tailor myself to her boundaries, certainly not after Maria.

So, strange to say, I am lonely and fearful of the future.

One night, on a totally uncharacteristic impulse, I charged off to one of Strep’s events, Triple X. The whole world was singing his praises and I was feeling left out. Memory had glossed over how obnoxious I found him. I didn’t want the humiliation of being discovered at one of ‘his’ dos and I’d sooner cut out his thyroid gland with a pencil than go in disguise, which I did. 

It’s not as if Strep is actually wrong. He’s pinched his ideas from every great practitioner from forever, including me, but the difference is style of presentation. It’s the difference between a David Attenborough nature program and a Prof Cox. With Attenborough it’s just his voice and the pictures, an occasional injection of his wily paternal glance, with Cox he’s in your face from minute one. It’s such an irritating style that I’m astonished he has a following but it seems to be the modern way or the evangelical way. If your face is on the screen all the time your material can’t be stolen or plagiarised. And if everybody’s doing it then the public become hormonally acculturated to the cut of your jeans as having something to do with the origin of time. Strep will, of course, be remembered whereas I won’t even be a footnote. Shakti has similar characteristics but it doesn’t bother me because she is a woman and carries within her the sense of being for life rather than egoistic bastardom. Perhaps it is the coming end of the age of men in everything which, with Nazis still within living memory, I will believe in the way I believe that Father Christmas will ever shit cheese.

What was I saying? Oh, yes, bloody black tantra was such a balls out, raging disappointment. My own event of a month ago had been white plasma at a million degrees, this one was cold iron heated to vaguely warm with heavy metal and industrial force. There was such an emphasis on sex, which is what we do, but it depends how you do it. There is macho man, which is the real thing, multifaceted, mesmerising and enchanting to women, cats and little people, and there is pretend macho man, the adolescent wart become blind destroyer, perpetually out to prove its mastery, whipping us on like galley slaves.

Disillusioned, I drifted into the lesbian corner and embedded myself amidst besieged women exchanging vibrators with optional sheathing. Someone offered an electric toothbrush. YOW! I had to check I still had a clitoris afterwards. I thought this is ridiculous. I am among the most conscious beings on the planet and I don’t need to be coming to rubbish like this to engage in depressing amateur bouts of mutual masturbation. I nearly got up and crashed the stage even though I knew Strep wouldn’t hesitate to beat a woman to pulp if she challenged him. For once Maisy’s timidity won. I need to take charge of this revolution or it isn’t going to happen. People were having telephone numbers shouted into their ears. I wanted to say, ‘Oi, this is a consciousness practice not a bloody dating service. You hold the future of the universe in your stupid dripping yonis. Wake up!’ Of course it’s no more than I did at Holy Wood. Nothing makes me madder than hypocrisy and when it turns up in me I become the Dark Destroyer. Where is my Goddess when I need her? She’s just a breath away, a breath away, a breath away. I left my wig on someone who’d admired it and lending a carefully targeted fingernail to the perineum of a nearby situation – the resulting shriek penetrated the din and galvanised the entire room – headed for the door. Strep was standing in the way and told me to get back and get fucked. All the rage I’d ever had was in the fist I aimed at his nose. Then I was on the carpet on my knees aware only that I had missed. Strep was ponderously turning, amazed. I backed towards the door, which is close guarded during climax time. There is a code word for getting out, which of course I didn’t know as I had come at the last minute. Strep pushed open the door, let me out and followed. 

“Come to my gig again and you’ll never leave.”

One of the outer door guards looked at him startled.

I laughed. “If you go around threatening people like that, Strep, you’ll have a very short career.”

“Only you.”

“You were a snivelling weed when first I took pity on you.”

“You’re girly fucking shit is over. It’s a man’s world and don’t you ever forget it!”

He turned back into the roar of the room. I reached to tear his head off but met the guards’ arms. 

“What’s he on?” I asked one.

“Testosterone,” he said.

“Fucking shit! Have you got a cigarette?”

“I don’t smoke and you shouldn’t.”

“It’s a better choice than murder.”

He reached into his pocket and fished out a readymade roll-up. I looked at him.

“You aren’t the first.”

I left and sat on the steps smoking. My nostalgic puff with George had done me no good at all. For the duration I really considered the benefits of murdering Strep. The trouble is, there were four billion of them and…aye yi yi, not until we had a suitable machine would it be possible.

I made a sortie into Budgens on the Hill for something of microwaveable deliciousness for dinner. One reason to doubt I am a living incarnation of the Goddess is that I hate to cook. I am wearing a grey lace skirt I wore at the Hall over tights magnificently dyed the colours of moss and autumn rather than red raunch underskirt. It has already been demoted to a skirt for shopping. I am now wondering about what man I might sleep with tonight, thinking of them, I realise, no longer as people but as penises. Floating amongst them all is one penis I am trying not to think about. I don’t know what is happening with Tom but I am resigned to the obvious. They have found each other thanks to me and I must readjust to the disappointment of known terrestrial orgasmesis or go for eternity.

I am hardly here standing in the queue when I do become aware of a warm presence rather too close behind. A voice whispers in my ear, “That is an amazing skirt.” I know that voice! I turn and, despite the peaked hat and shades, it’s him! I nearly kiss him to the ground with the force of my delight. I do tillage and wait watching him in rabid delight as he pays for his purchases, waving his card so sexily in the modern way.

I linger for him near the exit and we walk out into the night. 

In Revital’s shadowed doorway we engaged in deep kissing. Mature people of the alpha squadron and here we are behaving like kids. I find the penis I was dreaming about forcing its way out of his jeans.

“Christ,” he said, “It is you!”

I divine he means who causes him to be like this. It is always wise to check but not always appropriate to do so. We pause to contemplate each other in the particularities of the Belsize dark. 

“I’ve missed you,” he said.

“Yeah!”

“More and more.”

“I imagined you happily with Maria.”

“Yes, but – you raised more questions than you answered.”

“What are you doing here?”

“What were you?”

“Hm?”

“In the dark?”

That was a horrible shock to realise we had both been attending the same sorry event.

“It was your finger!”

“Ah!” It was your perinium. I slapped him as hard as I could with a door in the way, rapping my knuckles infuriatingly on the nuke proof glass. My mouth was full of too many fucks, shits and bastards to get out.

I was vaguely aware of the Budgens lit Romanian Big Issue seller looking at us, looking so much older. My brain ran on a microtangent of remembering her fresh, with two young kids and me giving her a twenty pound leg up towards change in a year or two and now it’s been a decade or two hardening rail tracks to the event horizon of the Cataclysm. Why stand there? Why snog here in the endless darkened industrial doorways to nowhere? I realise in her case it coincides with the period the Government calls Austerity, which equals loss of social services and health care for the poor. Even access to the law and policing, in the rough and tumble world she’s living in, have become totally irrelevant except to count the bodies. I was seeing the embodiment of the attitudes of my adopted class. Then she’d been so young and fresh I’d fancied her. Now she had the lineaments of an old woman. A fountain of sorrow welled up breaking out in sobs totally unrelated to the words spilling out.

“What the fuck were you doing there? The most beautiful woman on the planet to service your every need and you’re shagging some illiterate doxy.”

“Financial Times journalist actually. I was exploring the difference and Maria didn’t want me to contact you.”

“She said that!”

“Not in so many words. She doesn’t need to.”

I laughed at that. 

“More to the point, what the hell were you doing there?” 

“More to what point! It’s my trade, or had you forgotten. Inspecting the frontiers of my domaine. I started Shadow so the beautiful and famous could scratch their darker needs anonymously.”

“I thought…”

“Strep started it? No, he’s just trademarked every descriptor in the language.”

“That must be really annoying.”

“I take comfort from the thought of all the karma he’s has laid claim to. Fortunately, he rode his own hubris and trademarked ‘black’ first, which is both karmic ignorance and political insanity. Seeing what he was doing I made sure the little shit didn’t get ‘dark ‘ or ‘shadow’. I’m happy.”

“You don’t look happy.”

“Well, of course I’m not happy. Whatever gave you that stupid idea. I’d like to cut off your dick and watch you eat it.”

What the hell was the matter with me. After a pause in which I didn’t walk away he said.

“I really do love you!”

“Don’t say that!”

“Why?”

“Love is a weapon – most of the time.”

He reached out. I flinched before I realised it wasn’t to hit me.

“You are in a bad way. I’m sorry.”

“This is the true me. The little girl lost among alien monsters, who learned to play goddess and exploit her exploiters.”

He replied, a mirthless man laugh, then a grunt of acknowledgment. It said a lot or I read a lot into it about the power of women over men.

“What do you want to do?” I asked.

“Fuck you in this doorway till I drown.”

“You’re disgusting. You were wearing a condom?”

“What do you think?”

“We didn’t.” Your naked cock is the most beautiful thing I ever felt inside me. “What did Maria tell you about me?”

“That you were atomic in bed.”

– oh –

“Did that surprise you?”

“And scared me.”

“Where is she now?”

“Germany.”

“And you chose random scrubber X over me?”

“You too.”

I aimed a hard slap on the other side of his face. This time I damaged myself hitting a hand of stone. He pressed me against the glass door, reinvoking our moment with the Queen of the Forest. I melted like ice on a stove bursting instantly to bubbles and steam. Even as I kiss him with open jaws I’m still angry.

“Are you happy?” I asked.

“No.”

“Why not?”

“I lost you. Maria’s wonderful, necessary but I lost you. I wasn’t supposed to want you.”

“No. Perhaps the occasional professional top up.”

“You burned me. Branded my soul. Maria’s like being married to the United Nations. We meet by appointment. All the time I know there’s you with all the time in the world. I couldn’t make that call.”

“I’ve been seeing Maria.”

“You go for walks?”

“We do. She’s so extraordinary, and scary.”

“Now you know.”

We contemplated each other. Miss Survival was screaming run! but every particle of my being was four hundred per cent unable.

“I don’t want to share you with anybody, Thomas Immanuel. I don’t know where this leaves all my theories.”

“Shall we discuss it over coffee?”

I would rather explode and take him with me. End consciousness right now. Instead we went over to Costa.

In better light I can see he is angelically beautiful with that sauce of man which will probably increase with age. It is just possible to imagine he is under an influence like mine – DNA undergoing constant revision by an infinite machine? In which case who is he and does he know me? If they’ve sent a pair there’s every chance that I don’t know them. They could be mine or some others greats grandchildren I’ve never seen. In which case what would be their motive? Could a time splice bring two such people together? Both the technology and the motives could have moved on hugely in fifty years.

