The nerve endings surrounding the entrance of the bullet fired immediately, sending an impulse to the synapse and onto the next nerve. The objective of this impulse was to step up the nervous system and eventually tells the brain," Pain boss, real intense pain. Pain like no pain ever before. And do it quick boss because there ain't much time."
The actual speed of the impulse back to the wound is not all that fast. It's quick, but not light speed. " There's always time. You guys are always in such a rush. Just one more adjustment; got it, Ok, here I go. almost there, now you'll hear some real screaming. To late..." Frank's reach for Jennie seemed to end in mid-air. First she was there, then she wasn't. He had just given her a boost and then the bullet hit. Jennie had disappeared, the plane had disappeared, 'where did everybody go?' It seemed to Frank that he saw the sun rise, the biggest sun he had ever seen. And clouds, rays of streaming light. Stunned he turned around and started doing somersaults, floating like an astronaut he saw in one of those documentaries that come on late at night. They were really fun to watch when you're stoned. He felt a tingling tug over the entire surface of his skin. He was being pulled over to a dark spot to the right. The feeling was slightly unpleasant. No sooner had he felt the strange tingle than he turned toward the left. Confused, he looked straight ahead and an opening appeared there also. Each time he focused on one of the openings his body felt drawn toward it. Then he heard a familiar voice say, "Hey, did you forget about me?" Turning toward the voice he saw Jennie waving to him. She looked like she was wearing the curtains that his mom hung up each spring. They would float out from the window with each breeze. " I said I'd leave with the guy I came with and I meant it. Nice jacket, when did you get that? I don't remember you buying it. Come to think of it I don't remember you buying anything. Usually you just walked out of the store with what you wanted." "What the hell are you talking about ?," asked Frank. "I'm not wearing any jacket."
Reaching toward him, Jennie held onto the lapel and said "This jacket Frank. Are you blind?"
The only thing Frank saw was the same old shirt he had been wearing for the past two weeks. "I told you to lay off the pot for awhile, but no you had to smoke your brains out. Frank, I've got some news for you. I haven't smoked pot for two months. By the way, have you noticed that your feet have just disappeared. It's your brains that are disappearing," said Frank. Then looking at the ground Frank heard someone scream. It was him. He realized he had just been shot, and watched as Jennie's body jerked spasmodically and fell on top of him. He looked at Jennie, she had a horrified look on her face, her hands were placed protectively over her stomach and she started to scream, "The baby!, where's the baby?"
Frank put his arms around her in an effort to comfort her. "Honey, I think we're dead, you're getting hysterical" he said stroking her hair for several moments.
"What baby are you talking about?"
No sooner were the words out of his mouth than a figure appeared from the mist, "This baby," said the 6 ft tall stranger, "I'm what they call a short timer, I just needed to go manifest for a few months, see you later" and faded back into the mist.
The fact that they were dead finally sunk into Frank and Jennie's consciousness. They decided that it was, for now at least, better than being alive. Holding onto each other like children, they explored their surroundings. The mist began to lift an they could see beautiful mountains across the far side of a lush green valley. They were walking on a path along the edge of a forest. The trees were beyond description. They looked like pine. but were the size of giant redwoods. The path lead to a pond at the edge of a cliff. The water cascading out of the pond and over the cliff edge, fell nearly 300 feet into a crystal clear stream. An old man was sitting at the side of the pond. looking in their direction. When they approached, he asked," How was the trip? If you mean dying," answered Jennie," it could have been better. A dramatic end, but a little shallow on content."
"Well, it always seems shallow until you've had a chance to look at the whole picture. But enough chit chat, its time to get down to business." The grass surrounding the pond looked almost like a putting green on an expensive golf course. Patting the ground the old man said, "Have a seat and let's get started."
Frank was a little suspicious and said, "Maybe you should tell us who you are before we do any sitting. Fair enough," said the old man. "You can call me Ellden if a name helps. At least that's what everyone else in our collective calls me. I was sent to warn you and Jennie that your intentions are subject to immediate influence from other awarenesses, including your own. That didn't make much sense," said Jennie. "What intentions? The intention that forms when you focus on a belief. In simple terms you're beliefs formed by the input of others will distract you from reaching the core of your own awareness. If you believe that hell awaits your arrival then that is what you will experience. The confusion you feel just after a return is due to the massive influx of the collective into your current awareness. If that's the case," said Frank. "I'll opt for heaven. It doesn't really matter which you believe," said Ellden. "Either belief will keep you trapped in an endless loop that never allows you an opportunity for finding your way back to your full awareness."
