Past Reflections of Future Visions


Fever and Jennifer Loriane

Chapter I: A Dream of Invariant Change

The difficulty with mirrors of any type is that their reflections of reality reveal ugly truths that most people aren't willing to accept. Fortunately, most humans are content to remain within the softly comfortable, unthinking, unending dream of the Tao and do not attempt to rouse themselves to full spiritual wakefulness.

Epistemological systems of Truth can be simplex, complex, multiplex or polyplex. Moreover, each manifold of possible truths within a "surface of solutions" can be "nested" as a subset of the next level of complexity. As such, a particular Truth can be simultaneously absolute, static, relative, and ever-changing, depending on which dimensional coordinates are chosen. The complexity of the observer’s epistemology defines the level of complexity that the observer can see and understand. A primitive shaman may be able to discern the holographic nature of reality by virtue of his mystic vision quests, as can a more technologically advanced Mage who possesses sufficient mathematical training, while a poor Protestant backwoodsman, who is barely literate enough to read the Old Testament, will almost certainly have difficulty comprehending value systems above the black/white, off/on level of simplistic epistemology due to the rigidity of his personal cultural milieu.

An ill-educated providential yokel can hardly be blamed for his lack of understanding. False conceptualizations of reality are thoroughly integrated with Western Philosophy. The concept of immutable, invariant law is as much a part of common speech as it is our culture. Things tend "to be or not to be" within the context of Western language. A few cultures, such as the Zuni, have a different view of reality. For them, an object/act/event was physically observed by the speaker, or physically observed by someone else. The verity of reality is declined in much the same way that a Western speaker declines temporality into past, present and future. What is seen by another party is not as reliable as what the speaker has observed. Then there are the imaginative classes, i.e., what was dreamed and what is imagined. Temporality in the Western sense doesn’t exist for a Zuni speaker. One either has/is observing an object/act/event within space, or one is preparing his or her mind for the imagined object/act/event that he or she wants.

At best, a scientific Law is an approximation that is only true within a bounded dimensional and parametric range. At worst, it’s an out and out Lie. Science is full of known untruths. Does an electron have a negative charge? No! It demonstrably has a positive charge since the integral and differential equations that define it’s behavior must have the sign reversed in order to make the equations work. Every Physicist who has worked with Maxwell’s equations knows this, but knowingly adapts to the falsehood of his or her creed. What does this imply? Since all particle’s charges are measured against the electron, than the charge of every known particle is wrong as listed in the textbooks. Similarly Charles’ Law and Boles’ Law break down at the atomic level where they become meaningless. Are these immutable, eternal, invariant Laws of Nature? Of course not! The Bohr model became outdated in 1902 when Erwin Schrodinger proposed his wave model of matter, yet the demonstrably erroneous Bohr model is still taught as gospel in Colleges and Universities.

Science is as much a lie as the theology of any church, creed or faith. How can this be? How can good men and women knowingly lead others into lies? The answer is both complex and somewhat obvious from Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. Everyone is in their own metrical and observational frame. The observer is part of the observed. The Zen Masters have the right of it when they teach that when an archer looses his arrow that there is no difference between the archer, the bow, the arrow and the target. All have a relationship with each other within the space/time continuum. In reality, there are no Universal Laws, only relationships between observers/objects/actions/events that cannot be made disparate from each other. Everyone occupies their own personal universe which interact (have relationships) with larger universes until the superset of all subsets of universal groups is considered, which is itself a subset of the ultimate superset, Hilbert space.

Case in point: The Second Law of Thermodynamics is a poor definition of order that falters and disappears somewhere between the complex and multiplex states. Chaos is not a reality, but an expression of the observer’s mental ability to perceive and comprehend the order of a system. Order is everywhere; the relative state of order moves from the simplistic extrinsic state to higher-ordered intrinsic states. The mathematics of Chaos theory have demonstrated this conclusively.

Truth, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, is experienced reality, and the observer perceives reality filtered through their conscious and unconscious belief system. Nevertheless, the logic and illogic of phenomenal (and numinal) reality is imposed on the subject whether the observer likes it or no.

In Quantum Mechanics, a discrete particle has wave properties which allow it to assume a number of momentum states for a few fermoseconds before it decides which course it will take. In other words, a particle can be in many places at once, going in multiple and logically exclusive directions, before it settles down into a single stable state. This peculiar state of being, called a virtual transition state, is a verifiable and testable scientific truth.

Thus we are left with truths that few humans can intuit at with depth of their minds, much less their spirits. The seeming internal illogical conflicts of normative reality are not addressed by anyone but Quantum Physicists or Shamans. Mankind’s collective reality has always been derived from the common experience of the tribe and culture in question. In medieval Europe, the Wise Woman who placed a poultice of woodland fungus or moldy bread over an open wound and thus healed an infection was considered a witch. The Wise Women of the time also made teas of White Willow Bark in Europe which contained salicylic acid, the precursor to aspirin. Shamans in Africa today make a preparation of tree bark which is ten times more effective than aspirin as an analgesic. The Voudoun priests (Houngans) who make a preparation of the neurotoxin from the deadly puffer fish to create Zombies, were scorned for two centuries by "enlightened men", but now the same compound is under intense investigation by a major pharmacutical company under the direction of a prestigious Medical University as a safer substitute for curare (which was in turn an earlier application of an ancient discovery by a number of African tribes). The truly interesting question is how did these groups intuit the hidden secrets of nature?

