Vibrations: Harmonic Magic Book 1, page 4
He had been so tired, he didn’t even remember lying down. Rubbing his eyes and trying still to focus them, he looked at his clock. 4:30 AM. He lay there motionless for a moment, until he jumped again as the sky lit up outside his window and the house shook from the thunder that followed almost immediately.
He lifted the blinds on the window and saw sheets of water falling in the dim light of the nearby streetlight. When lightning flashed and thunder roared again, he couldn’t help but to jump a little and shiver. He could feel the vibration of the thunder down to his bones
Vibration? I wonder. Could this be what I have been waiting for? Dressing quickly, he grabbed his water bottle and sipped it to wet his too-dry throat while walking, used the toilet, and headed to his meditation room.
In the hall, his cat Stoker meowed at him and looked at him quizzically.
“Hey, buddy. Is the thunder scaring you?”
The cat stared at him for a moment, narrowed his eyes until they were almost closed, and then headed for the back door. Once there, he meowed again, modulating his sound so that it sounded like a question.
“You want to go out? Now? There’s water falling from the sky, you know. You’re not going to like it out there.”
Looking at Sam, Stoker narrowed his eyes and slowly blinked at him again, repeating his questioning meow. He put one paw on the door—claws still in thankfully—and pushed impotently.
“Ok, but don’t blame me if you get soaking wet. Crazy cat.” He opened the door and the cat, after pausing to decide if his desire to go out was really appropriate, charged out into the yard. Being a cat, in a neighborhood where there were several other cats, the old tom would sometimes disappear for days at a time. Sam thought that maybe he spent time in other people’s houses, eating the other cats’ food. He was independent that way. He may end up wet, but he’d be fine.
Sam pushed his feline friend from his mind and went to the meditation room. He closed the door, absently rubbed the head of the little statue, and settled himself on the rug.
He settled into the loose cross-legged position he could hold for hours and began methodically relaxing his body, one part at a time, in preparation for quieting his mind. His rhythmic breathing, in through the nose, out through the mouth, relaxed him as he tried to clear his mind of all thought. After a few moments, even the spontaneous peals of thunder did not affect him. He felt like he was in a shell, buffered from the sound.
Within moments, the familiar light-headed feeling was there, the pitch black background present in Sam’s mind. As he peered deeper into the blackness, he felt the energy of the thunderstorm surrounding him. Though he was still buffered from the sound, he felt a spike in the energy just before the dull sound of the thunder registered each time. He wasn’t sure if it was possible, but the thought he may actually have been feeling the unbridled power of the lightning itself.
He delved more deeply into the blackness and cleared his mind even further, until an image gradually resolved in the blackness. It was hard to describe. Red, violet, yellow, and, intermittently, green spirals of light danced in the darkness. To him, they looked like the pictures and videos he’d seen of the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights. Mesmerized, he stared at them within his mind for several moments.
All at once, he picked out patterns in the lights, as if everything had snapped into focus. He could see the lights coruscating around each other, forming an intricate dance that was both beautiful and frightening. The lights appeared to be swirling around something he could not see, as if he was in the middle of a colorful sandstorm and just beyond sight, the sand was pelting a structure or some other object.
Sam mentally focused on the absence of light and a hole in the colors became clear. The space resembled a tunnel. The implications swirled in Sam’s mind, much like the colors were swirling in, well, his mind. A tunnel within colors made up from vibrations that originated externally, all in his mind’s eye. He wondered what it was and what it could mean.
A thought came into Sam’s mind suddenly and he decided to try something. In his mind, he strained to focus more precisely and then consciously flipped the colors to their negatives, like the old negatives from film photographs. The colors, muted and faded, now were swirling around a tunnel that looked like one of the huge concrete pipes Sam had seen the city install along the highway. At the end of the short tunnel, there was a dim light, reminding him of the way dawn looks on a cloudy morning.
He concentrated on his internal vibrations, trying to match how the tunnel felt to him, changing his own vibrations as he did when he traveled to the other place the first time. He felt a oneness with the tunnel. As he became more and more in synch with it, he felt his body relax further. With a final sharp breath taken by his physical body, he mentally dove into the tunnel.
Once, Sam had ridden on a ride at an amusement park that made him feel the same way he was feeling now. The ride was simple: the riders would stand with their backs against a wall and, as the circular room spun faster and faster, the floor would drop down several feet. Because of centrifugal force, each person would be pinned to the wall. One time, just to see what would happen, Sam had put both hands behind his head and lifted it away from the wall. With his eyes closed, Sam pulled his head out and faced the floor. When he opened his eyes, the world spun crazily and Sam was barely able to keep from vomiting all over the other kids on the ride. That was how he felt now.
Entering the tunnel, it seemed as if the entire universe spun, sending him cartwheeling head over heels until he had no idea which way was up and which was down. The feeling seemed to last for several minutes, though it was probably only seconds.
