Greetings From My Side of the Veil
Charlie C Cole
Hello, mysterious unseen world beyond the veil! I’ve heard much about you over the centuries, but never thought of actually making contact. If you’re reading this, then it was more than worth the rather desperate gesture of severing my little toes, and other personal losses, to make contact.
Let me explain. My name is M-hak-m. I am a humble guardian on a small island of one, one-plus-a-fraction if you consider the formerly sentient fertilizer used for topsoil in the backyard, said with deepest respect for the great power that gives my life purpose.
You see, more than 2 millennia ago an ancient ego-centric demi-god whose name I can neither pronounce nor spell, in a lopsided battle for supremacy with several members of the power-hungry upstart generation, was once splattered here, blasted into eternal pseudo-death. Gods, being personified engines of creation, tiny fragments of the old guard linger still, life-generating god particles, if you will, making the soil supernaturally fertile.
In a concession that makes sense only to status-minded, throne-dwelling immortals, I was commanded to honor the fallen titan for all time, to keep the sanctity of his death-scene protected from the outside world, and to hastily alert the remaining “highest powers” by placing a lit torch in the stone tower at the top of the hill if he ever shows signs of wholly reconstituting.
My wee isle is not like most islands, I’m sure. There are no expansive beaches or tropical weather or tourist attractions. And it’s carefully hidden from mortal eyes. In truth, it’s more like a floating prison than a paradise, where I am the warden, guard, gardener and chef. And the only prisoner, so far as I’ve been assured, sleeps endlessly unaware, every day, by design.
Whenever I feel unbearably alone and in need of someone to pass the time with, as happens every year or so, I simply cut off a small replaceable piece of me, like a toe, and bury it in the primitive shrine/garden out yonder. In time, my toe grows back. (Thank the gods!) And in more time, a whole new human can be seen sprouting in the garden like an exotic gourd. Works every time, for a while at least, but alas the new “me” rarely appreciates the classic miracle of waking up naked and groveling in the dirt.
Eventually, after a few weeks or even mere days of oppressive isolation, my perplexed and panicky guests are seemingly compelled to get away. They are braver than I am, because they have not seen what I have seen as to the guaranteed demise of their likeminded predecessors. They are rebellious, self-defeating and fractionally patient.
For the price of staying put, we have the blessing of uninterrupted peace and a very, very long life. If we attempt to escape, however, to swim away, any of us, we literally cease to exist. Oh, they seem to manage a deceptive eighty feet or so. Then there’s an exciting fizzle in the water about them, some groaning and a momentary look of keen awareness and profound regret, and then silence.
Then I am alone again, until the next clumsy effort.
I try to talk them out of leaving, believe me, but they are overwhelmed by my stories of mighty non-terrestrial gods, involuntary lifelong commitment, and a bloody garden of filthy clones. They are, to their own lethal detriment, doomed anti-authoritarian figures. Perhaps if they were made up of a larger proportion of me and a smaller quantity of raw sprinkled aggression…
How do I know so much of your world, you may wonder? The stone tower is an ideal listening post, designed with these amazing things that look a great deal like your telescopes, I think, but instead of amplifying images, they amplify sounds. I’ve listened a lot over the centuries, even to your chummy radio and bawdy television broadcasts, even internet streaming. Have you ever felt like someone was eavesdropping outside your door when you were otherwise alone? It could have been me.
I know extensively of your culture and traditions, from my distant perch. But, just once, I wanted to let the outside world know of my hidden existence and its basic truths, and the huge responsibility we have in common. I’m painfully aware many of you don’t believe in the old temperamental gods of thunder and rain and fire, and so I wanted to warn you, for your own good.
When it comes to maintaining temples and using hushed and humble tones around sacred groves, a little respect goes a long way in “their” eyes. With so much of the world to police, The Heavenly Authorities might ignore you for a generation or two if they like what they see or hear. As for disrespect, on the other hand, a minutia of insult that could easily hide in the shadow of a dust mite will doom you and all of your loved ones to instant smithereens.
Take my word for it, dear reader, play it safe. Ignore impetuous and omnipotent Others at your peril.
They don’t come around often, but when they do, be polite, sit up, tuck your shirts in and spit your gum out. Don’t try to deceive them. Don’t stage-manage your sincerity. Don’t play one against another for childish amusement. They will quarrel. They may even battle. But, in the end, they will always side with the celestial family, warts and all.
You are the expendable laborers who keep the world green and the animals fed. Fail that, and they will replace you with someone else, someone who knows to follow instructions blindly and appreciates existence, holding no grudge over an occasional plague or famine or war.
Good luck to you, mortal cousins. In some sense, I truly believe that to be forewarned is to be adequately forearmed. You have been thus warned. Perhaps I’ll toss another bottle in a decade or two.
Now I must get back to diligently watching over my little garden patch, while you watch over yours.