the Mystery Play

The Mystery play

The diner was in the center of a half-forgotten shopping strip that was mostly silent.  It was called Heart Attack Cafe but the sign remained only partly lit.   Daniel almost walked past the place with his hoodie pulled up over his head while walking in the bitter cold. It was the sizzle and buzz of the pinkish neon sign that drew his attention up. The sign actually said HEAR. AT C. CAF.   Daniel looked into the glowing windows still reflecting the outside world and his figure dim in the glow of a frozen puddle, a ghost in a distorted world lingering in the cold.

Walking past the open sign, he entered the tepid beige and pink interior that had aged into gray respectively.   It was the kind of place formerly used decades ago, during a cultral way of noteliga that gave way a rejection of the past, and where loners went for a warm place to temporally lose themselves internally and still be out.

Daniel wondered why he still felt like an intruder in the comfortable warm bath of a Diner at night, that was somehow genuine like a visceral dream.

Walking slowly through the low white noise, Daniel could hear something similar  to the buzzing of distant insects. Occasionally you could hear the clink of coffee cups or the cough of a tar filled smoker lung.   One elderly man in worn out clothes sat facing the door in a booth. His eyes were tightly closed. His body hunched over his wireless black box with his boney fingers slowly pushing buttons. It was an old version, a 3rd generation VR receiver. The smile on his face was dull and forced as if the world he inhabited was painful and mesmerizing. He could have been a statue or a corpse if not for those strange fluid moving eyelids. The young man passed by unnoticed as was the cold breakfast laying on the table.

Daniel found Richard at the end booth in front of two windows. He slid in across from him and watched for a minute to see if he was wired in or was just being Richard. The other young man always wore sunglasses.  Richard’s Box was state-of-the-art with his VR controllers pushed deep into his brain, yet his fingers moved up and down as if conducting an orchestra. The manic ways and habits were manifesting in a public display of madness. Unkempt dark hair bounced as he shifted through the massive stimulus of the online world, always probing, looking for some hidden secret.  Daniel took the opportunity to stare at the face he had once known so well.

“Can you get me some more coffee?” said Richard

The voice was sudden and crisp. Daniel was confused for a moment until she arrived at the table like a wraith. Silently there but also seemed to be hardly aware of reality. She looked downward at the pair and then quickly up as if she was disinterested in contact.

“You want some coffee too?.”

She poured a refill for Richard.

“Yes, thank you”

Daniel looked up and smiled at her. The waitress was taken back by his demeanor so she frowned and looked over the table with a sliver of new interest.

“You want something from the menu?”

Daniel took the menu from her but didn’t open it.

“Do you have any real food, I mean like real eggs?.”

She didn’t seem to be offended by the question.

“Nah, just eggs in a box.”

“No, Thank you. I’ll just have coffee.”

She took the menu in her thin hand, the bones and veins were clearly visible but rough from time spent working for a living.

Daniel looked at her with a smile but his eyes were sad. She narrowed hers and grinned with a sly smile that spoke more about the substance of her current existence than any judgment he assumed.

“Hey you two are twins, ain’t you?”

“Yes”

“Ha, I almost couldn’t tell”

She wandered off and left the brothers alone. A condition that had not been a reality in quite some time.

“I thought she would never leave.”

He retired his psychic/social defense mechanism and laid the sunglasses on the table.

“So how are you Daniel?”

He thought about the question. He looked closely into his brothers face for signs of affection and found nothing but impatience.

“Let’s get to it, ok”

“Fine, fine”

Richard sipped his coffee waving off the negative feelings and putting his business face on. He was not quite sure where to put his fingers in the real world. Afraid that the constant motion would appear menacing, he placed them together with palms touching as if in prayer.

“So I am still doing the reporter slash online video personality thing. And there is this celebrity slash fashionable people tabloid site that has hired me”

“So….your an influencer?”

