Authors: B. Roman
There is only one place David feels comfortable and safe, only one person he can trust and confide in. Picking up his stride, David makes his way to the Port Avalon Observatory, to his friend and mentor, Dr. Ramirez.
The lights in the lab are on, much to David's delight, and he is pleased to find the professor at his keyboard.
“Can I join you?” David asks as he sits down at his computer station. Ramirez is engrossed in his work and barely acknowledges him, but David is used to the professor's intense concentration on something he is passionate for.
David sets up his PC to network into Ramirez' keyboard, hoping to learn some new music. But when the sequences appear on David's screen, he is confused. Something isn't right. The harmonics are all over the place, the dissonant chords overwhelmingly prevalent. David can't hear the notes but he can tell there is something foreboding in what Ramirez is creating.
“Dr. Ramirez, what is that you're playing?” David sends an instant message, but Ramirez doesn't respond. He waves to get Ramirez's attention, but the professor shakes his head and gruffly orders, “Don't bother me now!”
Disappointed at being shut out, David sulks, while the bizarre vibrations and colors dance across his monitor. Unfamiliar numeric codes pop up on the screen and, along with them, a string of polyphonic chords and polyrhythms. The tempo changes are wild and rapid, from
. The notations are so fast that David is overwhelmed trying to follow along.
Suddenly, David's PC tower shakes fiercely and almost topples to the floor. The room sways and shimmies.
“Dr. Ramirez! What's happening? Are you okay?”
David jumps up from his station to be by the professor's side. But Ramirez doesn't respond. He is fixated on his keyboards and the mad music he is playing.
“Stop!” David yells, and presses his hand firmly over the professor's. “What are you doing? Don't you feel the earthquake?”
With that, the shaking subsides and, as though it never happened, the professor looks up naively at David's confused and panicked expression.
“Feel what, David?”
“The earthquake! Didn't you feel the earthquake?”
“No, I didn't feel anything. Probably you felt me pounding the keyboards a bit too hard. Sorry. And actually, I'm kind of tired. I think I'll go now.”
Ramirez rises up from his station and leaves the lab without as much as a farewell.
There's something crazy going on here. The worse Doc's music gets, the more the ecosystem goes crazy.
He loads a CD into the professor's PC tower to copy the music file.
I need time to sort this all out. I'll do it at home where I won't be bothering anyone, and they won't bother me.
Early the next morning, David decides to find some complete privacy to investigate the music file he copied. He carries his laptop to the beach, and checks to be sure the Wind Rose compass is secure in his pants pocket. He finds a makeshift wooden bench nestled in some rock formations and sits. He removes the Wind Rose from his pocket and sets it down on the bench beside him.
Just in case,
he muses about the Moon Singer.
You never know when she'll decide to appear.
The laptop boots up and David opens Dr. Ramirez's music file that he downloaded from the CD. He studies the erratic tonal patterns, the strange rhythmic structure, trying to get a handle on the composition's theme, but it eludes and frustrates him.
I've never seen anything like this. I just can't decipher it. I'm actually glad I can't hear it.
But David strongly suspects the professor's music has something to do with the bizarre weather and earth disturbances Port Avalon has been experiencing.
With no rhyme or reason, David begins to key in some chord symbols, flats and sharps, majors and minors, and diminished chords. When he keys in intervals - thirds, fifths, and sevenths, a formula flashes on the screen, one that David has seen before: 12 is 7 is 5 is 3. But its meaning still doesn't click in his brain.
David plays with the numbers, entering them in and out of order, but there are just so many combinations he can create. Getting a spark of inspiration, David decides to ask the computer exactly what the formula means.
“What is 12 is 7 is 5 is 3?” he types in.
“You know what it means, David.” The instant reply startles him, but he replies back, “No, I don't know. What is 12 is 7 is 5 is 3?”
“Go back to the source, David. The choice is yours.”
The choice is yours. That's what Dorinda told me the first time she and the Moon Singer appeared to me, when Sally vanished from her wheelchair. If I wanted to find her, I had to take the journey, unafraid, Captain the Moon Singer to her destination and to my destiny.
“But where?” David asks. “Where do I go back to? What is the Source? The Island of Darkness doesn't exist anymore, and neither does Coronadas. Besides, how do I go anywhere at all without the Moon Singer?”
A shadow across the sand alerts David that someone is standing beside him. Startled, he looks up to see Heather.
“Are you talking to yourself, David?” she signs, smiling amiably at him.
David shuts the laptop to shield the screen from her view, and stands to confront her. “How long have you been there?” he signs, agitated. “Are you spying on me?”
Taken aback by David's rudeness, Heather's expression transforms from genial to wounded. “No, David. I - I was just - taking a morning walk and saw you here. I only wanted to say hello to a friend. Why are you upset with me?”
