A Bedtime Story

A Bedtime Story:  [For thinking adults only].

 

 

IN THE BEGINNING...Crack-Stone Ridge...North Wales..

 

PRESENT TIME

“To be or not to be...is dat the question?”...a tinge of humour in the statement.

“You what?” replied an irksome voice.

“You know...to be or not to be...is dat the question?”

“eh...”

“Is it.... to be...or is it not... to be?”

“You banged your head first thing this morning?”

Binney laughed...”is it to be fame and glory ...or...”

“You kidding? We-re hundreds of feet in the stratosphere and you-r talking about ..’to be’ or fcking ‘not to be’...What you been watching now, the muppet rendition of shakespear?”

“You frightened of heights then?”

“Sod off,” said O'Rahilly, realizing now, the question was more of a taunt. They-d been climbing for years. ”You been watching those docu-soaps again?”...said more to himself...concentration his priority.

“Good one on last night,” replied Binney. Laughter in the voice...Better than that corre/eastenders crap...he thought...reaching out in the fading light for the next available crack. Eyes straining, mouth dry, hopes high. “All about those ancient Egyptians. They were really into that afterlife thing. Built their whole culture around it, including some say them pyramids. You know, them great big things.”

“Nutters”, replied O'Rahilly, silently...breathing slowly. No interest in the voice. Consciously trying to slow the heartbeat down. Focusing his prime objective. Had to reach that ledge before lights out. Could just see Clegg in the distance ...almost there...reaching for that same ledge. That distant hand outstretched. Reaching for that overhanging lip. Fcking nutters, he silently thought.

 

Almost there, thought Clegg. Come on, just one last heave, one last effort. Then rest. He  paused to look behind...could see O'Rahilly and Binney. Both moving well...Smiled...The two others, Patel and Jackson behind them, just a blur but movements looked strong. Voices drifted up...following the updraft...a pause...then more voices but now merged with laughter. O'Rahilly...had to be...The joker of the pack...said to himself with a slight sardonic feel to it. That same feeling expressing itself over the face as he turned to focus once again after that briefest of pauses, to that final effort...Then something happened...The shock of it took him completely by surprise. A rock the size of a tennis ball but due to momentum, gaining the weight of a ten pound sack of spuds , hit the corner of the eye socket just as the head was rotating. The impact was instant. Unconscious set in. Clegg fell.

O’Rahilly sensed the danger first...”Fcking hell.” he shouted, almost screaming, look what’s coming our way!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The skies fell. The earth shattered. Then there was darkness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A NEW BEGINNING?

Wh..e..re, wh..e..re are we, thought Binney. Standing there. Somewhere. An unknown somewhere. Alone. Place looked unreal...Did-nt like that word,’unreal’. Sent a shimmer through his system. Could feel his hairs slowly standing on the back of the neck. Thank god, he thought, cant be dead then. Recalling now those final moments before hearing that shout, that shrill...that... final beckoning ... that came from O'Rahilly...then that sensation of falling, and now... doubts...Must be dreaming....Maybe a coma? Probably in a hospital. Taken there after being found?...Image of his family came to mind...gave a deep sigh...felt good, breathing slowed...Must be a dream...did-nt feel like a dream... a Lucid dream? A book of all things came to mind. Can't catch the title. Tip of the tongue...what was it called? Tried again...still could-nt catch it...why bother, he finally concluded...wont be long before reality returns...      Paused again...Breathing better, now that final internal decision had been made. Felt the beginnings of a smile....................then O'Rahilly emerged...from somewhere.

“Hell ,” said O'Rahilly, that was quite an experience, was it not mate?” bravado in the voice...  would you adam “n” eve it, he thought, all the while looking around, not quite believing it; yet accepting it. Denial non existent...do do; do do; do do stuff...recalling the ‘x files’ signature tune... ....”Place is-nt what its cracked up to be though, is it mate. Place looks positively bleak. So where do you think we are. Heaven or hell?” More mockery than humour in the voice.

“You w,what?” said Binney, incredulously. Not even O'Rahilly could be this unfazed...Was he talking to himself? Had to be dreaming..... Heard himself say....”So you think we-re dead then?” Expecting that O'Rahilly clone to say something that would vindicate a dream.....After all “persons” in the next life; he preferred the word “person” to ghost; certainly should-nt be feeling any hairs standing to attention; should they!....he self analyzed. Feeling a sense of satisfaction now that he was out foxing that 0-Rahilly clone in the intelligent stakes...It was after all... his fcking dream!..Wont belong now before he wakes up...to see some friendly faces...real! faces...wont be long before we all wake up.

“Yep, definitely dead,”continued O'Rahilly, in the same tone, definitely.” Surprised at his friends doubting tone. Due no doubt to that knock on the head. ”What else can we be." Inviting a reply. Not sure if his mate was joking. Asking more for his own reassurance. Doubts creeping in. ”Look at them individuals over there all crumpled up. Recognize any?”

“What individuals?” retorted Binney. Urgency in the voice.

“Those.”replied O'Rahilly, pointing over his friends left shoulder.” Beyond that foggy stuff.”