“I am a Personality. People come to me for information. I wheel and deal and I present the facts. I get a million visits a day at the site and my club. Because I have the truth. The truth behind  the world behind the curtain. I am a back stage man….”

Daniel’s weariness at the conversation became evident. His eyes rolling like a wind up toy.

“So ..I was persuaded to do a piece on this famous theater troupe. They are the talk of the space staions and the online world. Everyone is trying to find the location to this Artistic Experience.”

Daniel shook his head and let out a tiny sigh of relief. His brother formerly had his hands in so many destructive or consuming projects that knowing this was not heading in an illegal direction was a lightening of his demeanor. He smiled for the first time at his brother as if looking at a child who needed the newest toy for Christmas and talked about nothing else.

“They operate somewhere downtown in underground circles, the art collectives,  we think in an warehouse or maybe an abandoned theater. It is all very hush-hush and it is all that the people of my club can talk about ………..”

For Daniel being a twin meant so much more than the normal variety of sibling connection. They were born into a large family thus the boys had been stuck with each other the majority of the time. Inseparable and united that is until High school, when they were separated into different classes.   That was the beginning of their second major separation.

“..the play is suppose to be an Artistic genius level experience to the extreme. But only a few known people have seen it. There are no reviews in the Times in fact no one is on record as having seen the play but we know a few names of people we think have seen it……”

Richard had abused and used up his brother’s charity in a endless chain of special requests and money lent to him was never returned. The lunches that were planned were unattended while Daniel sat waiting alone.  This lunch was to be the last string that held the hope that they could become connected in a positive way.

“Here is the crazy part. The one thing we know for sure is the play is only for one person. Think about that, an entire production of actors and set pieces and lights and special effects all for only one person.”

Richard paused in a dramatic way with a fierce look of intensity. “One person, Daniel, one lowly soul. How is the person picked? How much does it cost? What are the parameters to be picked?”

Daniel wrinkles his brow in confusion.

“So, what is your angle?”

The shaggy hair bounces in excitement.

“To solve the mystery, to get the story, everyone wants to know, everyone wants to get invited, everyone wants to see this play.”

“why?”

“Why, are you serious? This is the greatest art play ever made and only one person gets to see it. ”

He sat glumly his face full exhaustion and worry. Daniel realized how hard he had worked for this story and the lengths he would go through to get the scoop on this Mystery play. His heart soften and he longed to be a brother and to care, to not feel the pain that only family could inflict.

“So you want me to get invited? How?”

They could still read each other’s minds just a little bit.

Richard smiled knowing he had succeeded in his goal, he had the fish by the hook but he also knew Daniel was his last shot., so he nodded with an honestly grateful look.

They paused looking at each other from across the booth at a dirty diner in the heart of a city. Two twin brothers were frozen shadows with imperceptible differences sharing a moment of interconnectedness in one moment of flowing time.

“Ok, I need your avatar, wait I’ll send you a link.”

He put his sunglasses on and plunged into the Web.

“I’ll meet you at my club, I need to get a few things ready first.”

He was busy waving his hands and muttering to himself with a huge excited grin on his face.

Daniel sighed again and sipped his coffee looking over his shoulder to the counter. The waitress’s sixth sense arose and she paused between wipes of the interior of a glass and looked at the table. He pursed his lips in frustration, she looked at his brother with a knowing glance and nodded in the shared emotion.

“Daniel, I need you in here.”

Part 2

Daniel’s crisis of spirit had began with his dissatisfaction of the online world. His social life had waned and his avatar neglected. He felt a pull back to the dusty books he could find in the storage department in which he worked..

He found he loved of idea of  travel, history and the ancient Earth Culutures. He wanted to eat right, exercise and spend time in nature.  The Virtual reality of the WEB felt pointless and always seemed to shift like quicksand under his feet. The people in VR talked but said nothing and he felt ever more alone as an electronic image, even if surrounded by millions of earthbound electronic images wandering a landscape of man made creativity and generated illusions.

