It was a rush of light followed by a solid darkness. He was told to always remember his name. His true name. As out of body experiences go, this was as much as his mind could grasp without fragmenting into detached splinters of memories. He heard roars of things hungry for things not flesh, blood and bone. The roars spoke with a sentience older than time. It was the kind that had always been. If he could shiver, he would have, but all he was left with was a sense of something like complete, infant-like helplessness. He was experiencing death. Lightning flashed around him with such fury that he suspected each bolt might have been a once-living being cut down in his/her prime. With this intuition he understood what it meant not to fear the first death. It did not compare with the promise of finality that echoed in the darkness, an emptiness that seemed eager to absorb him into its history known only to the first dead souls. Nothing was truly random.
He thought of looking up, but he let it go, because he had no sense of direction or balance. He just ‘drifted’ along. The lightning became even fiercer, tearing at the darkness and he fully realized it wasn’t a storm of clouds and rain. It was a storm of life looking to catch him and bring him back. The lightning became more purposeful and fiercer. It sought him out with a distinct desperation, seeking him out as one would seek an important thing. He felt a shiver and his logical mind told him he was quickly re-acquiring his body. He had no idea of what to do next to speed him out of the nothingness that was quickly separating him from the living. He heard his old name being called out by something close to him. He remembered stories of spirits claiming a man when he responded to his name. He didn’t want to answer. He knew it would be death, sure and unyielding. He recalled what the elders told him.
“Rememeber your name. Even a fool can do that without proving how different he is from the others who barely returned.”
He started to call his name out, and then he heard others calling his name as well, in a kind of chant. Soon he found himself being held down by seven of his peers. His body felt alien, estranged to him. As he looked about him, he found he saw past the ‘solid’ and could actually see the ‘true nature’ of things. He wept from the shock. He had only taken the first step towards a journey to the true nature of reality. Reality as it truly was when the first lights were called into being.
He looked at the men who stood around him. His eyes hurt, his lungs were numb but working, his limbs seemed to relate to more than one shade of reality. This feeling spread throughout his body. It seemed he was very tired and at the same time he was not. An elder signaled to the others.
“This one’s transition seems to still be going on. It seems he connected with something between the gates. Whatever it was, it took a liking to him.”
There was a silence in the room and the boy suddenly realized another had joined them. They gave him wide-berth as he walked towards the boy. His face was young, but his gait, his hair and his eyes spoke of an age beyond that of anyone else in the room.
“I see. I never liked coming to these transition ceremonies. But I could not stay back. I recognize what happened to him. It called out to me.”
He walked to the boy and asked, “What is your name? The name they gave you to bring yourself through the gates and back?”
The boy looked at the elders and they nodded assuredly to him to answer the question.
The stranger smiled and said, “There is no coincidence after all. That was my name. It is given to the least likely to succeed in line with ‘established’ traditions. It happens very infrequently. Very infrequently. The last time it was used was over 50 generations ago…”
An elder spoke up, “You speak too much. The boy cannot take more information. He will be confused.”
The truth was the boy was disoriented. The fact was the boy did bring something with him and it spoke to the stranger the way a Lion would greet another.
“That boy was me. When the time is right, you will drop Nedeseh and pick up mine. A heritage older than anything you can imagine outside of everything you know awaits you.” the boy heard in his spirit.
He looked at the stranger, who looked back at him and said, “We will meet again. Soon.”