The girl from space sat down next to the window and looked out. She could see very little of the jet airliner that had seemed so large from the outside; men in white clothing were moving about under her window, carrying boxes and baggage, and apparently ministering to the vehicle in which she sat. It was a fulfilling and exciting experience for her, although she could not quite rid her mind of a faint feeling of doubt about the man Pablo had sent to guide her.
He sat down beside her, a man of average height, with hair so black that the highlights reflecting the light from the cabin’s illumination were a glinting, steely blue. His eyes were very deep-set, very bright, with the intensity of gaze that Joshua had, although this glance was, for some reason, difficult to meet for any length of time. The space girl had found it to be of increasing pleasure to look into the steady gaze that Joshua could turn on her. The black-haired man instructed her to put around her hips the cloth and metal belt that each seat had by its sides; she did so, at a loss to explain to herself why one should desire to restrict one’s movement in this way. She had much to learn about this strange planet called Earth.
The events of the last few hours were most befuddling. She tried to sort out her confusion. This man had come into the cabin in which Marion and Elmo and she had been enjoying each others’ company. She had been in the bedroom, and had never seen either of the two men. The man had led her out of the rear door of the bedroom into the hall to the kitchen and back door, and they had left immediately. The most puzzling thing was that, at the instant of her meeting with this man, she had ceased to be able to see the mental planes; she could not discover the man’s aura, or any of his thoughts; indeed, she discovered that she could no longer converse with her companions, the one known as Esmerelda, and her brother. They were gone. And, in the instant before they had disappeared, she had felt a vivid flash of some force that she had no way to describe, except that she had, while studying this planet’s languages, repeatedly come upon words which had no referent in her own language. She had discussed these words with her brother, but had been unable to define them, or even guess what they meant. And she found it possible to believe that she had now become somewhat acquainted with the meaning of one of these words. For she could remember no specific thing, but there was a fading memory of a pain that affected both her body and her spirit, that for a second she had been unable to dispel. And always before, she had been in complete control over the stimulus which was fed to her being, on both the physical and the mental planes.
And she felt, because of these puzzling events, a little dubious about her new guide, whose aura she could not see. But he had told her that he came from Pablo and Joshua, and that he was to be her teacher. And that, for a time, she would experience different conditions than she was used to, as a means of learning about conditions on this planet.
That was precisely what she had come here to learn. She attempted to compose her mind, to relax it into the smooth and uncluttered surface with which she was used to greeting her environment.
A stewardess, coming slowly down the aisle, writing down the names of the passengers and their drink selections, came abreast of the girl from space and stopped, her mouth slightly open, her eyes widening. She simply stared at the girl, pencil poised above the pad, for several seconds; this did not at all disconcert the girl from space, but the man who was her guide cut her period of intense gazing short. “My name is James E. Trostrick, and this is Miss Mercer.”
“Yes,” said the stewardess, turning her eyes to _ her pad and writing. “Would you or Miss Mercer care for a beverage?”
“We would, my dear,” said the man. “I’ll have black coffee. And Miss Mercer will have scotch and soda.”
The stewardess nodded and wrote, and held her composure through one more long stare before she turned and hurried back to the front of the airplane. The two had been sitting in the last seat of the section, and their order completed the first class roster. She opened the door to the pilot’s compartment, and leaned close to the flight engineer. “Harry, you’ve got to take a look at 6-D. Most beautiful girl I ever saw in my life.”
“Oh, yeah?” The engineer glanced up front. There was a minute or two before he would be involved with the checklist. He walked into the first class compartment and strode back towards the galley, looking purposeful, but his step faltered as he passed the girl and her black-haired companion. He stared, recovered, and went into the galley, fiddling with the emergency chute on the door, and staring blankly at the pressure gauge. When he had regained the expression of nonchalance, he walked back into the pilots’ compartment and exploded. “You won’t believe it,” he told the pilot and copilot. “You just won’t believe it!”
“What’s that?” The captain was only half-listening.
“The girl sitting in 6-D. Before she gets off, you’ve both got to go take a look at her. She must be a fashion model or a movie star or something. Anyway, she’s the most fantastic broad I ever saw.”
