Regressions tells the story of a man caught up in such a journey. A journey through the timestreams. A journey he is unable to control.
As he begins to map out these adventures, patterns emerge which suggest the choices he makes in one reality have consequences in the rest. If he can figure out why this is happening and what he is intended to learn, he may be able to end it. He can settle down in a nice, cozy seaside cottage with his love, the giant dragonflies, and all the peace and calm and panic he could ask for. But which reality is home?
"Regressions is a work that reaches far beyond the realm of storytelling. It is a return to an ancient form of spiritual philosophy, a tool to assist the workings of the soul; the first step of realignment to the natural order of being-living through your authentic voice."
-Benjamin Pearson, from the Foreword
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.45(d)|
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RegressionsThe Lengths People Will Go to Discover Authentic Love
By Mark Allard
BALBOA PRESSCopyright © 2012 Mark Allard
All right reserved.
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
The Killing Options
"You can feel the sun on your skin like it's burning impressions into you." This is how he would begin writing, if he survived.
The jungle is thick, though its canopy does little to offer relief from the sun. Heat seems to rise off the ground and even the plants are prone to sweating.
The jungle is a world of its own. Smells are different. Taste is unnatural. Hearing becomes amplified, sight—diminished. Touch is a lifeline.
Creation makes a gesture of empathy towards the fools who trespass here, knowing well the inevitable destruction they must pay as the toll for entering this place.
The cost is not the same for everyone. Some pay immediately, with their life or limbs or health. Others think they got out easy, only to find themselves stalked by cyclical demons of paranoia and sabotage through countless attempts at rebuilding life away from this place.
The jungle is a jealous lover. If she can't have you, she won't let anyone.
About 100 feet from where you stand is the ocean, maybe 200 feet. It doesn't matter what direction, just pick one. The important thing is not to doubt yourself. Whatever pops into your mind ought to be right. The waves crash on themselves, stretching their wake onto white sands, like a deceptive picture implying paradise.
That thought is not in the present. It is something you are imagining—maybe even remembering, yet somehow you know that what you are seeing in your mind's eye is that beach—the one two hundred feet away, with crystal blue water washing up polished lava rocks on a sun soaked mirage of tranquility, until the tide once again relocates them.
The sound of a bird brings you back. Was it a bird at the beach, one from the jungle, or did it resonate from a distant memory? It is hard to tell and makes little difference. You are back. Back to the heat and the smell of your own sweat and the relief that comes with knowing the journey has to end, sometime. The tide deposited you here. The crashing waves in the distance taunt, "you can never go back." And you know it is true. The white sand as forbidden as a virgin, the water beyond—leading anywhere, may just as well be across a great chasm for which no bridge exists to take you to the other side. Within that chasm lie booby traps and landmines and snakes and killing options. There are neither trees big enough nor vines long to help you cross over. Besides, you know which direction you need to keep walking.
As if responding to the very thought in your head, the trees seem to bend at eye level, revealing a hill in the distance. It is further in front of you than the ocean is behind, and as quickly as you glimpse your destination the trees resume their original shape. There is no path for you. You must forge your own through trees that bend and sweating plants and ground that gives off heat.
It could take hours, and life—especially life in the jungle, rarely follows a straight line, but somehow you know that you will be there before the sun sets.
You are in the dark. You try hard to picture something—anything; a tree, moss, rocks, running water. You are not even able to do that. What is happening? You look around you. You look down at your hands and can't even see them, but you can feel them. You form a fist, then stretch your fingers wide. If you can feel your hands moving but not see them, you must be blind or in the dark.
The physical you—the one with flesh and bones, is still alive. It's a place to start. At least you aren't dead.
The sensation of awareness travels up from your hands, through your arms and shoulders, before emptying into your chest. You become aware of your breath; the rhythmic inhale and exhale.
Now you are certain you are really here, surrounded by darkness.
But where is here? You have no memory of arriving in this dark place.
How are you feeling? Scared. Panicked. The words come fast and effortlessly.
What is your life's purpose? Escape.
You look down at your feet.
I am in the jungle. My boots are heavy, as if weighed down with stones. Perhaps this is just the weight of my tired legs. Suddenly the boots are gone and you can see your golden brown feet walking effortlessly through the thick underbrush.
Boots are back on. A hill is in front of me. The destination.
I begin to see things unfold like I am watching a silent film; one I have already seen, which removes the suspense of it all. I am an observer, watching my alternate self experience, but unable to feel it.
* * *
You are holding a book. A kind of encyclopaedia of animals. When I reach the snakes, I am so afraid; I can't even touch the pictures. With the tip of my finger I turn the page over. It would be better if there was something between me and the pages. I don't want to accidentally come into contact with the pictures. My touch is all that is required to awaken these frozen serpents.
* * *
I feel like I have been abandoned. The jungle is hot and my clothes are sticky. Why are you here alone? What happened to everyone? I can't remember, but I feel like I have been misjudged.