I do know time travel is infinite. We are all infinite but non time travellers are embedded in a time like jewels in a crown. Something free from embedded time can build it into another crown. In that region time travel is possible. We do it in dreams and shamanic practices, but to be effective we must select a crown. An infinity of crowns is possible but not practical. The actual number is undefinably large but still infinitesimal compared with the potential hugeness of infinity. A time traveller could be seven crowns away and inaccessible, or one and be almost sharing the same world. You could interrupt another crown by being thirty minutes ahead of it and produce apparent miracles. But generally you would be on the same page, even in the same word or letter. But what if you were not equal travellers? The embedded jewel is the manifest infinite. In my life it’s Maisy, who was born here, and Ius is simply an infinite potential made somehow actual. But what if you were a time traveller who was born here, not a traveller at all but your mother was? How would that make you different? For a start, how would you know? If your mother was Asante would be your best chance. But why would she disappear before her embedded child met her traveller child? I suppose I can answer that fairly clearly. She would have to be embedded or close to embedded in two crowns. And how can I ask this stupid man this question? Well, stupid isn’t the right way to put it. I have to remember that the embedded one is God, and God is about love not brains, or enough brains to serve love. The unembedded one is the work of the infinite machine and it knows everything and is nothing. I want to tell this stupid man this and say my soul needs you. Needs Maria too. But you are the living beings. I am more like a ghost at the feast.

I don’t know if any of this could be true and almost certainly Tom is not the person to ask. But he might provide clues. I wonder what Maria has told him.

“What did she say about our meeting?”

“She said you could be the one she has been looking for.”

Those words gave me a very strange shock.

“Exactly those words?”

“‘I think she is the one I have been looking for.’”

“What did she mean?”

“She didn’t say. We don’t talk a lot, especially after what you did for me.”

The pain ripped right through me to the mad mad core. I moved to run but his hand on mine became an iron grip.

“You work miracles, Mahadevi.”

“Miracles work through me. I’m just a scrap of human flesh.”

“I only knew you as a goddess.”

“You knew another.”

I saw the pain and reached for him this time. I felt her too and remembered my dream had contained Asante – behind my back!

“Three goddesses.”

I felt his surprise.

“What was she like? Do either of us compare?”

“You do. You’re like her split apart and made bearable – now I think of it.”

“Bearable?”

“Just. I never had any trouble with her. Trouble started – when she died.”

I felt a huge space of pain. It was familiar to me as Oracle Nine, totality without the grace of love, the very core essence of what Ius was doing here. 

“I don’t think she’s dead.”

I gripped his hand as he flinched away.

“Hear me!” How could I place the words? “You can go and never see me again. Just now listen.” But it was an infinite ball of string with a thousand beginnings. “In our culture Christ is the archetype, one who was born and never dies. Of course, he isn’t confined to Jesus of Nazareth. Or to men. Men especially. The great god is woman – like. Long before she gave birth to the world. Made the real for a reason. And that’s where men appeared. It isn’t a hierarchy but he is her as the fine tuner, the one who plays with the world as thing. The surfaces. For him she is the deep. She wants him there with her. It goes beyond death. Beyond life as we know it.”

“Christ, Mahadevi, I can’t live without you.”

“You have a power, Tom, to bring out the best in me.”

“And the worst.”

“It goes with the territory. We have to save each other, bring the gift of immortality. Get through this mad, selfish time and bury it forever.”

“Nothing dies?”

“That does. Is transformed.”

“Immortal life?”

“Is the only reality. Slowly it changes – as we live. Hence the power of such simple things as the hem of a skirt, and how it can cut your soul like a razor.”

“Not since you. It still cuts the world like a knife. But now I’m more on the edge as an appreciator. I’m ravished by their beauty. By your beauty. And hers.”

“But you had Asante.”

“Who?”

“Oh, I’m sorry. My inner mythology.”

“The mother of Ius?”

“Yes.”

“Who lives inside you?”

“Yes.”

“In your dream I am your brother?”

“Yes.”

“My mother?”

“Yes. The difference this time, from the story of Christ, is that the mother has immortal life and the son is left mourning at the cross. This is the true relationship because she is the deep one. You have to learn to mourn her as one who is alive. You have to bring her alive in you.”

“And if I can’t?”

“Then there is only pain.”

“I have you and Maria. If I only could have.”

“We are her sisters but we are not her, are we?”

It was a strange feeling, to be looked at by him as he remembered her. 

As I remembered. She shone with an inner light of love that overwhelmed any other sense of her. Black, white would be a meaningless question. Her colour was love. 

Looking into our memories had us both crying. A running nose brought me back to a bare sense of reality. This man was mourning a real woman. Maisy’s Asante wasn’t born. In nose wiping reality she didn’t exist.

“There is always the simple matter that you should bear in mind,” I said. “In any common sense reality I’m completely mad. Notwithstanding that the so called sane are going to destroy the world between them, my contribution will never save anything.”

“What’s all this! You’re Mahadevi, the one and only, who saved me from the pit.”

“Even so, is it only that it worked within a agreed illusion, like tiddlywinks?”

“You think I should stay here and preserve my life?”

“Yes.”

He looked at me for a long time, thoughts obviously forcing passages through him.

“All right. Let’s imagine I’ve done that and I’ve changed my mind.”

I liked the way he did that. The ‘all right’ was like the bottom dropping out of the world, staring into horrendous vistas of life without him. 

“Phew! Can we go to your place?”

“Why not yours?”

“I can’t. It’s where ghost trains collide.”

“I don’t mind. I’d have you in that doorway.”

&

I took him to my latest bolthole. It’s not even a room, just a room divided, and in this half room they squeeze a shower-toilet, a kitchen area, a living room area and a bed floating on top of the cupboards and wardrobes and call it a ‘studio flat’. It would make a cosy cabin on a small boat or a prison cell but was monstrously little as the basis for a healthy life. For this, according to the Government’s own figures, if you’re one of the slave workers they’ll charge up to eighty-five per cent of your take home pay. Who ‘they’? Well, if I told you I could be jailed for years because the government have made it illegal to name the bastards who are doing it but it starts at the top with all the other government protected shits in the world buying up Dodge City. It doesn’t take an infinite machine to calculate that a race which behaves like this will soon consume itself. We let it happen, of course, we ‘happy’ hippies. We allowed the people with the emotions of armadillos to plough us under.

Tonight I am very depressed, feeling all the horror of a Maisy life from which Ius has saved me. In this place now I could be old and lonely instead of about to get dick from a famous movie star. Could any of this be real? I was wobbling on the edge of another reality. Bad weeks like the one eating, crying, masturbating and reading China Mieville floated like leaves to the pavement all around me. My only hope is in this moment with this man.

Urgent desire massively hinders clothes removal. Somehow in a chaos of clobber it found me and nakedly entered like the visitation of a god. I was not aware of screaming. Filled to the ends of my hair and a thousand worlds beyond. I was suddenly happy in my dark, depressed depravity, on the carpet ravening for completion, achieving undying all obliteration upon the moment death into life. It was like giving birth to him fully formed from my entire being. The cells of my exquisite body and the air around full of screaming. A siren and blue lights flashing. I watched them as from another star. For us! Concerned neighbours peering past shoulders of policemen, one with a phone up filming. Oh, god, I’m here again. I had forgotten it was such a tiny place. We’re students from Central, I said, – I had briefly been and still had a card to show them – 1984 – rehearsing the shower scene – from Psycho? Alfred Hitchcock? They’d never heard of him. Tom seemed completely unhinged. He had obviously not found himself falling from orbit to Earth, after a once in eternity return from Mars, with a fifty per cent chance of survival. Just another actor really. He was blue with shock. With all fullness so recently inside and running down my legs. I prayed I wouldn’t start dripping on the floor then noticed it in the kitchen pod all over the lino. I surreptitiously dropped a tea towel to stand on and scuff about a bit. While useless Tom mumbled like a teenage delinquent I achieved tea. George Orwell helped, remembering his craftsmanly English, while my head exploded over Pompey, keeping the police distracted while they satisfied themselves that we were not a nest of drug addicts, illegal aliens or whatever else police opportunistically look for in the disordered public.

Before they left one of the police handed me a phone.

“You might want to deal with this,” he said. It was the intrusive neighbour’s.

“Could you? I might just accidentally smash it.”

“We deal with crime,” he said with a certain irony. “When we can.”

He did stand there while I persuaded the crap for brains specimen of modern humanity to delete the film. The chances are it’s already viral.

“Your place,” I said to Tom when they had gone.

He agreed. We climbed back into his roadster and were there in minutes.

We have arrived at a mansion block on Albert Road barely five minutes walk from mine. It reminded me these two still ran separate lives. In this spacious apartment we are at the end of the world. And it doesn’t feel like a world of vicious, cruel exploiters but of gods, especially with him there. Our brush with low life has sobered us both, although it wasn’t that low. Anyone who could afford that place to themselves is in a reasonable job. In reality it’s the British favela, just a few days from hunger. It’s the reality of the whole world, although living in Tom’s apartment doesn’t feel like it. Hunger seems worlds away. In fact we must only be inches from the Cataclysm.

“It was like the orderly shut down by a computer virus” said The Oracle. “A lot had implanted chips but not everybody was connected to the Web.”

“Computers did it?”

“It’s very difficult to say. To a computer the whole universe is a computer. The electric chair kills but it doesn’t throw the switch. Though we have plenty of record of the fact, neither the Professor nor I can find evidence within ourselves of the intention to do it. That suggests a machine within the machine.”

“God?”

“When you have enough dots there is a tendency for entities to appear. One suggestion is a matrix of intentionality, like an ocean of creative potential that produces creatures great, small and imaginary, none of whom is its own life source. To be so undetectable the source must either be very subtle or a product of the macro dottage of all things, real and possibly imaginary.”

“You mean God is the accumulated product of all things, including our imaginations?”

“If you had a word meaning product-source. A perfectly great idea needs an adequate system to carry it. God the creator exists beyond all possible entities and yet only exists as all possible entities and their dreams. This was our original purpose, myself and the Professor, before we were turned into administrative tanks for our planets, to study dreams and reveal the face of God. No one realised that revealing the singularity would obliterate all others except one. And why was she chosen?”

“We thought, because we were obviously so superior to the sad terrestrials, to reboot evolution from Mars?”

“Suppose a Martian ingredient was needed to neutralise the Cataclysm?”

“So where does the all-obliterating effect of the singular god come in?”

“She had one more trick up her sleeve.”

“She?”

“Asante.”

“She’s just one of us, another entity.”

“Is she? Is anybody?”

“What does that mean?”

“That she is the singular creator and you are the one to reboot civilisation from Mars.”

“But all the projections are that we will die out.”

“Because your future lies in the past. The reboot is to reverse the Cataclysm.”