“OK, OK,” said the Captain. “We’ll see her.” He looked at the copilot. “Let’s read the before-starting checklist.”
The copilot read from a folded card. “Circuit breakers and radio bus switches.”
The engineer shrugged. “Checked and on,” he said.
The girl from space sat in her seat quietly as the big jet started to roll, absolutely delighted with the heady feeling of acceleration as the craft took to the air. It was an unaccustomed sensation; the craft that brought her here, and the smaller ones in use on her planet, did not make use of such phenomena. Its difference from all that she had known made it the more enjoyable to her, and she was very happy as she looked out the window, seeing the changing configurations of clouds and terrain below her. The only event which at all disconcerted her during her trip was the beverage which her companion had offered her. Eager to experience the environment of this new planet, she had drunk it, despite its unpleasant taste, and she had been slightly startled to note that it caused her body to suffer a mild trauma. Her thinking produced the notion, finally, that it must be some sort of tranquilizer, given to combat the tension that she had noted beginning to rise in some of her fellow passengers as the jet left the ground. Except for this, the flight was all too short, and without remarkable event, and she was sorry to feel the slight brush of the tires as they made contact with one of the parallel east-west runways at the Miami International Airport.
The passengers were herded off the craft very quickly, and into a corridor that had been placed right against its side, so that she was never exposed to the outside air at all, but walked through a large hallway into the terminal building itself. Trostrick hurried her into part of the main lobby; she would have much preferred staying an indefinite amount of time there, for she saw many different types of human entities and felt she could, as the vast crowds of people ebbed and flowed in the great concourse, have added much to her knowledge of this planet’s inhabitants.
But Trostrick was hurrying down an escalator, and into a space guarded by men in uniforms. There seemed to be a great deal of attempted control of people by other people on this planet. But perhaps she was interpreting data wrongly. She would wait, and ask thus man who was her teacher at some later time.
They walked through electric doors, which opened hospitably for them and let them into the lower level of the airport’s roads. Many more people were present here, and there were so many cars that the girl from space could not see the end to them, or find where they all came from, or where they could go. It was crowded here, and shady. Here too she would have liked to have stayed, and watched, and discovered what all these people, and all these cars, were doing. But again, Trostrick hurried her along the grey walkway, straining his head upwards to see over the cars parked under the overhanging rampway. It took little time for him to find a uniformed chauffeur who opened the rear door of a black Lincoln, and took the bags from his employer. Trostrick helped the girl from space into the rear seat, and then spoke to the chauffeur. “I’ll be back in a minute. Please make Miss Mercer comfortable.”
The chauffeur’s dark face creased into a small grin, a secretive expression; then the smile was gone, as he bent into the car door to look after the passenger Trostrick had given him.
Trostrick quickly disappeared into the colorful masses of people that threatened to overflow the dingy, columned sidewalk; almost immediately, he had a collision with a man going the other way. There wasn’t really enough crowding for the jostling to occur, but it did occur, the men meeting heavily, shoulder to shoulder. Trostrick paused in the second of contact and prolonged it slightly, looking intently into the man’s eyes. He did not speak. The man he had bumped into walked on, but there was a blankness in his eyes that had certainly not been there before; before his face had been sharp and alert. Now, dull of expression and with expressionless eyes, he slowly but steadily walked between two parked rental cars, and directly into the path of a moving limousine. The big car wasn’t traveling fast; 15 miles an hour is almost the top speed in the lower level, but it was quite impossible for its driver to begin braking before the front bumper of his heavy vehicle had pulled the man’s body beneath it, and its wheel had crushed his head.
Trostrick had continued into the door of the lower level terminal, and had gone to the nearest rent-a-car desk, but he had left soon thereafter, for the clerk with whom he had had a short conversation stopped paying any attention to him, as her attention was pulled to the growing crowd of people that were clustering around the accident. Trostrick walked back to the waiting limousine and slid into its back seat with the girl from space. The chauffeur closed the door for him, the wisp of a smile moving briefly across his flattened features once more. He walked around the car, giving no impression of speed, but wasting no time; he had the Lincoln threaded around the piling congestion in a very short time, and had pulled successfully into the outer lane, past the police office, and towards LeJeune Road. A right turn from LeJeune put him on the expressway to the beaches. He drove with authority past all the exits and bewilderment of signs, and did not leave the expressway until he had passed through the toll gates. A left turn took the car northward to Ft. Lauderdale, and he cut across the north end of that city and found highway A 1 A.
