The Clock

The clock sat silently on top of an untidy pile of video tapes. It was a cheap clock …. made in China. With the round pseudo copper case topped with two shiny copper bells it gave the impression that it was a solid, near antique from an era seventy years previously. In those days alarm clocks could be relied upon to awaken the working masses every morning before the light of dawn. This one, however, was not of that genera. It ticked and tocked when it felt like it, and more often than not it didn’t.

Funny about the Chinese, he thought. They were so wise, wise in the mysteries of life. They knew more about the things that mattered, the human psyche for instance. Why couldn’t they make a cheap clock that worked? Could it be that clocks and the human concept of time have no place in the Chinese universe. The Chinese worked in mysterious ways …. maybe the clock too. As his thoughts wandered randomly a single word flashed into his head, nudged all lesser thoughts to one side and perched in the middle of his mind like a persistent, squawking parrot. Telekinesis …. was what it was saying, the power of thought.

The silence was suddenly shattered by a nerve jangling, ear piercing, electronic ringing. He visibly jumped, snapped into reality and picked up the phone.

“It’s me. Rachel,” said the voice, weakly, at the other end.

“Who. Sorry. You’re very faint,” he replied.

“Its me Bran. The love of your life, Rachel,” came the reply.

“Oh. Hi, how are you sweetness?” he said warmly.

“Well …. apart from a hangover …. and the dogs run off and the bloody car wont start, and the phones out of order …. I’m just fine,” she said, irritated.

“Doesn’t seem like your day, where are you ringing from then ?”

“From the phone box at the end of the lane.”

“So what about the car. Is the battery flat, are you out of petrol or what?” he inquired.

“No, the battery isn’t flat, and I put petrol in yesterday. Oh, I did tell it that it’s next trip was to the scrap yard if it didn’t start immediately …. and I gave it a couple of kicks” she added with a laugh.

“I don’t expect either threats or kicks are going to help …. try some love …. or TLC,” he chuckled.

“Yes, I’ll try that too, but what do I do?” she demanded.

“Well,I expect the distributors damp …. all that rain last night …. try spraying some of that stuff on it.”

“What stuff …. and where’s the distributor,” she pleaded.

“You know. You watched me do it last time …. in Wales, when it rained nonstop all week. And the spray stuff is in the cupboard under the sink. It’s a new can …. I bought it yesterday to stop your dining room door from squeaking.”

“What does it look like? …. There’s such a lot of clutter in that cupboard,” she said.

“You know what it looks like …. it’s a yellow spray can,” he protested, “You called me an untidy slob for leaving it on the table, I watched you put it in the cupboard. Hells bells, if you’re like this at thirty six …. perhaps you ought to drink less …. sweetness.”

“All right, all right. I remember,” she replied, irritated, “I’ll give it a go. If it doesn’t work perhaps you’ll come out and help.”

“Yes, all right. Must go now …. there’s someone to see me, bye,” he said, as he put the phone down abruptly.

There was no one to see him, but he was bored with the conversation. It was already half way through the morning and already bored with nothing to do, the phone call only added to it. Bloody women, he thought. Why can’t they sort themselves out. He sat in the small, gloomy windowless office, his only function to answer the phone, the phone that had only just rung for the first time all morning. True, there was a small amount of paperwork to do, nothing very demanding, nothing to relieve the boredom. God, was he bored.

The computer screen on the desk blinked mindlessly. He could write something, he thought. How about a poem, or a story perhaps? No, his mind was blank, no inspiration. He sat in his swivel chair, parallel to the desk, slumped back, legs crossed. His right elbow rested on the desk and a half fist supported his head.

From this position he could see the whole of the tiny room just by swivelling his eyes from side to side. The filing cabinet was just to his left and was topped by the pile of video tapes …. the usual subject matter, Aliens, Halloween and various other slimy, creepy, hairy horrors. He loaned them out to the young people that were in his charge …. his reason for being here, to look after their interests and to help them get their lives together. The clock on sat on top.