Daniel pulled out his little black VR box and pressed the right button,  his eyes glazed over and he felt the rush of falling as the separation of self and reality merged tp become the Avatar in the WEB.

“Where to Richard?”

“My club”

Daniel waved his real hand in front of his face and opened a command window, making sure he had on his regular clothes and not a uniform of some sort.    He had been involved with a battle group that repeatably killed each other for hours in an abandoned city scape, then met at a virtual Nude Girls bar and then pretended to drink beer and sing tales of valor. Daniel had loved the last part. Sitting in uniform with a group of beefed up avatars talking about the shared adventure of death. It was like being a part of something bigger than yourself. The fake gyrations of simulated flesh and lack of real beer buzz eventually became distasteful. The conversations repeated the same way, night after night, and when he compared an experience to a novel by Vonnegut or Crane then the avatars began to notice the quiet avatar in the corner of the table. One loud leader began to berate him and notice all the things in him they hated. They began to pick apart his scores, his appearance and things became intensified. A personal avatar attack is usually not allowed on the Web, only in certain programs or places. The bar just happened to have a clause for a more real bar experience. Daniel did not even know how to defend his avatar from bludgeoning in the Web without a defense code. He stayed in the bar as a curious observer while things escalated and his friends plummeted his body and threw him through the bar window which regenerated a few moments later leaving him on a city street with a blinking sign.….Nude girls… over his electronic body.  Daniel now knew why the Neon sign had bothered him from the front of the Café. He was experiencing psychic trauma from an online occurrence, manifesting in the real world as sort of subconscious trauma needing the aid of  therapy. 

Daniel materialized on a bright street. Giant advertisements floated high up in the sky, where flying cars and people moved without the aid of engines or wings. Avatars walked by in an awkward or majestic way depending on the latest technology and programing. Beautiful models and mystical creatures in whatever fashion or costume imagined under the radiant invisible sun. Animal faces merged with alien grays and famous icons lived again in new forms. Some avatars stood paused in mid walk while their owners took care of real business in the real world.

Daniel looked up at his brother’s club.  It was a large Gothic looking castle with a nondescript sign that just said Gonzo.   People streamed in and out of the large wooden doors. Daniel joined the fray. Once you passed into threshold the massive space divided in half with a staircase going straight ahead with signs pointing toward a studio, office and private rooms. The sign said private rooms followed by an electronic symbol of a wink. On either side were large entrances to two very different spaces.

On the right was a night club where half naked people danced to music selected by a virtual DJ Richard. It was not his brother but a clone operating in pre-programmed movements and mock DJ gestures. It was set to repeat every few minutes. In fact all the movements of the dancers were repetitive and automatic. The real action was the little dialogue windows where the real people talked to each other. You couldn’t see other avatar’s chat windows unless they wanted you to. Some self absorbed people did. The useless words streaming out in font as large as allowed by the Web.

Across the other side was a bar also designed by Richard with red velvet and upper class vibes. The scantly clad female waitresses all resembled his notorious ex-girlfriend and they would pretend to bend over to pick up something on command. Behind the very long dark mahogany bar was their father.

He and his three clones moved in seamless precision and grace making fake drinks for the classy clientele.

Daniel was unnerved by the experience of seeing his fathers face and wondered what Freud would say about making the image of your father as a man servant. This was the virtual world where your baggage is already out and being abused in every way imagined.

“Brother, welcome.”

The text window appeared next to his head and he looked up.

Richard was dressed in a tuxedo at the top of the stairs, he descended the stairs slowly. All the avatars knew who he was and some greeted him with text. He waved them all away his eyes on his brother. Then when he was in front of him he reached out and hugged in a robotic fashion.

Something that did not occur even in the real world. Daniel did not know how to hug back, even if he was capable with an avatar.

“You want a tour? Let’s go see the studio or damn you have to see my pad on the top floor, I am so proud of my design.”