The only rational answer is that some people have a gift of understanding, a oneness with the Universe. In other words, the individuals who made the connections really were witches and powerful shamans!

This understanding does not denigrate the common experience of Reality. Every seafarer of the ancient world knew the world was spherical and the radius of the Earth was calculated to within twenty percent of its actual value during that time. When the Catholic Church became the "Universal" religion of Europe, the world became flat again as decreed by the Papal Bull of Holy Mother Church, prosecuted under Canon Law and murderously enforced by the Ecclesiastical Courts at the hands of the Black-robed Benedictine monks who guided the fell and unsympathetic hands of the hooded executioners and professional torturers of the Inquisition. Like a sandy beach that shifts with the tides and times, tribal truth is ever changing over the centuries. That which was once plain for all to see, becomes hidden and forgotten over time. That which was hidden, becomes obvious to the common wheal in an eon or so. The sands of memory and culture continuously shift under the tides of temporality so that the hidden and the obvious are often reversed within cultures and periods, causing the common folk to laugh at the foolishness of their ancestors. Tribal truths are dynamic conceptual-objects that help the tribe survive. Actual Reality, on the other hand, is something else again.

Theoretical Epistemological Methodology: To find Universal Truths, one must begin by seeking Universal Tribal Truths. It as logically insufficient to accept the truth of the worship of the God-Airplanes of the Cargo Cult of New Guinea as it is to accept the metaphysical pronouncements of a team of aerodynamic engineers at Lockheed. Neither truly understand the world around them.

Thesis: All cultures have tales of powerful ones who have become more than human because of their psychic powers. Witches, magicians, mages, sorcerers, shamans, priests, priestesses, and demigods are part of the human experience and the Universal Culture of Mankind.

Deduction: Therefore one may posit as a reasonable existential or empirical truth that some individuals spring up, from time-to-time, with inherent psychic powers that are beyond the scope of common understanding.

Discussion: Over the centuries and throughout all cultures, one truth has become clear to those who are psychic; when the Dreamer awakens, Reality changes. The threads of the Universal Dream can be rewoven by an Awakened One. Though this truth is known to all witches, shamans and magicians, other questions remain:

Is the inner nature of one who awakens changed by the experience or do they remain part of a larger dream? If reality changes, does the event mandate a change in the ethics of the Awakened One? Are those humans who are able to perceive the basic nature of existence that constitutes reality itself truly any different from the teeming untalented mob? Are the lucky ones who can cause the structure of space-time to ripple with a blink of their mind's eye better than the common wheal because their abilities? And what of those godlike creatures who have ceased to exist within the laws that constitute our everyday world? Do the possessors of eternal youth see the years behind the taut, wrinkle-free image in their mirrors?

Politicians piously mouth their weasel-words to sway the masses into believing that anyone with a modicum of common sense can wield power wisely and well, but can any politician be trusted to be truthful? Is Mankind truly intelligent or wise enough to use godlike powers responsibly? And if human wisdom fails to warn an "enlightened one" to desist in his madness before the common thread of reality is stretched beyond the limits of improbability, does reality fray at the edges until it snaps back like a rubber band? What happens then? Is there a sudden spray of psi particles which causes reality to go wild or does reality return to its lowest energy psionic state? Which is damaged by the backlash of psi particles from a ruptured psionic field; is it reality itself or the mind of the awakened dreamer?

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Amanda Robinson was a very ordinary human who learned the answers to these questions to her dismay. She was really a quite mundane person. While she had played many of the popular Role-playing games and had read a number of novels with a magickal storyline, she had been relatively unaffected by her hobbies. Secretly, in her heart of hearts, she had always been intrigued by the concept of supernatural beings and of magickal powers beyond human comprehension, but she had accepted that the magick was only a fantasy and had lived a rather common life. Unfortunately for her, it is quite true for extremely esoteric reasons involving psionic field structures that sometimes when a person wishes for something with all their might it occasionally comes true. The psionic structure of the Universe does not judge whether an individual is ready for the responsibility of the Awakening or not. With the Awakening comes power beyond imagining. An ancient sage who was renowned for his wisdom put the future of an unprepared Awakened One thus; "Reflections of the past are often visions of what are to come again."

December 2nd 1998

It was 4:30pm when Amanda dashed down the black-steel stairs and out the door of the two story red-brick office building. Her undo haste was driven by her need to make a standing appointment on time. She had only thirty minutes to drive to her home two blocks away, change out of her business suit, grab her gaming books and drive to Aaron’s house. Fortunately, her pert sixteen-year-old daughter, Kimberly, had prearranged with Amanda to go to a friend’s house that night. Her friend was having a slumber party and Kimberly would not return until late morning.

Amanda was positive that she could make it on time, but she couldn’t remember if she had finished her new character’s history the night before or not. Amanda drove home and went straight to her bedroom. She kicked her shoes off and quickly doffed the jacket of her drab navy-blue business suit and tossed it on the bed while she slipped the matching dark blue skirt down her legs.

