Vrin Ten Mortal Gods(57)

By: John Michael Hileman


We approached the tiny building, and the door slipped upward, revealing an elevator.

“Ladies first,” I said, gesturing to Constance.

She stepped in. I followed. Then Humphrey stepped in and pushed the button for the one-hundredth floor.

Constance looked confused.

I nudged her gently. “Think of it as a dream, and it won't be so disconcerting.”

She gave me a pensive look, and the elevator creaked into motion. The lights on the panel glowed slowly one at a time. And we waited. Finally the door opened and a blue light filtered in. I stepped out to see a metal catwalk stretching off in both directions as far as the eye could see. Beyond the railing, the enormous mass of Vrin hovered, suspended by millions of blue iridescent threads from the porous ceiling high above.

Constance came up beside me. “What is it?” Her eyes were wide.

“That,” I stated, “is Vrin.”

“I know that name,” she said slowly. “Where have I heard that name?”

“Your father created it.”

“Yes. I remember! Vrin! Virtual Reality Interface Network!” She tilted her head slightly. “But that would mean Solomon succeeded.” She grabbed my arm. “Solomon got through! He did it! He said he was going to use my father's technology to speak directly to his mind, and...” She shook her head in awe.

“And,” Humphrey finished, “we are looking at the result of his experiment as it appears in Dantra.”

“Yes. Dantra! I remember this place. --Why didn't I remember before?” She looked at me.

“Because,” I explained, “you were trapped in physical thought. But now you are remembering your true nature. As a complex being, the physical is only one aspect of who you are.”

She looked back at Vrin. “I remember.”

“All of us remember before we pass through The Separation,” Humphrey said. “But few remember here in Dantra. There was a time when Dantra was filled with glowing beings, sharing experiences, comforting one another-- but so many have been weighted down by selfish desires contrary to God. They’d rather struggle than know peace.”

“But some have chosen obedience,” I added. “They’re not perfect, but they trust in the promises of God, and use his strength to protect themselves from evil thoughts. These were the ones the angels led into Vrin, to help your father complete his work.”

“Why would God do that?”

“Because he loves your father.” I leaned in toward her. “God's ways can sometimes be difficult to understand.”

“God's ways are perfect,” said Humphrey, clearly annoyed by my choice of words.

“What I'm saying is, God has a plan meant for our good, even though sometimes we don't understand it.” I looked at Humphrey as if to say, Will that work for you?

He gave a little shrug.

Constance looked at Humphrey, then at me. “So-- why did you bring me here?”

Humphrey pointed. “See those strands reaching from Vrin to the ceiling?”

“Yes.”

“Your father is preparing to destroy Vrin.”

Constance snapped a look at Humphrey.

“If he succeeds,” Humphrey continued, “the explosion will send a tremendous shock wave up those threads. And millions will die in their sleep.”

Her face twisted in horror. “Why would he do that?”

I looked at Humphrey, but spoke to Constance. “Because your father doesn't understand God's plan.”

Humphrey scowled.

I looked back at Constance. “Your father believes wrongly. He thinks God is cruel. He doesn't understand his own failings, and he doesn't understand that everything occurring is actually for his good. He wants his family back, he wants you back, and he is willing to destroy and rebuild Vrin a thousand times to get what he wants.”

She began to cry. I put my arm around her.

“You can help him,” said Humphrey.

“How?” She sniffed.

“By bringing him a message. --But there is a catch.” He reached out and gently lifted her chin. “You may not pass beyond the threshold into Vrin to be with your father.”

“Why not?” She sniffed.

“God says you cannot.”

“Why?” she asked again.

“It's difficult to understand.” He shot me a glance. “But do you accept the terms?”

“Yes,” she whispered.

“Good. Then it's time to go see your mother.”



CHAPTER 32



A MESSAGE FROM ETHRAL

001001011001110

The living cannot pass into Ethral, so we stood at the barrier between. Shimmering transparent silver separated us from a brilliant city of crystal. In this place, God's love was overpowering, and Constance struggled with it. It was almost more than she could bear.