I see something red in the trees. Maybe it is a bird. I keep walking.
* * *
Family vacation. You are six or seven? I am sitting in the sand with some toys. As the water rolls in I look up. A snake emerges from the water and heads straight towards me. You are frozen. Will it end like this? I know what snakes can do.
A few feet in front of me it rears up, standing within its scaled cocoon. It's tongue hisses at me. Our eyes meet.
* * *
Memories-like shards of ice on a still pond that have shattered. The broken pieces have begun to drift away. I must bring them back. I must do this before it's too late. If I could collect the pieces, I could reform a surface that would allow me to see my own reflection. For now, all I see are fragments.
* * *
Red in the trees. Boots on. Boots off. What am I missing?
It feels like I have been left here. Abandonment.
I hear a voice sing to me—the memory of some childs lullaby I have forgotten.
What am I running from? Who have I abandoned? Who or what am I running to?
* * *
I escape from the beach. I am crying and screaming because I am so afraid. My body is vibrating. I run to where my parents and their friends are, but no one will believe me. They all think you are lying, as if I even want their attention. I wouldn't have mentioned it but you are afraid, and fear makes people do unstable things.
You don't believe me! I saw a snake. Why does no one ever believe me? Why do they always think I am lying? Can't they see what they are doing to me? I will grow up and doubt myself, sheltering what I really think and feel because if I express myself people will misinterpret me. They will think I am lying. Why can't they see this?
It came out of the water and headed straight for me. It stood in its scaled cocoon and our eyes met. I don't know why it stopped. I don't know why it let me go. Maybe because not being believed is worse. I am not a liar. Why won't you believe me? Is this how it will end?
* * *
When I was ten there was a stairway in my closet. No more than a dozen narrow steps led up towards the attic. What existed beyond that door filled me with as much excitement as it did trepidation. It wasn't just an attic, it was a way out. It was change.
What if that world turned out to be more horrible than the one I already knew? I didn't want to be stuck there. What if opening that door meant things would never be the same?
I would hate to discover cobwebs and mothballs. I think that would be a worse fate than never opening it at all. Sometimes the hope of a thing is better than an absolute.
You think about this entirely too much. My logic begins to question if the door is not there to be opened, but guarded. Perhaps it is your responsibility to make sure the door stays closed. Maybe this is why you were put here.
I think I am just going to wait. In an emergency, it won't matter if it is the right thing to do or not. It won't matter if I find cobwebs and mothballs. The only thing that will matter is that I have an escape.
I have no memories of ever opening the attic door, though I find it hard to accept that I never tried.
Two years we lived in that house. Perhaps those memories were wiped away.
I believe in that kind of thing. I believe our higher self works with the body to create the circumstances we call life. It does this because there is a point to us being here. Something we have forgotten. The events of life are just exercises in remembering. The catch is, what doesn't make you stronger kills you.
It's a temporary solution—losing memories. It does some good in the short term, but no one can outrun the toll, not even by denying the consequences of choices or downplaying their relevance. Choice becomes us. YOU are the change you are looking for.
Memories are a lot like dreams that way. The ones that I forget are—no doubt, the most significant.
* * *
I must be getting close now. The sun is about to set and I know I will arrive before then. The jungle is so thick it is hard to tell how close I am or how far I've come.
Mistaken For Dead
A terrifying thought occurs to me. What if I am in a wooden box, deep in the ground? I once read about a casket that was designed with a kind of pipe leading to the surface to provide air for someone in this very situation.
I suppose you would have a few days of screaming before your body resigned itself to die; hopefully before your stomach began eating itself.
I believe that kind of thing happens—that we can make a decision and just say, "I'm done," and the darkness closes in. It's like suicide without ever pulling the trigger.
The longer you lie here, the harder it becomes to have any hope that I will be saved.
I can only imagine the oxygen casket was designed because someone was buried alive and survived the ordeal. What a thought. Imagine being that guy?
Something must have been terribly wrong with his body to go into shut down mode—enough that he was mistaken for dead. Then to wake up, find yourself in the dark, come to the conclusion that you are buried and dig yourself out—that's got to change you. It would change everything. Every perspective would be re-evaluated. Every belief system would be challenged.
Whoever that guy was—who inspired the ultimate insurance policy against premature burial, they must have worshipped him. How would he ever fully resolve that he had not been legitimately dead? That no mistake had been made? That some greater force had not chosen to resurrect him for some great purpose?
The sheer panic of waking up in darkness and clawing your way to emancipated freedom—fingers bleeding and caked with blood and splinters, this has got to be significant.
Why was he required to dig himself out of the ground, as though it were essential to the process of resurrection; a mandatory requirement? What strange and sympathetic magic orchestrates this kind of event?
It's not everyone who comes back from the dead. By the time they figured it out—if they did, that he was just like the rest of them, the truth would have become irrelevant. He was a God of the New World.