After disrobing from her business attire, she entered her walk-in closet and took a pair of worn, comfortable jeans from the hanger. The jeans were her favorite when she wasn’t working; the multiple washings over the years had broken down the outer molecular of the cellulose sheaf of the cotton fibers and had made the feel of the much-loved, bleached-out garment as soft as a baby’s diaper against the skin of her legs. She shinnied them on quickly and buttoned the logo-embossed copper brad of the fashion jeans before snatching a clean white T-shirt from a hanger. In a rush, she slipped on a pair of comfortable old time-grayed, sole-worn, tennis shoes before grabbing her gaming satchel. She quickly glanced at her watch and saw that it was only 4:37; she was making good time. She picked up her keys and took her wallet from her handbag, dumping the wallet in the gaming bag as she locked the door to her home. When she pulled up in front of Aaron’s house at 5:45, she knew that her sense of organization had saved her once again. She was able to get out of her station wagon and ring the doorbell before any of her playing partners arrived. Aaron invited her in and it was a gratifying full three minutes before anyone else rang the bell.

While Amanda and Aaron waited for the others, they killed time by chatting about the role playing game Mage: the Ascension, one of their favorite role playing games.

"So Amanda," Aaron said, surrounded by his gameplaying texts and reference sheets, "What have you decided on a character concept?"

Amanda thought for a moment before replying, "I thought she’d be a teenager about Kimberly’s age. You know, an average kid that happened to awaken a bit early."

The game’s central idea was to create a human who had awakened from the metaphysical slumber in which most humans lie dormant throughout all their reincarnations and thus gain the ability to manipulate (or tear, if you will) at the fabric of reality with the power of his or her will, albeit at a Karmic price. Amanda often wished that she too could control the ebb and flow of life and time like her characters; to an Awakened One, the ability to control the tides of time and life were the most deadly of weapons.

A few minutes later, Katherine, Joanna, and Michael arrived. They each had fully pre-prepared characters; Amanda’s game character was an Orphan, a mage who belonged to no specific Tradition, while Michael played a character who was a member of the Order of Hermes. Joanna and Katherine played a pair of characters called "Verbena" in the game of Mage which are more commonly known as witches. Within minutes, they had seated themselves around the kitchen table and opened up their respective satchels and game bags to produce their character records and game materials. With an almost eerie absence of small talk, the game commenced. Hours passed as they played through a long adventure in a darker version of the mundane world. At around eleven-thirty that evening the game ended. Each of the five friends congratulated each other on their gaming successes before they left Aaron’s house. Then each one went to their cars and began the drive to their homes.

During the drive home under the gathering dark grey clouds Amanda switched on her radio. As she listened, she heard news of a traffic snarl on the highway she had used earlier during the early part of the rush hour. Since the Interstate was the fastest way for her to get home, she swore and chose the 32nd Street Exit overpass exchange.

Amanda had just turned left onto the road to go on the overpass when a huge, glossy black, heavily chromed, sixteen-wheeled, "semi" with a aged and patina-blackened, solid-silver hood ornament depicting a spread-winged, hovering Archangel Azrael appeared out of nowhere, bouncing up on the asphalt macadam that covered the small hill of the overpass at high speed and veered into the oncoming lane straight towards Amanda’s car. For the tiniest fraction of a second, Amanda was mesmerized by the lifelike, miniature, metallic statuary that seemed to be targeted towards her alone. Time seemed to freeze as she saw the Unconquered Lord of Shades in still "shots" of one thirty-second of a second duration each as the monster truck was led by the Dark Avenging Archangel into battle against her. The time-blacked spaces between each feather on the silver specter’s wings stood out sharply against the moon-bright surface of the wings of the Reaper of Souls. Amanda knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that the grim-vestiged, angelic apparition that loomed over her menacingly was her real doom.

Amanda did not have time to consciously react as she instinctively threw her car into a hard right, swerving away from the semi’s deadly front end as she skidded and slammed into the overpass’s safety rail while the semi’s high-pitched horn honked as if it were a frustrated screeching banshee in vain search of the soul it was sent to collect.

Her car screeched in dying agony as the right front fender was peeled away amidst a shower of sparks and thick grey-black plumes of smoke as the rubber sidewall of her right front tire was friction-burned by the cement curb and twisted metal of what had once been her fender. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her chrome hub cap pop free and spin upwards past the passenger window as it reached the limit of its parabolic arch and frisbeed itself down to vanish beneath sight on the underpass below. As the thin metal of the compact car’s right fender curled around and whipped itself around one of the posts of the safety rail, the front wheel assembly collapsed outwards to bring the car to a hideously grinding, spark-heralded halt as the pavement ground away the brake and tie-rod assembly of her front wheel. The jerk of the sudden stop caused Amanda’s head to slam into the top of the steering wheel, splitting open the skin of her forehead and causing her to lose consciousness for a split second.

