From CleanPosts

Revision as of 02:43, 30 October 2018 by Selah (Talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search


After hyz audience with Lord Zadkiel, King Melchiyahu sent hyz daughter Princess Lilith as a herald to seek Michael, give the king's regards, and bid the new prophet to visit the court in Salem to teach what hy would, if hy was so willing. Yet it was no sovereign decree.

Michael agreed to come if the encounter was open for any of the people to witness as they chose. The king prepared the amphitheater where oft hy entertained visiting nobles with exhibitions of personal combat. Lilith attended also, dressed for once like a real princess.

These are the words Michael spoke to the angels of Salem as the orange sun sank in the sky. In after years the sermon was remembered as the Sunset Discourse:

“Chokhmah is a lamp whose light is these words. The darker your thoughts, the farther from Chokhmah you must be. Sha whose thoughts have led har to drift far from Chokhmah is in no better state than hy who outright denies Chokhmah.

"Yeng are said to be superior to animals because they can control their own environment, but sha who embraces Chokhmah can control har own behavior.

"The noble born are called famous, but sha who embraces Chokhmah sets an example by har deeds and becomes influential.

“The wealthy accumulate many riches but cannot keep all of them safe. Sha who embraces Chokhmah has few desires, and so holds on to all that sha has.

“The self-satisfied demand to see good in others, and attribute the cause of a tragedy to unbelief or a defect in ritual, but sha who embraces Chokhmah is too busy mercifully addressing the needs at hand to render judgment, and sha does not live for yesterday or tomorrow.

“A strong yang can do hy wills to do, but hy cannot even determine what hy wills. Sha who embraces Chokhmah makes har own awareness of injustice the determinant of har actions. Sha diminishes the overflowing bounty of the corrupt to meet the needs of the impoverished.

“The boastful put their riches and knowledge on parade, but sha who embraces Chokhmah does not tell all that sha has, nor all that sha can do.

“The proud will never admit error, but sha who embraces Chokhmah sees those who point out har faults as har greatest teachers.


“Hy who denies Chokhmah speaks only of the dead traditions of hyz longfathers of old, and by coercion leaves them in force, but sha who embraces Chokhmah cultivates the living and the new as the coin to buy har way, and sha knows that fully half of a dialogue is listening.

"Hy who denies Chokhmah may refuse to grow or merely say that hy is willing to grow, yet in truth hy lives only to quench hyz appetites that hy might feel sated. But sha who embraces Chokhmah does not remain idle; rather sha grows, fulfills har passions and becomes joyous.

Hy who denies Chohkmah values only that which hy does not and can not have, and which do not multiply when shared. But sha who embraces Chokhmah empties har purse and finds har heart being filled. Sha contents herself with those things which are possible for har to obtain.

Hy who denies Chokhmah evaluates how much a yin is worth by considering only how much sha possesses and what sha might do to benefit hymself. But sha who embraces Chokhmah looks to what a yin does for others and who that yin protects, for that is what sha is truly worth.

Hy who denies Chokhmah considers yen vile and always falling short of his ancient standards. Sha who embraces Chokhmah extols har sisters over all existing standards because when yen do go astray it is always induced by the repression induced by those very same standards.

Hy who denies Chokhmah examines everything about who is speaking except har words, and hears only what fits hyz prejudices. Sha who embraces Chokhmah recognizes har own tendency to have a bias and tries to set it aside so that sha may understand what is really being said.

"When hy who denies Chokhmah suffers an indignity hy mindlessly retaliates by committing another indignity. Sha who embraces Chokhmah knows the greatest revenge is simply not to be like hym who did the injury. The greatest conqueror is the yin who has conquered harself.”

Michael concluded the Sunset Discourse by healing many of the angels who came to hear hym speak and it was hyz sincere hope that one day the instruments and medicines hy used would not be viewed as magic. King Melchiyahu sent word bidding Michael to come before the throne.

After hy entered the castle and drew near to the King's seat Michael was announced by Lilith, who at har father's command was still in the temporary role of herald. No titles were given, it was known that Michael was a yang of the city, the commoner son of a glassblower.


The King asked, “When you repeatedly say, ‘sha who embraces Chokhmah’ do you mean no yang can become your disciple?”

“Not at all, Your Majesty," said Michael. "When I speak in those terms I wish to convey an image. A yang that admires Chokhmah will have a gentle heart."

"The yang who embraces Chokhmah sees others around hym as another ‘I’ yet hy will retain his strength and hyz male angelic nature, as hy rightly should.”

"My own daughter has always had a fierce heart, yet sha has come to admire your teachings, and this has gentled har."

"The King is aware that some prefer to use the left hand,” Michael says. At first the King and hyz attendants are puzzled by this apparent non-sequitur. But Michael continues. “This is not a matter of choice. There is an element of chance that is a part of every birth."

Michael stepped aside to a nearby bowl of mixed nuts and thrust first hyz left hand within, then hyz right. Hy opened both hands to show the King. “If you count the number of morsels I have in each hand, and their kinds, you will find they are not exactly the same sets. Angels who prefer to use their left hand are more few than those who prefer to use their right, so somehow this has been ascribed to evil. Charlatans profess to change this tendency to the acceptable one." Michael returned the nuts to the bowl, but retained one to eat.

Suddenly King Melchiyahu saw through the elliptical manner of Michael's digression and admired the way it was done, so as not to embarrass Princess Lilith. Sha saw it also and said, "Don't forget that some angels are equally at ease using both their right and left hands!"

“Lucky you, Princess Lilith," said Michael with a gentle smile. "Enjoy your life and never allow yourself to be talked into living a lie."

Melchizedek looked at his beloved sister then and belatedly noticed sha wore no leather above har feet. Sha had cleaned up nicely. Melchizedek raised his eyes to take in Lilith's red dress and hy could not recall the last time hy'd seen har wear one. Finally he saw how har eyes seemed to be drowning in Michael and in an instant hy knew what was happening to har. Hy said, "Who are you really, Michael?"


