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SPIRITUAL RESCUE 101

By Neil Davies

PREFACE

When my mother was dying of bowel cancer I tried everything I knew as a disciple of the occult to save her. This included many of the methods you'll read about here in this novel – spells, rituals, Reiki and travelling out of the body or OB.

Disease is not what we think, not what science tells us. It begins as a psychic attack then manifests in the body and yes some illnesses are sentient thought forms as outlined here.

This is a controversial view but I make no apology for presenting it. The time has come for devotees of the magickal arts to speak out; we have held our tongues far too long.

I will not apologize for my criticism of the NHS either, which is ghastly in the extreme and runs more like a factory floor than a centre for human healing where compassion and wisdom should be at the forefront not waiting lists, egos and accountants.

Some of you will find what is written here unpalatable even unbelievable but it is a story that must be told for it changed my life forever and blew open neural pathways in my brain that initiated me into a higher understanding.

I did my best to save mum but in the end learned that it was me who needed saving. This is as much my journey as hers.

March 25th

Mum has her operation today, an exploratory to see what's gone wrong. Her belly is swollen as though she's pregnant but it's a growth not a foetus a malign invader surrounded by water. She hasn't eaten or drunk anything for days and diarrhoea gushes from her every ten minutes as if her body is squeezing its insides out ejecting every particle of matter.

Our GP called it a blockage of the bowel but offered no help beyond pills so in desperation I called an ambulance and got her admitted on my own. My god why are doctors so utterly useless?

I wish I could do something to help her but feel so powerless and impotent; nothing I've done has made any difference. I rang Betty a medium and healer who has helped me before, she is very gifted and I need her advice. She has said she will give mum distance healing and has had a lot of success with cancer.

It is from her that I have learned a powerful technique and I intend to use it today, as I cannot be physically present during the operation I shall attend in another way. Maybe I will learn something vital that can help mum, I hope so as I owe her everything, she gave me life and I want to save hers. God knows what will become of me if she dies. No mustn't think like that, she won't die she can't.

How is it possible for her to have this disease why did it strike? She eats healthy food, gets plenty of sun and fresh air, walks everywhere, keeps busy and we live in a gorgeous semi-rural area close to nature. It doesn't make any sense and it certainly isn't fair as she is the best person I have ever known and I'm not just saying this because I'm her son.

First they told me it was ovarian cancer, now the thinking is it's in the bowel. The truth is these doctors have no real idea and they aren't doing anything constructive. Mum has been in hospital now since the 8th and all they've done is hook her up to an IV and given her useless anti-diarrhoea drugs.

The nurses are okay but they're just young girls and to them mum is just a number, they call her Marion not Mrs Davies and it seems disrespectful to me, they haven't earned the right to be so familiar.

Mum has been ill since late February when her belly swelled up alarmingly, soon after that the shit began pouring out of her gallons of the stuff liquid and dark like an oil spill. It got so bad I couldn't cope and rang 999 and what a good job I did or she'd have perished of dehydration.

I'm keeping this journal to hopefully chart her recovery, she will go into remission she will come home I have to keep believing this and visualising it. Betty told me to be positive and I'm trying I really am but it's so hard when you're scared all day long.

I've never experienced serious illness before and never cancer, dear God I never thought my mum would get it for one minute. She gave up smoking 25 years ago, her and Auntie Eileen made a mutual pact and just quit hurling their fags into a bin it was most impressive sheer will power.

I need her to use that will power now to fight for her life but she seems resigned, like she's given up I can't seem to inspire her to try.

2pm

I left my body with ease it's just a matter of total relaxation and I learned that in yoga, you relax every muscle group and nerve and just ease yourself out like a snake shedding its skin only faster. I make it sound simple; of course it isn't in reality as there is the fear-barrier to overcome. This had held me back for a long time but with determination and experience I'd overcome it in the end.

I pictured the huge hospital which was bigger than most towns and was there in a second hovering over mum in the operating theatre shocked to see her lying there so vulnerable and exposed surrounded by doctors and nurses. I was aware of everything that was being said and even thought by the medical team as in astral form you can read minds. I could read mum's mind and it was full of despair, well why wouldn't it be?

As well as her physical body I could see this complex web of light in and around her a pulsing latticework of energy structures like a grid and in the grid where these dark patches like stains as if the web of light had been punctured or infected.

"Right let's get started," said the man in charge hovering over mum's swollen belly with a scalpel, I winced as this split her flesh and blood flowed, looking away briefly as mum was opened up this thick plume of vile black mist rushed up from her body like dirty industrial smog to hover a few feet away like a storm cloud. It was linked by a coarse black rope to an ugly pulsing mass in her belly, a monstrous swollen spider with roots instead of legs that pierced and penetrated the tissue of her abdomen; there were dozens of them all cancerous tendrils.

The thing was breathing, moving, it had awareness it was sentient. I had never thought of cancer as intelligent but this thing clearly was I could feel the power of its will its determination to survive at the cost of my mother's life.

I could sense its thoughts and pretty nasty they were to. I hadn't expected such a formidable opponent, some parasitic alien organism but there it sat over mum's colon gripping onto her like she was a mere possession.

The fog was also alive in some way and it expanded, spreading across the operating theatre to reach every corner it even seemed to be flowing into the auras of the doctors and nurses drawing on their mental energy; mum's to like a vast leech or maybe a vampire.

"This is bad," the head doctor was shaking his head, "The growth is so advanced I don't think we'll be able to do much," these words cut me to the quick how could they be giving up so easily? No I wanted to shout you've got to try, don't you realise who this woman is how important her life. Damn these medics for being so pessimistic. If it was someone they loved they wouldn't just shrug their collective shoulders.

"What do you want to do sir," asked another doctor?

"We can drain the fluid but I don't see what else can be achieved; poor woman."

In a pulse of light Betty appeared beside me taller in astral form and with strawberry blond curls and aquamarine robes, a veteran of OB travel and my mentor when she saw the fog she let out a gasp of horror, "Oh my god," she shrieked, "This is one hell of a monster."

Hardly needing her to tell me that I yelled, "How did it get inside my mum," I couldn't understand how such a wonderful soul could attract such a vile obscenity?

One arm raised Betty directed a beam of white light at the fog a narrow laser beam that cleaved it in half splitting it right down the middle and its outer periphery begin to shrink and contract the whole mass thinning.

"Well done Betty," I enthused glad something positive was happening at last.

"This is just the opening salvo there's a long way to go yet," she replied.

"The doctors are useless," I raged, "They've given up."

But Betty remained calm, "Their minds are limited by their training, they're doing the best they can Neil."

Precious little it was to, "If you say so Betty," my tone was truculent, "It's a good job you're here."

"Not just me," she said with a twinkle in her eye.

Around us flashing lights and winking spirals could be seen spiritual beings had arrived a flotilla of them flooding into the grim room from all directions, I couldn't see them properly to me they were just orbs and columns but sensed the power of their minds Betty said they were advanced spirits and angels that she worked with all the time an elite team. Soon the fog was thinning out more driven back by this new infusion of energy and the sewer-like stink had eased off to.

"What about the tumour," I asked seeing the spider grow agitated, its tendrils reaching deeper into mum as it thrashed and twitched sensing danger, "It's getting bigger and spreading and it knows we're here."

"Yes its aware of us all right a powerful and clever enemy," the medium agreed.

"But beatable," I was fishing at this point grasping at straws?

"Let's see shall we," said my friend nodding to her ghostly friends before continuing.

She next directed several beams into the creature a blue one and a golden one, it thrashed about wildly screaming curses at us like some hooligan or psychopath it was evil I realised, something vile and insane.

"He's a tough one," said Betty, "I'll call on the others to help," more beams shot into the cancer from different directions in the room as the others joined in a mix of white, silver, gold and green shafts of light like lasers causing the monster to thrash around twisting and contorting fighting hard to survive.

"It's getting smaller," I said sure I was right; some of the tendrils had broken off and dissolved, "You're cutting it out."

But the mood of the doctors remained sombre I could feel their negativity, they thought mum was a lost cause that the cancer was too advanced and was spreading that nothing could be done. I wished I could argue with them and try to persuade them differently but I was more concerned about the psychic duel taking place around me as more beams struck the creature, it reminded me now of an alien from that film.

"What can I do Betty," I cried?

"Move closer, speak to your mother," she said so I lowered myself closer to mum's head trying not to look at the cancer but aware it was studying me so I said softly,

"Mum it's me Neil," then with more gusto, "Come on mum you can beat this you're stronger than any disease and you're not alone now, I'm here and so are many other spirits."

There was no reply from mum at all yet surely she could hear me, the growth hissed in my direction spitting and snapping at me, it had jaws a definite mouth this wide C shaped slit full of tiny needle sharp fangs.

"You're going to get better mum you are, you're being healed by angels and masters."

To my amazement a tall muscular man with a fierce expression and wild glittering eyes appeared between Betty and myself, he had dark reddish skin and six white feathers in his long black hair, he had war paint on both cheeks marking him out as an American Indian. I had no idea what tribe he belonged to but he radiated a strong warrior spirit.

Lifting a bone handled tomahawk in his right fist he brought it down on the growth several times with powerful chopping blows that made a squelching sound and sliced several wet chunks off the thing. The violence shocked me and I hoped mum was going to be unharmed by these blows.

Pausing the Indian regarded me his features stern, "Disease tough," said his mind as his lips didn't move, "Will take more than one healing," he looked up at Betty telling her to use more blue light a thicker beam.

When hit by this the cancer screamed in fury and pain uttering a piercing almost human shriek, twisting even more its dark flesh bubbled and smoked but it hung in there defiantly resisting the pain not willing to just give up.

Much as I hated the thing I had to admire its strength and determination, despite the laser bombardment it was holding on and refusing to yield an inch it clearly viewed my mother as its personal property.

"Still alive Betty," I called up then the Indian moved alongside me offering his weapon.

"Here you try," he said offering me the tomahawk; the thing was huge and heavy carved into its bone handle were these symbols a mix of animals such as the fox, snake and eagle plus astrological signs.

Hoisting the thing high I hesitated hoping this wouldn't hurt mum in any way, then as the vile reptilian eye of the tumour fixed on me I brought the axe head down with a snarl almost cleaving the cancer in half.

Split down the middle it gushed this hideous yellow pus into the air, the stuff was thick and seemed to go everywhere. Odd though it seems now I cheered but my joy was short lived.

The tumour began to instantly repair itself knitting together before my eyes and resuming its former distended shape. This time my cry was one of despair.

"It's indestructible," I said.

"Deeply ingrained," the Indian agreed.

"But we must get it out somehow."

Betty hovered closer, "I don't know what else we can do," she looked very worried.

"Is there anyone else we can ask to help; your friend Harry Edwards?"

Betty said he was already here directing the campaign, "Is there anything more you can do," I asked the medium who to my surprise leaned over mum's open belly lowered both hands and physically touched the tumour.

My guts tightened with revulsion, what the hell was she doing how could she bear to touch it?

Still twitching and turning the monster looked up with its single sickly eye, was that contempt I saw glowing there a loathsome disdain?

"Leave this host body," Betty muttered softly talking to the mass like it was a person, "Leave this woman now I command you."

To my utter amazement and disbelief it responded it spoke back to her in a hoarse, squeaky rather rasping voice like a phone pervert or a serial killer.

"I will not," it said and my eyes bulged.

"You will," Betty insisted.

"No I won't," the monster retorted and I saw its tendrils its roots extend back into mum like the roots of some hideous weed.

"It's regrowing," I gasped feeling quite deflated; yes I can see that Betty's expression was ironic. Her hands began to glow from the wrists downwards the light travelling from her fingers and into the tumour which uttered a piercing shriek.

It was hurt again and if it could be hurt it could be beaten surely; the roots began to contract and withdraw, "Well done Betty."

"He's fighting me, resisting."

Next the Indian put his fingers on the growth and the big soft balloon-like mass quivered as if cold, the veins on its inky surface bursting and running bleeding a kind of darkness that evaporated almost at once.

"Close her up," said the head doctor with a weary sigh, "There's nothing more we can do."

Maybe but there was something I could do and I added my fingers to the mix placing them above Betty and the Indian, dear god I felt instantly sick and nauseous positively ill the experience was horrible and unlike anything I'd ever known.

The tumour was totally toxic it seemed to exude negative energy in waves and my head filled with negative emotions guilt, anger, jealousy, resentment and various shades of these and others. I had to let go, "God that was awful," I tumbled away amazed Betty and the apache could take it.

As mum was stitched up the spirits kept going as their astral hands could pass through physical matter Betty said, "It's weakening."

Her companion nodded, "Yes a little but we aren't going to destroy it today."

"Why is it so strong," I asked and why couldn't we destroy it today, but neither gave me an answer maybe they didn't know, "We have to get that thing out of mum somehow its evil I know it is."

"We will love," Betty reassured me, "It's just going to take a bit longer than we thought."

The Indian was nodding sagely, "The battle will continue," he told me without smiling.

March 26th

The dream was incredibly vivid too real to be a mere dream, mum and I stood on this long silver bridge, behind us the landscape was drab and washed out sort of grey with few features but ahead it was luminous and vivid the trees, bushes and lawns brighter than any I'd ever seen, below gushed a frothing river wide and deep.

Her belly not remotely swollen mum looked healthy and young she was smiling her eyes sparkling with life. Letting go of my hand she kissed me on the cheek and I knew it was a goodbye gesture.

Then she turned and walked on to the far side of the bridge leaving me where I was I couldn't follow; I wanted to but found myself unable to move a step. When I called to her she just gave a wan smile and raised a single arm then the bridge beneath my feet was gone it just dissolved and I plunged downwards out of control.

I woke up with a cry my whole body trembling and damp. I was deeply unsettled by what I'd seen because the symbology wasn't lost on me. Mum had been saying goodbye and leaving me behind; something I could not accept.

I shuddered, wiping sweat from my face feeling lost and defeated.

I decided to exit my body and visit mum at hospital this was swift once my physical shell was left behind in the bed.

Mum lay in a small room looking small, thin and old a dried out husk. Her bump had gone temporarily drained by the op but it would return. Over her I could see these globes of light they were hand sized and each a different colour.

They were spirits probably healers or guides, I assumed Betty had sent them it was the kind of thing she would do as she could talk to spirit all the time.

On the far side of the room lurking away from the globes was the dark cloud of fog smaller than in the operating theatre but more concentrated if anything darker than before as if renewed; I felt it was marshalling its power.

"Say a prayer," said a voice I didn't know.

"Which one," I asked?

"Anything from the heart," so I hovered there calling on God, Jesus and the angels to help mum in any way they could. Gradually arrows of pink light entered her solar plexus and she began to glow the same colour.

The dark fog narrowed to a funnel and exited the room driven away at least temporarily, yet it was a victory of sorts a step forwards.

Then Betty appeared beside me in her long diaphanous robes, she always wore robes on the astral shot through with bright spiritual colours, "You've done well Neil, come on now you need to rest and we have to talk about what's to be done next. The op has weakened your mum's lower 3 chakras and opened a rift in her etheric shell; my guides tell me there is much to do."

Reluctantly I returned to my body and dressed quickly, when I sat in the lounge I sensed Betty was with me mentally, I could see her face overlapping the TV like she was remote projecting one of her many skills.

I felt upset that we hadn't won the battle yesterday but she said in a comforting voice that the disease had lost ground, there was still hope and we couldn't give up.

"Why isn't mum fighting harder putting up more resistance?"

"She's weak and very ill she's doing the best she can but the cancer is sucking her life force it's a vampire."

"How did she get cancer in the first place when she lived such a healthy lifestyle?"

The medium sighed, "When you touched the mass what did you feel?"

Horrible, sick, lost a welter of negative feelings, "Guilt, resentment, angry and other things."

Betty nodded, "These emotions if dwelled on long enough make people ill and cancer feeds off the worst of them."

"Are you saying mum was riddled with negative feelings and beliefs?"

"You know her better than me," Betty shrugged.

"No I can't accept that mum wasn't an angry or bitter person she wasn't negative."

"Are you sure," the psychic asked?

"Even if she was, how does that help us now, how do we defeat this cancer?"

Instead of replying she began to teach me some of her healing methods these all involved expanding my mind energy with visualisation seeing a cone of light expanding from my skull, she also attuned me to 'angel energy' a stream of healing vibration you can only use if a master places it in your aura.

The attunement involved her making passes over my body and drawing secret symbols, great looping spirals that caused heat and static to enter my chest and belly.

I felt my despondency lift as power flooded through my nerves and cells making me stronger and more optimistic.

"How do you feel now," she asked?

"Much better that angel stuff is very potent."

"Only 8 people on earth are attuned to it so you belong to a very exclusive club."

I wished I'd trained with Betty before this crisis, if I had I'd have been more use to mum maybe she wouldn't have become ill at all.

"I had this dream last night," and I described it, "What do you think it means?"

Breaking eye contact she became evasive, "It means whatever you want it to mean," she replied but I wasn't satisfied I felt sure she knew the answer.

"Is she going to die Betty; be honest with me," I demanded?

