This is a continuation of a story begun in the post “Chapter 1. Part 1.” If you enjoy it, please like and share it with others!
CHAPTER 28: THE HIGHER-UP
Though I was not conscious of the mansion, and the garden, and Mendrax’s untimely death, I was not without consciousness completely.
I found myself, inexplicably, standing in a white room. I was dressed in the white tunic of an Umbili and a white rope was tied around my waist.
Opposite me, there were only three other things in the room. One was Teleon, next to him a ball of light that looked like the sun, and next to it was what looked like an Umbra, but transparent. This Umbra was not opaque like Brew and Shishu, and it didn’t have hands or feet. It simply floated in the air next to the ball of light.
Instinctively I sank to my knees. The thought had passed through my head that these were the Higher-ups, and an intense fear and excitement coursed through my veins. In that moment, I was aware of nothing other than my insignificance and imperfection when compared to them.
Teleon was suddenly above me, pulling me up by the arm. He stood resolutely between me and the other Higher-ups.
“It’s alright Nicholas, don’t be afraid. It’s time to talk like you wanted to!”
I hesitantly rose to my feet, still keeping my eyes down.
“Really Nicholas, you are safe in this place.”
I looked at Teleon’s face. He was smiling at me. It was amazing how differently Teleon and Mendrax smiled.
“You died,” I said after a short pause.
“Yes. Yes I did,” he said matter-of-factly. There wasn’t any more to say on the subject.
“So now is when I get to ask all of my questions?”
“Indeed it is,” he responded kindly.
“I can ask you anything?”
“You can ask me anything,” he said.
I thought a moment, and then one obvious question came to mind.
“Where are we?”
“We are in a parallel dimension to the Syllogy. One in which we, the Higher-up, reside.”
“Don’t you mean Higher-ups?” I said.
“No I don’t.” Again, no more questions on the subject were necessary.
“Am I dead?” I asked.
“Far from it. You are having what some people on earth like to call an ‘out of body experience.’ You’re not really here right now, even though you are. You’re back in the forbidden time realm in Mendrax’s basement, lying on your back a little bit unconscious at the moment,” said Teleon.
“But how can we be both here and there and not here all at the same time?”
“The answer to that lies in the fact that time is different here than in the Syllogy, just as it is different in the Syllogy than it is on earth. This is another of the forbidden time realms, one that no one can access except through our power,” said Teleon gesturing behind him toward the other two beings in the room. Yet again there was no need to question him further. I was oddly satisfied with the answer, even though I didn’t understand any of it.
“What’s going to happen to Mendrax?”
“He will be stripped of his physical form and quarantined on earth. We have more to do with him before his final fate,” said Teleon.
“Won’t he hurt people on earth?” I said.
“No more than they’ll hurt themselves, and he’ll help in other ways on earth, though he won’t realize it.”
“He’ll make people realize what you realized on the beach of Troy.”
“Oh,” I said, befuddled, but not wanting to look like I misunderstood. “So there’s still more to do on earth.”
“Definitely,” said Teleon. “But you shouldn’t worry yourself with that yet.”
I was overcome by grief again, and I could feel tears knotting up in my throat, about to burst forward. “Teleon, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t plant the seed.”
He gave me a hug that warmed me from the inside outward.
“All is forgiven Nicholas. You did your job of carrying the seed well… of course, since we’re here and not there you’re also doing your job well and will do your job well.” He smiled at me with a silly little smile.
“Is that cause time is different here?” I asked sarcastically, sniffing.
“You’re catching on!” he said.
“So what happened down there?” I asked.
“You mean what is happening down there, you also mean what will happen down there because it was, will, and is happening right now.”
“For the rest of these questions how about we stick with my perspective of time, the linear kind?” His joke had worked and I was no longer about to cry.
“Fair enough,” said Teleon, smiling even wider. “Well, what happened down there was you planted the seed and it restored the balance of time to the Syllogy. It also released Mendrax from his prison.”
“No, I didn’t plant the seed. You did,” I said, though I knew after I finished it was silly to correct him.
“All the works I have done have been credited to you. No, you weren’t able to plant the seed. But I Am,” he said.
“Okay. So Mendrax was imprisoned down there?” I asked.
“Yes. He wasn’t lying about that part. In fact, he wasn’t lying a whole lot at all down there. Usually the best deceptions consist largely of truth.”