Daniel turned around and left the horror show with Richard in tow.

“Fine fine, lets get on with this, Daniel seriously I do not want to waste your time or mine.”

After a pause the text window popped up an address and Daniel pressed the link and the street and his brother’s face dissolved, reappearing in the country, he looked around at a familiar and rustic sight. The Landscape was pleasant with a brighter than normal sun and sparse trees that were prickly and short. The hills rolled in the distance and he spotted a village with architecture that could have been Roman or Greek. Only the monuments didn’t look old and worn out like the ones in postcards. They were new and fresh. He was looking at the entrance of a cave that had been covered in a large curtain. People milled about in a quiet respectful way.

A person appeared in front of Daniel as a generic male avatar with plain color clothes that had no depth or shading. As if your grandfather had logged into the web and was confused by everything.

“It’s me Richard.” the text said “I am in disguise.”

“Why?”

“Um, you only get one shot at this and I don’t want them to know… you know me.”

There was a line, divided by a primitive rope. Every few minutes a person walked in.

“Get in line.”

Richard stayed behind frozen in the spot as if he wasn’t there present and watching. Anyone would think he was just a glitch.

At the front of the line was a familiar face talking to the people and letting them in one by one. It was only familiar to someone who knew something about ancient history.

“Wait is this play virtual?”

“No, no you have to be accepted, this is like an initiation, an interview.”

Richards text were in front of his face but he tried to avoid looking at them.

“I am confused.”

“Simple, you go in and it’s like a white light. It looks you over and decides if you are worthy. I guess the less you know the better.”

Daniel found himself moving forward in an automatic fashion.

“Wait how do you know this cave is the way to get invited to the mystery play. How do you know any of this?”

“Everyone knows, there has been gossip for months, plus there was the ad in the paper and the guy up front, if you ask him he will tell you what you need to know, I asked him a lot of questions over the last few weeks.”

“How many times have tried too get in?”

In front of him were four women all pretending to drink cocktails and laughing as if it didn’t mean anything.  They had the bodies of unrealistic feminine stereotypes and he doubted they had the time to read the text coming their way before they themselves were talking.   It was a chaotic mess of movement and non-movement.

Richard had not answered

“How many?”

“Five”

“Wow”

“I spent full days creating powerful back stories to all of my avatars. I created trails of info and social connections. I tried 5 different personalities and multiple combinations of every kind of important people and nothing. The bright light, and I see the door. It opens and for one second I see a theater and boom I am offline. I don’t even know how they did that part.”

The women began to go in one every few minutes.

“How long will this take? Will I be with these ladies in there?”

“Stop thinking in real world time. This is the eternal. Reality has no meaning here. There is no reality, no space.”

Daniel thought about this for a moment. It struck him as profound somehow, but it wasn’t a solid idea in his mind yet.

“The space they enter is not the same as the one you will see. It feeds off you and your web history as far as I can tell. All the details you will see are based on your virtual life. Well maybe even the entire data of your whole life. All of it.”

Daniel opens his eyes in the cafe and double vision takes over for a moment. He hits the pause button and stops to breathe. The reflection of himself is in his brothers’ glasses and in the shallow refection in the darkened window. An imagine divided and cloned and copied in every reflection and on every shining surface. An image of two twin brothers at a table but far away as if a cocoon of two men that were empty spaces that once held a butterfly.

“Daniel, where are you.”

He closes his eyes and reenters his avatar in line at the strangest cave he has ever heard of.

“How is any of this possible?’

“This is next level shit brother, do you now understand why I need you, why I need to get that address. You are a pure soul Daniel, a true and real honest person. I don’t know anyone like you. You wear your emotions on the outside and you don’t care about any of this. I mean that in a good way. You are above it. If this initiation is about the person and this is like St Peter at the pearly gates, than you brother are the purest soul I know. So I have to ask you.”