When she regained consciousness and raised her head, thin rivulets of blood from her lacerated forehead streamed into her eyebrows, threatening to blind her. Amada put her hand to her forehead and pressed down to hold back the blood as she blinked back the red hue that fogged her vision. When she turned her head to see, she was almost overcome by an incredibly nauseating urge as her field of vision tunneled down into blackness and she almost passed out again. After a moment of sitting quietly to collect herself and allow the sick feeling to pass, she managed to turn around in her seat and saw that the runaway semi had missed her by inches. Unbelievably, the Semi had torn completely through the safety rail to collide with the supporting column of the cloverleaf overpass above her.

The force of the impact had been so tremendous that the column had been completely sheared by the heavy-duty bumper of the truck’s cab. Arcs of yellow and white sparks spewed from the beneath the engine compartment of the truck while the truck’s horn sounded its mournful surrender to death as the batteries’ shorted wiring drained the truck’s electrical élan vital. The front axle of the cab was supported in midair by the bottom portion of the column while the jagged end of the upper portion of the concrete column had ripped through the truck’s hood and was wedged against the truck’s huge diesel engine. If the column hadn’t stopped the careening truck’s mad flight, it would have continued its path through the safety rail and launched itself from the roadway span to land on the cars emerging from the underpass. As it was, the truck’s tractor was perched on its concrete roost with the attached trailer’s front tires sitting on the edge of the concrete chasm. Impossibly, there was no blood on the driver’s side of the windshield of the truck’s cab nor was the windshield cracked by the driver’s head as the cab of the truck met its doom. Amanda was seized by the crazy thought that the reason the windshield had no evidence of the almost certain violent death of the truck’s driver was that the driver’s seat of the truck had been empty when it struck the column.

In a strange moment of complete concentration of her mind on the infinitesimal details of the catastrophe around her, Amanda noticed that the front wheels of the tractor were spinning lazily while the rapidly cooling diesel motor loudly ticked off its final moments of life as it cooled to ambient temperature like a newly dead corpse. When Amanda inhaled deeply in a subconscious effort to calm herself, the combined reek of hot diesel fuel, charred electrical insulation, burned asphalt and scorched steel filled her nostrils. The thought hit her that if there was a Hell for mechanical creatures, surely the stench that formed a miasma around the truck was a portent of the noxious fumes of that lowly plane of existence.

She wiped the blood from her eyelids and gazed at the scene of utter devastation behind her as clouds of vile black smoke from her flaming tire mixed with the brake fluid from the ruptured brake line of her front wheel and turned the scene into a brimstone-fumed Hell on Earth. Her car shuddered for a moment as if it too was appalled by the sight of the damage. When the car trembled a second time, Amanda chanced to see the upper portion of the column slip down the engine of the truck a few inches. Suddenly, it occurred to Amanda that the bridgework above her was being supported tenuously by the precarious positioning of the upper column on the engine of the truck that had been impaled from beneath by the lower section of the twisted and broken column. If the column moved any further, the angle of the column would become so acute that the whole platform above her might come crashing down and squash her like an insect beneath a giant’s boot.

When she turned forward again to look up through her windshield and survey the damage, she saw an ominous series of cracks radiating from the top of the damaged pillar begin to open while she watched in absolute horror. Within seconds, the fine cracks that presaged the impending the collapse of the concrete arc above her raced above. The cracks in the bottom of the pre-cast overpass deck that loomed above her widened. She looked up and saw the loose chips of concrete falling away from the rupturing man-made rock that canopied her. Amanda trembled in fear as she heard the groaning of the overstressed concrete as it began to rain chucks on the hood and windshield of her car. She felt, rather than heard, the grating, moaning subsonic vibration as a huge triangular piece of concrete immediately above her car began to tear its way free of the steel reinforcing bars under the pull of its unsupported weight. She gasped as she peeked her head from the door window and saw the pointed end of the concrete block ripped its way free, allowing the multi-ton triangular wedge of man-made stone swing like a pendulum for a moment or two. When it stopped, it was pointed straight down at her head like a maddened civil engineer’s Sword of Damocles. The rumbling noise rose in pitch from the subsonic to the high screeching frequencies as the artificial rock of the concrete arch above her ground itself to a fine powder as the deep black cracks in the blanched white concrete deck above spidered their way to the other side, dooming the failing arched overpass to immanent destruction.

Amanda knew that she would be crushed to a bloody pulp in just seconds. In a state of absolute panic, she tried to open the driver’s side door but the impact with the safety railing had wrenched the lightweight car’s frame so far out of line that it couldn’t be opened without a crowbar.

Suddenly Amanda felt a strange feeling come over her and she instantly knew just knew what she had to do. She raised her hands as if another was guiding her and held them out in a open-palmed warding motion to stop the collapse of the overpass. Miraculously, the flow of time stopped itself for an infinitesimal moment before time began to rewind itself, causing the cracks in the upper deck to seal themselves amid an upward shower of dust and concrete pebbles. Her tortured fender unwound itself from the safety rail before the car was pulled back from the rail by an unseen hand as the sooty, sulfurous fumes where drawn back into her shredded tire like a pillar of a genie’s vapors as he reentered his lamp. Even the evil black semi had somehow been pulled back to rest with its bumpers pushing out the still bent safety rail before it. Amanda put the flat of her right hand to her lacerated forehead and felt…nothing! No pain, no bumps, no warm wetness that would have told her that she had been injured. When she brought her hand down and looked at her fingers, there wasn’t a drop of blood anywhere. In a mental daze, she looked over at her right fender and saw that her front bumper was inches away from the safety rail.

