Central Theme. "For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities: all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:16 & 17)..."Shining in the lord is in the center...Jesus in the center...revolving around Him..." Was it all a dream? It seems like it now. But then it also seems so real. More real than anything I've ever experienced when awake. But I was not awake. At least I don't think I was. I don't know-maybe I'm going crazy. But I must write it down before it all disappears, or I will go crazy. It was one night, in July-very hot. So hot I couldn't sleep. The steady drone of traffic punctuated by an occasional screeching of brakes or a blaring horn didn't help. After tossing and turning in my bed for what seemed like hours, I finally got up, stumbled over to the window and looked outside. I was shocked. There were no cars, no trucks, no streetlights. No neon signs. No expressway. The overpass by which I crossed over the train tracks was gone. The train tracks were gone too. The entire city had disappeared and had been replaced by a tiny village stretched out peacefully under a canopy of twinkling stars and black space. It was like something out of a book. I brushed back the curtains around my window and stepped tentatively out onto the fire escape to get a better view of this strange transformation. As my feet touched the strips of rusty steel, the normally rough surface felt soft and wet, more like the ground on a hillside covered with slick green grass than a rickety old fire escape. I turned around and saw the walls of my apartment melt away, and I was standing all alone on the serene hillside. All was quiet except for what sounded like the baaing of sheep in the distance. No sooner than the calm and stillness of the scene settled over me, than I sensed movement in the sky above. Looking up, I saw a great gathering of clouds. Ominous they were, dark and swirling, constantly moving, and in the roar of their gathering, flashes of light appeared for a moment and were gone. Then, as quickly as it began, the activity ceased, and another foreboding stillness fell. Now the only sound was the gentle that rustled the tall grass of the field in which I stood. But I knew the calm would only last for a moment. Then, it happened. An awful crack of lightning exploded, shattering the silence and shaking the earth so terribly I fell to my knees. I looked up and thought I saw words etched in the black sky with fading streaks of lightning-like light. "What is Man that Thou art mindful of Him?" What I then saw is impossible to describe. It was at once terrible and beautiful. It was as if the universe were being recreated before me. In the darkness where the glow from the strange writing had now melted away, a succession of fantastic explosions of stars erupted. Cascades of spectacular colors and brilliant lights stumbled over one another. Forms and shapes emerged out of chaotic disorder and then disappeared. Amidst this roaring confusion of stars, I thought I saw another strange event taking place. Slowly, it took on the form of what looked like a fetus. Then, in a sudden flash of transformation, it was a fetus growing and developing into an infant ready to be born, pushing at the membrane of clouds and dust that enfolded it like the rings of Saturn. It was at that moment that the loudest of the screaming solar explosions through the universe, and for an instant the entire sky was a blinding field of white light. Then-blackout. All was instantly silent and calm and dark again. Nothing stirred except for a single luminous star that moved gently across the heavens and came to rest over the sleeping village below me. In that moment I knew that God had to be mindful of man and that the question that was now being asked by a Voice as still and as small as the village below could not have been made up in my own mind. It was from outside of me, infinitely greater than I was: "Who is on the Throne?" the voice asked. I could not answer. I was paralyzed with fear. But an answer came: "The King of Kings and Lord of Lords."
Chapter One "Alarma"
As the sound of the voice died away, I decided to walk down the hill toward the village. It was then I heard the first shrill cry of an alarm, enveloping and insistent. The sound was almost deafening and I began to run to escape its strident shrieking. As I approached the small, peaceful village, I realized it had changed into a great dark and silent city. With the alarm now only a painful ringing in my ears, I stood before the gates of this city where a sign announced the ironic name of the place: "Light of the World." It had to be some sort of bizarre joke, as the only light emanating from it was dim and pallid. I knew I was back in my own time, now, although I didn't recognize this city. A tangle of electric wires wound their way like multicolored snakes above the buildings, and I could almost feel the tingling current running through them. I entered the gate and began to walk the silent streets. I heard nothing, except the sound of my own footsteps and the eerie trickle and drip of water from old rusted drain pipes. I saw no one. "Perhaps they are all asleep," I thought to myself. But the silence had the feel of death. I felt cold and somehow very sad. It was then that the Voice I had heard on the hill spoke again. I stood still; I could not help but to do so. not sin, he will surely live, because he took warning." As I heard these words, I felt as though I had begun to understand something. I still wasn't sure what it was. "If the salt lose it's savor," continued the Voice, "it is therefore good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under the foot of man." I now knew the meaning of the Alarm I had first heard on my approach to the city, and the words I had read in a book somewhere long ago seemed to echo the words of the unseen Voice. "And I urge you brothers, WARN those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak...." It was then that I heard footsteps behind me. I turned and beheld a stranger, limping toward me. He was haggard and bent, wrapped in a cloak of tattered fray, so that I could not see his face. Strangely enough, he did not see me, however. I began to realize that I was somehow invisible to all but myself in this world. The man passed almost straight through me, and made his way to the entrance place of a dark towering building which rose to my left. I saw the stranger knock at the heavy oak door for several minutes, and for a time felt no one would heed his desperate rapping, until I heard the sound of moving bolts and saw the door gradually swing open. In the doorway there now stood an immense fat man, dressed in what appeared to be a full-length coat of fur, and about his neck and upon his fingers, I could make out the glitter of fine jewelry. He wore one ring that was particularly striking. It had an elaborately -cut garnet-like stone, larger than any gem I had ever seen-and it glowed with an