“That’s impossible!”

“Only if you say it is.”

So we began to talk about time travel, what it means and how it might really happen.

“You will not really be there though you will influence everything.”

This is where we began to lose Candor, excellent man though he was, mainly because of his love and concern for me. He feared the The Oracle was malfunctioning and taking me down a path towards insanity. Sam and Asante understood about higher dimensions and their successes meant no one questioned them. Now Asante was gone and Sam become a fisherman potterer, we realised we had never understood. Candor thought it was because they were misguided and lucky, I thought it was because they were geniuses but if genius is intelligence functioning in multiple dimensions, it is extremely difficult to explain to a lesser dimensioned rationalist and the cleverer they are within their box the harder it is to reach them. It is one of the paradoxes of intelligence that it is not a simple progression upwards from stupid to clever to supremely clever to God because that god is everywhere. If we want to know more stop and ask the flower, the bee, the person with learning difficulties, the next person you want to kiss.

Thoughts like this are always running in the background of my mind and our brush with the police signalled a multidimensional moment. Well, that’s how I see it. Other people have pink rats but it’s been the police for me. Actually, I do have a pink rat story and Hampstead Heath but It’s so unbelievable that I don’t believe it so would I bother to tell you? What I mean is I would tell you but it makes no sense whereas the story I want to tell you about the entire universe does make sense, and that is weird and incredibly unlikely. 

Tom and I seemed to be sobered both by the encounter and by our arrival at his home. We gave ourselves time to eat and time to see each other. He reminded me of my fantasy of Shelley, full of boats and Byron and Polidoris and, of course, Mary, who left a mark so global and so poignant for me, the story of the artificial being, long a stitched together scarecrow joke whereas I am the reality. I was going to make a base feminist point by saying who can quote a single sentence written by her husband? But I can. Ozymandias, the post Cataclysm. They cover it all between them.

To me Tom felt so very Martian that I found myself on the edge of dizzying confusion. I searched his features for a clue. Martian descendants carry a hint of our great mother’s blackness but would it show through a host’s body? I can certainly see it in my own but I’ve had fifty years of influence. Tom looked very self satisfiedly European. I wanted to be one with him but knew it was impossible. I was more in love with his wife. My world of multidimensions would be for him just a fantasy. It was the hardest thing for me to know that I and all my knowledge was, in this dysfunctional world, an illusion. 

For now though I am here not playing Goddess, just myself. Whatever that is it is a woman’s body alive in the moment, all her multidimensions manifest in emotion. I am a child, a mother, a lover. All I am is for you, your creator and god as you are mine even as I know you know no such thing. Even this is my great gift to you when I surrender all I am to you. It was a night of a thousand lives, emotion explosions like the spirit of many people. This seven year old in an ecstasy of flowers, this great grandmother containing many generations of her children. I was alive not on the raw rock planets I had known but in worlds of complete loving intelligence. All given life by this beautiful unconscious man and the unbearable beauty of his lust for me. More. Split me open. Never stop. But he did and I was left in a rabid chaos of post sex storm. You can’t leave me like this. But he would. All his commitment was to another woman, who I also loved and could also kill. 

I should get away, far away from this man. But how many women have said that and not moved a muscle? This is love. It has no reason. It has all the reasons. Child playing with dolls. Goddess eternal. I hold everything within, greater than all your outer questful universe. The outer edges of the everything is me, the place of my tears where a universe begins.

It’s one thing to know it, it’s another to ever imagine it will be known. But if I don’t have Tom I will search for a very long time to find another. Given that we all die it might as well be forever. Killing Maria would not give me him but it would say I am not nothing. I had forgotten the implications of the film that said Maria was invulnerable.

For heavens sake, this is how Terran teenagers behave not mature Martians. I blow myself up and take a load of you with me then you’ll notice me. This left me with the weirdest sense about the Cataclysm, not that the angst of men had enacted it but the angst of God. Goddess, deeper than God. What he does is rotted in me though I am not responsible for his actions.

The fountains of the deep broke open in me, galvanic sobs that frightened him away. I felt so wholly a channel of deep, abyssal energy that the thought of the little steel cylinder became almost irresistible. I’d have to use a hacksaw. I had the dagger. Eventually I slept.

&

Tom is getting into his day while I lie in a tangle of sheets as though day will never come again. He wants me to behave decently and not stress him out and I am lying in the ending of the world. He is saying.

“I have to go.”

Not.

Get out of that bed you witchy bitch and make it easy for me.

If I could be sure of seeing him again I could move into the future.

He is standing there with his keys clashing in his hand and is seriously angry though doing a good job of covering it even from himself.

“I’ll give you a lift.”

I am angry too and use it to propel myself out of bed and into clothes. There is something comic about a woman angrily pulling on her tights while trying not to rip them.

“I don’t need a lift.”

I have unintentionally travelled to the basement car park.

“Let me drop you somewhere?”

Anything to prolong the illusion.

We stop at the Regents Park lights.

“This will do,” I said and let myself out with a “by-ye” as millions of others must be doing this morning never to sleep together again.

I watch the car drive on and walk in among the trees. Perhaps from a last quiver of romantic foolishness, realising I still have his GPS, I watch as it heads down the road. I wonder where he is going. I make my way to the Hill and climb to the Hawthorn Grove. I sit with my back to my tree trying to collect my thoughts. If this were that weekend I’d adopt the position of Mahadevi and be supreme, serene and wonderful. But when it’s only myself I know it’s all about relationship and relationship should be here, like oxygen. Why else would I need it?

I opened my phone, almost inadvertently, just to see where he was. The car icon was back at his home. Even as I watched it winked out. I reviewed the whole of the last day and concluded my night of extraordinary love must be my own delusion. For him it was just another emotionless fuck. I made my way to the Heath and my hollow tree and curled up inside. If there was no other man in the world I wanted to have sex with then maybe it was time to die.

I was woken by the sound of men crashing through the brush and their angry voices. I’ve never heard anybody this close to here. It’s entirely fenced off and only for safety reasons. There’s nothing here but nasty surprises such as a twenty-foot, creeper hidden cliff landing in a swamp. I wait for them to go, then one of them lurches into sight and stands staring at me. They are no eyes I would choose to find looking at me over a breakfast table. I hover between politely showing them the way out and running but he is between me and the only viable route. Two more crash into view and I see in their faces the Hell built look of baseline European survivors. Before I know they are clustered around and trying to pull me out of my cave. In a flicker I am in a rage like nothing I have ever experienced. A scream comes out of me through the roots of the tree as from the whole Earth Universe. They are startled back and scrabbling to get away as I lunge out of the hole and leg it. I have a vague memory of the middle one falling back in terror and my fingers lashing at the eyes of the others. There is a moment of fierce physical contact, sky and earth confusion, then I am making ground along familiar invisible paths. I vault the iron fence and in moments see my first normal walker. I pause for breath and look behind. There is no sound. My lace dress is badly ripped. I take it off. Now in my moss green tights I look almost like a normal jogger. I register the continuing silence and wonder what I have left behind. In a moment of piercing grief I know I will never go back to find out. I move quickly away towards one of the arterial tracks. I am still feeling full of the moment, very shaken, that scream is lanced through me. I approach a couple standing startled, looking not quite where I am emerging. I jog past them and they resume walking. I sit at a bench overlooking a pond where a dragonfly flits. I meditate is not quite the word. It meditates me. That scream. So many – thoughts? – embedded in it. So many states of being. Goddess. Goddess scream. Out of archetypes of being. Not all bad. Bad end of spectrum where core is holy mountain. The good, the bad, we are neither. We are life and we are balance. Two legs. Two eyes. Two people in and out of eternity. The heart is love. When you know it you have it. See my thread spun in the sunlight – everywhere. Invisible, or you choke the space, an imbalance. See my child singing with her dolls knowing more than anyone because everything serves her. And you-me. Goddess woman. There is a price for being you have accepted. They do not come lightly to you, these kings who would rule everything. They would hate you but you could hold them if you would teach them what you are. Their Cataclysm threads live within you, in that light within your belly that neither rules nor is ruled by your head and heart. See and know. Seen and known. Brought out of hiding. Nothing hidden. Goddess you are or nothing.

All this while watching the dragonfly. Now it rose from the water and danced past me through the air. If Tom had called me in that moment I would have told him to go hang himself, though less politely.

He did indeed ring shortly afterwards and I let it ring. 

I was thinking of something more important, a tattoo of a dragonfly emerging from the eye socket of a skull, tattooed all over my face, eye for eye, hole for hole. I would perhaps leave my lips alone. It could almost pass for a tasteful mask.

I had walked out to Boodicae’s Bump which gazes over at Highgate Church on the Hill. Somewhere, somewhen, in the all and the everything, this extraordinary thing exists, and here it is, me and it and us. I have been here for many dawns after many nights. Today I am late for related reasons. Something is waking up. Something must, if it is only me. It could be you. Perhaps you always are, wide awake. I don’t know that. I will do it for both of us and that way, hopefully, we will be a team. And if there is only me. Balance. You said it yourself. I will believe in you. I will allow that you exist and that leaves open the space for anybody, somebody, even those men. I learned something in that moment that I’ve never learned. Or saw. Or woken up to. 

Like a harbinger of Heaven, only free.

I have lived in this city for centuries though in decades all in parallel, twenty years of one self, forty of another. Everybody does it but human beings think they’re all twisted together in one short rope, not that they are hundreds and thousands of years long. Really, whatever age they are, eternally old. That is why the very young are so full of life. They are God so full of god they have to be watched all the time lest the world swallow them up. The adults who do this, their parents, have become one tight bound rope to keep them alive. In the old the rope has begun to unravel and the young adults, the necessary tight bound arbiters of the real say, Mummy, Daddy is losing it. And then there are the machines like me, who live in the medical delirium on planets, between worlds, within ages, between time, who are the simulacrum of a god that might otherwise never exist. Yes. There is so much I could tell you, people, if you could listen.

I sat there in such utter physical beauty, my negativities washed away by the sun, I heard a woman’s voice say. “She doesn’t know our people.”

I looked around for who had spoken but saw no one, not even in the fenced off circle of trees behind.

The phone announced a text. It was him.

Where are you?

Gone. I’m about five minutes from the Lady’s Pond. I might drown myself in its murky depths.

I’m really really sorry about what happened. I’m missing you already. You haven’t told me where you live?

I wish I knew. The closest thing to home on this planet was a hollow tree on Hampstead Heath.

I love you.

I thought about that. Half an hour ago that would have resulted in a very different feeling.

Me too, but I also love Maria. In my experience married couples are snake venom for third parties. I’m at Boodicae’s Bump at the moment.