Amanda was temporarily overcome with cognitive dissonance; she knew that she had been in a major accident only minutes before, but the evidence around her denied the verity of her memories. For the first time in her life, she was confronted with absolute evidence of two separate realities that conflicted with each other. In a single moment of Enlightenment that the Zen Masters call Satori, she awakened to the multidimensional nature of reality.

For a few minutes while she sat in her car observing the strange new world around her, witnesses to the accident jumped out of their cars and ran towards her to see if she had been injured. As they approached, she perceived a pale yellow, egg-like luminescence surrounding each person. Every person that she saw had quasi-luminescent strings or threads that were attached to the strange aura that surrounded them and trailed off into infinity. Most of the heavier strings seemed to be attached to a region of the abdomen, but some of the lighter strings were attached to the back, head and shoulders of the unwitting Instinctively, she knew that if she moved in her mind, "just so", she could change the locus of intersection of the thicker lines to another region of the body and thus change the reality of the person she had touched with her mind. When she looked down at herself, she could see that she was surrounded by the same odd yellow aura and had strings and cables attached to her as well. She looked at her own reality locus and saw the snapped, curling, shriveled strings which had once bound her to her own version of reality, she looked more closely in horrified fascination. There, in the middle of the locus, was the oozing stub of a large cable which had obviously been ripped free from her aura by the accident and its aftermath. When she saw this, her heart skipped a beat as the sensation of deathly cold swaddled her in its frigid grip. A moment later, she swooned from psychic shock.

December 3rd 1998

When Amanda awoke the next day, she had a slight headache and burrowed her head into her pillow. With a start, she realized that the dull, crinkly sound that came from beneath the pillow slip when she moved her head was not a sound that her pillow at home usually made. She opened her eyes and looked around the room in confusion for a moment until she was able to place her surroundings. She was in a hospital. Standing nearby was a woman dressed in white. Hesitantly, she motioned to the woman. As the nurse came over, Amanda said, "What,…what happened to me?"

The Nurse smiled and stated reassuringly, "Oh, Ms. Robinson, you’re awake! Good! You’re going to be just fine! When the paramedics got you out of your car you appeared to be semi-comatose. When you got to the hospital’s Emergency Room, the doctors examined you and discovered you were suffering from deep shock, even though you weren’t injured. The accident you were in must have been very traumatic!"

"What about my daughter, Kimberly?", Amanda asked with a feeling of sudden nervousness.

"Don’t worry yourself about her, it’s all taken care of. A friend of hers brought her down here when we called her and told her about your accident. We offered to let her stay here with you for the night and sleep in the easy chair here in your room, but she decided to go home with the young man who brought her here."

The nurse shrugged her shoulders as if to say with her body language that she had seen the same scene repeated many times before. Then she added in a consoling tone, "Most teenagers can’t stand the thought of their parents being gravely ill. It’s not that she doesn’t love you, but she, like most children her age, has difficulty dealing with the possibility that you might have died. Your daughter decided to stay with one of her friends for tonight rather than sit here and worry about you." She added sympathetically, "As a mother, you should know how vulnerable teenagers feel when confronted by serious illnesses."

After a few hours of observation to insure she wouldn’t suffer a relapse, Amanda was released from the hospital over the objections and express advise of her doctors. In defiance of her physicians’ repeated statements of their wishes to keep her in the hospital overnight for further observation in light of her probable concussion, Amanda released herself by signing documents which formally declared that she took complete responsibility for releasing herself AMA (Against Medical Advice).

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After telephoning the Police Department from the hospital lobby to determine what had become of her car, she learned that it had been impounded by the Police Department. The dispatcher who took her call explained that her vehicle had been blocking traffic, and had been towed to the City Impoundment Lot by a tow truck under contract to the city. The dispatcher further explained that under normal circumstances, she would have to pay a fine for blocking traffic before she would be allowed to regain possession of her vehicle, but that in cases like hers, the city dropped the charge of blocking traffic as a courtesy. She would only have to pay the towing charge and impoundment fee to get her vehicle back. Amanda sighed heavily and asked for the address and directions to the impoundment lot, then called a taxi company to send a cab for her. As she stepped out from the hospital’s awning to stand under the low-hanging canopy of fluffy-grey, rain-impending cumulus clouds, she hailed the Yellow Checker cab that was awaiting her. She opened the rear door and gave explicit directions to the lot to the cabbie with instructions to stop by her bank so she could make a cash withdraw enough cash from the ATM machine to ransom her property from the city. It rained a dreary, mind-depressing drizzle all the way home.

