Sacred Vow’s central character, Ian Sarin, is drawn into the world of a complete stranger with whom he is immediately familiar and unexplainably becomes aware of various other lives they are sharing even now. Much to Ian’s amazement, he finds out that the bond between him and this mysterious woman is a key element needed to heal a growing disintegration in the Collective Consciousness that makes up all reality. A compelling, thought-provoking book. –EarthStar Magazine
Installment 15 of 22 Sacred Vow (Dragon's Beard Publishing, ISBN: 978-0-9774271-4-7, paperback, Fiction: Visionary/Metaphysical).
On his drive back home Ian gave a lot of thought to Djalma’s description of the “doorway” to Katerina, and how it was opened. He was excited about the implications that he had subconsciously been constructing the proper combination for a long time. Ian wondered what other information might be harbored within his mind but just outside his present understanding? Had some part of him known all along about Katerina and the ties they had?
How little we know, he now thought, about our true motivations and the effects of even our simplest choices.
The items in Ian’s study now took on almost a sacred importance for him. Just to think that only that combination of items would allow him—and only him (since he was part of the required collective signature)—to experience Katerina’s world and allow her to experience his world made him extremely aware of everything in that room. Djalma’s speculation had validated something Ian had realized about himself for quite awhile; he sometimes felt compelled to acquire certain items for his home, and he was never quite sure why. If that compulsion had been leading him to create a collective signature, then that was very comforting.
Since childhood, Ian had been accused of giving inordinate importance to the selection of his personal belongings. Somehow he always knew that those who taunted him simply did not understand its importance, though he could not explain what “it” was. Secure in his perception of a calling to possess specific items, or to be involved with certain people, situations, or places, Ian had moved through life responding to his internal guide. Invariably, this was his path, despite his own conscious mind’s frequent discomfort due to its lack of understanding.
Ian could discern neither rhyme nor reason in the motivations to choose things—by now he had come to accept the urgings of his intuition. Most of the time he went about his business making choices in as whimsical a manner as anyone else—except those times when he felt a choice rise from his depths. Once he verified that the urge was genuinely intuitive, Ian did not question the choice further.
Those “must-have” possessions came from greatly varied sources: yard sales, antique stores, discount chains, exclusive art galleries, trash discarded on the curb, or just about anywhere else. Ian didn’t go looking for these “significant” pieces, but could not ignore his response to such an item once it was discovered. Much less often, there were items that elicited an equal demand of avoidance.
Over the years, Ian had frequently sought a logical rationale or discernable pattern for his choices, only to acquiesce eventually. Intuition alone seemed to make an item “wrong” or “right” for him. There were even times when Ian truly did not like the look of an acquired item, but early on realized he could not pass it up or get rid of it once it was identified.
The most challenging expression of this instinctual demand was the house that he had lived in for many years now. Prior to encountering it, Ian had never had any desire to live in a town on the coastline. One year, he was on vacation and saw that old gray saltbox. Abandoning what most would have considered good sense, complying with a vehement call from his inner guide, the next thing Ian knew, he had bought the house, carted all his worldly possessions there, and begun a new job nearby.
True, once Ian did acquire something, he had developed an inescapable ritual of moving the item from room to room, and place to place within a room. Ian would bring the article in and place it in the first possible location, usually closest to the door. Sometimes the new piece would stay in that initial spot for weeks, even if he found the placing to be very inconvenient. He was simply awaiting inspiration by the inevitable process that he knew would eventually take place.
Other times Ian had barely set the piece down before he felt compelled to move it again. Sometimes again and again. He bought a beautiful green vase of blown glass on a base of smooth, gray river stone, which he eventually had a strong urge to destroy just so he could be released from its obsessive, but indecisive, drive to find its proper “home.” For weeks Ian was obliged to move that vase to a new location just about every time he laid eyes on it—and he was grateful when it accepted a final location!
Usually, Ian would allow a piece to remain in its first location until he inadvertently picked it up as he walked by and deposited it elsewhere. There it would remain until the item “magically” found some place better suited for itself. After a time, Ian would realize that a particular possession had been in the same location for an extended period. A feeling of relief would come over him: knowing the item’s proper place had been found, and he was free from further obligation to it.
Once back in his driveway after his visit with Djalma, Ian sat in the car in his driveway and stared at his saltbox home, which he had once believed unexplainably atypical of his tastes.
“Thank you,” he said aloud, releasing a charge of gratitude for all those unexplainable intuitions that had attracted so much playful—and sometimes harsher—ridicule over the years.
Ian was sure that Djalma was right about what had caused the unpleasantness in the recent visits. The first tea after receiving the token was glorious—the completely flawless experience of joy that is the delirium of new love. When their visit began, Ian watched Katerina as she read a large book in her home. This was like being given back his early experience, except now he knew more of who she was and what he felt about their time together. Ian did not have the uneasy feelings that he had experienced with the first few trips. Djalma had given him back the beginning, but this time the journeys had—Katerina and he had—a history.
Katerina’s face had the same radiant beauty of months ago. Her smile was back, and her eyes were bright and clear.
Ian remembered what Djalma had asked him to do. But what had he meant when he said, “Find out why you and she are in contact”? This may not speak well of my mental health, Ian thought, but Djalma’s question makes as much sense as it would to tell young lovers to figure out why they are enamored.
Ian was thoroughly enjoying his life again, and especially time in his study. His friends made a point of expressing their relief that he was regaining a healthful appearance. To them, Ian credited the change to an herbal concoction, cooked up for him by a curious new friend in the mountains.
No longer was Ian drawn into another reality when outside his study. He regained the clarity of mind that he had been used to before the visits had become dark. He went back to enjoying his previous routines, going out with friends, and even enjoying his programming work. Now that he had Katerina back, Ian no longer felt a need to know how or why the visits were happening. Though it may have seemed insane to some to say so, he liked his life, as unorthodox as it was.
