It’s so peaceful here underneath the waves. The water is warm and rays of light glimmer above me on the surface. Here in the silence, I can hear the songs of the things we know as angels, the endless churning of the outside world has been blotted out. There is no time, no pain, no fear here. Just a tiny speck of light out on the end of everything. Glowing shrapnel of a constantly exploding god. Waves of energy surge through me as feelings of profound interconnection fill up the emptiness inside. A vessel poured full and tossed into the gaping maw of all things. Slowly the water pulls me down and I do not fight it. The space between this world and the next is measured in missed breaths. Counting stars is my new preoccupation as nebulas swim through my mind. Somewhere a bell sounds.
At this precise moment, someone grabs me by the wrist and I’m forcefully pulled up above the surface of the water. What in the hell? The being holding my wrist looks sort of like a mushroom person. I’m not sure how else to describe it. I’ve never seen anyone like this before. As I look around me other humans are being pulled from the water by similar beings. The waves are rolling around us and they are pulling us all towards a beach. There is a sense of urgency as I stumble along gasping for air. Where are we?
“Hurry, there is not much time now, they know you are here,” said a voice in my head that sounded almost like Saturday morning cartoons. “This is how you see me, this is not how I am, quickly now. We must go.”
Sitting next to the beach is a strange looking small car with huge bulging tires which challenges my current understanding of wheeled transportation. It’s like the clown car of the unpossible. As we are about to get into the ridiculous looking car I can feel a low rumbling in the ground under my feet. The strange being gestures towards me to hurry and the car doesn’t make a sound as we speed away from the beach. Behind us, off in the distance, I can see what looks like tan colored garbage trucks lumbering towards the beach. All the other humans are ushered into houses next to the beach. Flat houses. Houses propped up on the beach like so many pictures on an end table. As I turn to look out the windshield I am struck by another impossible sight.
The formerly flat road is now an undulating funhouse roller coaster ride that is occurring at a disturbing speed. Lights blur along outside the window but there is no sense of movement. Whenever I try to look directly at the being driving the car it’s body shifts subtly out of focus. The arms are long and skinny in my peripheral vision. I could have sworn that was a talking mushroom person who pulled me out of the water. What did it mean by “this is not how I am”? Before I can ponder any further the lights moving past the car suddenly stop and we are parked in front of another flat house on the beach. It looks like a movie prop. White with gold trim and cardboard green hedges propped up in front of the windows. As we get out of the car I get a closer look and there is only a stand holding up this cutout shape of a house.
“Do not be alarmed, we did not have much time to prepare for your arrival,” said my savior chaperone as he opened an impossibly narrow door and entered the house like this was all perfectly normal.
I squeeze myself through the door and enter a beautifully decorated although slightly odd seaside cabin with a wonderful view of the waves outside. The tables are covered in all manner of desserts and confectionary treats. Giant cookies and towering pies, cherry turnovers, pineapple upside-down cakes, and delicious looking candies of every possible permutation. A large round woman wearing too much blush turns to look at us with a broad smile. Her hair looks more like a powdered wig than actual hair. She is joined by a tall pale looking gentleman in a dark suit who looks disturbingly like a vampire undertaker.
“Look Norman, our guest has arrived, quickly now, get me the goggles and the milkshake. Hurry, they are coming soon,” she said while extending a hand and curtsy in my direction. “Come, sit down my child, we have much to do and little time to do it. You’ve been doing very well so far and we are proud of you. What we have to give you cannot be explained in words and we do not have time for many questions.”
“Where am I and what are you doing to those people on the beach?”
“You are in a place in between places. We are bringing as many of you across as possible while we can so that each of you may have a new perspective on what is coming. Do not be afraid. We are trying to help you and soon you will all be returned back to the place from which you came. Some seek to stop this and believe you should continue your slumber,” she replied while smiling at me like a doting grandmother. The pale thin man had returned carrying an enormous hot fudge milkshake complete with bendy straw and cherry on top along with a very odd looking pair of metallic copper goggles which she placed on my head. “Just relax dear, we are going to adjust you.”
“What do you mean adjust me?”
Before she could answer I saw faces outside the window. Someone in a tan uniform wearing a flat mask which looked it was carved from stone with beady little eye holes. Another figure is wearing something that looks like a welding helmet with narrow rectangular eye cutouts and they are looking through the window at us. The floor beneath us began to vibrate as a flushed look of concern flashes over her face. The pale gentleman began tracing symbols into the air in front of us that felt both familiar and strange at the same as his fingertips started to glow.
“We are out of time child. I don’t know when we will be able to reach you next. Sit back and relax. You will be home soon, there is one more stop along the way,” she said reassuringly before taking a long drink of her milkshake which seemed to bring her great joy.
She reached up, turned a knob on the side of the goggles, and everything in the room started sliding sideways into a black hole. Milkshake lady was smiling and waving as the hole swallowed me up. My body is pulled tight like a rubber band and I’m fired through the fabric of the universe. The sense of speed is enormous as a torrent of stars pinwheels around me. Electricity begins to arc across my body as a high pitched squeal of increasing intensity rings in my right ear. There is the feeling of being pushed through plastic wrap followed by a popping sound. I am now floating above a busy street in what looks like Earth, back in the time I came from.
I’m floating behind a tall, thin man with pale white skin walking down the middle of the road. He’s dressed in a dark business suit with a fedora hat and appears to have walked straight out of the 1950s. The cars don’t seem to see him as he neatly steps between them while they speed past. His movements are fluid and precise. Up ahead of us, I can see the towering narrow spires of a church which sits on a corner where three roads come together in an odd y-shaped intersection. It appears to be where he is heading. There is something strange on the back of his neck that looks like a cube with wires attached to it buried just under the skin. The wiring disappears under the collar of his coat. As he reaches up to turn the door handle of the church there is a loud crashing sound and I wake up in the lounge to find Shadow laying on my chest. His ears are back and he’s staring at the corner of the room where my coffee cup now lays on the floor broken.
“What happened? I just had the craziest dream little buddy.”