Eden - Reading at Book Launch
In “Vision Speak”, a powerful matriarch leaves an explosive legacy for her great granddaughter. Willow’s expanding consciousness threatens her society but may hold the key to humanity’s future.
People have asked where I came up with the ideas for this story and what was I thinking...
When I began this journey, I was plagued by questions.
Simple ones like: Why are we here? Why do some people die young? Why can’t we live in harmony? ...and ... Why is there so much senseless violence in the world?
These questions led me in a variety of directions and some of the research underlying the concepts in this book included:
- The history and evolution of man and civilization
- World Religions – the beauty, the wisdom and the sorrow, futility and failings
- New Age Philosophies and Spirituality
- Jung and Freud, particularly Jung’s theories on the collective unconscious
- Joseph Campbell and his ideas on mythology and religion and their metaphorical value
I know this sounds heavy but it’s not really, not at the level that I was searching. I’m no expert in any of these areas, just a person like the rest of you that craves answers to unanswerable questions.
Basically, I found glimmers of wisdom and imagined the rest.
This story takes place centuries after global wars and devastation have led to a new world order. The Republic now controls and restricts all spiritual practices, intent on preventing the mistakes of the past from ever happening again.
Willow has violated her Spiritual Contract, secretly trained in “Vision Speak” by her mentor, Elzabeth. In this first reading towards the end of Chapter 1, Willow and Elzabeth are connecting at a deep, inner place…
Starting at the bottom of page 9:
After that, time swept away. Despite her agitated morning, Willow reached the state quickly, effortlessly—with minimal guidance from her mentor. It seemed to go faster every time. Within minutes, she became immersed in a waking dream, a trance-like existence where she was still aware, still conscious of her surroundings and yet her inner being was animated and exposed as never before. The old matriarch and her young descendant interacted with visions and feelings, thought-pictures and senses. It was like an inner voice, a connection of directed, shared dreams. Great Bet called it Vision Speak. The two women were oblivious to the absolute silence in the room. To them, their surroundings were vibrantly alive.
Finally they stopped. Willow sensed that her great grandmother was growing weary. Returning her attention to the physical world, she gawked at the time display. Two hours had passed. She resigned herself to missing her Experimental Art class too, yet it didn’t seem important anymore. The room, its occupants, the outside world—everything—had a fresh glow. The world was transforming before her eyes. It all coalesced unlike ever before.
Elzabeth had sunk deeper into her pillows, her eyes glazed. Concerned, Willow bounded out of her chair, energy pulsing through her. She leaned over her great grandmother, smoothing back her silvery-white halo. “Great Bet. Are you okay?”
Deep wrinkles and lips curved upward. “I’m wonderful, so wonderful thanks to you.” Her voice was barely above a whisper. Willow leaned in closer. “Oh, my dear, why didn’t I teach you long ago? I didn’t sense the possibility until I saw you again at my birthday party. It struck me that day so clearly that you were open but even then, I had no idea what you would be capable of. The others will be shocked when they experience your abilities.”
“You must tell me about the others. Who are they?”
“I meant the Vision Speak group at the Center, especially Jill, Aaron, and Simon. But, you can’t meet them yet. I don’t know how I’m going to explain this.” Her eyelids fluttered but she continued. “I’ll sort this out before I’m gone, my dear. I promise.” Her words trailed off at the end so that Willow had to strain to hear.
Leaning forward, she kissed the wrinkled forehead and pulled the covers up. “I’d better go now, Great Bet. You need to rest.”
“Wait.” Elzabeth’s eyes shot open and she gripped the young hand. “I forgot to tell you something.”
“What is it?”
“When I die…”
“Shh—no, don’t say that.”
“Don’t be foolish.” The frail woman snapped. “I’m dying soon and it’s long past due so don’t waste my remaining time with platitudes.”
“Okay, sorry.” She mumbled. “Please continue.”
“I want you to know that I’ve changed my will. I’ve made you my Protector.”
Willow gasped. To be the keeper and protector of memories was a privilege, usually entrusted to someone more mature, someone who had known the departed for many years. This meant that she, and she alone, would be responsible for Elzabeth’s Life Journals.
“Oh, I’m honoured, Great Bet. Really I am, but what will Grandma Sybil say? What will my mother say?” Her voice raised a decibel when she mentioned her mother. Willow sank back down into the chair, chewing on her fingernails.
“I don’t give a donkey’s ass what they say. I’m tired now, Willow, we’ll talk more later. You should know that before I found you, I wasn’t entrusting my journals to anyone in the family. And now that I’ve discovered you, now that I see what you can do, this is the only way. But, I know the legacy I’m leaving you…it won’t be easy. There may be, uh, interference.”
“What do you mean?”
The old woman closed her eyes again. She was silent for seconds that stretched out like minutes. She never answered Willow’s question but she did whisper one more instruction. “Please be careful. Keep the journals secret, even with the family—at least until you’re ready.” She smiled weakly. “I’ll explain more next time.”
But there never was a next time.
Before we jump ahead 17 chapters, here’s a brief background on what’s happened.