Michael drew near to Melchizekek. "Your Royal Highness, for years you were not to be seen in Salem but only your father the king, yourself, and two servants knew that you were in the other world searching for a man who was not content to worship the gods of his fathers."

The prince was stunned to silence. Melchiyahu said, "My son found a man by the name of Abram, but his loyalty to his own father’s well-being exceeded any loyalty to what was, to him, an unknown god. Melchizedek found no others, and when he returned he reported failure."

Michael had no power to open a fold-door in heaven, only Keter or Daat, but the Abram case remained a piece of unfinished business. Communicating directly with Keter, Chokhmah demanded a link. A bubble grew to envelop Michael and through it Harran on Earth could be seen.

The heat of the desert seeped from the fold-door into the king's chamber.

Michael stepped out of the sphere and said, "Prince Melchizedek, know that Terah, the father of Abram, is dead. Return to Earth at once and complete the errand as your father once commanded you."

Melchizedek glanced from Michael to hyz father and had naught to say.

Michael said to the Prince, "Make haste, and delay not to take anything that you think you will need. I will provide them for you myself."

The king rose from hyz throne. "Guriel! Iofiel! Come forth!"

Two young court attendants drew near to the king and knelt.

Melchiyahu said to hyz son, "These dirks shall accompany you, for Zophiel and Kemuel have attained yanghood and I have released them from service."

The name Iofiel means Beauty of God, and Guriel means Whelp of God. They follow Melchizedek into the ball of distorted desert light and are seen to shrink as they walk away into Harran. Keter, not willing to mar the stone floor, raises the fold-door before closing it.

The king approached Michael and dropped before hym on one knee, but Michael bade hym to rise. "Truly I am in union with the holy one you call Chokhmah. The Princess has heard me say this. But for my part I call you my students, not my servants as Keter would have you be."


Hearing this King Melchiyahu rose and said, “My daughter has expressed to me a strong desire to become your leading student, Michael, if you were willing to receive har. I deem that you would return to me a daughter none could gainsay was a fitting princess of this realm."

After a long pause Michael replied, "When I used the word 'students' in the past I always had in mind all angels and nephilim and humans. I never considered founding a formal school. It would demand a far greater commitment than a few hours away from the castle every day. Would you, Princess Lilith, be willing to part with your father for years? It might be you would never see hym again as a living yang."

“I am willing to do so Lord Michael, and much more: I would put the Fallen Angels at your command. But not, I assure you, as thieves.”

In that moment Michael needed no more persuasion. Hy had found willing allies in the ancient dispute with Keter and Daat, and despite hyz frequent assurances that Chokhmah viewed planet-dwellers only as Students, hy saw the utility of having some who were servants as well.

Michael said, "Sire, let it be so: I accept your daughter Princess Lilith as the first acolyte in what I choose to call the b'nei elohim, the children of the gods." Then hy bowed deeply, a god-yang paying sincere tribute to a cherub-king, and the audience was concluded.

Hell's Half Acre is a roadside patch of badlands almost exactly in the center of Wyoming. It's much bigger than the name suggests, more like Hell's Half Square Mile, and the nearest sandstone and shale scarp that looks similar to it lies a whole state away in South Dakota.

A brown-skinned man emerged from the entrance of a cave in the eroded landscape dressed in dark blue-gray trousers and a knee-length jacket. He had a matching shirt and a silver leaf brooch in place of a tie and looked like a Shoshone with a good seamstress for a wife.

But the fellow was too short, his hair wasn't straight enough, and his facial features suggested the Mediterranean shores were his true home. He had never walked in that place before, but the strange eroded landscape reminded him of the desolate area around the Salt Sea.

It was one hundred fifty feet from the floor of the ravine to the gravel parking lot above and the man ascended with no sign of exertion. He once roamed on foot the whole land of his birth from Lake Kinneret as far as Mount Hermon and south to the hill country of Judaea .


He noted, without any surprise, the presence of a maroon 1941 Chrysler Town & Country woodie parked at the restaurant overlooking the geological oddity and knew he would find Robyn and her friends eating lunch inside, just as Robyn knew he was coming and gave fair warning.

Robyn, Jerry, Peter, Hunky and Dory were already standing at their table when he walked indoors, which the other guests might have thought was odd. None of them had ever seen him before but as b'nei elohim they knew a seraph on sight and stopped everything, ready to serve.

"Please be seated," he said, grabbing a chair from another table and carrying it over to theirs. "I'll have what you're having, Peter."

The Prophet raised a hand to flag down the waitress but the newcomer said, "No, not allegory. I'll literally have what you're having."

He took up a knife, cut Peter's cheeseburger in two, and helped himself to one piece.

Hunky said, "I'm pretty sure that burger is not kosher, Jesus. Aren't you Jewish?"

"Not Jesus, Hunky. Call me Yeshua. The Greeks thought Yeshua was a girly name and called me Iesous. The Romans spelled it I-E-S-U-S. Then later the English thought names beginning with vowels were too girly and called me Jesus. As for the food, my mother made just one arbitrary law about cutting a little flap of skin. Mixing meat and dairy was never on her mind."

Dory and Jerry stared at Yeshua in wonder, trying to reconcile his actual appearance with the popular depictions of him and there was just no way to do it. Robyn seemed preoccupied and looked off to the side. "What is wrong, Robyn?" Yeshua asked her. "What do you see?"

She said, "Peter announces the wedding but the White Wing of the Church will not accept it. Jerry is attacked, but torture doesn't work on b'nei elohim and Jerry's friends retaliate, so Paul Bergin and Klaus Hansen try to kill me. They end up killing the Church instead."

"How would you reply, Robyn, if I asked in truth that you do not avoid or resist those men, even to your death?"

After a long pause she said, "I would decline such a request, Lord. I'm not in any particular hurry for my life come to an end just when I'm getting started."

"And what did my cross teach you?"


"That death is not a blank wall, it's a door, and you went through it and came back to show us that even if we die we don't stay dead. But now I see how time really works and I know it was all a magic trick like Jerry with his coins."