uncanny purplish blood-red glow. From behind him came the sound of many voice and much laughter, and there was some strange music playing as well. Just to hear a melody, no matter how strange, was somehow comforting in that haunting city. But the melody slowly grew irritating and dissonant-almost painful to listen to. I wanted it to stop as I felt my mind being confused and actually pained by the strange sound of those instruments. Then the dull glow which issued from every window I had seen thus far in he city exposed the hallway of this building and cast a dingy halo of yellow light around the huge silhouette of the fat man standing there. The look on the fat man's face was one of contempt and revulsion at the sight of the pathetic creature that stood, small and misshapen, before him. >From where I stood, I could not make out the words of the beggar. But I knew he was pleading, his thin, gnarled hand trembling with urgency as they reached out in desperation to the recoiling fat man. The door slammed in the midst of the beggar's plea, and I saw the poor vagabond's arms drop hopelessly to his sides. His head fell forward slightly in despair. He now turned from the wooden barrier and shuffled slowly away, his back turned toward me. Darkness had almost taken him from my sight, when, without ever looking back, he spoke these words that were unmistakably meant for my own ears: "For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison, and you did not look after me." I was deeply shaken by his words and began to weep. I knew that voice. I had first heard it upon a distant hilltop, where I had watched a single luminous star hovering over a sleeping village. I reached up to clear my eyes of the stinging tears when I saw that my hands were covered with rings and were glowing with a purplish blood-red glow.
Chapter Two (The Truth Gets) Colored By...
"If anyone teaches false doctrine and does not agree to the sound instruction of Our Lord Jesus Christ, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and arguments that result in envy, quarreling, malicious talk, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of corrupt mind...." (1 Tim. 3-5) "Therefore, do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival or a sabbath day. These are a shadow of things that were to come; THE REALITY HOWEVER IS FOUND IN JESUS CHRIST." (Colos. 2:16 & 17) The distant sound of some fervent electronic oration now echoed through the streets. Still dazed by the encounter, I made my way toward the sound of the strident voices. When I had walked some distance, the words of the speaker became increasingly clear. I rounded a corner and was suddenly in the midst of a large crowd of people gathered around a platform. There on the stage stood a middle-aged man, tall and slender, dark-haired and dark-eyed, who spoke through a hand-held speaker in a voice so commanding that he captivated his audience. He was literally spell-binding. I cannot recall all that he said, except that at times his words were taken directly from the Scripture. Then, at other times, he would begin to talk in what sounded nonsense syllables, suddenly interjecting a hysterical command so ridiculous, it would have made me laugh, had it not been so vehement. "Takes off your shoes! Take off your shoes!" he was screaming as though this ridiculous request was the fundamental scriptural commandment. "Take off you shoes!" he screamed again. The falsity of his tirade seemed so apparent to me, that I felt the entire crowd must realize this ridiculousness of this situation and the lunacy of the speaker. I was certain now that he had shown his madness, the crowd would disperse and ignore his ravings. But this was not to be. I saw the looks of guilt and shame covered the faces of those closest to me, and they, along with many others, actually began removing their shoes in accordance with the insistent command still being bellowed from the stage. At last, when all of the crowd had removed their shoes, the leader stopped his harangue, and stood silent and smiling above his barefoot and obedient flock. "Now," he said gently, raising one hand in a gesture of blessing, "Go out into the world, and teach others to do likewise." The crowd quietly began to disperse. I saw the leader step down from the stage and disappear through a curtain, though before I had seen him take a large roll of cash from his bulging pockets(money he had apparently collected from the people). He began to count it even before he was out of sight. The sea of shoes that the people had left behind suddenly began to melt like wax in a flaming river of purplish red that crept beneath the streets of the city. I was so disturbed by this that my immediate though was that I must take the stage and set the Truth in order. I must call the people back and warn them to abandon these silly habits and traditions that obscured the real truth and meaning that those outside the city are seeking. I began to run toward the platform, but I had not gone far, when I realized " my mission" was finished before it was begun. I remembered that I was invisible. I could not be seen, and I realized then that I also could not be heard. I had no choice but to watch and listen. I was angry. Now I realized my calling, but had no way of implementing it. I had spent most of my time in my own world as a quiet, somewhat confused person. But here my appointment seemed so clear and my calling so important. As crazy as this all seemed to me, I knew I was the only sane mind in this mad world. I felt I had remembered what was true, could see through the masks of these imposters who were selling their lies as the truth. But I could do nothing about it. I was alone again, dazed by the bizarre occurrences. I had hardly noticed the light breeze that began to stir through the abandoned streets, and which gradually increased in force. It was not until I was in the midst of the storm- like winds that I realized what was happening. I ran desperately through the streets in order to find shelter. After running only a short distance, I fell to the ground, feeling it tremble beneath me. I heard through the squall what sounded like great hammers striking the earth. What made me turn to look back, I cannot say, but what I saw was terrible. Looming high on the horizon, one- eyed and gruesome, was an immense giant that towered over the city's tallest building, destroying whatever was in his path. His breath was the source of the city's tempest, and the sounds I had heard were the sounds of his rage and destruction. He was coming toward me, and for a moment I was paralyzed with fear. I knew that I had been able to move, I was still powerless to warn anyone. Suddenly, my paralysis was somehow broken and I felt a source of strength tingling through my body that I knew that was not my own. I did what seemed futile, and ran as fast as I could from the shadow of this giant of destruction. I was invisible, but I knew I was not invulnerable.