Despite the vivid memories of what had happened, she was still unsure of the reality of what she had witnessed. By the next morning, she had dismissed the whole scene of her "awakening" as a shock induced fantasy. When Amanda drove her car down the same highway that she had traveled on the night of the accident, she slowed and looked closely at the railings of the underpass as well as the column and span of the overpass above it. As far as she could see, there wasn’t a single crack in either the column nor in the span which it supported. The fact that her car hadn’t any dents or dings should have been proof enough, but the memories of her horrendous accident had been to vivid to deny without visiting the site of the accident again. As Amanda passed by the unmarred safety rail, she glimpsed the fleeting transparent image of a woman dressed in white standing at the side of the bridge. Amanda slammed on the brakes, nearly causing the car that had been tailgating her to have a rear-end collision with her back bumper as she slowed to a snail’s pace while she quickly scanned the overpass for the vanished apparition. After a few minutes, she shook her head and told herself as she drove away, "Oh Lord, I must have been hallucinating! Maybe the doctors were right! I should have stayed at the hospital a little longer!"

As Amanda pulled into the driveway of her white, antique-bricked, ranch-style house with off-white painted trim and a sandy-yellow, asbestos-tiled roof, a seductively quiet female voice crooned tenderly in her mind, "Slow down, Child, you are much too tense! You’ve always wished for the gift and now you deny yourself its pleasures."

Amanda looked around frantically to see who was playing tricks with her mind. "Who…who are you?", she asked fearfully.

A small chuckle reverberated in her mind as she "heard" the voice say gently, "I’m your Avatar, Child! I’m surprised that you haven’t made the connection yet!"

Amanda found herself unable to reply to the bodiless voice. In truth, she was beginning to doubt her sanity and she feared that if she began to answer the voice, she would go off the "deep end". After a few minutes of just sitting silently Amanda decided that if she was insane, than talking to her voice couldn’t make her any worse. If she was sane, than non-communication was another form of insanity. Logically the only course left to her was to begin a "dialog" with the voice in her head.

She began to talk out loud to the voice which identified itself as her "Avatar", saying, "You’re a figment of my imagination!…What your suggesting is impossible! Avatars are just a part of a stupid role-playing game, they don’t really exist!"

Again she "heard" a chuckle coming from the furthest reaches of her mind as the voice rejoined, "Are you trying to convince me or yourself? You see, we do indeed exist! The problem is that it’s so rare that anyone experiences us, that everyone doubts our reality! So few of you humans can perceive us that it’s considered a form of madness that anyone should! The group that created the game knew the truth and made it as plain as day for anyone who would listen to understand. Do you remember when you rewound time to stop the overpass from caving in on you?"

Amanda stammered, "Th…that was…um…just a reaction to the shock. I…um…I…All it was,…was a dream…um…wasn’t it?"

Amanda’s stammered reply produced another amused chuckle, "You are a stubborn soul, aren’t you? Child, its time that you accepted the change in yourself! You have the powers that you’ve always dreamt of. Accept that you have them and learn to use them wisely and well! Be careful not to make any rash changes to reality. Explore your new world and delight in the gift you have been given. You have plenty of time before Kimberly gets home. While she hasn’t called you, I can say that she plans to spend the afternoon with her boyfriend. I doubt that she’ll be home before five o’clock this evening. Oh, yes, I think you should know that she didn’t go to the slumber party that she told you about. She spent the night with her current boyfriend exploring the pleasures of the human existence. His parents are out-of-town and they have his parent’s home to themselves. So you see, you have all morning and afternoon to experiment with your powers, after all, your home is your sanctum. But beware the effects of the Paradoxes in reality that you may create!" The voice, although completely understandable, seemed to dwindle in the distance as it said, "It is time for me to leave now. I’ll talk with you later." And with that the voice simply faded away.

A stunned Amanda fumbled her way through the keys in her key chain as she unlocked both the double-cylinder deadbolt on top and the high security Yale-type 6-pin tumblered doorknob to enter her home and let herself collapse down to the cushions of the couch. After a short respite for her personal recovery after the events of the past twenty-four hours, she went to the bar and poured herself nearly five finger’s worth of Jack Daniel’s Black Label whiskey in a glass. After gulping down the fiery drink in a quick series of four mouth-searing, breathless draughts she decided to try a little experiment. She had always been wistful about her sixteenth year. The memories she had nurtured over the years had aged well, like a fine Bordeaux in a cool dark cellar. She had forgotten the acrid dredges of fresh experience that she had been forced to endure when she was sixteen and as a result, her maturing memories had seemed a little sweeter with each passing year. She seemed to remember that when she was sixteen, that she had wished that that year had never ended.

Amanda got up from her chair in the family room and went to stand in front of the dressing mirror mounted to the door of her bedroom closet. The image of the thirty-eight-year-old woman that reflected back at her had only a vague family resemblance to the sixteen-year-old girl in the mirror that she remembered. Amanda undressed herself and stood naked in front of her dressing mirror. The years had not been unkind to her, but she could see how life had left its marks on her body. She attempted to fluff up her hair as she had done often when she was young and was dismayed to see that her once full-bodied hair fell back limply on her head. If she looked closely, she knew that she would find more than a few gray hairs among the brown hair that had once been her pride and joy. She knew, from the hairs that she found on her hairbrush each morning, that her once beautiful head of hair was beginning to thin with age…

Like an hourglass that cannot be turned over, each grain of sand of her youth had followed the arrow of time down to its lowest potential. Every replication of her DNA had introduced its own errors, causing the very blueprint for her hair to become dirty and tired with age as the telomeres of each cell wore down. As she ran her hands down her bare hips, she remembered how slim she had been before she had had Kimberly. Her hips were not the same size they had been before she had borne her daughter. Like most women who had borne children, the cartilage between the bones of the pelvis had opened as the bones of the pelvis were forced apart during trials of labor, making her hips much wider than they had been before she had experienced childbirth. The stretch marks of her pregnancy had left marks that seventeen years hadn’t erased. She had gained weight with her pregnancy that she had never been able to lose. As she became older, her tummy had expanded no matter how many diets she had tried. She had battled with the cellulite of her body and had lost the war. As a consequence, she knew she was on a downhill slide to becoming fat in her old age.