Yeshua was genuinely fascinated by Robyn's unexpected reply. He asked, "When you look at my life with your talent, what do you see?"

She said, "I see a movie of a burning fuse, but the movie is running backwards. The fuse assembles itself from smoke and sparks. It grows. One time that fuse looped back, crossed itself, and then there were two burning Yeshuas experiencing an advancing present, but one of them was wiped off the face of the Earth by the Romans. He hit that blank wall we call death. The one who lived, the lucky one, is you."

"You're wrong about the blank wall, Robyn. The part of me that is Binah carried over the dying memories of the man who was put to death and merged them with my own."

"Again, Lord, lucky you. But that didn't help the Yeshua who experienced death. You're a different one."

"Robyn, nobody in the whole history of both worlds has ever 'experienced' death. Yes, we experience dying, each one of us, from the moment we are born, and there comes a moment in our lives that is not followed by another one, but that last moment never becomes a memory."

"Lord, will you please say why I must not resist my own murder?"

"When you and Hunky escaped your prison last night what did you do to make the correct combination appear in your memory?"

"I had to begin punching them in."

"Even so, your own end will spark a beginning. But Robyn, I will not order you to do what you are unwilling to do, so let us speak of something else. Your friends will not arrive in Headwater until late tonight. Will you come alone with me? I can bring you to a reunion with your mother in almost no time at all."

Dory remembered the jaunt she had made with Michael and said, "You should take him up on that offer, girl, it's the only way to travel." Jerry heartily nodded in accord. So Robyn, who felt a little guilty telling Yeshua no on the first thing, told him yes on the other.


After hugging her farewells Robyn hiked with Yeshua down to the bottom of the ravine and followed him into the dark cave, where it grew light again, a little warmer, and they were kicking through fallen leaves piled up to their knees. But there was still plenty of green.

"Christmas trees!" exclaimed Robyn when she saw a stand of Douglas Fir. Many more of them covered the mountains she could see through bare branches of maple and alder. They were standing on a mountain as well, near the top. Yeshua said, "This is just a short side trip."

"Where are we, Lord?"

"We are still in your country. Of the forty-eight states, this one is furthest to the north and to the west."


"I want you and your friends to put together a migration and move the Red Wing of the Church here."

"But who will listen?"

"You and Jerry, Hunky and Dory are ophanim, the only such outside of heaven. In the eyes of myself and Michael no President or Pope is greater than you. And when Headwater dries up, literally, I think the ones who will listen are those who understand when money talks. "

Robyn looked through the trees to the bottom land at the foot of the mountain laid down by repeated mud flows from a large nearby volcano and she remembered the Japanese-American fellow at Heart Mountain who helped her and Hunky escape by giving them clothing and advice.

She said, "There's a Mr. Kaneko who lost his strawberry farm when they sent him to the camp. I want to buy a new one for him, Lord, right there. Do you see?"

"After the war is over," Yeshua said, and he produced a large envelope somehow, perhaps by using the Jerry trick.

"Yes. Mr. Kaneko will have his land when the relocation camp is no more. That is a very kind thought, Robyn. But this money is for your mother, to return to the home of her own parents in the east."

Robyn accepted the envelope gratefully. Yeshua displayed a small object.


Robyn accepted the envelope gratefully. Yeshua displayed a small object.

"Robyn, if you choose to do what I asked, this will give you a temporary link similar to the one I have with with Binah. All your memories will be saved."

Robyn took a quick glance at time and saw that there was another her eating lunch back there at Hell's Half Acre.

Yeshua said, "I have put us back into the first stream, the one where you ate your lunch in peace and I never appeared. Do you feel like a mere copy, Robyn? Did you notice any bump?""

"No, Lord."

"So will it be when there is one Robyn again with the memories of both. Robyn, have a little faith that I am nothing like Keter or Daat. What kind of teacher would deceive a student in a matter such as this?"

"Forgive me, Lord," Robyn said, and she accepted the device he offered. She saw it would resemble a large mole when it was installed.

"Be of good cheer," Yeshua told her. "You alone among all the humans of Earth have the real freedom to choose, because you alone can look ahead. And there is so much more than mere duty for the b'nei elohim. You will soon find that one benefit even rivals eternal life."

Deacon Paul had nothing to say, and he declined to make his phone call to a lawyer or anyone else. FBI Special Agent Mark Felt was content to let Bergin stew in the county lockup overnight and he called it a day. The sheriff dropped him off at the library on 17th and V.

When Felt wasn't in counter-surveillance mode he slammed to the full reverse and became a man of precise routine. His ritual at the end of the workday was always to sit in a library, summarize the events of the day, and mail it to Dotty back in DC. Somehow this Robyn knew.

That day had been more eventful than any since Quantico, and it took Felt longer than usual to summarize events for Dotty on the stationary Robyn had provided. When he was finished, Felt spotted a book on the table with a note taped to it, inked in a neat feminine hand.

The note said:

Dear Special Agent Felt,


Well done on the bust, but there were two sets of footprints at the scene of Kim's murder and you've put away the low-hanging fruit. The other fellow is smarter and has (or rather he will have) an unexpected ally within the Bureau. Meanwhile, to compensate for the unfortunate renovation of B Wing at the Temple, I bring your attention to this excellent account of the Red Wing's part in the origin of the Church of Green Dome. It might explain the behavior of your supervisor SAC Tolson. Enjoy!


Felt glanced around the library to see if Robyn was watching. How did she know to leave the book at just that table and not another one? The title of the book was "Island in the Sky: The Life of the Kuwapi People" written in 1925 by Jashen Shybear and it was rather thick.

The Kuwapi were more significant than a mere band of nomads scratching out their existence on the Great Plains of North America, yet they did not have the interior blood ties to mark them as a tribe or even a clan. They originated as outcasts from among the Oglala Sioux.

Kuwapi means "they follow". The outcasts wandered the tribe's hunting grounds as a kind of punishment detail for religious and other offenses, with the level of Oglala displeasure permanently tallied by the number of whip scars each one bore on their back, male and female.

