Large Arab horses and raggedly looking dirty brown camels served as beasts of burden, and oddly
enough for this treacherous, sandy desert, several strange wagons with wide flat wheels were in
evidence. One very close to me was covered with numerous odd items hanging, almost floating around it,
and it was these oddities which gave rise to the soft bell-like sounds I had heard on waking. I
watched intently, drawn to them hypnotically, they washed away my pain and weariness, their vision
reminiscent of the shower of water which, once in my youth, had fallen from a dark and thundery sky.
I must have passed out with the effort of raising my head to see more, for the next thing I remember
was regaining consciousness in what I took to be the wagon. The still vivid memory of the strange
items I had seen earlier was re-enforced by similar devices hanging about the fabric covered walls.
Descriptions will not suffice, for many of the things seemed to shift the very fabric of their
existence, not actually growing and shrinking, nor even fading and re-appearing, but displaying facets
of their being which somehow went beyond the usual three dimensions I've known all my life. Despite
the uncanny feelings these things portrayed, they were beautiful indeed. I think I felt that to
understand them I would happily go back to dying of thirst in the sands outside. The thought came to
me that perhaps I was in fact dying in the sands at that very moment and yet it worried me none.
There was an other strangeness to the scene which greeted my open eyes too, for eerily, the wagon sat
very still and there was no sound of movement, nor even of the wind which had been building in the
sandy desert of Oman. It was into this wasteland I had run to escape, when my home, a small oasis-
village had been pillaged by raiders down from the northern seacoasts, a week’s journey away.
“Where are we?” I attempted to ask, but could hear my voice was so cracked and ragged as to be likely
unintelligible to the old man who watched me calmly. His eyes were dark, almost black and hence pupil-
less. Were those stars I saw in the depths of them. His long hair was silver, and his skin was, well
it wasn’t wrinkled much but something about him spoke of ages passed, of a vast, vast store of
“You are safe for now,” he replied, his words sounding resonant and echoing strangely as if they had
each crossed a huge distance.
“What are those things?” I asked, watching them as they altered, perhaps expanding in ways I was
almost beginning to see, but never yet likely to understand.
“I am surprised you see them,” he said, raising his thick grey eyebrows and not sounding at all
surprised. The timbre of his reply seemed more normal as I began to understand some of his meanings.
Then another shock of surprise hit me. In those few words he had expressed, I had understood what
normal conversation would have taken days to impart. He was hinting that perhaps I would eventually be
able to comprehend his own existence which was so far from the one I knew.
“I don’t understand,” I said, confused by the fact that I was feeling a depth and clarity to my own
existence which I had never experienced previously. Was this man kin to the Gods.
“Not surprising that,” he intoned and the wealth of meaning in those few words seemed to express as
much as I had learned in my thirty years of life. I caught glimpses of several levels of creation
which had manifest this one and saw well just how entangled I was within it’s base existence and at
once resolved to escape it.
“Not so simple,” he said, obviously sensing the conflict which raged on the surface of my
consciousness. I felt like tiny waves upon a vastly deep ocean, who new nothing save the surface they
inhabited. “If we help you survive, as we must, you will be bound to come to us, for we accept no
debts. In effect you have already, for though time to you appears to unfold slowly, it is all as one
He paused momentarily and looked hard at me. I returned his gaze. “The sadness and longing you will
experience on your return to this plane,” he said, as a slight look of concern flickered over his
features ever so briefly. “Will be intense, yet short, for you will forget, unless you can cast off
your debts and collect those you are owed. It is not impossible that path you tread, just success is
“As unlikely as my being found by you?” I asked, feeling vast pleasure at what I was experiencing,
but not at all understanding the rich implications his last few words imparted, so manifold were they.
“Just so,” he replied, smiling with the pleasure of a thousand suns. “Rest now, you will be safe.”
As my eyes slipped closed they focused briefly on one of the myriad hanging things and it followed me
into sleep or whatever region of unconsciousness I visited. Its wings extended far beyond it’s body,
stretching impossibly into several further dimensions and as my awareness slipped ever so softly into
dream, I thought I felt the soft caress of feathers as they passed gently through my flesh and stroked
ever so tenderly across my soul, leaving the faintest of marks etched upon it.
I awoke, or rather was awoken by several children who had discovered me lying some way up from the sea
shore, so that apart from their eager chatter, I could hear the soft dumping of waves upon a slight
slope of sand and shingle. Hence the echoes of each breaking faded into a cacophony of grinding and
clacking pebbles thus dragged by the wave’s ebb, each moving against it’s neighbours. The experience
with the caravan was strong in my mind, as a dream will at times follow one out of sleep and feel so
utterly real and poignant, remaining more eternal than many actual memories.
In following years I took a wife and raised several children, becoming a scribe within one of the
small temples, earning my living by writing and translating for priests and the common people alike.
Luckily I had the gift for languages and was quickly able to learn new and different ones. I spoke to
no-one of the caravan, though the memory of it stayed with me in crystal clarity throughout my entire
life, coming to fill my whole being as I grew aged and infirm. I died in my bed at a great age and was
content to pass on.
Reborn into a region of wonders, as the old man of the caravan had said, I remained with him for a
time which would have amounted to just short of eternity in the realm of the earth I had left behind.