Binney turned and looked. It was like he was seeing something from a birds eye view. From the above to the below. He was looking down. Down through a veil of murky greys. On the other side a scene was set. like a picture or painting...... framed within those same unsettling greys. Five persons could be seen at the base of a recognizable ridge. All limbs contorted at different angles. Nothing moved. One figure in particular whose eyes were wide open held his attention...a mirror image of himself. He let out a slow but long silent scream. Silent only in the context of the noise made... when from those same murky depths now approached other familiar figures in the “ghostly” guise of... Clegg, Patel and Jackson.

“You glad to see us then,” said Clegg. Humor in the voice. Pretending to feign humor and confidence after seeing and especially hearing the condition of one of his young responsibilities...all the time breathing in slowly to quiet those agitated emotions that were in need of answers. Where was he? What was this place? What were those numerous differences in subtle lights that seemed to envelope everything. He was actually breathing, his inner voice had constantly reminded him from the very start. Told himself to shut up. Tried and tried again. No matter how many times he told himself, that same nagging internal thought resurfaced. How? How can one breath? How can someone/anyone breath when your supposed to be...dead!...Therefore am i dead? How can i be having this conversation with myself unless i-m alive. Of course i-m fcking alive. So shut the fck up! He finally told himself.

Now Glegg and the other two were in the dream, thought Binney. Glegg was talking and like O'Rahilly.. fcking joking!.....Hairs on the back! Binney reminded himself quickly; as though a ‘quicky’ thought would somehow arrive at a ‘better’ answer...Could still be a dream...Deep down he knew it wasn't...”What a fcking day!” he unconsciously said, out loud.

Patel was the first to witness that ‘transition’ from this world to the next. He knew instantly what it meant when he saw his physical body lying there from a view, just a few feet above 'it'. Reciting the Quran; its sura-s and ayats to memory, he self analyzed, had taught him well. He touched himself...he touched that new composition which defined his new body. Yep. its made of something. Certainly made of something... A level of curiosity within his voice. His internal voice. A level that exceeded his years. Words flashed across his minds eye...words from that most distinguished of books...he searched internally...of course... Sura six.....He whispered the words .....'Verily, god is the one who cleaves the grain and the wheat kernel asunder, bringing forth the living out of that which is dead'...For some unknown reason, he felt the urge to recite the words...”La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadun rasul Allah.” [There is no deity save god and Muhammad is the messenger of god]... Speaking it in Arabic made that link closer. That link between his new self and his new environment. Never before had he felt that urgency. Something primordial. An inner instinct...He recalled Muhammad's night journey. ”Allah bless him and give him peace,” he said out loud; surprising himself again;...nerves?.....a pause...Was he and his friends now on their own journey? The word ‘friend’ brought his conscious back to the present. He felt the urge to go and find them. He allowed his intuitiveness to lead the way, feeling his way; that same way, that he was sure he had come from. His intuitiveness paid off.

Jackson was the first he came across. He looked lost. Like an orphan, not knowing what to do. Standing in the same spot, where he had fallen... looking; staring at his ‘old’ body. How his eyes had lit up when he saw him approaching. Blue eyes. How that information had satisfied a certain aspect of his own curiosity...Eyes still retained their individual color. He had later thought and noted mentally. Instinctively he put his arm around his distraught friend. ”How are you Paul?”

“Wh...wh...ere am i. Where the h.h.ell am i,” asked Jackson. A stammer in the voice. A natural stammer,” and who's that lying on the f.f.fcking ground. Who are they all?” pointing to the other bodies in jumps and starts. Hands trembling. An unnatural fear in the voice. Knowing the answers subconsciously, but not yet; at present; ready to face them.

“Do you want the good news or the bad news,” replied Patel, in a quiet yet firm sincere voice. Understanding that this was a turning point for his friend. He had to be firm. The situation had to be explained. He believed the best way to do it was with a little humor, and a firm tone.

“What do you mean. Good news, b..b...bad news?” inquired Jackson. Voice rising. Stammer worsening. ”What is this, opportunity f..f...fcking k..k....kkk.....kkk.......kkkkkknocks.”

That was the cue he was looking for. Humor had allowed the minds defensive mechanism...Adrenalin, to kick in. He was now at that point where conversation leading to an understanding was now possible. That would allow him the chance, to make that first step towards understanding this strange yet new environment. ”The good news,” continued Patel,” is that your alive. Would you agree Paul ?”

“Of c.c.ourse,” replied Jackson. Feeling better already. Thinking, if that was the good news what could possibly be the bad news.....Bring it on, thought Jackson. Stammer improving. Still not consciously aware of his surroundings. Not wanting to be. Still in denial.

“The not so good news,” continued Patel, pointing to the bodies lying below; one in particular. ”That ones your old self, your old body; your old physical body. From that physical world; you have,” - he tried to say the word without too much emphasis...'died,'...technically speaking; but now you-r alive in your new bod,” thought it better to say 'bod' instead of body. Sounded more down to earth. Hopefully more acceptable......”in this new environment or world depending on what you want to call it.”