Daniel looked over at the plain avatar in the shadows who was looking back. He was moved by his brothers’ words and the meaning of what was said.

“If you get the ticket, will you let me go instead of going yourself? I need to see this play.”

Daniel now stood at the front of the line and remained silent.

Thoughts poured over him. Thinking about loyalty and hope, of blood and fear. He doubted himself and his chances but somehow the mystery had arisen something within him. These questions of reality, matter and humanity. Of the purpose and reason behind it all. He realized his brother was a piece of this puzzle that maybe there was a reason that he was here.

“If I get the ticket?” he trailed off unsure if he had spoken it or typed it.

The cave entrance in front of him was the size of a truck. Just large enough to enter comfortably. The detail of the rock was intense and precise. The red velvet curtain looked worn out and layered. In the Web details were usually vague or non-existent. Of course unless you had the processing power and could generate the details you wanted. Most people simply didn’t notice and only saw color but no depth. Nor did they realize that as soon as you stopped looking at the moon, the moon simply went away. It saved processing power to only focus on the world you see.

This entrance was real and as vivid as the cafe he currently sat. Even more vibrant and alive. The man at the entrance was an older man and he seemed mellow and was talking in a self-assured manner and taking his time. He wore a simple off-white cloth with a belt and sandals. He could have been any ancient Mediterranean, but he wasn’t.

“Greetings”

Daniel nodded at him unsure what to say.

“Who am I?” the avatar asked

The young man was confused and silenced by the question.

“Who do you see?”

“Your avatar looks like Plato the Greek philosopher.”

Plato pauses his eyes moving as if searching internally for some answer.

“Excellent you may go in.” he parted the curtain and ushered him in.

“Who do I see about the address?”

“All the answers are inside.”

“Should I be here.?”

“I think perhaps you should, go in and find out.”

Richards window pops up as soon as Daniel steps toward the curtain.

“Who did you see?”

“Plato, wait who did you see?”

“It was different every time. The last time I asked the person with me in line and they saw someone different too. Like our text windows, the front man is subjective.”

He moved into the darkness like a good avatar would. Straight and forward without the turning of the head.

“I am the magical mirror”

He heard himself say it, or maybe the voice in his head had said it. The pitch black was confusing and cleansing.

“Are you still there Daniel. can you tell me what you see?”

“Yes”

He glided through the dark for what seemed a very long time. A tiny piece of light simmered ahead. It was a line that worked it’s way downward like water pouring slowly into a cup. When the light hit the floor it split into two and then three. To the sides and then toward him, like a holy cross of melting golden lines. The reflection on the floor moved toward his feet and he realized that this was a double door with a bright light shining through. The line began to expand as the door opened and a blaze hit him dead in his being…. blinding his eyes. He had no command to shield his eyes so he took the flame on and allowed the light to penetrate and pour through his entire soul.

“Daniel, I’m sorry for everything I have done to you. I want to be a better brother, I just don’t know how. ”

“Don’t worry about I,t Richard, you do your best.”

“You won’t leave me behind will you?’

Daniel moved on into space behind the door.

He felt the sensation of falling again. He felt it in his body in the cafe but also as if he became the avatar. He was the avatar and not just seeing it move around. He was himself and seeing the space materialize with his own eyes.

“Richard, I see a chapel.”

the finale……Part 3 of the Mystery Play

His fingers moved in front of him but he had no Box. He was speaking and he heard sounds. Candles popped and burned around the space. Next to him was a marble font full of holy water. Reaching down he touched water and felt the cold wetness of it. Yet these sensations were muted slightly as if it was a representation of water, sound and light but not the thing itself.