“I don't belong here,” she said. “I have done too much. I have seen too much.”

Humphrey laughed. “No one deserves to be in the presence of God. It is by his forgiveness alone that anyone can be with him.”

“Someone approaches,” I said, pointing.

Three figures in white flowing robes were walking toward us along a golden path. Long hoods shrouded their heads. As they neared, Constance covered her face with her hands.

Reaching the barrier, the one in the middle removed her hood. She was beautiful, with crystal blue eyes and fiery red hair that touched her shoulders in curls. Her expression was one of overwhelming compassion, and her gaze was fixed on Constance. “You do not need to be afraid, little one. You are loved.”

Constance dropped her hands and looked up. “Mom?” Her voice quivered.

“Yes, honey. It's me.”

Constance tried to run forward, but the barrier’s energy held her back. The woman placed her hand on the barrier. Constance did the same.

“You cannot enter where I am, sweetie,” the woman said. “Not yet. You have work to do.”

“I've missed you so much, Mom.” Constance choked on the words.

“I have missed you too, honey. But we must think of your father now. He is in a very dark place.”

“Yes. I know.”

“You must travel to Vrin and give him a message.”

“Then can we come and be with you?”

“When the time is right, but first you must do this.” She looked at Constance intently. “Tell him, he is a great man, and that great men must make great sacrifices.”

Constance nodded and wiped away a tear. “Yes, Mom. I will remember.”

“I love you, Constance. Be a good girl.” She gave a gentle smile.

“I will, Mom,” Constance whispered. “I will.”

One of the robed figures reached out and placed his hand softly on the woman's shoulder.

“I have said as much as you are able to bear, my darling. Come home, Constance.” She covered her head. And the three turned and walked back down the path.

“I will, Mom! I will!” Constance called after them. She crumbled to the ground and wept.

We stood by quietly for a moment, allowing her to grieve.

“We must travel back to The Circle,” said Humphrey over her sobs.

“Yes, I know.”

“Are you ready?”

“I am.” I looked down at Constance.

“It is not going to be easy,” he said quietly.

“Nothing important ever is.” I knelt down next to Constance. “It is time to take you to Vrin. Are you ready?”

“Yes,” she said, wiping away tears. “I want to see my father.”

I helped her to her feet and the three of us headed back down the stairs to a grassy field. The sun sat high in the sky. I looked directly at it. But it didn't hurt my eyes.

We traveled across the meadow and into a leafy path through a wood where we wound our way in and out of massive oak trees, until Humphrey stopped us at the edge of a clearing. He motioned for us to duck down. In the center, beings of light swarmed around a circular structure, floating in and out amongst each other. I noted that the light emanating from them was weak and faded.

“Who are they?” I whispered.

“Malignant spirits,” said Humphrey.

“Is that The Circle of Ghosts?”

“Yes.”

“How do we get in?”

“Hold on. You'll see.” He winked.

Suddenly, the air filled with light and the ground trembled. I looked up to see the massive form of Magnus descending. As he landed in front of The Circle, the ground split. And the lesser beings retreated.

“I AM MAGNUS! I STAND IN THE PRESENCE OF THE ONE TRUE GOD!”

“Go!” said Humphrey, gesturing wildly.

Constance and I bolted toward The Circle and Magnus allowed us to pass. In the shadows of the trees, the glowing demons paced like wild animals.

“Quickly! The fallen ones are coming!” Humphrey called after us.

I looked up to see bright flickers of yellow fire burning down through the atmosphere. And from them a haunted screech filled the air.

I looked at Constance. “Ready?”

She gave a quick nod. “I'm scared, but I'm ready.”

“Remember, Thomas!” called Humphrey. “Time does not exist in Dantra. You will enter Vrin precisely the moment you left, which will give you the element of surprise.”

“Got it.” I gave him the thumbs up.

Magnus stepped forward and gripped the structure, and in a flash of light, we found ourselves standing inside The Circle on Gaza's platform. Through a ghostly yellow veil, I watched, as if in slow motion, as the body of Charm collapsed onto the metal floor of the platform.