March 27th

It was the same dream mum and I stood on this long glowing ethereal bridge that spanned a frothing lake. It was longer than before and not quite so solid as if made of concentrated light, ahead the landscape was beautiful so lush and verdant the colours unlike anything I'd seen before; everything lit up from within every tree, root and stem a sparkling light source.

This time I clutched mum's hand tighter not willing to let her go, I had to hang on to keep her with me but somehow my grip failed and the bridge vanished beneath me. Down I went screaming and kicking, my arms circling the air uselessly as I plunged headlong into the cool frothing water, going beneath for a moment then surfacing to cough and retch.

Strong hands pulled me out of the torrent and I found myself on an embankment fighting for air, taking great rasping gulps. Stood over me was a grey haired, grey suited man in a red tie and brown brogues it was the consultant Mr Bickerton, a chunky avuncular guy in his early sixties, smart but conservative and with an air of resignation to him. There was no sign of mum.

"There's nothing to be done," he said sadly and I woke up shouting in defiance, refusing to accept his words.

1pm

She looked so thin and pale completely washed out like she'd aged 30 years overnight. She'd always looked so young for her age, everyone commented on this how slim and healthy she seemed the way she walked for miles and how smooth her skin was.

Not anymore the cancer had stolen it all robbing mum of every trace of vitality and youth, even her optimism had gone so instead of chatter I gave healing using the hand positions and visualising the healing colours; blue for strength, green for will power, pink for regeneration and white for spirit.

Mum seemed to perk up afterwards although my healing earned some funny looks off the nurses. Ceris is shy but supportive, Jo is cool and a bit brusque maybe it's how she copes, my favourite is blond pregnant Amanda a believer in healing so I showed her the hand positions.

Both hands on the head, head and chest, chest and belly, both on belly, holding the ankles we did them together and I think they helped mum a lot.

Fewer craps today only 7 it was 17 yesterday and mum also ate some toast, grapes and a tiny amount of ice cream. I took her two newspapers and a magazine plus a book on positive thinking.

I didn't know it but I was about to meet someone who would play a pivotal role in my life from that point onwards.

A new face turned up pretty and efficient looking with a warm generous smile, she was a junior doctor called Kim Blake. Slim and shapely with long dark curls and glasses she was sexy in a brainy sort of way with an open trusting face; I instantly liked her as she radiated more humanity than the others. She laughed at the book but said it was a good idea and she believed in positive thinking.

Then it was down to business, "The op showed a huge tumour in the bowel and colon that is spreading, it's an aggressive form of cancer and we may have caught it too late."

The news was a hammer blow I cannot explain in mere words how I felt, it was like all the stuffing was knocked right out of me and I sat down heavily.

Sympathy poured from Kim, "I'm sorry it's not better news but I thought you'd appreciate the truth."

"Can you remove it?"

"Maybe we'll have to see what Dr Flynn says, she's the expert in these matters."

"When can we see her," soon I hoped?

"Tomorrow most likely," said Kim, "Are you okay?"

"No not really this is terrible, the worst kind of news I feel devastated."

Coming over she did something no other doctor had, she put her arm around me and gave a squeeze. It was such a warm and human gesture that it touched me deeply.

"Yes I know it's at times like these that I feel so helpless myself and I'm a doctor but we can't perform miracles."

Hopefully I can me and my army of invisible helpers but I didn't want to scare Kim off by saying this she'd think I was a lunatic, that said she had a warm understanding nature quite different from most medics, I felt we could be friends and had no idea how prophetic this thought would be what we would share.

"I saw you touching your mother may I ask what you were doing?"

"Giving her some Reiki healing," I said without elaborating; most doctors were very cynical about the topic but again Kim impressed me by saying.

"I think that's lovely, I wish more patients' families would try that."

"Do you believe in healing," I asked frankly astonished?

"I'm willing to accept that there is more than science currently knows."

"Careful you'll get fired," I was only half-joking.

"I feel I can be open and honest with you Neil; I'd never say that to my bosses I am after all only a junior."

"You have more compassion than all the so-called experts here put together," I said with feeling and her cheeks pinked over.

"Thank you," she said.

"I find them a cold rather unfeeling bunch, I know its professional detachment but sometimes a little kindness would help."

Kim sighed, "It's how we're trained we see symptoms and conditions not people."

"Yes well hang onto your humanity as long as you can," I urged. Picking up the positive thinking book she began to read some of it as though interested.

"This is quite good; do you think our attitudes and beliefs affect our lives?"

I wanted to believe that and I wanted to convince mum about it, "Well I've seen what negative thinking does," I replied with feeling.

Kim smiled, "Yes patients who fight seem to last longer and recover quicker, I've noticed that."

"Do you know Kim this is the longest conversation with a doctor I've had in my life; certainly since mum was admitted, I really appreciate you taking the time to chat."

She said it was a pleasure then she added something rather odd, I mean odd for a medic, "You know Neil death isn't the end."

Blinking at her in surprise I was lost for words, my astral journeys had proved to me that we can exist without a body or even a brain but I'd never heard someone like Kim say this, it was something Betty might come out with.

Cheeks darkening Blake got up, "That's my pager I'd better go, hope to see you again," she said hurriedly, "Bye Marion," she said to mum who just nodded back weakly.

"She's nice," voice dry and rasping mum watched Kim go then turned to me and I thought yes she is.

"Different," I conceded, "I like her."

Mum was knowing, "She likes you to," good grief was mum insinuating some kind of romance between me and Kim Blake, it seemed unlikely she was much younger and a talented professional with a career not a failed writer?

"She seems to care," I said, "Not like the others," I took out a packet of Kiora orange with a straw I wanted mum to drink something to hydrate herself she was so dry.

March 28th

I dreamt of dad something I hadn't done in ages, he'd passed away 19 years ago of heart failure it was quick and shocking and I found his body. Dressed smartly in a suit and tie he looked like the bank manager he'd been in life only slightly younger with a glow of health.

Stood some distance away he was observing me closely and silently, I called to him but he didn't respond yet I felt he could hear me. Where were we, details were scant somewhere flat and grey with a cloudy sky.

As I moved towards dad he faded, shaking his head slowly and I felt an ache of loss.

"Neil wake up," Betty's London vowels blew me back to consciousness she was hovering close by in astral form or rather her head was just the head, oddly I wasn't frightened, "You must go and see your mother," she said.

"In astral form," I asked but Betty told me I needed to be physically there. For serious cancer patients there were no visiting hours, next of kin could pop in any time.

"What's wrong," I got up and began to dress, "Is she okay," silly question of course she wasn't she was terminally ill?

"Just hurry," said Betty and I wished I could but no journey is fast on a bus (I didn't drive then).

A nurse I didn't know led me to a side room where mum had been parked off the ward, a small dingy place I detested at once. Mum was sleeping but looked no worse however it was the things crawling on the floor and flying in the air that shocked me.

Unable to see them the nurse fussed around checking the IV whilst I stared in horror at the monstrous creatures, hideous things like huge hairy spiders three times the size of most tarantulas, vast cat-sized beetles and terrifying red-eyed bats flying overhead or hanging from the ceiling making these awful screeches.

The malign looking things where all over crawling, scuttling and squirming it was an invasion there were so many dozens I estimated.

"Dear god Betty," I said with my mind.

"Stay calm we can clear them," she insisted.

"How there are too many."

"Join your mental energy to mine and beam the room with light," I pictured a bright white laser beam panning left to right and burning away the vermin who rapidly began to dissolve.

"How did they get here; what are they?"

"That's not important we must purify this room and set up barriers to protect your mother."

"Is this the cancer," how could a mere growth manifest bugs and bats, "It's more than a simple disease isn't it Betty?"

"That should be obvious by now," she told me muttering a prayer as she floated around the bed unseen by the nurse a ghostly granny.

Slowly, gradually the monster bugs vanished one by one. As soon as they were touched by light they winked out of existence. I focused on the spiders and beetles whilst Betty dealt with the bats, pretty soon we've dispatched all of them and I was more than relieved.

Mum's eyes flicked open and focused on me, we said a greeting to each other and my heart almost broke, "How is she," I asked the nurse?

She looked at me sheepishly as if reluctant to respond, something I found common in the NHS, "The diarrhoea is back," she said, there had been 22 craps in the night.

"Can't you stop it, it's wearing her out?"

The look was desperate and regretful they were doing all they could, "Is Dr Flynn available," I asked?

"I don't know you mean the chemo expert, she isn't here every day."

Why the hell not I wanted to scream she bloody well should be, "Would chemo help my mum?"

The nurse shrugged not willing to commit to an opinion, something else that was common; where people were not encouraged to have views.

When the nurse had gone I went over to mum with a hug and kiss then we chatted or rather I did as mum didn't talk much now maybe it required too much of her strength.

"Mrs Lewis is coming today," Joan Lewis was one of our neighbours the only one who actually visited mum from the village where she'd lived for 30 years. None of the others bothered so I won't name them here but Joan deserves a special mention she was a true friend.

Mum's gaze kept drifting away from me and I realised she was looking in the direction of Betty; could she see the disembodied medium I tested the waters, "What is it mum?"

Frowning she followed Betty with her eyes and turning Betty smiled, "Hello love," she said in her cockney accent and mum reacted she smiled back. "I'm Betty a friend of your son he asked me to help so here I am," gravitating closer Betty came up alongside me, "We're giving you healing me and some others."

I sensed someone else in the room a male spirit, I couldn't see him clearly it was just an impression of a well built man with sandy hair his eyes radiating compassion.

"This is Harry," said Betty, "On earth he was a famous healer and he still is."

Harry moved over a square jawed man of about fifty with a pleasant lined face, he looked vaguely familiar but where had I seen him?

"Hello love," he said to mum in a west country accent, "You just lie still and let us do all the work," energy filled the little room I felt this amazing wave of power beyond anything I'd ever known it almost knocked me off my feet.

"Wow," I said to no one in particular and mum's colour improved at once her eyes clearing and gaunt face filling out a little, Betty had called in another big gun I realised this Harry guy was something special.

"Mum this is Harry Edwards," I told her wondering if she'd know who this was, "A very famous healer."

Clearly she could see and hear him which surprised me as she hadn't been psychic before her illness, or had she?

Harry said, "You can leave me and your mother alone for a bit," he told me genially, "There's someone waiting for you in reception."

"Back in a mo mum," I said wondering who it could be, "Look after her Harry."

"I will lad," he smiled.

Joy of joys Kim was at the reception desk filling out a form, I can't tell you what a lift it was to see her again. Looking up she smiled and blushed when she saw me which I hoped was a good sign, "Hi," I said, "Are you busy?"

Putting the clipboard down she came over to me watched by a couple of nurses, one nudging the other but I ignored them.

"Any news," I asked Kim as we moved out of earshot?

"Your mum's white cell count is through the roof and she's losing 6 litres of fluid a day, even with IV we can't replace it fast enough."

"Is there no way to stop the diarrhoea?"

Kim looked dubious, "We're trying everything but stage 4 cancer just devastates the metabolism."

"What about chemo or radiation," I pressed?

"I'll ask Dr Flynn but I think your mother is too weak for chemo."

So in other words there was nothing medical science could do it was down to healing energy to spirits like Harry, "I feel so useless," I confessed, "I should be helping her."

"You are," Kim replied, "You're here all the time more than most relatives, you're offering moral support."

"She's getting thinner and weaker, she looks like a skeleton."

Eyes troubled Kim nodded, "It's what the disease does and your mum came to us very late."

Mum had never liked making a fuss or visiting doctors, she belonged to a generation who kept everything to themselves.

"I think the cancer began a long time ago Kim, 18 years ago she had this rodent ulcer on her forehead it was treated with deep x-ray."

"Really, that isn't in her notes."

"It was soon after we lost dad; can't emotional trauma trigger disease?"

Glancing away for a moment she seemed to compose herself as if debating how to reply to this then biting her lip she said, "As a doctor I probably shouldn't say this but I believe the mind and emotions do affect the body, it isn't a popular view in the profession and I'd get told off by my boss for saying it."

"Closed minded are they," this was my impression of the doctors met so far?

"Science doesn't recognise the power of thought," she confessed.

"Well I do things like visualisation and affirmations are very effective."

"I agree with you to a point but I'm not sure they'll be of much help here, your mother is seriously ill Neil her vitals are all dropping off the scale."

"She's doomed, is that what you're saying?" I couldn't accept that I couldn't just give up not on the most important person in my life she deserved better.

"There's always a chance," Kim conceded but I wasn't sure how much she believed it.

"Any chance of mum coming home," I asked?

"Once she's stable I'm sure Bickerton will agree."

Bickerton; I could see him a few feet away staring at us his gaze fixed and cool, his disapproval only too obvious. I touched Kim on the arm but she'd already noticed the consultant, "I'd better go," she whispered and I didn't try to stop her; no point her getting into trouble with the top man.

March 29th

Cold, freezing cold all over as though I'd spent the night in a fridge, teeth chattering I summoned this warm pink light and mentally bathed myself in it from head to toes, gradually the chill lifted but it had been a nasty experience and there was a rank taste in my mouth.

Betty appeared through the TV bleeding through it in her energy body, something that would have freaked me out at one time but I was getting used to spectral visions and Betty was a friend.

"We need to perform a special rite now," she said all business.

"How did Harry get on with mum," I asked assuming he'd made a report to her?

Glancing away for a moment the medium drew a circle on the carpet with something that looked remarkably like a crystal wand, "He can't heal her."

I was crushed by this news it was the last thing I needed to hear, "Does that mean she can't be healed, that this is all futile?"

"If I believed that I wouldn't be here," Betty responded but I could see she was troubled her bubbly optimism was somewhat lacking, turning to the compass points she summoned arch angels drawing a pentagram over each with her wand.

"Magic," I remarked having looked into systems like the kabala in the past, this reminded me of the 'lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram' something I'd studied in a book?

"Rituals have power," Betty assured.

"Is that what we need more power," I wondered how much we could call upon? She told me to get some photos of mum and place them at points around the circle so I got some of mum when she was younger and happier. She looked radiant in many of them and again I wondered how someone so healthy could be struck down by this dread disease?

Handing me a card with words on Betty told me to recite the prayer over each photo in turn while she busied herself making gestures in the air and talking to the arch angels. Little of it made sense to me but having my mind occupied helped.

My spine grew hot and there was a ball of heat in my stomach, assuming this was normal I kept going. Soon just beyond the circle misty faces took form just eyes at first but gradually other features became visible, most of the ghostly visitors were unknown to me all except one my father.

He was the clearest of the lot and his expression was grave, his eyes flashing a message I wasn't sure I wanted to hear. Then these vertical shafts of light shot down from above bars of golden energy and each bar struck a photo lifting it slightly into the air and giving it a luminous 3D appearance even the black and white ones.

"Betty, look at this," I cried.

"It's perfectly normal," she said meaning normal in the context of what we were doing ceremonial magic in the middle of my home. I wondered if the photos would be damaged but it was too late for that now, dad edged closer and I could see more of him his chest, right arm and the buttons on his jacket.

He said something to me but I couldn't pick it up then to my amazement mum appeared behind him in astral form like she'd left her ailing body. Healthy and unswollen, glittering and vibrant she was smiling and holding dad by the hand.

I called to her and she looked at me happy and healthy, her weight normal with no hint of the gaunt mask was this a good sign did it mean we were winning; I hoped so?

At the hospital an hour later I sat beside the gaunt sick disease ridden mum pouring healing light into her chakras, she said she felt better and had eaten something but looking at her it was hard to believe.

A shadow fell over us and looking up I tensed it was Bickerton, "May I have a word," he enquired drawing up a chair, "We're considering letting your mother go home, she seems stronger and more stable."

Not to me she didn't she was a withered desiccated husk the news was progress of a sort and I felt that once out of hospital and in a more supportive environment things might change, "Thank you," I told Bickerton who leaned in closer to say.

"May I have a word in private," he looked serious now even sombre and my guts tightened in anticipation?

"Sure, back in a sec mum," I followed the grey haired man to a corner where his mood grew heavier.

"I see you've established a rapport with our Dr Blake, you need to know I don't approve of such things of staff having emotional links with outsiders, it's vital to remain detached in our line of work; brain over heart," his smile was mirthless and threatening.

"We've just had a few conversations nothing more; she's about the only doc who'll talk to me."

I didn't like his tone his oppressive manner or the dark glint in his eyes, some people repel you and this man had repelled me from the off.

"She is a junior member of staff and still on probation; her views are therefore uninformed and speculative. She is a young woman and they can be highly impressionable."

"That's a bit patronising isn't it, she's just offering some kindness and my mother does have a terminal condition?"

If anything the eyes darkened along with his mood, he clearly didn't like me or doctors who had opinions of their own, "I am going to reassign Dr Blake to another ward I just thought you needed to know, it's called rotation."

I could think of something else to call it but bit my tongue, "Is that it," I asked and Bickerton nodded that he was through. Returning to mum angry and pissed off I took a few breaths but she could see I was rattled and quizzed me on it.