Still suspicious, Frank said, "How do we know that you're not lying. Maybe you're really the devil trying to get us to follow some twisted logic."
" Maybe I am" laughed Ellden. "It is true that I can serve up a hell of a breakfast. However, I'm not the devil. If that were the case then I wouldn't be offering heaven as a choice, would I? If you want to float in a security blanket for eternity, that's your choice, but I've come to let you know of other choices that are available. And that, you will have to take on faith. "
Frank was about to respond to 'take on faith,' but his words were interrupted by someone approaching them from the forest behind the pond.
Recognizing the approaching figure, the old man called out, "Glad you could join us, Marell. I wasn't sure if it would be you this time since you just returned from the manifest."
" A little dazed, but I'm ready for work. I guess you've explained the situation."
Turning his attention to Frank and Jennie, Marell said, "What Ellden is proposing is quite simple. He wants you to risk total extinction of your awareness on the slim chance that what we all experience as existence is somehow nothing more than a movie created by individual awareness. There is absolutely nothing to substantiate what he is saying. Isn't that true Ellden?"
" Well, not quite.," answered the Ellden.
"It is true that I am unable to prove what I am saying. But, neither is there evidence that extinction of awareness would be the end result."
" What else would you call insanity?," asked Marell. "Some have made the attempt, including myself. You know perfectly well what happened to me. Every time I attempt the manifest I seem to go a little nuts. If it weren't for Lucifer's encouragement I would not be able to hold onto any identity."
" It's true what he is saying," said Ellden. "I'm sure you two have met manifest beings that, no matter how hard they try to be 'normal,' just constantly wreck emotional or physical havoc on themselves and everyone else. Every time Marell has tried it, he goes berserk, sometimes a serial killer, at others a cruel dictator, or most recently as a sadistic paid assassin. It's difficult to see the illusion when one becomes manifest, on earth or other planets. Take, for example, the lovely forest scene around us; as long as I create with my thoughts, I choose to create an atmosphere that is pleasing to my eyes and spirit. However, at no time do I loose sight of the fact that it is what I, and others of similar taste, have created."
" Yes," Marell agreed, and with a wave of his arms, the group found themselves sitting in a beautiful desert oasis, surrounded by large sand dunes. "This is an example of my taste; also very lovely, don't you agree?"
However, all were not so proficient in their power. Ellden went on to explain the most recent conclusion of his collective which was: In order to achieve stability of self realization it must be first realized in the manifest. "As we speak, a manifest human is currently experimenting inside the Infinity Vortex. A new tool that has been created solely for the purpose of achieving realization of the 'self' by removing any and all points of reference. We are all very excited about this experiment. Although, the first volunteer to experience this method isn't having a very pleasant time of it at the moment, I'm sorry to say. But, we all have total confidence in his ability to maintain his sanity." Ellden finished and leaned back against a palm tree, a satisfied grin on his face.
Jennie trusted the old man, but was surprised at his inference that the concept of heaven and hell were some type of cosmic distraction. Even Frank could hear the thundering sound of truth as it exploded into his consciousness. It merely needed to be stated.
In response to the old man, Frank said, "I don't doubt what you say, but, I for one, am content with creating my own reality and accepting it as the only reality. Why would I want to risk loosing the power just demonstrated by Marell?"
" Well," Jennie said, "That might be fun for a while, but what would you do after that?"
" Anything I damned well pleased." Frank laughed.
Jennie looked at the two advisors and asked," Just what does self realization mean in terms of choice?"
Directing his answer to Frank, instead of Jennie, Ellden said, "What if you were able to create without ever loosing sight of your total identity as part of The Collective Awareness. You would never again run the risk of loosing your identity because of The Collective cohesion."
" Or it could also mean complete oblivion of your individuality," Marell added.
"I'm willing" said Jennie, "but how do I get there from here? What do I do?"
" Actually, nothing, at least for now. The only way any of this can occur is if the seeker brings back the 'Keeper of the Gate'. At that time it will take the cooperation of the majority of the collective to produce the result.
The 'Keeper of the Gate,' holds the tether into entering the total Collective."
Ellden explained Mikell's awareness of the Keeper.
However, Marell laughed at what he called 'The Insanity of the Sword.' "Mikell has spent too much time with his awareness of Saint Michael. He needs to let it go."