THE ONE THEY CALL THE VISION
A Place I Visit With My Eyes Closed
It is the sensation of moving very quickly. I am flying above fields towards the Glenn.
I descend through a canopy of trees that shield the magic contained within this ancient place. The fairy forest, she calls it.
Something is different this time. The colors are more vibrant. This place is more alive and more intimidating in its stillness.
It is snowing lightly. All of the green is peppered with glistening white.
I picture myself here with her in a different time. I am standing in the trunk of a tree that is split down the center, forming a kind of archway. She calls this the doorway for faeries to enter our world.
These memories are like dreams to me. A place I visit with my eyes closed.
As the branches part, I see a body lying in the snow. His arms are spread open like the ascending Christ. His black hair is wet and the melting snow gives it shine. He wears furs wrapped around his body. It looks like a blanket beneath him.
I come to realize that the body lying in the snow is me. I can't explain how I am watching myself or how I was floating through the air and descending through the trees. I don't know where I was coming from but the body I see belongs to me. The memories I have belong to me, and by me I mean that body, and this essence.
It has been such a long journey. I have been away from home for so long.
Your eyes flutter in the falling snow. My body is cold but there are warm spots. Why are you lying here? Why did I come here? As quickly as you ask, I find myself transported.
Imagination is a word grownups use to imply pretending, but only because they have forgotten what it's like. I don't pretend. I create worlds.
I often wonder if that is why I got electrocuted. Did I mention that? It happened when I was eleven. My body was bouncing off the floor. It was that bad. I could have died. Instead I lost my childhood.
It seems entirely possible to me that I was electrocuted because I saw too much. I saw things I needed to see at the time, and then needed to forget until the time was right to remember. I believe that time is now.
Sometimes I think parents have this idea that imagination works like a switch, as though it can be turned on and off; convenient when you send your children away to play, inconvenient when you are trying to sleep and they are screaming about people in their room with machine guns and snakes all over the floor.
Before I was electrocuted, I saw a lot of things differently; people and animals and sickness. I could see a headache and pull it out like a string.
* * *
Something is travelling above me. I can hear it. I look up but can't tell what it is through the thickness of the trees. Occasionally its shadow descends but disappears and it is moving too fast for me to make out its shape.
It makes a sound like the banging of a drum, and another—a humming. To be honest, I find it comforting. I don't feel so lonely.
Footsteps Of Our History
I am at the top of a hill. Beside me is some kind of stone monument. It looks like a navigational instrument, used to tell the distance of things.
Below me is a village on the coast.
About a mile into the icy waters, the sea has spit up a black rock castle. Its towers stand in rebellion to the violent waters around it, and the role it must play. Swarms of fowl converge on this place, claiming it as their own.
I wonder if all creatures see creation unfold the same way? I think they must. We are all just trying to survive. We are all just doing what we know how to do. We have all seen too much blood and suffering. Why am I here?
Time reverses. I am not in my body. My physical body lies in the Glenn far away from here; the snow falling gently on my face. I sense the wolf nearby and the heat from between my legs. I am a ghost in these memories, haunting myself. Time is becoming irrelevant.
I am climbing the hill with my love. She seems uncomfortable. I don't trust her complaints. She just wants attention. It is important that she give birth here. This is my only concern.
Our child will be a God of the New World. We shall return to my home in the north, avenge my brother's death, and lead our people to victory. I ignore her complaints. We must make it to the top. She will earn no sympathy from me, today.
With the tilt of my head I watch this scenario repeat itself. In a different time and details have changed. We are climbing the same hill. Marching in the footsteps of our history. Things look different, somehow. The colors have faded and she bears no child, but my scorn is the same. I want to reach the top. It is the only thing that matters—as if this act of penance will heal the wounds that have surfaced before the pain.
I am surprised to see the navigational instrument still here. It has weathered.
I look out at the icy waters of Oceans Gate. I see the black rock castle—towering out of the sea in rebellion.
Below me is the village, though it looks strange. It is not how I remember. It feels strange. The memories I have associated with this place are jumbled. It looks modern but is somehow less advanced.
I remember watching Sinister burn to the ground. The village below me is a recycled version from my memories—as if creation took the easy way out.
I contemplate going down and exploring, but am drawn back to my love.
Two versions of this scene play side by side. I need only to tilt my head slightly to watch the other.
While out of the body, I retain all the memories I have collected from these alternate experiences. It is only inside the human suit that I am prone to forget. With these memories, I am forming a kind of map that will help me navigate my way through the timestreams; help me understand why this happening and perhaps allow me to stop this. Or change things. Things like outcomes not yet absolute.
Excerpted from Regressions by Mark Allard Copyright © 2012 by Mark Allard. Excerpted by permission of BALBOA PRESS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsRegressions: A Meditation on Finding Your Authentic Voice....................ix