It may sound strange to read thus, but I cannot explain it another way. For my debt to be repaid I had
to give literally a life for a life, and a life to the great souls who had somehow contrived to save
me was almost infinite. Many times he had created universes such as ours and watched as they grew and
waned, for although their regions were also subject to dissolution and will themselves end, their
reign is far far greater than the time of this plane of physical manifestation. Time, whilst it does
in form exist, is displayed at once and spread out to view. They are not limited to the moment
they are in, for with their extra dimensions, time is more in effect as distance is to us here in that
our limited awareness is of only four directions.
They are indeed what I would call Gods and I lived amongst them, sharing of their bodies,
experiencing as they did. Once again the old man was proved correct, for I felt the pull of debts
drawing me back to this physical universe. Debts which could call me back even after a near eternity,
for despite it’s primitive structure and short duration, the universe had a strong and subtle power
Reborn to the Earth and remembering three existences clearly, I recalled the words of the old man of
the Caravan and felt such depth to the sorrow he had described so briefly and yet with such exquisite
detail. Once again in the same desert, amongst pain and suffering, joy and longing. Ah to be alive
I am writing these words to remind myself when I am next reborn, for it seems likely I will forget
the nature and urgency of the task I have set myself. Is it folly? Am I ambitious beyond the hope of
the Gods? My desire is clear, I believe in my heart there is such a path, between the conflict of
opposites, to true permanence. I seek a realm which is fabled and utterly inaccessible even to the
Gods I knew, beings whose own beliefs are confused by misunderstanding and mysticism, holding fast to
the tenet that to seek true permanence they must manifest themselves in this four dimensional universe
and surrender their power utterly.
So ends the translation of the document discovered at the graveyard of a small coastal village on the
Libyan coast. Learning to translate the language was in itself a satisfying feat, for it is unlike any
previously discovered. The tale seems to have been written by an Arab priest, but the tenets described
are unlike any known to me. I will have the papyrus dated, but I suspect it will date to around a
century or so before the birth of Christ.
Strangely enough the story seems to strike chords within me. It is possible the reason is simply as I
have laboured so long, in the effort to translate the previously unknown script, that during the three
years I devoted to it, a certain familiarity has settled on me.
I must finish this final postscript, for the strength of my body is fading and I hope that this
manuscript I worked on for so long will be discovered and my labour will not have gone to waste. When
the German and Italian forces destroyed the small coastal village I was working in, I fled, along with
three wounded British soldiers, all that remained of the garrison of twenty which had been stationed
there. I am the last survivor, and with no water left now, nor knowledge of which direction I should
travel, I fear the odds against my survival are well stacked against me. A roaring sound fills my ears
and despite the daylight my eyes are unable to see through the haze which encroaches. I can hear a
tantalisingly faint tinkling of bells. Is it a from within, strange for my mind to be creating such a
beautiful thing at this time, as my life is ebbing.
I again awoke to the old man watching me. His long grey hair and black, almost pupil-less eyes were
most familiar, as were the multi-dimensional engines which permitted the existence of a six
dimensional object such as himself to remain in this four dimensional universe.
“I remember,” I said, watching his ever so bright eyes.
“It was only time,” he acknowledged, smiling.
“You would indebt me further,” I asked, confused but unworried in the extreme as to the outcome.
“Your debts here are on the point of ending,” he laughed, “Timely too, since you had forgotten.”
We both laughed as our eyes remain locked.
“I will not come back,” I stated, for with my remembering so indeed did I remember that the journey I
wished to take was a far greater one, one which despite insurmountable odds was the way I chose.
“The debt is my own,” he said. “I would follow you to our true home, for what is a life when compared
“You risk much,” I said, not needing to ask further, for here was a God, in himself more vast than
our entire universe, taking the supreme risk of loosing himself to attempt the impossible, by putting
his trust in a man. By himself becoming a man.
When I struggled yet again to consciousness, sharp pain and thirst slicing through layer after layer
of weariness, I found myself back on the seashore. Smoke of burnings still rose from the devastated
village and I could hear the wailing of the women as they lamented their dead husbands and sons. The
sound touched my heart and tucking the manuscript I still clutched into a fold inside the long pocket
of my trousers, I walked toward the bedlam of the ruined village.
A woman approached me and held out a child for me to take. My first instinct was to comfort her, but
it seemed that she was intent on giving the child to me.
“I will help you,” He said, raising his hands to indicate I keep the child.
“The child spoke,” I told him of the miracle, seeing only innocent confusion in his eyes. “He told me
to seek the English Master and that we both belonged to him.”
He looked at my new born-babe, wrapped in rough hempen cloth, which was all I could salvage from the
burning buildings. I continued to hold my son out before him, that he would see and take the child.
The child’s eyes were black as the night and just as full of stars, I could sense the energy radiating
“Come with me.” said the Englishman, nodding as he understood and holding his hand out to indicate
the beach, away from the carnage of the war torn village. He smiled knowingly and even laughed a bit.
"We will leave this place."
I thought I heard a faint tinkling of bells and wondered why my mind would
be creating such fine and subtle sounds, such tantalizing familiarity. My
eyes struggled open, too slowly despite the will and urgent effort I
applied. The caravan which I saw was close, un-obscured by the heat haze and
wind borne dust and sand. I knew then that I would survive despite the odds
having been stacked so heavily against me.