His thoughts came back to the clock. Telekinesis, I wonder, he thought. He concentrated hard on the clock. Work you bastard. He focused his mind on the escapement, centred on the hairspring and imagined it rocking back and forth. Nothing happened. Work you bastard. He directed black thoughts in the direction of the clock .. .. even threatened to throw it in the bin. Still nothing happened.

Hang on, he thought. What had he just told Rachel? Love and TLC was what he had told her to give her reluctant car. That’s what the clock needed too. No point in threatening it. The thing is, should he actually clean the clock, or should he just use thought power. He decided that as he couldn’t be bothered to actually get up out of his chair to do anything, that thought power, if it could only work, would be a really useful accessory in a personal toolkit. Not that it would work. No, musn’t think that. Must think positive.

Bran relaxed, cleared his thoughts. and visualised cleaning the clock. Firstly, he carefully unscrewed the winding keys and eased the backplate off. Hmmm, what it needs is a cleaning. He imagined holding the exposed workings over a shallow dish of petrol. That way the fumes would rise, condense on the cold metal and gently ease away the miniscule amounts of grime. Even a mass produced clock had a finely balanced mechanism and would be prevented from functioning by the presence of anything that could upset that balance.

After imagining the process of cleaning the clock he mentally replaced the backplate and screwed the winding keys back on. He then visualised carefully placing it back on the pile of video tapes. What now, he thought. It should be ready to go. Wait, hold on. It was a worthwhile clock after all. Whatever oriental mind had designed it had obviously put a lot of care into the task. No body would put care into something worthless. Who was to say it was a cheap clock? That was all relative. The employment it created probably kept a good few Chinese families in the necessities of life. Yes it was a good clock.

He didn’t put any effort into willing it to work. The instant he visualised the escapement rocking back and forth, the clock starting ticking. He wasn’t surprised, but he had no control over the slow smile that appeared to spread across his face. He reached for a cigarette. Nothing happened. He couldn’t move his arm. He tried to uncross his legs. Again nothing happened. HE COULDN’T MOVE ANYTHING. SHIT. HE WAS PARALYSED. HE TRIED TO SCREAM. THERE WAS NO SOUND.

His mind was racing with panic. His pulse and his breathing were normal. It’s as if his body was just ticking over but his brain was in overdrive. Calm down, he told himself, calm down. Gradually he brought his thoughts under control. He couldn’t feel his body at all except an almost indescribable fizzy feeling, but it seemed to be separate from his physical presence. It’s as if it were a couple of inches away from his body, as if his vital energy was moving away. He felt as if he was almost like one of those three dimensional photographs that was being viewed without the special glasses …. where one image is slightly shifted out from the other.

He was dead. That must be it. No, can’t be. He could still move his eyes from side to side. Gradually, the fizzy, tingling feeling grew stronger and with a sudden rush he felt himself pop out of his body. Slowly drifting upwards, he was startled to find himself floating horizontally, face down, near the ceiling looking at himself, still sat in the chair. He felt incredibly calm and at peace, the panic had gone. It was good. It seemed right. It seemed so natural, he had the most incredible feeling, HE WAS HOME.

After surveying the scene for a while his thoughts directed him to the floor and he found himself standing alongside his motionless body. He found he could move around in the normal way. He reached out his hand to open the door. His hand passed straight through it. He pushed his arm through, then his shoulder. He found himself standing outside in the lobby. Reality dawned on him, I’M A BLOODY GHOST, he shouted. At least he thought he shouted but old Mrs Goodbody from next door didn’t bat an eyelid as she passed by on her regular dog walk routine.

“‘Morning Mrs Goodbody”, Bran said firmly and loudly.

Mrs Goodbody shuffled slowly on her way, obviously deaf to his greeting. She wasn’t deaf though, he thought. What’s the matter with the old bat …. unless I am a …..

His thoughts abruptly stopped. Little Jimmy, Mrs Goodbody’s obnoxious pekinese was pulling at the leash, hackles risen, snapping, snarling and yapping in his direction.

“Stop that you silly boy,” said Mrs Goodbody, “What’s all the fuss about …. there’s nobody there now is there?”

She continued on her way, dragging the reluctant pooch behind her as, with head turned, he growled and yapped until he finally disappeared around the corner, Mrs Goodbody all the while telling him to stop making such a silly fuss over nothing.