Amanda put a hand underneath her right breast and lifted the sagging teat that had once been the small pert boob of a pretty little girl. Even the aureole of her breast had been changed by nursing Kimberly; instead of the small, light-colored tit of early womanhood, she had the huge, dark, baby-gnawed, nipple of a middle-aged mother. She sighed heavily as she turned slightly in front of the mirror and saw the evidence of the cellulite that had thickened her thighs and placed extra padding on the bottom of her once taut rear. When she looked down at her feet, she could see the ravages of time there too. Where once there were perfect toenails that she had lavished expensive nail polish in her youth, there were only the ugly, polishless, slightly bent nails caused by more than a third of a century of wearing tight dress shoes to work and school. She moved her face closer to the mirror and saw the crowsfeet that were beginning to form at the corners of her eyes. Somehow, even her lips had thickened over the years. She put a fingertip to the skin of her neck and stretched it before her in the mirror. To her disgust, the fine crinkles that evidenced the loss of her skin’s collagen to age appeared beneath her fingertips. She looked down at her hands and bent them upwards at the wrist. Instead of the tight skin of youth, she saw a layered pattern of wrinkles that presaged her coming old age. The only positive thing she could say about the skin of her hands was that they didn’t show any evidence of liver spots. Even though her mind felt like it had when she was in her early twenties, her body had become old! Like most people faced with incumbent effects of age, she felt it was unfair to be so burdened when she still felt like a young woman. She turned away from the mirror and took off her watch to place it on top of her dresser before decamping to her daughter’s room in search of some clothes that would fit the slim, athletic frame that she had had when she was sixteen.

As could be expected from a teenager’s bedroom, the floor of her daughter’s room was a mess. Tangled heaps of discarded clothing lay strewn around the floor in every direction. Amanda shook her head in disgust as she carefully sidestepped the piles of litter and threaded her way through the "mine-field" of detritus of daily life. When Kimberley came home that night, Amanda would demand that her daughter would clean up her room immediately.

"It will be interesting to see how Kimberly’s clothes look on me," she said to herself as she opened her daughter’s walk-in closet door." Amanda entered her daughter’s walk-in closet and took a short skirt that she liked from a hanger. After looking over most of her daughter’s blouses she decided that she would, as she would have said when she was in High School, "Let it all hang out!" and selected a tight-fitting tank top. She exited Kimberly’s closet and laid the clothes that she had selecting on her daughter’s bed while she went through her daughter’s lingerie drawer in search of suitable underwear. Rummaging through Kimberly’s lingerie drawer, she found a pair of her daughter’s old panties and one of her forgotten training bras coiled up together at the rear of the drawer. Amanda took her daughter’s outgrown underwear for her own use and went back to the closet to pick out some shoes. When she was done, she gathered up the shoes and clothes in her arms before she returned to her bedroom to stand before mirror again.

Amanda knew the rules to the Mage game well enough to know that if they truly mirrored the mundane world as her Atavar had suggested, that she was simply asking for trouble if she rejuvenated herself. Unfortunately, the temptation to become a young teenager again after looking in her dressing mirror and seeing how her body had deteriorated over the years was too much to resist. Amanda went over to her dresser and picked up her watch to look down at its face. Unlike most wrist watches, this watch not only displayed the time, day, and date, but it also was a "year 2000" compliant watch that displayed the full year. Amanda had paid a lot of money for it the year before, when it looked like most old electronics would fail on Jan 1, 2000. She had always had a hard time keeping track of time and dates so an accurate watch and a multitude of calendars were a necessity for her to schedule her activities.

She went back to the mirror looked at herself one final time before beginning the transformation. As she closed her eyes, she thought to herself, "Really, I don’t look all that bad for a thirty-eight year old woman. Still…"

Amanda grinned as she used the watch for a mental focus and pictured the date calendar on the watch rolling itself backwards toward the time when she was sixteen-years-old. The hairs on the back of her neck rose as she wielded her power and the reflection in the mirror began to soften like warm molding wax under a goldsmith’s heat lamp. As the thrills of power ran up and down her spine, Amanda thought to herself as she unconsciously grinned and gathered the whirlpool of energies that were swirling about in her lowest chakra, "It’s dangerous, but I have to be true to my vision of myself. I’m NOT an old woman! If I have the power to be young again, than I must use it!"

The energies from her Muladhara chakra flowed forth and as she began to focus her power in earnest. Amanda reached out with her mind and closed her eyes as she moved the locus on her abdomen just a tiny bit.

