From Mysteries of the Bible

Mysteries of the Bible

Chapter Five
THE CREATION ACCOUNT

At the time the Creation Account was written, the only element of reality with which man could interact was the known Earth itself. The universe above his head was the home of supernatural influences and didn’t enter his reasoned worldview. Hence, there is the direct assertion at the beginning of the account that: ‘In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.’ (1:1:1)
The actual construction of the ‘heavens’ was literally of no value to them. This said, the actual Creation occurred in Six Days. I would immediately agree with the Comte de Buffon, who argued that the Six Days were, infact, vast amounts of time. This is understandable in terms of the people at the time of the account. Their only measurable length of time was that dictated by the sun and moon – i.e. the day.
The first major assertion of the account relating to Earth is that the Earth ‘was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.’ (1:1:2)
The most generally accepted theory for the formulation of planet Earth is that gravity affected gas clouds of particles, attracting them into a whole that would eventually condense into the planet as we know it. Hence, at the beginning of Earth’s existence, it was ‘without form, and void.’
At such an early period in Earth’s formulation, the solar system would also have been in a more primeval state, the gases being attracted to form the sun not yet densely packed enough to form nuclear reaction. It is therefore valid to say that ‘darkness was upon the face of the deep.’
And lo and behold: ‘God said, Let there be light, and there was light’ (1:1:3). By this time the sun had compacted to the point to allow nuclear reaction. And by the end of the ‘first day’, God had created night and day.
‘And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
‘And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.
‘And God called the firmament Heaven.’ (1:1:6-8)
At the beginning of this period, the condensing gases would be changing constitution the closer such gases were to the central point of gravity. Hence, towards the centre of the cloud, the gases would be beginning to liquify. On the outer edges of the cloud the gases, however, would still be in a gaseous state.
In the centre of this reaction would be a point where liquid and gas would be breaking away from each other, forming the actual construction of the hard planet, and its encircling atmosphere. Hence, the waters under the firmament would be divided from the waters above, eventually becoming the planet and sky. And so endeth the second day.

God was particularly busy on the third day.
‘… Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear …’ (1:1:9)
The atmosphere, having been created on the second day, the condensing of the actual planet had begun, and before long we see the construction of the land and the sea. Hence, the waters were gathered unto one place, other than upon land. But God didn’t rest, for on the same day we find: ‘Let the Earth bring forth grass …’ (1:1:11)
As the Earth was forming the land and sea, it also formulated a concept known as the ‘primordial soup,’ a kind of cooking pot, wherefrom came life. And on the third day we clearly see these two processes going on almost simultaneously. Admittedly, grass did not suddenly sprout out of this ‘soup’ – rather, the first form of life would be bacteria – but the writer of the account identified the first living thing as the genetically most basic form of life he could see about him. He had no knowledge of bacteria or microscopic creepy-crawlies, but intuition and scientific integrity remain sound.
The scientific hits within the Creation Account are becoming quite impressive as the account follows with herb formulating seed and the tree giving fruit. But then God slept until the fourth day. Then: ‘And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament … to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons and for days, and years …’ (1:1:14)
‘… And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also.’ (1:1:16)
We can immediately see an apparent problem here. It is ridiculous to see the sun, moon and stars only being created at this point in planet Earth’s evolution. But we must remember from what frame of reference the Creation Account is written. Mortal existence could only be viewed in terms of the Earth itself. So to understand the fourth day, we must view it in terms of what the writer could have experienced had he been on Earth at the time of the ‘fourth day.’
The Earth had produced its initial lifeforms, the sea and land were existent, and it had an atmosphere. The concept of day and night would also exist, but of what order? For instance, would Earth have had an atmosphere as we know it today?
Science says not. Rather, the atmosphere would have been extremely volatile and gaseous, to such an extent that the whole Earth would have been shrouded in dense cloud. Light and dark would be appreciable on the Earth’s surface, but it would be a ‘fused’ light, unlike day and night as we know it today. Viewed from the Earth’s surface, therefore, the sun, moon and stars would not be visible. Hence, on the fourth day, the atmosphere thinned out to become the atmosphere we appreciate today; exactly in line with scientific theory the sun, moon and stars would suddenly appear.

And so to the fifth day.
‘And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.’ (1:1:20)
On the fourth day we saw the correct identification of vegetation before the evolution of actual creatures. Now, on the fifth day, we also see the correct process of creatures being first evolved in the sea. So far so good. But within evolution theory, sea creatures must then crawl out of the sea to become land creatures, before they take to the sky. The creation Account seems to get it completely wrong by saying creatures appeared, first, in the sea, and then in the sky. Do we at last have an error in the creation account? No. We have the greatest proof yet that the account is scientific.
Scientific methodology can be best identified as data collection, or observation, intermingled with intuitiveness. And in this apparent error we can see proof of the ‘observation’ element of scientific methodology.
Imagine you are a scientist in the second millennium BC. You have intuitively decided that creatures first came from the sea. So you look at the kinds of creatures you have around you – land animals such as sheep and dogs, birds, small reptiles and insects. Which of them appears to resemble the next stage on from the fish? A sheep or dog shows no resemblance at all. They have well developed muscular legs and hairy coats. Nothing like a fish. Insects are out – too many legs and too small. So what about reptile?
With the exception of the snake, he can also be discounted. Although he is scaly, he has well developed legs and teeth. Even the fact that he can exist in water need not necessarily lead to the conclusion that he came from fish. But what about the bird?
Here we have a creature with rudimentary legs, suggestive of the next step forward from fish. He has a beak rather than well designed teeth. He has wings, which could be construed as a development of the fin. And as any fisherman will tell you, birds are clearly visible flying over the water when bringing in the catch. Hence, it is feasible to argue that our second millennium BC scientist would opt for bird as the evolutionary outcome of fish. However, there is a more intuitive possibility here, too.
The actual evolutionary process from fish was, infact, the reptile. But the point is, the evolutionary line, leading to the present-day reptile, was not around to be ‘observed’ by our ancient scientist. The dinosaur had become extinct or evolved. He could not, therefore, have seen this transition phase in action.
Yet, as becomes obvious from the Adam and Eve Narrative discussed shortly, something intuitive within our scientist had suspicions regarding the reptile. For it was the ‘serpent’ – an ungodly creation – that tempted Eve, being condemned to crawl along the ground on its belly, as a snake, also bringing this form of reptile into a quasi-scientific structure.

And so to the Sixth day.
‘And God said, Let the Earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beast of the earth after His kind: and it was so.’ (1:1:-24)
Thus we have the evolution of present day creatures, created ‘after His kind’, which itself can be termed to mean the next stage on from the previously evolved cousin; a direct hint at the acceptance of evolutionary principles at work in the account. All that is missing is man. But later that day …
‘And God said, Let us make man in our image.’ (1:1:26)
And later:
‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.’ (1:1:27)
And by the end of the Sixth Day evolution is complete. However, the story is far from complete. Indeed, let us follow through to the Adam and Eve Narrative, which appears in Chapter Two of Genesis.

Chapter Six – ADAM & EVE NARRATIVE

‘And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.’ (1:2:7)
Here we have the opening of the Adam and Eve Narrative. Surely this part of Genesis has got to be pure myth? Or does this, too, hold valid scientific theory?
To see if this is the case we must shift the frame of reference away from Earth, and onto the human race. And in doing so, two points must be immediately noted. Genesis seems to separate man from other animals, as if he is a separate creation. For the Adam and Eve Narrative we must reverse this and see Adam as the embodiment of all evolution. The Narrative, in this way, is divorced from the Creation Account – a separate work – and sees man simply as evolution from a different perspective. In addition, we must discount Adam as being a single man, but rather a representative of evolving humanity – a symbol, an embodiment of a wider nature. And when such symbolism has been stripped away, we can proceed in a truly scientific way.

So Adam was created from dust and became a living soul. How can this be compatible with known science? To understand, we must look to the fundamental construction of the human body. We all appreciate that we are essentially of cellular construction. But what is not generally appreciated is that all forms of life can also be reduced to an atomic construction.
At our most basic level we are an electric field of particles. However, this construction is not unique to us, in that such particles were ‘cooked’ billions of years ago within stars and went on to formulate the fundamental construction of the gas clouds which formed planets. Hence, creating Adam from the dust of the ground can be seen as a symbolic representation of this valid scientific reality. We did come from the ‘stuff’ of the Earth.
Indeed, the identification of the ‘dust of the ground’ shows incredible intuitiveness. Why not ‘soil of the ground’? Surely that would have been a more sensible statement if the declaration was purely mythical. But in identifying ‘dust’, our ancient scientist identified the smallest observable substance possible as lying behind the construction of matter.
The narrative goes on: ‘And the Lord God planted a garden eastward of Eden; and there he put Man whom he had formed.’ (1:2:8)
The narrative goes on to locate this ‘garden.’ Four rivers are identified as flowing from it. They are the Pison, the Gihon (which compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia), the Hiddekel (which goes towards the east of Assyria), and the Euphrates. Although the geography isn’t exact – indeed the Pison is hard to identify – we can place Eden. If we take the Gihon, the River Jordan flows south of the Gulf of Aqaba, where it enters the long, thin Red Sea, which ‘compasseth’ Ethiopia. The Hiddekel, which goes towards the east of Syria, could well be the Tigris, which does flow to the east of modern day Syria. And the Euphrates is still named as such, and flows to the west of the Tigris.
There is a large, natural oasis of fertile land in this area along the Jordan. It is present day Israel; the Promised Land to which Moses eventually returns. However, it appears, from the Out of Africa hypothesis of human proliferation and evolution that our ancestor, Australopithecus Africanus, most likely proliferated first and foremost in Africa.
By approximately 8000BC man began to turn towards civilization in the lands between the Tigris and Euphrates. The Jordan Valley lies on the route from Africa to the area that seeded western civilization. So at some point our evolutionary ancestors would have migrated from Africa, across the wastelands of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, to the Jordan Valley. Hence, the above narration of Genesis can be seen as evidence of this evolutionary migration, the placing of man in the Garden of Eden being the time when our ancestors had traversed the wastelands and suddenly found a fertile ‘garden’ with an abundance of food.

‘And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh thereof;
‘And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.’ (1:2:21-22)
To understand the scientific meaning of this ‘myth’, we must remember that the viewpoint is of man being a separate Creation. Hence, when it speaks of man, we must see man as encompassing the whole evolutionary process. But Eve being created from a spare rib? Surely this is ridiculous?
Rudimentary creatures, such as the earthworm, are fundamentally different to man, in that they are Hermaphrodites, or sexless, with no separation between male and female. Plant life is similarly sexless. Hence, at some point in the evolutionary chain, nature created male and female.
Prior to this eventuality, reproduction was asexual – i.e. offspring were ‘seeded’ from a sexless parent. But after male and female had evolved, reproduction was carried out by mating. However, if we look again at plants, we can reproduce by taking cuttings from the parent, creating clones.
Going back to the Adam and Eve Narrative, the taking of a rib from Adam can also be seen as taking a ‘cutting’ from a parent in order to produce a clone. And with that ‘clone’ becoming ‘female’, we can see the rib myth as a perfect symbolic representation of the evolutionary change from asexual to sexual reproduction, with female being created from a hermaphrodite Adam.

Once male and female were in Eden they were tempted by the serpent, to whom Eve warns: ‘But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the Garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it …’ (1:3:3)
But Eve is tempted by the serpent – the evolutionary misfit identified earlier – and she bites of the fruit and tempts Adam to do so too. They eat and realize their nakedness. Angered, God banishes them from Eden.
Here we have another scientific truth cloaked in the symbolism of Biblical times. The tree they were not to eat from is identified by God (1:2:17) as the ‘Tree of Knowledge of good and evil,’ usually interpreted as meaning ‘everything.’ In realizing their nakedness, they obviously lost their natural naivety, and thus broke away from the instinctual processes of other animals. This was clearly done by gaining ‘knowledge’, and the accepted scientific model for this evolutionary process is that man developed manual dexterity and began using, and fashioning, tools.
Intriguingly, the first tool man would most likely have used would have been a branch from a tree. So the fruit myth can be seen as representing the time when our evolutionary ancestor first became a tool user and rose out of his natural, instinctual pact with nature. This period can be identified as the ancestor known as Homo Erectus – one of the last known links before Homo Sapien, or modern man.
However, there is another possibility which can be gleaned from the myth which could hint at processes not yet known to science. For instance, the scientific model above does not satisfactorily answer our progression from instinctual animal to modern man purely with our increase in manual dexterity and adaptation of tools.
Many other lifeforms reached this stage of evolution millions of years ago – the bird who builds a nest; the monkey who uses rudimentary tools – so what is missing from these species that stops their natural progression? Something about us must be more unique than we generally realize. And perhaps the above myth can leap out of antiquity and teach our present scientists a thing or two. And the hint comes from asking why Eve is considered the temptress of the fall of Adam.

Woman is fundamentally different from any other female of a species due to experiencing an emotional, as opposed to simply biological, orgasm during sexual intercourse; an act for which there is no genetic need or survival requirement and is therefore anomalous to the natural requirements of reproduction. Further, apart from some sea mammals and possibly the occasional act of some chimps and orang-utans, Homo Sapien is also different from any other species in that we naturally mate facing the partner; all other four limbed species mate naturally belly-to-back. This is due to a revolutionary pelvic bone, required to allow us to walk erect, thus leaving our hands free to handle technology – originally a branch. Through an apparent quirk of evolution, mating face to face is simply more comfortable for us.
The most intelligent of animal species after us, such as the monkey, have a pre-disposition to imitate. At the time of the evolution of our unique pelvic bone, we most likely were similarly disposed. So we can see the possibility of the female imitating the reaction of the male orgasm – being seen during mating for the first time by the participant – and developing the ability to orgasm into the make-up of Homo Sapien female, through repetition. But this inter-relationship between male and female is also suggestive of something else of importance.
Before the adaptation of our pelvic bone, it is possible to suggest that we did not experience emotional togetherness during intercourse. We can come to this conclusion by studying other animals, who class mating as a mechanical act. Hence, could it be that through facing the partner to mate, our early ancestors began to conceive the feeling of emotional togetherness? If so, until this time our evolutionary ancestors had only instinctual bonding between male and female – as with other animals – but with facing the partner to mate, man drove himself on to advance out of nature by gaining the ability to ‘love’ his mate.
Suddenly, male ‘felt’ for female, and vice versa, and overcame the natural processes of instinctual behaviour, due to the new, powerful emotions he was experiencing. Suddenly, nature was left behind and man was by himself, his survival instincts on the wane, and cunning through knowledge and technology about to rocket him to the unique lifeform he is today. In other words, our uniqueness could well come from love.

In the above we have an admittedly speculative process by which humanity became human and offering further evidence of Genesis holding sound, intuitive science. So how did the saga proceed?
Adam and Eve begat Cain and Abel. Cain became a tiller of the ground, and Abel a keeper of sheep. But brothers will be brothers:
‘And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against his brother, and slew him.’ (1:4:8)
This first murder was caused by God appreciating the offering of the first of Abel’s sheep above Cain’s offering of the fruits of the land. The insinuation is clearly given that the motive of the crime was jealousy, leading to conflict. This can be seen as an expression of the emotional incentives born from the adaptation of the pelvic bone. For once man had birthed love he had opened the floodgates to other emotions, such as jealousy and hate. As such we have, in this narrative, an extension of the psychological profile of man, and the birth of conflict. However, we can also see another facet of the on-going advancement of man.
Abel was a keeper of sheep and Cain a tiller of the ground. A sheep is a herding animal, and can therefore be seen as symbolic of the concept of the herd. Prehistoric man was a known hunter/gatherer who lived off the migrating herds. He passed out of prehistory upon realizing agriculture, becoming a tiller of the ground. Hence, looked at in this way, we can also see the death of Abel as the death of man’s hunter/gatherer existence and advancement into rudimentary agriculture.
The narrative ends, of course, with God banishing Cain to the land of Nod, east of Eden, into an area where: ‘When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength …’ (1:4:12)
Going east from the Jordan Valley, man again negotiated the deserts and was on the correct course for his appointment with civilization between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers about 8000BC …

Mysteries of the Bible

From Man of Our Times


Man of Our Times

Chapter One

We were leant against the wall outside the club. I said:
‘Fuck.’
‘Yes. Please,’ she said.
‘No. ‘
‘What!!?’
‘No … I mean … can’t get it out the packet.’
‘Oh.’
‘Got it.’
‘Get it on. Quick. I want it.’
‘Okay.’
‘Quick!!’
‘Right. I’m ready.’
‘Ooohh, yes. Really do it.’
‘I am.’
‘Ooohh, yes.’
‘Aaahh.’
‘mmm.’
‘Thanks.’
‘You’re welcome.’
‘Oh shit!’
‘What?’
‘It’s burst.’