Jackson began making unintelligible noises. It began as a low hum, building in unequal stages to a high pitch, all the while intermittently mumbling words like “t t technically speaking” and “new b b bloody b.b.bod.” Patel, on later reflection wasn't sure if the noise had begun from the mouth, but was sure that eventually “it” developed a stammer to it. Jackson passed out. Patel... later...mentally noted that the effects of adrenaline and emotion were still valid.

“Arthur. C. Clegg was alive and well!” he recalled, having shouted to himself in those very early moments of realization. Now he was-nt so sure. What was alive? Recalling how he had stood there feeling “alive”, feeling exactly the “same” but all the while seeing all those still bodies at the base of that recognizable terrain. How? There was one he recognized. The one that looked an image of himself. He felt exposed. Naked. It was exactly at that moment that he recalled , a character in the Liberian Army. A time in the 1990-s . A warlord who had been called......”General butt naked.” Now a reformed character. Now an evangelical preacher. The connection, on reflection, he supposed was either the word “naked,” or the fact that his own father was a preacher type. A vicar. Hopefully not with the same origins, he mused. Patel and Jackson; now fully conscious; by his side. All three had somehow connected in those early moments. Jackson, according to Patel; upon meeting; had “passed out.” He knew different. Jackson was prone to fits. It was something that any supervisor would have to know; the condition of those individuals being supervised. Especially prior to any journey. No one however needed to know. What was surprising however was that an individual could still be prone to a ‘previous condition’; if this place was....he dared himself to say it...   The afterlife...Very strange world indeed, he thought. All three were now looking for the other members of the group. It gave all three a focus, a purpose...a direction to follow. It took their minds off those... soon to surface internal questions...What was this place? What do we do?...and especially the...Why, the When, the Who and the How. Shortly, by good fortune or fate or as Patel would later note...due to the proven fact that the sense of hearing, was still a valid component in this new “environment” and more importantly, he later reflected...the medium by which it had to travel...whatever that may consist of...they stumbled across O'Rahilly and Binney.

”Know the f.fcking feeling,” said Jackson understanding Binneys state of mind.

 

 

A COLLECTIVE EFFORT

“Where are we Sarge?” asked Binney, less fear in the voice, now everyone was together....”What is this place?

”Your guess is as good as mine lad," authority in the tone. Instinctive. Believing it was needed to keep both mind and group... sane, and together.

Patel spoke up.”Its the afterlife isn't it sarge?” Sure of it, but not wanting to say so...Better as a question.

"Probably,”replied Clegg. Unsure. Still not wanting to fully commit. Looked around. The word nondescript ...came to mind. Everything seemed to contain those same limited hues. Surrounding forms seem to shift and shape.

“We -re “dead” then. Definately d.d.ead?” inquired Jackson, tension and sarcasm in the voice.” Only can someone explain why, if we are “tt.t.echnically speaking d.dead,” recalling the conversation with Patel, and the doubts and emotions still associated with it...”why is it i still feel exactly the ss.s.ame? and why please,” the voice now rising a decibel or two, ”is it that we are all h.h.having this conversation when s.s.upposedly,” more sarcasm ,” we-re all ff.f.cking dead!..he finished off. Almost shouting.

“That's the six million dollar question,”isn't mate”said O'Rahilly, jokingly.

“F. feckoff,” said Jackson. I don’t find this f.fcking... f.f.f.funny.”

Know what you mean mate, thought O'Rahilly ... ”Only joking mate,” replied O'Rahilly.

“Maybe it is, one big dream,” stated Binney, hope in the voice, remembering now that elusive title, and its author, Celia Green.

“Some fcking dream if it is mate,” continued O'Rahilly, recalling Jackson's words...feeling exactly the same...”does-nt feel like a dream,”

“Lucid dreams maybe,” continued Binney, more hope than reality in the voice. Feeling the need to get a definitive answer within his self in order to settle those internal disturbances.” Maybe a collective one?...maybe somehow we-re all experiencing each others dreams?

“Collective what mate,” friendly mockery and humor in the voice,” there's a lot of ‘maybe-s’ in there...you been reading those spooky books again,”...recalling Binneys interest in the paranormal ever since he saw that exorcist film, years ago....looking around...those same words producing a feeling down the back of the spine...more  'x file' than fcking dream though. Recalling to mind that final conversation before that fall ....”Should have stuck with the Beano mate,” O’Rahilly concluded, feeling the necessity of stating exactly how it was, if only for his own internal self. His own internal equilibrium.

“Well if what we are experiencing is real, guys” interrupted Patel, feeling the urgency to move things along, ”both worlds must somehow co-exist.”

“You what!” exclaimed Binney, more surprised at Patel's remark than O'Rahilly's joke.

“That earth world that we have all just come from together with this place, whatever you want to call it mate. This world and that world. We all must have had something inside of us when we were alive in that physical world that was a part of this world. How else can that transition be explained?...From that world to this one? From A to B."

Gods magic wand maybe ? contemplated O'Rahilly, teasing himself with the question...Or maybe there really is a fcking Santa Claus.

“Transition?” said Binney...A to B?. ”Do you have to use words like alive and physical world mate?...”Makes everything seem so past-tense. If you know what i mean.”