Nothing, thought Bran, how could he be nothing? Unless he was a ghost. After all Mrs Goodbody didn’t see him but the dog did. Wasn’t it widely known that dogs could sense or see such things.

Bran had a random thought, it seemed to be come with love and understanding, almost as if a wise, caring teacher or guru was offering guidance. The thought was of his phsyical presence sat motionless in the office …. at least he thought it was, but as he found himself back in his body within an instance he couldn’t be sure. Fleeting though the moment had been it did give him an insight into what was happening to him.

Just suppose , he mused, that he only had to think he wanted to be somewhere and just suppose that it might work. His inner guru seemed to smile an understanding yes. Well, if it was going to work like that why not give it a try ? Where to go ? He thought of being with Rachel and with an initial whoosh as he came out of his body he found himself standing outside the phonebox at the end of the lane.

“Oh, bye to you too,” said Rachel, muttering to herself. “Didn’t have to be so damned rude did you?” as she put the receiver down. She turned to open the kiosk door and gave out a strangled gasp of astonishment as she saw the six foot tall figure of Bran standing about twenty feet away.

“Bran, it can’t possibly be you. I don’t believe it. I’ve just been talking to you on the phone …. haven’t I?” she said, weakly.

He moved slowly towards her, opened his mouth to reply but could hear no sound. Quickly realising his predicament he projected a thought message to her, “It’s alright, sweetness, I’m fine,” he soundlessly mouthed.

Seeing the look of horror on her face, Bran realised that the situation would very soon get out of hand, panicked , and with a single thought found himself back in the office.

Rachel gasped as Bran quickly faded and disappeared from view. My God, she thought, she was hallucinating. She did hear him say he was fine, or did she ? His voice seemed to come in her head. A cold shiver ran up her spine. “He’s dead, she thought, with realisation dawning. She’d heard stories that on the point of death people appeared in front of loved ones many miles away to reassure them that they were all right. How could it be, though?” After all she was talking to Bran only a few seconds ago. There was only one way to find out, she had to ring him again, now.

Bran sat in his chair, unable to move. He glanced at the clock.
Although it wasn’t displaying the correct time it had advanced fifteen minutes from where it had stopped at three thirty. Funny, he thought, Rachel had only just put the phone down, he’d just seen her for Christ’s sake. It certainly seemed as if more than a few seconds had passed, more like the quarter hour on the clock.

Contemplating his predicament Bran thought about the clock and how he’d only got into this fix when he willed it to start ticking. Just suppose he asked the clock to stop, maybe he could reverse the process. He silently asked the clock to stop. Nothing happened. Alright, please stop. At the instant the clock stopped Bran fell off the chair as his crossed legs involuntarily uncrossed and the elbow he was leaning on collapsed.

“I’M NOT DEAD,” he shouted gleefully, “I’M ALIVE.” He jumped up and down and as a final test walked into the closed door. As his stomach nose and forehead, in that order, came to a jarring halt Bran quickly sat down, slightly dazed. Had he at last cracked it? Was this the secret of astral projection that he had been looking for? Thing was, though, clocks or other aids shouldn’t be needed for that sort of thing, inner resources …. and all that, should be enough.

Maybe what he had stumbled on was a bit more than astral projection, more advanced, like teleportation. Just suppose he could do this anytime, wow, could he have some fun. He made himself comfortable in the chair and willed the clock to start. Once again it started ticking and once again Bran was transfixed in the chair.

Where should he go now, he thought. What if he could go anywhere. it would sure beat buying airline tickets, after all he always wanted to travel. How about a long distance trip. No, couldn’t be possible …. could it ?

The water lapped over his shoes, but it was pleasantly warm. The deserted palm fringed beach curled round to his right and disappeared in a rocky headland that was covered with luxuriant vegetation. To his left the beach continued on for about a mile and ended at the foot of a steep, rocky incline, covered with brightly covered flowering shrubs.