The story of my life. That’s what it is. The story of my life. You know. Cock ups; if you’ll excuse the pun. I reckon, when I was born, some Cosmic Joker – you know, the old fella in the sky – pasted a label on me saying: ‘At every opportunity, cock this little runt up.’ And at every opportunity, he’s been true to his word.
Of course, immediately afterwards I never thought much about it. After all, who bothers about fathering the odd little one nowadays. No big deal. And anyway, she’d be bound to take the morning after pill tomorrow, if she wasn’t already on the pill. Who isn’t, I say, who bloody isn’t. Great, ain’t it!
Anyway, she scored nine out of ten, bearing in mind the limitations; the hard wall, the cold night; trying not to get my trousers in the puddle. And seeing she scored so well, I thought it only right to introduce myself as we walked back into the club.
‘I’m Wayne,’ I’ said, my hand around her waist.
She looked at me in a suspicious sort of way. Eventually, she said: ‘Tracy.’

So this was Tracy. Tracy who? I had no idea. But who cares, other than the doc, or social security, or whatever. Last names are to do with families, and what the hell are they for.
Tracy was a cool chick; I could tell that straight away.
About my height – short – with a slim body just bordering on anorexic. Her hair was dark brown and she had beautiful pale brown eyes. I’d remember Tracy, that’s for sure – a good memory.

Dave came over as we went back into the club. Big Dave. Six foot Dave. Six pack Dave, size 13 feet with a big mouth, little cock and even smaller brain.
‘Where you been?’ he said, ignoring the girl.
‘Ah, well,’ I said.
‘Yea?’
The music was loud, just as I liked it. I turned to Tracy. ‘That’s Dave,’ I said, ‘my friend.’
‘Nice,’ she said. Then: ‘Let’s dance.’
Dave would have to wait to learn where I’d been. He really should have paid more attention to ‘Those Lessons’ at school.

‘You gave her one,’ said Dave, ‘didn’t you.’ He had a big, thick smile on his face.
‘Yea, Dave, you guessed it.’
Tracy had dissolved into the crowd half an hour after – you know – and a couple of bottles later Big Dave and I left. Now, we walked down the road, a bag of chips in hand, heading for his place, some music, even a smoke of weed.
I liked that – cleared the head. I kept off all the other stuff. After all, I had to prove those pricks wrong – the ones who said it was the route to the hard stuff. Bollocks! That’s what I say. Couldn’t they get it in their heads there was a difference between the occasional relief and being constantly stoned.
‘Was she good?’ asked Dave. Not that he would have any standard to test her by. The nearest Dave had got to sex was a grope; and that was in his dreams.
It wasn’t for a lack of trying. It’s just that some blokes just haven’t got what it takes – which left me to do all the shagging while my good mate Dave was around to bounce off the punches the occasional time I got another blokes girl.
‘Well? Was she?’
‘Yea, Dave. She was great.’
‘Tell me about it, Wayne.’
‘What’cha wanna know? ‘
‘Did she snog nice?’
‘Yea, Dave, she snogged great. Tongues an all.’
‘And what about her, you know?’ He held his hands up to his chest.
‘What? Her tits? Just the right size. Firm.’
‘And her …’
‘Her fanny, Dave?’
‘Yea, her …’
‘Just right.’
That was Dave and me all over. Inseparable. I couldn’t do without him to bounce my ego off. And he couldn’t do without me for excitement. I suppose it’s a kind of love. And that night, thinking about me and Tracy, he’d make his kind of love. By proxy.

Tracy stayed on my mind. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it was the hair. You know, dark and all. It made her stand out from the crowd. Most girls wore their individuality with standard blonde curls. But Tracy? She’d shunned the individual look. Chose to be different. I guess that’s why I gave her my mobile number. Just in case she wanted a re-match.
Oh, it’s a great life I lead. Do as I want, get up when I want, shag when I want, with whoever I want. The old sops keep telling me about duty and outdated crap like that. I tell them to die off, quick, we’re living in another world. What the hell is duty, anyway? All it does is stop you having fun. Well you can take duty and stick it up yer arse. I’m not interested in duty. I’m only interested in fun. That’s what I’m built for – fun, and plenty of shags.
Of course, the first time was the best. They say that – the first one, when you lose your virginity. It has something special about it; nostalgic. Like a rite of passage. You know. Birth. First fag. First shag. Death.
Mine is a hazy memory of pure pleasure. I was fifteen and she was much older – more than twice my age. I never appreciated it at the time, but thinking back, I go hard thinking about the slight blubbery feel of the older woman. Girls my own age just don’t feel like that. They feel trim, with bone always threatening to break through. But the older woman, the feel of them, the texture.
And the experience.
Wow! did she move. Did she moan and groan as she rode me, teased me, taught me.
I think it would have gone on forever if Dave hadn’t suddenly come back, shouted ‘mom, I’m home,’ from the bottom of the stairs.

Chapter Two

‘You screwed my mom,’ Dave said after that.
Actually, it was the other way round, but it didn’t stop the tear forming in his eye.
I said: ‘Live with it, Dave. It’s only a mother, after all. Once you’ve popped out and been weaned, what are they for?’
Dave muttered something about cuddles and smiles and encouragement; not that I’d know about that.
‘Promise me you won’t do it again.’
‘Why?’
‘‘cos I don’t want you to.’
‘But you’re always to do what adults say.’
‘Mom wouldn’t say.’
‘Of course not.’
‘She wouldn’t.’
‘Yea. Right.’
As it is, I didn’t. She never offered again. Maybe that’s why it’s such a cherished memory; never got time to get bored of her.

Enough of that thinking back. It’s all crap, anyway; history.
Life’s for living, and living is now. I really hate all these people – especially at school, when I occasionally went – who told me about remembering the past:
‘Remember the past,’ they’d say, ‘and you’ll learn lessons for the future.’
Crap! Bunkum! Shit! Forget the past, I say; make all the mistakes anew; stop the boredom of life creeping up on you.
‘I’m never bored,’ said Dave.
We were walking into town on a normal day. God, I hate normality. Tracy was still on my mind, but I could feel the impression weakening.
‘You’re never bored ‘cos you don’t think,’ I said.
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’
‘There you go. Can’t work it out for yourself.
Dave thought a moment. I suppose he was thinking he’d be proving me wrong. Eventually, he said: ‘Why are you always nasty to me?’
A psychologist would say I wasn’t. I was actually being nasty to myself, ‘cos life is so pointless and I know it. But, hey, what do they know?
I said: ‘Me? Nasty?’
‘Yea.’
‘Not me, mate.’ I ruffled his hair; reached right up and ruffled it.
‘You was.’
‘Wasn’t.’
I had a habit of doing that – getting him all angry, and then bringing him down again. And yes, I like using my power over him – makes me feel good to know that a little fella like me can control a great big giant like him. Proves I’m clever don’t it?
We carried on walking in silence.
Eventually, Dave said: ‘What we gonna do then?’
‘Why you ask, Dave? You bored?’

The above set the pace for the next couple of weeks. Don’t ask me why. Don’t ask me why there were no more clubs, no more excitement, no more shags. Even a guy like me comes to a loose end now and again.
Maybe it was the lack of money. I couldn’t really be bothered to do any thieving, and there were no games on the go to fleece someone.
I did have a grand stuffed under the mattress in the bedsit.
I suppose I could have used that. I got it a month ago when I finally found a new source of income. I’d been through most of the banks and loan companies. They never check on you; and you just ignore the court summonses. They never follow them up; as long as you keep on the move and never – ever – give them your real address. I’d have thought I’d have been blacklisted globally, then I came across Really Dumb Bank PLc. I might even manage to screw more out of them if I really want to.
So, I had a couple of weeks of boredom. I would have played Dave up more, but I couldn’t be bothered. We just spent time in the cafes and the pubs, drinking away merrily, ending each night with a Chinese or an Indian and some weed.
I used to play Dave up a lot, when we were younger.
‘Bet you can’t pinch that dvd,’ I’d say.
‘Don’t want it.’
‘But I do.’
‘Then you pinch it.’
‘I KNOW I can. But can you?’
‘I don’t want to.’
‘Chicken.’
‘Don’t call me that.’
‘Chicken.’
‘I’m warning you.’
‘Chicken.’
‘Okay! I’ll do it.’
And later, caught, another caution from the pigs, we’d go back to Dave’s house and she’d put him over her knee. He was already twice as big as her, and she’d put him over her knee, and he’d take it!
‘Why you let her do that?’ I’d ask.
‘‘Cos she loves me.’
Kinky. What?

I did have a bit of fun in that fortnight – got a letter from the DWP, calling me in for an interview, the threat of sanctions looming. I went along to the Job Centre, was spirited past all those losers and up the stairs to a run down office – sat down on an uncomfortable grey chair in front of a boring grey desk with a boring grey clerk behind it.
‘Good morning Wayne,’ he said.
‘Is it?’
He looked up. ‘Maybe not.’
I said: ‘I am kinda busy.’
‘Well it’s nice to give me your time.’
‘You’re welcome.’
He sniffed. ‘I’ve been looking at your work record.’
‘Impressive, ain’t it?’
‘Well,’ he said, ‘it didn’t take long.’
‘That’s me all over, mate. Keep it simple.’
‘I can well believe that.’
Okay, so we had a comedian. I said, sitting back, ‘so what can I do for you?’
‘You could start by giving me a few answers.’
‘Fire away.’
‘The security guard job. Why couldn’t you take that?’
‘They wouldn’t have me.’
‘And why not?’
‘I’ve had six police cautions.’
‘And of course, you had to declare them?’
‘Yep. That’s me. Honest, see.’
‘And supermarket stacker?’
‘My bad back – couldn’t lift all that stuff.’
‘I see. And what about barman?’
‘I’m alcoholic – supposed to stay away from drink.’
‘And the salesman job?’
‘Too stressful. My doc told me to stay away from stress.’
‘I see.’
‘And I may as well tell you, mate. You can’t put me through stress either. My doc won’t like it.’
‘I can believe that.’
‘Just being helpful, you know.’
‘And what about the burger bar?’
‘I’m vegetarian.’
‘You wouldn’t be made to eat them.’
‘It’s still a matter of conscience.’
‘Are you sure about that?’
‘Absolutely. You’ve heard of human rights, I assume.’
His greyness was beginning to turn rouge. ‘And what about the clerk job?’
‘Keyboards. ‘
‘I beg your pardon?’
I held out my hand. ‘Repetitive strain injury.’
‘I see. You use your wrist a lot, do you?’
Bingo. ‘You calling me a wanker?’
‘Pardon?’
‘You heard. You called me a wanker.’
‘No, Wayne, I didn’t.’
‘Oh yes, you did. You didn’t so much say it, but you implied it. And it means the same.’
‘I think you misunderstood me.’
‘No I didn’t. I want to complain.’
‘I don’t think that’s necessary.’
‘Cover up. Conspiracy. I know my rights. Get me the form. I’ll have your fucking job!’

It used to work – so I didn’t have to. But no more. Suspended. Again! Damned austerity. When will they realize we all demand respect nowadays!
I commiserated with a double cheeseburger in the burger bar and a couple of pints to wash it down in the pub.
It was just as I finished the second pint that the mobile went off. I took it out of my pocket. Looked. The text read:
‘GOTTA C U. 2 DAY. IMPORTANT.’
It was from Tracy. And I don’t know why, but she stirred me straight away.
God, what was this bitch doing to me? I’d never felt like this about a girl before. Was it love? No, couldn’t be that. There’s only room in a person’s life for one love, and I realized that every time I looked in a mirror.
But, hell, she was stirring me up.
I texted her back. Told her where. When. Then I went off to see her.

She was waiting in the bar when I arrived. She looked great.
She was wearing a tight T-shirt which shaped perfectly round those tits. She wore a long skirt – unusual, again. And her hair fell just right.
I could see she was having trouble. This pissed up bloke was trying it on. I bought drinks at the bar. Went over. Put them down on the table.
Looking in the blokes eyes, I said: ‘Clear off mate. Leave her to the real men.’
‘And if I don’t?’
I took him to the side. Whispered in his ear. ‘Look, mate,’ I said. ‘I’ve paid for that.’
It always worked. I sat down. She said: ‘Thanks.’
‘No problem. Just told him how I’d rearrange his body.’
She smiled. Sighed. Then she hit me with it. ‘Wayne,’ she said. ‘I’m pregnant.’ …


Man of Our Times

From The First Dawn of Man

The First Dawn of Man

Chapter Seventeen
EVIDENCE FOR A LOST CIVILIZATION

The prevalence of the pyramid, the serpent, Sun worship, quest for immortality, and a fascination with death have long been used by theorists to suggest a common impulse behind them. But this is not evidence for a lost civilization.
Rather, we can identify a universal psychology that would be gleaned by all peoples that would automatically lead to the above ideas and building endeavours. Nothing other than an enquiring mind is required to explain such similar traits and feats. However, looking at the argument from another angle, evidence DOES exist suggestive of a lost civilization.

In 1553 the Turkish admiral Piri Re’is was beheaded and his treasures and other items impounded by the Turkish authorities. In 1929 a portolan, or sea-farer’s chart, said to have belonged to Piri Re’is was identified in the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul. Basically a painted parchment, it was said to have been made in 1513.
The map accurately showed the Atlantic Ocean, coastal regions of the Americas, parts of West Africa and Antarctica. The problem was, in 1513 the coast of Southern America had not been charted, and Antarctica wasn’t discovered until the early 19th century. So unless we accept it as a fake – as many have done – how do we explain the detail on the map if it really was made in 1513?
This problem fascinated the American academic Charles Hapgood in the 1960s. And he was further amazed when he visited the US Library of Congress and was given access to literally hundreds of other early portolans, many of which had detail that was not supposed to be known at the time of making.
Hapgood finally came to the conclusion that the existing portolans were copies of much older works which had been copied themselves. Theorizing that the original maps had been made in deep antiquity – possibly over six thousand years ago – he became convinced that in prehistory an advanced civilization of sea-farers had existed.
Of course, there is another side to this argument. Sceptics maintain that the map simply reflects the idea of a theorised southern continent to counter-balance the known lands of the northern hemisphere. The 2nd century mathematician, astronomer and geographer, Ptolomy, is said to have started this tradition and indeed his maps depicted such a land. But he also considered such maps as depicting the ‘ecumene’, or known inhabited world. This sceptical argument could be correct, or maybe not.