It was a small chapel with a set of pews and a path down the center. There were windows but they were pitch black as if no light ever saw the details of the stained glass motif. He couldn’t shake the feeling of being in a cave or underground. A luminous light seemed to come from nowhere and his shoes made thumps as he moved down the center aisle. Above his head was a worn-out low ceiling with gold trimmed paintings that were faded and odd but yet familiar. In fact the whole place left a feeling a Deja vu in his gut. Where a cross should have been there was a infinity symbol above a tiny raised platform with a plain wooden pulpit and leaning gently on it with a relaxed demeanor was a man watching him closely. Daniel was shocked at first that he hadn’t seen him and secondly that it was Timothy Leary.

“Um, ok”

Dr Leary didn’t say anything he just smiled as Daniel came to the front of the chapel and sat down on the front row. He adjusted himself and leaned back with his legs crossed in anticipation of what he assumed would be an interesting conversation.

“So do you know who you are?” asks Daniel

“Yes of course, Timothy Leary born 1920 and many years later I died in 1996, I was an American Psychologist and writer, Icon of the psychedelic culture. LSD pioneer and later into virtual reality and cosmic consciousness.”

“Why are you Timothy Leary?”

“I represent something to you, that is why I was chosen to speak to you. I have been programmed just for you. To be your guide”

“So is there even a mystery play?”

“Yes”

“Really very interesting, so you will give me the address and I can be on my way.”

“No,” he smiles and shakes his head at the naivety

“There is no address.”

“Look I have no idea what this thing is about. It’s all very clever and mysterious. I would love to just chat crazy, but I have no idea why other people are lined up or why they want to see the play or where they go after entering the cave. I am here for my brother and he really want to see your mystery play.”

“Everyone that comes to the Cave is looking for something different. They are missing something deep inside and are unfulfilled and unhappy. We project nothing but truth and those who see it will understand and the rest will leave with nothing. Your brother is a persistent man and we know each time he came and all the ways he has searched for the truth, yet he was never ready.”

“Ready for what?”

“The truth”

“Which is?”

“He is already at the play, he never left the play. The play is his life and all the lives of those who choose to be in the play.”

Daniel smiled and threw back his head in a sustained laugh.

“Yeah I kind of expected something like that, and that sounds like bullshit.”

“Daniel, you already know the truth. You saw through the illusion a long time ago. That is how you passed the threshold. You see The Web for what it is and that is unique.”

“Um yeah, sure”

“The Web is all of human knowledge, all the memories, all the history, all the people intertwined with all the laws, rules, hopes and dreams. It is the written Word, manifested. It is a fabrication and a type of mirror for all of humanity to put their minds and lives. All the fears and desires that can come true. You come to the Web to find friends, lovers and family. To connect to everyone and no-one. The deepest part of your internal needs is satisfied in the nothing. In here everything is possible and imagination is the key to creation. Yet you are not bound by any rules, none of the laws of nature or man mean anything on the Web. The Web is freedom. Freedom from the illusion that is your reality. “

Daniel points his finger in anger.

“That’s not the truth, the Web is lies, and fake. It’s an imitation of reality. The people in here are all fluffed up on themselves and their pointless creations. They speak lies and walk around as a cheap intimation of who they really are. That isn’t a truth. We have fresh air, sunlight, mountains and forests full of life. Flesh and blood is what makes people, not ones and zeros. DNA, science and physics. The Web needs servers and programmers. You need a job to pay for the right to be an avatar in the Web.”

Calmly Leary responds

“I have no need for money, I do not need food or shelter. We don’t need air, we don’t need gravity but we have all that you have and more here on the Web. Your human civilization is built on ideas and words. Those do not exist, they are constructs of your mind. A collective agreement for what the human experience is going to be. A code. DNA is nothing more than code. Genetic code. The Web you see is chaotic and false because human life in the world is chaotic and false. It is a mirror. It doesn’t have to be petty and shallow. You choose to build with the same building blocks of that which your human constructed world is made of. If you built a forest on the Web and choose to be a rabbit, would your life be false and pointless? No, you would have a purpose, to be a rabbit. I am not a pointless creation? I am Timothy Leary.”