Amanda’s Awakened brain was deluged with information as the formerly unused areas of her brain were excited into action as the power she tapped with her new found powers transmogrified her anatomy to a younger state. The effect was so powerful that the very DNA within the nucleus of each cell of her body was rewritten, on-the-fly, into the patterns they had held when she was sixteen.

As each change occurred, her new awareness reported back the results of the change in pattern. Billions of cells reported back almost immediately, causing a massive information overload for the unprepared woman. It was almost too much for her to bear at first, because the neural tissue of her brain was being rejuvenated along with the her heart and vascular system. If she had been able to focus herself properly during the transformation, she would have been able to see why she had a headache; the blood vessels in her brain had vasodilated as a consequence of the raw Chi that her power had called forth. Despite the incredible pain behind her eyes, she began to instinctively intricately interlace the patterns of time and the patterns of life together into a new pattern that she KNEW was her goal. Amanda held still as the invisible hands of power that she had invoked within herself reached into reality and grasped the threads of her existence to move them to another place.

As her power took over and performed the work without need of her direction, Amanda opened her eyes slightly to peek at what was happening to her. Instead of the pale yellow aura she had observed before, her body was surrounded by a sublime glow of psychic activity. She watched as her body transformed itself before her in the mirror. At first the transformation confined itself to the latest effects of her aging; her incipient crowsfeet disappeared while she watched while her skin took on a firmer healthier tone. Her stomach seemed to melt inward and her backside seemed to lift slightly as it was firmed as the cellulite that padded her bottom vanished. Even the mons, the mound of tissue that covered and protected the pelvis at the groin flattened as the layers of fat behind it dwindled into an almost prepubescent state. She watched in awe as the slight lines that were on her face melted into the soft skin of youth. As Amanda’s face took on the features that she had worn when she was in her mid-twenties, the skin of her legs became soft and silky again. Every fiber of her being tingled in sheer ecstasy as her skin was perfused with the healthy glow of youth. In a sheer rapture of joy Amanda threw her head back and shook out the full-bodied waves of her long brunette hair. As she slid backwards into her late teens her face became fine textured and radiant.

Amanda watched intently as the regression began to slow, grinding to a halt as the process neared its terminus. As she observed herself in the mirror, she imagined that she could almost count the years as they were removed from her youthening body. She watched as her breasts became as pert and mature as they had when she had come into her full womanhood at eighteen. As she had commanded, the change went on, causing her to frown as her bust size decreased in size as she retrogressed down to her seventeenth year. Mentally, she nodded to herself as she remembered that she had hit that her growth spurt halfway through seventeen."

Amanda’s frame rapidly lost height and her feet shrank a bit, she took on the appearance of a teenager. As her height declined past five foot, six inches, her breasts continued to shrink in size from a "C" cup, through a less womanlike "B" cup, then rapidly shrank down to an "A" cup.

Amanda silently sighed to herself as she lost the most obvious evidence of her womanhood. The middle-aged version of Amanda was extremely full figured, but when she had been sixteen, she had been a late bloomer anatomically. At sixteen, the formally broad bosom of the thirty-eight year old woman would barely rate a training bra! As the last of her womanhood melted away into the innocent face that she had worn when she was sixteen and her breasts regressed to a size that was only barely an "A" cup that could easily fit into a training bra, she sighed again as she looked at the calendar on her watch and subtracted her birthday from the date on her wristwatch. "I’m sixteen years, three months, two weeks and five days old!", she whispered to herself in awe.

She looked at the adolescent-sized nipples on her breast and continued as she probed her vagina with her fingertip and exclaimed out loud, "And I’m a virgin again too!"

She grinned at herself wickedly and said out loud, "Well! I can’t stand her in front of the mirror admiring myself all day! If I’m going to go out, I’ve got to get dressed!

With a chuckle, Amanda began putting on her daughter’s outgrown underwear; Kimberly would never notice their absence. Once she had accoutered herself in the bare minimum of female clothing for a girl past babyhood, she picked up the training bra and put it on. It had been at least two years since Kimberly had worn the bra she had outgrown. Amanda knew that her daughter would never miss it. After she had the bra in place, she took the skirt from the bed and pulled the skirt up her skinny bottom before donning the tank top. Unlike the manner in which the tank top stretched tightly over Kimberly’s full bosom, Amanda discovered to her dismay that the elastic fabric hung somewhat loosely over her training bra. When she was finished dressing herself, she put on the pair of her daughter’s shoes that she had "borrowed" from her Kimberly’s closet.

With a little trepidation she went back to the mirror to see what she looked like in her daughter’s clothes. When she saw the reflection of pretty, bright-eyed sixteen year old girl before her, she exclaimed to herself gleefully, "Yes! This is more like it! This is who I truly am! Hmm…A girl as good looking as I am shouldn’t have to spend her evenings at home watching TV alone. I should treat myself! A night out on the town would do me a world of good! I deserve to indulge myself just this once!"

Amanda smiled at the refection of the sixteen-year-old in the mirror in anticipation of the adventure that she contemplated for herself that night.

End of Chapter I

Copyright 1999 by Fever and Jennifer Loraine, All rights reserved.

No commercial use allowed without the express permission of the authors.