“Good to know that calling my name sufficed,” Moon said. He could still feel the alcohol in his system and hoped that he didn’t slur his words too much. It wouldn’t have filled the dying man with much hope if he’d returned as a steaming drunk.
“There have been a few changes since you were last here. The boy is dead. He started moving around violently in his sleep and the next minute he was gone.” the captain said. Moon studied the lifeless body on the ground and felt a moment of pity for him. He still couldn’t run away from the fact that it was his fault that they were here and it lied heavily on his conscience. Sooner or later they were all going to be looking the same way. He looked at the other boy who had wrapped himself up into a ball and was shaking in the cold. The temperature had dropped considerably across the past two hours.
Moon couldn’t believe that time was moving so fast in this realm. There was no getting away from the truth that the whole of the astral was collapsing and causing ruptures which would affect all of their consciousness. It had been the flooding that had grabbed Moon’s attention which led him to believe that Jupiter was under an unnatural amount of strain.
He was likely feeling the effects the most and Moon wondered just how much time they had left. He couldn’t imagine life without a universe but there were some serious changes that threatened their ability to survive beyond the material. For a moment he questioned if he was using his final resources for the better by focusing on Pisces and decided that there was no other option. The rest of the astral realm was simply beyond his understanding.
After a moment of reflection the captain asked: “Since we’re going to die anyway I want to know what’s happening to us in this godforsaken shit hole. Why do I feel like I want to kill myself?”
“Because we’re in one of the ugliest places you’ll ever come across. This is one of the lowest realms and that energy you can feel feeding off your every thought is what we’ve created ourselves. Think of all that bad energy we create in our daily lives. All of that hunger and suffering that goes on in the material comes back to this place as if in a loop and stagnates. It doesn’t just disappear.”
“So everything I’m sensing is just negative energy? It’s not actually alive?”
“Oh, it’s as real as you or I,” Moon said. He could feel it drawing into him and knew that he was giving it more power while he dwelled on the subject. “The modern world might think that life has improved for them but that’s not the truth of it. There’s still so much suffering going on that most people are ignorant to, even though they can see it happening on their television screens. Some people might think it’s not happening if they close their eyes but that doesn’t stop its existence. All of the hate and fear manifests itself in these realms and sticks like a bad plague. You are quite literally shouldering the evils of mankind.”
“Good god,” the captain said, looking more drained than when they had last spoke. There were rings around his eyes and he’d already lost weight. They were not physical beings anymore but the lower realm played on their memories of the past and made it very difficult to tell the difference. Moon himself felt weaker than before and knew he didn’t have much time left. “Is there anything we can do to stop this from growing stronger?”
“For our part there’s very little we can do to make up for the many evils of the world. There are still ways to reverse these effects, though, and the material realm can do a lot to stop it. One of the biggest reasons why spirits choose to reincarnate is in order to make up for past karmas. That’s one way of making these realms a little less toxic. Unfortunately, there are still too many people who simply have forgotten that this place exists. That’s one of the reasons why we still need the Zodiac. What I’m doing right now is trying to make sure that Pisces succeeds in his purpose.”
“What do you mean by that?” the captain asked. He felt overwhelmed by all this information.
“I don’t know the whole story myself. All I know is that Pisces completes the cycle and without him they can’t move into the new age of Aquarius. If that happens then the material realm will move forward and find out the truth behind their evolution. It’s absolutely essential that I do everything I can to make sure that happens. Speaking of which…” Moon sensed the denser energies and immediately remembered something painful from his past. He did his best to push it to one side.
“You need to go back?”
“That’s right. I still have someone else I need to see. Do you think you have it in you to help me out again?”
“I’ll do what I can,” the captain said. The boy was silent but his eyes darted between the two to show he was still alert. “I suppose I’m making up for my past karma too, right?”
“You’ll get gold stars for this don’t you worry,” Moon chuckled. He gave the captain a brief nod and then once again moved back into his dream state. Although he could do this at will Moon always felt exhausted by the process and didn’t much enjoy the transition. He was moving through his memories again and found himself once again surrounded by pitch black nothingness. This was partly his own choice because he didn’t want his past to be made visible.
