OWD58 Fanficiton.net Version 2.4

August 25, 2002

Written by Nathan Carter

All characters are either owned by

Nathan Carter or used fictitiously

E-mail: mysr@aol.com

Chapter I: Xeper - The Beginning

One day an old man went walking into the woods. The maple, oaken, pine, spruce, palm, sycamore, weeping willow, redwood, dogwood, and hazelwood titans seemed to be curiously leaning towards him (although the variety of the trees may have been a stretch). Various forest-type ambiance emanated from all around him: birds happily chirped in their ever-perpetual celebration of life, discarded leaves rustled mysteriously beneath his feet, and rapid scampering noises indicated the presence of scavenging squirrels and raccoons. The amber sun radiated it's beams through the ceiling of overhanging branches, making the forest appear as a peaceful sanctuary, rather than the dread haunts of the night that legend had unfairly portrayed them. The old man, a seventy-six year old wrinkled, white-bearded Caucasian, had traveled these parts of Northern Pennsylvania many times in his lifetime, always alone, always pondering something, whether it be economics, religion, politics, pop-culture, urbanization, shamanism, the "Pool Table" theory, or whether David Bowie's new album was worth buying. Sometimes his head was so full of ideas that he would (almost) run into a massive tree. But he would just push up his rappidly slipping spectacles and apologize, then would continue on his deep, philosophical way. The local Northcote residents considered him to be a revolutionary, albeit a harmless one who loved Nature and the human race. Neither World War II nor the rapidly disintegrating world infrastructure bothered him too much. He just took things as they came and learned the lessons along the way. Lovers, jobs, accidents, chance meetings....he took all of these things in the same cordial "devil-may-care" attitude, earning the respect of all that he met (except for FBI agents, who were absolutely certain that his cheerfulness had something to do with a Moroccan mail-order money pyramid scheme). Today seemed to be an incredibly good day for the old man. As he trod along the dusty forest path, it seemed that the whole Earth opened up in greeting to him, welcoming and beckoning him into whatever parts of Her four corners he wished to travel to. Nothing can ruin today the old man thought happily to himself. But something did bother his perfect day. The first thing that registered amiss was the smell: an obnoxious, rank and thoroughly foul odour that seemed to forcefully gain entrance into his nasal passages so that he may become nauseated. He coughed violently, causing his eyes to mist over with tears. A constant pressure was building up inside his poor cranium, but it wasn't the massive attack of a cluster headache. Instead, it almost seemed to be a slow vibration, churning bass-enhanced machinery activated inside his skull. I'm dying, I'm dying, I'm dying, I'm dying.... the old man's inner-voice moaned, but his conscious self felt otherwise. How did he know he was dying? Is this what dying feels like? *Yes* argued hit other inner voice. Whilst the two argued, the man sank to his knees, waiting for the inevitable to come. It never came. Instead, a gutteral, whispery Egyptian voice murmured something cryptic into his ear. "Xeper....Xephera....Xepheru," "What?" the old man asked blearily. "Xeper....the beginning of All is Now, the Key to Later is Then, the Dawn of Nothing is the Afternoon of Everything. Do What Thou Will Shall Be The Whole Of The Law." The old man wiped his eyes frantically, but was for one reason or another crying uncontrollably, washing everything into a neural grey. "One illusion has ended, and another dream has beginning. Take my wisdom to heart, young man." The old man flailed wildly around, but the man just laughed softly to himself. The pressure returned with a vengeance. Mounting, multiplying, the vast armies of pain waged among the tortured tracts of his own mind fields. Round and round, the thoughts went.... I don't have a will.... Oh yeah, that's 'cause I don't have anything and I don't have any children.... Man, even though people either fear me, respect me, or ignore me, my life has been a waste.... no love amongst such great people, it's all their fault....well, mabye it is all my fault....come to think of it, it's probably both our fault: denied emotions, missed opportunities, lost causes, and a general sense of melencholy sadness so widespread among the youth counterculture of urbanized children and young adults. SNAP. A balloon popped or a raven cawed or a chair imploded, some loud auditory signal flickered in the confused old man. WHAM. His eyes became clear in an instant as the misty aqueous screen retreated back to the ducts from whence they came. What he beheld took the breath out of him. He was no longer in a forest, but instead in a jungle. But this was no unexplored wilderness of Madagascar or heavily-researched paradise of Brazil, this was a jungle of the type Upton Sinclair spoke of. Before him lay the vast expanse of Berlin. He was able to maintain his consciousness, but he could not decide on a future course of action....