Ian’s only concern was he hadn’t been able to put to rest Djalma’s parting words. Ian wanted to forget them—he tried to forget them—but they persisted in his thoughts. Despite that, Ian gave most of his attention to the additional time he had been given with Katerina.
They were again seeing each other regularly. Their visits were as varied, yet as routine, as they had been early on. All their exchanges remained extrasensory and pantomimed. Ian continued to feel closer to Katerina after each visit. With each interaction, he felt even more satisfied within his own spirit. Then one day something a little strange happened.
Ian had always experience a momentary loss of awareness of the present when he visited Katerina. He would be looking at something, and then he would be seeing her. When the reality shift finished, he would find himself staring at an item within his room again, quite often the same thing as before the visit began. The shifts had always been instantaneous, except when things had gone dark, before the use of Djalma’s token. At that time, the returns to consciousness had been less distinct, leaving his mind cloudy and his emotions distressed.
Usually, Ian would start a pot of water. He would not wait for the kettle to whistle, but instead keep an eye on the heating water, while he put leaves in the strainer and generally tinkered around the kitchen. Once the hot water was in the teapot, he would set the timer for brewing time.
For some unknown reason, one night Ian took the teapot into the kitchen and before putting any water on the stove, he returned to the study, looking for something, but he could not remember what. Perhaps losing his sense of purpose, he sat down in his old recliner, per his normal ritual, but without that all-important teapot.
The next thing he knew, Ian was slowly returning to awareness from something he had to describe as a meditation. It was not abrupt like the returns from his usual tea visits, and yet he was much too conscious to have been asleep. He had a feeling of glorious warmth rising from his inner depths. As he became more alert, Ian realized he had been with Katerina. In all the months past, he had never been graced with a visit while the teapot was not in the room.
A feeling of joy flooded his spirit, as if he had just had the grandest good fortune. He was used to the good visits mostly passing in seconds. Tonight his watch said he had been elsewhere for almost two hours.
Sitting there, both confused and delighted, the memory of what had happened during the meditation pleasantly broke into Ian’s conscious mind. Once he saw the first pictures of recollection, the rest of the memory began to flow freely. The experience felt like a lived memory, something recalled from his own life, not a dream, a vision, or other indirect experience.
His elation became mixed with fear. Everything about this visit was very different from any other journey he had experienced. Katerina was different. She looked years younger. Her surroundings were not the house that he’d become used to seeing her in. Despite the changes, Ian had no doubt it was Katerina. It did not matter how her appearance might have changed. A visceral part of him recognized her spirit.
Katerina moved about, attending to her interests and concerns, in a parallel life, previously unknown to him. She cooked a meal, read a book for a while, and played a stringed instrument Ian was unfamiliar with. This all seemed to go on and on. And he heard her speak! He could hear everything going on in that world.
Ian thought the memory of her voice would make him pass out as he recalled it. He fought to stay conscious, because consciousness was his means for savoring this experience and he was not willing to lose one instant of that memory. From an objective perspective, Ian could not say that her voice was anything special. Except to him, who had so longed to hear that voice, her voice was like an angel’s song. He now sat with eyes closed, watching those images passing and listening to her voice. His entire body resonated to her vocal tones.
Ian did not move from his chair for the better part of the night. Never having been much on remembering more than morsels of the occasional dream, Ian was stunned at how much he remembered of this meditative reverie. He would have been glad to go over and over the same small sequence of memory that evening, but there was no need to. This one journey seemed to cover days of time spent in this Katerina’s life.
Another very definite difference was that this Katerina, without question, was speaking to someone other than himself, who stood exactly where Ian perceived himself to be. She called the person of her attention by another name. Though the name did not give Ian any indication of gender, it was obvious she was interacting with a male partner.
It was as if he was looking through the eyes of the male in her presence, as a spectator only. Ian remained a distinctly separate consciousness from this individual, but he was anchored to this world within the body of Katerina’s partner. Ian could not experience this man’s sense of touch, but could smell the aromas of this world. He was not privy to this man’s thoughts, but he felt a mysterious sense of unity with this individual, even more than that of merely sharing a body.
One benefit of being hosted in this unfamiliar place seemed to explain why he understood the words spoken by the couple—though he knew it was not a language he should understand. Unfortunately, he could not always comprehend the intention of the conversation. The couple referred to events and situations in their life and relationship that Ian did not have knowledge of.
Ian’s awareness seemed to expand long enough to allow him to watch several days of that life: those several days took place in only two hours that passed in his world, despite the implied temporal conflicts. This made it clearly apparent to Ian that he was experiencing a parallel life with Katerina, an alternate reality—one always before him, but not usually available to his primary world’s perception.
Katerina’s home was now situated in a lovely, open countryside. The surrounding flora and fauna were unfamiliar. Only the attire and the odd customs separated the occasional neighbor whom Katerina and her partner met from the people Ian had met in the countryside near Liz’s B&B. In both cases, they were all courteous and giving of themselves.
Ian did not know if it was because he was exhausted of because he had simply came to the end of his trance, but finally, there seemed nothing more to see. Whether he had eyes closed or eyes open, the scenes no longer flowed into his consciousness. The most Ian could do was to bring up repeat portions of his experience to savor as memories.
That meditative trance had had the intensity of the earlier visits. This experience was as real as the best of Ian’s experience in his everyday, waking world. He could have sworn he had experienced these few days firsthand.
Continued next week, One Who Knows
copyright 2006 CG Walters
C.G. Walters primarily writes fiction that focuses on the multidimensionality of our loves and our lives.
Autographed/signed copies of Sacred Vow are available from the author– or purchase as ebook or the Amazon Kindle version