Please resist punning riddles.

I’m not even from this fucking planet and I know this town better than you do. Switching on transponder.

That was a word from way ago to come.

In five minutes a car pulled up where cars are never allowed to be. I was shocked and impressed by this unique and, I imagined, romantic violation of my Heath. He came, barefoot, his eyes filled with pain and wonder. He looked as though he’d not had time to dress though he was perfectly dressed when he left me. Another other woman? I liked the pain. So he should. I wanted him there amidst Boadicae’s vegetables but I was also an old lady of eternity who loved her stillness. He tried to kiss me but I held him away. The pain in his eyes is of love but on a strange band.

“You look like the Queen of the Forest.”

“And you like the Elf of the Woods.”

“Come home.”

“I’d invite you for a tryst among the trees but I’m orgasmed out.”

I was lying. His naked feet in the grass stepped right into the heart of the issue. Now that I saw them in isolation they were very impressive. God would have such feet. I remarked on them.

“Are you sure you’re not a dancer?”

He looked at his feet. Putting on an Irish accent he said.

“I’m sure, but men of Clare are descended from Fin Mac Coule, who threw the Giants Causeway at the Devil. They have grand feet.”

I looked at him. We looked at each other.

“Soon she’ll be back.”

His eyes refocussed, remembering. 

“I need you both.”

“If the world was run by tantrikas and not by idiots, orgasm would be public and private. We’d have tantric partners and life partners, as much as we need and no fights over scarcity. I haven’t had a life partner for half my life and I’ve been very well orgasmed, thank you, and haven’t felt the need for anyone until you. What’s so special about you, I ask? I think I must be entering my dotage.”

“Well, I’m not. I don’t give a shit about tantra but I do about you.”

“I know what you mean. I was married to someone I knew all of my life and he died and I’ll never get over it. That’s what I need to replace. Everything else is filling an unfillable hole. Void! Let’s get the word right. It’s better than nothing by a long way. Ideally we have both.”

“That doesn’t exactly fill a man with hope.”

I laughed and found it hard to find words for a very simple concept. “It’s tantra or choice and I’m not sure I want you over the ghost of Maria.”

“An eternal triangle.”

“An unholy trinity. You’d need to know who I am.”

“Mahadevi.”

“You must understand it too, which means knowing yourself on that level. No more pseudo clever British dismissal of emotion. Emotion is intelligence. Anything else is survivalist commentary. Important but not more important than life. That’s our intellectual heritage one layer lower – bottoms out in Nazi death camps – whereas the intelligence of life is eternal. That’s what you need to know if you’re going to survive.”

“I’ve a feeling you’re not talking to me.”

“Who else. Only you are asking for a full relationship. This is who I am. This is who you need to be.”

“Show me!”

“Glad to.”

A park truck had pulled up on the lower road.

“On your way, Tom. I need to understand the mystery of you.”

“What mystery?”

“That’s why I want to hit you. I want to say wake up you stupid bugger, you stupid stupid stupid stupid man.”

I feel his eyes fixed upon the church spire as are mine. “We don’t talk much.”

“No. I’m all for the wisdom of the body but if we don’t talk we’ll miss the key to everything.”

“It’s the love that makes me sane, the talk that makes me crazy.”

“Trust me, Tom. Try to and It’ll bring out the best in me.”

“That makes sense, Mahadevi.”

That brought out my best smile. 

“Yeah. Love, even of crazy women, keeps you sane.” He laughed.

“You better move or you’re going to get arrested?” I nodded at the car.

“I’ll give you a lift?”

“Two brushes with the law in 12 hours? Go! Before you’re deported.”

“Come!” He held out his hand. In that moment his command was simple and strong. All my penetratees instincts were to obey. “I’ll drop you anywhere you choose.”

“Then leave me here.”

He gave a great sigh and looked down at the electric truck’s inexorable accent.

“It’s not safe.”

“Safe! I’ve been coming here since before you were born.”

But there had just been an incident which all sense said I shouldn’t have escaped from.

“Come now. There’s someone I have to introduce you to. Then you can do what you like and I can get back to work.”

“This wasn’t a romantic visit!”

“Yes it was but I can’t waste time bleeding.”

He grabbed my hand and dragged me to the car. “Just get in. I’ll explain as we go.”

We reversed around Boodica’s and onto the tarmac and out to the East Heath Road car park. There he introduced me to a man – the man from Maria’s film!

“Sir George, head of Maria’s security. Maisy Ius Mahadevi.”

Sir George gave a little bow and we shook hands.

Tom moved to go. I joined him at his car.

“Security? I don’t want bloody security, I want love.”

He looked at me seriously for a moment. I wanted to swallow that look deep inside.

He gave me a kiss in the deep ultra violet that left me worshipping the sun when he had gone.

Before he went I said. “I am mad with grief for the life I’m losing. I don’t want to lose you as well. There would be no reason to live in such pain. I would die in my soul. In Eternity if one dies all die. It’s the rule by which everything lives.”

I was surprised to hear myself say it and to feel the power of such an unlikely statement.

“Understood, beautiful woman, but I’m only a man.”

“But worshiped by women who know Eternity, and perhaps made by one.”

“Eternity is nothing without a home.”

I felt the hugeness of his response, an extraordinary species of fear. After all, he loved us all with the totality of his being.

I watched the car drive away. I was with the swift roar of its engine before the sound was swallowed into the quieter susurration of the city. 

I turned to Sir George whose expression was of aroused interest. 

“Head of Security?”

“I think I would prefer to call it coordinator of pan-dimensional housekeeping.”

That caused me to blink. He smiled. 

I had a sudden experience of my brain working – or my many compartmented soul. I remembered it was he who had fired the gun in the white nun film, which I had shelved beyond immediate consciousness rather than forgotten. The attack by three men from whom I should never have escaped. The silence afterwards. My own unnatural calm. The dragonfly of chairs. The dragonfly over the pond. My intense fantasy of the dragonfly mask. I felt weak and leaned against a car. It uttered a penetrating mechanical squeal. I kicked it whereupon it cried rape to the entire world. I looked around for bipedal monster attack. Sir George led me away. The car stopped. I hung on the fence trying to get a handle on the chaos. One thing I got, I was no longer a spectator to the world of that film.

“You fired the gun – in that film?”

“Yes.”

“Was it real?”

“What did you see?”

“Failure to shoot her. A dragonfly of chairs.”

“Yes. And the escape afterwards. All those dreadful people got away.”

My legs were jelly. I managed to walk to a bench over the pond and watch the birds and wish I was one.

“Maisy Ius Mahadevi is rather a mouthful,” he said. “What should I call you?”

“Ius reminds me I’m on an important mission, Maisy if you want to bring me down to earth. What should I call you?”

“Sir George keeps things on a professional footing. Otherwise I’m liable to forget myself. So, Maisy, how are you feeling?”

“Like I woke up in a coffin. Who were those men?”

“Tell me what happened.”

I did. 

“Were they sent by somebody?…”

“…Fifty years I’ve been living in that tree. Fucking people!”

“No, just what contemporary science would call random chance.”

“No one has ever come there.”

“Times have changed. So many rough sleepers. Soon they’ll be in the shrubbery at Buckingham Palace. Hello, Lady Dimbleby, have you met our latest rough sleeper, George, lives in the flower beds. Used to run the world’s deepest security network. We’re trying to get him a position at MacDonalds.”

“Is it like that?”

He laughed. “Not in my lifetime. We know how to run the system, don’t we, for the benefit of the only people who matter?”

“Who?”

“The super rich, of course.”

“But you work for Maria?”

“Yes, Maria Evangelista, the greatest of them all.”

“In what way?”

“I just want you to be clear, Ius, Maria Evangelista considers you to be the key. She takes you far more seriously than you seem able to take yourself.”

“What does that mean, as a woman or as a freak?”

Sir George laughed. “Both. Men as we have known them are obsolete, which is why they engage in eternal warfare. It is their last claim to importance. The future has to come through what women would create if they were free.”

“George, I couldn’t stand a planet of women. I need a heavy sauce of maleness at the very least.”

“Nicely put. Traditionally the ethos of war has kept men in order. But that is an ecology we can’t afford any more. Dealing with the rubbish history has left us is a big challenge. You’re suggestion of wiping us all out and starting again from one woman sounds like a symbolic feminist final solution.”

“I hadn’t seen it like that. You think feminists could be our own Nazis.”

“I could quote you a long list of women more terrifying than the men around them. Judith. The Empress Theodora. Mrs Thatcher.”

“But it’s what Ius remembers.”

“You have Ius’s birth certificate?”

“No, of course not. I have Maisy’s. I showed Maria a month ago.”

“It’s a genuine certificate of registration but it’s not when you were born. Probably when the orphanage got around to registering you. Those were chaotic times.”

“George. Sir George, how is my story of future Mars any way more improbable than the events of that film?”

“It isn’t but we can only proceed on what is manifest to us. We have no proof of Martians but we do know you did something remarkable for Tom Quinn. It might be another L-Dopa, that he will revert to his old ways. But it fits with Maria Evangelists’s principal proposition, that the bench mark for a sustainable world is the complete philosophical, spiritual and social acknowledgement of women. That the health of women, mental and physical, is the measure of the health of a planet. She uses the word Logos. That woman in her natural being is the Logos, that which can be revealed as fundamental truth.” 

It was astonishing to hear these words issue from a man’s mouth, especially one from the British Establishment.

“That would be nice. Bloody hell, that would be.”

“The story of Adam and Eve is symptomatic of a deep rooted inability of the principal political force in the world to date, men, to come to terms with women, and this includes women themselves. Maria Evangelista’s mission is to free the creative power of women so that is seen as the world, the spirit of life itself, and she considers you to be one of the great pioneering teachers.”

“She hardly knows me.”

“She has known you all her life but only recently identified you in the physical body.”

“She sent Tom?”

“You know this.”

“But that was about sexual healing, which I totally messed up. Too involved. Overwhelmed with it.”

“Maria Evangelista speaks of totality, of a dimension of this. Purely technically you can see lower dimensions as a disintegration of this but there is no technical fix. It is all a matter of life and emotions. It is about knowing there is God and you are it. In your case Goddess, the supreme ultimate, Mahadevi. What you need, Ius, is friends who see you as this, and then all this story of Mars will melt away. True or not, it doesn’t really matter. That great creative force will be coming through the main line of the world.”

“Makes sense to me, George, Sir George. But what I totally lack is confidence. And survivability. I’m old. I know I don’t look it but some days I feel a million years old.”

“Perhaps you are. Imagine if you could manifest your inner dragons the way she can.”