To the north the Kuwapi were beset by the Dakotas who held the entire Black Hills and the plains around them. The Kuwapi named them the northern raiders and if the mainline Oglalas helped fend them off from time to time it was more to ensure the hunt than to do any favors.

In the richer grasslands eastward the Kuwapi had the fierce Pawnees to contend with. To the south along the Oregon Trail they were buffeted by the Arapahoes and also ran the risk of encountering fearful white settlers and the United States Army troops who protected them.

In the scrubby furrowed lands westward they had the Cheyennes to fear. The whole northwest was put out of their minds from dread of the Crows and Blackfeet. But in the ever-moving sliver of meager grasslands left in the wake of the Oglala Nation the Kuwapi hunters rode.

Wanica led them downwind of a herd of bison drinking water at a ford in a large creek named Squaw River by the whites. When he signaled a halt, they tied their horses off to the roots of sun-bleached stumps. Quietly they crept unseen through brush to approach the herd.


Some of the animals seemed to grow nervous although they could not see any of the men. As Wanica and his hunters crept through the riparian zone to watch the herd they cast no shadows. The day was darker than most, with a low overcast. It was cold, but it did not rain.

The bull stopped drinking and stared downstream, sensing danger. Judging the moment to be right, Wanica stood from behind a shrub and loosed an arrow. The bolt struck a cow in a flank but it was not a lethal shot. All the bison heard the cry of the victim and panicked.

A rapid series of shots were made by other hunters but all of their arrows missed or made non-lethal wounds. The bison fled, ascending a slope to the north and west and making for the cover of the low cloud bank, although they were too stupid to have planned such a move.

The hunters returned to their horses. They followed the herd away from the river and up the hillside into the cloud bank which enveloped them as a thick fog. Bows were held at the ready, turning left and right, but nothing was visible to the men in the complete whiteout.

Further uphill the fog cleared, patches of blue sky were seen, and three of the bison were isolated and exposed. Arrows were loosed and struck home, dropping one of the animals. The two surviving bison ran back down off the hill into the fog, seeking the safety of numbers.

Wanica ordered braves to carve up the body of the fallen animal. Meat was loaded on skids made of wooden staves and animal skin to be dragged away. Nothing of the bison was wasted. Satisfied with the progress of the younger men, Wanica turned away with the other hunters.

The hunters rode up the slope until they could go no higher. The summit of the high hill stood alone over a sea of clouds that reached the horizon. It was a rare and beautiful moment. Wanica was deeply moved by the sight. He said, "I name this place the Island in the Sky."

The herd of bison slowly wandered back out of the fog, grazing warily on the mountaintop even with the hunters close at hand. The animals sensed that the humans had done their worst and would leave the rest of them alone. But what followed next scattered even the humans.

Something taller than a tree emerged from the sea of clouds on six pillars of flame. Only Wanica and his fearless steed remained to watch it touch down on the summit of the hill. At first he thought it was just the whites doing one better than their smoking horse of iron.


The object radically changed in size and shape to resemble a faceless white man. Not like a European, but white as snow, with no eyes, ears, nor mouth. Its head opened in six petals to reveal a golden object that rose as though being offered to Wanica. He drew near.

Wanica dismounted to take a close look at the shiny thing. Tentatively, respectfully, he withdrew the golden object from the head while the limbs of the white man-shape remained motionless at its side. The golden object fit neatly in Wanica’s palm like the hilt of a knife.

Wanica squeezed the gift to produce a hissing opaque black beam. When swept around the beam carved trenches in the stony ground of the hilltop entirely without effort. When Wanica no longer actively squeezed the gift the immaterial black shaft retracted and disappeared.

The curiosity of Wanica’s companions overcame their fear. They slowly returned to the summit, together with some of the bison. There the hunters saw the white dome on the very summit of the Island in the Sky, and they also saw Wanica standing next to it with his horse.

Wanica lifted a large stone and set it down near the white dome. The companions of Wanica joined him stacking stones around the dome as though they were building an igloo out of rock. When the men finished they stood back to look. The white dome was concealed by a cairn.

None of the Kuwapi hunters understood what they have seen, but they all agreed it was a sign from the Great Spirit. It was fitting, they deemed, to have built a hallowed lodge for Wakan Tanka after his manifestation to them, which they took to be his blessing for the hunt.

But the time the People were feasting on bison the animal's horns had been fastened to leather thongs. One of Chief Tatanka's women pinned the horns to his shoulder as though he had actually gotten out of the tipi where he roils in womanflesh and killed the animal himself.

Briefly Tatanka and Wanica eyed each other, but there was with no mutual respect whatsoever. The chief said, "There are five different stories how this animal was taken."

Wanica looked away and blew a ring of smoke.

"About the hunt, then. What say you, Squaw Who Hunts?"

Wanica's gaze returned to the Chief sharply as though he had been slapped, but he controlled his rage and answered. "We followed the herd into


a low cloud. I could not see the other hunters. Each man ascended alone. On the hilltop the clouds parted and we took the animal."

"And the Great Spirit appeared out of the cloud to bless our hunt!" blurted Plenty Lice out of turn.

“You have taught your hunters to lie so easily, Squaw Who Hunts,” said Tatanka. “I should give you another name.”

Even Wanica was annoyed by the intrusion of Plenty Lice.

"Wakan Tanka was white like snow. He sat on the top of the mountain. His head and arms and legs shrank until he became an egg. The others saw this egg."

The hunters who had been with him nodded their assent and grunted.

"And what did you do when you saw this egg, liar?"

"We built a lodge of stones for the Great Spirit to honor him for his blessing."

Tatanka pulled out his knife and drew near to Wanica. "You built a pile of rocks and a pile of lies. There's no white egg." And he flicked just the tip of his blade across Wanica's face.

Tatanka was satisfied to draw only a little blood. Maiming his best hunter wouldn't do. He said, "Young liar I name you Hole In Cheek!"

Wanica put his hand to his face and walked with dignity out of the range of the fire’s light. Chief Tatanka laughed but nobody else did.