Chapter Three Props
I ran. I ran until I could run no further. I collapsed on the ground, my lungs burning with fear and fatigue. I looked up and saw that I had fallen right in front of the entrance to a small white stuccoed church. The sign outside the door read:
Welcome Visitors! The Church of the Divine Dilettante Sermons Day and Night by Reverend James Cursory Tonight's Sermon: "Overcoming Fear"
With the giant not too far behind me, his breath hot and powerful at my back, I rushed into the church, passing unnoticed and invisible through the closed doors. Exhausted and breathless, I felt for some reason momentarily safe within the refuge of the church. I took a seat at the back of the sanctuary. The room was filled with the congregation's singing. The words of the song, I vaguely recall, went something like this: "We harmonize, we harmonize, We know it's real, we know it's real." I noticed that all of the people were neatly groomed, and extremely well dressed. From a television set hanging over the pulpit at the front of the church there appeared the face of a man, rather plain-looking, undistinguished except for the constant smile upon his pudgy face. The singing ended, and the man led the congregation in prayer, after which he started his sermon. "Welcome, friends," he began in a sing-songy cadence. "My name is Reverend James Cursory and I am speaking to you from the studios located here in the heart of our beloved city. This broadcast is being beamed around the world this very moment via satellite. With our program, we hope to reach a world gripped in sin. I couldn't help but think of the grip of the giant I had just escaped, but I pushed the though out of my mind. The Reverend went on speaking. "Yes, people are indeed seeking peace, but they are seeking it in temporal things; things that fade and leave a hollow emptiness. Now the same people may tell themselves that death will hold back it's hand, that they will lead long prosperous lives, but truly life is like a vapor, and one day we all shall surely meet our maker. Only those things done in and for Him will stand the fire that will test our works." This all sounded more reasonable to me than the man I had just heard in the streets, but I was disturbed by something in Reverend Cursory's manner. It was intensified by my attempts to forget the giant outside. His memory kept invading my mind although his monstrous image seemed so strange and unreal in the serenity and harmony of this church service. "Now, the title of today's lesson." continued the Reverend, "is 'Overcoming Fear'. My dear friends, fear is largely the product of our own imaginings. We imagine there are giants outside; giants of circumstance that we can never overcome. We feel helpless in the grip of fear." The giant again. I knew the giant I had seen was no product of my imagination- at least no more than the Reverend James Cursory was. He continued: "This does not have to be. There is a solution to overcoming our fears, and that solution has already been evidenced in our service this evening. Song is the answer, my friends! Why, only a moment ago you felt the joy of singing, and in it you felt the power of positive approaches to the problems of this earthly life." "So I say, sing! sing! sing! To make a joyful noise is to overcome the giants of our imagined fears. Singing is our David: circumstance, our Goliath; our 'rock and sling' is the ability to ignore the circumstances which confront us, and hide in the shelter of a song!" The Reverend continued his message. I felt a panic rising within me. I knew for certain the people here were being ill-equipped to do battle with the giant that was waiting just outside the door. I knew that the thought of a giant of destruction was itself preposterous. But I knew that if the giant I had seen was real, no song would defeat him, At least, not the song they sang. I knew it was futile to try to tell them so-they would never hear me, even if I were able to speak. They were hearing what they wanted to hear, and that was all they could hear: "A song is what we need, a song is what we need!" they chorused. Then I noticed they wore no shoes, and their hands were covered with the glitter of rings. Over their clothes they wore luxuriant furs of every kind. Suddenly, in a low whisper beneath their singing, I heard that familiar voice from the haggard beggar in the city. Again, he was speaking to me. "You say, 'I am rich. I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' You do not realize you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked." I didn't realize what all this meant until the next incident occurred. There was a light rapping at the church window. I looked out and saw a naked stick of a child standing cold and lonely in the dark, his eyes wide and clouded with delirium, his stomach bloated with famine. The congregation continued to sing, and I thought no one had noticed him. "Please!" I said aloud. "Someone do something!" It was a useless plea. I knew I could not be heard. Then I noticed the woman seated directly in front of me look out the same window, and seeing the poor urchin standing there, she cringed with alarm. She immediately opened her purse and began searching through it. I foolishly hoped she might be looking for food, something that might relieve the child's hunger. Instead, she took out a piece of paper and with a pen she wrote the words, "We love you!" upon it. She left her seat, walked over to the window, opened it just slightly, and slipped the piece of paper out to the child. Closing the window, she turned back toward me with a sad but relieved expression. She returned to her seat where she took up with renewed enthusiasm the song of the congregation. The child, had disappeared, but I needed no voice to explain what I had just witnessed. I knew the words myself, and I hardly kept back the tears as a recalled them. "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes or daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well: keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." The people sang on. Then, one of the strangest occurrences yet took place: I saw them slowly begin to change before my eyes. Some shrank to the size of small children dressed up like adults. Others retained their adult size but became babylike in their behavior-crying and drooling uncontrollably, sucking their thumbs, crawling about the floor of the sanctuary. I was repulsed by this weird sight. I felt like Alice in a horrible world of playing card babies that took on flat, two-dimensional forms. Suddenly the door of the church flew open and the stinking tempest of the giant's breath blew like a whirlwind through the church, knocking down and scattering the card-like infants over the floor of the church in one swift blow. Like paper cut-outs for supermarket displays, they continued to smile; no longer human beings, they were silent and macabre caricatures of themselves. Reverend James Cursory kept up the singing until his face fell apart in a jumble of lines and static. His voice and image faded into a gray blur, then disappeared altogether from the T.V. screen. As the wind began to screech through the aisles of the church, the gray blur of the T.V. screen burst into a glow of blood-red that pulsed in laser-like intensity. Suddenly, the wind ceased for a moment, and a deafening crash shattered the silence as shards of stained glass windows exploded in every direction in a storm of broken color.