Frank was a little intimidated by Jennie's quick response. He wasn't quite so sure that he would want to cooperate with a plan that might obliviate his own identity.
After discussion, they both concluded that no decision would occur until the manifest returned with the ' Keeper,' if ever. Until then, both Frank and Jennie would remain in the non-manifest without taking sides. Also they wanted more information concerning the effect of belief on their reality in the non-manifest.
Ellden understood and offered to take them on a journey through the corridors of structure. This would enable them to see examples of what he and Marell had been talking about. As he spoke, they seemed to move without walking toward a window that appeared to the right. Standing before it they watched in horror as they saw scenes of a fiery pit. "There aren't too many of these.,"said Ellden.
"This is a very old structure. These souls were trapped by the influence of their own religion. Lucifer tried to shatter this belief, but had little success." Ellden related a story of an ancient argument between Lucifer and Saint Michael. It seems that Lucifer became quite angry when Mikell suggested that it was meddling that was actually maintaining the structure. According to legend, Mikell said only the 'Keeper' would be able to get these entities to wake up. Lucifer's ego got in the way because he couldn't stand the thought that someone else had more influence than he.
Ellden then went on to say, "From then on it's been an uphill battle, often misinterpreted as the war between good and evil. Of course, Lucifer enjoys the power he has over others and will not easily give in to Saint Michael's directives. Mikell does have a tendency to be a little bossy. Lucifer's original intent, to release self tortured souls, has now been twisted into providing a credible avenue for their beliefs. Unfortunately, when Lucifer lost his temper with Mikell, he unleashed an aspect of himself that is totally out of control, even Lucifer wishes that it had never occurred. Of course, it only adds to Lucifer's awareness as Satan when millions of people believe in hell and damnation."
" On a more pleasant note, although also very sad, another stereotype." Ellden gestured at the window on the other side.
"These souls you see staring into that intense light believe they are in the presence of God. There's no doubt they feel intense and nearly indescribable pleasure, but that's all they do. Not very productive, is it? Unfortunately, they too, are so focused on their creation that it is quite impossible for us to communicate with them."
They looked through other windows and witnessed a variety of scenes. People working to help others, people trying to communicate with loved ones. Some were sitting in total darkness, trapped by their belief in nothing. Frank and Jennie saw everything they had heard of and even what they would never have imagined, regarding a life after death experience.
Frank quickly grasped an idea and asked, "Well how come we aren't in any of these scenes? I always thought that when I died, I'd just be dead."
Marell smiled knowingly, "That's the point, we're trying to reach as many as we can before they get sucked into their belief structure."
Frank said, "But I thought you and Lucifer wanted everyone stuck in their own structure, kind of like a power trip."
" Not so, both the Lucifer collective and the Mikell collective are trying to get more awarenesses to see their point of view. The trapped souls you've seen can no longer participate in anything. It is the Satan awareness of Lucifer that plays havoc with everyone's head, including Lucifer."
"Where is Satan?," Frank asked.
"In the playground created by those that insist they be tortured for eternity," answered Marell. "Not someone you want to encounter without the protection of the Lucifer or Mikell collective. He is totally insane and dangerous to all."
" What about Michael?" Jennie asked.
" Saint Michael was created from the awareness of Mikell by the belief of those that needed saving from Satan. Both are very powerful and can endure short periods of individual transmutation without losing either identity."
Ellden answered. "Unfortunately, not wanting to be upstaged, Lucifer also, at times, engages with his awareness as Satan. He thinks he's immune from that insanity, but he's the only one that believes it. Also, The 'Satan' aspect of Lucifer has been in communication with some manifest humans and has them convinced that they are speaking to Lucifer. This has created an epidemic of violence in an already chaotic environment."
The conversation was difficult to follow, but not impossible. Frank and Jennie wanted some respite from any influence and asked the old man if it were possible to go back to the pond. They enjoyed the creation and simply wanted some time to themselves. "No problem" said Ellden. With a slight nod of his head the desert dissolved and was replaced by the pond in the forest. Ellden and Marell wished them well and told them they only needed to focus their attention on either one and they would return.
As Marell and Ellden faded into the mist of the forest, Frank yelled out, "How do we survive here?"
Ellden's voice floated back through the mist," Who is it that asks the question?"
The sound of the coyotes in the early morning darkness brought Juniper to an upright position. She had slept fitfully, fearful of the strange noises around her. As she listened, she relaxed a little. The camp was very still.