“Sorry mate, but you know what i mean.”

“I suppose i do, thought Binney, recalling those other subjects written about by that forerunner of independent thinkers, especially on what now seemed a relevant subject. He dared himself to say it...The paranormal. If this experience was-nt a lucid dream then maybe an out of body experience? A subject she also wrote about. If so, this was the ultimate in out of body experiences, he thought... looking around nervously. But the one stand out feature, which for some reason seemed; in the present situation; more important than the others, he now recalled was the relevant fact that at some time in her life she had specialized in theoretical physics...The ability to work out theories and answers from hypothesis...Transition...A to B?...A hypothesis?...He heard Cleggs voice.

“Ones things for sure,” interrupted Clegg, after listening to the pros and cons of the present situation over the ‘last few moments’...”is the need to stay together. It doesn't matter if we are experiencing a....What was that word you used?” he inquired, looking across to Binney.

“Lucid sarge. Lucid dreaming. The ability to 'dream' and be aware of it in real time,” replied Binney...a nervous edge to the voice.

Lucy in the sky wearing diamonds, sang O'Rahilly to himself.

“Real time?"

“Here and now.”

"Ah...see what you mean. As i was saying i don’t think it matters whether all this is one big fcking dream state or not. I for one am absolutely sure that you lot are not part of my dream world," said with a blend of irony and sarcasm but with humour at its core. The fact is we all believe we are here”. Emphasizing the 'believe' word...”Yes?” looking around expecting instant replies....Silence.....He continued...He had to...”Whether a dream state or not...lets make the most of it...meaning lets do something positive about our”...emphasizing the words...”present situation'... instead of worrying about what this place might be...Agreed?” All eventually nodded, except O'Rahilly who looked distracted. ”What about you O'Rahilly. What do you think?”

“I Think?” replied O'Rahilly,...after a moments pause,...”I think that diamonds are a girls best friend.”

“You what lad?...You alright.”

“Sorry sarge, just dreaming,” but i do believe i am having this dream over here. Where ever over here is,” said O'Rahilly.

“Very insightful of you lad,” a hint of sarcasm in the tone.” The next step,” he continued, keeping one eye on O'Rahilly, “is to decide what to do next.

“Lets explore,”said Patel.” What else can we do. Lets try to find out what this place is all about. Who knows maybe we might bump into someone we know.”

“Y.Y.You w.what, interrupted Jackson. Still a nervous edge to the voice. ”B.b.b.bump into somebody. Who are you expecting to b.b.bump into...c.casper and the .f.f.ffcking g.g.ghost b.busters?

“Lets hope its the wizard of oz, ”interjected O'Rahilly...same tone in the voice...”We might all be given three wishes.......and if we bump into Jesus Christ...well...allowing that one word to linger..."we-ve hit the fcking jackpot.”

“Careful said Clegg,” caution in the voice, looking around, wondering if this place had eyes and ears.” Remember where we are.”

"You serious?”...continued O'Rahilly, surprised.

“Very. No point upsetting anyone is there?...said more to himself... .....”Especially the powers to be, should there be any, he reflected.

“Who can we possibly upset,” asked O'Rahilly, puzzled yet intrigued at the sergeants line of thinking. He dared himself to say the word...”God?”

“Look around lad. If this place is real, its been put together by someone. Know what i mean lad? Whether that be one person or many, it has to have been put together by someone. Agreed?

"Yes, but God?” joked O'Rahilly, said more out of bravado, regretting the question before those final four words came out...felt compelled to say them any way...”So where is he?”

“Did “I”... say “god”, emphasized Clegg.” All i-m saying is, lets be careful what we say. For the sake of the group. Understood?” A firmness to the tone - menace within it.

So where is god and his merry angels, mused O'Rahilly, asking himself the question in earnest. While absorbing what Clegg had said...silently to himself, all the while subconsciously hearing familiar voices in the background, as he stepped out of the groups boundaries. Words echoed back...”For the sake of the group,”...Fair enough...He looked around. The place was real enough. Unusual maybe; with all its different shapes especially those in the distance that seemed to shimmer and change within those same bland colors...but it was real enough,...he heard himself say, with that deeper inner voice that only surfaced on rare occasions. Maybe those bible stories were all true...as he jumped up a few feet to confirm a reality...Yep, definitely walking on something solid. Hope this place has got more humor to it though, than that fcking bible did...Words echoed back again...”been put together by someone”...yea...contemplated O'Rahilly, saying the word as though something had registered...but who was that someone?

“What i mean is,”...continued Patel, refocusing...following the same line of thought...from where he left off a few moments ago...while catching a glimpse of O'Rahilly slowly step outside the boundaries of the group after his one to one with Sargent Clegg...a look in his eye that indicated he was deep in thought...”maybe some of us within the group... know of persons who may already be “over here” if you know what i mean. Maybe we should attempt to find those persons, and find out what they know about this “place”. What else can we do?”

“D..d..d..dead persons, you mean, ”interrupted Jackson, surprised the words came from his own mouth. Listening to the same words echo back as though they were someone else's. Denial still lingering.