The girl from space had gradually become aware that the city scenery was being left behind, and it was a very great pleasure to her to be able to look out her window at the beauty that surrounded her now. Her teacher had brought her to a place that was lovely to see, and far different from the way the green trees and shrubs had looked before she took the airplane ride. Here the trees seemed quite different; they had leaves which were as long as branches, and grew at the tops of the trees, instead of from their sides; these leaves made a sound in the constant wind that was restful, soothing, altogether comfortable. Her spirit grew close to the sound of the trees, and she celebrated with them the clean, sweet smell of life; somehow, it held sea within it. The space girl was, more than anything, held in thrall by the motion of the water in the distance; she could see white flecks move across its face and she could hear the sound it made. Upon her planet, the waters did not move so restlessly, but stirred only gently with the air which fed the life therein. Here the ocean was powerful and full of the motion that she had felt when the jet had flown. The sense of ceaselessness seemed to her to express the eternity of the spirit in an opposite, but equally eloquent way from the quiet and hush that characterized her peacefully stirring planet’s life forces. They passed forests and forests of these palm trees, and she caught glimpses of secluded houses. Many people seemed to live here, in far greater privacy than could be found in the crowded city she had just left.
To her delight, the limousine pulled into a driveway that was shaded by these palms, and reddish, smaller bushes. Her teacher was out the door, and holding his hand to her in greeting; she took it. He helped her out of the car, and they walked around the patio and towards the sliding glass doors that stopped the sweet air from moving too destructively into the peaceful house. It was the most modern of houses, all glass and wood, all gleaming and smooth-surfaced. Even the wall-to-wall carpet was of an unusually smooth consistency. He took her to a hallway that led off the spacious living room and opened a door: it was a bedroom much like the one she had been in earlier this day. The differences were not striking; however, they did exist: here everything was much more impressive; here there were no carved or broken surfaces. The large bed was without posts or endboards and the other furniture was absolutely plain. The colors of the room were as muted as its furnishings, and as flat; there was nothing but restfulness here.
Trostrick walked over to the window and pulled the heavy curtain back, revealing a glass wall of the same kind that the patio had; he opened it, and the ocean air moved in through the screen and touched her nostrils again.
“I believe there is everything you need, here and in here,” he said, indicating a small, complete bathroom. “I am sure that you would like to refresh yourself, my dear, before we dine. When you are ready, join me on the patio, and we will have supper.”
The girl did not feel tired; it was not her habit to tire at all, until her body was in physical need of rest. It was not now in such need, so she contented herself with washing her body, and making her hair neat and clean again, and shaking out the clothing that she had on, so that it would be smoother against her. It was only minutes until she walked back through the thickly carpeted living room and onto the patio. The sun was just setting, and they watched the rays of the last rosy light drift over the moving sea, and deliver themselves up to the shores that lay very close to them. Trostrick’s private beach stretched along the patio and around the gentle curve of the shoreline, its arc broken only by the shapes of palm trees that bowed under the wind’s weight.
Her teacher was seated at a table made of very dark wood, and set with very heavy eating appliances; the glasses were carved of this wood; the handles of the silverware were fashioned of it too. Silver gleamed from the table, and shielded candles were lit, their illumination flickering across the gleaming wood, their smoke moving on the sea breeze.
“I have attempted to provide enjoyable physical surroundings for you, my dear,” said Trostrick. He took a bottle from an ice bucket, and expertly maneuvered the cork out of its neck. She drank the liquid which he poured for her. It was much like the liquid which she had tasted on the airplane; it had the same effect, and its taste differed only minimally. It would be good to understand whether this liquid were again being given her as a tranquilizer, but she felt it would be better for her not to ask questions of her teacher yet; for he had much to tell her, and she was sure he would go about it in his own way.
“This is a very good year, my dear,” said her guide, patting the dark bottle.
She did not comprehend what he meant; he seemed amused by this.