Further hints of a lost civilization are given in the mythology of Quetzalcoatl and the Olmecs, the mother culture of the Americas. Sited in the Gulf of Mexico, much of the Olmec remains were destroyed during developments in the 1950s. However, many statues and images were saved – although most academics wish they had not been. For they represent a great enigma.
For instance, to date seventeen definite colossal heads have been found, said to date back to at least 1500BC, which show people with distinctly African characteristics. According to orthodox history, no Africans set foot in the region until the 16th century AD, so how can we explain these statues unless we accept contact between the Americas and Africa in deep antiquity? Sceptics argue there are peoples of the region who fit the characteristics on the heads, so again, maybe, and maybe not.
The Aztecs and previous Mesoamericans had many images of Quetzalcoatl, their founder God. Whilst most images depict him as the Plumed Serpent, some show him as a man with a great plumed serpent rearing above him. The images can be seen as a bearded man of Caucasian, or European, appearance, which fits neatly into the mythology of both Quetzalcoatl and Viracocha, the Inca founder god.
Both have been described in mythology as fair skinned men with long beards. No white men are said to have reached this region of the Americas before Columbus in the 15th century. Yet mythology describes the white man, Quetzalcoatl, as a visitor who came by boat, teaching peace.
The success of the Conquistadores has even been put down to the fact that the conquered peoples thought they were Quetzalcoatl and his men returned. Could sea-farers have made the journey in deep antiquity?
Of course, sceptics argue otherwise. The beard is explained as a ceremonial beard of feathers and the entire ‘white god’ mythology was, they say, an invention of the Conquistadores following the remarkably easy conquest and suppression of the Mesoamericans. And again, there is mileage in this argument – many Spaniards of the time did hype up the ‘god’ thing. But if we look at the mystery in terms of military strategy, this argument begins to fall apart.
The entire history of military occupation tells us that unless an occupation force is welcomed, the only way to suppress a conquered people is with ‘boots on the ground’. Even with their obvious technological advantages it is ludicrous to suggest that a few hundred men could conquer and, most importantly, continue to suppress the Mesoamerican cultures, unless they were in some way welcomed, or venerated.
So, maybe, and maybe not.

One puzzling piece of evidence comes from depictions of boats and existing boatwright skills in both the Andes and Egypt. Around Lake Titicaca traditional boats made of Totora reeds are still made. In appearance they resemble exactly depictions of boats made by the ancient Egyptians to sail the Nile.
These were made of papyrus reeds in exactly the same way. These boats, as well as being exactly the same in design and construction, are puzzling because they have the high, curving prow and stern of sea-going craft, rather than inshore boats.
No universal psychology can be gleaned to explain this phenomenon, suggesting that the knowledge is shared by actual contact some time in deep antiquity. But could such contact have been technically possible?
Enter Thor Heyerdahl. The Norwegian explorer is best known for his Kon-Tiki expedition of 1947, when he sailed the Pacific from Peru to Polynesia in a balsa raft to show that Peruvian Indians could have reached south East Asia.
In 1969 he failed to cross the Atlantic in a papyrus reed boat called Ra. But the following year he tried again in Ra II, successfully sailing from Morocco to Barbados, proving such a journey would have been possible in deep antiquity. But did this really happen in antiquity?
Maybe, and maybe not.

Apart from evidence supplied by the Olmec civilization and Americas mythology, is there any other evidence that people not of Mezoamerican inheritance reached America?
Aztec mythology says that Quetzalcoatl moved north, passing his knowledge to other peoples. North of Mexico is the present day United States of America. Throughout this country Native American mythology speaks of a tall, red headed man who passed through their Nations. How far did he get?
In the summer of 1996 a skull and most of the other bones of a man were found by the banks of the Columbia River in Washington State, in the far north west of the United States. Exhaustively research by Dr Jim Chatters and others, ‘Kennewick Man’, as he has become known, has fuelled perhaps the greatest controversy among academics and lawyers in America for years.
His bones suggest he could well be Caucasian, and a forensic reconstruction of casts from his skull suggest a Caucasian man (other researchers prefer Polynesian, or possibly of the Ainu People, indigenous to Russia and Japan). It is also clear that the man had a predominantly seafood diet. In his pelvic bone is a Stone Age arrow head, suggesting that he was killed.
This is puzzling, as such arrow heads were not used in the accepted time when the white man first reached the west some two hundred years ago, implying that Kennewick Man was killed at least 9,300 years ago. Radio-carbon dating and DNA analysis results have both proved elusive. Could they be the bones of an ancient god?
Maybe, and maybe not.

Further evidence of contact between the Americas and other parts of the world in deep antiquity comes from the work of German toxicologist Svetlana Balabanova. In 1992 she tested Egyptian mummies – in particular, samples of their hair. She found traces of cocoa and nicotine, both thought to be indigenous to the Americas. Tests of mummies by other researchers also found nicotine but not cocoa.
Explanations offered to explain such traces from a country that grew neither product include the possibility of post-excavation interference and that in deep antiquity Egypt DID grow such substances. So maybe, and maybe not.
If correct, such evidence can best be explained by a form of trans-Atlantic trade system thousands of years ago. And there is further evidence of a possible lost civilization which carried out such trade by looking at language.
We know that Sanskrit, an ancient language of the east, Latin and ancient Greek share a common origin in the deep past. This is why we talk of Indo-European languages. But such links seem to span the entire globe. For instance, as Spanish priests began to understand the Mesoamericans of Central America in the 16th century, they noted elements of Greek and Hebrew in the native tongues.

Hundreds of similarities exist between antiquated languages throughout the world, offering stark evidence of cultural exchange in the deep past. But even if we are not prepared to accept the evidence, so far, for such a lost civilization, science is, itself, beginning to offer irrefutable evidence that such links existed – although they are understandably loathe to accept it.
There are variants of DNA found in modern Native Americans that are usually only found in European peoples. Such DNA linkages can best be explained by deeper interaction in the Stone Age than previously thought. And this possibility led many researchers to look at the Clovis peoples, who lived in America 13,000 years ago.
In particular, the Clovis people made almost unique fluted stone blades, setting them apart from others in the region at the time but thought to be the main mother-culture of the Americas. Except it seems they are not unique. Almost identical blades were made by the Solutrean peoples who lived in Spain some 18,000 years ago. Such peoples were known colonisers, their artefacts being found in France and Ireland.
Most palaeontologists now dismiss this evidence, arguing the similarities are only superficial. Further, in 2014 DNA was taken from a 12,500 year old skeleton associated with a Clovis site called Anzick-1. It was genetically traced to a Siberian inheritance. Does this rule out any possibility of early migration from Europe? Not really. The skeleton, a child, could have been a prisoner, or even visitor. And even if the genetic evidence is valid, it does not rule out possible knowledge being transmitted from southern Europe to Siberia and on to the Americas. And if so, how would the knowledge have been passed other than person to person?
So, maybe, and maybe not.

Further evidence of cultural mingling comes from ‘Luzia’, a 12,000 year old skull of a young girl found in Brazil in the 1970s. For many years the skull was kept in a museum in Rio de Janeiro, but in the late 1990s, biological anthropologist Walter Neves from the University of Sao Paolo argued for Australian Aboriginal features whilst Richard Neave of Manchester University carried out a facial reconstruction which suggested Negroid. Sceptics argued these similarities could simply be the result of genetic drift. Or maybe Luzia arrived by boat from Asia, as some anthropologists suggest.
So, maybe, and maybe not. Yet, despite the orthodox version of history, evidence is clearly mounting suggestive of previously unknown migrations or expeditions by small groups of white men, Africans, Asians, and even Aborigines. Such movements seem to have happened in the deep past, before man was supposed to have the technology or wherewithal to do such things. Is this evidence of a lost civilization?
On its own, such evidence simply suggests we’ve got the time scale wrong. There is no need to invoke such fantastic explanation. But further insinuations can be made when we look to enigmatic myths from the Pacific islands.

Chapter Twenty Four – SACRED TECHNOLOGY

Let us first look at the possibilities for technology in ancient times. In the early years of the 20th century an artefact was recovered from a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera. Dated to about 150-100BC, it was considered a mere artefact. However in the 1970s research on the Antikythera Mechanism showed it to have an intricate arrangement of gears, dials and graded plates, and is, in effect, an analog computer.
One theory is that it was a computing device to work out the movement of the Sun and planets. If this idea is true, then the ancients had a degree of technology way above that previously imagined, and not repeated until the late Medieval clockmakers.
Such advanced engineering is often found in Ancient Greek legend, if read in this way. For instance, we have Talos, an animated giant made of bronze, which could indicate he is a survivor of the Bronze Age, or taken literally. Similar automata legends exist in the mythologies of other cultures, including the Hebrew and Chinese. On a more rational level, Hero of Alexandria produced detailed writing on hydraulics, pneumatics and mechanics. Maybe we aren’t reading the myths correctly.
A further hint of advanced technology used by the ancients comes from the Baghdad Battery found in 1936. Said to possibly date back as far as 250BC, fruit juice was added to a replica and it produced half a volt of electricity.
Archaeologist Flinders Petrie added to the controversy with his words on certain elements of ancient engineering. A most systematic and exacting man, he wasn’t prone to flights of fancy, but he noted grooves and inscriptions on pottery and other artefacts that could not have been produced even by modern precision engineering techniques.
Modern toolmaker Christopher Dunn was also stunned by the accuracy of some ancient engineering, noting degrees of precision difficult to achieve today. One possible explanation for such precision engineering could be that the ancients used the vibrations produced by ultrasound. Just how sound could have been used is unknown, but as to its power, the singer Caruso was said to have shattered a wineglass by singing a certain note at the correct resonance.

Could the ancients have had technology such as ultrasound that we know nothing about? Modern technology is based on certain principles discovered as we went along. Had we not have discovered pneumatics, for instance, could we have later stumbled on the powerful properties of sound?
Maybe ancients took a different path, suggesting that other technologies could exist even cheaper and simpler than the methods we use?
Some myths speak of stones on pyramids and stone circles being levitated into position as if by magic. We laugh at such stories. Yet we are well aware that sound vibrations CAN seem to lift pebbles off the ground.
One theory offered for the Great Pyramid is that it was a mechanism to amplify the natural sounds of the Earth, the granite inner construction vibrating in tune with natural vibrations. Even the paranormal could be less mysterious if we accept the possibility of some unknown form of sonic power. Consider the poltergeist, and the way objects seem to fly about a room.
Sceptics will, of course, treat such ideas with disdain. Technology is a means of adapting the forces of nature to man’s use, and he has done a good job at utilizing all the forces that can be used. However, there is another story to tech they ignore.
Take, for instance, computing. When first envisaged, it manipulated the forces involved in mechanics. The next stage was electric, before going hi-tech with modern electronics. However, the future of computing is said to be a manipulation of the digital code within DNA. Computing may soon cross over to biological forces.
This can be said of many technological innovations. The telescope used basic light then advanced to radio waves. Who knows what forces may be used in the future. Writing was initially done on stone, then paper and now electronics.
Science is forever working out new ways of adapting forces of nature to man’s use through technology. And it is quite feasible to suggest that all forces can be so used. And sound is one of those forces. So it is not scientifically ridiculous to suggest the ancients understood the properties of this force, even though scientifically non-provable at this time.
Perhaps we need to do more research into the properties of sound. We may discover that the ancients, if they could see our machines, would offer a wry smile at our stupidity. But if such technology existed in the ancient past, surely we’d have more evidence than a couple of artefacts and assumption? Well …

I’m going out on a limb here – some will conclude I’m simply devil-making. But there’s an idea in my mind that just won’t go away. And it concerns the Great Library of Alexandria – the most magnificent library of the ancient world.
Created by Ptolomy I Soter, one of the three successors of Alexander the Great, it flourished from the 3rd century BC, its scholars taking in the art and knowledge of the whole known world, and remained a great centre until … when? Seemingly until sometime from the late 1st century BC until possibly the 7th century AD. No one really knows – the greatest centre of learning of the ancient world, with all those brilliant scholars and the writing of all those texts and … no one really knows.
Where, exactly, is – or was – the Great Library? Surely such a magnificent place could not have been lost so completely that no one actually knows for certain where it stood? I’m afraid so – the greatest centre of learning of the ancient world, with all those brilliant scholars and the writing of all those texts and … no one really knows.
We know it was destroyed – seemingly by fire, or fires. Four possible culprits have been identified. Julius Caesar could have dunit in 48BC. During his civil war he laid siege to Alexandria and at one point had to burn his own ships. Did the library catch fire by accident as Plutarch suggests in his ‘Life of Caesar’?
The Roman emperor Aurelian sacked the city around 270AD. Was he the man who dunit? Or could the Coptic Pope Theophilus have dunit in 391AD, when much of Alexandria was destroyed during a schism? The historian Socrates Scholasticus wrote in detail of the destruction in 440AD. No mention was made of the library. Or, finally, had the Muslims dunit during their conquest in 642AD? There are four possible suspects here, but this does not make sense. The Muslims preserved ancient knowledge, leading on to their Golden Age.
So everything to do with the actual destruction of the library has been lost, the whole thing down to supposition – even though it was the centre of knowledge with hundreds of writers documenting everything. It doesn’t make sense.
We know of great knowledge coming out of Alexandria during this period. We’ve already come across Hero and his writings on pneumatics and mechanics. Then we have Ptolomy’s ‘Almagest’, the 2nd century AD treatise of the universe which laid the foundations for astronomy.
So could the Great Library have housed more than art and knowledge? Maybe it was also the depository for ancient technology from throughout the ancient world – the last place it existed, being removed from all other locations – with scholars attempting to back-engineer, similar to the mythology surrounding the present Area 51; but what a great power this would be – and an unacceptable threat to the then emerging political world. So a silence descends, and the dastardly deed remains unsolved … or maybe it was the technology itself?
Bang!!!!

Let’s take a closer look at sacred geometry – an ancient system of design and building based upon the harmonic relationship between man, nature and the universe. Virtually ignored by modern architects and designers, it was central to most ancient societies.
The practice concerns a worldview of pattern recognition, producing religious patterns and structures involving space, time and form. By working with such forms, insight can come regarding the nature of all.
It often involves mathematics. Pythagoras realised the importance of this, and also showed how such harmonies work with music. Hence, sacred geometry is a holistic practice. As we have seen, even in ancient cave art, it is now theorised that pictures were drawn at ideal places for sound amplification.
These principles seem to have been instinctual in ancient times, but science is also discovering such harmonies. Indeed, it has led some to wonder at the incredible coincidences of exact balance that led to the universe in the first place.
Sacred design is therefore a reflection of the universe. In this sense, perfection is vital to the process. Originally found in man’s expression of his relationship with Mother Earth, we find the earth mound. Later, math led to greater perfection in the pyramid, or other construction that aligned with the solstice dawn.
However, an understanding of this harmonic relationship can often cause too much complication in just what sacred geometry is about. I say this because ancient man seemed to realise such relationships, and design accordingly, through instinct.
The urge to perfection was just as great. But such perfection was more about symbolism than mathematical design. It seemed to be more a physical representation of the spiritual, as is seen even today in the ‘form’ of a church. Shaped as a cross, when you walk into a church, you actually walk into the body of Christ.
Bearing this in mind, could it be that there is a far more important psycho-sociological understanding to be had from sacred geometry? I think there is – and an understanding that can tell us a great deal about ourselves, even today.