This time around Moon found it more challenging to trace the part of his subconscious that already knew who he was trying to see next. For starters Chris had been easy because they already knew each other and Moon didn’t know anything about this next person. What he did know was that she was very important to Pisces and possibly central to his success. He needed to put every fibre of his being into tracking her down. He pulled together his full capacity and briefly let down his defences – rendering him completely vulnerable to outside forces in the lower realm. That would be enough to snatch away hours of his remaining vitality.
Moon delved deeply into the projections of his subconscious and eventually it did the trick. He had sacrificed precious energy and wasn’t sure he’d have enough time to finish the full round but had no choice. He was definitely going to have to miss a drink this time around.
The world around him once more began to materialise and Moon found himself within four walls. He was standing next to a coat rack and to his dismay realised he’d transported into a closet. There were some disadvantages to time travel after all.
He opened the door with a shove and moved into the hallway. It had been a long time since Moon had been inside a house and he quite enjoyed the nostalgia of the place. Still, he didn’t have time to waste so he moved into what he thought was the lounge and walked in on a young twenty-something woman watching television. She turned her head and jumped out of her chair in surprise. The next thing Moon knew she had grabbed a large hardback book and was threatening to beat him with it.
“Wait!” Moon said, putting his hands up to surrender. At that moment his eyes had time to adjust and suddenly felt an enormous amount of jealousy towards Pisces. She was the prettiest woman he’d ever seen with her rosy cheeks and long, brunette hair that fell onto her shoulders. Her dreamy eyes made Moon wish he was human again. “I’m a friend of Jack’s!”
Her expression changed into a curious one but it didn’t quite have the effect he’d hoped. In fact she raised the book even higher which made Moon think Pisces was in the dog house.
“I’ve come here with very important information and I need you to calm down. Jack is in a lot of bother and he’s going to need your help.”
Finally the young woman lowered her guard and fixed Moon with a suspicious look. She knew that Jack had some weird friends but this person before her looked like he’d been hiding in a hole for most of his life.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“I mean there’s a reason why he told you all that stuff and ran away. I also know that he’s being followed by people who will go to any extreme to make sure that he comes to harm. Look, can I sit down a minute here?”
“I’ve only just got this couch,” she said. Her eyes moved over to the dining room table and she motioned for him to sit there. He nodded and walked to the upper area of the room while she followed. They sat down opposite each other and Moon introduced himself. She stared in disbelief.
“I appreciate that might sound bizarre,” Moon said matter-of-factly. “For the record, it’s a good job I didn’t have any ill intentions. Your book wouldn’t have done much.”
“It’s not very often that I have strangers visit my lounge and tell me that they’re named after a planet. I don’t believe you, of course.”
“It’s not a pla – look, Anna, I can tell you for sure that I’m not crazy. I know everything about you and Jack and I’m telling you now that he’s going to need your help. You need to tell him exactly what I’ve said to you tonight.”
Anna couldn’t mask her surprise at the man knowing her name and felt oddly energised by his presence. There was no reason to believe what he was saying but there was something about his face that was oddly trustworthy. She couldn’t put her finger on it but he seemed a lot older than he actually was on the outside. Finally she asked him what he was talking about.
“Firstly you’re about the only person Jack really trusts and he’s loved you from the moment you met. When you last saw him he was trying to put you off him because he’s afraid of who he is. He’s worried that you will come to harm if you stay with him any longer.”
“He’s put you up to this hasn’t he?” Anna said. Moon looked over her with his eyes and once again wished that the shoe was on the other foot. There was absolutely nothing flawed about her looks with the exception that she was slightly taller than him – and that was something he was willing to look past.
“Absolutely not. He doesn’t even know who I am. Look, Anna, it’s complicated but Jack is a descendant of Pisces and he’s come from the spiritual world to complete the Zodiac and bring new meaning to your lives here on the Earth. I’m from that other place and usually I wouldn’t dream of breaking down the barriers to talk with you directly but you need to know all of this because you’re the most important thing in his life. He won’t have the will to finish his task without you. And I should also add that you’re the descendant of Taurus.”