Wanica's wife Yuha left the circle of light as well and followed her man to their tipi. While she dressed Wanica's wound his son Shy Bear said, "Father, did you truly see the Great Spirit, or did you just want to annoy Bad Heart Bull?"

Wanica shifted his eyes to the boy.

Wanica appraised his son but did not answer until Yuha finished staunching the cut. At length he said, "Yuha, what we spoke about before, now it is time."


Yuha nodded that she understood and retrieved a leather pouch containing many pigments and implements to apply them.

For his part Wanica retrieved a ceremonial dress made of bison skins and feathers and many beads.

Yuha said, "Stand and be still, son."

Wanica laid the ceremonial dress on Shy Bear as his wife began to paint the boy's face. He said, "You will get no answer from me."

While his wife worked Wanica put the boy's own bow in his hands and said, "I will give you no morsel of food."

Yuha finished painting her son's face and stood apart from him.

"I lent you the name Shy Bear," Wanica said, opening the flap door, "but now you are nameless."

"Go now, into the night, nameless one. Kill your own food, if you can. And if you cannot?” Wanica shrugged. "Perhaps in your hunger Wakan Tanka will give you a vision.

The astonishment on Shy Bear's face at these proceedings faded, and he nodded, understanding at last.

But he could see his mother did not understand, not really. She was doing this under duress. Since the form of the ritual required it, she said, "The boy will go out from us. The man will return." He hoped the worry on her face was not from another of her premonitions.

Obeying his father, the boy stepped out into the night. In the moonless dark, he stumbled across the prairie until the fires of the Kuwapi people were like flickering stars far behind him. He drudged up the slopes of the Island in the Sky and reached the summit at sunrise.

In the light of dawn the boy sat to let his shadow fall upon his father’s stone cairn. He watched all morning until his shadow no longer touched the rocky mound. Then the shadow of the cairn began to touch him. By dusk he had not received a vision from the Great Spirit.

There was a strong breeze. When the sun sank below the horizon the boy grew cold. He gathered woody brush growing on the summit and cut it with the edge of a flint scraper, which he also used to spark a fire to burn them. But the flame and smoke kept changing direction.


The boy took the changing winds to be an invitation to spend the night with Wakan Tanka within the lodge that his father built. He removed stones away from one side to create a door. When he crawled inside he saw the white egg that Wanica spoke about to Bad Heart Bull.

The boy was hungry but it was too dark now to try to kill a hare. No heat came from his fire outside but least he was shielded from the wind. There was no room to lie down straight, but he could sleep on his side if he curled around the white egg, careful not to touch it.

But sometime in the middle of the night while he was asleep he touched the white artifact anyway and was awakened by the sting of a needle pricking his hand. Taking even more care not to touch the manifestation of Wakan Tanka the boy stood up and went outside of the cairn.

The boy saw that his fire had become glowing coals, but that earlier the wind must have carried embers halfway down the slope and kindled a brush fire that threatened to form a ring all the way around the small mountain. He knew that if he stayed on the summit he was dead.

Small game was running up and over the summit to flee the fire and the boy could have shot his dinner then, but with every wasted moment he risked being roasted himself. He moved toward the fire to have light to see in the dark, then moved west to get around the flames.

But the boy could go no further. A steep chasm of the Squaw River lay before him. He could hear it flowing over rocks far below as wrapped around the entire southern half of the mountain. He needed light to try to cross it. The fire spread to cut off any escape north.

The boy looked down into the canyon of the Squaw and saw a tiny light of purest white, like the brightest star he had ever seen, bobbing along the west slope as though it were walking. Sometimes it would move north. Other times it moved south, but it always rose higher.

At length the light reached the rim on a level with the boy and he saw it was actually worn on the head of a human figure even taller than he. The prairie fire behind it outlined an hourglass shape. A female voice speaking his tongue said, "Follow me and you will live."

She turned and went back the way she came, and the boy did follow, if anything to safely reach the creek where he could stand a chance of surviving when the wildfire reached the canyon. The path was free of obstructions, but the woman turned now and again to check the boy.


When she resumed walking the boy admired the patterned skintight leather she wore, even in the dim light of the fire, which made her ass look like nothing so much as a big ripe plum. But the sound of the water grew quieter the closer they approached, which was strange.

By the time they reached the creek bed the water wasn't flowing at all. It had become a wet staircase of puddles that led up to a low cave entrance in a wall of dark shale. The woman crouched to splash her way inside the cave with her knee-high boots, and the boy followed.

Inside the cave the boy saw a pool of water with a narrow stone ledge all around it. The light from the woman's headband filled the space and he saw that she looked very much like a Kuwapi female but much taller, and she was not much older than he.

"I am called Leliel."

She expected him to give his name in reply, and he knew if he delayed she would think him addled, so he said, "My father once named me Shy Bear, but now he has cast me out of his tipi nameless."

"Chief Yeshua said the first human I met in this world would have that name."

She removed her headband light and dropped it into the water. It faded as it sank, but the water began to glow with a broader light. She said, "Follow me and you will see and do and learn many things. If you stay, you must leave this cave quickly or you will drown."

Leliel jumped into the underground cistern, turned turtle, and disappeared from view. The boy waited for her to come back up for air as he knew she must, but she did not. The water began to stir and overflow its bounds. So in the end he came to believe and did follow her.

For years after Prince Melchizedek first visited the crossroads town of Harran Old Man Terah, the father of Abram, was seen slowly moving around inside his idol shop near the town’s central market square as his well-to-do son did the best he could to keep his father alive. But inevitably there came a day when Terah was not seen working in his shop. A customer found him lying dead on the floor with a stone chisel near his hand. Messengers were sent into the lands surrounding Harran to search for Abram grazing sheep and cattle and bring word.

A few days later Terah's body was lowered into a tomb in Harran as hundreds looked on. A heavy stone was moved into place over Terah's body.


Abram said to all the people gathered there, “My father is dead. Nothing remains to bind me to this place sick with false gods."

Isaac, a mere slip of a lad, asked, “Where shall we go, father?”

