18 December 2004

Good morning, everyone,

I hope things are well with everyone and that your holiday shopping is almost done.  Frankly, I've been so swamped, I wouldn't know that it's Christmas-time if it weren't for the specials on TV.  I'm still catching up on end of year things, so the next chapter will be out around the first of the year...writing has been very slow in those few moments I've had lately to do any.

Thanks to all of you who wrote.  I have enjoyed our correspondence and appreciate your thoughts.  You all are wonderful people.

Have an excellent holiday!

Michael Garrison

This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. This story also deals with love and consensual sexual activities between men. If you are not of legal age, reside in an area where viewing such material is illegal, or are offended by such themes, do not read further and leave this site now.

The author retains all rights to this story. Reproductions or links to other sites are not allowed without the permission of the author.

Two Lives – Two Loves

Chapter 32

“What’s wrong?” Jon asked, uncomfortable with Alicia’s staring.

“Nothing,” Alicia said, smiling weakly. “Can I help with anything?”

“You’re a guest; you don’t have to do anything except make yourself at home,” he smiled. Weakly.

Jon went to get some sodas and napkins while Hunter and Ron pulled some extra chairs around the patio table and emptied the bags with the sub sandwiches and the chips.

“They’re all the same,” Hunter said. “I hope everyone likes Italian with extra peppers.”

“Fine by me,” I said.

“Thanks for bringing these,” Jon said.

Jon joined us and chair legs squealed against the patio as we pulled ourselves up to the table to unravel the overstuffed subs, rip at the chips and pop the tops. The smell of the onions and the peppers drove me crazy and I could almost feel the endorphins flowing into my system as I sank my teeth into my first half. It was almost as good as sex. Mind you, nothing’s ever quite as good as sex, but at the moment, this was coming close. I was starved after my little voyage.

Jon ate his tentatively; I could tell his head still bothered him and I studied him as we ate silently. He chewed slowly, not enjoying his food as I felt the dull pain pushing at every inch of his brain. I thought I might be able to see what it was that bothered him but I couldn’t. It was like he was preventing me from seeing into him. What was also strange was that, after a minute or two, I noticed that we all were silent and that we all were studying one another. I was studying Jon, Alicia was studying Jon, and Hunter and Ron were studying me. What we really needed was a fifth party to study Hunter and Ron but I guess we can’t have everything.

It finally got to me.

“What?” I asked, dropping my sub to the table with a touch more drama than might have been necessary, my eyes darting between Hunter and Ron. They both sort of looked at each other and then down at the table. They didn’t have the faintest idea of what to say.

“C’mon,” I began, “You guys’ve been like a couple of church mice since you got back. What’s the deal?”

Ron coughed and reached slowly into his bag for another bunch of chips. His eyes darted up and down at Hunter. Alicia watched all of us and stayed quiet, waiting to see what would develop.

“Hey, man,” he said. “Look; we didn’t mean anything by it. It’s just, you know, kinda freaky, you know.”

“Isn’t that what you came here for?” I sniped.

“Well, yeah, but I gotta tell you…when we walked through the front door and saw you standing there with your arms all stretched out and standing on your toes like you were doing a swan dive and listening to you sighing like that…it was weird.”

“I was sighing?” I asked Alicia.

“Well, moaning would probably be a better choice of words,” she nodded. “And then…,”

“That was you?” Jon interrupted.

“You heard it, too?” I asked. I didn’t mean to cut Alicia off but it just struck me that I was not aware of this.

“Heard it?” Jon said, “I’m half surprised the neighbors didn’t call to complain or something. Then it just stopped and I said ‘fuck it’, my head ached so bad, let Brad deal with it.”

“Little did you know,” I muttered.

“No kidding; you’re a scary guy sometimes, you know?”

“I’m scary? Look who’s talking, bondage-boy!” From the corner of my eye, I saw Ron and Hunter immediately ease back in their chairs; I didn’t know whether it was to distance themselves or because they didn’t want to miss a word, but they kept quiet, not even chewing for fear of drowning out a single word.

“And THEN…,” Alicia said, raising her voice to reinsert herself into the conversation before it got out of hand; it was enough. We stopped. “…you went quiet and relaxed. That’s when I knew you were in trouble.”

“Trouble? From what?” I asked, looking back to her.

“You were enjoying it too much and you were leaving your body. That’s why we had to pull you back. I’m just glad Hunter and Ron were there. You were deep into it.”

“Into what?” Hunter asked. “I’m not following any of this.”

“Hunter,” Ron said, “You wanted to see the supernatural; I think you’ve got a front row seat now.”

“You don’t know how right you are,” Alicia said. She took a breath, thinking of how best to put it so Hunter would understand. “All right,” she began again, looking him and Ron dead on. “You both obviously know that Brad’s a psychic, even if he sometimes doesn’t want to admit it. Even to himself,” she said, cutting a look around at me. “What you saw when you came in was Brad on the verge of traveling astrally.”

“Doing what?” Hunter asked.

“It’s like when his mind leaves his body behind and goes out somewhere,” Ron said.