" Beautiful, isn't it?" Molly whispered," They sure do have a good time, can you hear the little ones? They come out at night to eat and then run wild and free, singing on the way back to their dens to sleep. Were you able to sleep much?"
" No, I've never even been camping before. I guess I was too afraid to rest."
" Fear can do that," Molly agreed," it can really play havoc with your mind."
Sandy stirred near them and they left the tent. In silence they watched the desert sunrise. As the sun broke over the horizon, the others rose to greet a new day. Tyler had started a fire, and Molly made some coffee. Bert came out of the mine and joined them. He had spent the night watching over Sal. He owed his life to Sal, but more than that, he was a true friend. Sal was the only person that he could say anything to without fear of being made fun of. 'course he might kill ya, but he wouldn't laugh about it'. Bert thought, as he answered a question on Sal's condition, got a cup of coffee and went back to Sal. Eddie, Mort, and Jake looked in on Sal and then walked toward the town without speaking to anyone.
Don watched Juniper over the rim of his cup and wondered if she had a boyfriend. He was tempted to go find a phone booth and call his shop, tell his friend what had happened and that he didn't know when he would be able to go back. A surprised look appeared on his face as the thought occurred to him that his friend might be in trouble, too. The thought 'or dead' was quickly pushed away. Don stood up and went around the fire to speak to Hank.
"Have you ever seen so many RV's in one place?" Hank asked. They all looked around and agreed they had never seen anything like this.
It was late morning when Eddie, Mort, and Jake appeared announcing that they had found 'wheels' over at a mechanic shop in town. They went into the mine and told Bert about finding an old Volkswagen bus, some guy was trying to move off his yard. He was a real character, swearing up a storm as he tried to push what he referred to as a "god damned piece of shit" over an incline and into the wash. The three bikers had watched for a moment before asking him what he was trying to do. At first he told them they were standing on private property and they could find some other place to take a walk. He seem to calm down when they offered to help him with the bus.
" So, then he just lets you have the bus?," asked Bert.
" Kinda," answered Eddie. "He needed help, but nobody around this place knows shit about engines. So we tell him there ain't an engine in the world you can't fix and he says for you to come there and if he thinks you're any good we can have the van and parts to get it fixed. But we all gotta work there and help him out."
" Are you nuts?," yelled Bert. "We're stuck in the middle of nowhere, Sal is dying from a gun shot, we got the fed's on our ass, Frank and Jennie are dead and not even buried. And you assholes go and get me a job?"
Molly had walked in on the conversation when she went to check on Sal. "It might not be a bad idea, Bert.," she said. "I know Larry and he's a good man. A little rash at times, but a heart of gold. Gaf used to do a little work for him and I know he can be trusted. We really could use some transportation."
" I ain't leaving Sal."
Seeing the determination in his eyes and his concern for the wounded man, Molly said, "I know how you feel about Sal, but he's not going to be left alone. If he could talk, what would he tell you to do?"
Bert knew exactly what Sal would say. Relenting he said, "OK, I'll go talk to this yokel. But if he gives me any shit I'm outta there.
And," Bert warned, "Sal don't ever get left alone."
The sound of Ben's motor home broke into their conversation. "That's probably Ben's rig coming down the wash. You guys go into town and talk to Larry and I'll stay here with Sal. Oh, and if that is Ben out there, will you tell him that I'm in the mine?"
Within minutes Ben walked into the mine, Juniper right on his heels. He was carrying newspapers, but wouldn't take the time to show them to Juniper until he saw Molly. Gesturing behind he said, "Where did you find this one, Sesame street?"
" She's just a little nervous," answered Molly. "Be a little patient."
" What she needs is a tranquilizer, not patience," Ben said.
Sitting down, with Juniper fidgeting over his shoulder, Ben said, "There's plenty of news, Molly, and it's all bad. According to one article, the local authorities think you took up with some young man, killed off your husband, then you and your boyfriend skipped town. There is a warrant for your arrest by the Sheriff's Office. The sheriff also said that a large amount of drugs were found in your trailer in Rachel and in Don's apartment in Salt Lake."
" You're kidding!" Molly responded," Drugs?" And grabbed for a newspaper. out of his hand.
Quickly examining the papers from front to back they had found no mention of the incident at area 51. Instead, an article reporting that a drug ring, operating between Tonopah and Salt Lake, had been uncovered by the DEA. One article stated that, "drugs were being transported by members of a motorcycle gang from Nevada, to drugs dealers in Salt Lake City. The DEA claimed it had evidence that the murder of Charles Bowden, owner of a local Salt Lake Bar, by two of his employees, had been ordered by the head of the drug ring in Salt Lake City."