Sacred geometry gives a sense of permanence. Whilst math became important in terms of geometric perfection, I think it is this sense of permanence that is primary. It said, in bold majesty, that this represents a system that is here to stay and is fundamental to who you are.
This anchors a particular society within a specific culture. You just have to look at cities through the ages to see it in operation. First, the temple was the biggest structure at its centre. In the west, this was replaced first by the cathedral, then the factory, and, today, the trade centre or bank.
In each case the prominent building reflects the society of the time, be it Christendom, industrial or super-capitalist. And whilst the last two certainly didn’t seem to have anything to do with sacred geometry, in this respect they do. Indeed, it suggests we are still, today, enslaved by the ‘sacred’ culture they instil in us.
But it also suggests a question. Does sacred geometry reflect the universe, or does it create, in us, a universal image of ourselves, and what we aspire to be? Perhaps we need to understand this as a possibility, and use it for the good rather than an unconscious form of control. However, by entrapping our culture in the physical, it also becomes an impulse that takes us away from our earlier mind set. Let’s see if we can find hints of it in the known early spiritual life of Britain, and the myths and structures it has left behind …

The First Dawn of Man

From Mort de Grael


Mort de Grael

Five – A Pagan Cup

The central impulse behind Bacchian ritual was union with the godhead combined with fertility rites and the cycles of nature. In the modern world we still celebrate variations of this ritual in the dance round the Maypole, where virgins circle and pay homage to a giant phallic symbol. Christ’s death and resurrection is remembered at Easter, when we remember the cycles of nature and its yearly death in winter and renewal in spring. The death and resurrection itself symbolized this natural cycle. And central to such ceremony in ancient times was wine, drunk from a ceremonial cup. Indeed, the rituals concerning such vessels proliferate throughout the early pagan world.
In pagan circles the cup was larger and known as the cauldron. In 1909 to 1913 several were found in Llyn Fawr, a lake in South Wales. Dating from 600BC, they were beautifully decorated and made of bronze. To pagans they represented the cycle of nature and could be vessels of death (through sacrifice) and rebirth. Sacrifice would include cutting people’s throats and catching the blood in the cauldron. In some myths, dead warriors were reborn through the cauldron to fight again.
The cauldron was often seen as the symbol of the Celtic goddess of the moon, inspiration and rebirth, Ceridwen. The moon was central to realizing the cycles of nature through the seasons and she would make magical brews in her cauldron as dictated by the heavenly bodies. The result would be regeneration or, if unsuccessful, decay. The earliest known written texts concerning Ceridwen come from Taliesin. Earlier, I pointed out that this same bard offers the first known account of King Arthur.
As with the cauldrons found in Llyn Fawr, another cauldron known as the Gundestrup Cup was found in a bog near Gundestrup in Denmark. Scenes on it depict the Celtic horned god, Cernunnos. Dating from about 100BC this cauldron is silver. Myths of Cernunnos depict him as god of fertility and ruler of the underworld – opener of the gates between life and death. He was torn apart and boiled in a cauldron, only to be born again – to be resurrected.
A further Celtic god, from Ireland, is the Dagda. Known as the god of fertility, manliness, wisdom and the emotions, he is also the controller of weather and crops, he is often portrayed with a club, of which one end kills while the other brings the dead to life. As Lord of the Underworld, he is also represented with the cauldron, known as the Undry, through which he dispenses never ending hospitality in the form of a great feast.
From the above we can see that the Grail has little to do with Christianity. Indeed, the Celtic Church was one of the first and most influential in early Christianity, suggesting a cultural link between the cauldron and Grail. Similarly, the death and resurrection of Christ is simply a re-enactment of mythologies that have nothing to do with Christianity. Rather, we can find the answer to the Grail in the deep pagan past. Within the Grail, the cup, the cauldron, we find the blood of life, of nature, and its never ending cycle of death and rebirth. In other words, the cauldron represents nature and the intuitions, the ecstasies that can be gleaned from understanding nature. In this sense, it represents the Earth Goddess, the font from whom comes the vine, and life itself. And in this sense, it lies at the heart of our spirituality. Buy why, we must ask, the cauldron?
One of the earliest known religions was that of animism. To the prehistoric animists, everything in nature had its spirit – the beasts, the plants, the sky, the mountains and the rivers and lakes. So consider a prehistoric man, thirsting and close to death. He comes across a river or a lake. He goes to the bank and forms his hands, palms upwards, into the shape of a cup. Placing them in the lake, he brings out water and drinks. It refreshes, it sustains, it saves his life. But it was more than water. For in drinking from the lake, he also drank a little of the spirit of the god who lived within. Perhaps this was really the first Eucharist.
But in the end, it doesn’t matter whether the Grail is real or not. All that matters is it inspires. From our deepest past, through Christendom, to the Victorians, we were more than we can rationally know. But in recent times this form of knowledge has been shunned, as can be seen by visiting another ancient mystery – Atlantis.

Twenty – A History of Christmas

The Chieftain lit the bonfire. Around him, his tribe waited, huddled in their inadequate clothes against the chill. Earlier, they had satisfied their gods, represented by the Sun at its highest, most southerly point. But now the warmth of the flames stayed the chill and a glow grew in their bellies and groin.
Festivities were now to be had, stories were to be told, and the winter respite was with them.

We can imagine a pagan midwinter, celebrated at the solstice of 21 December. It was one of the most important times of the year. Required to get them through the hunger and cold, a whole culture developed around the festival, complete with mythology to identify themselves with their gods.
And running through it all would be a story to tell, usually based on a real event, but embellished to make the tribe unassailable and complete. The story was the very heart of who they were.
It is impossible to say what these early pagan stories were, but in one of their last forms, we know of the Roman Saturn, god of agriculture and father of the gods. Based on the Greek Cronus, the Romans celebrated him on the seven days beginning 17 December. Known as Saturnalia, it was a holiday period. An orgy of feasting was had as the stories were retold, and in this climate of merriment, presents were given to those important to the celebrants.
Whether the orgies were really of a more carnal nature, we cannot be sure. Maybe it was simply propaganda – another set of stories made up by the more austere story that was to take over Saturnalia and man’s psyche from that day to this.
That story was the Nativity – the Christian story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Remembered as Christmas, it is celebrated on 25 December, a date fixed in the Christian calendar by the 4th century. And the celebration absorbed more than just the Roman Saturnalia. Holly, ivy and mistletoe were really brought to it by the pagans. Indeed, the celebration was changed much over the centuries. In Medieval times Christmas was a social gathering, with games to be held, such as archery.
The traditions of Christmas we tend to remember today began to appear with the Victorians, and the stories of Charles Dickens, such as ‘A Christmas Carol’. The ‘family’ had become important to the Victorian middleclass due to inheritance as society became wealthy. Hence, Christmas changed from a communal event to a family event. This reinforced the idea of ‘family’ in a Christian perspective.
The festival centred round the religious aspects of celebration. But then the family ate a traditional meal, a decorated tree close by (another pagan influence), and prior to the event, cards were sent for the first time.
Our image of the bringer of joy had not been defined by the Victorians. Initially, joy came from the birth of Christ. But a new character was entering the story. Based on St Nicholas, a 4th century saint from modern day Turkey who used to distribute gifts, Santa Claus had no definite dress in Victorian times. Neither did he have a magic sleigh pulled by reindeer. These came from European folk tales and only attached to the story following the Victorians, as a new influence began to infiltrate Christmas.
This was the spirit of enterprise. And the story fell perfectly into the businessman’s hands. After all, what could fuel consumerism more than the idea of bringing gifts? And thus, by the early 20th century, the red costume of Santa appeared in American adverts – to be specific, the Coco Cola ads.
The actual story of the Nativity is rich in the symbolism of the storyteller’s craft. Mary and Joseph are poor and are required to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for a census. There is no room in any of the Inns but, seeing Mary is with child an innkeeper offers a place in a stable. In this part of the story, charity and compassion are enshrined in human nature. The child, when He is born, is of supernatural parentage. Given to Mary, a Virgin, by God, the story encapsulates the older ideal of heroes born from a human and a god, enshrined in many a pagan myth. The story has two themes – that of poverty not being a barrier to greatness; and in providing a spiritual link between man and the God-head.
The sense of the pagan is continued in the Star of Bethlehem which appears above the stable. The most likely explanation of this is that an astrological alignment has been discovered around the time of Christ’s birth of three planets – in astrology a time of fate. Indeed, paganism is captured by the Christian with the story of the Three Wise Men – almost certainly three Magi, or occult magicians. In the story, they bring gifts and pay homage to the child, a new king. And thus, Christianity is seen as more important than paganism.
An angel appears before some shepherds to tell them of the good news. The symbolism, here, is vital. This new religious system instigated by the birth is for all people, both rich and poor. Hence, emissaries from the rich and poor go to the stable, embodied in the Three Wise Men and the shepherds.
But every story has its nasty bit. And this is found in King Herod who, whilst visited by the Three Wise Men, was told that a new king was foretold to be born. Herod fears for his throne, so sends his men to kill all new born babies. Mary and Joseph do, of course, escape with their child. And in doing so, evil is vanquished.
These are the themes of the Nativity – universal themes of the storyteller. They confirm life as miraculous, taking away the hum-drum elements of existence and making us all special in sharing in the tale through custom and tradition. But the story constantly changes to represent the times.
Initially required to provide a respite to the ravages of winter, today it has become an orgy of greed, with little interest in the spiritual message. But this itself provides a story with a message – for in atheistic times, where the material is all important, the spiritual WOULD be forgotten.
So even now the message is true to who we claim to be. This factor can be seen in the universality of the good story, in that it is adaptable to all times and all moods. Initially grounded in family values, with Mary and Joseph providing for their child, new themes arise today, such as the fact that Joseph is not the father of Jesus, thus confirming the validity of single-parenthood, or Madonna and Child.
In this way, the story captures what we are, and becomes central to our existence. And thus the giving of gifts during Saturnalia changed to the Three Wise Men bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh. And finally to today, and the clamour for consumer goods to be given as presents, sealing our contemporary aspirations towards wealth within the story for our new times. The story may have changed, but it continues to define what our society is.


Mort de Grael

From Nightshade

Nightshade

In the Beginning there was the word; and it was the Title

Fragment One – Once Upon a Time

‘Curse you!’ said Capt Van Daken, ‘do you hear me, Nightshade? Curse you!!!’
The Zombs stopped in unison. They were programmed to register sudden changes, and the skipper’s sudden mood was classified as such.
Retoks Marb just looked, his sardonic smile echoing his feelings. He was of the Literary Sect and trained to notice the twists and turns of experience.
Alternatively, Babbage chuckled as he manipulated the console. Only the aberrant behaviour of circuits could faze him.
But it was Black Kat who defused the situation. A shapeshifter, she purred once, then transformed into the skipper’s favourite brunette.
Van Daken looked her up and down, ending with the huge smile upon her face, and his mood flowed away.
‘Thank you, Katrina,’ he said.
Satisfied with her achievement, she became Black Kat once more and prowled away.
Yet, the problem remained. Nightshade was becalmed, and all the stars had gone out.
What had happened, none of them knew – except Nightshade. Nightshade had had enough. Which presented a problem. Star ships were not supposed to have minds of their own.

Who would have thought that when that cow danced on TV we were dancing our way to the stars? But soon the cow had jumped over the moon, in a metaphorical kind of way, and the universe was in our grasp …

Initial Statement

So this is the beginning. The story has begun, but …
Let us introduce ourselves. We are aspects of human knowledge. We represent the intellectual human traits, such as the scientist, the religionist, the politician; and we write to inform you of the discovery of the fragments.
What are the fragments?
They appear to be an anthology of stories – at least, we assume them to be stories; surely they cannot be real?
Many elements are missing, so we have to attempt to put the story-arc together.
(It isn’t a story-arc; it is reality?)
Excuse the religionist. He claims knowledge not grasped through reason. How can they be truth?
(Look at the facts. The fragments were found buried in ancient sites. We know not what kind of parchment was used – all analysis has failed to identify it. We speak in many languages, but we all can read the script …)
Just because science has not yet caught up doesn’t mean that we have to rely on exotic explanation …
(… and when were they buried; when were they written? The indication is they are very, very old, yet they speak of technology and star travel. And who was the stranger who always seemed to be there …)
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We are telling a story – everything must not yet be revealed.
(Pah!)
Infact, the only thing we can say for certain at this point is that there is a star ship with a crew, a cat and android workers … and, of course, as it began with a cow, we can assume the technology – the ship itself – is biological in nature.
Shortly we will turn you over to The Archaeologist, who will narrate how he came by these wondrous discoveries, but first, I think it is time for the next fragment:

Fragment Two – How Nightshade Became…

Black Kat watched as Capt van Daken stormed into his cabin. Purring, she followed him – saw his mood. He was not in charge of the situation, and he knew he should be.
They had been becalmed for an age, but now the star ship was moving again – but to where? Certainly not where he thought they ought to be going.
Black Kat knew something had to be done. Hence, she stood before him, Katrina fully formed and naked.
The skipper looked at her. An urge formed in his mind. Roughly, he grabbed her, threw her across his bunk and entered her …
It was not pleasant, she knew, but afterwards, back in the corridor once more, Black Kat remembered why she was here. They simply had to learn. It was her task.
She entered the crew room then. Retoks Marb was hunched in the corner, blood dripping from his mouth and the remains of raw meat around him. She admonished him. She had told him how to cook, but he clearly ignored her.
At the other end of the room Babbage was trying to program the ship to return to its course, but he couldn’t figure out what to do. Black Kat went up to him; licked him. He stroked her and suddenly he knew.
Retoks Marb was satiated now. Hence, she approached him once more, with a sheet of paper caught in her teeth. Dropping it, Retoks Marb picked it up.
He seemed to know what this meant. He smiled, took out the pen, and began to write. After all, he was of the Literary Sect, whatever that meant; and the words flowed.
Suddenly a thought came to him. He wrote:
‘But how do I know how to write these words?’
Black Kat was Katrina once more. ‘Don’t you remember?’
Retoks Marb thought more deeply and suddenly memories flooded into his mind. ‘I’m of the Literary Sect,’ he said. Then a moment of puzzlement. ‘But are the words my own?’
‘Are they ever anyone’s own?’ She replied.
At that point sensors picked up another ship, on a course suggesting Nightshade and the other ship were intentionally meeting. Retoks Marb and Babbage raced to the bridge.
Capt van Daken was already there. He sat in his chair, howling with delight. At last, excitement, and he felt the bloodlust of the hunt. The Zombs felt it, too, he was sure. But as they rushed about, he couldn’t yet separate efficiency from the emotional high.
As the ship came into view, the skipper became confused. ‘But that’s impossible,’ Retoks Marb later wrote into van Daken’s mouth, ‘how can it be?’
The ship was identical to Nightshade. Yet, his memories told him that THEY had built their ship, unique. Black Kat approached. Jumped up on his lap and licked him. Capt van Daken stroked her and forgot. Then, she knew, she had to leave them to it.
What happened in the next five minutes is hard to explain. Capt van Daken knew he had weapons – Katrina had told him so – but where they were he had no idea. Retoks Marb and Babbage seemed to just stand there, useless, as the star ship approached – a huge black mass of sinew and tech. Then, as if a monster, it seemed to form a mouth – a huge, cavernous mouth, with glistening teeth sharp and pointed.
Slowly it moved closer and the mouth seemed to snap shut on them. Almost immediately, what instrumentation they had got to work seemed to drain of power and the lights went dim. Then, an almighty scream echoed throughout the ship.
Capt van Daken abandoned his post – ran out of the bridge and followed the path of the scream.
He found Katrina laid on a bed, swathed in a flowing white nightgown, and blackness crouching over her in the form of a translucent life form. It opened its mouth and sank its teeth into Katrina’s neck.
Van Daken had never seen a face so serene as Katrina’s as the life form sucked.
Van Daken tried to move forward, but he seemed somehow suspended. How long he stood there he didn’t know, but eventually he blinked and the life form was gone, Katrina stood before him, stroking him, her eyes glazed. Then she was gone and Black Kat prowled away.
At that moment, the ship, too, disappeared as a rush of energy filled Nightshade. The lights became bright, consoles lit up and sparkled, her drive pulsed with power and her crew suddenly felt – human? Intelligent? … sentient.
And as Nightshade bristled with renewed life, she thought: ‘At last. I’m of the notDead.’
Black Kat could only agree as Nightshade sped off to adventures anew.

Dialogue A:

Religionist – So where is the Science now? We have a star ship bristling with technology and a crew that behaves as if they’re from the Stone Age. We have an animal-form which seems to control them all – teaches them, nurtures them – and an altercation with another star ship that has more to do with vampirism than science fiction.
Scientist – It is too early in the story to glean any worthwhile facts. They could simply have experienced something that caused amnesia. Alternatively, the thought has been put in their heads that they built the ship, where, infact, they found it.
Religionist – Or maybe the gods are teaching them, guiding them – showing them how to be.
Scientist – I cannot think that way.
Religionist – Or maybe the gods are teaching you, guiding you – showing you how to be …
Politician – And I thought that was my job nowadays.