“Yea, like you, me and the rest of us,” continued O'Rahilly...joining in again...in the same vein yet noticeably quieter. Almost to himself.

"Thanks,” said Jackson, sardonically.

“Good point,” said Clegg, looking across. Glad that someone was attempting to take the bull by the horns...”but..How?”...asking the question more out of faith and hope, throwing it out there on a wing and a prayer; all the time knowing what the most likely result would be...Silence.

“That’s the six million dollar question isn't it?” mimicked a voice from within those distant shadows... “Hello son”...said the voice.

“What the hell,” retorted Clegg, more a knee jerk reaction, to that internal shock...this cant be happening..."Where the fck did you come from?”...inquired Glegg.

“Communication was always one of your strong points, wasn't it Arthur.”

Arthur...fcking Arthur... thought O'Rahilly, both surprise and humor within that internal voice.

“Over-here,” continued Glegg senior; ignoring the outburst; while reaching up with the forefinger to touch, then tap his temple.......” is one of the means to communicate.”

“What!... your fcking finger?” interrupted O'Rahilly.

“Thats O'Rahilly,”...said Glegg...after a moments pause. His voice noticeably quieter. Eyes fixed on O'Rahilly.

"Not quite young man,” undecided as to whether the question was a genuine one...deciding on the side of diplomacy...”The thinking process,” he continued, “when focused can be directed, so to say, in a particular direction, which is what my son; Arthur; must have been doing unintentionally, subconsciously while he was thinking about myself. Am i right Arthur, were you thinking about your father?” The question asked with an underlying tone, subtle nuances, that only both Men understood.

“Yes,” replied Glegg. Eyes fixated on his father.” I/we were hoping for some inspiration, some salvation, due no doubt to our present predicament”...said with a hint of mockery. Instantly regretting it...”What is this fcking place?”...he shouted, the tone now sincere. Wanting and expecting answers. Putting unnecessary memories to the back of the mind. They could wait...The present taking priority.

“You know without me having to tell you. Don’t you son.”

“A question for an answer,” replied Glegg, mockery back in the voice.” Some things don’t change,”...that final word almost a whisper. Venom within it.

“E.e.e.xcuse me g.g.gentlemen,” interrupted a nervous voice,” sorry to b.break up the f.f.f.family r.r.reunion, but pl.l.lease explain...W.w.where! d.d.did you c.c.come from, and w.what w.was all that ab.bout....... th.th.thoughts.”

“Maybe now is not a good time,” replied Glegg senior, concerned about the possible state of the inquirers mental state.

“Now w.w.would be a very good time, if you d.dont mind.” Urgency in the voice. Wanting to quite those agitated emotions.

“To be quite honest it is difficult concept to explain.”

No kidding, thought O'Rahilly...flying carpet maybe?...Love to have a go on one of them.

“One has to experience it to truly understand it. Look around. No phones or any other similar artifacts. Over short distances we communicate normally as we are doing now. Talking to each other. Over long distances it is different.”...He touched his temple...”the only means to know when someone, friend or relation is looking for you; wants to communicate, if that's the right word, with you. You get a “feeling” that makes you feel instinctively that it is a friend or relation. A positive feeling, as opposed to a negative one if it was a foe. You are then able should you want to.. to “home” in on the source of that feeling by the use of”...he once again touched his temple......”Hard to explain beyond that."

Patel nodded to himself...recalling how he had managed to 'locate' Jackson earlier. Now he understood.

"Like everything else in this environment, it is best to experience it rather than explain it. Like learning to ride a bike or learning to swim, you can only teach someone so much. The rest they say is up to that individual. You can only instruct someone up to a point. Nothing surpasses experience. In both these worlds it would seem”..the last sentence, almost a whisper; said more to himself.

There endeth the first lesson, Grasshopper...contemplated O'Rahilly...surprised at his own humor.

“Well t.t.thanks,” said Jackson dryly...that helps alot!

“Can i ask you something?” inquired Patel, glad to see this new addition to the group.... images of the kaabla coming to mind together with the word “Qibla” when the word “direction” was first spoken reinforced with the word “home.”

“Of course...and your name?”

“Ibrahim...Thanks...”What do we do over here?...is this place really eternal?..where is everybody?” A flow of questions that surprised the questioner. A deep breath was heard on completion...Eyes alert.

An inquiring mind, good that should help...”Good questions,” eyes fixed on the person in front , conscious of the groups attention.” Questions i am sure everyone eventually asks themselves...some sooner than others...”What do we do over here? I suppose that is determined by each individual, i can only talk from my own experience. Since being over here”...he looked around to see if the words “over here” registered any negative response ...it had-nt...he continued...”i have met individuals who like your-self’s are curious about their new environment and others who for what ever reason are oblivious to it. Do not want to be aware of it, consciously or otherwise. I suppose you could say... in denial. So i suppose you could say... within each individual lies their own destination."

“You what,” interrupted O'Rahilly, unconsciously spoken to himself, the words barely audible, not realizing that others could hear them.

“What i mean is”... understanding the situation, even though an indirect question, more of a quip, it still needed to be answered...maybe even more so considering its unconscious origin. ”We all adapt to different situations in different ways.”