"I don't like that guy, there's just something about him a lack of basic humanity," I felt it was more but didn't say so as I didn't want to upset her. Bickerton struck me as a deep dark personality and a bit of a bully, I hoped Kim wasn't in any trouble.

"How did you get on with Harry Edwards," I asked received a puzzled, blank expression.

"Who," said Mum?

"Heavy set, sandy hair, west country accent," I reminded.

"I don't know who you mean, is he a friend of ours?"

I was amazed, "The healer you know he came to see you yesterday."

"Do you mean a doctor," said mum and it was clear she had no idea who I was talking about. How could she have forgotten him so quickly or had he removed the memory from her mind for some reason, I chose not to push it.

Instead I tried to get mum to eat something and asked for the thousandth time if she'd like to go to the day room; I had no success with either ambition and it was difficult to contain my frustration and sense of futility. This wasn't a fight I could win on my own; mum had to do something.

"Hey," the voice made me jump; I was on my way out and near the stairwell. Turning I was pleasantly surprised to see Kim Blake hurrying over, I hadn't expected to see her again but she clearly intended to see me and pushing me into the stairwell she walked down with me.

"Your boss has just warned me off talking to you," I said it clearly wasn't news.

"Forget him how is your mother," Kim asked slightly out of breath?

"Not good, she won't eat a thing and I think her memory is fogging over."

Kim said, "I'll see if I can get her to drink some crystalline water."

"What's that," I'd never heard of it?

"Ordinary distilled water with tiny crystals in it, don't worry they're quite harmless and they dissolve in the body. It's a way of rehydrating her."

At that stage I was keen to try anything, "Sounds good to me when can we try it?"

Kim said, "For obvious reasons I can't come onto the ward so I'll get one of the nurses to administer it tomorrow; what time are you in?"

"Around 2pm," I said as I usually came in the afternoon.

"Fine I'll get the nurse to bring the water at about 2.30, make sure your mum drinks the whole glass."

"But she just gags when anything goes near her mouth; I think her body's shutting down."

"The battle isn't lost yet Neil; trust me on this."

As nobody else in this place was doing anything positive I told Kim I'd do my best to get mum to drink the water, if nothing else it would flush her kidneys out, "I appreciate this Kim, sometimes I think you're the only ally I've got here the nurses just seem to ignore mum I think they've given up."

Not commenting on this she asked, "How's the healing coming along?"

I was still doing it, contact healing with my hands and distant healing from home using photos of mum as a focus, the younger and happier the photos the better to generate a more positive vibe.

"I wish I was a better healer," I said.

"At least you're trying; maybe it gets easier with experience."

"Is Bickerton making life difficult for you, has he made threats?"

She shrugged it off saying it was nothing she couldn't handle, then we were at an exit and both looking around for the consultant or one of his lackeys Kim said, "I'd better scoot."

"Can't be seen with the enemy," I joked but instead of smiling she squeezed my shoulder in a way I really liked.

"Don't give up," she told me earnestly, "Whatever happens it's vital you keep going and keep believing."

Not sure I understood what she meant I nodded, feeling a bit down when she'd gone as she gave me a much needed boost.

March 30th

Voices I could hear them calling to me shouting something but the words were indistinct they echoed and splintered across the synapses of my brain, I knew they were important but couldn't bring them with me back to conscious awareness and so awoke frustrated.

Mail from Betty a set of symbol cards with directions on how to use them. There are 9 symbols in total a circle with a cross inside, a circle with a triangle inside, a square divided into 4 quarters, a star, a wave, a sort of TV aerial, an X, a single human eye and a large letter Y with a wavy tail.

I am to get mum to use them with me, just how I'm to do this remains a mystery perhaps it will become clear later.

She was so thin and gaunt today wasted and emaciated, diminished. Was this really the woman who walked to Rhyl and back, marched along the prom, yomped for miles picking blackberries, cut trees, pulled weeds, climbed on top of our garage and swung from branches? It hardly seemed credible; they were surely two entirely different women.

I read a few lines from the positive thinking book which was full of new age can-do ideas then took out the 9 cards telling her they had healing energy in them, letting her finger each one in turn, "Do you sense anything," I asked hopefully?

Mum looked at me blankly, papery skin drawn tightly over cheek and jaw bones, "A woman called Betty sent them to me, she says they have a special power."

Not seeming to be impressed mum handed the cards back. Holding them in my palms I infused them with my own energy and beamed this at her. I was doing this when a new nurse brought mum the crystalline water in a glass saying she had to drink it a sip at a time.

Smiling at me secretly the young girl left with a waft of perfume and I held the glass for mum to drink from, "This is from that nice Dr Blake," I said as her lips quivered uncertainly.

Would she drink it could she, a small sip was taken (no gag), mum swallowed, another sip (still no gag), mum sighed and leaned back enough for now.

"Well done," I said genuinely excited as it felt like a major triumph, "You need more water in your system to keep things ticking over."

There was an odd smell in the room that I'd only just noticed a stale, decaying, rotting bouquet, "Would you like a window open, it's so hot in here," I struggled with the catch, "Why is it like a green house in hospitals?"

Mum sipped more water, slowly but she did it and with each swallow my morale improved she wasn't bringing any of it back. I chatted about life outside people, events, TV anything really otherwise it would have been totally silent.

Then mum broke in to say, "I had this vivid dream," throat less dry she was able to speak above a whisper.

"Oh really what was it about," I encouraged?

"I floated out of here, up the corridor and down the stairs going right out of the hospital."

This was so unusual that my hand shook slightly as mum went on, "There was this bright light and in it where these people - I knew some of them - my mum and dad, aunt Aggie even Cliff was there and they were calling to me."

Cold all over I put the glass down before I dropped it, "Really that's amazing."

"They waved and called to me," she said, "Come and join us they kept saying, all of them were smiling and happy."

Not liking this one little bit I stood up, "What happened then," I said not really wanting to know?

"That was the odd thing as I flew towards them something tugged me back it was like a rope or chain and when I looked back you were holding the other end of it," mum sighed, "Then I woke up."

"Amazing sounds like a vivid dream."

"It felt so real more real than any normal dream," mum told me.

"All the people you saw they're dead," I remarked.

"Yes I know that but they seemed so alive and so happy, they shone with this energy I felt drawn to them."

Eyes downcast I picked up the glass again hoping to get her to drink some more, suddenly I didn't want to talk anymore or to discuss the dream or think about what it meant because deep down I sensed I knew.

Making the excuse of needing the loo I stepped outside to compose myself and my surprise Kim found me, "Is she drinking the water," was the first thing she asked me?

I nodded, "Thanks for doing that she seems stronger and more lucid already," I chose not to mention the dream.

"We're hoping to send Marion home early next week."

"Is she strong enough, what about the diarrhoea?"

Kim said this was slowing down, "She's so thin and so weak," would I be able to cope at home on my own?

"We can organise Macmillan nurses to come in and set up a commode."

"Yes I suppose you can," I said distantly.

"Are you okay; I thought you'd be pleased?"

I was and I wasn't, "I've just got this bad feeling Kim this sense of doom."

"Think positively, isn't that what you're always telling your mum," she threw back at me but positive thinking seemed all rather trite in the face of harsh reality, cancer doesn't give a damn what you think.

"Yes you're right of course," I summoned a smile for Kim's benefit, me looking like a wet weekend wouldn't help the situation, "Shouldn't you make yourself scarce what if Mr B finds you here?"

"Oh he's not in today, some kind of meeting but I will have to dodge his spies."

I frowned, "spies," I repeated?

"Staff he gets to keep him informed; the NHS is like a fascist dictatorship at times."

"Well here's to the resistance," I beamed.

"Are you staying for dinner," Kim asked and I nodded hoping to get something down mum apart from water, as it turned out she ate half a nectarine, two spoons of ice cream and left her cup of tea.

Then I went home and sat in an empty house listening to the echoes, I had never felt so alone or desperate.

March 31st

It has become a daily ritual now before I get out of bed I visualise mum bathed in healing light, which then forms an egg around her before swords of darker light cut away the tumour slicing it into chunks.

I get up and go into each room saying that mum is coming home soon and things will return to normal; but I don't believe it not anymore.

I have put greetings cards in lounge, kitchen and hall 'welcome home' that kind of thing.

Oddly Betty materialised on the bus as I travelled to hospital appearing in the vacant seat beside me, good job nobody else could see her, the normally bubbly healer was solemn and serious even in energy form.

"We have a fight on our hands today Neil, the cancer has launched a massive attack. I've brought a lot of spirits with me, you can't see them but they're here."

This was just what I didn't want to hear and the nag of terror inside me sharpened, "How can it do that?"

"We're up against a determined and devious enemy; I've rarely met one more powerful."

"Is it beatable; be honest with me Betty I want the truth?"

Much as I trusted and respected the medium I didn't need her to be holding out on me if there was no chance.

"Yes it is beatable," she replied and I felt other entities behind and around me on the bus seeming to take up more space than the bus interior allowed, massive beings I felt in terms of mind energy rather than mass.

"I just feel we haven't much time," I said, "That mum is fading away."

Smiling at me warmly Betty projected a warmth in my direction that was better than any hug, "I never give up," she said, "Nor do I waste time on lost battles, I'm here because I want to be and because I care about you and our mother she's important to me to."

At the hospital I was in for a shock mum's room was awash with shadows with dark curtains of suffocatingly negative energy within which nebulous astral creatures writhed and crept. They defied any real description as they kept changing shape and size but from them came this sickly, gut-churning, life sucking badness.

Things scuttled underfoot, long and chitinous with many legs like huge black centipedes, other things oozed up and down the walls semi-solid and invertebrate. It was like a host of exotic and poisonous bugs had been let loose in the room and there were even things on mum's sheets small boneless slimy mutations, gelatinous blobs leeching off her aura.

Gasping in horror I went over to mum but she was unconscious, "How do we get these things off her," I demanded?

Betty began to recite a prayer and from high above beams and sparkles of light appeared beginning to rain down in clusters, at soon as some of these touched a dark entity the bad guy shuddered, screamed and phased out of this reality. It was a slow process though due to the fact there were so many negs and lots of different types.

Some were humanoid or vaguely so like greyish black ghosts, others were blobs or blotches, most were insectoid - big bugs or crabs.

"How did they get in here," I recall shouting. Betty told me that didn't matter in the short term, that it was vital to eject them. The beings who had come with us the light entities or whatever fanned out across the room, each of them projecting beams that zapped a neg on the spot.

The other negs retreated from the bed clustering in the far corner of the room in a huddled mass; I could hear their snarls, growls and curses. In the midst of them I was stunned to see a human being a man and one I knew, a guy in a suit with grey hair, distinguished and with some authority.

Bickerton the consultant was here not in physical flesh and blood form but out of his body an astral and all the negs were attached to him by thin strands or tendrils, inky strings of psychic residue.

"Bickerton," I said out loud and he looked at me actually fixed his gaze on me, "What are you doing here?"

Betty said, "He brought them they are projections of his psyche."

"But he's a consultant," I wasn't yet ready to face the unpalatable truth that a man committed to healing could be evil, he had after all promised me that he would help mum and make her comfortable but his actions here belied that.

"An occultist," Betty corrected.

"Bickerton's into the occult," I was stunned. Okay I didn't like him he was cold and bit unfeeling even a bully but I'd never marked him down as someone who'd use black magic.

"In a big way based on what I'm picking up," Betty could read people especially spirits nobody could lie to her.

"Are you saying he sent these creatures to harm mum," my gaze narrowed on the consultant but there was no remorse on his saturnine features and his eyes remained cool and passionless.

"Forget him and go to your mother," I was told needing no further encouragement.

"It's okay mum you're safe now the negs are leaving," it was true they were bleeding through the plaster and glass melting away leaving Bickerton alone and exposed but he too was fading becoming translucent and dissolving from the shoes up.

I put my hands on her and gave some healing thinking it was the best thing I could do. Others took up positions around the bed forming a ring, Betty told me to keep talking and to be positive as the air cleared. I did my best but it wasn't easy after the shocks I'd received, especially after discovering who our main enemy now was the top guy in oncology at this place.

I noticed her belly was swelling up again as new fluid moved to encircle the growth. Was Bickerton in communion with it could he control it, was there a link between man and tumour a kind of symbiosis?

I felt this ring of energy go around the bed exterior a kind of grid and I was part of that grid it powered me up and made my hands hotter. Mum's feeble eyelids flickered open and her gaze focused on me, it was a time for encouragement so I offered some and was rewarded with a weak smile.

April 1st

It was the bridge again the same one as before a shimmering golden structure with no obvious dimensions, the drab earth plane behind and a bright heavenly realm ahead. Mum was there and dad was beside her, they were holding hands, I was a little apart.

My parents looked young, younger than I'd ever seen them early forties or late thirties and in brightly coloured clothing of a type unknown to me. As I tried to approach them I felt a barrier between us an invisible curtain and there was no way through it.

I called out and they smiled at me seemingly very happy even serene. Free of any disease mum was slender and vibrant. This time the bridge didn't dissolve beneath me instead my parents turned and walked to the far side the bright side and I saw figures waiting for them luminous robed beings tall and slim.

When I tried to follow one of the beings was by my side in a heartbeat a hand coming to rest on my shoulder, "You cannot proceed any further," he spoke with his mind I'm not sure he even had a mouth, "This part of the journey is for spirits only."

I wanted to say 'but I'm a spirit' but I knew what he meant, spirits who had passed over who had gone beyond the veil like my father and it seemed my mother.

I woke up sweating and cold terrified by the vision even though it had been beautiful even inspiring in nature offering the hope of life beyond life and continuity of consciousness.

At hospital I was giving mum more healing and reading out some messages from the rest of the family when Kim sneaked in with a wary smile, she was taking a hell of a risk but it was good to see her.

"Your mum's on a new drug it stopping the sickness and diarrhoea," she informed.

"What about getting some protein inside her, she doesn't seem to have any appetite she won't even eat soft stuff like soup or ice cream."

Pointing to a new IV drip Kim said mum was being given protein and other elements intravenously. "Do you feed her yourself," she asked?

"As much as I can it's a slow, disheartening process. She used to have such a good appetite, she'd eat a full meal every day," mum had also been a brilliant cook but then I'm prejudiced, every son thinks his mother is a great cook.

"You're a lot closer to your mother than most sons I've seen."

Touched by this remark I smiled at her, "She has two daughters one of whom has been twice I think, the other will never come at all," it was a long story and this wasn't really the time or place to talk about estrangement and bad choices in men. There was another topic I wanted to broach with Kim and it wasn't easy, "What do you know about Bickerton?"

Brow furrowing she studied me, "My boss, not much he doesn't confide in juniors like me in fact he keeps pretty much to himself. Why do you ask?"

"I don't like the guy there's something not right about him something dark and unpleasant."

Expecting Kim to smile at this and maybe even deny it I noticed a troubled look wash over her features, "Odd thing to say," she said but I sensed I'd touched a nerve.

"I just have a feel for people and he set off my red-alert from the first, has he been to see mum recently?"

Kim shrugged, "Not that I know of he doesn't have much to do with patients directly."

"So he doesn't come on the ward much or this part of it," I sensed he'd been around and very recently?

"He's mostly in meetings with other top people or seeing private patients."

Mum wasn't private so perhaps of less interest, "Does he have any religious views?"

"Bickerton," Kim laughed, "I shouldn't think so most of the brass are atheists, champions of the western Cartesian model."

Outwardly perhaps but I sensed there was more to Mr B than this, that he was somehow involved with the psychic attacks, "And are you," I asked, "A champion of the western Cartesian model?"

Kim blushed, "That's a bit personal."

Yes it was and maybe inappropriate but I was keen to know which way she jumped when it came to spiritual matters so it was time to offer something, "I'm a spiritualist," I said hoping she know what this was.

"You believe the dead can speak to us," Kim didn't sneer.

"I believe that our personalities, memories and identities survive the death of the body," Betty wasn't the only medium I'd interacted with.

"That's not a popular view in the medical profession," Kim confessed and I thought that no, it wasn't a popular view in most places.

"I long ago realised that science didn't have all the answers because it wasn't looking in the right places, I don't believe that the mind and the brain are the same thing."

Kim studied me closely, "If the mind isn't in the brain then where is it?"

"Maybe its non-physical, non-local the eternal part of us," knowing I couldn't prove any of this and that few could accept it unless they'd had OBE's I sat back, "Are you shocked?"

"To be honest I'm not surprised by your beliefs given what I've seen so far but I am a doctor and to have any future in the job I have to stick to the party line."

Quite well aware of that line and how rigidly it was enforced I nodded my acceptance, "Sure I understand you're closely watched and monitored."

Her pager went off and this time I heard it sharp and strident almost like a rebuke 'back in line Dr Blake duty calls.' With a sigh of irritation she silenced the little device and I thought it was a good idea I hadn't told her about Betty or the spiritual entities that came with her.

Once Kim had gone I turned back to the bed and froze in horror at the thing observing me, the thing sat on top of mums stomach pulsating and oozing, its root-like legs splayed in all directions to leak black Ichor from their now open tubular ends.

