That sense of the sealed closure began to relax. It seemed like the compression lasted a really long time and, at the same time, it wasn’t. He just wished his sight would return! He knew … no, again that wasn’t right … he instinctively knew – he intuited as his Elder would say when he got something right – that he had just travelled somehow, somewhere. As another disturbing insight dawned, he noted a new smell that slammed into him. How he was not bowled over he could not explain, but the scent of ozone was pervasive. He knew he should be on his knees letting go of anything left in his now emaciated state of being, but instead he performed the dance somehow remaining upward.

Jacob's Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder

As his body’s convulsions calmed, he begrudgingly straightened himself to the sound of whispering whooshing. Machinery? Computers? It was too silent to be anything like that – yet there remained a sense of impersonal mechanisation.

“I want my Emissary,” he attempted to shout – again he was not sure he said anything.

He knew it was appropriate to make this demand – he had a right to an advocate and – even though he doubted the Establishment would allow him even the illusion of acquittal as one of the key figures of the Way. Nonetheless, he longed for some sort of explanation. His memory as to how he ended up somewhere where there was snow and near-freezing-water was enough motivation for him to remain conscious. Not surprisingly, the only reply was only the whispering noises of the impersonal environment. Then in this surreal fugue in which he had been immersed, he heard voices? Again … not words … at least not auditory in nature.

“Welcome,” he felt the greeting in him!

“What?” he stuttered … he knew he heard himself, at least, this time?

You have arrived. We are grateful for your sacrifice.” The words greeted him like clothing, surrounding him, embracing him. They also scared the shit out of him!

“Arrived? Where? Who are you? Sacrifice? Where’s my Emissary?”

Jacob's Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder

Too many questions – he felt like a child did on her first visit to a library. Seeing the old books and the manual labour required to find the information as opposed to a swipe gesture and search query … dumbfounded, that’s what he was experiencing and he knew his mouth was gaping open as he tried to comprehend just enough information that seemed disconnected.

As we begin to process you, we’ll explain more. You may feel none of this makes sense, but I assure you,” the whispering and embracing voice said, “before the procedure you’ll better appreciate the choices made for you.”

Pause … the cursor of his mind’s eye kept blinking unable to process further as he was stuck at procedure and choices … pause …

He was lifted from the standing position he had been in since he had arrived. Outlines began to form. He thought he saw computer consoles, blade servers, some sort of command and control sitting area, and then, holding him to his left and right, men. Big men – no, bloody huge! And, as the fugue began to resurface and the previous sickness returned, he was trying to process what seemed to be appendages that made no sense …

“As for where, well you’ve crossed the Mirkle.”

That was the last thing he heard before consciousness slipped away from the mounting terror into which he found himself unmoored …