A million years ago mankind discovered how to control fire and from that moment things went downhill quickly. Fire protected him and kept the darkness at bay and in the fertile imagination of his rapidly growing self-awareness, the darkness came to symbolize death and fear. The darkness became the enemy, the other, the shadow that lies within all of us, hardwired into our lizard brains like sightless, fanged fish swimming through the depthless caverns of our subconscious. I guess it was only a matter of time before the crystalline geometric tapestries of the faerie realms were finally revealed to conceal a hard, flat, finely sharpened edge. This was when we first saw the blades.

By this time in our journey, we were all becoming master trippers, learning to enter into ever more refined states of consciousness. After magnification came projection. This meant that I started to project my mind beyond the confines of the room, to reach out with my feelings. I had grown a little bored of the candy realm and I began to miss Jade, the emerald alien from beyond. I wanted to re-establish contact with her and I began to reach out over the weeks, testing what lay beyond this intoxicating realm in an effort to rediscover that wonderful place within.

As it turns out, what we thought of as a candy realm was in fact merely a band, one layer, like an onion skin, beginning with the material world at the core and progressing outward into ever more profound bands of being. One must remember, before we continue, that this was not just idle speculation or philosophical speculation. We saw everything we discovered. As far as we were concerned, our ideas quite often shared a place on the seat next to us or in turn engulfed the room in super-lucid high resolution tactile imagery.

I kept my outreach experiment more or less a secret until I could understand it better, although I suspected that Rene was deep in there too. In reaching out, let’s call it farsight, your hallucinations are more internal, more dreamy and undefinable. It’s hard to be objective about them. I was almost certain though that after much effort, I skirted the border of her realm, about as certain as I was that that border was also guarded. It was not a friendly experience. I retreated hastily back to the room but alas, everything had changed. For one thing, a tunnel had opened to a really big place, populated by really strange beings. For another, something came back with me, like a whisper of smoke, a ghost of an idea. In our rush to discover, we had opened the wrong door and did not have the experience to close it again properly

One Saturday night, we all took a trip and gathered at my parents house. It was rather a special evening because we had discovered a wonderful new product called ‘Letra-Air’. Letra-Air is used by art students as an air-brush propellant and is a delightful cocktail of pure oxygen and carbon tetrachloride, which – when compared to ‘spray and cook’ – is like inhaling sparkling clean mineral water. A person we knew had died on ‘spray and cook’, so we were feeling a bit nervous of the greasy yellow liquid anyway, especially as I had consumed about thirty cans of the stuff.

As a group we went up to my room and started the trip. Several new and interesting elements had been added to the whole experience. Ian had discovered a few interesting characters, one of which was a crazy native boy called ‘The woodpecker man’ who sort of hung around and stole things. I had started at this time to write down and try to catalogue some of the beings and places we saw and we named everything we saw. We were all also learning a brand new trick which we called 3D through. Not counting my first transcendent experience, most of our trips had been like two dimensional animated images on the wall.

Farsight gave you a three dimensional image, but only in the same way a television picture is three dimensional and you couldn’t really watch those trips for the same reason you can very rarely watch dreams. With 3D through, the walls of the room started to become transparent and you could see things happening on the other side, sometimes like foreign places and sometimes like there was an actual room on the other side, with real dimensions, in which things happened. At this stage of our evolution, this type of visual was very murky and faded and not much of significance had been seen through the ‘glass wall’.

We were well into the trip when I got a feeling, the same sort of feeling you might get if you were walking through a bunny park surrounded by rabbits and then suddenly you found a rabbit violently slaughtered on the sidewalk and from behind you came a low, powerful growl. Something new had come into our lives, the shadow given form. For a split second, I saw a figure flash through the darkness, garbed in black and trailing silver steel. Ian saw it at the same time and we looked at each other but kept quiet. Shortly after that, I noticed short steel claws piercing the thin skin of the wall into our dimension, appearing and disappearing quickly and silently.

I got scared, inexplicably. It seemed suddenly very real. I noticed at that moment that everything had gone quiet, our animated friends the mugwots silencing like crickets do when you leap out of the front door to try and catch one. All the little trips in every direction faded and became so much wallpaper. For a moment there was only darkness and then, right next to me, a voice spoke. It is difficult to describe what this sort of voice sounds like, or rather, this sort of communication. Suffice to say that it is very fast and whispery and makes you feel like you have tiny little insects on the interior of your brain.

I could not really understand what was being said but I felt it was clearly a warning; to the effect that I was doing something I should not have been doing and I better butt out and bugger off quickly before I had my nervous system lacerated. I turned slowly, and there, right next to me, was a person. My heart stopped beating as adrenalin laced my nerves with a hot rush. He was to the other side of the wall, a black garbed figure, about my height and quite heavily set. I remember clearly him holding his hand out and I saw the most exotic looking system of interlocking steel blades extending from his fingers. Then he lowered his mask and I saw his eyes and upon his right cheek, a silver star. After that he vanished.

I knew I was on a new level immediately. If I had possessed any more intelligence, I would have left right there and then. It occurs to me that normal people see the faint, whispery forms of ghosts and are either scared or touched for the rest of their lives. Here I was seeing something specific and exact and powerful and almost completely alien, a scene as powerful as something from ‘Nightmare on Elm street’. My only sanctity lay in the fact that I was extremely high on dangerous, mind-altering drugs.