Bran took off his shoes and socks and ambled slowly along the water line, the crystal clear water gently lapping over his stark white feet. The burning sun hovered overhead in a clear blue sky. Welcoming the chance to experience some sun on his back after months of grey cold back home, he removed his shirt and walked up the white sandy beach. He placed his feet gingerly on the burning hot sand and winced as he stood on a razor sharp shell. He threw his shirt down on the sand and laid out his shoes and socks to dry in the sun. This is the life, he thought, as he stretched out full length, soaking up the warmth. All was quiet except for the gently lapping of the waves and the rustling of the palm trees in the slightest of breeze.

His meandering thoughts were interrupted by the distant sound of a calypso steel band, the sound of which brought a smile to his face. Well, he thought, he did ask to go to a deserted beach in the Caribbean after all, and not a deserted island. Deserted this was not however, for two long legged, bronzed beauties suddenly appeared from a path between the trees and sat themselves down within a few feet of him.

“Oh look, Jan, someone’s left their shirt and shoes,” said one.

“So they have. Do you think it’s safe? …. After all they must be around,” replied Jan.

“I don’t know. We’d better keep a lookout. Tell you what, let’s just take our tops off for now,” said the other.

Bran grinned as the two girls stripped down to their shorts and lay down to gather up the sun on their slender bodies. Hmmm, this could be interesting, he thought, wonder if they’re real blondes.

“Sod this” said Jan,”I’m not waiting.”

She quickly removed her shorts and continued her sunbathing naked on the sand. It wasn’t long before her friend, following her example, was also naked as the day she was born.

How about that, they are real blondes, thought Bran. After a while he became bored bored with admiring their curvaceaous figures, entertaining though it was, so he thought he would try something new. What’s your name ? he silently asked.

“Julie,” replied the other girl.

“No, you’re Julie I’m Jan,” said Jan.

“What are you on about ?” asked Julie, mystified.

“You just called your name didn’t you,” said Jan.

“Did I. I must have been dreaming. I heard this man’s voice asking me my name.”

Bran, amused by the confused exchange was just thinking that it was time he went, when the girls switched on a portable tape player, got to their feet and started to dance and gyrate to the music. Interesting, he thought, how everything seemed to move in time to the rhythm of the music. Then he had a wicked thought. If he could sometimes feel, and touch , while in his present state, with his hands and other parts of his body would it be possible to …. No, it wouldn’t be right , would it? Perhaps another time, anyway it was time he returned, he must have been away for nearly an hour.

Bran found himself once more back in his dingy office far removed from that idyllic beach. The phone was ringing. He tried to reach for it, remembered he had to ask the clock nicely to stop and only then was he able to respond to it’s demand. It was Rachel. She was obviously upset and hardly audible.

“Slow down love, one thing at a time,” he said gently.

“I thought you were dead, I thought I’d seen your ghost,” she sobbed.

“I’m not dead, I’m here speaking to you now aren’t I, anyway what made you think I was dead sweetness?” he said.

“I know it sounds crazy, but after I spoke to you just a minute ago I saw you standing just a few feet away in the lane …. and you spoke to me Bran. At least I thought you did. I heard words in my head …. you were telling me you were fine,”

“That’s what it was love, it was all in your head. It’s the drink, it could get worse you know. You’ve got to stop, this could be a warning to you. Look, why don’t you join the local group? It’ll be a big help …. meeting others with the same problem.”

“I don’t know …. I don’t think I could face others, anyway I don’t think I have a problem,” she said defiantly.

“No, alcoholic’s seldom accept they have a problem. Look, you only drink because you’re not happy with yourself. Sort the drink out and then you can work on yourself …. another group …. therapy or something like that. Until you accept …. it’ll only get worse sweetness. Do that and then you accept life.”

“I know you’re right …. damn you, you’re always right. Look, I must go, I’ve got to get the car started. I’ll pop over to see you. Anyway I’m glad you’re alright. Bye love,” she said brightly.

Bran put the phone down and grinned. Well, that was an unexpected bonus. He’d been trying to get Rachel to stop drinking for some time. Nothing had made an impression before, maybe this time ….

It was the goosepimples on his arms and chest that made him realise with a start that he was in fact shirtless. Not only that but he was barefoot too. The grains of sand between his toes confirmed to him that everything that had happened really did happen. Bloody hell, the world really was his oyster and the great thing was he could spend hours in the other dimension and only minutes passed in the physical world.

