Monday, 1 April 2013

Dark, They Were and Golden Eyes...

Dark, They Were and Golden Eyes...

“His eyes just flickered”, he heard a hollow voice say.
Or, he imagined he didn’t hear it; rather he felt it within his head. “Oh Lord, I must be hallucinating”. Patrick Collins tried to open his eyes but the light was too intense. They throbbed painfully.
“Am I dreaming”, he mused, unaware and unable to determine if he actually said the words, or if he was just floating on the edge of consciousness. He could hear a low hum, or imagined he did. “Medical equipment perhaps”?
“No, you’re not dreaming Mr. Collins, err Patrick I mean”, the same voice tried to assure him. “You’ve been in a coma for quite some time, rambling a bit – try to open your eyes”.
The voice sounded reassuring to Patrick’s … ears? No, there was a disembodied quality to it; hollow, ethereal, like the sound of a priest’s voice in a confessional. It was familiar, not unlike that fatuous blowhard – Father Lonigan from eons ago.
“What do you want to confess, Patrick”? Another voice asked bemusedly, “It’s been a long time since you’ve been to mass”!
Patrick was thoroughly confused though strangely relaxed, “I must have said that out loud”, he thought, or, thought he thought…
“We heard you quite clearly Patrick”, the first voice said. “Don’t try to make sense of it, you’re still quite disoriented and perhaps your auditory nerves have been affected by the explosion you’ve been alluding to – don’t you remember”? “Why don’t you try to slowly open your eyes”? The ‘priest’s’ voice encouraged him again. “The lighting has been dimmed”. 
Patrick tried once more to open his eyes but the pain was still too intense. His brow furrowed in concentration, “Explosion? What explo… oh yeah I remember”! Suddenly the memory came flooding into his frontal lobe. “I was driving along Mount York road, about 4am, and suddenly there was this huge ball of an incredibly intense yellow light that appeared directly in front of me; I drove straight into it: I couldn’t avoid it”! Patrick’s voice raised in agitation…
“Take it easy, take it easy”, said the second ‘priest’. “What were you doing out there at that time of night anyway? That’s a lonely deserted place and pitch black too”!
“I’m an amateur astronomer; I was going to look at the alignment of the planets through my telescope at around 5 as dawn was breaking”. Patrick replied enthusiastically and then a realization struck him, “I guess I’ll have missed it. It won’t occur again until 2040”.
“Well, that’s not all that long to wait, surely”? said the second ‘priest’.
“Are you kidding”? replied Patrick archly. “I’m almost seventy now, by that time I’ll be pushing up daisies or my dust will be spread over Megalong valley or something”.
“Do you mean you’ll be dead”? asked the first ‘priest’.
Patrick was thoroughly puzzled and a little angry, “Well…duh, yes of course, anyway how do you know whether I’ve been to mass lately or not”? In fact, Patrick hadn’t stepped into a church for over forty years, apart from funerals, marriages and the odd baptism. There was a schism between organized religion and actual faith; and Patrick, despite all the reading he’d done, was as confused as ever about divinity. If Dawkins represented one end of the scale and Pope Benedict the other, then Patrick was a notch or two away from Dawkins. “I’ll find out when I finally snuff it”, was his personal mantra. Patrick had a strange premonition, “Maybe I’m dead … am I dead”?

The ‘priest’ ignored Patrick’s question and asked instead, “Tell us about the explosion, the big yellow ball of light – what happened”? There was a pause, “Sure it wasn’t the moon”?
“Well”, said Patrick, “Just after I drove into the ball of light”, he said with emphasis, “I hit the brakes and there was this enormous booming sound; the light seemed to fly off in all directions and I thought I must have hit something. Then everything blacked out for a couple of moments and the light slowly returned, sort of a muted silver-grey luminance. I could see these figures coming slowly towards me in the beam of my headlights”.

“Figures? What figures? What did they look like”? The first voice demanded.
“At first I thought they were nuns dressed in the old style dark habits and cowls – you know”? “But as they got closer I could see it was just the shapes of their heads; dark they were and golden eyes. And no noses or mouths…just these blank dark faces and enormous oval shaped golden eyes that bulged slightly like an insect”! Patrick’s voice took on a note of desperation. “It felt as if I’d fallen into an episode of ‘Doctor Who’ or ‘The X Files’ or something, and then I thought don’t be stupid – it’s probably just kids dressed as aliens trying to scare the be-Jesus out of people”.

Patrick’s story was now coming out in a torrent…”but then I felt this buzzing in my head almost like a swarm of bees had invaded my mind. It was getting louder and louder, more incessant. I screamed out in pain as the intensity increased and I thought I could hear a babble of voices only they sounded as if the voices were going backwards, like when an old tape player is rewound. I couldn’t make any sense of it and I just blacked out”.

Patrick trailed off. Recalling the incident had suddenly made him feel tired. His eyes felt sore, throbbing. He tried to raise his right hand to rub his eyes and found, to his surprise, that his arm was restrained. He tried to raise his left arm and found it to be restrained as well. He tried to move his legs but they too were held fast.

“What the hell’s going on”! Patrick cried out. “Where am I? Why am I being held down? I haven’t done anything wrong”! A feeling of dread came over him, “Am I in a hospital or … what”?
“Don’t distress yourself Patsy, everything’s alright”. A third voice came from the direction of Patrick’s right. It sounded feminine, hollow and soothing. Simultaneously, he could feel the back of his hand being gently stroked. It was a curious tactile sensation; an odd combination of velvet and the caress of a lizard. “The restraints are just for your protection until the transition is finished’.
Far from calming him down, Patrick felt as if a mild electric current ran through his body. Then just as suddenly, he immediately felt at peace as if a sedative had just taken effect. “Nancy – is that your voice I hear”? “What transition”? He heard himself ask in the same disembodied voice that the first ‘priest’ seemed to be using. It sounded hollow, almost like he hadn’t spoken at all. Telepathic, almost …

There was a moment’s hesitation and then ‘Nancy’ replied, “Yes, it’s Nancy; don’t be afraid you’re among friends. I know your eyes are still throbbing but try to open them anyway”.
“Ok”, said Patrick, and slowly opened his eyes. The throbbing had almost subsided though his eyes felt somehow as if they had spread over his face. The room came slowly into view and his vision was crystal clear. It was clearly a medical facility although the equipment, which he did not recognise, seemed to hum and gently glow with a silver-grey luminance. He gazed up at the ceiling which gave the impression of disappearing into a gradually receding yellowish fog. The effect was strangely calming, soothing…
“Are you beginning to feel like your old self now”? enquired ‘Nancy’ as ‘she’ loosened the restraints. The transition was now complete.
“Now that’s a curious remark” said Patrick Collins. “Or was it a thought”?
He gazed at the three figures gathered around him. Dark, they were and golden eyes ... 


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