Elzabeth dies, leaving her journals to Willow in a public ceremony garnering unwanted attention from Republic leaders, spies, and even her family. Willow joins the “Vision Speak” group and her abilities advance rapidly. She finds herself attracted to one of their leaders, Aaron. They’re out together when they discover they’re being followed by Republic agents and Aaron gets a glimpse of Willow’s secret abilities for the first time.
In this scene, they’ve escaped to a secluded garden where Willow is reading a sealed entry from Elzabeth’s journal to Aaron. The entry describes an unexpected encounter with a powerful presence that Elzabeth could not explain. Willow is seeking Aaron’s advice but they get distracted..
Second excerpt (from Chapter 18, mid page 96-97)
Looking back at what happened as I record this entry, I struggle to find the words to describe the actual encounter. What stands out in my mind is the power of the visitor. I cannot say what the intention was—the force of it took me by surprise and my only response was to flee, to sever the connection.
I am home now and for the first time, I question what this new evolution of the human spirit will bring. Have I been too naïve? I’ve been so convinced that once all humans could relate at this level, understand each other to the depths of their souls that senseless violence, misunderstandings and manipulations would cease to hinder mankind’s progress.
But what if I am wrong? What if there are evil forces that will use this power for destructive means? I worry now that perhaps the cult has been resurrected. I thought we had disbanded them and their Sacred Trance sessions but now I don’t know. I pray that I have not been wrong.
Willow finished the passage and turned her unit off, gazing at Aaron. She admired the contours of his face in shadow, his wavy, thick hair. Not for the first time that night, she had to contain an urge to reach out and touch him, stroking the wild hair down, running her fingers along his muscular arms and back.
“Whew—that’s intense. I wasn’t aware of this.” Aaron looked off into the distance as he talked, searching his memory banks. “I’ll ask my mother if Elzabeth shared this with her but I think she would have mentioned it.
Do you know what she meant by the cult?”
Willow slipped the unit into her handbag, and set it down on the grass beside them. She stretched out her long legs, leaning back with her hands holding her weight behind her, gazing up at the majestic branches overhead. She knew Aaron’s eyes followed her movements, first her legs then tracing his way along her body up to her throat and face. Could he really think that she didn’t notice? Her long hair hung back behind her, almost touching the ground.
Softly she responded, careful not to disturb the currents that were humming between them. “No, I was hoping you might know.” She looked into his eyes then. “Have you ever experienced anything like that?” It was dark, they could barely see each other but something snapped between them.
Although she stayed perfectly still, she drew him in. It was imperceptible—a slight arch of her hips, the staccato sound of her breathing, perhaps pheromones triggered by her intense longing. He responded as if on a string.
Okay, you’ll have to imagine what happens next.
I’m going to leap forward in the story again. A lot has happened but for the purposes of this final reading and without ruining any of the surprises in the book:
Willow’s Vision Speak abilities have advanced further and eclipse everyone – except for one boy. Kalesh is the messiah of the Cult of Armageddon. He is powerful whereas she is new to her gifts.
The Cult has kidnapped Willow.
As government agents and her family search for her, she faces Kalesh with her life and the future of Vision Speak in the balance. He has one night to convert her or she will be killed in the morning. In this scene, they are on a metaphysical journey through the passages of time..
Third Excerpt from Chapter 49, pages 266-267
She gazed into the boy’s deep, dark eyes now and experienced raw fear. He was powerful beyond anything she had encountered before. He was determined, raised to be fanatical in his beliefs, needed her to share those beliefs, to follow him—and even more, it seemed. He wanted her to lead his fellow fanatics along with him, join with him as his partner.
Could she withstand him? Should she even try?
He watched her, followed her thought patterns and waited. Finally, he took hold.
They left the vivid, physical world of the garden, soaring to heights that Kalesh alone knew. She followed him blindly, willingly. The pull was too strong to resist. Her fear left behind, she felt only deep, inner peace at their joining. She sensed great beauty. She saw it now, wanted to be part of it.
They were on a journey. He wanted to share with her everything he’d seen.
He showed her a view of humanity she could never have imagined. It gave her a sense of mankind’s struggle for life, for depth and meaning, beyond her personal experiences. He was uniquely gifted, able to tap into some all-seeing, ageless, eye—a connection that few others in the history of mankind had experienced in mortal life.
She saw the birth of the human species, the millennia of struggles, two races of man—one highly spiritual and intuitive—the other more focused on their logical, intelligent side, physically adept yet out of balance. Ultimately, the physically strong, logically innovative race gained supremacy, overcame the other in the vicious struggle for survival in an untamed world. The stronger species multiplied rapidly, spreading throughout the planet.
All this she saw, as if from a great height, like a series of swiftly moving images. It would all be nonsensical without the inner feelings, the insight, the knowing. She watched and she felt a part of what he showed her. It was holier than anything she had ever experienced.
So underlying the story, there is an inquiry on humanity, our purpose and direction, and our spirituality but these themes are interwoven lightly and do not detract from the story. For, in my opinion, the main purpose of fiction is to entertain, to create situations and characters that the reader can relate to and a plot that takes you on a journey you won’t soon forget.