He checked the clock. It had stopped exactly an hour on from when it had first started. The time that had elapsed between Rachel’s first call and second call can’t have been more than ten seconds and yet an hour had passed for him in his spiritual body. Presumably spirits don’t age. Boy, could he pack a lot in. Places to see, things to do. Do, do what? Just suppose he could interact with people and objects. He could change the course of history, he could be rich. He could rule the world.

His physical body needed a cup of coffee and a shirt, not to mention shoes so he painfully made his way across the gravelled path to his adjoining flat. As he put on a shirt he noticed that his chest was slightly reddened from the Caribbean sun. So, he thought, he couldn’t be just a spirit when he came out of his body, it wasn’t that simple. He brushed the sand from his feet, put on some fresh socks and shoes and made his way back to the office. This time, he thought, he would see if he could bring back some wealth. He had a few bills to pay and he needed a new car.

The casino was moderately busy, even at this time of the morning. He stood at the roulette table watching the gamblers fritter away their easy found wealth. One Arab gentleman, however,possibly an oil rich sheik …. and if oil wasn’t involved he was certainly gold dripping rich …. had a stack of gambling chips and seemed to be accumulating more. Not only that, but he also had several wads of high denomination notes piled alongside the chips.

He wont miss just one wad, thought Bran. He moved over to pick up what must have been several thousand pounds. Watching the Arab closely, the croupier blinked when the top wad appeared to disappear from the pile for a couple of seconds and then reappear in a slightly different position.

Damn, thought Bran. why can’t he keep the money, after all he managed to bring sand back from the beach …. even if it was between his toes. Another gambler was just reaching for a pack of cigarettes when, almost within his grasp, he found himself clawing at air. Totally confused, he accused his neighbour of taking them, and the game came to halt as pandemonium broke out.

Interesting, thought Bran, entertaining too. Why, though, could he take the cigarettes and not the money. He placed the cigarettes back in exactly the same place, and the game continued after the gambler apologised profusely. Muttering that he was tired and it was time he went he gathered up his remaining chips and made a hurried exit.

Bran stood for a moment pondering the situation when that persistent squawking parrot …. or was it his inner guru …. said one word. The word was motive and it was flashing like a bloody neon sign. Alright, he thought, what sort of motive. He eventually came to the conclusion that it had to be a good motive. He needed a new car, his old banger was on its’ last legs …. so to speak. Wasn’t that a good enough motive? Personal gain that’s it. He couldn’t use the power to acquire material possessions for himself. Bloody hell, he thought, that’s really boring. Still, there were compensations, he could travel anywhere that took his fancy, then maybe he could write a book about his travels. Of course, he’d have to keep quiet about his mode of travel but his expenses would amount to nothing.

He decided to have another go at the money only this time he convinced the power that he was going to give it to a charity. This time it worked. The croupier, still watching the winning Arab like a hawk stared in disbelief as the top wad of notes disappeared from the pile. He said nothing, of course, after all, after the last rumpus, he was all for the quiet life.

Mission accomplished, Bran was instantly back in the office. He placed the money on the desk and slipped back into his body. The notes were still there, on the desk, when he stopped the clock and regained his physical form. He flicked through them. Five thousand pounds in fifty pound notes. Oh, well, not enough to buy a new car. No, sorry, he thought, he made the promise after all, he really would give it to a charity.

He decided that he would that he had to find out exactly how he could manage in a crowd of physical beings. The problem was he didn’t know how to react with them. What if someone did see him? After all some people saw ghosts all the time. Presumably if he was recognised that would be alright, but possibly unwise to make contact. After all, a handshake or an embrace would be a dead give away.

He stood in the town square in a quiet corner, chuckling to himself at the thought of a friend rushing up to embrace him …. and falling straight through. He then contemplated the best way to negotiate the busy footpaths. The problem was that he was invisible to others and he had to do all the dodging around. He wondered what would happen if he stood his ground. Would they walk straight through him? …. after all he could walk through closed doors.

Right, it was time to conduct an experiment. Bran stood in the footpath directly in front of a middle aged couple as they hurried on their way. The woman passed straight through him, stopped and shuddered.

