"Life is good," says Gladys. "Life is good."
Gary Gravestone's Home
"Gary Gravestone here. I was the best realtor in St. Aug when I was alive in the Physical Plane but I had a slightly different name. I still am the best in the Astral Plane."
"Gary!" says Mavis. "How merry!" She is fond of him because he enjoys making rhymes with her and because he knows all about local real estate.
"Hi Mavis, hi George." Gary shakes George's hand. "What can I do for you?"
"Gary," says George. "We have another one of those situations for you. Louise here is a new arrival and of course doesn't know the lay of the land, so to speak. She isn't sure where she's going to live and we're hoping you can offer a few suggestions."
"Sure. Be glad to help out. First of all, where did you live before?" he asks Louise.
Mavis says, "Gary, dear, I don't mean to interfere but Louise is a little bit dumbstruck. Show us the listings somehow and Louise can talk later, not now. Let's review the preview if you don't mind. We'll tell you her choices some other time."
"Ok, let's do that." He produces a television screen onto the wall of the cottage and begins mentally projecting a slide show of places to live in St. Augustine. He prefaces his slide show with, "Of course, if she wants to she can always save her Reality Bytes and live in her grave. After all, it belongs to her. She can look around first. Some nice older places are coming available as citizens begin to pass over." Seeing the look of alarm on Mavis' face, he regrets right away his words but continues with the slide show. He glances quickly at George, who nods his head, 'continue.'
"Let's begin with some of the more inexpensive properties." He glances at George for approval. George knows Gary is going to show them some graves as a possibility for Louise. He hopes Louise chooses something else but he knows Mavis approves of graves as homes as does Gary, who gets his name for living in his grave when he could live anywhere. Some ghosts like tight spaces and that's why they choose their final resting-place as their homes. But older graves have more built-in conveniences than newer ones, so Gary of course recommends the older graves that are coming available.
"Judge Stickney's grave is coming available," says Gary. "It has a lot of conveniences and I for one would not mind having the place."
Mavis adds, "It's a nice spot in Huguenot."
"How much does that grave go for, Gary?" asks George.
"It's discounted because the coffin is no longer there, but the Judge added some nice replacement illusions. It's reasonable at thirteen Reality Bytes. It features built-in electrical socket illusions and also some television illusions."
"Not bad," agrees George. "What else you got?'
"I have some graves that were occupied by people who died of tetanus and cholera, but I don't recommend them. Sometimes, those illusions get loose again and they can really upset the stomach. The properties are cheap, though."
"No, let's skip over those, Gary. We can help Louise out if she comes up short of Reality Bytes. I think she can afford something better than that."
Mavis says, "Reality Bytes she has plenty of. It's how to spend them she's not sure of. Since she came awake in the plane and showed she remembers her name, I have seen her Reality Bytes in her aura."
Louise speaks for the first time. "What are Reality Bytes?"
George and Mavis are thrilled to hear her take an interest in their conversation and in her new life.
"Reality Bytes," explains George, "are what you get for your life's experiences when you convert over to the next plane. Louise, you have some extra bytes because you..."
"Stop it!" commands Mavis. "Let's drop it!"
"You have extra bytes," continues George in spite of his wife's warning, "because you earned them by how you died."
Louise's face takes on the look of surprise and then the look of astonishment as she suddenly realizes she died but she is not dead.
"You faced a terrible reality head on and now, because of it, you have some extra bytes."
"Oh," says Louise, smiling and a little dazed. "I'm happy about that."
Gary glances at George. They all know George misled Louise a little about how she got the extra Reality Bytes. It isn't that there is a reward waiting for having been murdered, but just that some legal ramifications are involved that usually result in the person being compensated with extra bytes, depending on the circumstances of their death.
"Let's continue," says George. "What about Tolomato? Is anything available there?"
"Yes," replies Gary. "I was just about to mention a property in the shady part of the cemetery."
"Not the Bishop's House?" asks George.
"No, the Bishop is still there, bless his heart, shining his light and holding mass. I have some information about the Bride's grave. It seems she's thinking about passing over soon and there is the possibility -- I don't want to get your hopes up -- but there is the possibility her grave will become available. It has some wonderful conveniences and illusions! It has a mirror and a dressing room complete with a bridal gown. It has a small kitchen, some appliances, and even a little pantry. And all quite reasonable, I'm sure."
"Wow," says Mavis. "That grave is a house!"
"I'll have to check with the groundskeeper but I'm willing to bet some bytes that we can secure that property for about what it takes to move into a tomb at Le Leche."
"With plenty of room," says Mavis. "I love your tomb."
"I do too," smiles Gary. "But tombs will not be available there for a long time. Everyone wants to live near the Virgin's chapel so of course the tombs are exclusive. You just have to be lucky enough to get one, unless you can find a tombmate situation. Oh, by the way, I was able to get my computer set up and I finally got onto the Internet again."
"You know, Gary, you could hire yourself out for extra bytes if you wanted to, setting up computers inside graves. Have you thought about doing that?"
"Yeah, sure, but I'm convinced people need to learn how to do that themselves and, given enough time, they will. It's a matter of intent and focus, not wiring. Of course, MaliciousCode does that kind of work on the side, but I'm not sure he ought to be doing that."
"I'm getting tired," says Louise. "Can I rest now?"
Gary leaves with a promise to return at a later time and bring back some projections of rooms coming available in some of the old houses on San Marco and St. George Street. They go for much more, of course, but they are well worth it when you take into consideration that Louise won't have to produce illusions to create the comfort she's accustomed to. Louise replies that she is not accustomed to a lot of comfort. Mavis assures her she can stay with them in the extra room until she finds a place she really likes
Dagon-Jah carefully packs the masterpiece in his roll-away and stows it on his back. He has high hopes of finding Daedalus at the Palace of Knossos. He will make the journey on foot in two days. With the festival of Dio-ysis coming up, it is a certainty he will have companionship along the way. Good companionship is always pleasant for Dagon-Jah. He is a talkative person when away from the potter's wheel. It will be a nice break from work.