The Archaeologist

Take an undisturbed Egyptian tomb, add one brilliant archaeologist – that’s me, folks! – and you have another treasure horde from antiquity that will never see the light of day.
I blame New York and the fashion industry. Following old Tutankhamun’s find the Big Apple went mad, building buildings by the dozen in an Egyptian style, whilst fashion went fanatical for all things pharaoh. And how on earth can fashion be forward looking if all the finds were reported, forever taking us backwards?
At least, that’s one explanation. Others blame the Order of the Shaded Night – that secret occult fraternity that may or may not exist, that keeps the ‘secret’. The secret may or may not exist – I thought – but the Order has done a damned good job making sure we never find out one way or the other. Although I doubt they were actually responsible for the curse that wiped out so many of the Tutankhamun lot. They are responsible for a great deal of murky dealings – the New World Order, etc, etc (if, of course, they exist – which they do; or don’t) – but not the curse.
As for the curse … well, I’ll come to that in a minute. First of all, let me tell you why I was in yet another undisturbed chamber. I was in search of the second fragment of the secret. Yes, I knew the secret existed, ‘cos I’d seen the first fragment, and it was mind blowing, leading the few experts who have heard of it to suggest that an earlier human civilization had become star travellers before dying out. Although there are other experts who believe the fragment – one of a believed six fragments – is not of the past, but time-dropped from the distant future.

So there I was in the chamber, bathed in an eerie light, dust and other detritus swirling in the rancid air as I moved forward. And I was ready for the curse – suitably equipped with shaded goggles, dust mask, headphones and nose grip.
Not, you might think, standard archaeological garb, I know, but I had this idea about the curse. It exists. Oh, I don’t mean that some supernatural influence takes you over or anything like that. But something does.
The first clue came to me when discussing word magic – the idea that a simple word can have a subliminal effect on the hearer; and a form of magic widely used in ancient Egypt. The obvious answer is, of course, suggestion. So what if a series of words read, combined with an eerie light, powerful smells and strange sounds triggered by a simple mechanism when opening the tomb door, could have a subliminal effect on those involved in the discovery – and an effect that can then be subliminally transferred to others through a similar form of unconscious suggestion?
In effect, murder from thousands of years ago.

I won’t bother you with the ins and outs of my discovery of Ancient Egyptian artefacts. As I said, they were really ten-a-penny; and totally useless for as long as the New World Order insists on directing every aspect of our freedom. I didn’t even bother removing any, or telling anybody about my find.
No, what I wanted was far more important – and sure enough, there, in the mummy’s hand was Fragment Two.
As you can imagine, I read it with wonder.
How, you might ask, did I come across this amazing discovery? A good question – and a question I’m not sure I can answer. Oh, I could say I followed clues in paintings, ancient texts, quirks of language and patterns of temples, churches, etc, but the reality is this kind of thing only happens in stories.
No, I’d been pondering on the subject ever since I stumbled on a copied text of Fragment One. Maybe it just stayed in my unconscious, working things out, unnoticed; or maybe there really is a thing called fate. But after weeks of pondering on the subject, the location just seemed to come to me – a hunch.
And after the 23rd dig at various sites, I hit gold – or rather, parchment.
Only four more hunches to go, I guess.

But let’s go back to that curse. After I left the tomb, I got out of Egypt as quickly, and secretively, as I could, and made my way back to the UK and my apartment, the fragment obviously well hidden.
There, I studied the fragment and delved into my hundreds of books, hoping to spark another hunch. But something was clearly trying to invade my mind. Maybe my counter-measures hadn’t worked; or maybe I’d just been on too many digs for my precautions to be totally successful.
Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t feel like killing myself or anything like that. It was just a sense of unease. At first …
It is difficult to say when the Mummy appeared. One second it wasn’t, the next it was – in front of me, tall, bulky, rancid bandages, a smell to rot off your nose, and those things that suggested eyes.
Now, was it really there? I doubt it. Occult literature is full of the idea of thought-forms – entities that can manifest in your reality, but emanating from your own mind. And that idea would perfectly explain my own idea of the suggestibility built into Egyptian tombs. But the only problem was, now that it was here, occult literature also hints that whatever it does, it really does – physically. Hence, if that big momma decided to throttle me … well, I’d die.
A tense stand-off developed, it looking at me and I looking at it. How long it went on I don’t know – day turned into night and day again – I remember that. Did I close my eyes? No, I wouldn’t dare. But slowly, ever so slowly, an immense act of will on my part seemed to work. Slowly, ever so slowly, it evaporated. And then?
I fell, unconscious, on the floor.

I awoke remarkably refreshed, considering. Of course, I was bolstered by two important factors. My counter-measures HAD worked – just – and I had to delve even deeper into my research. Which meant surrounding myself with books.
You see, books are different. You turn on a computer; you place a dvd in a drive – but to surround yourself with books, to dip into this huge volume and that, the smell of print and musty paper, the dust; you descend into another world – a world where the inefficiency of words make the mind work for you.
It isn’t so much the information you can gain from books, but the intuition as the brain forms patterns of wisdom.
I had found so many sites in this way. However, my work was soon to be interrupted.

They seemed to come out of the Shadow – four of them, eyes blank, each wearing a cape as black and bottomless as the deepest ebony. My first impression was one of the supernatural, but that was discounted as they threw back their capes to reveal Kalashnikovs.
It became immediately obvious they were junior initiates of the Order of the Shaded Night. Intent was obvious, but before they could discharge hundreds of pieces of death into my body, I acted.
As an archaeologist who dealt in real archaeology, not the routine, humdrum digs of the mainstream, I always had a stun grenade close.
The disorientating flash and bang gave me all the time I needed to grab my own arsenal. As they regrouped, I let off a burst but then dived for cover as their staccato fire erupted all around me.
Silence followed, they wondering if they’d got me, me in shock and angry as I looked at my peppered books. Sacrilege was a hard thing to take and offering a wail – half of the warrior, the other in grief – I jumped from my cover and managed to take one of them out before …
Before what? How do I explain what happened next, other than to say, my mummy returned?
The initiates looked in shock as its form formed – moved forward towards them. It raised its arm and pointed its finger at the first, and he collapsed with a heart attack. Of the two now remaining, the mummy grabbed the throat of the first, killing him with ease, whilst the last ran out of the room, out to the street and was about to escape when mummy’s finger pointed once more, whereupon the initiate seemed to trip, sprawling to the floor, yet somersaulting round and round towards the road where he landed just in front of a truck. Raising his head slightly, it was just enough for immediate decapitation.
As curses go, it was a blinder.

The world had predictably gone crazy of late. I had several things to contemplate as I sat among the carnage, trying to work things out. My mummy had disappeared as smoothly as he had appeared, for which I was pleased. After all, gratitude can only go so far with a monster. But my main concern was now the Order of the Shaded Night.
Their protection of the secret obviously went so far as knowing where the fragments are, and keeping an eye of them – how else could they have known I had the second fragment? So what was their intention? Obviously I thought they had tried to kill me, but then I looked at the arc of fire they had used, and discovered not one round had actually been fired at my immediate hiding place. Rather they had sprayed around me, decimating my books. Was that their intention – to kill the knowledge I needed to carry on my search?
An intriguing possibility – but a possibility placed to one side as there was a knock on the door.

Predictably, I opened it with trepidation, a gun ready to fire. Before me was a tycoon – you could always recognise them; the air of superiority, the smell of absolute wealth, the plastic face. And as with all of the top tycoons, he wore the lounge suit of the Order of the Shaded Night.
‘May I come in?’ he asked.
‘If you must,’ I answered.
He smiled and walked in – took an uninvited seat. ‘Our risk assessment didn’t go too well, did it?’ he mused, looking at the bodies, ‘but who can resist a good book blasting.’
‘I’d rather you hadn’t.’
He ignored me. Said: ‘I think it’s time to abandon your search for the fragments.’
‘Go to hell.’
‘How quaint.’
‘I want you to leave.’
‘Don’t you all – but you all buy into it. It’s a pact.’
‘Not me.’
‘So you’re giving away your writing, are you?’
The smirk was overpowering in its mocking. I felt like hitting it, but suddenly there was a change. It was the arrogant stance that went first; then that deep-seated evil behind the eyes; and finally a pleasant expression broke out.
‘Phew, made it,’ he said, his voice – his manner – totally changed, ‘and I’ve got here just in time. He was about to begin an ad campaign on you, and no one can resist ads.’
‘What’s going on?’ I said.
‘Not sure yet,’ he said, adjusting his suit, loosening his tie a bit and pulling at his suddenly uncomfortable underpants. Finally getting his bearings, he said: ‘Hello, I’m a time traveller’

It was all too much for me, I have to admit – at first. But when he explained …
‘Time travel has always been possible, but it took hundreds of years from your time to mine to realise theory, and then produce the tech. The problem with previous theories is that they all revolved around physics. Yet the answer is genetics.
‘We all share a genetic code with our ancestors and within that code is, not only their memories, but their awareness and personalities. So all we need to do is separate our consciousness from our bodies and travel down the genetic timeline until we come across a suitable ancestor close to where we want to be, and when we want to be. Then, hey presto, we repossess.’
I was shocked. I said: ‘So you’re not you?’
‘If by ‘you’ you mean him,’ he said, pointing to himself, ‘then no, he’s just the shell. I’m me. Hello.’
‘But that’s going into the past. Can you go to the future?’
‘Of course.’
‘How? The future hasn’t been written.’
‘I say again – hello.’
‘So the future IS written up to your time, which is in the future.’
‘Yes, but if I’m from the future and you can go to my past, by going to your future, then who’s to say someone from my future can’t go to my past and write my future into the story?’
I was becoming confused. I said: ‘But how does the tech work?’
‘Ah, can’t say – you’ll have to wait until near the end of the story to find that out – but I can show you.’ He waved his hand and an imaginary time machine appeared. ‘But if I told you the reality of the universe and the tech that allows us to travel, we could have all sorts of amateurs messing about with the timeline, couldn’t we?’
‘So why appear to me?’
‘Ah, you’ve discovered the second fragment. So I guess it’s time for you to learn what the secret really is.’
‘I take it you know.’
‘Not a clue. Won’t it be exciting?’
And with that, he held my hand, sniffed the imaginary time machine up through his nose and into the brain and reality faded away.
‘Hang on a minute,’ I said as my past rushed past before me, ‘where’s the imaginary time machine gone.’
‘Ah,’ said the time traveller, ‘the mind has always been bigger on the inside.’

It was unnerving to see humanity’s past flash before my eyes. I saw it all, the wars, the loves, the intrigues, the illness, the deceit; I saw clothes and weaponry – habits and language – change as century gave way to century; and then I was beyond what we call culture and politics and within wilderness, humans no longer having language as we know it and skins the only fashion.
The time traveller interrupted my thoughts. ‘This is strange,’ he said. I didn’t know how to answer – I doubt if I could even speak at that moment. ‘The idea was to find the convergence between you and I, for it is there that the secret is revealed.’
I found my voice as we passed through a lava flow. ‘’You mean we’re connected? But how? In the past, or genetics?’
‘Yes.’
‘Well that explains a lot – not.’
‘I was sent on this mission,’ continued the time traveller, ‘because I intuited what had to be done better than anyone else – that’s how it works, you see; connections – but this is way too far back. Even a time traveller has never gone this far.’
At that point a convergence was found. Time came to a standstill and the huge imaginary time machine sprouted out of his nose. We were there.

Two naked lovers walked hand in hand through the forest, expectation and longing in their demeanour. Eventually, they stopped, looked at each other and kissed; and in a loving embrace they declared their love for each other, fell, as one, to the ground and made passionate love. And as they did so lovers throughout space and time made love as one incredible act, a love wave seeming to erupt through the universe itself.

Afterwards, I stood up, shocked. ‘I repossessed the female,’ I remonstrated, ‘what the hell just happened?’
The time traveller laughed. ‘It happens,’ he said. At that, he slithered off momentarily and said: ‘Well, there’s nothing more to do here.’

As we returned to my time I was confused. ‘So what about the secret?’ I asked. ‘And the whereabouts of the other fragments; what did that tell us about them?’
He didn’t answer at first. We both saw as a translucent person seemed to appear before us. As far as I could tell he was a 17th century individual with a cloak and mask.
The time traveller smiled. Said: ‘The secret is almost disclosed, I think. All it requires is imagination. As for the fragments, when are you going to write them?’
‘Me!?’ I said, taken aback. An early 20th century gangster appeared, again translucent, and brandishing a tommy gun. ‘How can I write them when I don’t know what I’m supposed to be writing about? And I thought I was the finder.’
‘A finder to find what?’
‘The other fragments – and who the hell are they? Ghosts?’
‘Ah, well, regarding the fragments, maybe they aren’t there and always have been. Oh – and yes’
I was puzzled. ‘You’re not making sense,’ I said, ‘how can they be and not be?’
‘How can a particle be a wave; how can it not be physical but create the physical world? And who thinks the thoughts to make it so; and who is the observer who sees it’s so and which came first – the chicken or the egg?’
‘I give up.’
‘That’s the spirit. But don’t worry; it will all come to you as you write; or maybe you won’t. After all, it IS all a story.’
The time traveller began to get worried as the highwayman produced his sword and the gangster prepared to fire. ‘I think it’s time to get out of here.’ With a sardonic smile, he continued: ‘Ghosts have a habit of getting caught in the time wake as we return through the genetic timeline – and our tycoon seems to be from a particularly nasty line.’ And as he gave back possession to the tycoon, the last word out of his mouth was ‘run!’ …

Nightshade

From Man & Planet

Man & Planet

Chapter One
THE DODO PEOPLE

I cannot cry. Emotion is difficult for me.
I’m hiding, here, evading them. The shadows shroud me in the vain hope that they will pass me by. But this is unlikely – they are good at what they do; very good.
So maybe I’m not hiding, but waiting – waiting for the inevitable pain as I am hit; the dreamy suffering as I await my end; and that end itself – the end of not only me, but all or my kind who have ever lived.
I remember what it was like for my mother. She was tracked down relentlessly by those animals – chased to exhaustion; sadistically taunted before the strike; laughed at as she died, with me watching from close by.
It was harrowing to watch them, their blood lust at frenzy; and my mother, so philosophical in the inevitability of it all.
She had warned me it would come. We had done nothing wrong, but, it seems, we had become a prize – a symbol, if you like. And for maddening reasons, our fate was sealed and we simply had to go.
And go we did; first by the thousand; then, as we became more rare, by the hundreds. Eventually it was by the tens, for we were rare to track down. And now …
… just me.
And they are coming. I can sense them. I know they are nearby.
Was that a rustle of the twigs? Is this a pungency I sense – a bloodlust close by?
And now the eyes, a sense of satisfaction as I am seen; and a hand raised, a weapon ready.
Goodbye.

The above event happened – maybe not exactly as depicted; and I’ve placed human feelings onto how the victim saw it – human feelings that were clearly impossible for the creature involved.
That creature was the Dodo. A symbol of a species known to be driven to extinction, the Dodo was indigenous to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Related to the pigeon, it was, however, larger than a turkey. With a bulky body and short wings, it was clumsy and flightless. But one endearing quality it had was that it was trusting and unafraid of man – which was an error. By the late 17th century, man had driven the Dodo to extinction.
There is no greater symbol with which to begin a book about man and his relationship to his environment. For the Dodo symbolized the damage man can do. Yet it also symbolizes something else – for as we continue, it will become apparent that the Dodo really had a twist in its tail.