“But of course, my dear, you would not be familiar with these mundane matters. However, I shall try to provide you with some interesting sensations, here. I thought perhaps you might not have tasted an antipasto before, or a lobster tail?”
The girl simply looked at him, a little quizzically; her study of the language had not been encyclopedic, and she had learned the names of only those foods with which she had already been familiar, as she had no way of remembering the names of alien substances. Neither antipasto nor lobster meant anything to her.
“Never mind, my dear. We shall enjoy the food as it comes. It is a lovely evening to be sitting looking out to sea, is it not? The stars show clearer and clearer, don’t they? This excellent evening, with its darkening sky, does it not make you homesick?”
Her teacher was very easy to talk to; he led her right to her answers. “No,” she said, and felt quite at home in his presence. “I imagine that you are eager to know just what part I am to play in teaching you of your new environment.”
Again, he had led her to her answer. “Yes,” she said.
“I am to be your teacher, my dear, and lead you in your education concerning certain metaphysical principles that we enjoy here on this planet that you might not have been aware of on your home planet. In many cases, it will not be possible to teach you directly with words. For instance, in order to teach you of some of the limitations of awareness under which people on this planet labor, I have assisted you in temporarily restricting your mental vision. It puts you off your normal balance, does it not, my dear?”
“Yes,” said the attentive girl.
“You do not mind my teaching you in this way, do you?” asked her guide.
“I was certain that you would not, my dear. As you are aware, it is often impossible on this planet to teach by using words, for the people who dwell on the surface of this planet have evolved a language with words which pertain almost totally to the physical illusion. Even words that intend to pertain to metaphysical matters are quite inadequate to those who wish to seek truth. But, you know all of this, do you not, my dear? I do not wish to bore you, but to point out a few concepts that we feel are germane with respect to seeking spiritual awareness.”
An enormously bodied, heavily muscled man came through the patio door. His clothes were scrupulously tailored to his seven feet of bulk; in his darkly tanned hand was a heavy wooden tray. He took from it two plates, upon which were a variety of green vegetables.
“It would not show respect to the food,” said Trostrick as the waiter retreated into the darkened house, “for us to speak, even of spiritual things, while we revitalize our bodies with its nourishment.”
They ate the salad in silence. The girl was thoroughly enjoying all the variously shaped green substances, and the red ones as well. When she began to eat a bit of peculiar material on the plate, however, she found it distasteful, and would have put it aside, except that she saw that Trostrick was eating a similar substance. And so she ate the oily, salty scraps of fish too.
The waiter reappeared before they had had time to grow restless in their silence; this time the tray contained two lobster tails, with the proper instruments for removing the soft, white meat, and cups of drawn butter for garnish. There was a lesson in how to use the implements, and then the space girl was able to taste the meat. She found this distasteful too, and unlike anything she had ever eaten before. Not exhilaratingly different, but different in a way she somehow mistrusted. However, again the man who was her teacher was eating his food with gusto, and she did as he did.
Trostrick was finished, after a time, and touched his mouth with the heavy linen napkin. “Did you enjoy your meal, my dear?” She did not answer.
“I do not believe that you enjoyed the lobster as you did the green food in the salad, did you?”
It was unbelievably easy to speak her thoughts to this man. “No,” she said.
“Were you concerned about the levels of consciousness of the foods you ate, my dear?”
That was precisely what had troubled her. “Yes,” she said happily. She would not have known how to use the language well enough to have expressed that.
“This is one of the principles that we must speak of this evening. It has to do with our consciousness, and the consciousnesses of the others that surround us. We have just eaten two forms of life: mixed plant life, which has minimal consciousness, and lobster, which enjoys a very limited form of animal consciousness. I sense that it troubled you to assimilate this consciousness.”
“My dear, our planet is not like yours. On your planet, this would have been a slight infringement upon the free will of the animal that you ingested. However, this planet, as I told you, enjoys certain differences in condition. Central among these differences is that on this planet all consciousness does not seek the light, as it does on yours. Many, many of the entities that enjoy the gift of physical incarnation here have become lost from pursuit of the truth, and seek in other directions, pitifully lost. This lobster was a fragment of life that had not begun seeking the light; by being assimilated into your being, it has been aided in its search, and perhaps, as its consciousness continues to evolve, it will be helped by your contact with it.”