“We will journey far in the west to the river that begins in the snows of Mount Hermon and ends in the Salt Sea. The grazing land is good there. Let the word go out to all who would remain in my pay."

A number of days after Abram and his people left town Prince Melchizedek reached Harran with his two servants. They saw Terah's idol shop standing empty. Melchizedek inquired of the townspeople about Terah and his son. Soon they were closing on Abram and his massive herds.

It was easy to find Abram because his livelihood required a large geographical footprint, and it had been made even more wide by a drought. Near Beth She'an, Melchizedek and his yeng approached Abram at the center of his flocks. When Abram saw them he bowed reverently.

Abram said, “You see? I obeyed the call of the one I seek after all!"

The prince replied, “And I swear to you Abram that the Lord of the Earth also seeks you. And God has said, 'I will give the land of Canaan to the descendants of Abram to be their inheritance forever.'"

Hearing that, Abram was suddenly moved to express his loyalty to this unseen God. He said to his servants, “Bring to me the best animal of each kind in my flock.” Then Abram ascended the highest pinnacle of the Gilboa range hard by and constructed an altar of stones.

Abram's servants killed the animals and laid them on Abram's altar. Then Abram made a burnt offering of them in the name of El Shaddai, which is translated One God Is Sufficient. This he did in the presence of El Shaddai's messengers Melchizedek and Iofiel and Guriel.

Melchizedek and Abram walked the hills of Gilboa until nightfall. The prince asked Abram to look at the stars and see if he could count them. “So shall your descendants be."

There are only six thousand stars visible to the human eye but Abram immediately got the point.

Chokhmah agreed to reward Abram with countless progeny and help them thrive in the land of Canaan. Abram agreed to have as his god Chokhmah alone, known to him as El Shaddai. It was the first agreement made between elohim and human beings on something like an equal basis.


In heaven neither Keter nor Daat ever concluded a similar covenant. Slaves obeyed or they were punished, they didn’t make bargains with gods.

Abram was the head of a large clan and possessed many things. He was already living in the golden age as far as he was concerned. Abram did not pine away for an afterlife. Abram was living a full and blessed life on Earth. He accepted that was mortal like everything else in the world from mayflies to olive trees. Chokhmah promised only that his blood would be carried across generations without end.

Robyn opened the door of her home just before Robyn knocked on it, but that went with the territory of being the Seer. The second Robyn let herself in, and why not? It was her house too. She was still wearing Mr. Kaneko's clothing and was still stinky from the road trip.

Both girls sat on different couches and had a long look at each other. Smelly Robyn said, "The thing you didn't want to do for Yeshua? I'll do it."

Clean Robyn didn't even think of that. "Are you sure?"

"Let me see the gadget he gave you." Clean Robyn dug it out. It was like half a ball of dark pink rubber, but with a 55-pin female connector on one side to match the male connector protruding from both girls' heads. Clean Robyn said, "When Paul and Klaus show up I have to be wearing this. It's supposed to save my last memories."

"It works exactly as Yeshua promised. I've seen on the other side of that 'blank wall' you seem to be so worried about. That's why I'm willing to be Kim who gets killed, so you can be Robyn who lives. But you have memories of meeting Mom before she left and I want those."

Kim unfastened her belt, which was really one of the Purple Cables she and Hunky stole from the camp at Heart Mountain. When they attached the ends to themselves they experienced a strange dual awareness but it did not persist as when Robyn and Hunky were linked together.

The differences between each girl poured through the line but there was a rhythm to it, like a heartbeat. It took a brief time for each memory to be packed for transfer on the cable and then unpacked. Soon Kim had Robyn's conversation with Yeshua in Washington State.

Since the Change Kimberly's memories are stored with perfect clarity, not merely as triggers to be re-enacted by her mind. The full


emotional impact of meeting her mother again after six months, followed by their parting, brought Kim to tears, then Robyn a heartbeat after.

The Purple Cable had set up a kind of feedback whine, but with an 800 millisecond delay. Kim received back from Robyn the new experience of Kim receiving the memory of Robyn greeting her mother. This went around at least a dozen more times, growing weaker on each pass.

As the loops cycled Robyn obtained Kim's experience of the rest of her trip home after Hell's Half Acre, which kicked off different loops. After a time only two real differences stubbornly persisted: One girl was lying on the couch, and the other was lying on top of her.

That situation got Robyn thinking that she was set to become the wife of Jerry, and che was something of a sexual cafeteria line. One of these, and one of these, and two of those. She wasn't sure she would even like everything che had to offer, let alone know what to do.

So without further ado Mr. Kaneko's trousers and Kim's undies were slid up to Kim's knees and Robyn became the first non-contortionist in heaven or earth to have oral sex with herself. Kim really could have done with a bath but Robyn figured it was the worst-cast scenario.

What Robyn was doing with her tongue, in combination with the Purple Cable loop back, reminded Kim of one time when Hunky set up her drumkit in the Squaw River canyon and did a drum duet with her own echoes. The pleasure built so steadily Kim thought it was like cheating.

Actually it was cheating. Through the Purple Cable Robyn could feel exactly what she was doing to Kim as though she was Kim. She wondered if this was the thing Yeshua said would rival eternal life. That was the last rational thought either had for the next ten minutes.

Robyn felt the first contraction of Kim's orgasm 0.8 seconds after Kim did, just when Kim was having her second one. At 1.6 seconds Kim felt Robyn's experience of her first contraction precisely at the same time she felt her third one. And so the stack continued to build.

Neither Kim nor Robyn knew what was happening. They didn't even breathe until Kim had a dozen contractions, and when they did breathe, they could only make incoherent sounds. Purple Cable sex was never going to be a discreet thing. The orgasm looped around and around.

After three minutes the stack of orgasmic contractions and their echoes were no longer distinct pulses. The climax settled into a timeless high


intensity electric sheen. After another seven minutes Robyn found it possible to unplug the cable from her head. It was too much.

After that they lay still for another ten minutes trying to take in what just happened to them. Robyn's face was soaked.

Kim began to stir under her. "I'll go get myself cleaned up. At least we got something to keep us happy until Bergin and Hansen come here to kill me."