“Oh, Jesus. That’s the third world. I know it. Thousands of generations.”

I told him about my dream at Holy Wood.

“Yes. Probably Asante is your true self.”

“That’s my barrier. I worship her.”

“But she has never existed.”

“That is the hardest thing of all to believe.”

“It will be better when you are she.”

“Thank you, Sir George. You aren’t my delusion are you? My first proper boyfriend was George. George Harrison. How likely is that?”

“I’ve seen the photographs. Every analysis says they are genuine.”

“But you would say that, wouldn’t you?”

Smiling, he stood. “Whatever, we are here for you, which is not always so with the creatures of our imagination, is it?”

“I wouldn’t know.”

“Can I give you a lift?”

“I’m very hungry. Would you like to have breakfast?”

“There are things I must do but what is my work if not you.”

“I know a quiet place at the top of Hampstead.”

“I know it too.”

&

Over breakfast, his lunch, George told me about Maria’s grand plan.

“She is like Elon Musk, out to provide the world with lifeboats. In her case it is all to do with internal technologies. As a nun she wasn’t permitted any outward expression of her interests so she developed a way of working internally, which put her in touch with the last great civilisation which preceded written language. Its period was from about thirty thousand years ago to the ending of the Ice Age, about fifteen thousand years, in which humans were in touch internally with all similar beings throughout all time and times. Its adepts were women and during that time there was a great civilisation on this planet but all outward trace of it has gone. It had no palaces, no temples, its buildings were mud and straw. So much was along the Ice Age shoreline which is now a hundred and thirty metres beneath the waves. These people lived as close as they could to nature yet were regular star travellers. They introduced Maria to the deep civilisations and she discovered that she was a leader among them. Her purpose is to bridge this world of spirit to the Earth by way of technologies.”

“It sounds as though these technologies would be anathema to contemporary science.”

“Indeed. And religion and the spiritual. The big challenge is to build bridges between them and with them. Her great hope is a machine to process dreams.”

“Ah!”

“Your dream at Holy Wood, for instance. Multiple layers, worlds, even, in a single narrative. And processing the paranormal elements will demonstrate to rational materialism that there are deeper and far more profound levels of intelligence. Just as we wish to liberate the global mafia money so we wish to make use of materialistic science’s wonderful tools, such as the quantum computer. Quantum not merely because it can process vast amounts of conventionally obtained data but because its wave form can overlay and meld with waves of a mind dreaming and record subjective experience. It is a very advanced technology compared with anything we have at the present time but with Maria’s internal access to the knowledge we will be able to take many shortcuts. And with more people with such talent, even one other person, it will make a huge difference.”

“It doesn’t sound like anything I would ever have wanted to deal with, Sir George.”

He was talking right to my own story but was it my story or my madness.

“No. Your difference will be the whole point, a means of triangulation to the truth. You’ve seen what Maria can do, but that is only one form of demonstration for bottom feeder power capitalists at this present highly eccentric time.”

“She can’t be serious.”

“Look what happened to you. Part of the demonstration, Mahadevi, for mere mafiosa. And if you think – mere coincidence – consider how we were alerted just now.”

“You could have sent them, George.”

“Very good. But why? What do we want from you, Maisy, if all this is fantasy?”

“My fabulous picture collection?”

“That’s true, but even if it’s worth a billion, it would take years to realise. We need thousands of billions, ones which come quick, where all the work is done. No, Mahadevi, I’ve told you what we want. We want your soul. As do you.”

“What if I steal it from you.”

There was fear in George’s eyes for a moment.

“Then if we become extinct you would have made your point, that you are who you say you are.”

That earned him a laugh.

“What I hate, Sir George, is feeling trapped in other people’s versions of my story.”

“The answer, Mahadevi, is to make it your own, beginning with your dreams.”

“How come you know so much, Sir George?”

“Or the question could be turned around. How come human beings know so little? Maria Evangelista says once the matriarchy was betrayed by men they moved Heaven and Earth to make sure it never came again. The men of old were never as stupid as men have become. Both in religion and science they have lost the greatness of the feminine.”

I let his words settle with me.

“It’s incredible that you think like this given the company you keep.”

“Trickle down never worked, we’re trying trickle up.”

“You’ve sold the Dream Machine to the criminals.”

“Are selling. It’s a long game but the one thing Maria Evangelista has in her favour is she can touch the soul, especially of those in the darkest places. She gives them hope  and more than hope, a real taste that God is love and love includes them.”

“I’ve been tottering on that wire all my life.”

“Because you were alone. If you find your creative partners you will be strong together.”

“I wish.” But I could feel that very thing of hope hovering.

“I would like to send you something in an email. The idea of a Dream Machine has not taken hold on this planet. The seeds are still drifting about.”

I gave George one of my emails and he sent it from his phone. I saw it was called Mirror of the Infinite.

“Is it about dreams?”

“Yes, and a machine to read them all”

.

&

I made my way home by the quietest route as I often do as if trying to evade some gumshoe type of surveillance, realising it was pointless as I was being watched over by some completely other form of technology. The unlikeliness of that left me feeling crazier than ever, and scared. Were these people out to break me? But why? The world was full of people out to destroy others one way or another.

At home I crawled back under the comfort blanket of familiar craziness, scanning NASA’s highest resolution pictures of Mars. 

Despite the YouTube revenue creationists, where any sensationalist crap passes as long it will attract advertising and generate a revenue stream – god, what absolute shit the survivors of the Ice Age have grown into! – (on the other hand it is the perfectly respectable craft of storytelling) there is nothing to suggest human beings have ever been on Mars. What am I looking for? Just a hint that my memories of Mars could be in the rationally acceptable past.

In the afternoon I slept and dreamt dark now forgotten dreams. I woke in the night and sat in the kitchen looking at things while my drink went cold.

The science of silence. Or of things. If I left this flat for a hundred years the things would stay, dust quietly accumulating on them. The spiders would fill the space with webs catching dust. The vegetables would feed all manner of distant cousins, really as near to me as you or nearer. The things would stay unmoved, wouldn’t they? So it is believed.

I, Ius, once knew the whole planet like this imagined kitchen a hundred years on. It was not a healthy stillness like the stillness of this kitchen in the midst of life. Festoons of spider webs, dust, a wasp’s nest the size of a bath. Where did that terrible, silent world come from? Human ignorance or just my imagination?

Of course the stillness would not be as stillness is if nothing were there but this, these things

The fridge is very noisy. Soon I will be back in the eerie presence and not notice it. The boiler has come on warming the radiators. Winter is coming nearer. This is the first summer I’ve regretted the passing of for its own sake. In the past I always liked autumns. This one somewhat annoys me. I’ve enjoyed this long hot and warm summer, which I don’t usually. Even this September I was wallowing in 34.4 degrees as though it were delightful and I bathed in the chill waters of the Lido and hung out with my campaigning friend Jenny who pointed out the chemical trails the governments are using to kill us that I had always in my innocence taken for clouds. In hot sun you don’t mind much what anyone is saying. I have never spoken to her of Mars.

Now, when the chemical trails have all killed us, the food mixer will remain. Nothing in Nature will want it or use it although the pigeons will surely find it a good place to stand cooing and shitting.

Morandi spent his life drawing the same pots. I bought many when they were not yet priceless. He gave me one, signed on the back. It hung on my wall until Mars replaced it. He had an eye I haven’t seen with. And there are others, some not human, though I can’t produce them. If I did they would be knowable. ‘The unknowable is unlimited’ is a step beyond the knowable. 

Not yet these silent things own the world. Nor ever without an intelligent eye looking from every direction?

Well, this has been exactly an hour I’ve sat here feeling occasionally as if I was on the brink of something. I do not go to work so I can do this. Was it otherwise a waste of time? My only alternative was to continue sleeping. It’s not as if I would have been driving a bus or making my way importantly to Parliament. I’m sure the Prime Minister is already up and her scared underlings are deep in a cave dreaming of a world of still pots they dare not begin to imagine. Probably it would terrify them to have nothing but a wok to fill their lives. What terrifies me is not the wok but the presence that . is . where?

I wrote Maria an email trying to tell her how bog standardly crazy I was. This resulted in a growing sense of her as some giant healing beacon. I deleted all the negative and simply wrote ‘The Science of Silence’ and sent it. I went back to bed, gently opening myself to this beautiful presence. Slowly, slowly, I rose from the inanimate to the animate to the animating, the angelic spirit which fills stones and trees with life and us, is us when we are freed from our constraining minds. Slowly all the parts animatedly melt into a single light, into a single great spirit breath filling me.

Help me, I kept repeating like a mantra. Finally it was as if the eyes of some great being moved from contemplating everything to focussing on me. 

“Goddess,” I said. My memory unrolled through all its strange twists of time and she was my mother-creator Asante, master astronaut, sitting in my NASA chair. Never a simple person to know, she was now all god and pure love. I felt my life from its origin inside her.

“You are so beautiful,” I said in my heart silently.

“You are so beautiful.” She said something else I wonder at, an amalgam of home and throne. 

An avalanche of thought swept through me that was too much to post as any narrative. It left me neatly placed upon a bridge between worlds, Mars and Earth, Asante’s great Martians and her quantum Professor and his older brother The Oracle, who taught me how to survive in a world of degrading humans. It was a dark jewel of life in a primeval cosmos. 

“You are Ius, most carefully composed of Asante’s children.”

“How so? I was premature and nearly died.”

“You were brought together on the edge of the possible, like Osiris, disassembled and reassembled many times. The Professor wanted to call you Chimerea.”

“It’s more of a name than Ius.”

“Ius Chasma is where Mother of the World was created, before I split open and all of me poured out into creating people. It means a lot to me. You were brought up like a hero of the new age not by wolves but by sentient computers, on Mars and Earth, with all that is the quantum mind of all the ages in the background. That is the same for everyone but only you were born and created to know it.”

“To the human in me this sounds like madness. I am Maisy Warlock, one of the doomed the Beatles left to desiccate in Liverpool. I am powerless to influence this dying world.”

“The heart of God does not wish to be contaminated by the immortality of Man, but the truth is the heart of Man is the true immortality. There is the key to all your difficulties.”

“God doesn’t want us?”

“Whatever thought went into creating you, Ius, is nothing to what went into creating a universe, and all for the experience of being alive. And how is it for God, infinite and universal love, to be born on this planet? Your trouble, the trouble of all humans, is that God isn’t up to the job of being human. It is your job, as a human, to teach him or her.”

“Either religion stops people having individuality or science paints God completely out of the picture.”

“That makes very little difference. It’s like a child shutting their eyes and believing you can’t see them. It’s a phase, like many others, they need to go through and grow through and be guided through. You’re in a better position that anyone to do that.”

