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A Wanderer in the Spirit Lands

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Author Topic: A Wanderer in the Spirit Lands  (Read 1540 times)
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« Reply #60 on: December 21, 2008, 05:29:31 pm »

One touched me on the shoulder, and as I turned to him with a dim sense of having seen him before, he laughed--a wild horrid laugh--and cried out: "I hail thee, friend--who I see dost not so well remember me as I do thee, though it was upon the earth plane we met before. I, as well as others, then sought hard to be of service to thee, only thou wouldst have none of our help, and played us, methinks, but a scurvy trick instead. None the less for this, we, who are as lambs, didst thou but know us, have forgiven thee."

Another also drew near, leering in my face with a smile perfectly diabolical, and said: "So ho! You are here after all, friend, in this nice land with us. Then surely you must have done something to merit the distinction? Say whom you have killed or caused to be killed, for none are here who cannot claim at least one slain by them, while many of us can boast of a procession as long as the ghosts that appeared to Macbeth, and others again--our most distinguished citizens--count their slain by hundreds. Did you kill that one after all?--ha! ha! ha!" and he broke into such a wild horrible peal of laughter that I turned to fly from them--for like a flash had come across my mind the memory of that time when I, too, could have been almost a murderer, and I recognized in these horrible beings those who had surrounded me and counseled me how to fulfill my desire--how to wreak my vengeance even though no earthly form was still mine. I recoiled from them but they had no thought to let me go. I was here--drawn down, as they hoped, at last--and they sought to keep me with them that I might afford them some sport and they might avenge themselves upon me for their former defeat.

I read in their minds this thought, though outwardly they were crowding around me with every protestation of hearty friendliness. For a moment I was at a loss what to do. Then I resolved to go with them and see what they intended, watching at the same time for the first opportunity to free myself from them. I therefore suffered them to take me by an arm each, and we proceeded towards a large house on one side of the square which they said was theirs, and where they would have the pleasure of introducing me to their friends. Faithful Friend passed close to us and looking at me impressed the warning,

"Consent to go, but beware of entering into any of their enjoyments or allowing your mind to be dragged down to the level of theirs."

We entered and passed up a wide staircase of greyish stone, which like all things here bore the marks and stains of shame and crime. The broad steps were broken and imperfect, with holes here and there large enough, some of them, to let a man through into the black dungeon-like depths beneath. As we passed up I felt one of them give me a sly push just as we were stepping over one of these, and had I not been watching for some such trick I might have been tripped up and pushed in. As it was I simply drew aside and my too officious companion narrowly escaped tumbling in himself, whereat the rest all laughed and he scowled savagely at me. I recognized him just then as the one whose hand had been shriveled in the silver ring of fire drawn around my darling on the occasion when her love had drawn me to her and saved me from yielding to these dark fiends. This spirit held his hand carefully hidden under his black cloak, yet I could see through it, and I beheld the shriveled hand and arm, and knew then that I might indeed beware of its owner.

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