“What’s the matter love,” asked the man.

“Someone stepped over my grave,” replied the woman, “I came over all cold and the hairs stood up on the back of my neck.”

“Yeah, it was probably me dancing on it,” said the man, laughing.

“You dance, you’ve got three left feet,” she replied.

“For a special occasion like that I’d learn, get a choreographer, orchestra, fireworks the lot,” he said with a chuckle.

“Oh, I hate you,” said the woman, as she laughed.

As they continued on their way with their good natured bickering and bantering Bran smiled. So, that’s what happens. That may explain all those strange incidents throughout life when people inexplicably shiver …. when it’s nothing to do with ambient temperature.

“You’ve got it.”

Bran jumped at the voice that was also accompanied by a tap on the shoulder, to be confronted by the smiling face of Colin, an old friend.

“You’ve joined us, at last, I never thought you would make it,” said Colin.

“Hi Colin, how are you ? How come you can see me, no one else can.”

“Oh yes they can, if they are the same as you.” replied Colin.

“You mean there’s more.”

“Yup. Lots of us. Thing is, I didn’t know you were one of us until you stepped in front of that woman just now. I was watching from across the square.”

“So what’s it all about then Colin?” Bran asked.

“Evolution, that’s what it’s all about” replied Colin.

“What do you mean evolution?”

“It’s where we are meant to be at. The whole purpose of our species is to have evolved over thousands of years to this physical state. That way we don’t need to eat, drive cars or fly in aeroplanes …. by the way have you been on a long distance trip yet?” asked Colin.

“Yes, I was in the Caribbean only a few minutes ago,”

“Great. So you’re learning,” said Colin. “You do know that the guides will only let you use the power in certain ways”.

“Yes, I worked something out. Anyway what do you mean …. the guides?”

“Oh, we all have them. Even when we’re in our physical bodies, but then they usually come through to us as intuition or gut feeling. Lately though, they’re communicating more directly with a lot of people because time’s short. In days gone by they used to put the poor sods in asylums, just because they were hearing their guides, said they were mad.”

“What do you mean, time’s short Colin?”

Colin laughed, “Well that could have two meanings. The first one is that we are coming to the end of our evolutionary progress. When the time comes, those that haven’t made it to this state will be left behind. The other meaning of time’s short is what you have already found out for yourself. That is, one hour in your body is equal to ten seconds out of it.”

“Yes I’ve worked out the last meaning for myself, but I don’t understand the first one. I mean, why will they be left behind?”

“Questions, questions, questions,” said Colin, laughing, “Look, there’s a small meeting of the South West division tonight at eight o’clock. Why don’t you come? You’ll have all you’re questions answered.”

“I can’t, I’m seeing Rachel at eight o’clock,” replied Bran.

“Oh come on Bran, a two hour meeting will only take twenty seconds. That’s the beauty of it, we can get such a lot done.”

“Oh yes. I forgot. Where is it then?”

“In the burial chamber of the Great Pyramid,” said Colin and, anticipating the next question, he continued,” It enhances the power and gives us more direct communication with the Master.”

Seeing the look of concern on Bran’s face Colin hastily added, “It’s OK. It isn’t evil, it’s the opposite of that, you should meet some guest speakers tonight from India and Australia.”

“India, Australia?” questioned Bran.

“Yes, Indian Yogi’s have been doing it for ages. Aborigines too. You know, they go into what they call dream time. They travel for thousands of miles across Australia, without leaving their bodies, come back, and accurately describe the events of their travels. Thing is, before, they only knew about Australia, so they didn’t travel further than they knew about.”

“That makes sense,” said Bran, “You can’t go anywhere unless you can visualise it.”

“You’ve got it. Because you’d seen pictures of your Caribbean island on television or in a book you could go there. You could even go to Mars now you know what it looks like from the pictures.”

“Wow,” said Bran, “I’ve always wanted to travel in space.”

“If you come to the meeting tonight you’ll be shown pictures of planets on far off galaxies and given the names …. that’s important …. and you’ll find the real meaning of life.”

“Why are the names important?” asked Bran.