Even as Keter and Daat aided Chokhmah to establish a covenant people on Earth they were implacably opposed to her doing the same thing in heaven. This new interloper named Michael had made Salem and the nearby lands a lost cause but troops were sent to contain the plague.

Princess Lilith and her Fallen Angels had proven remarkably efficient at shielding Michael from being abducted or killed but as a consequence Salem had effectively been sliced out of intercourse with the rest of the middle lands. Michael wished to bring things to a head.

Lilith and Michael had flown in the avatar of Chokhmah to Anshar many times but never before to the city of Adan where Keter ruled the house of Gerash directly through his own avatar seated on the throne. Princess Lilith was known to many, but by law sha could not speak.

Nevertheless by an awkward and complicated arrangement involving one of the wives of Lord Zadkiel who then spoke to hym in private, that ophan was made aware that Princess Lilith came in the company of one Michael, the prophet who had been giving Keter such grief of late.

So after much effort Michael managed to get hymself arrested after all. Lord Zadkiel suggested there be a public tribunal to allow Michael to incriminate hymself by hyz own words so there would be no doubt among the people that Michael blasphemed the god of House Gerash.

Michael said, "Let there be such a tribunal, but Princess Lilith must speak in my defense."

To this the ophan Zadkiel said, "That is impossible. It is the eternal law of Keter that no yin may speak in public, nor to any except her close kin. Choose from among the yeng."

"Nevertheless, Her Royal Highness will represent me at the tribunal, or I will speak no words."


Michael was shown yeng suffering the most refined torments Keter could devise, but none made hym blench. So the law forbidding Lilith to speak on hyz behalf was set aside.

In a sick parallel to the Sunset Discourse, the tribunal took place in a gladiatorial arena. The charge was insurrection. Specifically, Michael was accused of inciting infidelity to Keter. As in any theocracy, to sin against God is exactly equivalent to breaking the law.

As the tribunal wore on Zadkiel attempted to trip Michael with riddle-words, but hy was dealing with an advanced composite being, both eloah and angel, and Michael had a suitable answer at every turn. It was a back-channel way to bring hyz teachings to the people of Adan.

Even prior to hyz union with Chokhmah Michael could have handled Zadkiel, who was too stupid to realize hy was being soundly beaten by rhetoric. But Michael knew it would not matter in the end. The outcome of the tribunal was fixed. The sole purpose was to discredit hym.

Zadkiel turned to the words of the famous Sunset Discourse in Salem which had been preserved in a growing set of literature called the Sayings of Michael. Hy brought up a thing even King Melchiyahu pondered. “Interesting that you always say ‘Sha who embraces Chokhmah.’ Do you imply that only yen can be your disciples, and no yang can ever be?”

Michael said, “By these things a yin excludes harself as my follower: Sha grows annoyed at things sha cannot help, and so is perpetually angry. Controversies that divide the people attract har. Sha is caught up in every fad and does not affirm har own uniqueness. Such a yin does not truly embrace Chokhmah. But any yang who does not do these things is on the path to becoming one of Chokhmah’s followers, though hy may not even know that to be the case.”

Zadkiel said, “And yet, contrary to the Code of Keter you employ yen, your so-called Fallen Angels, which many say is really a female army. Such an absurdity has never existed in the history of heaven.”

"The Fallen Angels only scatter the wealth and gather the people."

“So you espouse income redistribution?”

Michael replied, “I espouse giving yen work that draws them together in service of their sisters. Have no fear, there is no overlap with the work of yeng.”

“Their sisters! And just where do yeng fit into your schemes, Michael?”


Michael said, “Just as the angels were called out of humanity to have a closer relationship with the elohim, Chokhmah has called yen out of the angels that they may unite and nourish one another."

"The implications are considered unnatural by all our ancient traditions."

“It is natural to stink, Lord Zadkiel, yet none suggest falling back on the tradition of neglecting personal hygiene. To yen who follow Chokhmah the word ‘unnatural’ simply means ‘not on the level of animals.’”

Zadkiel ran out of arguments and waved for Lilith to cross.

As usual, when Lilith began to speak there was a stir from the onlookers at the scandal of hearing a yin's voice in public, but as the tribunal wore on the novelty wore off. Her line of defense touched on the fact that the so-called Code of Keter was of recent vintage.

After spitting Zadkiel’s own words back at hym from when hy first began to preach in Salem Lilith argued that the Code of Keter had become known only after Michael’s ministry had taken root at Salem, and might even have been introduced purely in reaction to hyz teachings.

“At no time in our history have we condemned anyone for committing actions that were made illegal after the offense,” sha said. "Such a thing has always been anathema to our concept of justice."

Zadkiel shot a glance at the High Lord Patriarch Kirodiel, who presided.

As he had done throughout the tribunal, whenever Lilith got any traction and Zadkiel needed a lifeline, Kirodiel ordered har to end har line of questioning and use a different one.

Lilith swallowed har frustration and said, "There is still the question of jurisdiction. The Code of Keter is the law of this city, but Michael is a subject of my father the king of Salem, where hyz will alone holds sway. King Melchiyahu has already found this yang to be innocent of any wrongdoing."

Once more Zadkiel signaled Kirodiel for help.

The High Lord Patriarch instructed Princess Lilith to move on to har next objection. Sha was being worn down but Michael took it with equanimity. Hy knew the outcome was predetermined. More important was that the angels in the gallery saw the injustice of the whole farce.


Lilith had one more card to play. “Michael, despite all the evidence we have heard for the charge of impiety toward Keter you still maintain your innocence. How can this be?”

Hy said, “Most yen in Adan are faced with a stark choice: Remain with their husband or starve."

"In the same way, it cannot be a powerful decision to worship Keter anywhere in the middle lands, because the alternative is a mock trial and execution.”

"So you contend that piety compelled by law is false?”

"Any such 'piety' is as phony as the love of most marriages."

"How much more vital is the love of two angels who are utterly free to stay or part, yet who still choose to stay together!"

"That sound risky."