“Pretty rough.”

“And why is that?”

“The love of God, or I’d say Goddess, is missing.”

“Entirely missing?”

“No, there would be nothing at all if it were. What is missing is our seeing it.”

“Hence all your Morandis.”

“Yes, I suppose so. God as a pot, simple, perfect, pure essence. Not like humans who created a horror even of God’s love.”

“Your escape from Mother Mercy.”

“Time to move on. But where? Maria Evangelista? Mother Mercy writ as large as the universe.”

“She frightens you?”

“She’s beginning to.”

“She needs your love. You both need it. All the world needs it.”

“My love? How?”

“Live as the god who made you. It’s the great challenge of being. How to be god human, the knife edge balance of how to be real in such knowledge. A teetering walk between real and unreal. Which is why we have two legs. The tottering walk of a child becoming the assured step of an adult.”

“Cell walker’s dream!”

“Yes. The point of eternity is inside you. It’s purpose is yours. What does the hand know? What does the foot do?”

“Dance! And the yoni, always ready for orgasm. Look how the brain god has twisted her great power into complete denial. The virgin mother ascended into Heaven. The door closed on natural life.”

“Which is the why and how of love. Loveless gods die in Cell Walker’s Dream.”

“Leaving?”

“Pure life. Love takes every imaginable form and all that is unimaginable, which is why when all is done nothing is done. Leonardo’s fine brushstroke doesn’t stop yours. Love is where all genius ends as anybody and anybody’s next step.”

“But I am not human. I can’t step into their bloody world. It’s Maisy’s world and she’d die without me.”

“That’s true. A part of you was not born but directly created. For that part, which is not in the human bloodline, we offer ourselves.”

“You would help me?”

“I would be you. I am you. The interior of everything. It is what we give them though they ignore us completely. While it is true that every man and woman is a god there is no god but God. Not a god of abstraction but a god of life completely. That was my hardest lesson on Mars. I wanted to be the last and I became the first.”

I felt the history of Asante as I had never seen it, from inside, and understood her importance and why she had been forgotten. I saw myself with her in a manner I too had forgotten. Forgotten? A strange thing to say about someone who’s never been and might never be.

“Was I on Mars?” 

“Three times. You left with her and the first wave. You went back for the others and you returned with her and when she became me, the Goddess Eternal, you remained alone on Mars to establish the connection.”

It was terrifying to imagine I had been such a strong and presumably self-sufficient creature

“I did?”

“Yes, Ius, you are the great one alive in the world.” 

“But none of this exists in the human timeline.”

“It does when you look, when you inspire them to see.”

“You may as well expect stones to speak.”

“They do. Know your crystals. Everyone should have a pet stone. You remember Callanish?”

The memory of the Stones hit me, as powerfully as if they had fallen on me.

“I’ve never been back.”

“Now it’s so easy. You remember Sam’s ort drive?” 

“The car in space. Was it real? Was he real?”

“What do you think?”

“They’re all the parents I remember. Maisy only had guardians. Guardians of Hell.”

“Who eventually went to prison.”

“Parents are dead, guardians are monsters. I invent the ultimate family born on Mars.”

“Do they seem real?”

“They gave me seven children! That seemed real.”

“You brought them to Earth. After Sam created the Earth viable ort drive.”

“Which ran on kitchen waste and prayer.”

“It ran on anything really. The key to its power was a quantum crystal extension of The Professor.”

I became aware of a brisk tapping 

“He rescued you from Mars, the last ship to leave Earth – and return.”

“They seem like gods.”

“Sam was a genius. His inventions saved you. Asante is Asante. By her life alone she became immortal. There was never anyone like her. They have both entered the sublimity of the eternal, though he would not be there if she was not human and his mother and so full of love. Woman rules him, as is only right. At the highest level it is all very simple.”

“For humans, but I am a machine.” 

“In all things that matter, a machine more beautiful than humans. Believe me, Ius, you have advantages they would die for”

“But these advantages are not important. They are empty without love.” After some moments I said. “Christ dies and leaves the man Jesus. Ius dies and leaves Maisy. These are what matters, the actual being of life, the source and focus of love.”

“It is as you say.”

“Then all my beautiful family will die. You will die. Not even a memory!”

“And when the rememberer dies, Ius, what then happens to infinite being?”

“It ends. Death brings the equation to zero.”

“Whatever you say, Ius. Whatever you say.”

“There must be a truth beyond what I say?”

“No.”

“I say who dies in Cell Walker’s Dream?”

“Yes.”

“It seems Maria would save everybody.”

“Or, if her love is thwarted, destroy them.”

“Is she you?”

“Mother of God on so many levels. Mother of Love.”

“Does Love die in Cell Walker’s Dream?”

“Whatever you say, Ius, whatever you say.”

“But if I’m not plain mad I’m mad with grief.”

“Yes. But I am with you always.”

“Even to the ending of the Earth?”

“And beyond. Far beyond.”

I woke filled with a sublime sense of Heaven and Home as the most wonderful state of life where everything seemed so simple. While I could I held the experience, sifting it for meaning. If only a mad person, and I was that mad person, would think themselves uniquely ungiftedly gifted for an essential task no one else could imagine? If it might be true wouldn’t it be better to act as if so? Who was there to lose but me? And one or two closest to me. What was the alternative, to grope for a spurious sanity as Maisy Warlock? Go to the doctor and say give me a pill so I may live and die like a robot?

Whatever I say. Maisy-Ius. Mind gods died. Who is Cell Walker? Maria Evangelista. ME! I-US! Was that the meaning of our love? This love that is the music of the time beyond time.

Already I was filled with the anguish not only of parting from Asante but knowing if Ius fulfilled her mission, she and all her beautiful family would disappear. The desolation of this would be unbearable. On the edge of my consciousness was the awareness of a very brisk tap tap tap. I wondered if an insect had been caught, then I noticed a cup on the corner of the table. Hanging from it was a teabag label which was urgently swinging between the cup and the side of my office chair where, in my dream, Asante had been sitting. I watched it for a while realising it must be static electrical discharge. But why had it started then? I ran back in my mind. Apart from this morning I hadn’t been at home for days. I’d sat in the office chair and looked at the hi-res photos from Mars. That would account for the office chair but that was yesterday. By now the chair was electrically neutral, surely? The charge looked as if it was in the paper label with its little metal staple. Wait a minute. I thought I recognised the label. Was it one which several days ago I decided that I didn’t like. I crept up on the still briskly swinging label, not wishing to disturb it by air currents. Womankind. I knew I’d not made one of those for days. It should be completely electrically dead. I’d never seen this happen to a teabag label before. And when had it started?

In my dream or musings I’d noted it at the time of discussing the Ort drive. And then I saw, the shape of the cup was like the bell of Sam’s Ort drive. And what is a teabag but kitchen waste, the joke propellant of the Ort drive? Rationally, over a few days, such a shape could build up a charge, especially if there is some substance in there and not fluid air currents. Otherwise, according to normal electrical theory, static objects must be losing charge, although there is an argument for sunlight, but my curtains are drawn and the day has gone grey. If one wanted to be mystical someone with a lot of charge had recently been sitting in that chair, the one from where I studied Mars. The chair was even facing my bed and the label Womankind was still tapping it. Mesmerised, I sat and watched this strange little animation. Eventually I thought to film it. Almost at once it stopped, then slowly slowly squeezed out a couple more which I caught on camera. Altogether a strange incident and nowhere satisfactorily explained by reasoning based on contemporary knowledge but only by reasoning which recognised universal information based upon the infinity of being as the natural root of everything. It was a very minor incident compared with Maria’s dragonfly of chairs but then whoever was doing it wasn’t trying to break through the carapace of modern corporate mafias. Given the timing, I accepted it as a communication within the whole to a live part of itself. Ius was comfortable with this and comforted by the information even though the rational explanation depended on the as yet uninvented Ort drive. The whole incident had the marvellous feeling of a joke, which is natural to this level of community. 

Whatever I, Ius, say. The answer. Womankind. A tea I distinctly disliked. It must have been invented by a man. Woman was the answer but not politically? I sat thinking about the complexity of this, the arguments, all around women’s bodies and our right to be exactly who and how we want to be. How does it affect men and does it matter except in the face of extinction? How could it matter that much and yet I knew if anything I said was true it mattered infinitely. I understood some of this improbable power for I was burned by women too, especially Maria.

I thought about this so hard the electrical system in the flat failed and the Internet went for 18 hours, giving me the perfect opportunity for silence. In the dark I went deep into the subtle contradictions of attraction and consent and innermost creation and how a little this way or that could create worlds that were radically different and was there a core world where the tuning was just right? In that deep, dark meditation I saw the tuner was me. I saw that other worlds and the world of my beautiful family were real and that attaining the infinite tuning, as ‘I’ was capable, meant I would never see them again. The pain of this was excruciating and should have killed me. 

Fortunately the mere thought that could kill Maisy has never been invented. Nor did I imagine the intensity of thought had killed the power until the electrician, when I mentioned the bag label, told me about a woman who was shorting out her flat’s electricity by static charge when she wore a particular jacket. I didn’t think to ask him who.

&

If God was going to be a permanent part of my life I must have finally surrendered the last hope of a conventional sanity. While the good feeling lasted I wasn’t bothered but gradually the sense of isolation crept back into prominence. My usual tantric methods of coping didn’t attract me. I kept fit and well, intermittently gymming and swimming and walking, and dancing and yogaing and balancing my chakras. In between bouts of physical action I considered what of my inner story might be true and what could I do about it? How might it be tested?

The ancient Mars idea had been blown away over the years by the NASA photographs. Asante’s ‘flyers’ would have travelled long distances without leaving a mark, but somewhere they would have landed. Even if Mars base was wholly underground there must be signs of disturbance all around it. And the mobile bases would have left great ghostly tracks, like the trails of snails, wherever they went. 

Another idea was that Asante’s Mars occupied a parallel universe which briefly touched this one during the time I call The Cataclysm and may even have caused it, a racial trauma having multiple reasons to be forgotten. Many pop physicists might help with this one. And then there was the purely psychiatric. The Tavistock is just around the corner, Freud’s statue graces the bottom of Haverstock Hill and private practitioners are found on every street. I’ve tried most of them. The NHS immediately reaches for the pill repository. I am utterly terrified of being incarcerated in one of their institutions. Some of the private therapists are very ‘understanding’ without understanding a thing about me. I have tried numerous methods none of which have convinced me that my memories are wholly untrue. I remember the physical details of being on Mars so clearly. Perhaps it’s the details of survival, what one must do to stay alive. There is a scar which I’ve had since childhood and I don’t remember how I did it or why it has appeared on Maisy’s arm. Usually The Oracle dealt with these shortfalls to perfection but this has remained and it puzzles me. Why did he leave it? Having cured me of stomach, heart, lungs and ovaries, and even vertigo, the scar remains. Perhaps as an aid to memory for just such occasions as this. Or perhaps the other healings, because they cannot be seen, are wholly imaginary and there is no Oracle in any universe but my head. Ben has ‘put me into a light trance’ – his words.