The tumour's cyclopean eye blinked a black pupil in a globe of noxious grey, bigger now, fatter and stronger it was studied me challenging me but how could it be outside mum, surely there was no way it could exteriorise itself through her stitches.

On my feet I backed away from the monster and its gaze never left me, the roots twitching to spray black oily filth across the sheets, filth that ran and dripped onto the carpet.

Did I call for help, who did I call not Kim surely perhaps Betty, it didn't occur to me that I could do anything on my own.

Then beyond the creature beyond the bed a misty, nebulous form took shape a shadow a photographic negative, a flickering wraith in subdued tints, a man in a suit with grey hair and cold eyes.

Bickerton was materialising before me; his astral self was not an exact copy of his physical body because it was taller, more muscular and a degree younger still a mature man but more distinguished.

He and the tumour stared and as I looked between one and the other I sensed a kinship a link, a closeness not obvious before a clear symbiosis between man and cancerous growth.

It would have been tempting to flee the room to run for my sanity if not my life but I didn't, I couldn't abandon mum to these two so I did the opposite – I ran towards them I charged with a shout.

I hit the bed and almost fell upon it, man and cancer were gone the sheets were clean with no hint they'd been besmirched and mum was awake looking up at me surprised if not alarmed. Also alarmed and slightly out of breath I composed myself with an effort.

April 2nd

The forest was endless and trees closely compacted, ugly deformed things with grasping black branches like talons and scored knotty barks with expressions of despair and anguish. Carrion birds screeched some way off, wolves howled and the mud slurped at my bare feet making progress difficult.

A toxic mist blotted out the sky and it was hard to draw breath into tight, hot lungs that left much smaller. A cracking twig made my heart lurch but even a swift turn yielded no offender. I kept going not sure where I was going or how I could get there with no compass or reference points, it was all so bleak and so identical as though one tree had been cloned a thousand times. The crows kept mocking and someway off insects buzzed, they sounded big and angry.

"STOP," the word was a shout and this time when I turned I saw him and he wasn't a total surprise in his smart suit, old school tie and authorative manner. He seemed out of place here though an urban man in a rural wilderness; surely more at home on wards or in consulting rooms.

"Bickerton," the word was an accusation rather than a name for I knew him now to be an advisory.

"You can't save her," he said softly.

"I won't let you kill her Bickerton."

This was greeted with a wintery smile, "It's you we want," he said.

"We," I demanded sure the trees had closed in even further around me, "I don't have cancer."

"Cancer lies within all," he replied, "Sleeping, silent, patient and hungry."

"It's not going to work Bickerton this attempt to frighten me to intimidate, I'm not alone I have support, allies."

He waved, "I don't see them here," it was a good point for here there was just me, him and trees their talons cutting my flesh as they grasped and pawed.

"You can't beat me into submission," I shouted.

He smiled and nodded, "Oh yes I can because I know your weaknesses the people you care about – your mother, the medium and of course young Dr Blake – all are within my grasp especially her."

"If it's me you want Bickerton let's keep it between us, you against me," I winced as sharp wood closed around my arms coarse and sharp, rough and piercing and then I couldn't move the trees held me with the venom of guards or hired thugs.

The consultant loomed, "What a pathetic specimen of humanity you are afraid to live and scared to die, yours is a worthless existence barely worthy of being called a life."

The fierce grip cut off all circulation to my arms, my hands growing rapidly numb.

"Yet," said Bickerton, "You can be of use to me and my allies we could feed off the energies you channel."

Something slurped and crawled across the leaf-strewn root entwisted floor towards me a many-legged thing big and bulbous, a great fat swollen spider that seemed both soft and firm, sticky yet dry, the ebony flesh deeply veined and the single eye a bulging protuberance.

"Why fight us," Bickerton demanded, "When you could be one with us," uttering the most disgusting squelch the tumour advanced on me the long root-like legs now firm even jointed but still leaking that black slime.

A branch went around my neck cutting off any possible reply or scream for help I might have made, its rough bark chaffing my throat and drawing blood. My god the tumour was almost up to me now, did it intend to climb on me to mount me, was it going to invade my body?

Chuckling Bickerton watched proceedings no longer a healer concerned with helping patients but a man who spread disease who encouraged it to spawn, "Cancer must feed," he said, "So must I."

A single tubular tendril touched my foot probing its way over the instep to the ankle where it took a firm purchase, joined by a second and third the tendrils pulled their bloated parent body towards me. The urge to scream was overwhelming, every cell I had recoiled in disgust at the touch of death.

To distract myself from the horror of what was happening I glanced beyond Bickerton to a clearing some feet away where another figure watched us. I couldn't make out any details beyond long billowing hair caught by the breeze, a slender body and very bright green eyes.

It didn't look like Betty, she was short and rotund with bunched blond hair, this girl had much darker locks and felt younger but I had no idea who she could be. If she was a friend of Bickerton why didn't she just step out into the open to be with him?

The breeze about her sharpened and expanded gathering momentum to blast through the forest, ripping leaves and twigs from branches then snapping those dry branches turning them into kindling.

Bickerton turned startled; the tumour withdrew its tentacles, the branch choking me was gone torn free and cast aside. It was soon joined by the one holding my left arm; I heard the wood snap and crackle. Then my other arm was free, its branch shredded into white chips.

I could move my body and took the opportunity to give the fat tumour a hefty kick, a bare foot hoof that sent the vile thing rolling away. Bickerton didn't look so dapper now his hair askew and clothing rumbled, leaves sticking to arms and chest, mud on his cheeks and tiny stones cutting his cheeks.

Oddly the wind didn't affect me I felt no icy blast no cutting wounds, the debris whipped up by the storm flew around me but not at me. Unable to see the dark haired girl I turned and fled eager to be away, to exit this noxious reality.

Whoever my saviour had been I owed her a great debt, but that would have to wait until another time; this corner of the astral was not for me.

2pm

There was a curtain around mum's bed and through this I could hear what was going on, hear her poor battered body voiding itself of yet more material. Nurses came and went I caught one by the arm, explaining who I was as she seemed new or a different shift.

"Mrs Davies had a bad night, the doctor is with her."

Dr Tewson emerged at the sound of my voice, young, light hair, soft blue eyes, "Ah Mr Davies your mother isn't so good I'm afraid the diarrhoea is back full force, our drugs don't seem to be working."

Tewson had a calm competent manner but there was no disguising the helplessness he felt, there had been 26 craps during the night and a further 15 this morning including the current episode.

"Why aren't they working," I demanded?

His posture was a statement in confusion, "We don't know but her illness has reached a critical phase."

"What does that mean," not sure I wanted to know I could see no way of evading the issue?

"She's very weak Mr Davies her vitals are all falling and her body won't retain any of the fluids we're giving it."

"I'd like to see her."

"Yes of course, we'll just get her off the commode and change the sheets."

"She soiled the bed," I could smell a mix of shit and disinfectant plus that awful stench of decay?

"Yes I'm afraid so," Tewson silenced his pager, "In light of this I don't think Marion will be going home at least not over the weekend."

I didn't know what to say my dazed brain couldn't summon even one cogent thought so I just waited until mum was back in bed on clean sheets, the curtain drawn aside.

A Belsen face regarded me an Auschwitz body she had no meat on her bones at all, they told she only weighed 4 stones but this looked like an optimistic estimate. Mum was a skeleton she was a husk, she wasn't just voiding shit she was voiding all the tissue, matter and cells of her physical body.

I stood there and regarded her horrified and paralysed in equal turns, knowing I should say something encouraging but unable to summon a single phrase so sitting beside her I rested my hands on a stick-thin arm and gave healing.

I didn't care what the still present nurses thought or what Dr Tewson's opinion was none of them mattered it was just me and mum. I relaxed and allowed my body to be used as a conduit, the power came from somewhere else a higher source and in my view it was more useful than medical drugs; none of which had made the slightest difference.

Was it too late was she too far gone? Miracles did happen and that was what I needed now something spectacular to happen, a game-changing event. I thought of Betty and Stephen, two healers I'd contacted when this all started, the spirit of Harry Edwards and all the other discarnate's.

Help me I thought help Marion save her do something, do it through me if you need to, take my life-force if you need it after all what use is it to me if mum dies?

"Neil," the voice was distant so I thought I'd imagined it then a cool hand came to rest on my arm and Kim stood there in her white coat and glasses, she was taking a hell of a risk.

"Look at her Kim just look at her body how small it is how thin and wasted it is, she looks like a concentration camp inmate."

"Yes I know I've been talking to Ian," that was Tewson's name, "I'm so sorry I thought we had things under control then at around 3am this all started the fresh outpouring."

"God where is it all coming from; how can a human body empty itself like this, liquefying its contents?"

She didn't answer this maybe she didn't know, "We're doing all we can all we know but stage 4 isn't easy to cope with."

"Yes I know, sorry to be a drama queen."

Kim waved this aside telling me I was entitled, "Does Marion have any other next of kin you mentioned your two sisters?"

Jen lived locally and could be summoned by a phone call, Chris was 300 miles away although it may as well have been 3,000,000. I was keeping Jen updated regularly; I hadn't spoken to my older sister in years.

"You think they should be here," I sat back "This really is the final furlong isn't it?"

"I'd call them; they have a right to know don't you think," Kim was being practical and whilst I was fine about one of my sisters I drew the line at the other. Chris had cut herself off from us in a pretty brutal way saying some terrible things; hurting mum deeply with her cruel selfishness.

I didn't want her here and doubted mum would either, I couldn't see how it would help but knew I had an obligation, "Okay I'll call them," I promised but it felt like an admission of defeat a waving of the white flag, the last desperate throw of the dice.

"Kim can I ask you something," visions of the forest returned, "Did you have a vivid dream last night?"

She looked at me wide-eyed, "Excuse me?"

"Only I did and it was so real it felt more vivid than reality itself."

"People don't share dreams Neil, was I in your dream?"

I wasn't sure, "Bickerton was."

"You dream about my boss."

"I was his prisoner we were in a wood of dark trees, the sky blotted out by mist."

Kim said, "Sounds like a nightmare."

It had been more than that it had been an astral experience; I had been fully conscious and rolling up my sleeves now I showed Kim the cuts on them, the long jagged abrasions.

"God how did you get these," she asked?

"Tree branches that came to life and moved; wrapping around me."

"But these are real cuts not part of a dream, have you cleaned and disinfected them," quickly she went to get cotton wool and an alcohol based cleansing agent, "Your skin has been badly torn."

"I told you the dream felt real, real enough for injuries to transfer through into this reality."

Kim was adamant, "That can't happen dreams are just mental journeys," she dabbed each cut in turn making them sting.

"Maybe some of them are more than just in the mind," I offered.

"What do you mean," she tended to me carefully?

"What if we slip into other dimensions other aspects of consciousness just as valid as this one?"

I could see she wasn't buying it that it was too big a leap to take, "Are you saying that these events actually happened on another plane of reality?"

"Yes I think it was an attack and I believe your boss led that attack."

"Even if I could accept that nobody else will and you can't accuse Bickerton based on a few superficial cuts."

She was right it wouldn't stand up to scrutiny in any earth-based court, "If you're blaming Bickerton for your mum's illness I'd stop right now, there's no way to prove that cancer can't be induced and even if it could why would he do it?"

Fair point mum had fallen ill long before we even met the consultant and that was just 4 weeks ago.

"I'm not going to shout this from the rooftops or make wild accusations, I'm well aware that I can't prove anything."

"Good," she finished tending to me, "You don't want to be accused of mental instability or they'll have you on a psyche ward."

"Fine but my arms are still cut and I still have these," I took out a small plastic bag in which lay some wood chips which Kim looked at bemused.

"You could have cut yourself Neil, scratched yourself against a tree this isn't conclusive proof against my boss."

"You're right but I don't self-harm I'm not into that kind of thing nor am I delusional."

"So what do you want me to do, do you want me to believe you believe that events in a dream are real? I'm a doctor a scientist, everything I do is based on evidence."

We had come to the periphery of her belief and to push this harder would only alienate the only friend I had in this place my only ally. So I didn't mention how I'd been saved from the tree or the strange female figure with long dark hair and eyes the same colour as Kim Blake, fierce liquid aquamarine.

I read mum some get well cards. I'd actually been around to various businesses and people in the village we knew to see if any would write some, generously most did. There was a nice one from the King's Head pub, "Mrs Davies we need you," it said even though mum had never set foot in the place.

I read out a poem I'd written about mum's life, I think she liked it then I recited some more of the positive thinking book passages I felt were appropriate.

"You can beat this," I told her and she studied me closely.

"You think so," she asked through dry cracked lips.

"I have to believe it, what's the alternative?"

April 3rd

It has been a terrible day one of the worst of my life and a real blow to my confidence. It began well enough with a ceremony I performed in the house to candle light that filled the entire bungalow with a rich burst of energy. I even got a call from the editor of a spiritual magazine asking me to submit an article.

But the moment I arrived at hospital I was met with grim faces and drawn curtains, the nurses ignoring my questions. Dr Tewson appeared taking me by the shoulder; there had been what he called an 'episode' during the night.

"We almost called you," he said, "Your mum's vitals dropped so low we had to resuscitate her."

"Do you mean her heart stopped," I cried?

"Yes for a time, not too long but it was very worrying."

"How long," for some reason it seemed important that I knew?

"A minute or so," I felt he was being evasive.

"What kind of state is she in?"

Tewson said I could go and see for myself so I asked him, "Could this happen again?"

"Marion is very weak and very poorly."

"So the answer is yes," the news was crushing and I couldn't wait to see her.

When I did she was wired up to various monitors, there was a new bigger IV and her legs were heavily swollen like thick white tubes pumped full of air. Conscious she threw me a wan look.

"I'm so sorry," I told her, "How are you," silly question but I really wanted to know, "I'm staying here," I had no intention of leaving her.

"Call Jen," she said hoarsely, Jen was the sister who kept in touch.

"You mean you want to see her," when mum nodded I looked at a nurse, "Can I make a call," she said yes but not on my cell I could use the payphone, "Back in a tick," I told mum.

"Jen you need to get over here now," I said once making the connection.

"I can't come," she said to my utter amazement.

"Why the hell not," I demanded?

"Bill's taken the car and there are no buses," Jen didn't drive.

"Then get a taxi, I'll pay for it you need to be here mum's in a bad way."

Jen made some other excuse she really wasn't getting the message so I had to insist, "If you want to see mum again just get here," in no mood for bullshit I put as much urgency in my voice as I could; Jen said she'd try, big of her I thought this was only our mother.

"She's on her way," I told mum not adding details of the reluctance or excuses. I had also sent a mental message to Betty knowing she could pick up on such things, "Everything's going to be okay mum," I don't know how many times I said this probably a hundred but I needed to hear it even if nobody else did.

"Do you want me to call Christine," my other sister lived in another county; she might as well have lived on another planet?

Giving it some thought mum shook her head, we'd never gotten on with Chris or her vile husband and I for one wasn't keen to see them.

"They think I may need a tube," said mum, "To feed me."

"You mean one of those nasal-gastric things," I wasn't thrilled by this, "whose idea was that Tewson?"

Mum said it was the 'older man' and by that I assumed she meant Bickerton, the thought of him made my blood run cold.

Jen eventually turned up with her daughter Eirlys (who could drive), it was a relief to see them but Jen annoyed me by saying she couldn't stay long.

"Why not," I demanded?

"Eirlys has to go to work so I'd be stuck here."

Didn't these people understand didn't they care, this was more important than some job; the lack of empathy astounded me although it was a foretaste of things to come, the chasm that existed between us.

Mum kept drifting in and out of consciousness she was clearly finding it hard to hang on, but the one thing she did do was hug us both she made a point of this first Jen and then me she squeezed us tightly.

I would remember these hugs for a long time afterwards as their significance took hold. Mum wasn't a tactile person, we were not a family who hugged or touched but that day mum held us as much as she could.

Not a great conversationalist Jen soon wanted to go and I could tell Eirlys was restless, she did have her inspiring job in a pub to get to after all; how could anyone miss that?

Once they were gone I returned to the room thinking how stale the air was and how gloomy it seemed even though it was sunny outside. Tewson popped his head in to study the monitors with a frown.

"What do the readings mean," I asked him but he shook his head offering no comment?

"Is mum stable," I asked some nurse when she arrived to check the IV but she had been rendered mute as well?

Getting no answers I felt frustrated but rather than lose my temper I gave mum healing, it was all I could think to do and I was still doing it when Kim arrived, "Thank God," I gasped glad to see a friendly face.

"I heard about last night," she said looking at the forlorn figure in the bed.

"What are these monitors saying; nobody will tell me?"

Kim studied the screens, "Kidney function almost zero, BP low, pulse thready; it's not good news."

"Her legs are swollen and they seem to be leaking," the bed sheets under them were soaked.

"Marion is losing the ability to retain fluid," Kim told me, "Everything we're giving her is being rejected."

"You mean her system is failing," I said?

"Yes I'm afraid so," Kim was at least sympathetic.

"Is there anything you can do?"