The girl was disturbed and confused by this powerful chain of reasoning. She could not fault it intellectually. But ...
“My dear,” said her teacher, very gently, “I sense that you are still worried about the free will of this life form. You feel that it should be free to choose and act as it pleases, as a function of its will. Am I not correct?”
“Yes,” said the girl, nodding vigorously.
“My dear, I must iterate to you that this planet differs from yours. On your planet, each particle of consciousness will seek the light without guidance, and form its own destiny, because your planet is a planet of light. However on this planet, the darkness is as strong as the light, and without the guidance of ones such as we, they would be lost and separated from the truth. It is our duty, once we have learned, to guide. Can you understand, my dear?”
She could understand the words quite easily; her teacher had a great ability to speak clearly. And yet, despite her intellectual understanding, the idea of this sort of guiding sounded to her like a violent misuse of power. She could not see how it could ever become permissible to make choices for other entities, or even to block out some choices for them. And it seemed to her, in her puzzlement, that that was what she had done to the lobster. Even if she had said, “Lobster, you may either be assimilated by me, or you may live on in darkness,” was she not by her words hiding from this particle of the Creator’s universe the truth of his freedom to do, not either the one thing or the other, but anything he decided? She could not make her mind settle on what her teacher had said, for it seemed foreign and wrong.
Her difficulties did not seem to be as apparent to her teacher as her previous ones had been; or perhaps he noticed them, but wished to help her out of them by other examples.
“My dear,” he said quietly, “I cannot explain to you in enough ways that this planet called Earth is far different from the one you know. I can only attempt to explain to you, basically, how a certain problem exists, and how it is handled, upon this planet. Upon your planet, of course, there is a unity of purpose. Here, there are many who are confused, and have lost their sense of purpose. They do not realize that seeking is the ultimate objective of all those who dwell in the whole creation, and fill their physical lives with vain amusements.”
“Now, my dear, since I am sure that you are aware of this condition on Earth, you are aware that there must be some way to reawaken the spirit of seeking within these lost wanderers. I have seen in your eyes that you are disturbed about this concept. Is it that you feel that we would be infringing upon the free will of those we helped, to help them in the way in which I am describing?”
The girl from space was most grateful that her teacher had found her area of confusion, for she sorely wished to become clear, and learn all she could of this planet. “Yes,” she said.
“It is self-evident, my dear, that there is only one thing which is truly wrong, although many things are called sin on this planet, and that it is simply the infringement of one consciousness upon the free will of another. And it is equally clear that we who guide must in some way circumnavigate this sin, using our intelligence. So that, free from sin, we may lead the lost into light, and show truth to those who will ultimately seek it.”
Somehow, even restated, the concept of which he spoke retained its alien and distasteful flavor; it was like the taste of the antipasto: not obviously unpleasant, but nonetheless, without virtue to her. She did not think that she had ever before considered that there might be a way to limit choices as this man was apparently telling her they did upon this planet, without infringing upon free will.
“You do not understand the techniques for circumventing this sin, do you, my dear?” asked Trostrick, watching her steadily, his dark eyes shining into hers across the flickering candlelight that was now their only illumination, except for the night glow of the moon and the stars off the ocean’s surface.
“No,” she said.
“It will be necessary for me to demonstrate to you, my dear, techniques for guiding and leading those who are lost. One must always be careful, as I have said, to avoid sinning, and to provide only choices which the individual, if left to himself, could eventually freely make. You are not aware that such free choice can be deliberately provided, are you, my dear?”
“No,” she said.
The man rose in the soft light and took her arm. He was as tall as she, but thicker built, and very much darker. “Come with me, my dear, and we shall walk, and you will understand.”