Chapter Four Ghost of the Heart
Somehow, I had escaped being cut up by the storm of broken glass, and I made my way cautiously outside the ruin of the church. The white stuccoed building was now just a crumbling facade. The giant was gone, and once again I stood alone in the street. "One day," I said aloud to myself, "they will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching." Again, these words I remembered from my reading, and now I realized that the "Voice" seemed to be speaking from my own heart, and not from outside of me. A feeling of deep longing now possessed me. I was overcome with the desire to be delivered from my earthly plight, to be free at least in the realms of heaven. It was not something I could fully explain: nevertheless I could not escape the feeling, and my eyes filled with the stinging tears of a vague but very real yearning to die in body and live on only in spirit. Suddenly, I became dizzy. The city was now a spinning, swirling whirlpool that sucked me into it's vortex. The blare of sirens filled my ears, and I felt myself rocketing through time and space. Color and light flashed by like shimmering, iridescent droplets. "What I tell you in the dark," said the Voice of my vision, "speak in the daylight. What is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the housetops!" I knew the time would come when I would one day write down the full record of my journey, but that time would not come soon. My pilgrimage was not yet over. I was engulfed in the streaming colors and screaming sirens. My mind was filled with voices asking broken questions. Some of the voices I knew. Others were strange to me. Some I could barely hear at all: "Why am I...What is man...Ghost or guest...Dust id dust...Why must I...Do I mind...Why do I...Remove my shoes...Do I die...I do mind...Mind full of Him... Hymn singing...For Me...The wind of doctrine...Eyes disguised by For me...Who is on the throne...Why...?" All continued to be color and light, color and light, sirens screaming. Warning. Crying. Ahead. An eerie light radiates intense, purple blood-red neon. I will myself to turn back, but I have no control over my destiny in this place. I feel I cannot bear this thing, for though I have only a vague perception of what lies ahead, even in this moment I sense the insanity which looms just this side of that blazing scarlet horizon. I tell myself, "I must turn back. I...must...turn...back..." (c) 1981 All Rights Reserved - Rebel Base Production Here ends the first part of the Alarma Chronicles. The second part is called Doppel-Ganger and gives an account of the second sphere of the pilgrimage as set down in the "Four Books." THE "!ALARMA! CHRONICLES" VOLUME II DANIEL AMOS DOPPELGANGER EPILOGUE-THE !ALARMA! CHRONICLES, VOLUME I HOLLOW MAN Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. Why do the nations say, "Where is their God?" Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. But their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak; eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but they cannot hear; noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but cannot feel; feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all those who trust them. DOPPELG'A'NGER PROLOGUE-THE !ALARMA! CHRONICLES, VOLUME II DISTANCE AND DIRECTION But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace. Before my worst fears were realized, all again was darkness. For how long I remained in the state of unconsciousness only God knew, but in what seemed to be a very short time, I became aware of a great white light. Uncontrollably, I ascended into its vortex. I cannot here speak of the visions which I then encountered; not only am I forbidden to do so, but words would be inadequate. What I can relate without violating the celestial command is that my final vision was of the heavenly realm. What I saw there even now chills me. For in that place I saw myself seated with the Lord of Hosts, the Lord of the universe! Somehow I knew that there was reality in that moment, and though I wanted to surrender all consciousness then and there, I could not deny another reality which stalked my every thought and hope. Yes, I was seated at throne of the kingdom of no end, yet at the same time, the same moment, earthbound and human. I was out of time and yet in it; completed, yet fragmented; truthfilled, yet blown by every wind of thought; content, yet consumed by foolish desires. I knew that I was in Christ Jesus above all principalities and powers, authorities and rulers of this dark world, yet struggling and being fooled by them all. In that moment I saw clearly two realities, seemingly contradictory, which created one truth: Everybody, everything has a double existence both in time and when time will be no more. CHAPTER ONE/MEMORY LANE Even as this thought formed, I felt myself in motion, being inexorably transported to another light, this one dimmer and more distant than the first. The instant the thought crystallized, my movement stopped. I was in a brightly lit room sitting next to a man. His appearance made me shudder. He never looked at me but sat staring at the ground, his face an ashen gray, his eyes colorless, and his mouth like a bloodless gash slashed beneath a small upturned nose. Because he never looked at me, I saw features, but never the full face. I reached out to him to see if he were more than a ghost and found that I touched nothing. The man also put his hand, but in a direction away from me. "Who are you?," I asked. "Who are you?," he said. It was not a question-more an echo of my own inquiry. "I am a ghost," I said. "I am a ghost ," he replied. "You are repulsive," I said, and though I was testing further, this statement was spoken from my heart, for now I was intensely aware of my hatred of my misshapen companion. "You are repulsive," came his reply. At this I was furious and lost all self-control. Lunging at the man, I tried to grab his throat, but amazingly he disappeared and I found my hands around my own throat. I let go, and there was the man again. I flew toward him again. fist first to strike him, but again he was gone and I felt the blow on my jaw knocking me sprawling to the floor. Once more he appeared and this time the shock of my first two efforts slowed my response and I suddenly realized that hewas someone familiar. My eyes did not reveal this, it was my heart. CHAPTER TWO/ANGELS TUCK YOU IN I do not understand what I do, For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing. Now it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. "'Nice people don't live falsely and don't have doubles.' 