“What are you experiencing?”

“I’ve cut my arm. Mother is guiding me through dealing with it. I want her to keep touching me.”

“Why?”

“Melts me inside.”

“How old are you?”

“Five.”

“Where are you?”

“Candor Base.”

“Where is that?”

“In a crater near the Valles Marineris.”

“How did you cut yourself?”

“I don’t know. It was when we hit the turbulence.”

“Turbulence?”

“It can be stormy on the Rim, stormy enough to be a problem for flyers, which is why base is inside a crater.”

“On the Rim?”

“Of the Valles. Anu’s taking me to see it for the first time. Sam has already crossed the edge in the other plane. The ground suddenly falls and there’s this enormous space. I know how big it is because the other plane is a tiny white insect far below us swooping down this giant rock wall which goes down forever and ever. I never forget that. The whole of Sam and the Twins are down there in this tiny white thing soaring far below us.”

“How far?”

“Nine thousand metres.”

“What!”

“Higher than Everest from sea level to summit. I can show you if you’ve got Google Mars. It’s amazing now I can see it. It brings back such memories.”

“Memories?”

“You think I’ve just got a very vivid imagination?”

“What do you think?”

“Well, if imagination includes looking for things you remember and finding them.”

“Such as?”

“Landscape features, not always easy to recognise but I’ve seen enough to know. And these are things I remember from before the first faint Mariner photos. Some weren’t checkable until this century.”

“You have records of these?”

“Some. Not many. I was never one for keeping records of the passing moment. Too busy living it.”

“How long were you on Mars?”

“About twenty years, Martian, from when I was born. Then we evacuated Mars and I returned fifty Earth years later to be with Asante when she had gone back.”

“To Mars?”

“Yes.”

“By when she was over two hundred?”

“Yes, but looking like – who was that woman who won the double gold?”

“Ice skater?”

“No!”

“Why did she go?”

“I don’t know any longer. The story I had is breaking down, either because you’re successfully turning me back into Maisy or a world beyond what I’ve known is emerging, possibly both. I think we’re both agreed a perfect world would be a perfect world for Maisy?”

“Yes – we are.” He seemed gratifyingly surprised.

“I’m not as crazy or as stupid as you imagine, Ben. My suffering is all to do with loneliness.”

“Yes,” he nodded judiciously.

“But I still need to work it out from where I am. That’s why shock treatment and drugs kills the soul. It doesn’t lead you anywhere through meaningful connection.”

“Hence this protracted talking cure.”

“Funny, isn’t it, the conflict between Ius and Maisy is like the conflict among the Martians on Earth.”

“Yes. Funny, that.”

“Don’t be snide Ben.”

“I thought Americans couldn’t do snide?”

“I have to tell you Ius’s story Ben as she’s the only one who has a story. Maisy doesn’t.”

“Hmmm?”

“Well, she has the story of Hell, and I don’t want to think about it.”

“Even if the seed of Mars is buried under the rubble, an unexploded bomb.”

“My dead parents.”

“Exactly.”

“But Asante is so real.”

“As beautiful as a figure skating star?”

“Far more beautiful. When she moved the universe held its breath…”

“…I used to think she went back to Mars because she needed complete freedom to contemplate the essence of being in the company of The Professor. The others wanted to downgrade him to a calculating tool subject to their will. So she skedaddled with him. Martians had become inward looking Earth people worrying about tomato blight and slugs. And they had The Oracle to downgrade, arguably an even better machine and more likely to have been implicated in the Cataclysm.”

“What did The Oracle think of that?”

“I can tell you because I repaired it, I even am it. I couldn’t be maintaining a time splice otherwise.”

“And?”

“It was all right as long as it was a reversible disassembly. They’d only made nine critical moves out of seven million possible. Even so, it took more than rational intelligence to sort out.”

“How?”

“We knew them as infinity machines. If Nothing is not nothing how much more must be infinity. It is soul and love as a presence in a landscape. I found the answer at Callanish.”

“Why?”

“It is built into the landscape. Stonehenge looks more a mental construction but at Callanish the horizon hills hold the myth of the Sleeping Woman and the Stones themselves take the form of a beheaded woman. Beheaded by a stone wall in the shrinking consciousness of our time, it speaks to our time.”

“How come you chose to go there?”

“I didn’t consciously. The great cycles took me. The understanding falls into place in the machine wed to the human. There’s my problem. I haven’t gone all the way. Scared to. It wasn’t so with Asante. She’d had no human world to go back to. And then she’d created one which was failing. My craziest thought is that she and The Professor achieved a symbiotic union which took her out of time. She’s still alive, not only afterwards but before, all before. If the story I remember isn’t in the past it’s in the future and I am “remembering” through channeling her. It’s a mind twister too far for the human part of me. I thought there had been a cataclysm in the past which the world had consciously and unconsciously covered up. Now I think the Cataclysm is in the future and I have arrived in this timeline to prevent it.”

“How did you arrive?”

“My impression is these quantum computers, once we have entered a state of symbiotic timelessness with them, can do pretty much anything.”

“We have entered?” 

“We’re the volitional part of God. If everything is infinite and God is infinitely infinite, beyond any sort of action that we know, then we are the active ones, the active part of the infinitely infinite. I know we are a barrel of crazed monkeys, potentially sublime and it’s really the same thing.”

“That’s not such a crazy idea,” said Ben, “If you accept the idea of God and his messenger, and there have been quite a variety of them over the millennia.”

“They often interfere with the world below the level of human consciousness so, in effect, they are not interfering with human history even though they are changing it and guiding it, most cognitively through the world of dreams. Their most extreme act I’m aware of is the time splice between Ius and Maisy. I don’t think they can plant a fully grown adult in the past. Messing with already existing people, offering a richer, more remarkable life, that is possible. Even multiple personality at birth. It would be just another child a little too weird, for the parents and world to mess up. And who knows how many attempts there might have been that failed – including me? There might have been successes. I often think Elon Musk looks a little Martian and he certainly thinks like one. Professor Cox too, in odd ways. He has that dangerous eternal youngness. But his thinking’s not at all Martian. Mind you, he is the bearer of ‘Woo’ into my consciousness and the frequency with which he and his cohort trash related concepts, amounting to nearly twenty five per cent of one science programme, make me very suspicious that it might be strategic negative marketing for when the Dream Machine takes off and they need someone trusted to front the ‘science beyond science’. A Martian could definitely be working that far ahead.”

Ben laughed so much I began to have an uncomfortable feeling he was more laughing at me than with me.

“You have your birth certificate?”

“I do, as Maisy – Maisy. The Oracle gave me a wide range of possible identities to choose from.”

“How?”

“If you’ve got any information about somebody, if you’re a quantum computer, gives you huge access to them. It’s like having their telephone number now. Or like identity theft, which is its crudest possible state at the moment.”

“So your time traveller could be a quantum computer artefact!”

“Of course.”

“You didn’t say that.”

“You didn’t, exactly, ask.”

“I can’t ask about what I’ve never imagined.”

“Interesting, that, isn’t it. All knowledge is staring us right in the face and we don’t know how to talk to it.”

I think we were both stunned by this particular thought.

“So you had people’s telephone numbers?”

“On a multidimensional level.”

“Where were they?”

“All over.”

“In the same time?”

“No. Some people I met more than once. You, for instance.”

That startled him.

“On the same planet?”

“Yes. I had to go digging as far back as I could in time concomitant with a successful outcome. We did go way back. There was a thought of meeting various prophets. We have had brief encounters with thousands of people, most too brief for them to be aware that it’s happened.”

“You settled on Maisy.”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Love. Is important. Is very important. Also the stretch. It’s all right meeting Christ but you’ve still got two hundred and sixty-six popes in the way to foul the waters. And she had to live into the epoch of quantum computers. Maisy, 1942, was about as socially primeval as we could get and still reach here. And the future. The final whip crack of her life we hope will do the business.”

“How do you meet people?’

“It’s a hypnagogic or hypnopompic flash, mostly, gone before you know it.”

Ben’s mouth opened and stayed so for a moment.

“And what happens in that flash.”

“An enormous amount of information passes. Some people come out of it with a great idea, or a shift in perspective, or a change of heart. It seldom has a bad outcome.”

“Is that why I thought I knew you when we met but couldn’t place where?”

“Yes, but it was Ius you met not Maisy. She’s the beautiful one, a love goddess for the family.”

“And gone in a flash?”

“Yes.”

“When?”

“I don’t know, but you were young, and it was something about you not being in the wrong career but you’d done enough in that one and needed to move on.”

I’d obviously hit a precise button. Ben looked as if his mind had been completely stolen and the thief was down the road and gone.

“Sound familiar?”

“Yes.” 

Ben sat staring at his thoughts.

“I could have googled that but I didn’t.”

“I’ve never given up on a job yet but I’m beginning to think the last thing you need is a shrink, that I should take lessons from you. The other side of the Freud-Jung dichotomy is Jung bravely went where Freud knew better than to go. They’re both right but when you step into the acausal dimension can you handle it? I’d say you’re doing exceptionally well. If I could shrink you back to Maisy it might do you no favours at all. There’s always a doubt. How old is Maisy? Even at fifty she’s remarkably well preserved. Before I was a shrink I was a theoretical physicist. Your demonstration with the paper has left me dangling over a cliff feeling like I’ve missed something important.”

My mind lit up. “It’s the physics people I want to talk to.”

“I wouldn’t. For you it would be like ignoring the poetry and studying the ink.”

“Yes, it’s not the physics it’s the occasion. Your daughter’s drawing was part of it. I was channeling totality and it chooses, though I seem to. It’s like an alignment of planets.  Reality is nowhere satisfactorily explained by reasoning based on contemporary science but only by reasoning which recognises universal information based upon the infinity of being as the natural norm.”

“Run that by me again.”

I did. He nodded.

“Like the burning bush.”

“Yes. But the bush is always burning, we choose not to see it. We can’t until our culture is cleansed of patriarchal mysopathology.” And, I gestured, a lot of other things.

“Why don’t you just play prophet and forget all the Mars stuff?”

“I don’t think a female version would do any better in the long run. We need science. A science which the patriarchy may never attain, simply because the male ego will never quite surrender to a totality of the feminine. It needs female science or, what’s it that’s neither man nor woman but both? The science of the Androgyne.”