“I'm not upset,” David snaps. “I just want some privacy. I have a lot on my mind.”
“What's wrong with you lately? You're always in a bad mood. Why don't you tell me what's going on. I want to help -”
“I don't want your help,” David moves his fingers sharply. “There's nothing you can do anyway,” he blurts out. “Sally's in a coma and it's all my fault! So just let me be.”
Heather is shocked. This is the first she has heard about Sally. “In a coma? My God, David, what happened to her?”
“She fell down the stairs at the high school last night. I should have held on to her, but I didn't and she fell.”
“I'm so sorry. But - she'll wake up soon - won't she? People do -”
“Soon? She may never wake up at all!”
Heather's eyes begin to well up, from both the news about Sally and David's anger towards her. “You can't blame yourself, David. It was an accident.”
“There's no such thing as an accident. Not where me and my family are concerned. It's like we're cursed. The Nickerson curse, that's what it is.” He picks up a sand pebble and tosses it angrily.
“David, I - I don't know what to say. I -”
“Don't say anything,” David says, morosely. “Just go, before you fall victim to the curse, too.”
Heather almost laughs, but the angst on David's face tells her he is not joking in the slightest.
“Go, I said! Leave me be!”
Stung to the core, Heather backs away from David, sobbing uncontrollably. Then she turns and runs off.
Feeling like a rat for hurting Heather, who has always been a friend to him, David plops down on the bench and holds his head in his hands. He is tired, confused, torn in five different directions. Nothing in his life is working. Nothing in Port Avalon is working. Everywhere he turns there is chaos, turmoil, anger, and devastation. He can't hear the actual sounds of it all, but he can feel the destructive force of it.
He longs to hear again, not the anger and conflict in his surroundings, but the angelic sound of Saliana's song. It was the first sound he had heard in years, and it carried him away to the most amazing adventure of his life on the most magnificent clipper ship one could imagine, to a place where he learned about love and courage and worlds beyond this one.
David opens his laptop and types in, “I want to go back. I'm ready to go back. To the Source, to where it all made sense.”
At those words, at the instant his choice is made and his intention is set, David's laptop becomes a hierarchy of angels, with dancing beams of light emblazoning the sand.
“Holy cow!” he exclaims, thrilled by the sight. He picks up the Wind Rose. Its needle is spinning, round and round, from compass point to compass point. His heart fills with expectation and he is not disappointed. When the clipper ship appears before him, she is the same majestic, luminous vision on the water that he remembered. Sleek as satin, her awesome masts jutting proudly into the air, her silk sails bursting full into the skyline, the Moon Singer is the stuff of dreams, his dreams. And he is her Captain.
The great ship hovers a hundred yards out on the ocean, but his hand can reach out to touch her. She extends the gangplank inviting David aboard. He walks up the ramp, his feet never touching the sand, never skimming the water. The clipper raises the gangplank and sets out to sea, with David at the helm. As before, they sail together across the magnificent blue-green seascape, covering mile after mile of endless ocean in the blink of an eye, as David's hometown become a distant image.
Heather hides behind the rocks, shuddering at the sight before her. She cannot believe her eyes. It must be an illusion, no - a delusion. Or maybe she's asleep and dreaming. She can't be awake. Things like this don't happen except in dreams, or unless you're crazy and hallucinating. She has to tell someone, but who would believe her? There is no one else on this stretch of beach, no one to corroborate her story. And how could she tell, anyway? No words could describe what she has just seen.
Noticing David's laptop on the sand, she picks it up and the brilliant flashes of light on the screen mesmerize her.
What it is, she cannot fathom, but the dancing images of color are rhythmical and fascinating, and the sound - that glorious sound coming from the machine in her hand - is the most angelic music she has ever heard.
Unlike David's first voyage on the Moon Singer, which was fraught with raging storms and uncertainty, this trip is swift and direct, transcending time and space with record speed. This time there is no need to explore the gleaming white upper and lower decks of the great clipper ship to look for clues to his destination, or to marvel at the sight of the three towering masts of pure crystal encircled with solid gold rings. He knows that the Moon Singer was fashioned centuries ago by some very wise men who wanted to protect the power and knowledge they had accumulated, until the right person came along who would use the power for good and not evil.
David is ready for the voyage this time, eager to return to a place that enlightens and empowers him. Even though he has no clue what or who he'll be returning to, this alone – the leap into the unknown - invigorates him. He doesn't care if this foray is a dream, an illusion, or all in his mind for, as Ishtar once told him, “They are merely different levels of the same reality.”
Although Dad thinks I'm completely out of touch with reality.
Ishtar. The thought that he might meet up with the brilliant architect and engineer makes David even more eager to drop anchor. Will he see his old friend again, the man who gave him the courage to destroy the Glass Snake, rescue Saliana, and find his sister?