They walked across the sand to the water’s edge. The sand was slightly wet from the receding dark waves. “It is a beautiful creation, is it not, my dear?” said the black magician softly. “The sky so black and studded with stars, the sea breeze so refreshing. Let us stand here, and consider freedom of choice, the freedom of choice provided by a teacher. We will consider physical bodies, which both of us now use to experience our physical environment. They are quite useful to us here, for they are acted upon by the catalyst of the physical world. This is in turn quite useful for the evolution of our spiritual selves. But let us examine the limitations of the body more closely.” Trostrick had carried his linen serviette with him from the table and now, folding it diagonally, he placed it over her eyes and tied it around the back of her head. “You do not mind this little experiment, do you, my dear? I wish only to limit your physical sight.”
“No,” said the girl, eagerly awaiting further instruction.
The magician spoke again. “Your physical body has now been deprived of its physical sight. Now you, my dear, are able to use your mental body, and see all and more than the physical eyes can see. Therefore the physical eyes are redundant. But on this planet, very few can project their spiritual selves from their physical bodies, and the loss of eyesight is a hardship indeed. Can you see how severely this loss of stimulus would restrict learning and thus hinder the spirit’s progress?”
“Yes.” It seemed most pitiable to the girl that anyone should be without sense, unable to gather information about his environment. “However, my dear,” said Trostrick, “a man who is blind can still experience whatever he wishes with the rest of his senses, for he has freedom of movement, and can go where he pleases. There are those whose experience is even more limited. Allow me to demonstrate.”
She stood straight and still at the water’s edge as he took a stout cord from his jacket pocket. Placing her hands behind her back, he bound them tightly with the cord. “Your body is now even more limited, is it not, my dear?”
“Yes.” She found this a strange sensation.
“Some of this planet’s inhabitants have been further restricted, and they still do not understand how to remove their mental body from this hindered vehicle. Is that not sad?”
“And yet, this limitation may be carried still further. But here. I shall show you.” Trostrick removed another length of cord from his pocket, and placed the girl’s ankles together so that he could tie them as tightly and securely together as he had tied her wrists. The girl began to anticipate the end of the lesson, for she saw that her physical body was now almost completely limited.
The magician stood up, his manipulation complete. “You may learn much from this, my dear. For consider that many of this planet’s inhabitants are imprisoned in various ways. They are not usually tied, but they are kept in dark buildings, where they may not speak with anyone, or see anything of the outside world. And they are unable to leave their imprisoned bodies. Your physical body is severely limited now, my dear, with respect to gaining further experience, is it not?”
“It would be necessary for you, in order to gain more experience at this time, to use your mental body, leaving your physical body behind. Is this not so?”
“Yes,” she replied once more.
“Now, consider this,” said the quiet voice. “It is an interesting characteristic of this planet that there are some inhabitants who are as confined in their mental bodies, in what we call the lower of the astral planes, as you are now in the physical plane. They are so restricted in their spiritual bodies that they cannot experience or evolve any further than you can now, in your physical imprisonment. That is most unfortunate, is it not?”
“Yes.” It was more than unfortunate; it affected her in a way that this physical restriction could not. She had never been aware that it was even possible to accomplish such gross infringement upon free will.
“Many have been so confined, my dear, and instead of being able to seek, they will be forced to live in their present state of awareness for all eternity. The only escape, it seems, is through a retreat into darkness, until the level of subjugation which the creatures of the lower astral planes enjoy is reached. The personality must totally be given up here, and each shred of light must be left behind, for the creatures that inhabit this plane are very, very negative, or, as we call it on this planet, evil. Isn’t it unfortunate that they must travel so very far back along the path away from the light, in order that they may once more have their freedom, and be able to enjoy their Creator’s universe?”
“Yes.” The space girl was deeply shocked. This planet was a very different one from hers. She tested her bonds. They were very tight. And her mental body could be as tightly bound here. It was a thought which shook her as no other knowledge could have, and she realized that it was the one her teacher had left with her, for she could hear his footsteps shifting the firm sand as he walked away from her; hear his shoes speak against the stone of the patio and lose themselves into the carpeting of the living room. The glass door slid behind him. She was alone.
For a long time she stood, motionless, in meditation, at the shore of the ocean. It was an ebbing tide, and the water moved slowly away from her. In an hour, it had become less easy to stand comfortably. She was not sure that she had completely understood all that had been told her, for she did not feel as though she had gained a great deal of awareness; she only knew that she was most disturbed in spirit by what he had told her.