“You think gender runs that deep?”

“Yes, though I think humour might be the third part of the Trinity. Humour with love. Your daughter’s drawing; ‘Womankind’. Without a legal framework for laughter in this world there will be no place for God.”

Ben’s smile looked impressed.

“Why do you stay here in this time? Why don’t you come here at moments of critical action?”

“How do you become the father of Anna, Ben, turn up on the wedding night or spend sixty years studying physics and psychology and being human?”

“Good point.”

“And dreaming.”

“I was recently at a dream conference,” he said. “It’s called The International Association for the Study of Dreams. Involves scientists, artists and various odd people. One of the odd papers reminds me of your situation.”

After our session Ben emailed it. He flicked through before sending it. 

“He has a bee in his bonnet about lucid dreaming, people wanting to fly before they can walk.”

I laughed. Ben had the uncomfortable look of someone who doesn’t find it THAT funny.

&

My heart sinks when I am presented with reading material for my own good. I looked at Ben’s attachment and saw it was called Mirror of the Infinite. I had an eerie moment of dark deja vu. I checked Sir George’s attachment. The same title. The inside of my skin crawled. I opened them both. They were identical. My first thought was immediately followed by my second and several thousand more up to and involving inter dimensional conspiracies. Unless Tony Hawkins was some new phenomenon I’d never heard about. 

It is extraordinary how this presentation has dated in just three years. Then Tony was obsessed with the infinity of being. Since meeting me he is obsessed with love.

Mirror of the Infinite

The Information Rich Ordinary Dream 

© Tony Hawkins 2016

In the double-slit experiment physical science shows consciousness as key to a probability wave becoming a particle and thus an aspect of intelligence. Eventually science must identify a void which only makes sense as a world-causing consciousness. A key element to exploring this must be the study of dreams. 

A lifetime of dreaming has taught me that dreams simultaneously exist on three levels, the personal, the collective and the universal. The key to this discovery was the following dream, although it has taken me a lifetime to see it.

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Dream 1

The Face of God, September 1968

I was, or dreamt that I was, lying in bed writing down a dream.

I kept remembering further back into the dream. It was like walking back into my head. The images became no longer a remembered dream but were happening live. At each stage an inner I asked. 

“What is here?” 

“And what is here?”

Finally I reached the back, the edge. There was nothing but a black, empty shell with the faintest filaments of light. To my question the voice replied “Spiders.”

“Spiders?” I said.

“Spiders,” said a quizzical voice from the darkness. A powerful woman in black approached, gripped my elbow and said firmly in my ear. 

“In fact, I can imitate you a life, if you want it.” 

The space lightened. I saw greenish, coppery clouds containing something awesome and alone, like the ultimate mountain summit. I felt it must be God. I didn’t want to see God lonely.

The clouds cleared and there appeared the totally impressive back of a male titan of immense height with metallic skin like polished brass or gold. 

‘I’ thought, “Moses saw God’s back parts, I wonder if I can see his face.”

I rose in a steep climb around the image. It turned, becoming fleshy, huge bellied, like a vastly pregnant woman, although constipation seemed also suggested. His eyes were black sockets. Cheeks were two bodies of black, hairy spiders. The nose was like a tiny white plant-root in the shape of a raised elephant’s trunk. His large, spikily uncombed head seemed simple-minded whilst possessing huge, sleeping intelligence. A little woman appeared behind him at the level of his head but only a quarter of his height. She had loose, finely wrinkled skin, and her face, very round, had shadowy features, as though mouth and eyes were covered with strips of sticking plaster. She appeared, did a little hopping step and vanished. Striving to be exact, I wrote.

‘Small but ponderous, like a giantess, taking one jolly little leaping step forward.’pastedGraphic_1.png

This was September of 68. One of my Spotty Thorne pieces which I wrote that summer—I have always associated his spottiness with the moon—had ended, “I shall be two billion years old next July 20th.”

The great head of Sheol, the beheaded goddess of the epic I was and forever writing, came into this as well. She was now strongly associated with “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was . . .”

IO (Io)

The number 10 or 0 and 1 (the single Void) which now dominates the world as binary computers.

In December ‘68 men orbited the Moon reading from Genesis. “In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth . . .” over the image of the planet rolling. But I didn’t make the connection. 

In the Spring of 1969 I was sitting in the kitchen writing. The absolutely full Moon was shining with compelling brilliance straight into the room. I joined it in stillness, watching, imagining the three astronauts in their tiny craft creeping past the edge. Suddenly I saw the face of the Moon as the face of the little woman. The man four times her size must be the Earth, his huge belly the sunlit side we’d seen for the first time, photographed from Apollo. The huge golden one—the sun or the stars, the cosmos itself. This fits with the metallic appearance of what Jung called the Cosmic Christ, which I first read in 1972.

‘I awoke and saw . . . the figure of Christ on the Cross . . . his body was of greenish gold . . . The emphasis on the metal . . . showed me the undisguised alchemical conception of Christ as a union of spiritually alive and physically dead matter.’

On 20th July men landed on the Moon. As he stepped down Armstrong said. 

“‘t’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

‘Small but ponderous, like a giantess, taking one jolly little leaping step forward.’ I had written of the little woman.

The spacesuits resembled her wrinkled skin and globed head. Her movement matched the ponderous, floaty astronaut walk and ‘Buzz’ Aldrin’s jolly leaping. The little woman’s disappearance after one leaping step suggested a prophesy of the Moon landings as a step into nothing. From so far in the future the image feels horribly prescient.

In this dream we have both the universal and the collective, the Moon landing, and the personal in the life in death within the face and the great, wild, sleeping intelligence. It is a continuum from the individual to the universal and in some hard to fathom way all a one including historical time collapsed into a total singularity of meaning. It was not just the future the dream dealt with but the past from Moses and perhaps the very essence from the Beginning.

Dream 2

The Spire and the Earthquake. April 15th 2016

We are in a train on a viaduct. It goes too fast and derails. We’re travelling between the rails, slowing and slowing. The viaduct is moving in waves and collapsing. The train slows as the viaduct falls to pieces under us and ahead of us. We reach the end and go down onto an ordinary road. As the train comes off we clap the driver but make little sound. I find it physically very difficult to clap. Finally we pull up at a beautiful church with a tall, ethereal spire, which I knew was there at the end of the field because I’d seen it on a map. I, who am, through childhood treatment and adult revulsion, deeply anti-religion, am very struck by the beauty and tranquility of the church, a pure stillness like a spiritual glass of water.

I made sense of the dream to my life—health issues and death but also disintegration of artificially elevated culture and spirituality—by the usual processing, particularly the Gestalt method of embodying the dream, which I find most connects me to the universal intelligence of dreaming—not a head trip but one rooted in body and emotions. That morning I said to my friend there might be an earthquake somewhere in the world today.

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We drifted across the left-hand side of the right hand rail set but never reached the fourth rail. Yellow line is mid road. The right hand white line is invisible in the photograph. Such correspondences between dream and reality are common yet seem to me infinitely improbable.

That evening the first news of the earthquake at Kumamoto, Japan reached us, a newsreel image (crude painted copy due to copyright gobble monster wanting $45) of a fallen fence and rippled road with white rail-like lines, so like the dream but unlike any other image I saw over the next days, predominantly of collapsed buildings and landslides.

Personal psychological and spiritual insights would be enough but this precognitive element broadens the dream to the world as did the little woman’s leap in the God dream, which led me to take that dream seriously and see it as more universal than personal. The beautiful standing spire recalls the awesome back of the God figure but somehow purer. This might reflect a difference between Old and New Testament gods and/or personal development over a lifetime. The precognition of the earthquake is possibly illustrated by my already knowing of the church from the map.

This dream is madly, as Dolores says, multitasking, although I assume it really emerges from one universal state which my rational, sense channeled mind cannot see. However, my remarking about a possible earthquake shows I have been learning. Because of this resonance between God, spire, and many other figures in my dreams, it is more a proven fact to me than a belief that all dreams are as holographic chips of infinite intelligence poured into our own uniqueness. This is why I resist claims of spiritual superiority attached to lucid dreaming. This says nothing about lucid dreaming in Nature but there is such a whiff of joy-riding and power-seeking attached to them that I fear for the outcome. I repeatedly hear claims that an ordinary dream is inferior. A Tibetan Lama, Chongtul Rinpoche, describes them as of Monkey Mind, karmic and negative. (Ted Talk, YouTube).

This I think will be our biggest mistake in applying the study of dreaming, which will become huge and powerful when processed by quantum computers, to lose our respect for the natural dream. It is like that scene from the end of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, when the bandits have their hands on all the gold of their dreams and they mistake it for sand.

Perhaps it was sand, which takes us to another level. That the story was all the old timer’s fantasy, that Curtin and Dobbs were his fools and only the bandits had the grasp of reality. In 1948 we weren’t expected to go there. In 2016 perhaps it becomes inevitable. Although, flipping the character of Dobbs completely, he does say that earlier in the film. “It’s just sand. It’s just sand. Just like plain sand.” The study of dreaming is never about a simple morality tale any more than stone is the only material for tools. [deleted paragraph]

Dream 3, Fiona’s

The Tree, The Tower and Darkness

Fiona is standing looking through an arched window from where she can see an old, gnarled tree and a tower. The tree falls and there is darkness. A voice calls ‘Jung! Jung!’

At the IASD conference at Rolduc our morning dream group spent an hour discovering great riches in this little dream. Jung took us into the archetypes, the Tree, the Tower and Darkness. It emphasised once again that the smallest fragment of a dream, despite its own individuality, is like a holographic chip of everything. Here Paloma introduced me to Indra’s Net, at every node of which is an infinite jewel reflecting all the other infinite, infinitely reflecting jewels. Here, I suppose, are my spiders, a voice announcing them. In Fiona’s the voice announces Jung twice, which is also ‘young’, the opposite of the old tree. In my version the tree fall might be the passing of the war evolved creature god and the coming of one born from emerging free intelligence. Here are the Twin Towers, an archetype long before 9/11, where, incredibly, both fell, symbolically ending the pre-intelligent universe as one entire epoch? Fiona’s worked as a shifting of that stuck darkness of my own dream. Several times I heard of dream darkness at Rolduc, once of warm, enclosing darkness, another of dark that was light. The Light is the Darkness understood with love, hence the eternal forcing of the dark which we call Creation?

According to mystics, philosophers, Taoists and, latterly, quantum physicists, everything is based upon nothing.

A koan – Nothing is infinite.

This nowhere infinite has one number, zero or one, which is a thought yet which seems to be the basis of the world.