The story went on to explain that "Bowden, a former DEA informant, had agreed to testify in a grand jury hearing. It now appears that the Utah drug operation may have been headed by a local bank executive, Juniper Xantopolus, of Salt Lake City. Xantopolus managed to escape arrest with the help of the two suspected of Bowden's murder, Henry Owens and Sandra Day. Authorities further report that, after joining members of the motorcycle gang in Nevada, the entire group of fugitives escaped by hijacking a plane from a small airport near Tonopah. Arrests warrants have been issued on the three from Salt Lake and the motorcycle gang members for allegedly selling illegal drugs, and the murder of Charles Bowden. The identities of the gang members were traced through the California DMV from their motorcycles, abandoned at the airport. Apparently, all members of the gang were being sought by the police for previous crimes."
Molly was not entirely surprised by the news report about her and Don, she had been aware of the Sheriff's suspicions from the start. Although the planting of drug evidence was baffling; but the reality of this practice, as a ploy of law enforcement, had been well documented. It was simply another symptom of a corrupt government. However, the effect of the news on Juniper was completely devastating. Ben took on the task of telling Sandy and Hank, while Molly tried to bring Juniper's hysteria under control. On hearing the news, Sandy and Hank tried to relieve their anger and grief by walking across the Quartzsite desert. They did not return until after sunset.
Don and Ben carried Sal out of the mine and into the motor home. Sal was becoming delirious from the fever that now raged through his body.
He would slip in and out of consciousness in wild states of fear and panic. Ben was worried that he might go into a coma as a result of the extreme loss of blood coupled with the side effects of the morphine. Eventually, Juniper came into Ben's rig slightly teary eyed and apologized for not having been more helpful. She told them that she was prepared to take some responsibility caring for Sal. Don was surprised at this sudden change, but was glad for the relief. Ben wasn't at all surprised and as they walked out the door whispered, "I think that young lady finally got a tranquilizer."
" A tranquilizer?," asked Don.
" Yup," said Ben with a slight grin on his face . "My Dad called it a tongue lashing. My guess is that Molly handed out the dosage."
Waking, Gaf wondered how long he had slept. He remembered being in the tunnel and that thought triggered an image of the tunnel walls and pool. The soft shimmering light from the water was somehow reassuring. Cupping his hand to reach for a drink, he remembered the conversation with Saint Michael and Rendell.
"Either I've smoked too much pot, or I'm in for a hell of ride," he muttered to himself.
The old man stood up and decided that alive or dead, he would continue to search the tunnel. It took some time before he could use his new found third sight without stumbling over his feet. The floor image did not extend much further than a few inches past his feet. It gave him some sense of security in stepping, but progress was not much faster than no sight at all. Also, Gaf was never quite sure that what he saw actually matched the reality of the tunnel. Nothing existed past the image, it was a little like walking towards the edge of a cliff. Since he could not always tell when the tunnel would turn, he kept his hand on the tunnel wall. He noticed that the usually cool and damp wall was getting dryer and warmer.
Thinking he should turn back because the heat was quickly becoming intense, Gaf, turning his head to look back, yelled in complete terror as he saw absolutely nothing behind him. The tunnel was simply gone and he was staring into an empty void, the edge of the tunnel floor ended at the heels of his sandals. The overwhelming fear of falling backwards into that bottomless pit caused him to lose his balance. He desperately clutched at the tunnel wall as his body attempted to find its balance. The experience was similar to someone learning to maintain their balance while walking on a tightrope. He quickly recovered and leaned against the tunnel wall. His panic now subsiding, he reached for a loose rock, dropped it over the edge behind him and then counted by thousands.
It took nearly five seconds before the sound of the rock announced its arrival at the bottom of the pit. He then realized that what appeared to be a cliff edge as he walked forward, was not just a trick of perception. There was no tunnel floor, it had developed has he walked. It was the assumption that there was a level floor to begin with that extended the reality of a level floor as he walked. To test his theory he picked up another rock and holding his arm straight ahead, dropped it over the edge in front of him. Again, it took nearly five seconds for the rock to hit bottom. Prior to developing his third sight, he had used this method to test the terrain of the tunnel. It was the responding sound of the pebbles hitting the floor that had encouraged his movement forward. 'If there was a level floor then, why not now?,' he thought. 'Did the tunnel change when I began to see in the dark? Or have my expectations changed? Maybe there never was a level floor.'