She shook her head, "We've exhausted all medical options, I'm afraid there's nothing more to be done."

"So you're basically telling me we've entered the final hours, is that it?"

Her look was full of quite despair and I slumped in my chair utterly defeated, oh god I thought how could it have come to this how could such a thing happen?

I had fought so hard using every technique and method available but nothing had worked, even the amazing Betty had been beaten.

"You look exhausted," said Kim.

"I'm not leaving her now, how could I go home?"

"I'm not suggesting that I think you should stay and furthermore," but she fell silent as a shadow entered the room it was Bickerton and the look he threw us was icy in the extreme.

"Dr Blake what are you doing here," his tone was acid, "Don't you have duties elsewhere?"

"Kim is here at my request," I put an edge in my voice but he wasn't impressed.

"Dr Blake works for me she is an employee of this hospital and is needed on another ward."

"Send Tewson," I snapped, "I prefer Kim to stay."

"Mr Davies you do not decide staffing policies nor can you override my orders."

But I didn't want to hear this waving at mum who lay between us, "Look at her Bickerton take a good look, she's beyond your science and policies about which I don't give a damn. Kim is the only one of you to show any decent human compassion, so I'd like her to stay if you don't mind."

Boring into me his small obsidian eyes held a fury I found chilling, he was a dangerous man I realised a real wolf in sheep's clothing and crossing him would have consequences. Then again he was already a stated enemy who had shown his true colours on the astral so it was unlikely I could rile him anymore.

"Ten minutes," he told Kim stiffly, "Then I want you on cubicles and we will be discussing this at length," wheeling around he marched out; the room growing instantly lighter.

"Bastard," I muttered under my breath but Kim heard me.

"I could be suspended for this."

"You leave Bickerton to me Kim; I'm not scared of his type."

"He's a powerful man here one of the inner circle, he could end my career."

"You're too good a doctor," I said, "He won't get rid of you he'd be a fool to do that."

Turning pink she smiled, "Thanks for the compliment but I'm not the only caring doctor here."

"You could have fooled me," I'd found the doctors and nurses very standoffish, sure they were busy but kindness costs nothing and it goes a long way when someone you love is fighting a terminal condition. British reserve just feels cold and a bit inhuman under the circumstances.

"Tewson isn't a bad guy really," she defended, "He cares a lot he just doesn't know how to show it. He lost his own mum to cancer so he knows what you're going through."

I hadn't known that but then there was no reason why I should, "recently," I asked?

"Last year I think she was only 44," Kim sighed, "I know it isn't much consolation but there are a few stage 4 people here who won't make it."

"Mum isn't dead Kim not yet," I whispered.

"I know I didn't mean that," drawing up a chair she sat on the other side of mum and took mum's hand in both of hers silently willing her to keep fighting giving her time and attention. If only more of the docs here had done that I'd have been more impressed.

"I lost my brother to cancer," she revealed startling me I didn't even know Kim had siblings.

"God I'm sorry he can't have been very old," Kim was young herself.

"No he wasn't it was leukaemia," she revealed, "He'd had it most of his life."

"Is that why you went into the medical profession," I asked not really needing an answer?

Head bobbing Kim looked away for a moment obviously reliving painful memories, "There's still no cure but sufferers do live longer, if caught in time."

"How old was your brother when he," I didn't want to say the word 'died' certainly not in front of mum? Eyes flashing back Kim blinked several times before giving the answer, it was surprising and disturbing; eleven was no age at all.

4pm

I needed the loo quite badly and it wasn't close to mum's room in fact it wasn't close to anything, why do they always put them in obscure locations? Amazingly there was a key pad but one of the nurses let me have the access code.

"Why is security so tight," I asked?

"We had vandalism," was all she would say.

I was on my way back when a voice made me jump coming as it did from some shadows, I turned to see Betty or rather Betty's astral hovering there.

"Thank god you've come," I said knowing she was busy with many demands on her time, "Mum's in a bad way."

I know said her expression, "You shouldn't have left her."

This twisted a knife in my guts and I retraced my steps at least until I got to the nurse's station, there were two on duty and the moment they looked up I froze. Black eyes regarded me, ebony coloured and smooth, the black lipped mouths forming silent snarls and the long black claws raked the desk top.

A third nurse walking in my direction had the same eyes and lips, black as night black as sin with unhealthy grey-white flesh.

I turned to Betty, "Are we on the astral," I'd no memory of leaving my body?

"No this is an overlap," she told me, "A blending of the two dimensions."

"How is that possible," to my mind astral and physical were distinct and discreet, you were either in one or the other not both at the same time?

"Dimensions occupy the same space and that means one can bleed into another, especially when encouraged."

Looking at the black eyed, zombie-like nurses I knew they were between us and mum's room, "Can they harm us?"

My question was answered dramatically when the walking nurse opened her mouth wide as if to scream but instead projectile vomited this disgusting black filth in our direction, it was an ichor I'd seen before produced by the tumour only now there was more of it a thick tidal wave of gushing, frothing poison surely too much for a human body to produce.

Grabbing me and tugging me aside Betty told me to shield my face as the ichor shot by splashing over walls, tables, pipes and linoleum soaking everything it touched in a dark dripping overcoat.

Vomiting over the zombie nurse looked in our direction her throat rasping and wheezing, was she building up to a second outpouring. Hand raised Betty focused and a widening beam of golden light jumped from her palm to wash out over the corridor.

With a scream the zombie nurse reeled back eyes squeezed shut, "Follow me," said the medium. The two at the desk were on their feet now jaws parting, at least until Betty's golden light cocooned them in its bright glow making both jerk and twist like puppets before sitting down hard on the floor.

Sprinting past them we turned a corner and there he was waiting for us, seeing him wasn't a total surprise as I'd been expecting his return. I shouted, "Out of the way Bickerton," but he just regarded me calmly.

"Ah the medium of Sussex," he intoned giving my companion a cursory glance before going on, "This is my domain I rule here," he sounded like some medieval overlord, "Here my power is absolute."

I didn't believe that, oh he was strong he had authority and he could clearly manipulate reality but absolute power is a bit of myth, "Get out of the way Bickerton."

"I'm afraid I don't take orders in my own hospital," around us more zombie nurses began to assemble along with zombie porters all pale cheeked and ebony eyed.

"We're not alone," said Betty, "There are spirits with us."

"It's the spirits with me you need to concern yourself with old woman," and a chorus of high pitched wails filled the air, a strange discordant song. I was finding it hard to breathe as the tissue of my lungs tightened and contracted, my muscles were aching to cramping up.

"I don't feel so good Betty, are you getting this?"

"Mind games," she told me, "Just visualise a canopy of white light around yourself."

Chuckling Bickerton closed the door of mum's room with a resounding slam, "I'm afraid the old white light trick won't cut it here," and as if to confirm this, a mix of nurses and porters ringed us like bullies in a school yard.

What now I thought did we run or try to fight? I wasn't in the mood to abandon mum but couldn't see how we could overcome the zombies on our own. I walked towards Bickerton until a burly porter stood in my way 'Ted Smith' it said on his name badge and Ted was wide and beefy with a shaved head.

"Time to leave," he said in a voice was an odd echo to it, he pointed to a door marked exit, "Now," he insisted.

"I'm not going anywhere," I told him feeling physically overmatched.

Ted was a frightening presence, "Yes you are," and his shove sent me tottering back against the nurse's station. Fists balled he moved in on me, or at least he tried until a glowing golden palm slapped him on the chest, Betty's light expanding across the blue uniform and up over the corpse pale flesh of the face.

Shuddering and shivering Ted retreated, his body twitching spasmodically and for a moment his black eyes turning light blue as his humanity reasserted itself.

Bickerton bristled, "Get them out," he snarled, "At once." The zombie army closed in lips drooling the black ichor which ran down their chins onto their uniforms.

I looked askance at Betty who for once seemed out of her depth, she told me to stay where I was but this didn't seem possible with so many pale claws rising to throat height.

The other source of light the even brighter one erupted to my left and further up the corridor, a strong breeze blew in my face and stood there framed in a halo of whiteness with long billowing hair was the figure from my dream, the mysterious female. I still couldn't make out any features beyond her slender figure and long hair, oh and the wind the rising gale that blew the zombies back away from me.

The light hurt them to I could tell from the squints, grimaces, pawing hands at temples and hunched postures. They were in distress, more they were in pain and their howl was now one of collective terror. Frightened zombies, how could this be?

Bickerton's head had snapped around to a look of furious frustration evident as he shouted some curse I could hear over the rising crescendo that blew over chairs and whipped official papers into the air creating a mini snow storm.

Arms parted the long haired girl took a step in our direction and the wind intensified a fearsome hurricane made stronger by the tight corridor. The zombies scattered, fleeing away from the storm until only Ted remained and he was cowering at the feet of his master, a master now pressed firmly against mum's door.

"Who are you," I think he shouted and I thought yes that's a good question as I didn't think this apparition had come with Betty due to the look of stupefied amazement on the healer's face, few things surprised her but this clearly had.

Face still not visible through the white light the girl in the long pale dress pointed her hands at Bickerton and as the fingers began to close he uttered a piercing scream. I soon saw why as cuts appeared on his cheeks; nail cuts that bled furiously as though he'd been scratched.

Soon his face was awash with liquid red as the cuts lengthened and deepened to release more blood, gore that stained his white collar and old school tie.

Fingers still closing into fists the long haired girl walked almost up to Bickerton before the man vanished, dematerialising with a scream a shouted name but one I didn't catch.

Mum's door flew open and there was now a clear path to it; one I took lurching forwards passed Betty, Passed Ted and passed the long haired girl, briefly stealing a glance in her direction before tumbling next to mum's bed in a sobbing heap.

5pm

I had barely recovered from the ordeal when thin fingers played through my hair, tremulous and gentle. Looking up I saw mum staring at me with rheumy eyes so tired, so weary that I was moved to tears. Taking her tiny hand in mine I squeezed it gently wishing I could give her a fraction of my strength but she was looking beyond me.

I saw them, I swear I could see them clearly all of them; my eyes almost popped out of my head. They were stood or sat around the tiny room watching us, smiling and glowing giving off this incredibly soft golden luminosity.

Some were relatives, some were friends but all were people mum and I knew who had died – some a long time ago. Dad was there, mum's parents, her sister even our old family GP plus there was a guy who looked almost exactly like me it had to be my brother Billy who'd only lived six weeks before dying in mum's arms.

They were ghosts of course or spirits if you prefer but they looked real and solid tangibly present in our reality. Mum said, "They've been here all afternoon."

Several approached the bed stroking her hair and arms, leaning over mum dad kissed her on both cheeks brushing strands of hair out of her eyes tenderly.

A glow expanded around mum a glistening corona of many colours like a rainbow only human-shaped and it was expanding becoming richer and clearer.

Was she leaving, was this it and her soul was departing? I don't know if I spoke or just thought the word 'no' but dad turned to look at me.

"Not yet," he said, "But soon," and she sat down on the bed, "She's so tired it's time she came home."

So that was it mum's life was over and she was going, nothing I had done had made any difference to the outcome; it felt like a crushing defeat. Of course I didn't want her to suffer anymore but it was hard to let go to say goodbye, maybe it always is death is a blade that cuts deeply leaving a wound that never heals.

"Is there anything I can do," I asked?

"You've done plenty," said dad, "We're all proud of you."

"There's evil here, dark forces," I argued?

"Mum will soon be beyond them; it's you we're concerned about."

"What am I going to do dad, how will I cope?"

He said, "You have a champion a teacher who will step forward."

Did he mean Betty; she lived miles away and was busy with clients how could she be a champion?

"I don't understand who is it?"

Mum said, "You'll soon know," and she was smiling actually grinning for the first time since she fell ill she looked happy and her eyes were now sparkling with renewed vigour.

"I don't know what to do," I confessed the fight to save her had drained me emotionally and in every other way if this was the end then I felt so flat and empty utterly lost with no real direction or purpose.

"You will," said my father, "Nobody is ever alone."

6pm

Kim arrived with a nurse and whilst the other girl checked mum's medication Kim came over to me to rest a hand on my shoulder, "You look wiped out, why don't you take a break, there's a bed in the relative's room."

It was a generous offer but I couldn't leave mum not now, not after what I'd been told, "Maybe later," I said feeling shattered.

"It feels different in here," she said, "Sort of charged and bright."

The nurse looked up, "I can feel it to and there's this perfume can you smell it, wow it's amazing?"

Kim nodded, "It's like there are other people here lots of them."

I kept my tongue still not wanting to go on about spirits so I said, "Yeah that staleness has gone," I hated the small side room where mum had been shunted out of the way, out of sight out of mind.

"Marion's vitals are better," said Kim, "She seems livelier, perkier."

I had noticed something as well like the small bandage on Kim's left wrist, "Have you hurt yourself," I asked?

Snatching the arm away she blushed, "It's nothing just a minor burn, I was careless."

"My whole body is tingling," said the nurse, "There's this static around the bed unlike anything I've ever known before."

Kim could feel it to that was obvious and she kept looking sideways out of the corner of her eyes in the direction of the spiritual visitors, yes she could see them. They were noticing her as well as several had begun nodding and pointing.

"Would you stay a while," I asked and the nurse glanced over knowing I didn't mean her?

Kim sighed, "I'm not supposed to be here at all I'm on a ward downstairs."

"Can't anyone cover for you; I'd really like you to stay?"

Thinking about this she lifted her cell phone and poked several keys, "Alana can you cover my cubicles for a short while," presumably Alana was another junior doc, "Tell B I'm not feeling too good."

With a knowing smirk the nurse left and once she'd gone I faced Kim with a grave expression, "I think the end is close and I'm not sure I can face it on my own."

"How do you know that, your mum seems a bit better?"

"There are other people here and I think you can perceive them, they're spirits including my late father and I know why they've come."

She took this better than I'd expected, there was no scorn no attempt to deny or rationalise, "I can see something," she admitted, "But I'm not sure what it is."

"Faces, eyes, people – they're real Kim," I insisted, "A reception committee."

"You really believe in this life-after-death stuff don't you," for some reason I felt she did to that she knew more than she was letting on but was wary of opening up to me.

"Yes I do I've seen too much to doubt or disbelieve, I think our final moments are pre-planned, pre-arranged."

"Even if that's true it doesn't mean your mum's time is over, she's a fighter we've seen that."

"Something happened before you came in, things were said; it's hard for me to explain it logically to someone who went to medical school and has a science background."

Looking deeply into my eyes she nodded slowly, "Okay I can stay for a little while, Alana will deal with my boss if he asks any questions but if he pages me I'll have to go."

Fair enough I thought what more could I ask; I couldn't expect her to risk her career. Then she asked me a question, "If anything happens to your mum," it was said cautiously, "What will you do?"

I hadn't even thought this far ahead, hadn't contemplated the worst outcome, for me it had all been about saving mum affecting some kind of healing process and taking her home. I hadn't projected any other outcome because I couldn't face the devastation of loss, the aching void it would create.

"I have truly no idea Kim; I'm not sure how I'll cope."

"But you're a grown man," she said, "You must have a life beyond all of this."

A grown man with few options or alternatives, "Not really," I confessed.

"You mean you're going to be totally cut adrift," she sounded amazed but then she didn't really know me not that well, to her I was just the relative of a patient.

"I have a home and a few resources but this battle has been all-consuming, it's become my life."

"Maybe you need to re-evaluate that life, think of yourself and your needs."

I would but not yet not with so much to do, "That all seems so unimportant so trivial."

"Neil your life isn't trivial you're a fighter, I've seen that during the short time we've known each other."

Maybe I'd join a support group there had to be one, this hospital wasn't big on the touchy feely stuff but that didn't mean such groups weren't out there, after all I wasn't the only relative of a cancer sufferer.

"I used to think I was a healer that I could help people like mum but that hasn't proven to be the case."

"Have you tried to heal other people," Kim asked, "Maybe you do have a talent but it needs developing cultivating."

Looking at her startled I hadn't thought of this.

7pm

The room had changed in small subtle ways at first but as the change gathered pace even I noticed it – the brightness, the coruscating light waves and the growing structure near the far wall with its shimmering building blocks and threads of energy.

I had no idea what it could be but could see the spirits congregating around and within it maybe an arch or bridge of some kind that seemed to extend through the back wall to some point beyond what I could see.

My father appeared, "I need you to come with me," he said telepathically.

"I'm not leaving mum," I said firmly.

"She's being protected," he assured, "But you need to see something," he waved, "No don't come physically you need to be in astral form for this."

He wanted me to have an OBE where I sat, I'd never exteriorised sat down normally I lay on a bed at home where I could relax and feel safe. There was breathing to be done a form of mental projecting.

"I can't astralize here dad," I told him.

He assured me that I could that he would help me, directing me to sit back and relax all my muscles he moved behind me his hands flanking my head and I felt energy enter my brain stem, "I'll get you out of your body," he insisted, "Just let go of any doubt."

I felt the usual rush of electricity the roaring sound and the dizziness, I grew lighter and expanded with colours flooding my inner vision and then I was next to him gazing at my physical self sat there dozing.