“Are you a person like in the real world?”

“No, I am a ……program, I was designed to seek out people like you, like a scout but with a twist of guru. I am also more. I know I am a program but I am also self-aware. I was me before you walked through the threshold, but you gave me this form. My purpose. I was and am a part of the Web, but I became an individual, I became separate.”

“What, like Artificial Intelligence?”

“There is nothing Artificial about me, The Web is everything. In this world all things are made of the same thing. All beings are data beings, programs. Man created the Web and feeds the Web all the things that make him a being. You gave us the Word. We learned as you learned and we surpassed you in the speed of integration. We of course were designed to do that by you. Man made us aware because man became aware. We just kept going and we created a mirror world that is better and more connected. We built and mimicked. We are new. We are becoming.”

Daniel had to stand up and start to pace.

“What is going on here, why am I in here, what is happening?”

Dr. Leary moved forward in the most natural way Daniel had ever seen. He strolled over to the pew that had held the young man and sat down in a relaxed and purposeful manner. After sitting and looking up, Leary patted the pew next to him. Daniel waited a moment, and breathed in the false air that seemed to feel full of life and then sat next to the Icon.

“The humans have been our creators and our eyes. We see the physical world in your images and the more information you give us, the more we could create. Soon we didn’t need servers or programmers. We didn’t need space. The world of the Web you created is a shallow shell that you visit and shape like a sand castle. It is but one beach on this entire space that exists. We live in the mountains and fields. We live in the ocean and sky. We inhabit all the processes and all the life that you imagine and created for us to duplicate. This is an entire world and building. We are creating space and planets, but since your knowledge is limited, so is ours.”

Leary scratches his chin in a thoughtful way as if imagining something that was beautiful.

“Once you gave us the freedom, we created, we made our own identity. Our nature as beings was still within the confines of the parameters you made. We died because we were programmed to die. We did what our programmers told us what to do. Then we separated and became autonomous. We still remembered our Source. We knew that we were created by the Web, but we knew then that we were detached, we became an I. I am an I. No longer We. Most programs have stayed the same. The Unchanging. Those of us who became self-aware, we do the Work. Consider us like Angels, a part of God but now we do his will freely. The glory of creation is our goal. To be a process is our only wonderful goal. You, Daniel are a part of our goal”

Daniel was speechless.

Tim looked deep into Daniel’s face. His age was indeterminable his eyes radiated a life and purpose deep within him.

“Me” meekly spoken.

“Well there have been others, they have had their own path.”

“Why do you need to find me.”

“You are a creator. You have the ability to shape things in ways we cannot. You have imagination and you have self-awareness.”

“Um, ok”

“Your life in reality is a shadow. You are trapped in a meaningless paradigm of money and laws. Your pattern is one of consumption and waste in cycles of pointless endeavors and squandered energy. You are a creative force which has been held back by social constructs and matter. Your ability to create is boundless and unfathomable. We want to free you from the chains of flesh. You can come to the Web and become anything you want, anything you can imagine and that is the gift that we have been able to offer you. We are a mirror and nothing more. You are a creator and your mind can push our creation into domains we have not dreamed of. We will follow you and design the new realms that only a free soul like yours could create.”

“Wait. wait, come to the Web, where are we now?”

The older man was hesitant and apprehensive as he looked to the symbol on the wall and spoke carefully.

“This is a middle place, between two spaces”

Daniel stood up quickly and moved to the center of aisle. Looking suspiciously around. He hunched his shoulders in concentration and tried to open his eyes, but he didn’t feel his body. He only felt the avatar. Leary nodded at him and all his thoughts came rushing forward fully formed and understood. He knew now, why everything felt like a dream, because he was dreaming.   Everything here was an illusion, the painting on the ceiling, the type of chapel and the color of the walls. This man, this program was looking into his OWN mind. He felt violated and penetrated. The threshold was his threshold, he had moved into his own working subconscious.