“Simple. If you can put a name to a picture you can go there. It’s as easy as that. You can land up in exactly the spot you want. You could even go there yesterday or tomorrow if you wanted.”

“Time travel. You mean I can do time travel?” said Bran excitedly.

“Hey, hold on. Don’t try it yet until you’ve learned the rules and gone through the learning. Quite a few wars were started by mistake, by people like us going back with good intentions, and then there were some with not such good intentions. They caused a whole heap of trouble for the human race. Like nuclear energy for instance …. and a few other things.”

“So why would they interfere like that?” asked Bran.

“They were working for the other Master. Luckily there’s a lot more of us now, and we’ve just about got them licked.”

“So how many people are there like us,” enquired Bran.

“Oh, thousands. When you walk down the street you might pass half a dozen. Thing is, you don’t know they’re one of us until they walk through walls, or go straight through a physical being. We don’t do that too much, it’s not fair on them.”

“Surely we could change the world, get into power, bring in new inventions and discoveries, cure diseases …. things like that.”

“No.” said Colin emphatically, “the rules are too strict. We can’t use our power to achieve personal riches …. we don’t need them. And power is about controlling, that’s bad too.

“But couldn’t we help with the good things, like a cure for cancer or aids?”

No, we used to, like penicillin or anaesthetic, even some classical music, but it’s too late now. You see, mankind is genetically faulted. Too much aggression. Only those with the right genetic code can evolve easily. The rest, well, there just isn’t time to change them.”

“So what about the others, you know, the one’s that follow the other Master, what can they do.”

“They can do anything that’s bad. Anything that leads to mankinds’ downfall. They can get into power and become politicians, run countries …. like Saddam. Even worse are the multi-national corporations. They’re ruining the planet.”

“And they’re all on the wrong track,” mused Bran, “We don’t need any of that. We don’t need the oil, the cars, not even the police or goverments. If we had no evil we could live in anarchy. Everyone making their own decisions.”

“Got it in one,” said Colin, “that, is the secret of the universe. Anarchy, chaos, oh, and positive, negative.”

“Positive, negative?” queried Bran.

“Yes. it rules everything. There’s too much negative energy around. If there were more positive energy in mankind as a whole, everything would be hunky dory. As I said, it’s not possible for most of them, only a few individuals get there in the end.”

“So if number one rule is not to use the power for personal gain, what’s rule number two then,” asked Bran.

Oh, that’s an easy one. Help anyone that you think is on the right wavelength through. Give them a shove on their evolutionary trail.”

“Right. That makes sense. Tell me, though, something I’ve been wondering about, what about ghosts then Colin? How do they fit into all this then?”

“Ghosts are beings that passed on, and got stuck in a different dimension. They had problems in life that prevented them from
evolving to the dimension you and I are in now,” replied Colin.

“So if some of them,” said Bran, as he gestured towards the passing crowds, “could see a ghost, is it possible that they could see us, now.”

“Certainly. It’s quite likely, especially if they are on the road of a thousand miles, you know open mindedness, life, the beginnings of enlightenment.”

“But they don’t know what we are, until we walk through walls, right in front of them,” said Bran.

“That’s it. You’ve heard of the ghost in the park, haven’t you?”

“No can’t say I have,” replied Bran.

“You know, the ghost of Isambard. He stalks through the meadows and up to the old station. They think it’s because he’s annoyed they closed his beautiful railway down.”

“Oh yes, I did hear something, wasn’t it in the paper a few months ago.”

“Yes, that’s the one,” said Colin with a grin, “well, that was me playing around. I dressed up like the great man himself and walked through a few walls …. someone was bound to see me and they did.”

“Sounds like fun, I’ll have to try it sometime.”

“Be careful,” said Colin, “the poor things can’t take too much.”

“You’re right of course. Wouldn’t want to give anyone a heart attack. Anyway I must go.”

“Just one thing Bran. How did you break through …. you haven’t been following some guru have you.”

“No it wasn’t a guru. You wont believe this but it was a clock.”

“A clock? You didn’t get it from JJ in the covered market did you, a cheap copper alarm clock made in China?” asked Colin.

“Yes that’s the one. What do you know about it then?”