“And the seed set him free.”
“Yes it did, and then my blood stripped him of both his human powers and his Higher-up powers.”
“He had human powers?” I asked.
“Yes he did,” said Teleon.
“What kind of human powers were worth taking?” I asked.
“To put it succinctly, he had to have the human powers in order to gain the Higher-up power. Umbili and Higher-up natures are naturally incompatible. The Umbili nature wasn’t designed with the Higher-up nature in mind, at least, not in the same way that human natures were. He needed to take some humanness in order to take the Higher-upness.”
I nodded, pretending I understood what he was saying.
“So you are dead right now?” I asked. A sudden and great sadness overtook me as I thought back to the image of Chak plunging my sword into Teleon’s belly.
“Yes, I am,” sad Teleon softly. “But I’m also alive right now. My sacrifice was, is, and will be necessary.”
There was a somber moment as a few tears trailed down my face. I didn’t know why I was crying. I was standing there with Teleon, alive and in person! But at the same time, I was distinctly aware of Teleon’s death, and my own failures. Teleon waited patiently for me to regain my composure. A thought then occurred to me, and that was when my tears turned to anger.
“Why did you bring me here to carry this seed if it wasn’t my blood you needed to begin with? Why did you put me through all this? Why didn’t you do this all yourself? You’re powerful enough to do it aren’t you?” I spat at him.
“Of course I Am,” he said. He wasn’t phased by my anger. “But let me ask you a question: would you rather be back in Athens right now instead of the Syllogy?”
I was taken aback, and thought a moment. “No, I wouldn’t.”
“Now that it’s over, do you wish you had never been involved?” he asked.
“No I don’t.”
“Looking back, would you have become the better person that you are without having carried that seed in the Syllogy?” he said.
I wanted to contradict him, but I couldn’t. He was right. I had been changed for the better because of my experience carrying the seed. “No, I wouldn’t have. So my involvement in this escapade was actually about me changing for the better, and not about saving the Syllogy?”
“It was about both! One is a description of the other. Each was the means to the other’s end.”
I nodded as I considered his statement.
“A third and more important reason could be given as well: it was by these two means and ends that the Higher-up might be fulfilled,” he said.
I didn’t completely understand his last statement, but again, there seemed no point in arguing. I knew he had to be right.
“So, if you’re dead right now, but you’re not, where are you?”
“Well, I’m currently making a quick jot into another parallel dimension. I have to chat with the Granju, conquer the Hashcoil and reunite myself with the Duesthongott.”
“I don’t know what any of that means.”
“I know you don’t. But you asked, so I told you. Why do you think I answer so few questions directly? It’s because you’ll never understand the direct answer,” he said grinning. “Are there any other questions?”
“There are always more questions,” I said seriously, but also trying to match him with a sly smile.
“How true, but I prefer more answers to more questions. What say we limit it to one more?”
“Alright. I guess the others will keep. How about this for a last question: How do I get out of here?”
“Oh Nicholas, you should know the answer to that already. Don’t worry about it!”
I opened my eyes just in time to see Mendrax shatter into a million pieces.
As they fell to the ground, they began to fade from existence, and a soft breeze blew them away.
Slightly overwhelmed by the conversation I had just had, I stood up to assess the situation and wobbled in the process. Pathena was there to stabilize me.
“Nicholas, are you okay?” she asked timidly.
“Yes. Yes I’m fine,” I said, though I didn’t even convince myself.
“Maybe you should sit down,” she said.
“No, really. I’m fine,” I said, a little more confidently. She backed away and I looked around the room. Chak was still lying on the ground. I glanced at Pathena’s face. I could tell she had recently wiped away tears.
“I thought I had lost all of you,” she said.
I hugged her quickly, and put as much comfort into it as I could.
“Everything’s going to be okay. We just have to—”
Another explosion met our ears. Chak’s body was trembling and rolling around on the floor. His head would whip one way, and his body would whip another. He began to rise into the air, and his light was brighter than I’d ever seen it.
His body stretched in every direction, and then everything shut off and he hit the floor with a thud. He looked very different. His hands were straw-like and spindly. His feet were the same. His white Umbili tunic now had a hood over it, and his pasty white skin contrasted with the glistening crystals all around us.
After a moment, Chak the Umbra sat up and shook his head.
Want to keep reading? Go to the next section! >>> “Chapter 28. Part 2.”