The answer, now obvious, blurted out of him, "The pebbles always hit a floor I expected to exist." The problem for Gaf, at this moment, was the knowledge that the effect had been created by his own expectation. His knowledge of responsibility was now creating doubt about his ability to maintain the effect. Before he had gained this knowledge, he had simply walked blindly ahead with an unconscious trust in an amorphous universe; not unlike the 'Fool' in Molly's Tarot deck. Now, he would have to consciously place that trust in himself. If he doubted himself, he would fall to his death. That is, if he were not already dead. The pain from his burnt finger was quick to remind him that he still maintained a corporeal body. Feeling the security of the tunnel wall he mustered the courage to take a step forward. Sweat rolled down his brow. As he stepped boldly forward his arms instinctively began to flail outward again, in an effort to keep his balance. The thought crashed into his brain, 'If there is no floor, what about the walls?" Gaf stood more still than he had ever stood in his life, for a moment even his thought process stopped as he stood there, not daring to breathe. The heat was increasing. He had an image of himself standing on top of a pinnacle that rose from the center of a smoldering volcano. 'Some choice,' he thought, not daring to move his lips to speak, 'Fall off a cliff or roast.'
With great effort, the old man replaced the image of the volcano, with a snow capped mountain top. The result was somewhat comforting however, the heat was still intense. In an effort to cool his brow, he stooped and carefully picked up some snow. The snow melted before he touched his face, the small amount of water felt refreshing. 'Do I have a fever? Maybe I picked up a bug and now I'm delirious.' As if to confirm this thought, an hysterical giggle rose up from his toes and into his throat. 'Sure, I'm home in bed, and crazier than a loon.'
The image of the pool and the words spoken by Saint Michael and Rendell brought him to his senses. The floor of the tunnel returned as before, however, this time there were no walls. Gaf remembered removing the training wheels from his son's first bicycle and the thought gave him the courage to proceed, one step at a time.
Time had ceased to exist. As he continued, he became aware that the heat was not coming from around him, but from inside of him. The beads of sweat had evaporated long ago, the skin on his forehead and cheeks felt dry and tight, his tongue like cotton. A sudden sharp pain in his left side brought him instantly to his knees. In a semi-conscious state, Gaf crumpled to the tunnel floor. Images of himself began to dance their way into his thoughts. The most vivid was seeing himself walking up a flight of stairs, it seemed like he was going to visit a friend. As he approached their door, he heard an angry male voice and a woman's whimpering cry. In total astonishment, he saw himself crash through the door, pull out a large revolver and then kill the man that stood over the screaming woman.
The pain in his side seemed to disappear with the firing of the gun. Slowly, the images stopped and were replaced by strange violent and irrational thoughts. Gaf knew they were not his and yet, they seemed so familiar. "Who the hell is getting into my head?," he shouted in the dark void around him. Almost like an echo, he could hear himself answer, "Who the fuck wants to know?"
The thought that he was going insane quickly occurred. He tried to remember the dream he had of Saint Michael telling him that insanity might be a result of his passage through these tunnels. 'Am I hearing voices?,' he thought, 'or am I just talking to myself?' The notion that he might be Schizophrenic brought on a slow rise of panic. However, he soon realized that the label could be used to describe a wide variety of metaphysical experiences. 'Where,' he thought, 'does one end and the other begin? Or is it all the same? Are the schizophrenics in state hospitals suffering from a mental disease or are they channeling?' He knew that mental aberrations were defined by social consensus and were not 'in-skin' diseases. If channeling was a mental disease then all the prophets throughout history were simply insane, including Jesus The Christ. 'Insanity,' he thought, 'might be better defined by a loss of all identity, rather than a loss of contact with socially proscribed reality.' The prophets always knew their own identity and so did Gaf. Given his own definition of psychosis the images and voices were then a form of channeling. It also occurred to him that most 'nuts' considered themselves totally sane. "Without a reference point," he asked, "can I define myself in terms of any identity?" The walls again echoed Rendell's last words, "Who is it that asks the question?" "Easy for you to ask," Gaf laughed. "You're not the one losing their marbles somewhere in a Peruvian cavern that don't exist." His laughter seemed to fill the tunnel. Although the temperature remained very hot, it didn't seem to matter as much. As an after thought, it occurred to him that his sense of humor seemed somewhat related to his experiences. "The laughing Fool," he said aloud, then gathered himself up and continued the 'Journey of Fools.'