I see the glade, and the altar, from behind a gossamer veil of shimmering air, drowning in a haze, and I see you, neither alive nor dead but suspended at the very peak of ecstatic arrival and departure, bleeding out and climaxing forever.
It's all fading now, not like a dream but some thing completed. I’ve surfaced somewhere from that place of blue and gold, but I don’t know where it is, I don’t know if this, this here where we are now and this now here, is the baseline reality, or some other one, or a dream within a fantasy within a hallucination, or a last gasp before dying.
It's dark, but it’s not a complete darkness. I am reclining on the ground, my back against what feels like a rock, though maybe covered with something. It’s cool and damp, with a briny feel to the air. He is laying across my lap, somewhat limply, and he feels cold. Not death cold but colder than he should, all things considered. Breathing, though. Apparently. I don't think I've actually killed him here, wherever here might be, but I think that what happened there, wherever there was, did something to him here. I think he’s gone to some in-between place and all I can do is wait. It’s not in my nature to wait, but wait I do and eventually the cool peace of this place settles in my mind, calming it down and I turn inwards, until I can hear his voice, or his thoughts, coming through low, faint, but clear.
Holy fuck. I don't know anything right now. I can't see my surroundings. But I can see everything that's not visible. Spirits. But on closer look, not. A host of people, I know them all. They look like ghosts. I think they're manifestations of my memories. Like some version of my life passing before my eyes. They aren't really looking, just there, partially aware of me. And I'm in a perpetual moan, black gas leaking from my mouth and wounds. But that's in this nether ether or whatever I'm seeing. I don't know who the projections are specifically, but I am aware that I know them or have known them. From this life or possibly a past one. I envisioned being light and free from whatever it was that was separated from me but I feel dense, heavy and thick. Immobile for the most part, though the ability to move seems to be coming back. There is light, too, pale and faint. I can feel your hand across my back.
His body is feeling warmer; light, a faint light of a dawn, is starting to fill the space we are in, enough for me to recognise it. We are in the sea cave, the place of beginnings, the inbetween place where all the stories cross and in which all the stories start. I look at him and he turns his head slowly towards me, opening his eyes. I smile, and his faintly smiles back.
The light is growing, the opening high above us on the cave wall filling with blue, sunlight streaming in.
“Can you get up, J?”
He nods, and we both struggle up, using the rock wall for support, staggering the few steps to the opening of the rock corridor. We step through but instead of the stone passage, we emerge out on a grassy shore of a pine-forest-surrounded lake. The sky is pale grey, and mist is swirling low between the reeds but the warm air smells fresh and resinous. A dark-green wooden rowboat is bobbing few meters from the shore, its mooring rope loosely coiled around a large boulder semi-submerged at the water line.
I am smiling wide now. I know where we are. I pull the boat closer, clamber in and he follows me. There are no oars in the boat, but as soon as we get in it starts gliding across the water. We are going home.