“Very good, Chipmunk; you’re learning,” she smiled.

Hunter was a slower learner but didn’t have the advantage of having been exposed to this before. “You mean like last night when we were doing the Ouija thing and he just sort of froze up?”

“Yes,” Alicia said. “Exactly like that. And DON’T…,” she barked, raising her voice and jabbing her finger at them, particularly Ron, “…let me hear about you doing anything as stupid as that again!” Alicia almost spat the words at them. Ron and Hunter were each at least a head taller and a lot broader than Alicia, but her words threw them back in their chairs. Their eyes went wide and Ron’s hands went up in submission.

“Yes, ma’am, I mean, no ma’am, I mean,” Ron stammered, shaking his head trying to find the words under Alicia’s steady frown. Hunter quieted him with a hand laid on top of his arm.

“But last night he just went all quiet and keeled over on the floor,” Hunter asked. “Why didn’t he do that today?”

“Fair question,” she said. “He was going to but he wasn’t totally out of his body yet. He was enjoying the journey too much this time because he was consciously controlling it.” Alicia turned back to me and smiled, raising her soda can in salute. “Bravo, Brad,” she smiled.

The guys all stared at me with the sort of glazed look you usually find on donuts. They were confused, but I wasn’t. For the first time, I knew exactly what Alicia was talking about. I had controlled it, and it had felt really good; so good that I almost didn’t want to come back. And I’d almost gotten there, too. I’d almost gotten my hands on…”

“That book,” Ron asked.

“Yeah,” Hunter said, taking up Ron’s thought, “What’s up with that? You seemed really pissed.”

Seemed pissed? I was pissed. Royally!” I said as the memory flooded back.

“Oh, God; the book again,” Jon sighed, putting down his sub and slowly rubbing his temples. I noticed he had hardly eaten any of his food. “Would you please just hurry up and read that thing?” he said.

Jon’s small outburst took us by surprise. We all went quiet. Alicia turned and studied him again through squinted eyes.

“Hey, babe; you okay?” I soothed, reaching out a hand to caress his thigh. His headache looked like it was getting worse.

“Hey, look,” he began. “I apologize; it’s just…my head…”

“You wanna go lie down or something?” I asked.

“No, I’ll be all right,” he said, taking a deep breath, trying to tough it out. I knew my man better than that; he was in pain and didn’t want to let it spoil everyone’s time. After a few seconds, things returned to normal; well, as normal as they could get.

“So what is it with the book,” Ron asked Alicia.

She put down her soda and wiped her hands. “You mentioned that book before,” she began. “This time you said you thought it was the key to all this and I agree.”

“I never said that.”

“You thought it,” she grinned.

“Now who’s peeking,” I smirked.

“Yeah, well…”

“So what is it?” Hunter asked, becoming slightly annoyed at our banter.

“I don’t know,” she said.

“Oh, great,” Jon muttered.

“But I’ll tell you what I think it is,” she paused, taking another sip of her soda. “I think it either is or is a part of your Akashic record,” she stated, looking at me.

“My what?” I asked.

“You’ve heard me talk about the Library?” She asked.

“You mean the one down across from the mall?” Ron asked innocently. Hunter shushed him; he wanted to see where this was going.

“Yeah, maybe; I don’t recall right off hand,” I shrugged.

“On the other side of that veil where you go when you travel,” she began again, “…there’s what we would call a library. A big one. I’m not certain what it looks like ‘cuz I’ve never gotten there myself, but…,”

“What is it?” Hunter interjected.

“Well, if you’d let me continue,” she smirked.


“From what I’ve heard, it looks different to different people, kind of like it adjusts itself to fit your conceptions. Probably for ease of conventional references for those of us still working on this plane,” she said. “But whatever perspective you look at it from, it’s still a library no matter what.”

“And?” I drawled.

“This is where the Akashic records are kept.”

“And they’re, like, what?” I asked, waving my hands for her to quit beating around the bush and just get to it.

“They’re like the records of all of your various lives and incarnations and lessons learned, written by you, and for you.”

“You’re serious,” I asked. She nodded back.

“That’s probably a really gross over-simplification, but, yeah. Like I said before, Brad; you’re an old, experienced soul and there are no coincidences. Frankly, I think you’ve got history with this house from before and I think that book is the record of it, or at least the manifestation of it.”

“And to think I almost had it.”

“Well, we…you, actually, are going back in to get it,” she said, turning to the guys, “And y’all are gonna help.”

“Oh-ho-ho, man,” Hunter said, waving his hands, “This is too…”

“Shhh,” Ron said, slipping his hand onto Hunter’s leg. “You wanted weird; you can’t leave now.” Hunter eased back down into his chair. “We’re there,” he said to Alicia. “What do we do?”

I smiled, interested to see Ron take charge of Hunter for a change and I was happy to have their help, whatever it might be.

“Jon?” I asked.

“You have to ask?” he said. “I’m there, headache or not. Just let me choke down some aspirin first is all.”