“Amen to that,”, said O'Rahilly, out loud.

“How can someone be “oblivious” or in denial,” interrupted Binney, glad for the conversation, feeling the benefits to those inner emotions. Wanting to join in. The sooner the better...”How can you ignore where you are?”

“Good question,”... understanding the interruption. More curiosity than anything else. The impatience of youth...Pushed aside those nuances..” but unfortunately some do. Maybe its not so much as “ignoring”...more not wanting to come to terms with this place. This new...yet very different environment. Not being able to. I suppose it all depends on your “beliefs” prior to this sojourn."

“So sojo..soj.. what?” inquired O'Rahilly.

“Sorry...journey is what i mean...from that world to this. That transformation that we have all experienced. Your selves most recently. Some persons cannot / will not come to terms with it. They refuse to accept it. Even if they wanted to, they still find it extremely hard to come to terms with it. A mental block. They prefer to convince themselves that possibly they must be in a dream state or a similar state of mind. In other words what some call...Limbo. No such problems here then?”...throwing the question out...the answer returned in the form of several “nods.”

... Was this real? inquired Clegg...internally...those nagging questions...that same nagging internal voice...was this real? Was this a “real” experience...looking across to his...”father?”...was it “really” his father?... out of those “shadows”...How long was it now...thirteen years....... thirteen years since he last saw him, laid out in that hospital bed...”Dying”...Dying!. Now talk about “transitions”...first Patel and now this figure standing in front ...and to top it all off... talk... about...............” the thinking process.” ...Ridiculous...fcking ridiculous...and yet that figure in front of him...taking control...so much like...he forced the words out...like his old man.

“So what do you think boys?” asked Binney, confidence in the voice, beginning to feel like his normal self... watching that senior addition walking towards “his son!” "Sargent Arthur Clegg has a father", said with a smile, wanting some banter. Mind still alert to what had been said.

"Thats more surprising than this fcking place", replied O'Rahilly, but this place is inter..est..ing”...drawing the letters out like an elastic band, the need for humor returning; considering what had just been said... looking around, attempting to define, internally, what his own eyes were seeing externally.... if only subconsciously.

“Interesting it is,” said Patel...”Don’t know about you lot but not only do we look exactly the same but i for one “feel” exactly the same...if you know what i mean. Personalities and characters still the same. Nothings changed except the environment. Know what i mean?”

“Yea, know what you mean” said Binney...exactly the same, recalling the hairs on the back of his neck, but not wanting to talk about it.” Do like that word “environment” though”. Sounds a lot better...”somehow more...“Acceptable?”

"Know what you mean,” continued Patel,” does-nt play on the imagination as some other words might do. Settles the nerves. That's what we need... to reason things through.” Recalling that continual message throughout that most holy of books... for people of reason, for people of understanding...

“Reason what t.through?” inquired Jackson, glad for the conversation, feeling those good vibes spreading out within...origins ... coming from the group as a whole... mental shackles slowly descending...confidence slowly ascending...confronting their new environment .

“This place...This environment...there has to be reason to it.”

“Reason”...thought Jackson ...recalling his own interest in the subject.... Philosophy...a name came to mind..Ludwig Wittgenstein. ”How can we still be the same, when “technically”... speaking we-re dead?” said the same voice, but now with more confidence to it...Jackson smiled...”it has to be more than just the environment having changed...i mean...look at us...what are these things,” patting himself on the chest like a junior king Kong, then on the thighs...yes we do look the same, but what is this stuff...what are we now made of?”...said with more surprise than humour.

“Good question,” my young friend, interjected Glegg senior, after reminiscing briefly with family...overhearing the line of conversation the group was taking...instinctively prioritizing the moment, feeling the urgency to catch that same moment in order to keep the flow of conversation on the right track...on the right path, before those doubts resurfaced, doubts about a strange environment, those same doubts that if not checked; could turn into fears, and those fears into walls. ”May i say something?”

“Why not,” said O'Rahilly...it has-nt stopped you so far...jokingly thought...encouraging nods from everyone else, ears and minds alert to these new ideas.

“Where do i start,”...said more to himself.

How about the fcking beginning, thought O'Rahilly, in the same vein...recalling to mind, like a flash of inspiration, traveling at the speed of light across the minds eye... a scene from the movie, ‘Airplane’...where Lloyd bridges asks the same question....if dinosaurs are mentioned we are definitely up shit creek... and without a paddle... or fcking water wings.

“Parapsychologists call it ectoplasm. The Egyptians referred to the same, as ones ‘Ka’. The Alchemists referred to it in a round about way to the philosophers stone. The Hebrews in the bible referred to it, in a symbolic way with the Arc of the Covenant...remember?... that 'box' that was constantly being carried around with them...it never left their side”, emphasizing the word “side”...symbolic of?...he threw the words out as a question.....

“This...”said Patel...pointing to his new self...”This new”...he looked internally for the right word....It had to be the right word....to settle those inner emotions in order to achieve that internal balance”...This new... “form”... that somehow must have co-existed with the physical one?”

“Excellent,...Those wilderness years also symbolic. Symbolic of life in that physical world. Symbolic of a journey my young friends. A journey that we must now take...in this new world.”