Anna looked at the man sympathetically and realised what was going on. She’d dealt with people like this before in her job as a social worker. They were the same type of people that believed UFOs were real and sometimes sat at home watching the Sci-Fi channel all day if they weren’t out and about acting mental. In more extreme cases they were a danger to others and themselves and Anna was concerned that he had found his way into her home. He didn’t seem especially dangerous but she was going to have to somehow show him the door and then alert the police. She stroked her hair, not realising that this might be giving out the wrong signal, and mulled over the most sensitive approach.
Instead Anna thought she’d humour him for a while. “Why don’t you just go and see him personally and tell him all of this?”
“I haven’t got that power. And besides, Pisces is being watched by my colleagues and they will know if I speak with him directly. They’re going to find out about this one way or another but the longer it takes them the better. I appreciate this is all a little hard to stomach but I need you to get to Jack before the others find him first. You need to tell him that I came to you and that there is someone within the Zodiac who is trying to kill him. He is visiting a girl called Molly at the Trenton Hospital, if you visit, you can find him there.”
“You can’t expect me to believe any of this,” Anna said while fighting the urge to laugh at the absurdity of their situation.
“Will this help?” Moon took from his pocket a golden bracelet with the signum of an Eagle on it. Anna’s eyes widened as she took it and looked at it in silence. She studied the bracelet and twisted it around in her hands before settling her attention back onto Moon.
“Who are you, really?” Anna said in a quiet voice. She was looking at him in wonderment.
“I promise you that I am everything that I say I am. Your mother gave you that as a token before she died and told you that one day you would be just like that eagle. It was her way of telling you that you will fly to great heights and live a life that would make her proud. This is the moment where all that happens, Anna. If you don’t trust me I don’t know what will happen to you or Jack.”
“I believe you. I don’t know how any of this is possible but somehow I know you’re telling the truth. Am I really that Taurus? What does that mean?”
“It means that you are one of the Twelve,” Moon said softly. Anna had heard a similar expression before only that it had been called the Eleven. Pisces must’ve been missing before. “There are some legends which hold a grain of truth, Anna. You need to understand that all of this has been happening for a long while. There have been many clues to tell you that there is more to life than what you know. It was humanity’s choice to ignore our guidance. Now there’s another chance to make amends and you are part of that process. But first…you have to forgive Jack and help him in any way you can. That’s where Taurus comes into it.”
“I’ve always liked him,” Anna said as she drifted away from the conversation and thought about Jack. She stared dreamily into nothing for a while until Moon snapped her out of it. “I thought I was getting somewhere, but he’s the most impossible person I’ve ever met. He really doesn’t like to make hard decisions…and he’s very good at being elusive.”
“Yes, I know,” Moon said, sighing. He knew the traits of a Pisces very well. He was about to say something else and suddenly felt himself being pulled in different directions. Moon had to really dig his heels in not to be dragged away and couldn’t believe that it was already time to go back. Time was collapsing but it couldn’t have changed this much. He suddenly began to feel very unsettled and was worried that something else was happening to his body.
“I’m going to have to leave you with this information,” Moon said. He saw the look of fear in Anna’s eyes and gently grabbed her hand. “You will have to figure out the rest yourself. Remember the hospital. And remember to tell Jack everything about our meeting. He should understand by the time you get to him. And Anna – keep an eye out for him, won’t you? He’s got many qualities but…he needs someone like you to watch out for him.”
“I will,” Anna said, looking at Moon with sudden warmth. They had only been talking for a short amount of time but suddenly she felt a strong connection with him and didn’t want him to leave. She was feeling upset about something and wasn’t quite sure what it might mean. It was as if she might never see Moon again. “I’d never really forgotten about him. What will happen to you? Where are you going?”
“To finish what I’ve started, my dear.” Moon squeezed her hand and took her in for the last time as she faded from sight. He was really going to miss looking at such a beautiful figure.
He didn’t have long to daydream after returning to the lower realm and found himself being shaken like a rag doll by the captain. Moon came to his senses immediately and saw the terrified look in the mariner’s eyes. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the younger mariner was screaming in agony and running in their direction with feral eyes. Moon pushed the captain aside and raised his arm in the air to try and cut through the evil energy that possessed the boy. It didn’t make much difference.
Moon braced himself and wished that he was still with the woman in his dreams. It had been such a rude awakening…