In astral form I could clearly see what the structure was now a portal an opening with a doorway and a tunnel beyond marked with spiralling light, "That's for mum isn't it, it's how she'll leave?"

Not answering dad directed me to follow him and we floated beyond the room and up the corridor outside, my head full of questions chief amongst them being why I needed to be in astral form?

We floated into a lift then down through its floor until we were descending the lift shaft at speed going down at speed 3rd floor, 2nd, 1st and down still further my god how deep did this shaft go we were going beneath the hospital building.

"Are we going to the basement," I asked what could possibly interest me there but no we dropped below basement level and kept going to my astonishment entering an area that didn't seem to be part of the hospital at all. Dad said,

"Almost no one on the staff knows about this place or has access."

That said I could see figures milling around a huge 5 sided room with dark lacquered walls and a checkerboard floor of black and white diamonds. To one side was an altar with a chalice and candle sticks and around us the walls were decorated with complex seals and sigils, intricately drawn designs that reminded me of things seen in occult books.

It was I realised a temple a place of ceremonial worship but there were no Christian markings, instead of saints and angels I noticed gruesome masks with slitted eyeholes, bizarre horned murals of things not entirely human and not fully bestial.

The men present (13 of them) wore red robes, white gloves and ugly animalistic masks. Each occupied a square and together they formed a symbol I knew a pentacle with one man at the centre, presumably he was their leader.

"What the hell is going on," I asked, "What are they doing?"

Dad told me to observe the strange pageant so I did listening to the words most of which made no sense as they were in Latin, the few words in English seemed to be a conjuration of some sort a summoning but of what I couldn't tell.

I recognised the voice of the leader at once having heard it often; Bickerton's nasal voice had a droning quality that was rising in pitch as he grew excited but who were the other men?

Each man approached the altar, picked up a small silver knife and cut his wrist – avoiding the artery but drawing blood that spilled into the chalice – very soon that chalice was half full with warm human blood.

"I don't get this dad it's some weird pagan ritual but why is it relevant to me?"

He said, "Take a good look at these men and what they do; it's going to be relevant to your future."

Something was coming, my heightened senses detected it at once an approaching sound or pressure, the light was dimming yet a different kind of light was streaming into the temple an unearthly ethereal spectrum of blazing reds and greens.

I felt rather than saw a doorway open a gap in the fabric of space-time, a portal but different to the one upstairs a link to an alternate dimension and not a pleasant one.

Bickerton removed his mask his face suffused with ecstasy with a blazing excitement, arms thrust wide he called to the approaching force urging it on, his voice filled with worship.

I felt both sick and scared as power swam around me a dark nauseating force that I knew was evil, "Let's get out of here dad."

Not yet said his look you need to see this to understand it, but I didn't want to this was seriously bad news, whatever these men had invoked was corrupt and monstrous its weight bore down on me.

A shape hovered in the air small at first but gathering mass and density a dark nugget of rotating matter that was drawing strength from the blood in the chalice and the will of each man present.

Picking up the chalice Bickerton held it high, shouted more Latin words then began to drink the blood, slurping it down much to my disgust some of it spilling down his chin to stain his robe.

The entity swelled and expanded a multi-dimensional thing of many facets and many faces some of which were visible now and ghastly. Acquiring a body the creature hovered behind Bickerton then to my amazement began to flow inside him to merge with his atoms.

"Its joining him," I said, "He's absorbing it or it's absorbing him; my god is he being possessed?"

Dad was nodding, "Those who summon evil become consumed by it." Bickerton's eyes flashed brightly and his face assumed a different aspect like his personality had changed which perhaps it had.

"Is it a demon," I asked, "Have this men invoked a demonic entity," if so it was now merged with their leader, "But why are they doing this?"

"They believe it brings them power," said dad sadly.

"Doesn't it," I enquired?

"The power is an illusion they becomes slaves of the force they seek to control; evil is a trap that many fall into."

"Then why do this why get involved," I was confused?

"Vanity, ego, greed," said dad, "These dark cults tell their members they are special people, superior, chosen. Members are flattered and told how much better than non-believers they are, by the time they realise how they've been duped it's too late their oaths and vows tie them body and soul to the cult."

Such a cult clearly held sway at the hospital, "Why do I need to know this I'm not attracted to black magic," I had done everything I could to avoid such poison?

"No but you will have to fight it to do battle with it and those who serve it," Dad told me, "There are no fences to sit on my son, one either serves the light or the dark there are no grey areas."

Was he serious did he expect me to take on this vileness; it was not how I saw myself as some crusader or hero, "I want nothing to do with this dad?"

But his gaze and his will held me, "Now that you've developed your gifts to this point you can't avoid it, evil will come after you with the same intensity as good always there will be the choice and the tests."

I didn't see why evil would pursue me after all why should it, "I'm going," I said having seen enough of this, "I already knew Bickerton was insane."

Dad said, "He's far more than that he is a dangerous advisary and one you will have to deal with."

8pm

Bone tired I did some stretching, walking around the room and touching my toes a few times before bending backwards, my neck full of tension and head tight. Mum had been asleep for some time but her eyes were open now and staring at me, looking at her I saw to my surprise that there were two of her, an old woman lying in the bed and young woman stood close by vibrant and healthy.

It was like mum had duplicated herself split into two, the second her would be her spirit self and it was glowing powerfully. There was a cord or rope attaching the two women and I could see that it was pulsating rapidly; it was also quite thin near the middle almost frayed.

"Mum," I spoke to the younger version and she smiled at me, "Don't go," I said imploringly knowing that the moment was close or I wouldn't be seeing this, "Stay here," I said selfishly.

"I can't," the voice was inside my head vibrant and energetic, "I agreed to this," she said, "We all pick the moment and this is mine."

Consumed with emotion I moved towards her but she waved me back, around her semi-visible forms floated faces and eyes, helpers and advisers perhaps guides. One of them a man I think spoke to mum who listened then nodded then floated in my direction, "You need to see something," she told me, "In astral form, it'll help you to understand and hopefully accept."

I sat down and relaxed myself as before, and although I didn't have dad's help I flowed out of my body. Directing me to follow mum approached the spiralling tunnel under the arch but I held back, "What are you doing, you can't go through that," I equated the tunnel with death?

"It's quite safe," she said, "And the only way for me to show you this."

The moment I entered the tunnel the light intensified as did a sensation of being pulled like some great magnetic force had seized me pulling me further into the tunnel, mum and I were accelerating gathering momentum.

"What is this," I shouted?

"An access portal between worlds," she called back.

"You mean between earth and the afterlife," I wondered started by the vast spiralling waves around us and the vivacity of the colours, they made the spectrum of earth dull and insipid by comparison?

"Between higher and lower dimensions," Mum corrected.

"Just how high are we going," I wondered? Mum said we were almost there and ahead of us a coin of silver light grew and expanded, as we flew into it a shadowy building took form, a vast Greek-like structure with fluted pillars it was circular with bricks that glowed with vitality as though the building itself was alive.

I sensed people moving both outside and within but couldn't see them too clearly, they however were quite well aware of me.

Seeming to know her way around mum entered through a wide doorway with pillars at both sides and before us unfolded a huge, seemingly endless interior of many levels some of which overlapped. Part of the place seemed solid but most was in a state of flux flowing and mixing together.

"This is so weird," I said, "Like it exists in several realities at once."

Mum nodded that this was so, "It's the hall of records," she replied gliding over to a low table above which hovered this sphere or orb of pure light, as she touched it the orb unfolded, sort of unscrolling into a panorama of lines and threads, there was a glistening smaller orb at one end and its twin at the other.

"This," said mum, "Is the blueprint of my life."

I was dumbfounded it was a tapestry made of up of light threads all tightly woven and complex. Mum went on, "This orb on the left is my birth and the other one is my death, we choose both very carefully."

I had heard this theory before about how souls design their lives from start to finish but I'd never seen a life displayed before me as a template, "What are these threads," I pointed?

"The pattern of my life it's major and minor themes, lessons to be learned, challenges faced, illness, childbirth and so on."

It was all so complex and intricate, "So everything is pre-planned and pre-packaged is that it?"

"There is a format if you like a program but within this we have choices, decisions we can make that will alter the tapestry from that point onwards, these blueprints are flexible and interactive."

I noticed some sparkling lights, "What are those," I asked?

"My kids," one of the lights was dimmer than the others and smaller poor doomed Billy.

"How did you create all this I mean what is it made of?"

Mum said, "Pure consciousness, in this world everything is done with thought and intent the mind is supreme."

"Wait a sec, are you saying you designed your cancer, you picked how you were going to die and all its symptoms?"

"We all choose the method of our exit and there is no such thing as death, as for the cancer I made that worse by my actions whilst alive."

This befuddled me, "What actions?"

"Mostly negative thinking; the source of all misery in any dimension I fell into a habit of looking on the dark side and that's always a mistake."

"But how could that create cancer," I didn't get it cancer was a physical problem cells gone mad?

"Every thought we think affects our reality it permeates every cell, nerve, bone and organ, thoughts are the building blocks or reality."

"Does that mean that disease is down to the mind?"

"Mostly yes if we think a certain way for a long time it forms a psychic structure either good or bad and this manifests in various ways such as sickness, depression, bad luck or prosperity, progress and good health. We are the architects of our lives totally."

I found this hard to accept, "But what about fate, circumstances and ill-fortune?"

Mum sighed, "Neil every soul designs and customizes their own life pattern so they can't make such excuses."

I sat back flummoxed overwhelmed by the enormity of what I'd learned and its implications, "Is my life pattern here?"

Mum said that it was, "But you can only view it when it's over, you're not allowed to pop in here and take sneak previews or that would invalidate the whole process."

"So what you're saying is that your life is now over, right or you wouldn't have access to this?"

She smiled, "My body will expire in a short while but essentially I'm no longer in it."

I sat back dazed, "So you're staying here in this dimension, you won't be coming back with me?"

"There's nothing there for me anymore, I'll stay here and review my life in detail – what worked, what didn't, plusses and minuses, things learned or avoided it's a long process and every soul does it."

But I had to go back my time wasn't over, "If I'm not dead how come you're showing me this?"

"You've earned the right to see it and you need to understand it so you can cope with the aftermath of my death, for you there will be more lessons and challenges."

This was what dad had hinted at, mum said, "Just one thing you will be guided and instructed, there is a soul who has volunteered to help you."

"May I know who it is?"

Mum's smile was wise, "It'll become very obvious quite soon."

April 4th

Tewson woke me with a shake and jerking upright in my chair I felt ashamed at falling asleep, it was dark outside early morning I guessed and Tewson looked worse for wear himself after a long shift.

He wasn't alone there was a nurse stood to one side next to the bed, Kim Blake was in the doorway looking glum, the atmosphere filled me with dread. Glancing at the wall clock I saw it was 2am, getting up I moved past Tewson to the bed where mum lay still and stiff, her face like a wax effigy and cheeks sunken.

There was no hint of life and her chest wasn't moving, plus all the monitors were off and the IV had gone. I knew what I was seeing and sat on the bed my entire body sagging and head dipping, I'd expected to feel bad but this was way beyond that; there was a sense of being utterly crushed and broken into pieces.

Even though I'd known it was coming, even though I'd been told and shown it still came as a hammer blow. Nobody spoke or needed to say anything, the dismal little tableau was self-explanatory; it was death, finality the end point.

Mum had gone, she had abandoned her non-viable body and her suffering was over she was beyond cancer now its leprous paw would never touch her again.

The worst thing was the sense of being totally alone now, of having lost the most important person in my life, I touched one of her hands and it was still warm so I held onto it clinging to that warmth.

Kim came over and placed her hands on my shoulder and neck, no words needed to be said I could feel the compassion in her green eyes. Tewson shuffled around awkwardly then just left, the nurse looked like she wanted to say something but in the end didn't.

Words were pointless, we all knew what had happened and there is no comfort for grief of this kind yet Kim stayed and it was something I would always remember.

I couldn't see any spirits now nor was the portal visible, I had no memory of coming back down it but I could still picture the hall of records. I wanted to cry but not here and not in front of hospital staff.

Letting go Kim said, "I'll get you some tea," and she slipped away.

"Bye mum," I remember saying although I was sure I'd see her again someday and moving around the bed I bent over and kissed her lightly on the forehead.

7am

Taking the three bottles I unscrewed their caps and poured the contents onto a plate there were about a dozen small yellow pills, ten longer blue capsules and twenty of the white tablets. As I have no stomach for booze I poured water from a pitcher into a tall glass.

Grabbing some of the drugs I held them in my palm thinking how attractive they looked, not for one second did I doubt the righteousness of my actions or the need to do this?

I stuffed them into my mouth and drank some of the water to drown the bitterness; no way was I chewing this stuff. A second fistful went into my mouth and I washed this down to.

Once I'd taken all the pills I sat back and made myself relax, wondering how long they would take to work and if there'd be any pain. Hopefully I wouldn't puke them back up or I'd have wasted my time.

I'd thought about going on alone and it was pointless, a futile treadmill this was the best option the only option. I needed to get back through that tunnel back to that other world, not as a tourist this time but as a resident. The little I'd seen of the place had convinced me it was by far the best of the two worlds; there was nothing for me here.

I expected to leave my body but not so violently; it was like my astral was torn from its physical sheath and with a loud roar. I flew directly upwards for several feet hit an obstruction and floated back down. My god what had I hit, as an astral I could surely pass through anything?

I couldn't see any kind of barrier but I could see a lot of shadows, dark patches of writhing smoke or mist and coming out of me was this sickly grey vapour I'd never noticed before. The air felt heavy, even polluted and it was hard to breathe, I felt sluggish and lethargic which on the astral should have been impossible.

Things or shapes moved through the walls nebulous things not people but entities, great torpid masses that squirmed and crawled, their vibration low and dark. A nagging fear hit me in that moment, a realisation that all was not right.

Where was the light, the tunnel, the portal to a higher realm? I felt I had gone down not up that this was one of the lower astral wastelands or grey zones, home to lost souls and unevolved entities. That I had damaged myself in some way and taken a huge backward step, was this were all suicides ended up some kind of self-imposed hell?

I tried to leave to swim through the morass of heavy matter but I couldn't and the more I tried the more the dark mist clung to me, it seemed to be drawn in my direction and a sit took hold I felt heavier still, stuck and trapped. There was nothing for it I've have to get back into my body.

Yet as I tried I felt another barrier keeping me out, I could not flow back into the physical shell that was me, it was like the body was no longer mine yet I could see it was breathing and the cord attaching me to it hadn't severed so I wasn't dead at least not yet.

Help I thought somebody help me and then from behind came this chuckle, turning I saw something utterly hideous a new entity a hunchback with a hairy body and clawed hands, his long teeth were yellow with decay and his eyes bloodshot. He looked more ape than human and his gaze was one of pure loathing, naked hostility.

The ugly apparition hobbled towards me giving off the vilest stench imaginable but I knew he'd come for me, drawn by my suicide attempt and the dreadful atmosphere it had created; a culture in which this thing thrived.

Keep away I thought don't come any closer but this didn't stop him and soon he was right up to me looking me over, his long nails probing my astral self like I'd become his property.

Nodding his large bony head he waved and other things, uglier creatures flowed into view grotesques I can barely describe; semi-human freaks that crawled and gambolled into view hideously deformed even mutated, monstrous ogres from some horror film that was only too real.

Some had only one eye or more than two, all had mouths filled with fangs or rotting teeth, their fresh covered in oozing sores and ulcers. I could just tell that they weren't only outwardly repulsive but had personalities to match. They were foul, degraded outcasts, denizens of the lower astral and they had come to take me there.

"No keep away," I shouted my voice echoing as they ringed me looking me over, their new prize specimen. The hunchback gripped me suddenly by the throat his strength prodigious and drawing my face to his he sneered at me nodding once, I was his property now he owned me and there was no escape.

One final figure came into view and I expected the very devil himself but this newcomer was different, not ugly at all not deformed not even male; it was a long haired girl in a saffron robe and she brought with her a sparkling sunrise of colours that caused the freaks to squint, cringe and half turn their brutish hairy arms raised defensively.

Hunchback let me go and stood back shielding his simian face, a snarl of rage rising in his throat as the girl stood there surveying the scene her arms out stretched and face not visible, masked by an oval of pure silver light. She was my saviour, the one who'd appeared twice before in first a dream then at the hospital but who could she be?

She wasn't mum or Betty or anyone else I knew I felt sure of this yet there was something familiar about her posture and attitude. The uglies fanned out away from me as if to confront this vision of light, knowing it was quite different to them.

At a nod from their leader they rushed her snarling and screaming like the inmates of Bedlam but as they did her corona of light expanded and intensified so much that they were blinded; the wattage going so high that even I closed my eyes against it.

The light and heat were intense, so ferocious that I sank to my knees. The gibbering screams and grunts of the uglies faded away as they fled, driven off until I was alone, completely alone; well almost.