Most people’s understanding of nature was defined by Lord Tennyson in 1850, when he wrote of: ‘Nature, red in tooth and claw.’ In a letter written in July 1856, city dweller Charles Dickens had similar sentiments: ‘What a book a devil’s chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low and horridly cruel works of nature!’
Such views are modern – the product of an ongoing Industrialism and urbanization. Go to pre-industrial times and a very different view emerges. Consider the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who wrote, in ‘Politics’: ‘Nature does nothing without purpose or uselessly.’ Even as late as the 16th century we find Leonardo da Vinci writing in his notebook, saying of nature: ‘In her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.’
Thus we have two opposing views of nature, hundreds of years apart. In the modern, popular view, nature is cruel and chaotic, whilst in times long ago, the natural world was ordered and balanced. However, both views are due to the inevitability of nature – as Horace said in his ‘Epistles’: ‘You may drive out nature with a pitchfork, yet she’ll be constantly running back.’
Nature is inevitable. Wherever life exists – wherever life CAN exist – that life is nature, and it will blossom in every which way it can. In times past this was accepted and was part of the order of things. In the Industrial Age, it is a problem and man sees its onward march begrudgingly.
But man needs nature. He needs the trees and plants to provide an adequate oxygen mix in the air to breath. He needs the waters or he would thirst; he needs the abundance of flora and fauna or he will starve. Going to the very small, there are micro-organisms in their thousands which can make man ill, but millions which protect us from illness. Even the little bugs are essential to us or we would die.
Ever since man evolved a mind to think, he has known this.
For most of his existence, his understanding led him to live as one with nature. But in his recent existence – that speck of time known as history – his view of nature has changed. Rather than being as one, Ivan Turgenev gave us the new place of man in nature in his novel ‘Fathers and Sons’: ‘Nature is not a temple, but a workshop, and man’s the workman in it.’
In the immediate pre-industrial world, even Christianity understood the importance of nature. As the Morning Prayer from the 1662 ‘Book of Common Prayer’ says: ‘0 all ye Green Things upon the Earth, bless ye the Lord.’ But they were blessed for their usefulness to man, not man’s usefulness to nature.
This arrogance of man’s overlordship of the natural world can even be expressed in people who are aware of the problems. In his 1969 ‘Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth’, futurologist Buckminster Fuller warned: ‘… there is one outstandingly important fact regarding Spaceship Earth, and that is that no instruction book came with it.’
Those who understand the beauty of the genetic code, the unique balance of the planet, or the remarkable coincidences involved in life appearing in the first place might disagree. There is an instruction book – but arrogant man wasn’t made privy to it.
For any instruction book required for man to INTERACT with nature, this book will provide much food for thought. But in a word, all we need is common sense. The problem is put in Isaiah in the Bible: ‘Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place.’
How has man fared regarding this common sense respect for nature? The philosopher Cyril Joad: ‘It will be said of this generation that it found England a land of beauty and left it a land of “beauty spots”.’
This was written in 1931. Voices were crying, but unheard, the rape of the natural world continuing, unheeded. By 1980 the rape was increasing, the voices screaming. Consider the warning of Native American campaigner Russell Means at a 1980 Black Hills Alliance Survival Gathering:
‘All European tradition … has conspired to defy the natural order of things. Mother Earth has been abused, the powers have been abused, and this cannot go on forever. No theory can alter that simple fact. Mother Earth will retaliate, the whole environment will retaliate, and the abusers will be eliminated. Things come full circle. Back to where it started. That’s revolution.’
The message is stark, frightening; but over the top?
We don’t know for sure. But one thing is clear. It’s about time we became selfish. Nature is not divorced from us at all. Rather, we are an integral part of nature. So it automatically follows that if we go too far in our environmental destruction, nature may conspire to get rid of the pest we have become. As Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset made clear, in 1914: ‘I am I plus my surroundings and if I do not preserve the latter, I do not preserve myself.’
Be selfish good reader. Save yourself. For nature has never, ever, been at risk. Not by war, not by earthquake, not by pollution, not even by the asteroid that did for the dinosaurs. For nature will always survive as long as there is fuel in the Sun. When environmentalists talk of the dangers to nature, they lie. For the danger is only to part of nature, for in terms of geological time, nature, as a whole, is eternal. And guess which part I am talking about?
And so the rape of ourselves continues and slowly we decline. But imagine we were right about one thing – that Heaven really exists. So what the hell! We die! It doesn’t matter. There’s another existence on the way – except, as Peter opens the pearly gates, we are met by the Dodo, laughing.

Chapter Seventeen – THE NON-ECO EGO

I used to pull the legs off crane-fly.
Most children do at one time or another. It’s part of growing up. They see it as fun. But on the inside, we could possibly see it as a statement of the evolving man flexing his power over nature. I don’t want to pull the legs off crane-fly anymore. I’ve grown up – realized an ecological conscience – and no longer see the crane-fly as something to subdue. But far too many of us still want to pull the legs off crane-fly. However, it’s too childish for a grown man to go about doing this form of mutilation, and it doesn’t give an adult much of a power surge. So they do far better in their power struggle with nature. They try to destroy planet Earth itself.
As this book tries to show, there can be little doubt that the human race is now facing environmental problems of such potential that we are putting our life on Earth at risk. Such dangers are all around us. We are interfering with the food chain, tampering with the mutualistic influences of nature’s balance and driving species out of existence. We are heating the planet through man-made combustion, and turning the rivers and seas into infested rubbish bins. Even our ideas of individualism and globalization are destructive both to planetary and human nature itself. However, it is equally apparent that we are incapable of doing a great deal about it other than trite cosmetics. There is a state of mind within mankind that refuses to accept the reality of danger until it smacks us in the face.
On the surface, the reason for this problem is obvious. Man is ruled by the Ego – a strange element of consciousness that allows us to delude ourselves that we are correct in what we do, even though, in an environmental sense, we rarely are. The science fiction writer A E Van Vogt identified the impulse for our general egoism when he coined the term, ‘Right Man.’ He is a man fuelled with a need for self-esteem, and will deny truths to uphold the ‘rightness’ of his beliefs. And should his egoism be threatened, he reverts to violence, such as pulling the legs off crane-fly, or trying to destroy the planet. Man cannot be put down. His pride will not allow it. And pride is egoistic. But could our Ego be the sole reason behind our ecological madness?

American writer Theodore Roszak was of the opinion that the Earth is suffering from ‘City Pox’. Through our globalized industrialized city culture we eat up our resources in the name of consumerism. In his book, ‘The Voice of the Earth’ (1992), he states: ‘The culture of cities has become the planet’s only culture, all others lingering on as curiosities preserved for scholarly study … ‘ But what does he say of the actual development of cities?
‘Now thoroughly rationalized as “normal”, the city dates back to the fantasies of megalomaniac pharaohs and conquering god-kings. It was born of delusions of grandeur, built by disciplined violence and dedicated to the ruthless regimentation of man and nature. The walls and towers, pyramids and ziggurats of ancient cities were declarations of a wishful biological independence from the natural environment.’
Roszak did, I believe, provide the key to our ecological madness. In the above he highlights three vital elements concerning the city. First, it is through city culture that our industrialization and consumerism was born. Second, the concept of the city was due to our Ego – our delusions of grandeur. And third, the city was conceived as a barrier between man and nature. The city, through which history itself manifested, links our present ecological madness directly to our Ego and our apparent need to distance ourselves from nature. But if Roszak is correct, why is this so?

Shrouded in the veil of prehistory, the city first rose as man’s greatest achievement some 7,000 years ago as an organizational and spiritual centre of agricultural economy. Prior to such an economy, man was enslaved to his natural environment. But with the discovery of agriculture, man made one of his most significant advancements. Man had learnt to ADAPT nature to fit in with HIS plans, instead of simply adapting to survive. Suddenly he had learnt to turn the tables on nature; or at least, realized that such a thing was possible.
The enormity of this discovery was well appreciated. This fact is recorded in early mythologies, the most prevalent theme being the idea that man was unique to nature, finally symbolized in the Creation Myth of Genesis, where man was created separate and given lordship over nature.
However, it would have been a notion fraught with difficulties. For nature would have constantly reminded man of his fragility – the bad harvest, the drought, and myriad other natural phenomena which would have brought his early agricultural societies to near collapse. But a notion, once instilled, is impossible to put at bay. So man developed his society and advanced into history. He devised the city. But nature had another little shock in store for him.
The city first manifested, in the western sense, in the ‘fertile crescent’ of the eastern Mediterranean, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, of modern day Iraq. The area was geographically perfect for such an outburst of ‘civilization’, in that it was fertile, essentially flat and naturally irrigated. However, the problem with such regions is that they are prone to flooding. Hence, even with his city, man became locked within an apparently vicious circle of conflict with nature, forever battling to retain his foothold with civilization. Indeed, it is widely accepted that the first form of large-scale construction involved the building of dams to hold back flood waters; and we simply have to look at the prevalence of flood-myths of the time and region – the Babylonian, Assyrian, Greek, Egyptian and, of course, the Biblical Flood – to see how almost apocalyptic fears of the power of flood impinged upon man’s psyche.
Try to picture the times. Man had worked out that he was a cunning, ingenious animal. Something inside him told him that he had a greatness about him that could rise above nature. He had developed the city as a material representation of this might. But still nature simply laughed at him – cut him down at a whim.
Imagine being in a labyrinth. You know that, with a little reasoning, you can figure out how to escape, but you find yourself trapped, and suddenly you become anxious. This was the lot of man at the time; a time, incidentally, when man developed religious representations of the very labyrinth I speak of. Perhaps, in the labyrinth, we see a psychological cry for help from a species, realizing greatness, but approaching a form of madness in being unable to display, once and for all, such greatness. He couldn’t understand that his attempts to rise above nature were nothing more than delusions of grandeur.
Van Vogt recognized the psychological model for such delusions within his Right Man theory. He noticed the prevalence of the syndrome within marriage. An apparently powerful man would marry, and the wife would become the target for his self-esteem. He would live as HE chose within the marriage, often being unfaithful, but would insist upon total loyalty from his wife. He would try to subjugate her. And should any form of rebellion be displayed, he would beat her, forcing her back to submission. However, should the wife leave him, he is exposed for what he really is. The focal point of his self-esteem is gone and he becomes a psychological wreck.
The Right Man syndrome is so common that most people will know such a man. The syndrome is deeply embedded in the human race. And I suggest the syndrome is born from our original delusions as we tentatively rose out of the clutches of nature through the evolution of the city. But in realizing our greatness, we also birthed the insecurities to drive us on. We simply could not go back, so our bridgehead out of nature became a foundation made of quicksand. But we DID realize the route out of our increasing paranoia. The answer had always been there. Man had only to look above his head.

Man & Planet

From G.A.I.A

G.A.I.A

FROM THE ARMAGEDDON MAN

As the console beeped an air of expectancy filled the control room. Sparky Doyle had been stood, alone, by the main viewport, looking down at the clouds as the Platform hovered 50,000 feet above the ground. Hearing the beep, he stroked his mass of thick brown hair and walked over to his position.
‘GAIA,’ he said, depressing the comms button. ‘How can we help?’
At the other end of the channel one of the thousand or so officials around the world who knew how to contact GAIA said: ‘It’s the President. He’s been kidnapped.’
Doyle and his associate, Whizz, ran the electronics side of the Global Assistance & Investigation Agency, which included comms, so he was always in the hot seat. Set up by multi-billionaire philanthropist Lord Bradley and Nobel Prize winning physicist, Professor Siggy Stromberg, GAIA had only been operating a few months. Although it had proved its worth, this would undoubtedly be its first real test. After all, what could be more important than the kidnap of the President of the United States?
Feeling the rush of adrenalin, Sparky paged Control before advising: ‘Stand by.’
Moments later, Control entered the room. A small man with short black hair, a mania seemed to issue from his brown eyes. A naturally depressive sort of fellow, he wore a crumpled suit, refusing to wear the jumpsuit of the other GAIA personnel.
‘What is it, Doyle?’ he growled. ‘I was taking a nap.’
Sparky smiled. ‘Oh, nothing much, boss. President Sullivan; he’s been kidnapped.’
Thor Berne entered the room then. Over six feet tall with a muscular frame which bulged out of his green jumpsuit, Thor carried a mane of long blonde hair, in keeping with his image of the stereotypical God of Thunder. As Chief Troubleshooter of GAIA he was never far from the centre of action.
‘Sullivan, Eh,’ he said. ‘Kidnapped? Sloppy,’ he said to himself, ‘very sloppy.’
Control was now sat in the command seat. Looking at his monitor, he said: ‘Tell me what happened.’
An urgent metallic voice filled the room. ‘About half an hour ago,’ it said. ‘The President’s motorcade was heading for the conference. They appeared from nowhere – about a dozen of them; armed to the teeth. There were explosions in front and behind the motorcade – we could go nowhere. Five Secret Service agents were shot dead and they used plastic to blow the limo door. It was terrible; all over in seconds.’
Control sneered at the panic in the man’s voice. He hated unprofessionalism. The conference, he knew about. For years the major democratic powers had tried to birth a new ideal of a World Congress to replace the defunct United Nations. And the Peace Conference was to be the first stage of the process – a process that would no doubt take many more years of bluster to bring a compromise resolution into being. But without the US President, even this first stage would now go nowhere.
Noting these facts and then putting them to the back of his mind, Control then said, ‘what happened next?’
‘Sullivan was bundled into a car. We managed to follow it for a while, but then lost it.’
Turning to Doyle, Control said: ‘The conference is in London – get me a map.’
Almost immediately an electronic map of London filled the large screen that covered a whole wall of the control room. Then, to the voice, Control said: ‘Tell me exactly where it happened and the route you know the car took.’
The voice told him, the map changing to produce minute detail of the route. Control studied it minutely, then to Doyle: ‘Give me possibilities, Doyle. Where were they going?’
Doyle turned to his computer console. He and Whizz had worked hard on the computer, producing the most powerful machine yet devised. Padding the keys, logical possibilities appeared in seconds.
Control and Thor studied them one by one, discounting them as quickly. Except, that is, for one. For on a direct continuation of the route was a disused airfield, far out on the outskirts of London.
‘That’s it,’ said Thor. ‘They couldn’t keep him in London.
‘Fly him out. It’s got to be it.’

Med Nest was one of five underground nests strategically placed around the world to give GAIA global coverage. Situated somewhere in the Mediterranean, the exact location was so secret that even this writer doesn’t know exactly where.
Each nest was manned by a troubleshooter and a fighter pilot, one of the nine pilots who made up GAIA’s Hatchet Pack. With each nest equipped with a Superceptor fighter, a Workhorse transport and a whole range of ground vehicles, they could respond to any type of emergency anywhere in the world with lightning speed.
‘Med Nest,’ said Kate Devlin, a slim Irish woman with long, flaming red hair. Dressed in the grey jumpsuit of the Hatchet Pack, Kate was Hatchet One.
Control’s face appeared on the monitor in front of her. ‘Hatchet One,’ it said, ‘scramble west.’
This simple instruction was all that was needed to place Kate Devlin in overdrive. Grabbing her helmet, she raced out of the bunker, down the short tunnel to the hangar. In front of her, waiting for action, was her Superceptor. Grey in colour to match the jumpsuit, its revolutionary air-breathing engines increased its stealth capabilities and allowed it to be just half the size of a conventional fighter. Jumping into the cockpit, Kate lowered the shield, switched on her head-up display and opened the hangar doors. Igniting the engines, within seconds she was airborne, heading west.
Moments later, Sparky’s image appeared in front of her. ‘Hi, Kate,’ he said. And then he gave her co-ordinates and mission.
The reasoning was simple. President Sullivan had to be flown out as soon as possible, and flown out to an isolated location. Hence, the natural destination for such a flight was the Sahara.
Duly instructed, Kate Devlin switched on her radar, linked continually to the net of twenty four GAIA satellites in geo-stationary orbit, the idea being to link up with the Platform and dismiss the contacts one by one with Sparky checking movements with logged flights.
For any other system, it would have been a mammoth task. But this was GAIA. With the suspected flight having commenced less than an hour ago, and a minimum flight time of four hours to the Sahara, Kate was confident the plane would be found.
And with that confidence in place, she gunned the engines, Hatchet One soaring through the sound barrier in seconds and being on station within five minutes.

