“You have a chance to know the universe unlike most of the people ever born…”
I wake up in a graveyard.
A graveyard? But I’m still above ground. Why is it dark? Did I sleep through a whole day, or is this still last night?
Despair crushes me. I know I’m going to die. Why is it taking so long? I know that when I die that’s the end. I won’t have to wonder any more. I’m weary of wondering. No one can understand the universe. I don’t want to try any more.
Okay, this is new. Waking up wondering how I got changed into some unfamiliar outfit is one thing. But why am I naked? Naked… in a graveyard?
The dates on these stones… 1610-1652? 1616-1678? If these graves are from the 17th Century, is that where I am?
“Potentially, yes,” a deep male voice answers. Did I say that out loud?
I jump up looking around. My bare feet are sensitive to the gravel and dirt upon fresh graves. I don’t see anyone.
“But potentially you are many places,” says the voice. I can’t pinpoint a direction from which it’s coming.
“Where are you?”
“I am also,” says the voice, “potentially many places. Everyone is. But enough bullshit,” he says, suddenly from behind. I whirl about. A man stands before me. I gasp, startled at his proximity. “Sorry, I travel quickly. I’m Bijaksana Lama Satu, at your service for the moment.”
“Jesus!” I sigh, “What the fuck?”
“No. Bijaksana Lama Satu.”
“Doctor Bijaksana! Why the hell am I in a graveyard?” I demand, faking confidence as a naked man must.
“No ordinary graveyard,” he points out. “Observe more carefully.”
As cool breeze wafts between my bare legs I go to examine more tombstones. Some have dates that seem impossible. 2145-2763? I do the math. “What? This guy lives to be 618 years old? In the future?”
“That’s your implication,” Bijaksana replies dryly. “But years are arbitrary. He lives. That’s the point.”
“Why am I naked?”
“That’s what you came with! You want answers but you aren’t open to finding them,” he tells me patiently. “You wouldn’t even know that there is more to reality if your brain were right. Your brain is not right. It is damaged. You have brain damage.”
What? “That’s not true. Nothing happened to me…”
“Are you certain?”
“What? When…” I start, but then I recall the time when I was hit in the head with a baseball bat at the age of eight and knocked out. No one thought I was damaged. I couldn’t tell any difference.
“It wasn’t your intellect that was effected. You have been harboring a blood knot in your brain for decades. It has slowly grown until that part of your brain that receives Mind has been squeezed to its minimum. You are literally losing touch with Mind.”
“Knot? You mean ‘clot’?”
“No, not clot. Knot.”
“Losing my mind?”
“It isn’t yours. Mind belongs to everyone, and Mind is shared by everyone with a capable receiver.”
“How do you know?” I ask bitterly.
“You will require brain surgery for a full correction. Very hard to get under your circumstances. You will have to find a brain surgeon, make certain of her qualifications and convince her to operate on you that very same day, that is if you ever find yourself in a reality again where there is brain surgery.”
“But – can’t you recommend someone? I thought you were an oneirologist! What’s going on here?” I shout, absorbing the possible bad news in the frightening surreal atmosphere and choosing whether to believe it. “I thought you were a scientist!”
“Heck, I’m a lot of things,” laughs the odd fellow. “I memorized ancient formulas for creating power and power objects. I instinctively sense the positions of the Sun, Moon and cosmic objects affecting light on Earth. I instinctively sense magnetic fields, electrical build-ups and the presence of thinking life forms within a wide circle around me regardless of objects between us. I can see the final fate of anyone upon the first touch of my forearm to another forearm. But that won’t work with you because of your condition.”
“Well thanks for all the help.”
Bijaksana Lama Satu says, “Consciousness becomes tangible when Mind enters a brain. You are becoming intangible.”
“So… give me the power to overcome this. Isn’t that why we’re here?”
“While I am mask maker, herbalist, metallurgist, and holy man of the centuries-long Toma spirit, able to imbue extraordinary abilities on others, I am extremely cautious in so doing. Every power has its price, often a dear one. The price I pay is that I am called to help the lost, and I have no choice, if I like them or don’t. I meet them here, in the Lost Graveyard.”
“But you aren’t helping me,” I protest. “You’re telling me it’s hopeless!”
“If it seems hopeless you are missing the point,” the aura-emanating mystic says. “Your power is accidental, but not undesirable. You have the chance to visit world after world after world, as few ever can. You have a chance to know the universe unlike most of the people ever born. You can even choose your destinations. If you cease your grappling after normalcy and embrace this opportunity, you can become one of the wisest of all humans who ever lived or ever shall. Until such time as you may find that surgeon, can you use this experience to grow?”
“I’ll miss my family,” I moan. “I’ll miss my routines.”
“Then return to them in the best possible mental condition, when at last you are able.”
I sink to my knees burying my head in my hands. “But I have to tell them.” I don’t want any of this. I don’t want this “opportunity.” I want the simple reality I was a part of my whole life…
But then he is gone.
How many hours pass, bewildered, alone, naked and cold before it seems I can no longer stay asleep?
Wearily I lie upon the soft dirt of a random grave, to…awaken?