'Yes,' continued Petrushka, "they don't have doubles-ever. They aren't an insult to God and honest men.'...(He is) 'true to his word and to his friends, not insulting them behind their backs while being nice to their faces..'" Somehow, I did know him; I knew his thoughts though unspoken. It was as if I had created him. I knew every aspect of his personality. So many realizations came flooding into my mind. He worshiped things as his religion-Full of pride, of his own status, he boasted of his past and exaggerated his future-He had little compassion and empathy for others "less fortunate," dwelling instead on his own psychological well-being-Somewhere he had lost his concern for himself- As a result, sensitivity for others to his emotional vocabulary-His judgements of others were pandering efforts to create a good impression of himself or self -righteous condemnations revealing his own insecurities and weaknesses- Suffering, he thought, had no place for those who follow in "The Way"-Choosing to set himself up as an authority, he tried to teach and influence others in the creations of his mind-He conformed the Scripture to his lifestyle, rather than his lifestyle to the Scripture-He was misshapen by his own words and deeds-He made the inconsequential important; the essential, trivial-Where love should have been, he was filled with self. Indeed, he was a "Hunter of shadows, himself a shade..." As the torment of impressions subsided, pity began to well within me. I saw through the weakness and felt his frailty and fear. Under the surface, beneath the welter of his defenses, lay his childlike vulnerability. A companionless life where no one would help bear the hidden pain, and a directionless past that placed value on following without thought. Action without reflection entrapped him in a life of insecurity and pain. Though "religious" he was filled with ideas and beliefs that were not his own; unexamined thoughts that crossed by osmosis into his mind. Even as my heart went out to him, I could not help but loathe what he represented and who he was. Torn between pity and animosity, I grew weary and fell into a dreamless sleep. CHAPTER THREE/THE DOUBLE "'It's better left till another time, Doctor...Till a more convenient time when all will be made clear, when the masks will fall from certain faces, and this and that will come to light...I'm merely developing the theme, putting the idea that people who wear masks are no longer uncommon, and that it's difficult nowadays to recognize the man underneath." For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. When I awoke, I saw that the man was still with me, but the time I could only see his back> He stood and walked quickly toward a doorway I previously had not seen. I called after him but he did not turn until he had opened the door and was ready to step to the outer world. What I saw paralyzed my senses. A scream from my heart froze in my throat. Instead of the ashed countenance of our first encounter, his face was hidden by a mask. It was the mask that chilled me-for it was me-or at least it was my face-a twin? How was I to know-all that I knew that I was looking at myself, seemingly at a mirror image of my soul, and I was filled with repugnance. Incredibly, laughter had began to pour out of the smile, louder and louder as the stranger-the twin-the double, passed over the threshold and out the door. "Stop," the word leaped from my throat, but it was too late. He was gone. "Stop ," I screamed again,, the empty streets echoing the command. Through the door I plunged terrified and confused. Reaching out into the night, I could feel nothing but the darkness... Here ends the second part of the !Alarma! Chronicles. The third part is called "Vox Robottica" and gives an account of the third sphere of the pilgrimage as set down in the "Four Books." EPILOGUE - THE !ALARMA! CHRONICLES VOLUME II God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swirling pride. VOX HUMANA PROLOGUE - THE !ALARMA! CHRONICLES VOLUME III TRAVELOG "Death on the battlefield, through flood and fire, I navigate my ship to worlds unknown. . . We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pain of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. CHAPTER ONE/AS THE WORLD TURNS ". . .achievements are always falling into yesterday/I'm a pupil in an intro class/new cars, travels, love affairs cannot provide the way out of life's iron cast. . ." Although I had lost my "double" in the void, I continued to run, pursuing, perhaps, only the unknown. In a flash the darkness turned a dark steely gray. I sensed activity behind me and looked over my shoulder. There, rolling down upon me, over what appeared to be a snowy plain, I saw a gigantic black wave. It was miles away, but visibly devouring the earth in its approach, its crest lost in murky clouds. "A storm" I cried aloud, and I ran still faster, as the blood hammered in my ears like a drumbeat, and became slower and louder until it was all I could hear. The wind rose and rocked me on my feet. With the speed of a galloping horse, the storm came roaring down upon me, becoming an invisible chaos of whirling sand and snow and dust. My running was like a crawl against running water, and I was now utterly confused, utterly lost. The cold tempest settled like a pall of ice upon me. My breath turned to rime