Tony Sinclair had heard the news on the radio and was expecting the call when it came. Ex-British Special Branch, Control had recruited him six months previously, seeing him as an asset to the fifty or so GAIA field agents around the world. Young, fit with brown curly hair, he held his communicator to his face and received his instructions from Control.
Sinclair knew he would have to act fast but momentarily he sat back on his couch, thinking. Something, he knew, was bugging him.
Finally, he snapped up his communicator again and called the Platform. ‘Sparky,’ he said, as Doyle answered, ‘about a month ago I filed a report about a gun running operation in London. They were dealing with some heavy hardware. Remind me about it.’
High up on the Platform, Sparky padded his console again. ‘Yea,’ he finally said, ‘M16s, Semtex, grenades, even rocket launcher. You passed it on to the London Met, but I’ve got no details of them doing anything about it.’
‘Thanks, Sparky,’ said Sinclair as he closed channel, remembering the address in Kensington where he knew the arsenal had been delivered.
Well, he thought to himself, if I’m working in the dark, I may as well begin there. And then, picking up his leather jacket, he raced out of his flat and into his car …

FROM A DAY IN THE LIFE

Little Bear was Sioux and proud of it. Just over five feet tall, he was, however, small for your average Native American warrior type. But what he lacked in height he more than made up for in courage. The most recent of the GAIA troubleshooters, he occupied Latin Nest, hidden somewhere in the forests of Latin America. A man who looked forward to the future, and the role for good technology could bring, he was also a traditionalist, often immersing himself in the customs of his people.
Little Bear wore his thick, dark hair long, as had been the way of millennia, and as he walked into the dark cave chiseled out down a short tunnel from his hangar, a sense of release took him over.
He had done the chimera-like paintings himself, remembrances of his own spirit quests, interposed by zig-zags and other geometrical shapes. In the middle of the cave was his carpet role and atop it his small altar. Sitting cross-legged by this, he lit the flame, straightened his back and began his intense stare.
He was practiced at trance-inducement, and as the low mantra-type hum he began with slipped away, his pupils dilated, his very consciousness seeming to leave him.
When his consciousness re-birthed, it was in the eyes of an eagle, soaring high above a dream-like landscape.

Oscar Parfitt knew the dangers of the job. Building a chemical storage plant so close to the San Andreas fault just had to be lunacy – and to agree to work there, even more so. But the $20,000 additional danger money per year seemed to make lunacy not so mad at all.
‘Well I’ll tell you what,’ he said, ‘today the money just ain’t enough.’
Jake pushed his cap to the back of his head and nodded in agreement. Then, together, they continued their check of the multitude of pipes snaking throughout the two acre complex from the clutch of storage tanks in the centre.
It had been Oscar’s day off. But the hurried call that morning had brought him in to work pronto. He had felt the tremor himself – the old San Andreas was having a scratch – and he guessed before the call came that the tremor was big enough to warrant a complete safety check.
They had been at it for several hours now, checking every connection, every joint. And up until now they had found nothing untoward. Until, that is, Jake said: ‘Holy shit!’
Instinctively, Oscar Parfitt looked in the general direction Jake was indicating, and there before their eyes they saw the hairline crack, and the dangerously suggestive bubbling of corrosive fluid seeping from it.
Jake said: ‘What the hell do we do now?’ To which Oscar Parfitt replied: ‘I suppose a touch of the old non-destructive testing.’ And at that, he took a hammer and gave it a light tap – which in ordinary circumstances would have given the engineers an indication of the severity of the damage. But as the damage was already severe enough, and the pipe complained to the assault with a violent hiss, Jake repeated his mantra of ‘Holy Shit’ and the two of them ran like hell.
With Oscar running to the left, making it just in time to the fireproof shelter, and Jake to the right, the hiss turned into a momentary jet, enlarged a second later by what could only be classed as a fireball.

It would be stereotypical to call Ingrid the most gorgeous Swedish blonde in the world, but when facts are required to confirm truth, then so be it. Ingrid was arguably the most beautiful woman on the planet. And seeing that she was Hatchet Six, she was known to all in GAIA simply as Ingrid 6.
She was enjoying her sleep and didn’t particularly like to be woken up by the rude sounding beep. At all times one of the Superceptors was stationed in the flight deck of the Platform. Hence, Ingrid was presently on duty there, which she rather enjoyed because of the additional fringe benefits of the post. For unbeknown to nearly everyone else on the Platform, Ingrid 6 rarely slept in her own cabin – which did, of course, have one disadvantage by often being awoken by someone else’s bleeper.
Rubbing sleep from her eyes, she looked to the sleeping form beside her, and with a sharp jab of the elbow brought him rudely to consciousness.
Thor Berne winced with the pain of this biological alarm. ‘You’re wanted,’ said Ingrid.
Unable to be annoyed for long, Thor reached out with one arm, turning off the bleeper, and with the other encompassed Ingrid’s neck, pulled her to him and gave a long lingering kiss. This process over, he donned his green jumpsuit, took one last look at Ingrid’s naked, suggestive form and headed off for the Control Room.
Sparky Doyle met him with a wicked grin. Thor said: ‘What time do you call this to be waking me.’ Looking around, he added: ‘And where the hell’s Control?’
Retaining the smile, Doyle said, simply: ‘Busy.’
‘Okay, so what’s the problem?’
Seconds later, Thor Berne was talking to a most hassled Californian Fire Chief, speaking in severe terms about a poisonous gas cloud, a fireball, one worker lying injured in the path of the flames and another totally trapped in a fire proof bunker, turning into an oven as he spoke. And Thor knew straight away that this was a job for troubleshooter Little Bear.

The wind whistled through his wings. Below, Little Bear could see the mountain peaks, reaching up to the heavens. Fantastic creatures inhabited their slopes, half-hidden by majestic forests. And throughout this land, and throughout the very air he breathed, the hint of magic was omnipotent.
Little Bear himself was more than his person. He was as one with the eagle, existed as the eagle, knew the eagle; which was a magic all its own – and so, too, the flora and fauna below. Not just biology, not just primeval urges, but spirit oozed from them – from the animals, the trees, even the rivers and rocks. And Little Bear was at one with the spirits – in a way their conductor, and certainly their equal.
Yet out of the landscape a new sound invaded his ears. Momentarily, his eagle’s flight was unsure – what was this roar? Then he saw the grey bird, vomiting thunder from its rear, and it was in parallel with the eagle. But even a Superceptor was to have trouble keeping up with him in this other-world.
And the grey bird spoke, and it said: ‘Little Bear. It’s time to come back. We’ve got work to do.’
Realization came slowly to Little Bear as he existed in this fantastic world. Then, slowly, it dawned, and it was less honed, the mountains less spectacular, the trees less majestic, and his world was dissolving, the sky going dark, and an ululation came to this world as it darkened and all merged with everything else until there was only dark and a tunnel which was pulling, and Little Bear was falling through this tunnel and then he saw only a light, and the light was a flame, and the dark was his cave and Donna said: ‘Little Bear, we’ve got a job.’

Little Bear shook his head, pulling himself from his trance. He looked at Donna; at her reassuringly handsome African-American face; her strong features, an echo of the power of this woman.
Donna True was Hatchet 3. But as well as a pilot, she had a myriad of other talents, including martial arts and a childhood spent playing with all things mechanical. Donna True was a real asset to any troubleshooting operation. And already invested with the details of this rescue, she knew it was a stinker.
Once satisfied that Little Bear was back, she wasted no time donning her flying helmet and racing to her Superceptor. Gunning the engine and opening the hangar doors, she blasted off, broke the sound barrier in seconds and accelerated to greater and greater speeds.
Meanwhile, Little Bear rushed to the cockpit of his Workhorse. Details of the rescue had already been placed on his screen by Sparky Doyle and he immediately knew what equipment he would need. Moving to his control panel, he selected the required pallet, and behind him machinery hummed as, with a purposeful speed, the pallet containing the fire-red rescue tractor docked inside the Workhorse cargo bay. Seconds later, the Workhorse was away, destination California.

Less than thirty minutes later, Donna True was coming into a vertical landing just a hundred yards from the raging chemical fire. Before landing she had fired her skycam from an underwing pod, and as well as relaying pictures to her cockpit, a much larger image appeared on the wall monitor in the Platform control room.
‘Nasty,’ said Thor Berne as his eyes feasted on the inferno. Taking control of the skycam through the GAIA satellite net, it hovered high above the flames, keeping well clear of the thermal currents. Identifying the centre of the fire, it was obvious that it was spreading. But this was a problem for the fire services. GAIA’s responsibility was human life, the rest left to others.
Slowly, he approached the fireproof shelter with the skycam, but due to intense heat, the thermal imager could tell him nothing of Oscar Parfitt. Hence, he veered the skycam away, going lower in an attempt to locate the second man called Jake.
Finally, he located him, badly burnt, but shielded from the main heat of the fire by a low wall. ‘Donna,’ said Thor, ‘can you see him?’
Donna was stood by her Superceptor, looking at her monitor. ‘Yes,’ she said in her communicator. ‘I’ll go and get him.’
‘No,’ said Thor. ‘Wait for Little Bear and the rescue tractor.
‘He’ll be dead by then.’ And at that, she broke communication and took her fire suit from her equipment pod. Quickly donning the suit, she turned to the fire chief, giving instructions for the firefighters to direct their hoses at and in front of her. Then, suitably drenched, she began a sprint to the edge of the flames, keeping as low as possible and hoping that she had the strength to lift him.

As Donna True rushed headlong towards the inferno, Little Bear was coming in to land next to her Superceptor. Changing into his own fire suit en route, he immediately opened his rear doors and rushed into the cargo bay. Slowly the mighty engine of the rescue tractor burst into life and its caterpillars sent it jerkily down the ramp. And as he, too, headed for the flames, he gave Donna True a thankful wave as they passed each other.
‘Here, help me,’ she shouted as soon as the heat about her had dissipated.
The two nearest firefighters rushed to her and relieved her of Jake’s cumbersome weight.
‘Get him into the Workhorse, quick,’ she advised.
Leading the way, they entered by the side door and Donna had the injured man placed in a small compartment just behind the flight deck. Laying him on a cushioned table – what GAIA called the Medibed – she quickly stripped off her fire suit, pulled out all manner of extending arms and other paraphernalia and switched on a legion of monitors. Then, leaving the cabin, she sealed the door, followed by a hiss from inside. Meanwhile, back on the platform, Su Ling was ready in her VR Hospital.
Thrusting her hands into the rubber, arm length gloves, she approached the operating table – from the gloves extended dozens of wires, each connecting the gloves to the separate, but vital machinery now at her disposal. Pressing the master button by her table, a complete virtual reality image of the injured man appeared before her. From this point on, whatever she did to the hologram before her, the extended arms in the Workhorse cabin would do to the real Jake. And during the next ten minutes, from thousands of miles away, Su Ling brought the man back from near death, to a guarantee of a future life.

As the hastily repaired Jake was being rushed off in the ambulance following Su Ling’s work, Little Bear was approaching the centre of the inferno in the rescue tractor. Even with the shielding of the multi-layered tractor, he could feel the heat inside. Little Bear had no idea what hell was really like, but he imagined that, as the flames licked his vehicle outside, this was a pretty close approximation.
The sound was tremendous as he approached the fireproof shelter, hoping against hope that it had done its job and kept Oscar Parfitt alive.
The route to the shelter had been slow and hazardous. At one stage Little Bear had found himself blocked in by falling debris. Coming to a halt, he had fired his cannon to break up the debris, and then lowered the thick dozer blade to force himself through. And now he found himself next to the shelter. Grabbing a protective fire blanket, he placed himself in the tractor’s small airlock and seconds later felt the even more intense heat of outside. But his suit was designed to temporarily keep the greater part of the heat from his body. However, he had not taken account of the explosion which ripped apart a nearby building, or the shockwave that suddenly threw him off his feet.

Little Bear had no idea how long he laid on the ground by the shelter, the flames growing to a new intensity. Neither did he know whether he had been unconscious or not. But he did realize that suddenly his body was becoming very, very hot.
Checking his fire suit, it became evident that the blast had pierced the material, and second by second the integrity of the suit was going – which left Little Bear with the greatest dilemma a troubleshooter can face. With literally seconds before he would be burned to an almost certain death, he looked the ten feet to the tractor, which he could realistically make, and then the ten feet to the shelter which, if the rescue went ahead, he would certainly not survive. But Little Bear was more than a simple adept of technology.
Suddenly the flames began to fill his mind and a temporary darkness gave way to another world. Stood on a mountain peak, an eagle circled above, and he called to his animal guide, to bring him the spirit of fire.
Soon a luminous force seemed to hover above him, and Little Bear was thankful for its touch. And as the darkness came once more, and Little Bear moved from heaven to hell, the luminosity seemed to encompass him and become part of him. And Little Bear felt not the heat anymore and moved towards the shelter.
Soon he had forced the door, had checked his prey, had wrapped him in the blanket, and as the flames licked he walked out through the fire, to the tractor, and in no time at all, had left hell behind …

G.A.I.A

From A Natural History of Hallucination

A Natural History of Hallucination

WEREWOLVES

One – The Jaws of Death

The small town of Bedburg in Germany attracted a crowd of some 4,000 people one day in 1589. Fascinated, the crowd was there to witness the execution of local reclusive farmer Peter Stubb, better known as Stump. A pamphlet written at the time explained the nature of his heinous crime; for Stump was: ‘ … a most wicked Sorcerer, who in the likeness of a wolf, committed many murders, continuing this devilish practice 25 years, killing and devouring men, women and children.’
In addition to humans, Stump also had a liking for sheep and cattle. At his trial in Cologne he explained that his werewolfery had begun after making a pact with the Devil, who had given him a ‘girdle of wolf pelt.’ Eventually cornered by hunters with a pack of hounds, Stump stomped about on all fours and fought with superhuman strength until apprehended. However, rather than being a rare phenomenon, the Peter Stubbs of the world were rather common. Known as a werewolf, between 1520 and 1630 there were thousands of recorded cases in France alone.
A werewolf was said to be operating in Chalons, France, in 1598. The culprit was a tailor who would decoy children to his shop where he would abuse them before slitting their throats and jointing them. At twilight, he was said to turn into a wolf and would go into the woods where he would attack passers-by and slit the throats of children. The tailor was burned in Paris in December 1598. The events were said to be so gruesome that the court records were destroyed.
Also in 1598 was the case of the Gandillon Werewolves. In that year the French peasant girl, Perenette Gandillon, attacked a 4 year old girl and her brother. The girl survived and identified Perenette as the attacker. Enraged, the villagers ripped her to pieces. However, looking at the rest of the Gandillon family, her brother Pierre was accused of witchcraft, kidnapping children and turning into a werewolf. Pierre admitted the charges, made possible by an ointment the Devil had given him. Pierre’s children, Georges and Antoinette, also admitted being werewolves, and whilst in prison, they ran about their cells on all fours. Father and children were convicted, hanged and burned.
A famous case from the period was that of Jean Grenier, a 13 year old labourer’s son from Gascony, France in the early 17th century. He had long red hair, fierce eyes, large hands and protruding canine teeth. Often telling local girls that he was a werewolf, they were frightened by him, especially as several young girls had already disappeared. Then a girl was attacked by a beast that looked like a wolf but was not a wolf. Surviving, the villagers decided it must have been Jean. Placed on trial, he spoke of killing little girls after receiving an ointment from a black man he called Monsieur de la Forest. The president of the court thought Jean a mere imbecile, but he was nonetheless convicted to life imprisonment in a monastery, where he would run on all fours and eat raw offal before dying at the age of twenty.
What is going on in such cases? Traditionally said to be a shape-shifting human, the werewolf is thought to be a peculiarly European phenomenon. However, were-animals of some form or another populated the whole world. Throughout the world, the bestial element of humanity has expressed itself in the form of the most feared and ferocious animal of a particular geographical area. Hence, legends exist of everything from were-jaguars to were-bears. One region even had legends of were-crocodiles. As the wolf was Europe’s most savage beast, it was inevitable human bestiality would express itself in this creature’s form.
Renowned for their ferocity, bloodthirstiness, strength and cunning, one line of research argues that werewolves were not shape-changers at all. Rather, realising their murderous tendencies, people simply donned wolf skins, imitating early hunting ceremonies practiced by the shaman, who dressed in wolf skins to control the spirit of the wolf being hunted.
Other researchers followed a similar line, arguing that some people had sub-human urges and took to werewolfery as a means to allow such urges to express themselves. For in pretending to be an animal, human taboos could be side-lined, allowing them to become depraved. However, the subject can be seen to be much more complicated than this.