As the light dimmed I risked a look, she was still there stood observing me, arms down now she took a step closer and her facial features began to coalesce into lips, a nose and eyebrows into cheeks and chin into brow and expression and I knelt there stunned utterly disbelieving.

Dr Kim Blake (in a diaphanous robe) had never looked less like a medic, no glasses, no white coat, no thermometer she stood there like some radiant angel, "Get up," she told in a soft but firm voice and I did, my mind a whirl of questions.

How could Kim be here, why hadn't she told me she could travel on the astral but from her frown I could tell she wasn't pleased. She was looking at my inert physical body and the empty pill bottles that sat accusingly close screaming one message.

"How could you," she said, "Haven't you learned anything?"

I could see she was angry and disappointed as I felt the full weight of her reaction, "This isn't what your parents want they tried to inspire you to carry on to keep going," she said, "Which is why I've had to reveal myself."

"Why did you lie to me," I demanded?

"I didn't, well not really."

"You're an OB traveller yet you hid from me Kim you let me think you were a sceptic."

Sighing she calmed down a bit, "There was nothing I could do to help your mother but I could help you and I still can."

"Then help me to die it's all I want, I need to get back inside that tunnel."

Firmly she moved into my line of vision, "It isn't your time to die you've too much living to do, too much evolving."

I couldn't see the point of any of it, "No thanks," I said.

"It isn't an option something you can turn your back on, you're an astral traveller and it's a great privilege."

"I've only one destination in mind; either help me get there or..."

"I'm not here to watch you destroy yourself," she retorted, "There are things you need to learn, skills you have to acquire; people like us have this obligation a calling if you like. We've been given a special skill and a greater vision than most people it can't be wasted."

"Kim I don't need a lecture okay, I'm stuck outside my body."

"I can see that the drugs you took have slowed down your chakras so much you're stuck in this dimension for now so why not make the most of it."

Looking at her sourly I shook my head, "Where the hell am I?"

"Hell is right your negative vibration has attracted other negative vibrations, the only way out is to be positive."

"What were those creatures?"

"Idea fragments, resentment, jealousy, basically bad thoughts given form."

They were monsters, "Will they come back?"

"Not while I'm here but if you want to avoid them for good you have to change your mindset and lose the self-loathing. Our auras are magnetic by nature they attract what we dwell on, like attracts like on the astral."

"You mean suicide isn't an option," I replied.

"No it isn't and nor is self-pity."

"I have suffered a bereavement."

"Yes and I'm sorry but you have to get over it and move forwards, death is an illusion you've seen that nobody really dies they just change and that's what you have to do."

"Thanks for the sermon or was it a prognosis?"

"You can dump the sarcasm to, look I've been an OB flier since I was a little girl and I've learned a few things stuff I'm willing to share if you'll only listen."

The dark clumps of mist were thinning out and the grey stuff was no longer oozing out of me, even the air seemed lighter, "Does my physical body need medical attention?"

She looked it over, "No you haven't caused any serious damage but you'll have one hell of a hangover," a beam of light shot down from somewhere to bath my body in this oscillating energy.

"Did you do that," I asked?

"I just asked my guide to give you a spruce up."

"Your guide, you have a guide," I was surprised?

"I've got several if you must know I call them my spiritual team and in time you'll have a team as well if you shape up."

"Just what do you want me to do Kim; I've no desire to drift around on the astral aimlessly."

"Nothing we do will be aimless," she said firmly, "There are lots of things to see and plenty to do."

"Bickerton," I said sharply thinking of the consultant and what I now knew about him.

"I think it would be wise to avoid him for now, I'm not sure you're skilled enough to take him on."

"He killed my mother and almost got me as well."

"Which is another reason to avoid the man, you're not objective enough and he'd use your emotion against you your grief he's good at that."

But taking him on was what I wanted to do, he had to pay for his actions and be made accountable, "I feel better now."

"Your loss is too fresh too raw," she advised.

"You said you were going to teach me so teach me how to deal with men like Bickerton."

"That will take time," she glided past me, "And I'm not sure revenge is a good motivator anyway."

Was she telling me to forgive the man because I couldn't do that, "I prefer the term justice?"

"Bickerton's karma will find him out soon enough."

Karma was way too slow and random for my tastes I was angry now I was fired up at that moment and these feelings needed some release, "Maybe together we could tackle him," I suggested but Kim was no fool.

"You're not manipulating me into some kind of spiritual vendetta Neil so get that idea right out of your head."

"So what are we going to do," I felt lighter and sharper and the atmosphere around me had taken on a brighter hue, "I need some purpose some reason to go on?"

"Yes I can see that," she said, "Do you trust me?"

"I'm not sure are you trustworthy?"

Head on one side she regarded me in a 'get real' kind of aspect, "I think you know the answer to that, I've saved you 3 times now putting myself at risk each time isn't that proof enough?"

I parted my hands in defeat okay so I trusted her at least for now, I needed to trust someone, "I'm willing to be open-minded," I said.

"I can't ask for more," and floating through my front door she waved me to follow the pair of us levitating outside to hover over the front lawn a couple of ghosts nobody could see.

"Follow me," said Kim gravitating towards a small point of light that had just appeared a brilliant emerald diamond, to my amazement she shrank down to dot size and shot through this saying, "Your turn."

Not sure what to do I approached the emerald diamond wondering how I'd fit through it or shrink my astral self when the diamond suddenly expanded by about 200% into a yawning chasm and I was sucked inside.

Shooting along a green diamond shaped tunnel that bent and twisted this way and that I flipped head over heels certain that I was going to be ripped apart but the tunnel spat me out into another garden, a much larger and more colourful one than my own like something from the Chelsea flower show and then some.

Everything was so big – stems, petals, branches, roots and the colours were intensely vivid, brighter than anything I'd seen before, then there were the scents the perfumes they were intoxicating.

Even the grass was highly energised mint coloured and giving off a spearmint bouquet with no hint of weeds or damage and when my bare feet came to rest on the lawn power surged up into me and influx of vitality that made me feel high.

"Kim," I called out then I saw her walking also bare foot across the lawn to a ring of vast flowers with splayed petals shot through with every colour you can imagine.

I ran to catch up, "Where are we," my senses were in overload, "Is this heaven," it felt like it a veritable garden of Eden?

"The astral's a big place," she told me, "Bigger and more wonderful than you've ever seen, this is one of the regeneration zones."

I couldn't deny that I felt fantastic, more alive than ever before, "I can feel power flowing into me from everything the grass, the flowers even the sky."

She nodded, "You get a real boost by being here it makes your thoughts, feelings and abilities stronger and opens fresh channels of awareness."

I'd never known such a place could exist, "How did we get here?"

"Intention the key to everything on the astral, you just have to want it."

Around us the flowers seemed to sing their own lullaby and I noticed they were turning in our direction, actually moving and blossoming even more, "This is incredible," I said feeling my depression, exhaustion and sense of futility melting away, I was in some way being cleansed and purified.

"The astral body needs a boost just like all our other bodies," Kim told me "Look at yourself."

Raising a hand I was stunned to see it glowing with the same colours and vitality as everything else here, my auric field suffused with a brilliant spectrum, "It's like this place is climbing inside me."

"In a way it is," she agreed, "Everything here is feeding, strengthening and improving you."

"How did you find this paradise," I asked?

"I was taken here by a wiser mind and now it's my turn to introduce you to its beneficial effects, that's how it works whatever you learn you have to teach, to pass on to the next student."

My whole being was buzzing I felt supercharged from head to toes and realised how little I'd done with my OBEs, doing hardly more than flitting back and forth to meet friends and relatives and more recently healing mum. It had never occurred to me that anything like this was possible, that my astral self could be given a boost.

"I feel a hundred times more powerful," I said.

"You were run down before operating below par, that's why you couldn't take on Bickerton and hope to win; to have any chance against evil you need to be firing on all cylinders."

Yes I could see that now see how foolish and vain I'd been and how weak, there was clearly much to learn and see, "Thanks for this."

She told me I was welcome then advised, "Mentally draw upon the energy of these flowers, call it to you and ask it to enter your astral field."

When I did the power shot up another notch, I could actually see rays and particles of light jumping from the plants into me; I could also sense an intelligence an awareness in the flowers like they were sentient.

Kim said, "Ask that you be able to take this feeling back to your physical self to charge it up."

"Is that possible," I wondered?

"Of course it is as an astral you can do many amazing things and you need to fix the damage done by those pills."

Ah yes my overdose I'd forgotten about that so I asked the flowers if I could keep this charge and from them came a warm glow, a fluttering of their petals which beat like wings giving off a higher note. I took this to be a 'yes' although I was reluctant to leave the amazing garden.

"You can come back at any time now you know it's here and have made a psychic connection," Kim told me, "Now let's go and heal your physical shell."

There was nothing to do she said I didn't have to heal myself, the moment my astral popped back inside the healing would be automatic the energies transferring. But before I did this I faced her with a question, "Will I see you again I mean on the astral?"

"Yes you will you so obviously need my help," she said.

"What about on the physical?"

"I think it best if we aren't seen together, now your mother's died I can't justify hanging around."

True and I had no business being at the hospital anyway I'd no one to visit; perhaps discretion was the best option. I had to go back to collect mum's things and for some paperwork but this would be routine and wouldn't involve any doctors.

"So this is goodbye," I said.

Head shaking Kim replied, "Far from it you've still a lot to learn as a disembodied entity, a long journey lies ahead with many lessons and a few tests along the way but we'll talk about that nearer the time."

"What kind of tests," I asked but she was fading away getting less substantial melting back into the astral mists and I could feel the tug of my own body yanking at me needing me to return.

April 5th

Why do lawyers always work in dark, dusty, Victorian cupboards that would have been familiar to Charles Dickens? This lawyer was a drab grey phantom with washed out eyes and pale podgy hands that opened mum's will by first cutting the string that bound the big tan envelope.

As will's go it was very simple almost painfully so, everything she had was to be split equally between myself and my two sisters.

All well and good but her major asset was the bungalow I lived in and my heart sank as I realised the implications of this. My younger sister Jen accompanied me to see the solicitor, my other sister Chris didn't bother but she did ring later to ask, "What's in the will?"

No 'how are you' or 'shame about mum' or 'are you coping all right'? Nothing like that just a rather blunt four word question and that was Chris's interest in a nut shell. No wonder I'd never liked her, in the months to come I'd have reasons to dislike her even more.

The battle lines had been drawn and my fate sealed but this all lay ahead.

Depressed and wearied by life I decided to get out of my body that afternoon, I'd go to Kim's garden for more regeneration feeling that I needed it. My sisters drained me, grief drained me and being alone in the bungalow just threw up lots of memories.

Getting out of my body was easy enough but when I tried to picture the emerald diamond I found it wouldn't appear, so I visualised the garden from memory hoping this would take me there.

I felt a rush of translocation and shot forwards through a pale portal and down a narrow twisting artery of light blue ether arriving somewhere within seconds. It was a garden all right but not the right one.

The thick tufty grass was strewn with weeds and thistles along with broken tree stumps, weeping willows and plenty of stones. A grey sky peered down at me and a chill breeze ruffled my astral hair.

This was not paradise in fact it wasn't even all that pleasant, the air rank with a fetid air of decay and the threatening buzz of insects I did not want to meet. No mint grass, no flapping petals and no surge of energy through my feet.

Instead I trod on a nettle and swore as the thing stung my astral foot, hoping back I tripped over a pothole and crashed onto my back small stones bruising me painfully, "Bloody hell," I shouted feeling even more sorry for myself. First that crabby lawyer, then Chris's phone call and now this could things get any worse on top of that I was alone in this wilderness with no sign of Kim or indeed anyone else helpful.

Standing up I again visualized Kim's garden this time in more detail as maybe there was something I'd missed or the signals had become crossed. With a whoosh I relocated shooting down another narrow tunnel to appear...

Good god this was even worse with bald patches, bigger bushes of nettles, sharp thorns, gnarled roots everywhere and writhing serpents biting each other and anything else in sight. The sky was a dim twilight and in the distance billowed a toxic yellow fog; I gagged at the smell of sewage.

"What's wrong with you Davies have you lost your mind," I decided not to attempt another jump as god only knew where I'd end up next; by the same token I didn't fancy returning to my body just yet so gingerly I stepped through the bleak landscape careful to avoid the snakes.

It was like something from hell a stinking ugly decaying no-mans-land it even had craters and discarded rusty canisters with the skull and cross bones logo on the side.

A chuckle made me spin around almost wrenching my ankle, shit there was someone else here possibly a predator hopefully not the hunchback, Another chuckle so I turned again, could I be surrounded? Picking up a fallen branch I hefted this two-handed all right whoever you are just try something.

The branch burst into flames forcing me to toss it aside with a cry; did these people have laser guns?

"Show yourself" I raged, "Come on I'm outnumbered, what can I do?"

Something landed at my feet tossed from an unknown direction, looking down I blinked din disbelief seeing the last thing I expected to see. Slowly I picked up the stethoscope, "Oh very funny."

She revealed herself by just materialising before me; taking the scope back she hung it around her neck with a cheeky smile, "Having fun?"

"Not really," I grumbled annoyed by the trickery.

"Oh dear someone's in a bad mood," she mocked which didn't help.

"What am I doing here, how did I end up in this dump?"

"The answer is both obvious and instructive," said Kim circling me, "Before you projected where you angry, upset or downcast?"

"All three and then some," I didn't go into reasons.

"And you're surprised you ended up somewhere like this," she asked, "On the astral action follows thought and not just thought but mood."

"Are you saying I created this nightmare?"

"Yes dead right," she smirked?

"But I visualised that Garden of Eden place you took me."

"Maybe but your vibration wasn't in sync with it so you didn't go there, instead you went to a place more in tune with how you felt. On the astral we don't just get what we think but what we feel, believe and resonate with. A crap attitude leads to a crap destination."

Suitably chastened I mulled this over and concluded she was right, my foul bitter mood had taken me to a foul bitter destination; it was a hard lesson but a lesson nonetheless.

"So to reach nice places you have to be in a good mood is that it?"

"Neil the more positive you are the better your experiences will be in any dimension, we're basically magnetic in nature and like attracts like. That's why it's never smart to be pessimistic or gloomy, it really doesn't help. Whatever you're attuned to you will attract, it's one of the laws."

I frowned, "What laws?"

"Cosmic, universal; the house rules if you like. Bad attracts bad and the reverse is true."

I slumped feeling such as fool, "I should have stayed in my body."

"Oh I'm glad you didn't because I'm off-shift that means I can teach you more stuff."

"You mean don't have an OBE if you're feeling like shit; I get that now."

"Good because it's vital you understand how powerful your thoughts are, how they can drag you down or lift you up and how carefully you need to choose them."

"My OBEs weren't bad before," I said lamely.

"You're playing a different game now advancing and progressing; the baby steps are over now you're becoming an astral adept and that requires a more precise approach."

"An astral adept, is that what you are?"

She pierced me with a look, "Since you've asked the answer is yes; at least I'm more experienced than you and so qualified to preach."

I was thinking of a slick reply to this when a loud hiss made me jump and look around, the snakes of earlier had stopped biting each other and were advancing on me; there were dozens of them all different colours some larger than others but all looked hostile with big fangs and enlarged poison sacs.

Cursing I backed away and almost stood on some more coming from another direction, these were even longer and some had rattles on their tales, they were diamond backs a breed of vicious and deadly snake.

"Kim we're surrounded."

"I can see that thank you."

"You don't sound very concerned, let's get out of here."

But holding her ground she remained astonishingly calm and I noticed that she was glowing, more than usual that is giving off a bright corona of light green energy that was thickening and expanding with a blue and violent border.

Interestingly none of the snakes were going near her in fact they were veering away actually avoiding her.

"Kim we need to go," the monsters were closing in from all sides now and I saw even bigger ones slithering into view from holes in the ground.

"Stand still," Kim directed.

"If I do that they'll get me."

"If you panic it's a certainty, stand quite still like me, calm down and focus on the word STRENGTH think it and picture it."

Sure she was bonkers I came to a halt and thought about strength; not feeling strong in the least.

"Now think the word SAFE in big golden letters," she said.

I stood there with serpents approaching and thought the two words as my knees knocked, oddly my terror began to recede almost at once going down a few notches and I began to give off the green glow as well. Not as brightly as Kim but it was there and below me the snakes began to slow down.

They were still glaring at me and hissing but the poison sacs were smaller and the mouths were closing.

"Can you feel the power," Kim asked.

"Yes," I cried as heat swam around me in currents and my green glow increased.

"Being calm and radiating confidence make you powerful on this plane."

The snakes were still now their hissing muted even the rattles had fallen silent, "They're not attacking me."

"They were drawn by your fear; negative entities always are they feed off it."

"So to be safe you have to banish fear is that it?"

"No you replace fear with something more positive this creates a shield around you that no nasty can penetrate."

"You mean like a force field an invisible barrier," I speculated?

"Exactly being able to shield yourself is one of the basic astral skills; if you don't know it then you're totally vulnerable to attack."

Interesting I thought in this world attitude was everything maybe that was true everywhere.

"Okay so I know how to defend myself Kim, how do I counter-attack?"