“It’s the same clock that got me through. When I discovered I didn’t need it after a while I gave it back to him to sell again. The right person would be guided to it and would eventually learn the secret.”

“So I don’t need it now then?” said Bran.

“No. It’s just an aid, like a stick. You can learn to walk without a stick if you are positive enough, equally you can travel without the clock …. now you know you can do it.”

“Right,” said Bran, “I’ll make sure I take it back.”

“Be sure you give it back, don’t sell it. Remember the number one rule, no personal gain. Must go, see you tonight. Egypt, Great Pyramid, burial chamber in that order. Eight o’clock sharp.”

Colin instantly disappeared from view and within seconds Bran followed suit and was once again back in his office. He sipped the coffee he had made previously, which was still hot as only a few seconds had passed in physical dimension time. He mused on the mistaken concepts of time. Physical Dimension Time …. PDT. When he was out of his body he had the feeling that it was right, a natural state, that it was really what it was all about. Maybe he could call that Reality Dimension Time, yes RDT, that was it.

Thinking about time further, Bran remembered that a couple of years ago, when he was obviously in a state of transition, and embarking on that road of a thousand miles …. as Colin had put it …. the strange incident in the pub. He was standing talking to the barman when he forgot what he was going to say. Instantly John, who standing alongside him talking to Lou turned round and told him he’d just lost fifteen minutes when his mind went blank. If one hour of PDT was equal to ten seconds of RDT then that would mean that fifteen minutes was the same as two and a half seconds of Reality Dimension Time. Yes, that’s was it. When his mind went blank he lost two and a half seconds of PDT .

Funny thing was, John didn’t have a clue why he said it, and had a strange vacant expression on his face. Bran had always pondered on the meaning of that incident. Now it all became clear. Some guide or other was trying to get through with a really important message, the meaning of which only now became clear.

Bran was sharply rattled out of his thoughts by Rachel rattling on his locked office door.

“Hello sweetness,” he said, “you got the car going alright then.”

“Yes,” she replied “It didn’t take long. Hey, what’s all that money doing there?”

Rachel picked up the wad of notes and flicked through it, “There must be five grand there,” she said.

“It’s an anonymous donation,” said Bran quickly, “it was given to me to hand in to a charity.”

“Perhaps we’d better start one then,” she said, laughing.

“That’s an idea, how about H.O.T.E.L.,” said Bran with a grin.

“What does that mean?”

“Helping Others To Evolve to Life,” replied Bran.

“Oh yes, how do you do that then?”

“Stop drinking too much for a start,” he said, as he raised a questioning eyebrow.

“Yes, I know. Look, must dash, I’ll see you at eight then.”

“No, hold on. Make it eight fifteen. I’ve got a very interesting meeting at eight,” he said mysteriously.

“You’re not seeing some woman are you?”

“Would I be doing that? Couldn’t get up to much in fifteen minutes could I?” he said with a twinkle in his eye.

“Well I’ll come with you. It’ll save time if the meeting’s in town. And if you don’t want me to come to your mysterious meeting I can sit in the car.”

“No, the meeting isn’t in town,” said Bran. It’s a tad further than that, he thought with a wry grin.

Rachel started to pout and simper like she always did when she wanted her own way.

“No love, you’re not ready for it,” said Bran, gently. He continued with enthusiasm, “maybe we could start our own charity and then this money could be put to good use. And there’s more where this came from.”

“What do you mean. How? where?” said Rachel.

“That my dear, you will found out, and more besides, when you go on the first course run by the new charity …. H.O.T.E.L.

“We’ll see about that. Anyway, I’ve got shopping to do,” said Rachel, “I must go.”

“Sweetness, would you take this clock, and give it to JJ in the covered market.”

“Give it to him? He wouldn’t give you a spot if he had measles. Are you serious.” said Rachel.

“Yes I am. The clock isn’t quite what it seems, it’s only a cheap Chinese clock, pseudo copper with two shiny copper bells. Anyway, I wouldn’t want to break rule number one and you, my love, can be the subject of rule number two.”

“Why?” said Rachel.

“Exactly,” said Bran, as he grinned and shook his head.

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