When everything settled into place, Sam was sitting in his meditation room, just as he was when he started. He paused, with his eyes still closed, breathing and trying to allow his stomach to settle. When he felt he could, he opened his eyes. Everything looked just as it should, yet it felt different somehow. Things were just slightly off. He couldn’t explain the difference. He recognized it as the feeling he had before, when he went to the other world. Sam jumped to his feet and ran to the front door.
When he opened the door, his eyes widened and a smile crept slowly across his face. There, staring back at him, was the same dense forest as before, deep green and beautiful in the morning light. The little clearing was just as he remembered, as were the tips of the mountains poking up above the trees. Diffuse sunlight filtered through the wisps of mist that floated just above the ground.
He had done it! He actually came back to this other world, this other dimension. Standing there, looking at the trees with a self-satisfied grin on his face, he congratulated himself on a job well done.
Sam looked around at his surroundings for several minutes, eyes aflame with interest and the smile still painted on his face. Then, with a deep sigh, he experienced what many do when their goals have been achieved: a realization that he didn’t know what to do next.
His expression faltered and then changed to a more neutral one. His lips compressed and his brows drew down slightly. He was at a loss about what to do.
An idea struck him and he raced back into his house, returning scant moments later carrying his camera. Soon, the click of the shutter filled the quiet forest air as he took dozens of pictures of his house with the thick forest in the background. This time, he would have proof of his journey.
When he had taken all the pictures he needed, and then some, he sat on his front porch, trying to figure out what he would do. Maybe exploring the area would be good. He wondered if there were wild animals around. Or people. Were there people in this world at all? All he’d seen on his first visit was the creature he met, the one he named Skitter. Would he see Skitter again?
He sat with his back leaning on the on the wall of his house, contemplating what he would do. A logical, scientific approach would be best. He had to be careful and methodical. When dealing with unknowns, as he was here, one must proceed with caution. He decided i
Forty minutes later, after trying repeatedly to return home, he developed a tight feeling in his stomach, thinking maybe he had made a big mistake. It had taken him almost two months to get back to this world after his first visit. What if it took him longer to get back home? What if he could never get back home? His heart raced and he began to feel overwhelmed.
What he needed was some cold water on his face and to relax so he didn’t panic. He went to the bathroom sink and turned on the faucet. Nothing. Of course. The water pipes aren’t connected to anything here. Trying the light switch, knowing already what he’d find, he confirmed that, of course, the same was true for electricity. Any food he had in the refrigerator would soon go bad. If he took months to get back home, he would starve to death long before he was able to return.
The butterflies in his stomach were working overtime. He shook his head to clear it and stepped outside for some fresh air. After taking two deep breaths, he sat down on the front porch. He needed to explore the surrounding area to see if there was a source of food or some sign of civilization. Perhaps there were people here who could help him.
While mentally planning what he would do, he sensed something near. He wasn’t sure what the feeling was, but he was sure something was close to him, something alive and moving. His hand shook slightly, he noticed, as he waited and willed himself to be invisible. The palms of his hands felt clammy and his breathing came in quick, ragged breaths, much too loudly. There, ahead of him and to the right, there was rustling in the underbrush.
His mind suddenly filled with images, making him jump. The images were of a small furry figure sleeping at his feet. His sigh seemed a scream in the quiet forest.
“Skitter?!” he called, realizing afterward that he probably needed to use the communication method he used when he was here before. Projecting an image of himself petting his furry friend, he was glad to see the unique rolling gate of the bulbous, furry body coming toward him. At least I’m not completely alone.
Large green luminous eyes looked up at him and Skitter chittered unintelligibly while sending pictures of Sam’s house disappearing the last time he was here. Right on top of those images, Sam saw the moon cycling in the sky. Without really knowing how, he realized that Skitter was telling him that more than a year had passed since he was here before. As impossible as it seemed, Sam did not doubt the images.
“Skitter, my friend,” Sam said while sending images of himself stuck on a rock out in the middle of a vast ocean, “I’m stuck here. I don’t know what to do.” He followed up by sending a picture he imagined of other people gathered around him, leaning in and reaching out their hands to help him. “I need help.”
Skitter looked at him questioningly, twitching his whiskers and chirping softly. An image of some crumbling walls filled Sam’s mind. Sam understood that it was a question, somehow. Skitter was asking him if finding another structure, like his house, would help.
With a nod, Sam mentally answered his furry companion. “Yes,” he said, while projecting an image of himself smiling and nodding, not realizing until after he did so that the image was the same as the way he looked right at that moment. “I think that would be a start. Let me get some things and you can show me where those walls are.”
Skitter chuckled to himself. The communication from this Sam was so crude! That last bit, where Sam sent images to Skitter of himself smiling and nodding, while he was actually smiling and nodding, was hilarious. He would really have to work with this creature. Without Skitter, he would probably fall into a hole or be eaten by a pantor. It was like watching one of the young ones, one who could not even eat solid food yet.
