16 December 2018

Prolog to a Lost Novel (1990)


[passage written 15/16 December 1990]
H
e was dying; Epiphanes knew that for certain. Waves of pain washed across his body like the sea over Egypt’s shore; his thoughts no longer cohered one to the other. So much was left undone, so many things now he would never do in this life—and unfortunately for him, there would be another life. “You will never escape till you’ve paid the last penny”—Jesus had said that. Or was it his father? Carpocrates—he could hear his voice, telling him the precepts of Jesus, the god-prophet who had appeared a century before to liberate men from the cycle of re-birth, so that when a man died he would stay dead … if he’d done everything, if he’d paid that last penny. Hard to think. The pain—
His breath was leaving him now, never to be called back. His vain attempts to catch it only exhausted him and left him weak and lifeless. Okay, so this isn’t working, but this is only the detailed outline phase. Epiphanes struggled for his Breath, and felt his life ebb away. There was nothing to be done, nothing at all. He had power, wealth, disciples, but there was nothing now to prevent him going on to the next phase on the wheel, to a new set of experiences, to a new life. Make peace with your accuser, he thought weakly, make peace with the evil that is here-and-now, with the great Jailer who held the keys to the World….
Tortured by excruciating spasms he screamed aloud, red mist before his eyes. This was it, he felt, the last horrible moments of this life. Hello, Tomorrow—here comes the Future. And, as if on cue, before the red faded to final black, something reached out of the Nothingness before him. Something reached out, something seized him, and something took him away into its Nothing. The universe twisted, and Epiphanes was not.
Later his followers would say that he ascended into heaven. [15/16 Dc 1990]

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