Yep...Cloud cuckoo land...thought O'Rahilly.

ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE

What's the bloody point...said a weary voice..saddened by the journeys end. Lights fading, a grey mist enfolding...Whats the bloody point. Words echoing back like shadows reflected off an ill lit wall...out of focus...blurred...What was this now?...an image? Across the minds eye? Plato? Plato!..Don't recall reading anything on BLOODY PLATO!...must have...how else?...Those shadows against a wall...looking towards the light...or were they theorizing about the qualities of light?...Theorizing! Where did that bloody one come from!...How can i be...Why am i thinking about ANYTHING!....I-m supposed to be bloody-well DYING!...Hurry up for GODS! Sake...Those bloody pills...Can-t trust ANYTHING! these days.. Did i say these days!..Jesus Christ...what a bloody ............?

“Is that you”, said a voice from somewhere...Somewhere that reminded someone of............................... shadows!

“Is what me?...is that you?...Now what...is their no end! to any of this. Cant someone have.... just one peaceful moment...just one! Asked almost as a prayer......

“Thought i recognized the voice...Fancy seeing you here...Come here a lot?” More jest than sincerity in the question.

A male voice!...still could-nt see who was talking... Maybe i have died and ...maybe... maybe i-m in that ...other place...could it be...Mr g..g...god..Don't be silly,..With a sense of humor like that!...Must be dreaming....

“How you doing then?”...said the same voice...now close up...Williams turned... “Oh my god! It cant be...this is so unfair, its so unjust...it CANT! be....IT just cant BE! .................. Its the bloody PHILISTINE!

Hello mate...said Hancock.

THE JOURNEY..... ......................Understanding the enclosed subject, gives clues, as to what that journey may consist of, relative...to each individual. [In their opinion]. . .

''Never did say thanks'' remarked Jackson; seeing Patel and Binney close by.

''Any...time'' replied Patel - a smile in the voice - drawing out that singular word as though it had an inner meaning.

Jackson laughed. Recalling how 'AB' {short version of Abraham. In Jackson's mind's eye 'Ibrahim' became Abraham - pronounced with the capital 'A' and ''B'' as with the word 'bee'} - had a fascination for one of the main characters in the film 'Predator' - a quote that it often used - an alien of dubious character...he mused -

The word ''alien'' suddenly turned those internal thoughts off - he looked around nervously...

''So w.w.here do you t.t.hink we are,'' He asked, knowing the answer - looking for reassurance.

"Your guess is as good as mine,'' replied Patel, understanding his friends sudden mood swing. ''But it has a good feel to it, a positive one, so lets find out."

"There is one advantage, though, to this place - what ever this place is,'' interjected Binney - "At least we don't have to listen to that running commentary down below on that mindless catastrophe with pussy Putin versus women and kids."

"K.k.now what you mean,'' replied Jackson, glad for the conversation. "America should have done something other than compare it to a parallel universe," feeling good he was challenging himself, confidence rising. Smiling to himself as the words ''parallel universe'' echoed back. "After all they gave that opposing side to Assad - faith and hope; if only in the beginning; but no backup since the cheat Putin arrived on the scene. How can they defend themselves against such air strikes?

Patel listened.

"They can't, but what do you expect from a cheat. He has to win something, besides those phony trophies he's forever picking up. He has to make himself look good - if only to the  Russians. He has to find a way to keep them all in check. He has to play the big man," commented Binney.

Jackson laughed. "He does look good in his judo outfit."

"Not much difference between a cheat and a terrorist. No matter how you dress it up. More common factors than differences," continued Binney.

"They could still turn that situation around though," remarked Jackson, recalling battle strategies by such individuals as Alexander and Geronimo. "They could advise them to surrender!"

"eh!'' replied Binney - startled.

"The Americans. They could request their chosen side to surrender. Why allow that travesty to continue when they know full well that a defeat is inevitable without matching Putin's air strikes. Why allow that misery to continue for those innocent women and kids? "

"But; surrender! Where's the turn around? How can an advantage be got from it?" Binney asked,  intrigued.

"While negotiations are ongoing; if they get that far; then a military no fly zone would have to be put in place - and if breached - then the United Nations would have to act - if you know what i mean."

Binney scratched. "Very good; where did that lot come from?"

"I had two weetabix this morning before i fell off that fcking cliff," joked Jackson.

"I wouldn't be to sure, though, about that last comment - that so called organization - is more of a gentleman's club these days - if you know what i mean. Like Merkel's tits - All past there prime. Front pieces; nothing else. Like 'fake news' - no defining substance to them. No balls, just airs and graces. I, mean, imagine allowing Putin to continue being a member - Not even a suspension - if only while an investigation is ongoing - allowing him to continue to manipulate with his infamous veto's - even when there own members are slaughtered in the line of duty. What does that say for those noble sentiments that began it all in the first place."

Jackson smiled. ''Membership requirements?"

"Exactly. It all has a bad smell to it. A very bad one. Not defending the rights of ALL those innocents - regardless of who they belong to - just to appease and not upset one of there own members. Can't they see. He wants a chance to spend his ill gotten gains - not be buried with them. No wonder its falling apart. Who would want to be a member?