and I shivered in my shoes. I dropped to the icy ground and covered my face, and like a child still in the womb, I huddled there, small and hopeless, the cold clutching my bones. I could find no sanction against its icy claws. ". . .as the world turns, slaps me hard, It tells me I'm weak As the world turns, I drop my guard and turn the other cheek. . ." Then this was for me, that which is called 'the dark night of the soul." I faced what I thought then might be life's cruelest truth; I will die and be forgotten, like most men are. The tempest, however, subsided long?...and I sat up and opened my eyes to the gray void once again. It was still unbearably cold, but the air became suddenly oppressive. I breathed in elements of unexpected melancholy that constricted my heart, and the feeling that nothing was real was made complete. My heart spoke in a constant old murmur of past things. May I here say that certain periods of our lives are difficult to remember; they are like jumbled dreams out of whose obscure depths only one or two details emerge clearly. This means we have not mastered our material and in-so- far as the past is decipherable at all - have not deciphered its hidden meanings. But this...What wisdom have I gained now that the dream is over? And again, was it a dream within a dream, or a trance or a vision? It is now but s strange haunting memory lodged in no particular time frame whose complete meaning obscured in it's complexities, continues to elude me. In time perhaps I will fully understand, perhaps not. ". . .I get no comfort in the earth or sky / It's my belief they're not my home/ The world goes one way but I go another / Against the grain one often stand alone. . ." I sat in the gray nothing unable to move, to function. I had nowhere to go, nothing to be, but strangely, in that gray abyss, I began without precipitation to take a step toward illumination, a revelation in the significance of my position and of the storm which had stranded me here. I concluded, and retain this belief even now, that the only ultimate disaster that can befall a man is to feel at home here on the earth. ". . .My hair points to the sky, the place I want to be. . ." But this bit of knowledge was tempered with the knowledge was a vast cul-de-sac, and that technology derived from it (and yet another dream, within a dream?; technology was a storm, which materialized into a great foot threatening to crush me and all of mankind, and had left me here, eaten up by boredom and inner emptiness like an ancient citizen of Rome), the technology I had left behind in the great ghostly city, was but a dread servitude. CHAPTER TWO - THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN ". . .From walls of power, you take a drink/ you drown in it, it's bigger than you think. . ." One word of truth outweighs the world. "I will seek the Truth," I told myself. Yet I knew I might die there. Would the universe crush me before I discovered the truth of who I was, or what the dream was all about? I realized then if I were about to die, I would still be nobler (as all men are) than the thing that destroys me, because I would know I was dying, and the universe, which has me it it's mercy is unaware of it. I had cried many times in my life, the sad cry of every man; "Notice me, pay me close attention," But there in that place, no room existed for such indulgences and folly. ". . .My longing, is not to be a god or hero, but to change into a tree that grows for ages, hurting no one. . ." And so it was that I concluded that my suffering was not in vain. I told myself I would accept the suffering here, and be redeemed by it, and my redemption began to emerge in my understanding that man is great so far as he realizes that he it wretched. ". . .You're incredible / incredible shrinking man. . ." What could I do? I had desire to be great in my life, but I was, and am, so very small. And what was the meaning of the storm? My mind was unexpectedly filled with illumination. No, I had not yet escaped the giant that sought me outside the "Church of the Divine Dilettante." I had again felt his breath, his wrath, his power. I had seen his foot in the swirl of dust and ice and snow, as it descended to crush me, I had again escaped. . .or had I? The giant was power and power belongs to darkness. It is a Frankenstein monster dwarfing us all. It is among other things, a mass of communication media which man has constructed to ceasingly persuade us that pursuits like fame, sensual pleasures, and money will make life worth living. The giant was and is the power mad system which possesses a death wish, devouring human beings while seeking it's own extinction, devoting it's wealth, knowledge and skills to creating the means to blow itself to oblivion, The monster is the darkness of moral corruption which has abolished the moral code altogether and caused many to pursue a fragile happiness. Spiritually, it has abolished God himself, setting up man as the arbiter of his own destiny. Yes, we have created the monster. He is the harvest of our sowing. CHAPTER THREE - VOX HUMANA, The Incredible Shrinking Man Part II ". . .a voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way for the Lord" ". . .It's regrettable that you can't tear it down and start again / You're Incredible Incredible shrinking man. . ." I was then and am now, another voice crying in the wilderness, another voice crying out for sanity, for peace, for justice, and for love. I am joined by other voices. We are one: the voice of the Human. In the vacuous void a strange and terrible thing abruptly began to take place as the voices increased in horrible screaming intensity within my being. I was shrinking. Slowly, but surely, a nearby rock took on gigantic proportions, until it stood like a mountain before me, and I like an ant before it. The voices, meanwhile faded into nothing. I had shrunk physically but I had also lost the weight of existence. ". . .so give me something, so when I feel nothing, I