She considered her present limitations. What purpose had he had in limiting her thusly? He had talked about providing choices for the growth of the spirit, and she had not understood. Or had she? Was this perhaps an example of what he had meant? Had he provided her with the free choice between standing, helpless and alone at the sea’s edge, and moving towards her teacher in her mind-body for further education? Was this the point of being so bound?
She considered leaving the physical, to find her teacher. Joshua had allowed her brother to travel in the mental planes of this planet, but he had provided him with a guide, one who had long worked within these planes. Joshua had told her not to leave her physical body under any circumstances, as she did not have a guide. She had so far obeyed him implicitly.
But did she not have a guide now, in her teacher? She wished she had command of her spirit self, so that she might speak with Joshua in thought, and ascertain more surely what he would have her do. She did not want to make an error. But her teacher had limited her thusly as part of her learning. It did seem to be showing her as no words could the terrible limitations that were in force in this planet’s physical plane.
Her teacher did not return. Her bonds remained unyielding. The only thing that seemed evident to her was that she would not learn any more, standing here where she was. She remembered Joshua’s warning about the dangers of this planet’s astral planes, and her present teacher had described in even greater detail what these dangers were. But could she not put herself under the protection of her new guide? Together, they could gather more understanding, and she would continue to evolve. It had been so long since he left her. This must, without question, be what he intended her to do: to come seek him in her mental body of light.
She visualized her mental body, sheathed in light, made of light, pure as light is pure and was delighted to discover that, once again, she could leave her physical body although all but her immediate surroundings was still blank to her. The image began to glow in front of her on the sand until she could see it in great detail, the clothing, the features. She charged the image with the etheric energy of her physical body, making it briefly of the physical world, making it externalized. Her mind moved the form’s hands, turned its head. It was now ready to receive her waking consciousness, and without a break of any sort in her awareness, she was away from her physical body and into the body of light, looking about with its eyes. As she looked back at her bound physical body, it fell heavily backward onto the sand, almost pulling her body of light back into it, and she regretted not having put it to rest before leaving it. She could see the faint glow of the silver cord. Some of the etheric material of her physical body had been used to charge this one with vitality; consciously, she returned the etheric substance to the body as it lay on the sand in a state of trance. Her being lifted in joy, exhilarated as it always was after she had shed the heavy chemical projection that was necessary for physical experience. Filled with an intense feeling of vigor and well-being, she turned and walked to the patio, and into the living room.
She passed the enormous servant that she had seen on the patio during her meal; he did not see her body of light, of course. Trostrick was not there. She walked towards the hallway and started down it, drawn with a stronger and stronger sense of certainty towards its end. The hall ended, not in a door, but in a very heavy, wine-red velvet curtain, ponderous, smooth, and utterly luxurious, as all the furnishings of this house were. There was a command now, within her; she opened the drapes with one hand and entered the large room to which her teacher had called her, certain now that she had done the correct thing in coming here. For she was expected; she had been summoned.
She waited at the door a moment, looking about the dim room. There were candles along all the walls, flickering in their thick sconces. The room was bare, except for a black marble table in the center of the room, upon which lay the naked body of her teacher. She walked over to it, compelled to do so; she watched it until she became aware that, although the body was still and apparently lifeless, there was awareness in the eyes, which were looking straight at her. She looked back. In her body of light, it was no longer difficult to return the look steadily. And the eyes caught her up, and pulled her to them, so that she leaned over him and kissed his lips, feeling within herself a trembling rise of urgency that she had never experienced outside of her physical body. His eyes were still looking into hers, and now, as a curious desire grew and dominated her spiritual body, the one known as Trostrick moved, in his mental body, up from the table on which his physical body lay, and took her mental body close to his, holding her, still looking deep into her spirit’s eyes. The desire which had no place on the mental plane beat into her, and, rejoicing that her teacher could perform such wonders as this, and that he wished her to share this experience with him, she closed her eyes in complete and exultant surrender to him, that their spirits could become one. As she did so, she felt the waves of vibrant attraction pass between herself and her teacher until there was no break in their excitement, and her spirit was lost in the sea of sensation. Everything went very dark, and she felt her teacher pulling her through dimensionless space.