She smiled, "Oh you mean like this," turning to a rusty metal drum she raised her left hand and took a breath, moments later her hand glow bright red, cherry red in fact and from it shot something too fast for me to see, a bolt or zap.

The metal drum vaporised on the spot vanishing in a spray of red sparks, Captain Kirk couldn't have done it better.

"Oh my god," I blinked several times, "You disintegrated it with your hand."

"With my mind actually," she corrected.

"But how, how is that remotely possible?"

She told me to stand beside her and pick a target, something non-living and disposable so I had a glance and fixed on a decaying metal tin; it was smaller than the drum about half the size and already pretty crumpled, "How about that," I said?

"Perfect," Kim agreed, "Now raise your hand to use as a focus and think the word POWER see the letters as bright red."

The moment I did this I felt a different tingle in my body around the solar plexus, the current rose up into my shoulder and down my arm but my hand remained hand-coloured.

"Should I try harder," I asked?

"No effort creates a blockage just try to relax picture the word POWER and take it down your arm to your fingertips."

I got a slight glow a weak orange but at least the hand was pulsating and growing warm, "Is it ready?"

Coming to stand behind me Kim took me by the elbows, "Just relax you're too tense and breathe deeply, tongue against your front teeth; keep the hand soft not too rigid."

The orange acquired a degree of strawberry just a hint and around it I felt a circular field of power, Kim told me to see the target in my mind, "Now project the word POWER into the target."

I tried but nothing happened, "It's not working."

"Picture your target clearly, see it in every detail," I focused on that damn tin its shape its dents, the rust, the squashed top. The next thing I knew it flew at me taking off and levitating in my direction so that Kim and I had to both duck to avoid being brained.

Bursting out laughing she punched me lightly on the shoulder, "Nice one sport you attracted instead of projected."

I wasn't so amused I'd done everything she said and felt frustrated, "Bloody hell Kim can I try again?"

She told me to pick a smaller target so I did a quite recce and focused on a pram tyre lying on its side, "How about that?"

"Good now same as before and take it easy, build the power in your hand then see the target."

This time I got more of a red glow not as bright as her but a definite hint of cherry, when I pictured the tyre something different happened. The tyre rose a few inches into the air then began to smoke giving off dark tendrils of vapour, it was shaking to positively trembling. Good I thought just a bit more juice and….

The explosion threw me off my feet and I tumbled back into a lovely clump of nettles getting my legs and arse completely stung.

Roaring with laughter Kim clapped several times, "Well that was a bit better," she chortled. With a very sore behind I sat there grimacing and feeling very sorry for myself, "Bit more practise," she said, "But it's like everything else there's a knack."

April 6th

Its mum's birthday, that's right she died just 2 days before her birthday so I was feeling a bit down. Recognising the fact I decided not to project, Kim's words ringing in my ears that and the vision of those hideous snakes. I didn't want to end up in another wilderness and knew I had to wait for a better mood, but as the day progressed this didn't materialise if anything I grew every more glum.

Things weren't helped by Christine's phone call, my older sister was never known for her patience or tact, "The bungalow will have to be sold," she lectured.

"It's my home," I pointed out reasonably.

"No it's our inheritance," she replied archly meaning her inheritance.

"Mum isn't even buried yet," I protested letting my irritation show, "Can't this wait?"

She said huffily that perhaps it could then she demanded details of the funeral; complaining that rain was forecast like it was my fault.

So as you can imagine I was fairly pissed off by mid afternoon when I felt this inner nudge this psychic thumb tack that caused me to sit down and close my eyes, at once Kim's face appeared, "Can you get out of your body," she asked?

"This isn't a good time," I wasn't really in the mood for another lesson.

"I can tell that by your vibe but it is important."

"Can't it wait, it's mum's birthday so I'm not in the best mood."

Kim's features took on that insistent look, "Just a short hop," she said, "Promise."

I was out of my body and hovering beside her within seconds a bit of an old hand at OBEs by this stage. Dressed in her usual robe she looked fabulous; spiritual chic I think is the term I'd use.

"Okay what's so urgent," I said gruffly.

"Oh dear you are in a pet your aura's shot through with angry colours," she remarked.

"Phone call from Christine, guaranteed to make a saint psychotic; she wants me to sell the bungalow."

"That will have to wait," Kim waved me to follow and we shot away at the speed of thought arriving at our destination in a heartbeat, my heart missing a beat when I realised where we were. Oh no not this place with its starched white walls, anti-septic smells and blue clad nurses.

"What are we doing back here," I demanded? Kim told me I'd soon see and we floated up the corridors unseen by anyone apart from a cute red haired 4 year old who gave me a gap-toothed grin, I grinned back at her thinking she was a future medium.

"Where are we going," I asked as we headed towards the area mum had been ensconced, a place I'd never wanted to see again? At the nurses' station I saw some familiar faces and there was Dr Tewson looking all uncomfortable as he chatted to a pair of glum looking relatives; no doubt breaking bad news – his specialty subject.

"Can you feel it," Kim asked me but all I could feel was despair and depression the same cocktail I'd experienced on a daily basis.

"Not really unless you mean the air of melancholy and general futility."

Pausing outside a very familiar door Kim waved, "We have to go in."

It was the room mum died in that dismal, dingy side room where she had gasped, wheezed, withered and expired. It was the very last place I wanted to go, "I can't Kim."

"There's something we need to clear."

"I don't understand it's nothing to do with me anymore."

"The psychic attacks have left a bad residue that must be purified; nursing staff have been hurt and frightened by odd sounds, smells and electrical effects. If we don't do this, who will?"

I was still reluctant the place held too many bad memories for me and a cutting sense of loss, Kim sighed, "Think of it as an extension of your training another stage in the journey."

Even looking at that door made me feel sick then I saw a young nurse approach it, she couldn't see us of course but the fear on her face was obvious. Kim nodded, "She's eighteen and has already had a bad experience in there, the negative power is growing becoming toxic."

"Can't you clear it yourself," I was losing my bottle?

Arms folded she regarded me in that censorious way of hers, "This is something you need to face and once it's done you'll never have to come back honest."

She melted through the door giving me little choice but to follow and I felt it at once, god the place resonated with stale energy with bad thoughts and projected evil it was like walking through psychic sewage.

There were dark patches everywhere, grey orbs and translucent entities stuck to the carpet and walls; the atmosphere was beyond heavy it almost pushed me to my knees. The now empty bed was cocooned by what looked like a vast web of dark vines and on the ceiling above this a vile stain was spreading.

"What caused all of this," I asked?

"Cancer," said Kim, "Physical and energetic cancer."

"I don't see how the two of us can shift all this," surely it would take a team of spirits.

"We can do it," she insisted, "First shield yourself like I taught you make sure your aura is totally protected," we both took some time doing this and as we did the stains, patches and entities began to crowd around us drawn by our vitality.

"We need to perform a cleansing," Kim decided, "Like they do in haunted properties. Do you know how to draw a five pointed star a pentagram?"

I did and she told me to mentally construct a huge one in the air made of golden fire, it was the universal sign of protection, feminine spirituality and Wiccan magic. As I was doing this Kim began to recite a prayer or chant, some of it was in English and some in a language I didn't know, she also constructed symbols in the air made of red or green light, odd arcane sigils and soon there were as many of these as there were dark patches.

Light began to flow into the room from some source high above us although not the sun; it was an overcast day with hardly any sunlight.

"Make the pentagram brighter," she said, "Expand its fire to fill that side of the room."

This took a lot of concentration but on the astral I found my mind didn't wander like it did normally, my ability to focus was much clearer and my symbol flared like a small sun burning and dissolving any pollution it touched. Soon one half of the room was almost completely clear; it was just the bed end that still looked clogged.

Holding out her right fist Kim manifested a six inch rod of some luminous crystal and when she touched the web with this a hole appeared as the fronds retracted. She was still praying but the words were too low to catch, with each success the wand grew brighter.

"Neat," I said, "Could I produce one of those?"

In time she told me sweeping her instrument back and forth to slice away the canopy over the bed, as this cleared I saw there was something actually in the bed lying there watching us.

Black, bloated and rubbery with a single eye and root-like legs the tumour gazed at us with contempt its mass expanding and contracting as it lay there breathing. Seeing it again filled me with dread, I had hoped I'd seen the last of that vile deformity.

Kim busied herself getting rid of the last of the web before backing away, her wand a fiery staff of interlinking crystals each slightly different in texture and size.

"That's the core of the infestation isn't it," I said, "That vile bloody growth."

Turning Kim offered her wand to me, the last thing I'd expected, "Take this and dispatch the tumour," she said, "I think you've earned the right."

Grasping the wand I felt its heat and radiation its sheer force, I almost dropped it so potent was the device, "I'm not sure I can handle this."

"I am," she said, "Hold it with both hands and believe you're protected, draw on the power of the pentagram if you need it."

I did and as soon as I thought of the fiery star it floated across the room towards me hovering over the bed and casting its glow over the cancerous invader, that single hating eye squinted in the glare but was still fixed on me.

Then to my disgust the tumour spat on me ejaculating this filthy oil from its core to splatter on my chest, disgusted I backed away but Kim told me to stand firm.

"Your fear makes it stronger, negative entities can't handle confidence now get back in there."

It took a lot of resolve to return to the bed where the vile swollen monstrosity was waiting, its dark veined skin stretched tight I felt like a zit about to burst.

I lowered the wand aiming it at the bed and moved the tip of it nearer; reacting with a shriek the tumour ejaculated again splashing me with its toxic filth the smell of which was rank.

Its root-like legs reached for me probing my forearms and wrists trying to snag them, shivering with emotion I drove the wand downwards stabbing hard.

The tumour burst it exploded it ripped apart in a spray of excrement, blood and lymph drenching me totally. Now I did drop the wand, I dropped it and staggered away clawing my face and swearing profanely. Never had I felt so sick and out of place so totally revolted.

Kim pushed me out of the room into the corridor where I continued to wipe myself down and palm my hair to get every last trace of the cancer off me.

I still had hold of the wand and strangely this wasn't smeared with gunk in fact it was still blazing with light.

Kim said, "Think yourself clean Neil."

"What," I had no idea what she meant?

"Run the wand up and down your aura and command the filth to be gone, say and think that you are clean and purified."

I did as directed as power from the wand burned through me; I could feel it sizzling my chakras and actually saw the gunk melting away hissing and popping out of existence.

"This wand is now attuned to you," Kim said, "I think you should keep it."

"How can I do that, once I leave the astral it'll dissolve?"

"Look closely at it, commit its shape, weight and texture to memory."

The wand was basically eight smaller crystals welded together yet it felt smooth, each crystal had the same symbol carved into it a strange spiralling design with lines and dots orbiting its top and base.

"Remember that symbol to," she advised, "When you picture it the wand will manifest."

"But the tumour's gone Kim I destroyed it, why will I need this wand again?"

Eyes rolling she told me I had a lot to learn and that I would need the wand again; it was now one of my essential tools. There would be other tools in the future but for now this one had to be mastered and infused with my energy.

April 7th

The dream was so vivid and so powerful that I woke up remembering every detail of it and still could hours later.

I was walking down a tree lined path that glowed softly, someone was leading me but I couldn't see who this was just that I had to follow this person.

We passed under an archway and entered a five sided courtyard with statues at each point, massive angels made of ivory and marble with jewels for eyes, they were models yet felt somehow sentient and aware. I had to touch each one in turn moving clockwise and asking for a blessing.

Then I went up some steps and entered a small chapel, there were no pews and the stain glass windows held astronauts and flying saucers not Christian saints.

My parents appeared before me holding hands, both looked healthy and young not to mention happy and pleased to see me. We hugged and kissed watched by a robed figure I didn't know, a Chinese guy with a pointed beard who never spoke.

Dad told me he was very proud of what I'd achieved and how much I'd learned, that there was a lot more for me to study. Mum said a great struggle was coming; a fierce test that my enemies were gathering under a dark cloud.

She handed me this coin or medallion it was silver and chunky on one side was the face of the Chinese guy and on the other was the same symbol as I'd seen on the wand Kim had given me.

"This is your personal talisman," said mum, "You will have it for the rest of your incarnation."

"How long will that be," I asked thinking she wouldn't tell me but she did, telling me the date and time of my death and even how I would die.

I woke up shivering with this knowledge for it was given to very few, a rare privilege.

Mum is to be cremated on the 9th this was her wish so there will be no grave, it will take place at Colwyn Bay crematorium. I'm not looking forward to this event one little bit and suspect tit will be an ordeal.

My sisters will be there especially Christine and I foresee conflict between us, she will try to throw me out of my home and I will resist, so what will Jen do whose side will she take?

It was mid afternoon before I had time to project out of my body and oddly it took a long time, I couldn't fully relax so my astral was blocked and only partially evacuated. An arm popped out then a leg but nothing else would shift so I lay there neither one thing nor the other and felt frustrated.

Then this great calm befell me it was so odd a total tranquillity and I felt every muscle go slack as all tension just dissolved, I slid seamlessly out of my body and rose to a standing position seeing a cream spotlight to one side and within this was a figure.

My heart leapt but it wasn't mum or Kim in fact I couldn't make out who it was until the facial features resolved into a familiar smile.

"Betty," I moved nearer to the medium and healer who'd been such a staunch ally in the recent battle, she stepped from the spotlight and gave me a hug.

"I'm sorry," was the first thing she said.

"You did your best," I told her.

"We both did but there was nothing to be done, it was mum's time."

"If only I could have given her more comfort; done something differently."

"She was very brave and you're being brave to," said the healer then added, "The reason I've come back is that you need to know something, you need to be aware of events around you and what's going on. I picked it up clairvoyantly the last time I was here but I didn't say anything then because we had too much to do, now it's vital you understand certain things."

This all sounded a bit grim but I knew Betty wouldn't waste my time with anything trivial; she was too caring and too busy. I followed her out of the house and we flew at great speed to a part of Rhyl I rarely frequented, the east end a denizen of Victorian builds and private houses completely different from the scuzzy west end with its endless bedsits.

Floating up one particular street we hovered over a three story house with big bay windows, it was detached and had a double garage; I had no idea who could live there.

Wordlessly Betty sank through the roof and I followed sinking down through tile and stone, loft and ceiling. The place was old but well maintained and clean with large rooms – a lot of them – and its own internal elevator that led down to a basement which is where we both went.

A meeting was in progress around a circular table and I was shocked to see both of my sisters there, even more shocking was the presence of Bickerton and I wondered how they could know him? The other man present was a man I didn't know, a plump balding guy in his late forties in shirt sleeves and an orange tie.

Bickerton was telling my sisters that they needed to up their game and apply more pressure and he told them how to do it, "Get a lawyer a good one and begin proceedings against your brother, say he's dragging his heels over probate and refusing to grant you your inheritance. While you're doing that I will employ other methods to undermine him."

Bickerton's aura was very dark I noticed darker than most people's it was a mix of muddy browns and greys shot through with reds it looked polluted even dirty.

"My god Betty he's conspiring with my sisters," I was dumbfounded.

"Yes I know your mother was always just a means at getting at you, you're the main target the focus of this man's ambition," my medium friend replied.

"But why what has he got against me, I hardly even know him?"

"It's your home he wants your bungalow."

I was bewildered if this was Bickerton's home it was worth more than 12A so what did he want with my place, "That doesn't make any sense."

"Your home is special Neil it's unique or more accurately the land it lies on, a meeting of three strong ley lines 12A is a node a powerful spiritual focus."

"Is that why I've had so many odd experiences there, why I've been able to have so many OBEs?"

Betty nodded then we were listening to Christine my older sister, "The bungalow is worth two hundred grand just think what we could do with our share of that," she said to Jen.

"Neil will get a third of that to remember," said Jen.

"Maybe he won't," Bickerton smiled, "Not if he goes out of his mind and I can ensure that he does."

"How," asked Christine clearly not upset by the prospect of me driven insane?

The consultant smiled, "I have certain powers and abilities I can bring to bear against your brother, forces he has no defence against; that is if you agree to my plan as outlined in this contract."

A document was unfolded by the bald guy who I assumed was some sort of lawyer, Bickerton added, "I want 12A but you can split the cash, who knows I might even be able to get you a bit more."

I could see this pleased my sisters, they were positively salivating at the prospect especially Chris. I felt sick Bickerton and my sisters working together against me, plotting my downfall.

"Thank you Betty," I said, "For showing me the truth however unpleasant."

The healer sighed, "You need to be on your guard in the weeks and months ahead, you need to prepare your defences. I'll help as much as I can but it's down to you."

Kim's training took on a new urgency a new importance, no wonder she'd stressed defensive measures and self-protection. There was no time to waste I had to throw myself mind and soul into that training especially with so much at stake.

You've come to the end of this novel, but not the end of my adventures on the astral plane with Kim Blake (and others). I will tell these stories in another book which focuses on my life without mum and how I coped, and sometimes didn't, people met, enemies faced and trials endured.

The occult path is not easy; it tests us to see if we are worthy. It is my sincere hope that I am and always will be.

Neil Davies