Beyond The Fear Barrier

*Excerpt from part one of a series of short stories, with the working title,

After Life

He sat stale and hard; his gaze transfixed on the empty white wall. His last movie screen. His projector ceased to turn – it’s parts run dry and stiff. No longer was there a shining light beaming from his lens eyes, projecting images before him.
The machine was cold and without content.

It was a peaceful enough departure. He’d been in a fantasy, a waking dream, and suddenly he just knew. The moment was upon him. Hazy, almost, and calm. He felt no panic, no fear – possibly because he had not the energy to spend on such a performance, even if he chose to.  Visions coursed through him, travelling beyond form, beyond reason – searching.

Explaining.

The cycle brought itself around full. His body slowly washed into cold numbness, and in a gradually fading light, his thoughts dimmed and all went white.

Afterward

The old man was aware of nothing beyond the white. There was no vision, no sound, no smell, taste, thought, comprehension or emotion. No senses – in a regular way of looking at it. There was only existence. That sense of being…he who is….

Nothing more as he surged from his body, shedding himself of skin and bones and blood. His body seemed strange – alien. His face was no longer his. Him. It held a familiar sight, but his image was gone from it. Nothing more than a face, vacant and unknown. He surged from his home, through the sky and the clouds, and beyond the atmosphere into the stars. He surged beyond any speed the rays of light could follow, and the heavenly expanse melted into a hazy blur.

He surged out of the milky way, past the Andromeda, beyond the great quasar barrier, and through the uncharted never-never land of the black ocean. He soared past and through galaxies, invisible and impossible and unknown to any mind on earth. Past countless solar systems with suns beyond numbers, and places beyond the imagination, where the galactic sky was not always black and empty, but painted with brilliant, blooming colours and strange, unnameable things – swelling and disintegrating and surging past him – through him.

And he came to a place – a small cluster of stars. He poured into the light and rode within the rays to a planet. It was a planet much smaller than earth, in a trinary solar system – which, to human comprehension, eliminated all known laws of physics. He sifted through the atmosphere and into the warm, damp air. The sky was a rich, pulsating green, and he soared through its thickness, across an infinite, golden ocean, vast and sparkling. He passed over thousands of tiny continents of earth, polka dotting across the perpetual ocean of gold. Most of the islands rose into mountainous hills, with the land shrouded in a heavy jungle blanket of monstrous trees with wide crimson leaves. Others were softly rolling, sapphire grasslands with great cliffs and strangely twisted trees with long blue leaves.

Then he dropped, at last, from the dancing sky and sunk below a blood red canopy. The massive winding boles of the trees were armoured with hard, white bark. They disappeared below another blanket of crowns far below, like a giant corkscrew swirling toward the earth. This next canopy was sparse compared to the higher crowns, and was a lighter, poppy-like red. And he sunk below these leaves, and there was yet another layer to obscure the ground. These trees were much smaller than the others, with greyish boles and leaves of a deep, vibrant rose. Below these leaves was another thick canopy of pale, pastel pink leaves that hung limply from dark, twisted branches – and below these strange crowns was, at last, the lush, dense earth.

It was beautiful beyond description.

He sailed over the land, passing plants and ferns and flowers and drooping vines – in a thousand shades of magnificent colours that were indescribable. It was a fantastic, swollen, rainbow display of breathless paradise. And there were sounds that echoed through the air. Sounds unlike anything a human mind has ever known, and they were not disturbing, for they were only the songs of a wildlife beyond his comprehension (though he had no such thing as comprehension).

And he came to a shadowy brook, golden falls bubbling in the distance, and upon the grassy bank two creatures writhed. They had great, feathered wings and thrashing tails, and their bodies were covered mostly in thin, peachy fur. They twisted and groped together in the lush, long, sapphire grass. He surged toward them, for it was they who had brought him across the universe beyond the restrictions of space and time.

And suddenly both bodies shuddered – tensed. Stiffening like two inanimate sculptures. And Jakob surged into them, no longer Jakob.

Darkness.

…to be continued…

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