Chapter 7 – Sliding Beneath the Surface

March 7, 2013

Sliding - blogThe St. Augustine Trilogy: Book I

Young adult, paranormal/historical




“No trick, really,” Carla said with this super serious face. When she spoke, her voice came out almost in a whisper.

Oh man, that did it. I mean Carla doesn’t lie, stretch the truth, or anything like that. “Remember when I told you about Lobo helping me to control my unconscious ability to move things without touching them?” she asked, her voice a little stronger

“Uh, sure.” I sat there looking at her in awe.

“You see, Lobo … well, has also been educating me so that I can now touch things with my conscious mind—to do so by thinking about it. An aluminum can is light and soft, so we use them in my training.”

“Do we have your full attention now?” Lobo asked, as I struggled to accept Carla’s explanation.

“Oh yeah,” I said, stressing each word in order to leave no doubt in the man’s mind. Even so, I still couldn’t get over Carla having such an amazing ability. As I wondered how she could do something like that, I put the crumpled aluminum on the coffee table in front of me.

“Good,” Lobo replied. “Now we can proceed.” After getting out of his chair, he grabbed the carved white ball sitting on the coffee table, and suddenly tossed it in my direction—underhanded and high in the air. Without thinking, I grabbed the thing as it came down with both hands, and was surprised it felt so light. When the ball hit my hands, there was a clicking sound.

“Have you ever seen anything like that?” Lobo asked after sitting back down.

“Yeah, I just remembered. There’s one like it at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum.” I held it in one hand and brushed my other hand over the intricate designs and holes carved into the surface. Gradually it became clear to me that the ridges under my fingers tips were actually dragons curling around the openings. “What’s it made of?”

“Mammoth ivory,” Carla replied. “Lobo has it shipped in and then he does carvings.”

“A piece of mammoth tusk?” I said in wonder, studying it even more intently. Inside all the holes cut out of the surface, I could see another, completely movable, but smaller ball. Carved into it were odd shaped stars and more holes leading to yet another ball farther down. Beyond that, another ball, and so on. All of the balls I could see or touch with my index finger moved. That’s why the thing was so light, it had been carved out on the inside, layer-by-layer.

“How many balls are in there all together?” Lobo asked, not answering my question.

“Um, looks like five or six maybe.”

“Not even close.” He reached into a drawer in the side of the coffee table, pulled out a slender, brass letter opener, and handed it to me. Feeling the thing in my hand made me think of the bayonet over in the display case, even though it was a different in color. “Use the sharp end as your probe to see how many you can find.”

“What’s this all about?” As beautifully intricate as the man’s ball was, I didn’t understand how it related to my dream, or much of anything else for that matter.

“Just do it,” he ordered, “and you’ll find out.”

“OK, OK, don’t get all bent out of shape.” I did as he asked until I had trouble putting the blade into the twelfth hole. That meant there were at least eleven balls inside the big one. I found it hard to believe Lobo or anybody could get tools in there so deep and do all that tiny carving. When I got ready to tell the man how many balls I found, something happened. It was so quick I was sure it had to be my imagination, but my whole body jerked. As I released the letter opener and left it sticking in the ball, I saw that both of my hands were shaking.

“Explain what you just experienced,” Lobo said.

“I … don’t … know. I’m not sure.”

“Don’t be so certain. Look at your hands again. Your body is telling you something. Give yourself a chance and then tell us what you can remember.”

My hands still shook, but not quite as much as before. As I stared at them, bits and pieces of memory floated into my brain. Slowly, I pieced together what I could of my experience and explained it to Lobo and Carla. “When I finished counting the balls … it was as if I sort of … well … dived into all those holes and into the central part of all the balls. At first, I thought it was interesting—seeing the edge of each ball’s holes as I flew by. But when I got to that last ball, it wasn’t … ivory. Instead, I entered a … thick … blackness. That’s it.” I shrugged, not understanding what my memory was telling me.

“Put the ball back on its stand,” the man directed, “and leave the opener sticking inside.”

When I did as he asked, Lobo got up from his chair, walked over to the display case where the bayonet hung and stared at it for a while. After a short pause, he turned around to face me, his eyes glittering.

“People call things like that one on my coffee table, Chinese Puzzle Balls,” he said. “Carla calls it my ‘Ball of Realities.’ I realize that doesn’t have a lot of meaning for you yet, but you had better hope it will, and soon. Think of all those separate yet connected spheres as the different levels of awareness and existence.”

My face must have shown that I had no idea what he was talking about, because he put one big hand palm outward in my direction as if he was asking me to forget my confusion for a minute.

“Get up, reach over and touch the surface of the ball one more time,” he asked.

I wasn’t sure I really wanted to, but after looking at Carla and seeing her nod, I did what Lobo wanted and sat back down.

“What you just touched is like the surface part of life everybody generally agrees upon—things like people, animals, stars, air, dirt and the wood we use in the construction of our homes.” As he said the word, “homes,” he slapped the mantelpiece over his fireplace loudly with the flat of his hand. Carla, Spock and I all jumped at the same time.

“The problem is, there’s more to it than that. Beneath the surface of life that most of us agree upon lies so much more. Carla showed this to you when she changed the molecular structure of your Coke can with her mind. Magic didn’t lift and smash the can, but Carla’s mental and spiritual connection to other worlds beyond our own did.

“Scientists see into some of these worlds as they probe into the very essence of the universe. People who believe in a spiritual world beyond this one connect with it through prayer and meditation. Most of all, people like the three of us, understand this because we experience it as you have here today, and as you did when you saw yourself after your accident. Your separation from your body, my ability to see into your mind, and Carla’s power to affect things at a distance are all examples of what lies beneath the surface of all our lives.”

The more the man talked, the more I felt like I was getting lost in some kind of weird Star Trek episode.

“My Ball of Realities there on the table, is a symbolic way to show there are unseen worlds-within-worlds-within-worlds. They are all around and even within us. The opener sticking through all those holes shows you how we as human beings connect to all those worlds even when we don’t consciously know it is happening. People like you, Carla and me happen to be able to perceive those connections more than most.”

“Wait. Wait just a freakin’ minute. What do you mean people like you, me and Carla? You keep saying that.”

“And you don’t listen, because you don’t want to accept the reality of who you are down deep. Moments ago you were sliding beneath the surface of many realities. A deeper portion of yourself showed you those multiple levels. Carla and I both have similar abilities.

“Unfortunately, the blackness you found at the end is the danger I sensed before. Make no mistake, your inner self gave you very clear evidence of what I’m saying. When your body jumped, it was the wordless realization of what you had discovered.”

I sort of understood what he meant, but it was too much to take in all at once, especially with that headache of mine. I definitely remember saying to myself I needed time to think it all over.

Right as that thought entered my mind though, Lobo looked at me hard and said, “You don’t have time to think it over.”

What he meant by that, I had no idea, but it certainly didn’t sound good. Before I could ask him about it, he turned his attention to Carla.

“Tell your friend here about my cat.” Without waiting for her to respond, he got up and walked out of the room again. The guy sure seemed to make a lot of rapid exits and entrances.

“OK, what about the cat?” I asked.

Carla didn’t answer right away. “I’m not sure how to tell you this,” she said, “but what you evidently saw was Lobo’s calico, Seloy.”

“I kinda got that figured out already.”

“Kinda is right. Seloy died over a year ago. She’s buried behind Lobo’s workshop.”


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© 2011 by Doug Dillon. All rights reserved.

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