I have never however heard of any single person experiencing anything like I did then or in the months that followed. It was far too real. Shortly after the assassin had disappeared, stranger things began to happen. The walls started to become very transparent, like faint misty sheets of silk separating us from infinity. I was in somewhat of a dilemma because I knew that to continue my vision with clarity I would have to continue inhaling my magic fluid, a prospect I was unsure about because I was truly frightened.

Nevertheless, with the courage of all great explorers, I ventured on. What happened next is that I saw a pattern start to form on the wall, a criss-cross pattern like a trellis-gate, except that the bars were flat and sharp like intersecting swords. Within moments, I was in a cage of steel. And yet, it did not feel like a cage, but rather like a gazebo in the center of an ornamental garden, almost Japanese in style. A steel gazebo in a beautiful garden.

Peering through the trellis could see a woman in the garden, quite far off. It was Jade. And yet, this was no kitty-kat, but rather a regal princess, layered in gossamer thin ceremonial shawls that hid her face. I was being held in attendance. I don’t know how, but I knew what was going on. I understood, in a bewildering flash, that this room I was in was at an intersection between my plane of being and hers. The cage was there to protect me. I was somewhere where I should not have been, something my level of evolution should not have been able to attain. Like Icarus I had traveled too far and too fast and too high and had placed my spirit in peril on the wings of synthetic LSD.

From a distance, she spoke to me, into my mind. I intuitively understand how this works and it is something I wish I could explain, but what occurred is by definition beyond the limitations of language. Shall we say that emotions may be transferred in a manner more complex and specific than words? She told me that she was from a place very distant from where I was. The word distant is a perfect example of the inadequacy of language, while we’re on the subject. The level of reality upon which she existed cannot be measured as a point that is distant from where we are, like the moon. It exists in a dimension that cannot be defined by our understanding of space and time and yet, as a relative word, distant is what she was. As far, I guess, as the other end of the universe.

The word she used to describe where she was is a place called Loreiciel. That was the first time I had ever heard a name, a specific label. We must remind ourselves of course that I was now staring at a wall, to keep things in perspective. Within me however, a well of emotions had sprung up with such intensity that tears formed at the corners of my eyes and smeared my cheeks.

It has occurred to me since that the reason we don’t remember our past lives is because we would miss everyone too much. That is not to say that I believe in past lives necessarily, but just that remembering that last fateful day with our life-long partners might be a bit intrusive in our present real-world relationships. A vast ocean of memories, lost lives, lost loves, flooding our every waking moment with pain and joy. That’s how I felt right then. That lady was everything to me. That was such an old story, in a place and time more intense and grand than this grey world of compromise into which I had been born.

She wasn’t very friendly; In that special way that people reserve for attacking people they really love because they don’t want them to get hurt. She said that she had been travelling around, more specifically on vacation when she had met me that first fateful night. She had had a short playful dalliance with me because she did not know where I was from. For these spirits a whole other universe exists, complete with entertainment beyond our wildest imaginings.

Now she had returned home to her fathers palace. She told me her real name. Sildarien. Their language is made up of descriptive ideas. Sildarien means, literally, highest royal person of the people. In a sense, that is her title. Actual names, like we have, they do not possess. When they are not within contact, they might as well not know each other but when they come within space of each other, they know everything about each other. Their memories and minds are vastly different to ours.

But I digress. I had her soul signature, her scent, I suppose you could say, from that first fateful meeting. Because of that I had been able to track her down across the inter-astral depths, to her very own home plane. I was not supposed to do that, roughly for the same reasons than a microbe should not have amorous intentions with the president of America.

She is a woman of immense value upon her plane. Not valuable like you or me. We die and are reborn like flies. Her pain would be the pain of an empire, her funeral attended by the stars and moons. To court her would take ten thousand years. No person that is human could apply for the position. The guy with the star on his cheek. That was her brother, or rather, one of them. She looked at me once more, across the distance of the beautiful, royal garden, and told me to get let go of her scent, for the sake of my immortal soul.

And then, my father walked into the room.

Good grief! If I could explain to you what it’s like to shift from a profoundly complex state of consciousness to normal reality in a flash, well, I would be lying. It can’t be done. In a split second I was dragged through the candy realm. The air in the room condensed until it was as thick as jelly, big lumps of dismembered colour and clumps of drowning mugwots flailing madly through my unbalanced consciousness. Splatters of red and violet spat across his face, thousands of bits of shapes seeping through the floors as my heart slammed in my chest and Adrenalin vomited through my system.

I smiled, my lips like plasticine smeared across my cheeks, my eyes like two engorged puffer fish. I’m not sure if my irises could be seen at all. He looked at me strangely, at all of us, with the sort of regard that anybody might feel if they walked into a room and five young boys froze in their every action, hands and feet quite literally hanging suspended in mid-air. We could not have looked more guilty if we had had an actual murder victim sitting on a dinner table between us.

Questions like: How are you? immediately flooding to mind and quickly replaced by insistent reason trying to explain that we had just spent a whole dinner with this person and they are quite likely to be just as well now as they were then. He must have been too sleepy to want to probe too deeply. Either that or he just walked out of the room and down the stairs backwards, unhaving this troubling experience until for him he simply hadn’t see what he had seen.

For me however, there was a deeper concern. My fabulous princess had vanished.