still go on. . ." I felt deeply depressed, and what I was and what I was not, cane crashing in. The person who doesn't learn and doesn't act, I thought, disintegrates within- it is the chaos of growth of taking new forms, that is the shield against those who spend all their time earning, spending, and amusing themselves. We strain on tiptoes to look at tomorrow, but we are never tall enough. ". . .It's sick when I got it on my T.V. / It's sick when I don't feel a thing. . ." ". . .Our trial is which car to buy / Temptation is that extra dessert / In the land of orange juice / You're better off with the right kind of shirt. . ." I realized that this earning and spending and amusing had been the very pattern of my life. I had been like the cardboard cut-out people in Rev, Cursory's church, shallow and small. Much of my shallowness came from having no sense of history, therefore no sense of the tragic which is born mostly by historical experience. "If every single man is not an individual, simply by being human, then everything is lost and it is not worth hearing about great world shaking historical events." I had also disdained poetry and art as 'having nothing to do with life'-seeming them no more as accessories, flowers or adornment for restaurants and motels and greeting cards. I did not understand, but do now, the artists craving for being, their desire for the divine promise inside creation. I was disdainful of such individuals, yet in my life I had not been unfamiliar with such commentators as Blake, and Tolstoy, and Dostoyevsky who preeminently bring someone like Jesus to life, because they approach Him through the imagination as the artists, rather than through the intellect as theologians. The Lord Himself had a great gift for visual imagery and for telling a story. ". . .Like bombs of war that scar the western front, a sense of history leaves his heart in ruins. . ." The rock, now a mountain (a mountain of what? . . . Fear? . . . Doubt? . . . Complacency? . . . All of these?) blocked my path. I could not go forward. It was too big to go around. I dared not go back toward the storm, and really, I thought, what is this mountain, another dream?, a mirage?, a delusion?, a fog? Perhaps it is a delusion, like historical time is to most mankind. Historical time; it demands of us constant renewal. Even our art has become inert, for it has not become toughened in the purgatorial fires-and man's unavoidable contradictions are his purgatory. And so I was and am sorry for my shallowness, and I am sorry for the way I have lived my live. CHAPTER FOUR - WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE / SANCTUARY "I would hasten to my place of refuge from the storm and wind and tempest. . ." ". . .And should you come to the promised land, remember, remember, from where you came And should your greatest fears be realized, remember, remember, Your Sanctuary, Your Sanctuary. . ." ". . .I'll light a place in your heart If you keep it burning while this world is turning, soon it will banish the dark. . ." "When worlds collide, I'm on your side. . ." I stood before the mountain and watched it transformed before me into a great wooden door. "Is it hell's door?", I asked myself, "or heaven's?" Did death stalk beyond this looming portal, and was my fate to spend all my remaining days of my life trying to outwit it? If this were true, at least I would live a certain fearful occupation, I would posses a terrible purpose. The naked facts like the natural end of my life would not have to be avoided, as in my everyday world, veiled over by a multitude of minute bustlings and passions that were supposedly important. ". . .the piper pipes at the gates of dawn and draws us on to starry boats. . ." Suddenly, the door began to move, and to my amazement my ears encountered the distant tuneful piping of some haunting celestial melody. The sweet lilting tune instantaneously renewed my spirit and I was bathed in a glow of peace, such as I have never known. Here was truly joy inexpressible. Far behind me, the giant exhaled breath again, and the storm rose and charged, but I hardly took notice. I knew then, that behind the door was my sanctuary. At last! The place of rest, the place of refuge. I was led by an unseen hand through the entrance, I found myself going out of ego, not into it. "In life there are truly only two pursuits," I thought as I entered the glory, "Love and power, and no man can have both." I chose love. It was my only escape. Here ends the third part of the !Alarma Chronicles. The fourth and final part, whose title and contents remain sealed until the given time, gives an account of the fourth sphere of the pilgrimage as set down in the "Four Books." "What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry..." William Blake "The Tiger" "I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully & wonderfully made..." David Psalm 139:14 "God molds history to His purposes, revealing in it the Fearful Symmetry which is His language conversing with men." Malcolm Muggeridge !ALARMA CHRONICLES The Final Chapter "FEARFUL SYMMETRY" I remember now another time (another dream?). I walked in a gray void where a stirring wind was breathing against my body. I heard a sad and distressing groan, whereupon I turned and beheld a great creature, crawling as if its energy were spent in the agony of labor. As I grazed upon it and studied it I began to notice the details of its assemblage. I saw constellations and quasars, I saw worlds and kingdoms and I realized with great certainty that the creature was creation itself. The deeper I looked, the more I saw. I was witness to the fall of the first man and woman, and the birth, life, and death of Christ. I saw too the efforts of men, great and small. I witnessed the world at war, the sacking of Troy, the fall of Greece, the dividing of the continents, and much more. And while I could see them all at once, these events did not seem to happen before or after one another. I then