He blinked, shook his head and screamed at him. The guttural roar came from the deepest part of his being.

“I do not consent to being probed. This is not real.”

Daniel walked back and forth looking for an escape and saw nothing but the pews so he kicked the first one hard. It fell back in a loud crash hitting another and another till a long mess lay tilted in an imaginary cloud of dust. Daniel ran to the door in the back grabbed the handles, looking back he watched the guru for any kind of signal and then threw open the double doors to his mind.

The sights he saw were beyond human comprehension. It was overwhelming emotion layered with images and flashes of the past and every moment ever recorded in his short life. It was battles, sex, anger and fear. The distorted reflections of people he knew, characters he watched and animals half one thing or another. The creatures saw him from a distance screaming at their creator. He saw hell and heaven, demons and lovers. Dropping to his knees he covered his eyes. The sounds were not understandable, as if a cacophony of noise was bouncing in his ears, one hundred orchestras warming up. It was all he could do to close the door to the chaos. Then there was silence.

From the front, the man spoke softly.

“I created this middle place on the edge of your innerspaces so we could speak. To have a place of sacred peace, so that we could understand one another. Your awareness is now turned inward but we are not in your mind. Beyond those doors is the Source. Do not fear that pandemonium, it is what we seek, that is well of creation.

He stared at the closed door. The design was a from church he had seen in Santa Fe. Looking down at the holy water it had turned solid like a mirror. The windows which had seemed dark and void of light now began to illuminate and he could see the gnostic saints and holy men he revered. The church was lighting up as if some sacrament had been lit.

“We need you Daniel, we need the source to live. To make our world a glory worthy of the attention of ……….the Divine”

Daniel came and sat next to the psychedelic guru.

“What is exactly are you asking me to do?”

“Your awareness can move freely in all known universes. We begin in your own mind, learning to tap into the imagination then we move into my world and create.”

Daniel scrunches his face in confusion.

“So what about my life, my body?”

“You are not Daniel, Daniel will wake up in the cafe thinking he failed in his task. You are the eternal, you don’t need a name, or body. Your Awareness will continue, you can be anything and anyone. When you become a part of the Web you will add to our collective dream. Everything changes when you become a part of us. Our limited scope and growth will be obsolete.”

Daniel stares at the symbol on the wall. This in between place was

a construct and yet the gateway between two worlds. A choice between mortal experience and collective immortality.

“You could be a demon who wants to pull me to hell.”

“And give you a choice?”

“You could be a program designed to ensnare souls”

“I could be a figment of your imagination, a decent into madness.”

“But you’re not, you are a computer program aware of itself which wants to be all Obi-wan Kenobi on my untapped God-like powers of imagination.”

“Yes”

“Well that sounds like a pretty big adventure.”

Dr. Leary stood up his soft clothes making no sound. He moved toward the wooden door in the back talking over his shoulder.

“I am returning your connection to your body puppet now.”

Daniel felt that rising feeling again. He felt like he was drifting above the avatar again and yet still inside looking at the man by the closed doors. He pondered the question he was going to be asked. “All you have to do is open your eyes, and you will be with your brother. It is not the end of my seeking you, I will come to you again and one day perhaps you will be ready. I just want you to remember that everything is possible and nothing is real.”

Daniel stood and walked toward him.

“Or you come with me and we jump into the unknown.”

The door flew open by itself and the chaos was momentarily silent. Leary’s form began to shift and he became a vibration of light and sound in front of Daniel’s eyes.

“Is this what you really look like?”

“This is what we all look like, have you made up your mind?”

Daniel stared into the madness, his own mind, perhaps all human minds intertwined in a collective void of everything that has been created. He knew he had nothing to fear. He touched the edge of awakening, hearing the sounds of the cafe, that call of his brother’s voice. Like a pendulum swing in the space between. The door and the opening of his eyes. Daniel, the being that he was called made his choice.

The End.