“Excellent!” I beamed, grateful that I’d finally get this mystery behind me. “Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’Artagnan,” I said, pointing to each of my friends in turn. “How can I lose?”

“Sounds like a bunch of colognes,” Ron quipped.

“Please tell me you’re kidding,” Hunter drawled.

We helped Jon get things cleaned up and reassembled in the front parlor. Alicia got us to rearrange the furniture so that they could all sit on the couches facing me while I sat in the club chair. She got the candelabra from the dining room table and then got some incense from her car that she’d brought for me. I immediately recognized one of the scents as sage; the other I wasn’t sure about. She said it was frankincense, good for meditation and protection. Finally, she lit the candles and the incense and drew the blinds, darkening the room as much as she could. I was a little edgy being the center of attention once again.

“Alicia, am I…what are we supposed to be doing here?” Hunter asked.

“Just what you’re doing, hon,” she said. “Just sit there and be there in case.”

“In case of what?” Jon asked.

“You’ll know that when, if, it happens,” she said.

Alicia smoothed her rustling skirt from behind and sat down on the couch next to Jon. She leaned forward, starting with some final instructions as the fragrant scent of the incense started to fill the still air in the room.

“Okay,” she sighed. “Here’s how this works.” I chuckled, noticing that their heads all turned in unison towards her, like puppies hearing a new sound. “Don’t talk, don’t laugh, don’t move, don’t nothing unless I tell you to; ‘kay?”

“’kay…yes, ma’am…” they nodded.

“Brad is going to meditate and put himself where he was earlier when you two came in. He’s likely to leave his body, we’ll have a pretty good idea this’s happened if he goes limp,” she said.

Oh, you should’ve seen the looks on their faces when she opened that little chestnut. I thought Hunter’s mouth was going to drop into his lap. I guess Hunter’s one of those people for whom seeing is still not quite believing. He’d seen me that way twice now and he still acted like it was the first time. I guess it was the way Alicia put it, so matter-of-factly for something so out of the ordinary, that set him on edge.

“Don’t do anything unless I tell you,” she emphasized. “I’ll be keeping an eye on him but it seems I can only go so far. After that, you’re on your own, Brad,” she said, turning her attention to me. “Can you handle that?”

I hesitated for a beat, “Yes.” I had no choice. I was at a turning point. If I turned back now, I felt like there’d be no doing it again. I was a little nervous now that I had the chance to stop and think about it. Before, I’d just done it on the spur of the moment, heading out into the ether to get my hands on that book. Now, I was making a conscious effort to do it. It was really stimulating and really spooky all at once.

In my mind’s eye, I could see Grandfather and Dawn over Water and Fishing Bear, and that score of others, standing and smiling at me, encouraging me from high on the plateau. I heard Grandfather’s voice in the middle of my head, telling me not to be afraid, letting me know that it was finally time but to be cautious and watchful, that they were there if I needed.

“Good,” Alicia said. “Now let’s all just sit back, relax and stay still. Brad?” she asked, “Whenever you’re ready, hon.”

I coughed and cleared my throat, shaking my arms like before, making sure I was loose and limber. I don’t know why; everybody’s got their little rituals they go through when they’re getting ready to do something. I guess this was becoming mine.

I closed my eyes and squirmed my back into the chair, listening to the leather ‘squeak’ as I did, until I was comfortable. I planted my feet firmly on the floor and rested my hands comfortably in my lap. Silently, I said my prayer of protection as Alicia had taught me and took deep breaths, filling my lungs with the cool, dry air of the room, inhaling the fragrant essence of the incense. It was very intoxicating.

Then I felt it. The familiar, wonderful wave of warm energy rolling over me from my feet to my head, stimulating me, energizing me. I heard myself gasp as the flow totally engulfed me, half lifting me out of the chair, and I ‘felt’ Jon move towards me and I ‘heard’ Alicia shake her head, barring his way with her arm across his chest. I could feel all of their heartbeats, almost taste their apprehension; this had to be the awareness that mystics spoke of. It should have felt strange and foreign, but it had the most natural feel to me of anything I’d ever experienced and I felt wonderful. My ‘sight’ gradually cleared and I saw them sitting quietly with wide eyes as I lost the feel of my body and slipped free of it, carried away by the euphoria of the energy, of the transition.

I saw Jon chewing nervously at his thumbnail as they continued to stare at my limp, sleeping form in the chair, not seeing the me of me at all as I stepped out of myself. Eventually, they began to fade, the room began to fade. Morph would probably be a better word. It wasn’t like the house lights went down while the crew changed scenery for the third act; it was a blending of one existence into another. A place where I was and they weren’t, even though I somehow knew that, in the totality of it, they were still there.

Gone were the leather sofas and the club chairs; they were now the formally arranged chintz sofas and armchairs. Gone were the white plaster walls and trim; they were again that dizzying Victorian paper. Gone were my tee and khaki shorts and Nike’s; they were now my familiar robe and bare feet. I was here.

I turned and looked at the door to the office and ‘felt’ the ticking of the clock on the mantle beyond.


To Be Continued