* * *

A deep voice entoned German songs of love and loss, but Nathan Carter was already bored of Rammstein. Strictly for short-term consumption, not for prolonged exposure.... He and his friends' eyes were sore from the flashing pyrotechnics and their feet were sore from standing. The other bands that were supposed to come yesterday (Strapping Young Lad, Within Temptation, Fates Warning, Emperor, and Frontline Assembly) were delayed for various reasons, mainly due to unfavorable and dangerous weather conditions. This seems pretty stupid, without the other bands.... "Nathan, are we ready to go?" He couldn't see who asked him, but he nodded wordlessly, and together he and his friends headed towards the exit, pushing against the flow of a million mindless fans....

* * *

Nathan's high school life was largely uneventful, save for two important exceptions. Through countless instances he learned the art of silence. Secondly, through various contacts he acquired a finite knowledge in investments. Searching for an ethical (but still profitable) way to finance his quickly approaching college education, he invested $500 in a biotech company called VaxGen (symbol: VXGN), which was responsible for the development of a fully-developed AIDS vaccine (AIDSVAX). The FDA approved of the vaccine....and the stock value jumped ten-thousand percent. Within the year 2003, the rate of AIDS infection declined by at least 1/3. Now, literally flush with millions of dollars, the young Carter turned his gaze to literary pursuits. Nevertheless, he was not alone in his newfound freedom. He would often invite his friends to London and Berlin to help cheer on the latest heavy metal bands (and to provide some extra financing if the band was really on the rocks).Unsnobbish and honest, the group truly seemed like global citizens. This just seemed like another one of their trips....didn't it.

* * *

The group finally got out of that crowded stadium, and boy what a relief that was. The air was crisp, the birds were chirping, and the sky was a vibrant shade of red (blue....I meant to say blue....). As the harsh and imposing commercial secotor faded into the distance, they approached Gelmir Park. Approximately the size of McKay Park in Jefferson City, Missouri (without the lake, of course), it was a modest location in the grand scheme of the city, but a good retreat if one was seeking serenity and peace surrounded by clustered pine trees and spruce. In spite of this, there was someone next to a park bench, obviously not enjoying himself in any capacity. He looked about sixty years old, white-bearded and lithe. His clothes were obviously that of an American tourist touring for the first time (i.e. bright and cheap). Deciding to humour the old fellow, Nathan casually approached the old man. "Hello there, sir....how has your stay in Berlin been?" The old man stared on ahead, either uncomprehending or purposely ignoring everything. A constant flow of muttering emerged from the old man's lips, yet none of Nathan's group could understand it. "Um....sir, are you alright?" "....changing, shifting...." the old man whispered. "....persona reconfiguration for transmission...." Nathan looked to his friends, bu they just shrugged helplessly. Suddenly the old man pulled Nathan close and whispered something strange: "....listen quickly! I do not have much time....majestytwelve, majestytwelve! The magi....trying to pull into....negative time-stream....but....not.....real ones themselves...." The old man began to hyperventilate and perspire profusely. "....look out for....all are connected....my mind....they....got....ohmygod!" He let go of Nathan and dashed madly out of the park, screaming wildly. "THE EYE! THE EYE! THE ALL-SEEING EYE!" The man was heading towards a busy intersection. Nathan and his friends desperately rushed towards him, but it was too late. Without a backwards glance, the old man had flung himself into the oncoming traffic. His life was gone before he hit the pavement. The old man's rants had obvious hints of Tolkien in them, but there was something else that bothered Nathan, something that tugged back towards his younger, desperate days. The memory was about to surface when......Wait........I..........have...........to............

Stop.....................

Go.......................

Red light.............

Green light...........

Hey....How can you be both here and in the book at the same time? Yes you, I'm talking to you. You're in here somewhere. One of you must not be the real you, but insead be someone else. Mabye the one who is conceptualizing this is not real. So, I should say hello to the real me and the real you and mabye the fake somebody else. Wait a minute....how can I meet anyone if they only exist in the story, unless I am not real..............................................................................Sigh.