turned my attention to the creatures face. In its eyes were great tears and from its mouth a groan for final, complete deliverance from the pain of its labor echoed again and again. The creature was moving slower and slower and in the deep recesses of its eyes (which were now cast towards its creator) I saw that it was weary of its own life. ...I felt restless, and again, full of questions... But then, the great void rolled away and before me was a rich green meadow. Upon a distant hill, I beheld Him who is the beginning and the ending, the first and the last. He was beautiful to gaze upon, too beautiful for mere words. I can only say that His beauty had a way of making the beholder feel beautiful. I saw in Him a permanence and substance that made the creature appear ghost- like, and my curiosity was exchanged for longing. My questions became instantly irrelevant. The One upon the hill called me, and I followed... ...Followed? Out of the dream and back into conscious reality? I cannot say that I truly know the meaning of the word "reality" - still I am left with and overwhelming sense that very soon I will know, because I will know as I am known. The candlelight by which I write these chronicles burns low and I grow weak. I am old now - wiser? Perhaps. My longing is not to see the continuance of my life in this world - but to dwell forever in the land of the sun where reality is a dream and what we dream becomes real. I now walk among the depths of my soul. I sigh and this sigh rides the wind and seeks a world of ten thousand years - I cry, and would drown in the tears of my brokenness were it not for my Love who walks upon the sea of my sorrows. I am lifted up - I am saved. But the cost is great and the tree upon which my Love is slain, casts my own shadow. From my window, I behold the night with its vast starry fields whispering low - and now, like the creature, I am a ghost, drawn by moonlight on the lawn and the voice of my Love, who dances in the misty vale. At His gentle pass I recall walking in fragrant woods -the woods of every vanished spring. I glide out upon the dazzling breathing dream (?), and God's silent searching flight I have found the strength to live in His glory. The moonlight now sleeps upon a distant frosted hill, and the earth and the ocean seem to sleep in one anothers arms & dream. I do not fear this haunted keep for I am a participator in the haunting. I push on over the hill and find myself walking in lush green pastures. Here, leaves of sound are shed and fall in my murmuring mind. This is the land of lullabies where eyes paint pictures, and one may follow pure breezes wherever they blow. In time, I kneel and dress a holy fane - an altar - built in the midst of a uncanny solitude & quietness; the untrodden region of my heart. I am God's priest kneeling at the bed of my imaginary sanctuary. I sing His praises, not with a single voice but with the voices of an angel choir. Yes, all the days of my life I have chased shadows, the shapes that haunt thoughts wilderness, the shrouded forms that stand outside the grasp of this wanderer, the shapes of things to come, (that will be) the shapes seen through the glass darkly. These are the worlds rejected guests. I have left the distant rims of time to this land where shadows die. My hands have turned shadows into gold (a power which comes not from me, but entirely outside of myself). What has been doubt in me has lost a holy war. All my life I have be inclined to fall upon my knees in supplication and prayer (prayer offered through my vanity), but my inclinations have been the outcome of the wrong kind of fear. I know the fear in beauty. I know the fear of God (the beginning of wisdom), and I know the symmetry of man. It is both wonderful and fearful. Yes, I know these fears, and I know another; it is the sickness unto death cast out by God's perfect love. These days of fear were my drowsy days in vain. I will not wake to sleep again. Now is the hour when sleep will no longer steal over me, for I am awake forever beyond the myths and fables which eclipse the luster of the only True Light - yet His myth is true. I saw Heaven and Hell unshrouded, their beauty and terror undiluted. I thought of the death of the creature and the passing of its gods and fables. I beheld the new born creation. The child took my hand and led me on to new revelations. He showed me the gates of hell and they were locked, locked from the inside. The dance there never stops; it is the dance of death and in its eternal flame the inhabitants dance cheek to cheek, cold as ice. Yes, in my youth I danced there often, but God revealed a way out - and now I abide in the land of true myth, and the armies of neverland shall not prevail against it. The child and I stand upon a second hill. I see below me many lakes - endlessly out-spreading their foamy blankets over river beds. Down across the milk-white sands I walk alone and make my way out beyond a sleepy cove. Eventually I stand upon the shores of the first lake where the waves mount and tumble high. A gentle voice speaks to me saying "The pool is very deep and cool and nothing here is hard to do, nothing that should trouble you." I find myself knee deep in the holy water and then I plunge, suddenly meeting the melancholy sky where I behold, in the clouds, a singular cross. And so, in the end, I have counted all that I have gained as nothing. I have come full circle for I am again a child who has at last departed to the Sovereign of his heart. I have pulled back the blue curtains of sky and flown into the gentle arms of My love. I have shattered the level mirror of the lake - and emerged a swan upon the wing. The journey is now over and only begun. No, it is not a dream - no dream within a dream - no vision - no trance. I am now truly another bright heart in God's embrace - I am the dreamer, awake - forever in the arms of the Beautiful One. So ends the !Alarma! Chronicles

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