David's question is answered as the Moon Singer drifts toward land then halts a few hundred yards from shore.
A small boat, carrying David, is lowered to the water and David picks up the oars. The sky is azure and the sun a warm peach glow as David parks the skiff on the sugary white sand. He is greeted by a flock of sea birds that fly in formation toward a grove of trees, beckoning David to follow.
It is as he remembered, the mirrored pools of water, the strutting peacocks, the plush, emerald carpets of grass. It was once an Island of Darkness, overrun by evil and treachery, a place where people were enslaved and tortured into hopelessness, until David answered the call of Saliana's song and brought with him the impetus for their liberation.
David stands at the clearing and gazes at the towering sight on the summit of a hill. The Prism Palace is once again a shimmering vision before him, a dazzling display of every color of the light spectrum.
“Who lives there now?” David wonders. “Did Jaycina stay on the Island and become the kinder, gentler High Priestess she promised to be?”
“Well, my boy, come with me and you'll find out!”
David spins around and comes face to face with the owner of that resonant and familiar voice. “Ishtar! I can't believe it! I'm so happy to see you!”
“As am I to see you,” the older man bellows jovially, pulling David into a bear hug of welcome.
“So this is what Dorinda meant by coming back to the Source. Returning to the Island of – but it's not the Island of Darkness anymore, is it?”
“Indeed not,” Ishtar is happy to say. “Yes, it is technically still an island, of course, but now it is as I always intended, a magnificent city of technology and spirit combined, the cradle of all learning and enlightenment. I call it the Kingdom of Light.”
“I can't wait to see everything, Ishtar. Please show me around.”
“I will gladly be your tour guide, but first some good food and drink after your long voyage.”
“As only Dorinda can make it?” David hopes. His mouth waters remembering her superior culinary skills.
“Even better than you remember,” Ishtar says. He places his arm affectionately around David's shoulder and leads him down the main road to his house. “We have a lot to catch up on, you and I.”
“I'll say. More than you can imagine.”
David chows down on a fantastic meal prepared by Dorinda, as if it were his last meal…or the first good one he's had in a long time.
“I don't understand why I'm so hungry,” David says, taking his third helping of Dorinda's famous stew.
“Inter-dimensional travel burns a lot of calories,” Dorinda quips in her usual witty demeanor. She pats her flat stomach and declares, “I lose my middle every time I pay you a holographic visit.” She finishes with a wink.
“Yes, then you get it back each time you find your way back to the kitchen and whip up one of your fattening new recipes,” Ishtar teases her.
“You should talk,” Dorinda jokes while serving Ishtar his favorite dessert. Theirs is a friendship that has stood the test of time, weathered every storm, and prevailed even in the darkest of Ishtar's moods when he thought he had lost everything in his life.
David laughs at both of them, happily accepting a plate of that luscious chocolate cake for himself.
The table setting is as splendid as Ishtar's home, a far cry from the underground cave he lived in when the Island was one of darkness and treachery.
Here on the reinvigorated island, David is happy. He feels a peacefulness that he doesn't feel in Port Avalon. Here, directions are clear and uncomplicated, the purpose is pure, the choices are distinct. At home, life is too complex, too many shades of gray, the line between right and wrong is blurred, even eradicated.
“I feel more like me here, like I have some connection to everything and everyone.”
“Indeed you do,” Ishtar tells him. “It's where you can be your true self, be with people who have loved and cherished you throughout many lifetimes. In fact, someone else is here that you will be happy to see.”
“Saliana?” David looks around for her, hoping to see her lovely face, to hear her voice again. How he wished that he had told her the last time that he loved her, before he went home to Port Avalon. Maybe now he can rekindle their relationship and take it to a new level.
But instead of Saliana, the one who stands before him is the woman who has had the most important and enduring impact on his life.
“Saliana is on her way,” the woman says, “But I wanted to greet you first.” Bianca takes a seat at the dinner table next to David.
Bianca is there! In the Kingdom of Light. In Ishtar's house, at his table. David is speechless and emotional.
“Mom.” he whispers.
Bianca puts a finger to her lips, indicating that David not say this aloud. Then she kisses him gently on his cheek.
“You never knew this,” Ishtar says, “but Bianca is my wife. Saliana's mother.”
David is dumbfounded. “Your wife? Saliana's – “
The fact that Bianca is Saliana's mother has profound implications for David. He looked upon this woman as a mother figure – his own mother, reincarnate – but that would make him Saliana's – brother? So much for things being simpler here than at home.
Something even more astonishing occurs to David. “But why weren't you all together on the Island? Why was Bianca on Coronadus?”
“You recall what was happening on the Island before you came,” Ishtar says.