His master, a good man, gives him leave to attend the festival and the bull sports at Knossos. Dagon-Jah of course does not reveal his real mission — to show Daedalus his masterpiece. The master might want to see it and then he would insist on knowing how it was created. Dagon-Jah destroyed the kiln after creating the disk. He had to be sure no other work of art would ever be created using his secret method. It would be a sacrilege.
He sets off on his journey to Knossos and soon meets a man he begins to admire. It is a fellow potter named Ja-Ra. This man wants to know what Dagon-Jah has in his roll-away that is so special. He notices how Dagon-Jah keeps touching it and adjusting it. Dagon-Jah is tempted to show him but he doesn't. The man admires Dagon-Jah for his reserve in revealing his secret. He is an honorable man. They both are.
They soon are joined by a sailor named Theseus, who falls in step with them. He inquires after their health and whether they plan to stay for the bull sports. Dagon-Jah says he hopes to stay. Ja-Ra also hopes to stay. Next, they are joined by a young woman named Ariadne, a bull leaper, on her way to Knossos to perform bull leaping in the central court of the palace. The men admire her courage and physical strength. She hopes to find a friend in Knossos, an athlete who taught her how to leap bulls. These newfound friends walk along under a beautiful blue sky. Stretching out all around them are the pale plains and rocky, gray plateaus of Crete, wonderful against the blue sky.
As they camp that night near the rock and shell path, they tell stories to the group and everyone pretends to be amazed, out of politeness. But when Dagon-Jah tells his story, the amazement is real.
Dagon-Jah was educated in a Cretan pottery factory in Egypt. One day the pharaoh come into the factory to select pottery. Dagon-Jah can't remember a day in his life that stands out as much as that day.
"The pharaoh stood tall among us, as though elevated by his great soul. When he passed by our group, he stopped and admired the piece I created. He reached out his hand, all covered in rings and bracelets of green and red and blue stones, and he touched my piece of pottery, selecting it as his.
His touch alone elevated me instantly to status of apprentice, and I was given a choice where I wanted to work. I chose Phaistos. I had been there once while working on a sailing ship. I was born there but was taken away as a baby to be raised with my parents in Egypt. My choice was to return home. I presented myself to my master who required I demonstrate my skill as a potter. I won his approval. I have a gift, they say. The pharaoh saw it in me."
Everyone is silent. Dagon-Jah had seen the pharaoh! He had been selected out by the pharaoh! It was more than any of them could imagine. They gained a new respect for this man who is so simple, carrying only a roll-away on his back and no stick or wand. They see him with new eyes.
On the second day, the road to Knossos becomes filled with travelers on the way to the festival. Many of them carry trumpets made of large sea shells. They will blow them during the festival to call Dio-ysis, the god with the bull's foot, out of the water. Many of them also carry a long thyrsuses, a wand made of bamboo and wrapped in ivy with a pine cone at the top. They carry it in honor of Dio-ysis, who also carries one, and in honor of the ancient oracles at Dodona, who carry the wands.
When the trumpeters evoke Dio-ysis at the festival, the gaiety will swell and fill the palace. Only the white bull will be oblivious, for everyone else will laugh and play and drink the wine of the god. Dagon-Jah begins to regret not having a trumpet or a wand but he reminds himself of his reason for going to Knossos.
"Ur Nammu will come," says Ariadne. Ur Nammu is the new god the people create as they turn away from the old gods.
"And so will his daughter, Ur Darukin," says Ja-Ra. "Ur Troda, his son, will come too. Him I worship."
Dagon-Jah says nothing. He is not a follower of the new gods. He still worships Jah and Re-Ah, the old ones. Re-Ah is the dark goddess of the deep night sky. She is the mother of Jah, the god of the created world. She shines above as the blue star. She looks down on Dagon-Jah and smiles at him. She encourages him to hear the voice of her son Jah. She is always watching over them and she always will be. Around her in the sky are the other shining ones, the shields -- the planets. They revolve around her and keep her safe.
Dagon-Jah will visit her cave when he leaves Knossos. Her cave is on the Earth and also in the night sky. He can see it shining up there, her sky cave. He will make an offering to her of a special piece of pottery he created just for her. It is a smiling woman wearing a flounced skirt with her blouse open at the top. Dagon-Jah is very good at small pieces of pottery and tiny models of large things. He is used to making pottery like this. Perhaps Re-Ah will like his piece of pottery and do him a favor. She will help him become a master instead of just an apprentice.
Dagon-Jah cannot understand why the people follow the new gods when the old ones love them so much but he says nothing of this to Ariadne, Theseus, and Ja-Ra, whose name tells him he also worships the Egyptian sun god. Dagon-Jah wants none of this. The daytime gods are for fools. The nighttime tells the truth of the old ones.
Jah is the loving god, the kind god. He is the one who cares for them and hopes them well. He is the one who sends friends to guide Dagon-Jah and watch over him. These tall friends he calls Watchers because they tower over him at night and watch him. They make sure no harm comes to him, but they never sleep.
As Dagon-Jah sleeps, he dreams of the fame that comes from being the greatest potter of his time. As he dreams he sees the Watchers guarding him in his sleep. They stand so tall above him their heads touch the midnight blue sky and their eyes twinkle like stars.
Page 1 - A Ghost Tour | Light of Recognition