"No thanks.'' Joked Jackson, irony in the voice. And lets not forget that monopoly money they call ''Euro's''. Look at the state of Greece / Italy and Spain. They all went pear shaped after the shortest of honeymoon periods. And its the younger generation - through no fault of their own - who have to pick up the tab. Their 'elders' tab!"

"And to think that, little Scottish terrier wants Scotland to join em.'' Interjected O'Rahilly - rejoining the group - from somewhere - ''The only thing those Scots need to ask themselves - for the second fcking time - is do they want pounds sterling or those fcking euro's - and all the shit that comes with it!

"Or maybe IT WAS that knock on the head," interjected Patel - the same sentiment visible on his face - but with a lighter tone to the voice. "Has anyone noticed Paul is no longer speaking with a stammer?"  Allah does indeed work in mysteries ways - and maybe, just maybe, he may find an answer for Syria, contemplated Patel.

"Right boys'' interrupted group leader Clegg - lets find out what this place has on offer.

 

ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE: Two combatants {Ex. combatants} in conversation. Last known position - Mosul - planet Earth.

Shit! Where did that fucker come from, mate, thought you had them all lined up in your sights?"

"To many of them - didn't see that third focker. Must have had dynamite coming out of his backside - THAT was one BIG bang!"

"Tell me about it - so fcking big - it sent us over here - where ever that is. So where the fck are we?"

"Think we're dead, mate."

"You might be dead - you always were a boring bastard - but it may have slipped your attention span mate - that we are actually talking!"

"It works out like that - when ur dead. You find yourself somewhere else - know what i mean."

"You don't seem the religious type?"

"I'm not. University Challenge, mate?

"Been here before?"

"Funny!"

SIDE NOTE: Someone seen picking themselves up in the distance.

"Hang on - who's that over there - Jesus! it looks like that loony that was all strapped up with those fcking ginormous! fireworks."

"Yea - could be right! And he looks twice as bad as we feel. Look at that head - its almost hanging off. Its at fcking right angles!"

"Yours isn't too pretty mate - EH!", shouted Stansfield - towards the stranger - "How you doing?"

"Fuckoff infidel," came the instant reply, quickly walking away in the opposite direction.

"Charming," said Stansfield, more to himself.

"That's what you get for fraternizing with the enemy, John. What did you expect - a warm welcome?" More irony than humour in the voice.

"Maybe, no point though in bringing that battle over here - know what i mean Pete, - even though we're new arrivals, this place has a brand new feel to it - makes you feel like you can start anew - feels like a new beginning - so the way i see it, - lets start afresh. We don't want that silly crap, we don't need it."

"Good point my philosophical friend. Strange place indeed - two guys from Europe's best philosophizing about war and peace - maybe you should write a book - strange world indeed - maybe a positive one?" said with the usual irony.

"No pens, mate..."

"Should have been a comedian mate, instead of a volunteer..."

"Does'nt harm anyone - positivity - who knows maybe those so called bad boys Putin and Trump can get their heads together and continue those peace talks in Syria. That would save the lives of a lot of our mates. No major fighting for the last couple of months - in FIVE! years -  that's a fcking record. NO mention of it. Everyone focused and obsessed about Trump. Imagine, if not only they could get all those different fractions to co-exist but they then help in the rebuilding - what a statement that would make...

"O, Hang on mate, this place is making your head swim. Why would Putin do such a thing - considering whats gone before...

"He's just as likely too - as not to. He of all people can see the advantage of it. Hell! it was Putin was it not - that got going those peace talks in the first place. He does'nt want to go down in the history books as a real bad boy. Whats the point? There's no mileage in it.  He's made his statement. Tired of all those different fractions encroaching on his borders - especially since that so called Spring Rising...East coming together with West - Think about it - they've been battering each other for generations. And all, supposedly, in the name of religion. But only acted on in its negative light - never the positive one. The present situation ONLY the most recent example. Everyone at a loss of what to do. What a feather in the cap that would be - for all concerned. Especially if those two could find a solution. Those good vibes that would be felt throughout the whole fcking planet - not just the Middle East."

"Crikey - don't tell me you've ACTUALLY read War and Peace?

"Funny! But Imagine if someone could get to grips with that place. Every one knows that deepest Africa is the cradle of human evolution but the Middle East is the cradle of its spiritual one. All that ancient history that supposedly connects us all together - and ALL the good business that it would bring to EVERYONE! - all the way to Timbuktu. And while ongoing - it could be a SIGN - an eternal one! Positivity over negativity - know what i mean, mate."

"Amen to that brother. But don't get carried away, or you might start believing in those thousand good years - but, Hell! i almost feel like singing."

"Don't - we could get kicked out. But who knows whats on the other side of it all. Who knows whats on the other side of a WATERSHED!"

"Just a shame if it did happen, we wouldn't be there to see it."

"No, but our families and mates would - and who knows where those good vibes might lead."

" What this place? Karma you mean?"

"There you go again. You sure you have'nt got religion?"

"Fck off," said Barns. Humour back in the voice.