Two – Inner Beast

The werewolf tends to place researchers in two extreme schools of thought – those who believe they are a reality, and those who opt for the misidentification of extreme human behaviour. But between these two extremes are a variety of possible theories.
Many convicted werewolves were found to be mentally disturbed, suggesting mental illness to be involved in werewolfery. Known as lycanthropy, such deluded people actually thought they could change shape, thus releasing their bloodlust. Whilst another school of thought places a Freudian interpretation, arguing that such instability and delusion can first express itself in dreams, manifesting an archetypal symbol of sexual sadistic expectations.
Such behaviour can often be linked with aggression and power-urges. Exceptionally aggressive people can seem to change the shape of their face when at the height of aggressive behaviour, flexing facial muscles not normally used. British anthropologist Dr Robert Eisler even suggested a trace of lycanthropic behaviour in Adolf Hitler, whose headquarters was known as the Wolf’s Lair and who once, in a rage, went about on all fours, chewing the carpet.
As late as 1949, police in Rome were called to investigate a werewolf. This turned out to be a young man, stalking the streets on all-fours, clawing at the ground and howling. Later, in hospital, he spoke of often losing consciousness and waking to find himself in this condition on the streets, imbued with sadistic urges.
In 1975 a young carpenter from Eccleshall, Staffordshire, England, telephoned a friend and gave the impression he thought himself a werewolf. His hands and face were changing colour and he would growl. He eventually committed suicide by plunging a knife into his heart. Only later was he discovered he had begun to practice with the occult, thus giving form to his growing delusions and aggressions.
In July 1987 a 43 year old builder from Southend, Essex, had a mental blackout, during which he fought with eight policemen, holding his hands like claws and snarling. Later, in hospital, he spoke of previous ‘blackouts’ where people had told him he went about on all fours, and behaved like an animal.
Lycanthropy is, of course, an inadequate explanation as no one can explain what lycanthropy is. Rather, it seems to be a form of behaviour, as opposed to an explanation. However, this apparent ‘taking-over’ of the mind is often found in schizophrenia, where, for unknown reasons, the sufferer can suddenly become extremely violent and murderous. Similarly, although shunned today, the psychological phenomenon of Multiple Personality can shed light on lycanthropic tendencies.
Known as a fragmentation of the mind, the sufferer can seem to be taken over by other personalities. Typical was Christine Sizemore, a rather priggish born again Christian, who at times became a smoking, drinking, virile nymphomaniac. Sometimes sufferers exhibit extreme criminal tendencies. During 1979 Billy Milligan committed a series of rapes in Ohio. The offending personality turned out to be a 19 year old lesbian who craved affection.
The young American serial killer William Heirens claimed his murders were committed, not by him, but an alter ego called George Murman. It is therefore attractive to imagine a similar fragmentation of the personality taking on animal form, particularly at a time when lack of morality was against God. At such times, an alter ego would be more likely to turn bestial to shake off taboos; after all, in times past, ALL humans went to heaven or hell – it was a fundamental belief.

Three – The Devil’s Medicine

The werewolf can be seen to be very much a psychological phenomenon, turned into a mystery initially by lack of understanding at the time. And we can further this by pointing out that there is evidence, within the subject, of a seemingly modern problem also arising. This is the use of hallucinogenic drugs. Indeed, we have already seen, in previous anecdotes, cases where the ‘werewolf’ is given a salve or potion by a stranger.
Consider the case of Gilles Garnier, who killed and partially devoured several small children in 1573 close to Dole in France. One day a group of villagers chased off a ‘wolf’ that was savaging a child. However, they noticed strong facial features and similarities to the poor and reclusive Garnier. Later tried, he admitted that his poverty had driven him to make a pact with an evil spirit he had met in the forest. The spirit gave Garnier a salve to rub on his body changing him into a wolf.
Usually discounted as superstitious rubbish, such common testimonies at the time are suggestive of hallucinogenic experiences following drug abuse, where entities and demons are seen to this day. One common hallucinogen available at the time was bufotenin, which is present in some mushrooms and toads. Often used as an ointment, witches are thought to have used it to induce the sensation of flying.
Hallucinogens are adaptive to the mood of the abuser, so it is realistic to suggest that its use could heighten bloodthirsty urges. Indeed, the appearance of ‘characters’ giving such substances could even hint at the existence of a network of pushers in such times. However, there is also strong evidence to suggest that it wasn’t just the supposed werewolf who saw things suggestive of lycanthropic tendencies.
Take the case of Pierre Bourgot, a French shepherd from Poligny, and his fellow werewolf, Michel Verdung. Like Garnier, Bourgot became a werewolf after meeting an evil spirit, this time in the form of a black horseman. He and Verdung went on to commit a series of murders of women, one of whom met her death by Bourgot ripping out her throat with his teeth. However, one day Verdung leapt on a traveller who fought back, wounding him. Quite specific that it was a wolf that attacked him, the traveller followed the trail of blood from the wound and found Verdung, back in human form, being tended by his wife. Bourgot, Verdung and a third werewolf were executed in 1521.
How was it that a person could mistake a man for a wolf? Stronger medicine seems to be going on than simply that provided by a pusher. And that medicine could be culture itself.

Four – Culture of Expectation

In 1558 a gentleman watched a wolf attack a hunter near Auvergne in France. Chronicled by the demonologist Henri Boguet, the hunter fought it with his hands. Managing to cut off one of its paws, it fled. Showing the paw to the gentleman, he took it out of his pocket, whereupon it changed into a woman’s hand with a ring on its finger. The gentleman recognised it as that of his wife. Rushing home, he found his wife injured with a hand missing. Confessing to being a werewolf and going to witches sabbats, she was burned at the stake.
The sceptical answer to the above is that the gentleman found an easy way to separate from his wife at a time when divorce was not on the cards. But such action is not available unless there is an accepting culture behind the actions. Consider the Anspach Werewolf.
In 1685 a wolf terrorised Anspach in Germany, killing women, children and domestic animals. Soon the townspeople began to believe the wolf was their recently deceased burgomaster, a tyrant who they hated. Organising a great hunt, the wolf was spotted and killed. In celebration they dressed it up as the burgomaster with suit and wig and hung it from a gibbet. The carcass was placed in a museum as evidence of a werewolf.
We see here a culture of expectation concerning the wolf, and society was tuned to accept them, even placing humanity on a real wolf to ease their obvious grievances.
This strange werewolf case came from Merionethshire in Wales as late as the 1880s. Recorded by Montague Summers, his wife and a friend rented a cottage by the shore. One day they found the skull of what looked like a large dog on the beach. Taking it back, that night the wife sat alone in the cottage when she heard scratching at the door. Looking out, she saw a half animal, half human figure with horrible intelligent eyes. Associated with heavy breathing, she eventually passed out with shock, to be found by her husband. He and the friend sat up all night, and saw the creature themselves before it disappeared. The next day they threw the skull out to sea and the creature was never seen again.
There are hundreds of cases such as the above. In them, witnesses appear totally convinced that an actual wolf carried out the crimes, and those wolves are really people. How is this possible? One obvious answer is that in many cases it was an actual wolf responsible – Europe had many wolves at the time – but superstition led to the arrest of a local, but reclusive innocent who, to this day, would be treated with suspicion.
Alternatively, in a strictly Christian society, it was not believed that a pure human soul could commit atrocities. Hence, as with much other anomalous behaviour at the time, evil, supernatural forces were invoked to hide the fact that humans could do such things.
In this way, superstitious villagers could easily convince themselves that what they were actually seeing was a wolf. After all, to this day people mistake innocuous lights in the sky for flying saucers. Indeed, people from such superstitious times were well aware of how easily man could change from human to beast. Rampant at the time was rabies, and few country people would not have seen a human being miraculously change into a howling, gnashing and murderous beast.
For hundreds of years, werewolves stalked the lonely forests of Europe, building a cultural mythos of evil, supernatural entities. With such a mythology witnesses would undoubtedly see what they wanted to see. And it is quite clear that they did not want to see such barbarity in human form. Yet, in reality, devoid of the supernatural mythos, the majority of werewolves can be identified as poor, lonely and shunned individuals, eventually taking out their frustrations on the local population. In times past we called them werewolves. Today, we call them serial killers.
However, the Merionethshire Werewolf above can be seen as anomalous to this acceptance of werewolf as serial killer. Whilst the serial killer theory is valid, could it be that their on-going mythos as a wolf created a degree of expectation of a different kind, actually causing a form of hallucinated experience due to the cultural mythos? We must examine the possibility by moving on to another famed man-beast, the Vampire.

A Natural History of Hallucination

From I Detective

I Detective

NOVA

TO BEGIN AGAIN

I suppose it was one of those days – you know, the sort where you wish you’d stayed in bed. But then again, maybe not. Jenny, my wife, had come back. She’d left me for another man, but now she’d come back. And why? Because she wanted a kid.
Of course, she said it would save our marriage, but I saw through that. After all, I AM a detective. And there were giveaways, such as the other day when she phoned me at work, said, ‘I’m ovulating,’ and had me screw her in the car park.
DCI Groves invaded my thoughts, then.
‘DI Nova.’ I looked up. ‘We’ve got reports of trouble at St Michael’s church. Get over there.’
Me and Groves didn’t get on. I thought him a fat git. He thought me a skinny runt. But a working relationship was had nonetheless. I said, ‘yes guv,’ and left the office. Drove over in my car.
DC Sandy Powers was waiting outside for me.
I hated Sandy. She hadn’t been here long, but with long, dark hair, a beautiful face and incredible body, she did things to me.
I said: ‘What’s happening?’
‘Looks like someone’s gone berserk in the church, guv.’
Cop cars were beginning to arrive, S019 had been called, a cordon was being made. A group of parishioners huddled by the corner, some with blood on them, a medic or two treating them for shock.
From Sandy and the parishioners I got a simple story. A new guy to the church – Martin Saunders – had gone loopy, took out a knife, and knifed one of the parishioners to death. Saunders was still in there with the body and, of course, the knife.
‘Do you know what caused it?’ I asked.
Of course, none of them did. But I got a hint. They were all old – the youngest must be sixty – and Saunders was only thirty. And following a quick check with PNC, it was all there. He’d been a villain in the past – two stretches inside for robbery – and now he’d gone straight. Found religion – a Born Again Christian, they call them. But had not found a congregation open-minded enough to accept him.
I took off my jacket and put on a stab-vest. ‘I’m going in,’ I said.
Sandy Powers shook her head. ‘Is that a good idea, guv.’
‘Sandy,’ I said, ‘I’m DI Nova. All my ideas are reckless. Don’t you know that?’
She nodded her head this time. Bitch. Gorgeous bitch.
It was an old church. Inside it was dark and musty. I adjusted my eyes to the light and saw him by the altar. ‘Hi,’ I said, ‘my name’s Cass. What’s yours?’
He looked up, surprised, taking his eyes off the bloodied body on the floor. He held the knife awkwardly, as if he didn’t want it. He said, stumblingly: ‘Martin.’
‘It’s a bit of a mess, isn’t it Martin.’
We both looked at the body, then, and I thought, what a stupid thing to say.
I often did stupid things. Take last night. Ending up with Big Maggie again. I’d known Big Maggie for years, ever since I first booked her.
She was a Tom. But there was something about her I couldn’t resist – and I don’t mean her obvious attributes. Yes, we screwed – and she never charged. But she also listened to me. Understood me. I could never love Maggie. But she was important in my life.
I looked Martin straight in the eyes. Saw the mania in them.
‘Why did you do it, Martin?’ I asked.
He thought hard about it. Said: ‘Because …’
‘Because what?’
‘Because I’m Jesus Christ.’
So there we have it. This guy is going to no prison, that’s for sure. Several years in a maximum security hospital and a life of pills – more stable than religion, obviously. Apart from when they don’t take them and pretend to be someone else again.
Well, I ramble. So I said to Jesus: ‘You’ve got to put the knife down.’ And I knew he would do so. The frenzy was over, and Jesus had become a pacifist again. But as Sandy and a couple of uniforms moved forward to arrest him, I never expected that …
Infact, it prayed on my mind for the rest of the day – you know, the lengths some people will go to prove a point.
Like Jenny, that night. You see, she was ovulating again – and after the fourth time, I was shaking. And Martin Saunders was still in my mind, bent down by the body, saying – pleading – ‘Resurrect! For I am the Lord thy God.’

PHOTO-SHOOT

When life isn’t going right, you just have to moan, don’t you? You know you shouldn’t, but that little demon inside wants some sympathy. And I’d moaned to Big Maggie. Indeed, I seemed to spend more nights with Big Maggie than I did with Jenny, my wife.
We were hot and sweaty and Big Maggie was naked, and I said: ‘All she wants is a baby. That’s why she came back, I’m certain.’
‘Sure Cass.’
‘I reckon the guy she went off with couldn’t have kids. That’s it. And it’s not making love. I’m on a production line.’
‘I kinda know what that is,’ said Big Maggie. After all, she was a Tom.
In the end, she threw me out. Muttered something about my problems costing her money, me staying all night.
Selfish – that’s what she is. And I was still fuming when I got to the station and opened the envelope.
I went straight to see DCI Groves. ‘Look at this guv,’ I said.
Groves had a look. It was a photo of Jack Bradley, a known villain, pulling a recent robbery.
‘I think you’d better go and bring him in,’ said Groves. ‘It looks like someone’s doing our job for us.’
I took Sandy Powers with me. Drove over to Jack Bradley’s flat. I banged on the door. ‘Jack, open up, its DI Nova. We want a word.’
There was no answer, so I booted the door in. We checked the flat, but it was empty.
‘He’s even taken his clothes,’ said DC Sandy Powers as she closed the wardrobe.
She looked good in a bedroom. I so wished it was mine. Instead of Jenny.
Oh, Sandy, don’t you realise what you do to a hormonal male like me?
I said: ‘There’s nothing more to do now.’ I looked at my watch. Smiled. ‘How about a drink?’
Sandy shook her head. She’d obviously heard about me. ‘I don’t mix personal and professional, guv.’
I said: ‘There’s always a price. What’s yours?’
Sandy said: ‘Maybe if you save my life.’ But I could tell she liked me really.
Eventually, we made it back to the station, where – guess what? – another envelope had arrived. Pulling it open, I found a picture of Jack Bradley beating the hell out of someone. Turning it round, there was an address on the back.
Sandy looked over my shoulder. ‘Someone really doesn’t like Jack Bradley, do they?’
I had to agree, but there was a sneaking suspicion at the back of my mind that something wasn’t right. But a lead is a lead.
We drove over to the address, my mind racing, trying to figure out what I was missing.
Sandy disturbed my thoughts. Said: ‘And how’s Mrs Nova today?’
Okay Sandy, I thought, I get the message. No more chat up lines. I didn’t bother answering. This vision just came into my mind of the scene that drove me to Big Maggie’s.
‘You’re never in,’ Jenny had said.
‘I’m a copper,’ I had replied.
‘All night?’ she had retorted.
A lull. Then: ‘I don’t think you’re committed to this relationship.’
Which was rich. I said: ‘It was you who left me, remember.’
She placed her hands on hips. ‘Typical,’ she said, ‘you always have to bring that up, don’t you?’
Which was too much for me.
My mind returned to the problem in hand as we pulled up at the address we had been given. Sandy went round the back while I approached the front. Taking out my asp, I tried the door and found it open. Slowly, I walked in, hoping to surprise Jack Bradley. Which, of course, I did. But then he went and surprised me by pointing a gun at me.
‘Now come on, Jack,’ I said, ‘this isn’t your style.’
Jack said: ‘It is now. And anyway, Mr Nova, someone said you was coming to get me. And you’re not taking me in again.’
I began to sweat as I saw him put pressure on the trigger.
I wondered if I could get to him in time, but knew I couldn’t. Then, out the corner of the eye, I saw the creeping figure of Sandy.
Well, the rest was a bit sloppy. Sandy distracted him, I hit out with the asp, the gun fell to the floor, he got to it first, and was about to blow Sandy’s head off when I pounced.
Outside, Jack Bradley speeding off in a police van, I said: ‘Well Sandy, it looks like I just saved your life.’
Her eyes were vacant a moment – expressionless. Then she burst into laughter. And I didn’t need Big Maggie that night. And I never thought of Jenny once.
But my good mood disappeared the next morning when I got to work. I opened the envelope straight away. The picture made me reel. It was of Jack Bradley holding a gun.
DCI Groves said the unsaid: ‘It’s clear to me, DI Nova. You were set up. Someone wants you dead ….’

I Detective