"Does it? It is the risk of losing things, even our lives, that makes them dear."

Lilith nodded to Zadkiel. "Your witness."

In cross-examination Zadkiel said, "So your claim is that living dangerously is the missing ingredient in Adanite marriages?"

Michael said, "The fear of losing a thing is what lends excitement and significance to that thing, from a marriage bond to our very lives. Keter once told Chokhmah that to take fate into one’s own hands was to rise beyond good and evil. In truth, a rock and a tree are beyond good and evil, and so is every angel who will not, or is not permitted, to make a free choice. Ethics simply does not apply to them."

“So you deny that the Lord Keter has the authority to decree what is right and wrong in our world?”

Michael replied, "Not that Keter or any other power ought to legislate morality, but that they literally cannot do so. It’s logically absurd, like a four-sided triangle.”

In that moment Zadkiel was certain hy had sprung hyz trap and told Kirodiel the state rested. Lilith, too, thought that Michael had finished on a high note and said the defense also rested. Kirodiel did not even make a pretense of deliberating. "Judgment for the State."


No one was surprised except Princess Lilith, who was allowed to pay one final visit to har client in the dungeons beneath the Temple of Keter before the sentence was to be carried out. The first of their last few moments was spent in an awkward embrace though iron bars.

Lilith glanced around the dungeon, assuring harself that their privilege of private counsel, no matter how brief, was still inviolate. Sha said, “Guilty! A sentence of death! What’s your plan now?”

"There is no plan." Michael reached through the bars to touch har face.

"I watched you send my brother and his two squires to the other world," Lilith objected. "Could you not summon another such bubble and take yourself out of harm's way?"

"Only Keter and Daat can open a fold-door in heaven. Here I can only manage holding one thin line.They’ve been planning this tribunal for a long time. It all stinks of Keter moving behind the scenes. He wants something big from me but he's taking his time laying it all out in the open. He has another, much easier way to communicate with me but he refuses to use it.”

"Then in the absence of your plan I say we go forward with my plan."

Michael narrowed hyz eyes. Hy said, "Lilith, don’t do anything stupid. Better yet, don’t do anything at all.”

They were interrupted by Lilith’s escorting guard, a kind but unswervingly loyal yang.

Hy said, “I’m sorry, that’s all the time I am permitted to give you with the condemned.” Then hy gestured for har to leave the chamber, unwilling to touch a princess unless sha made things difficult.

Michael called out after har. “Lilith! Just drop it, do you hear me?”

Michael’s next visitor was Lord Zadkiel, who moved very close to Michael's iron cell to look directly into hyz eyes. After studying hym quietly for a time hy said, “Keter sends his regards, Chokhmah.”

Michael smiled. "I made no secret of the union, and you denied it."

"The Lord Keter knows that you put on something of a conjuring act just before he opened fold-door in Salem to whisk Melchizedek away. Only Chokhmah could have timed things so.”


"How wonderful," said Michael. "Now that you and your Lord have come to belief, what next?"

"Certain actions and non-actions will be required of you," said Zadkiel. "And you have no choice but to comply."

"Keter knows well I can choose to end my life at any time. No threat of death or torment can compel me to do his bidding, let alone the whim of his slave."

Zadkiel smiled and said, “Oh, a martyr is the last thing we want, Chokhmah. Unfortunately, Princess Lilith has har mind quite made up. Do you really think the Eyes of Keter are not aware of the preparations sha has made to rescue you?”

"What does sha have in mind?"

Zadkiel said, “You will be amazed when you see it unroll, Chokhmah. Fallen Angel sleeper cells! Guards taken out with a head twist. Secret disguises, body doubles, and safe houses from here to the edge of the city! But as you’ve probably surmised before now, it’s a trap."

"That way we catch Lilith red-handed, scoop up key Fallen Angels, and crush your whole movement over the span of a single night. Then this glassblower's son's body will be broken and braided on the hub of a windmill with no one left to rally around the spinning corpse."

“I think you are grossly underestimating Lilith and har Fallen Angels if you think it will be that easy to roll them up."

"You may be immune to pain, Chokhmah, but of a certainty Lilith is not, and neither are har co-conspirators. But Lord Keter has a far better idea. If you agree to Lord Keter's demands, your sentence of death will be set aside. Princess Lilith and her friends will have no reason to carry out their suicide pact. Instead, we shall parade you captive in a cage through every city, town, and village from here to Salem."

Michael, knowing that it would have precisely the opposite effect, said, “That would discredit everything that I have taught. I'll let myself die the moment you display me in a cage.”

“Michael, you must not refuse, because the alternative is Lilith, remember? Har plan?”

Michael sighed, and made a show of hanging hyz head in defeat. “What are Keter's demands?"


"One, you shall not allow yourself to die until the people of Salem have seen the humiliation of their so-called prophet, the daughter of Keter, dressed up in the body of a yang."

"That will require some backtracking on your part, Zadkiel. Or have you forgotten your own preaching to the effect that Chokhmah is the ungrateful son of Keter and Daat, impatient to come into his inheritance?"

Zadkiel curled hyz lips. "The people have short memories."

"So I must not perform an End of Cycle," Michael said. "Is that all that your lord Keter requires of me?"

"No, you must share with him the secret of merging with a yang as a living avatar, as you have done."

Then Michael understood at last the purpose of the tribunal.

Hy said, "I can teach Keter how to achieve the union, but you should remind him to use a light touch. The temptation will be to take full possession of the world-dweller, but that will only backfire when his entire psyche becomes that of a yang. He risks dissolution."

"Let the Lord Keter judge if that is true."

"As you wish, Zadkiel. As soon as mother and father have sent Princess Lilith safely home to Salem by fold-door I will conform to these demands."

Hy chuckled. "Chokhmah, you are in no position to make demands of your own."

"Very well, Zadkiel, I will now shed this container of meat, and after that I will let Keter know how close he came to learning the trick of having one of his very own before you and your incompetence boofed it."

"Hold! I will bring your request before the Lord himself."

Personal tools
Strangers In Paradise