“You mean Jaycina and her plan to take control of everything and everyone?”
Ishtar nods. “It wasn't the Island of Darkness then. It was just our island, one I envisioned would become a mecca of learning and healing and advanced technology. Jaycina desperately wanted to own my plans, my designs, and all the precious energy resources. I couldn't let that happen, so my family and I had to escape. We took only our most essential belongings, then we burned down our house. I let Jaycina believe that everything she coveted was in it.”
“We almost got completely away,” Bianca interjects, “but there was an unexpected earthquake. Deep crevices in the earth split in a bizarre pattern right under our feet. I was caught on one side, Ishtar and Dorinda were on the other side. We were completely separated from one another.”
“But what about Saliana? What happened to her?”
“I had stumbled on the path and almost fell through a hole in the ground,” Saliana explains, now coming forth to join the trio and accepting a cup of tea from Dorinda.
She is even more beautiful than I remembered,
David thinks. Her hair is still a cascade of golden curls, her eyes clear and penetrating, her voice a lilting warmth. His heart quivers at the sight of her, but his stomach turns over at the revelation that they may be related somehow.
“I held onto a tree root and screamed for Mother or Father to help me,” Saliana continues her story, “but they couldn't reach me. After the earth stopped shaking, we were all alive but completely apart. There was no way either of them could get to me. Then I heard
“Jaycina's sentries. They wanted all of us, but I was the only one within their grasp. They rescued me only to imprison me in the Palace Tower. You know the rest.”
“How could I forget,” David says, as all the pictures of those days on the Island of Darkness flash across his mind like a movie. “And I know that Ishtar and Dorinda took refuge in a secluded cave. But, Bianca, how did you get from the Island to Coronadus?”
“I'm not really certain,” Bianca replies. “I wanted so much to be with my husband and my daughter, but I couldn't transcend that split. I even tried to transport myself to their side using the Wind Rose - “
“The Wind Rose!” David exclaims. “You had it?”
“Yes, David. It was the Wind Rose that took me to Coronadus, to another point in time. But I lost it somewhere along the way. It was as though there was an interruption in the sequence of energy systems.”
“But it was there, in the shop in Coronadus,” David reminds her. “I found it by –
by accident, right?”
“Yes. Not by accident. When you chose the Wind Rose for your souvenir it was destiny, and I knew that through our meeting I would be reunited with my family.”
Other: In the past and present, in the heavens and on earth, in time and space…and in his mother's heart…
David tries to absorb all of this new information, feeling some of it resonate with familiarity, but it hurts his brain. Bianca had once told him that some things are beyond our current level of understanding. We need more data, more proof, more experience before we can bring it all into a cohesive awareness. So far, the ability to completely understand his relationship to these three people is beyond him. The mystical experiences, his encounters with people, places and things from other times, other dimensions are things he just can't quite wrap his mind around. The metaphysical aspect, the karmic connections, the intertwining of lives and destinies are still too complex to grasp. It was all a chain reaction – his experiments with the Singer, the appearance of the Moon Singer, his arrival on the Island.
Other: The mystery is infinitely deep and the desire for answers will open a Pandora's Box of trouble as well as a treasure chest of good fortune…
Suddenly, David remembers something. Had he known what he was doing when he invoked the power of the Star of David that first time, he would have sailed the Moon Singer into a Kingdom of Light instead of an Island of Darkness. All the troubles, misery and suffering that plagued Ishtar's family and the Islanders would never have happened.
“The earthquake,” David chastises himself, “happened when I used the Star of David to ignite the Singer. I was the reason. My foolish experiment interrupted your lives.”
“Yes,” Ishtar concedes. “That's how you got to the Island. But remember what else I told you, that we merely had an inter-dimensional collision causing all of our destinies to become intertwined. It was accidental on your part, but also meant to be. Your first karmic lesson was with Saliana and I. In rescuing us, you helped rescue your own family from their dilemmas.”
Other: … the fairy tale daydreams have served their purpose…
“But I wasn't finished.”
“That's right, David,” Bianca says. “Your next karmic lesson was your encounter with me on Coronadus.”
Other:…his mother's heart is now wide open to embrace and guide his path to discovery…
“To resolve my conflicted feelings about my mother, my anger over her dying.”
“Yes. And so that I would be able to return to my family, and here to my home.”
“And still I'm not finished,” David says with exasperation. “Why am I here now?”
Ishtar laughs heartily. “Well, you brought yourself here this time, willingly. So, you tell us.”
David smiles back, slightly embarrassed. “I'm not sure. I wanted to escape the chaos happening at home. As usual.”
Other:…he is ready to delve into more complex questions and deal with answers that may shock and surprise him…
“Well, let's explore the Island,” Ishtar invites him, “and perhaps you will find the answer.”