The Citizen watched with interest as Sam went back into his dwelling, sending feelings of calmness and happiness that he would have a guide, along with gratitude toward Skitter. Skitter curled up in the soft grass, content to wait for the man.
Curious, Skitter tried to further communicate with Sam even though he was no longer in sight. He was easily able to communicate a question about what the man was doing. When Sam dropped the items in his hand because of his surprise at the communication, Skitter laughed again.
You…me…communicate…walls…can’t see. The man’s message came through in disjointed, broken images. Still, mostly because of Skitter’s vast intelligence, he understood what the man was trying to say.
Of course I can talk to you at distance and through “walls,” he answered. Can’t creatures like you do that?
The man did not understand. He was hopeless. Sighing, Skitter tried again. I…talk…you…more far. This, accompanied with images of the two walking away from each other.
Sam’s surprise was evident. Really? he sent.
Truly, Skitter responded and began making his way out toward the edge of the clearing. Searching Sam’s mind for the correct concept, he sent, 50…100 feet…can send.
Understanding the creature’s measurements—of course, why would he not—Skitter gracefully glided out to about 75 feet away from the house. Hear me…you? Sam answered in the affirmative.
Going further, to about 100 feet, Skitter sent: Now? Again the affirmative. Sam had stopped whatever task he had been performing to pay attention to the Citizen.
You…tell…when can…still…hear. Skitter sent, sending images of Sam keeping a continuous flow of affirmations toward Skitter. With that, Skitter continued moving, past the end of the clearing and into the underbrush of the forest. All the while, Sam kept sending: Still…hear…me? over and over again. Skitter kept sending, Yes.
Surprisingly, Skitter got to a little over 150 feet away before he started losing some of Sam’s sendings. Stepping back into range, he sent to Sam his feelings of surprise and happiness. Even for Citizens who were closely connected, such as near relatives, the furthest they could communicate was barely 100 feet. He and Sam could communicate at 150 feet. That was remarkable.
By the time Skitter had walked back to the dwelling, Sam was ready and had come out. He was wearing what looked like a rock on his back, a “backpack,” and he had some rigid object attached to his side. Searching Sam’s memories, he identified it as a “knife.” Apparently, it was for protection. Interesting. Skitter knew that the most intelligent creatures hid or ran from predators. Combat with them was a good way to become a meal.
Sam sent to Skitter, Hungry? Eat…good, and unwrapped something and held it toward Skitter. As he sniffed the half unwrapped item, Sam broke off a small piece and put it in his mouth. Granola bar, he sent. Skitter nibbled the end of the object and enjoyed the taste. Taking the “bar” from Sam’s hand, he greedily munched down half of it before realizing he was being rude.
You…want…some? he sent.
Shaking his head and grunting in his barbaric language, Sam sent: No…thank…you. Have…more…in…house.
Skitter took the wrapper from Sam and carefully rewrapped the granola bar to later share with others in his community. It would make him very popular.
Skitter started walking into the forest, sending that Sam should follow. The strange structures in the images he sent Sam were not near, but not too far away, either. He had only been that far one time, when he was an adolescent and keen to explore other areas. That was before he settled down and became reasonable, respectable, and wise.
Skitter had not seen much in his life beyond his own community of Citizens. In fact, most Citizens did not travel much beyond their own safe area. There were rumors that other communities existed, but Skitter did not know any other Citizen who had ever seen or communicated with another community. In the—what was the unit of time in Sam’s language?—forty-eight years that he had lived, Skitter had only seen other Citizens in his community, pantor, rakkeben (both of which tried to eat his kind and so were avoided at all costs) and the sole example of Sam’s species, Sa
He often wondered what other marvels were out in the world, but being reasonable, respectable, and of course, tremendously wise, he did not try searching for any of these mysteries. If he was meant to see amazing things, those amazing things would come to him. Which started him thinking. Sam had come to him. Was that a coincidence? Did it mean something? He didn’t know.
He traveled easily through the underbrush, so he often had to stop and wait for Sam to catch up. The man was much too big and uncoordinated to travel in the forest like this. Sending encouragement often, he secretly felt sorry for the simpleton. Well, not all creatures could be Citizens. There had to be cretins to balance things out. Still, he was fond of Sam. In fact, he might make a good “pet,” a term taken right from Sam’s mind, though to Skitter the whole concept sounded akin to slavery. Perhaps he didn’t understand the concept well enough.
All along the journey, Skitter attempted to communicate with Sam. He believed even more strongly now that with practice, Sam could learn to communicate like an adolescent Citizen, albeit a dim-witted one. One mustn’t expect too much or over-exaggerate the abilities of inferior species, after all. Within two “hours,” communication was slightly better, with Skitter learning more about how to use “words” and with Sam learning more about using real communication: images, emotions, and other sensory mechanisms.
Finally reaching the strange structures, “ruins” as Sam referred to them, Skitter stopped and lay down in the cool grass, waiting to see what Sam would do. He sent to him, simply, This…is…place. As he scratched his ear, his eyes locked on Sam and watched with interest.
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