Just for fun, I decided to share the very beginning of my new book. If you’ve read A Fool’s Journey, this is what follows:
1 – One – I
Un – Uno – Uno – Eins
“Ra? Seth? Is anyone here with me?” Hmm – where am I? John looked around, but didn’t recognize anything he was seeing. Something felt odd, but he didn’t know why.
What is this? Up ahead, a small cabin caught his interest. Actually, it looked like a miniature castle, or maybe part of one. It was the size of a small cabin, but the square façade was topped with that characteristic roofline of a medieval fortress.
As John got closer, he became aware of the deep moat that surrounded the structure. Then he questioned how he knew it was deep since it was filled with dark, murky water. The moat was too wide to jump over, and too scary looking to swim in, so he decided to walk around it to see if there was a way across. As he circled the building, each face came into view – the second, the third, then the fourth. They all looked identical. In fact, he counted as he went along, but was never quite sure how many sides there were. Not a window or a door was found in any of them, and never a bridge across the moat.
Why does this fortress feel so familiar? He continued a bit further until he faced the next side squarely. From that angle, he could only see the one wall. As he examined it closely, he began to feel the texture of the stone as if touching it with his hands. When have I touched a stone wall like this before?
John searched his memory for clues, but was then interrupted by a screech. He looked up and saw a hawk circling overhead. It screeched a second time, then headed toward the horizon. John followed the bird until he could no longer make out its shape. It simply became a black dot barely visible against the dusky sky. His eyes moved down to the horizon to three silhouetted pyramids that separated the dimly lit sky from the dark sandy land.
I have to get back to Cairo. What have I done? Urgency took hold of him and he began running towards the pyramids following the hawk’s lead. Is there enough time? Please tell me there’s enough time?
“You have all the time in the world so there’s no reason to hurry.”
John stopped in his tracks and spun around to see who had spoken, but saw nothing but sand in all directions.
“Do you not recognize my voice?”
“Ra? Is that you?”
“Yes my son. I am Ra.”
“What is happening? I need to get back to Cairo – right now! Can you take me?”
“I can guide you, yes, but what is your concern?”
“I don’t know. I just have to get there before… before… before I don’t know what happens!”
“John. Do you remember what we told you about the Journey of the Fool?”
“Uh – you told me a lot about it.”
“The most important of which is this: the Journey of the Fool is always from where you are to where you want to be.”
“Yes, I remember now.”
“So, you are clear where you want to be, yes?”
“Yes! I need to get to Cairo and soon.”
“I understand, my son. But do you know where you are?”
“Well, I thought you could help me with that.” John looked around, but still saw only sand – no landmarks – no road signs.
“My son, the greater part of most journeys is to figure out where one is. That is the point – or rather the starting point! Ha!”
“So, does this mean that you aren’t going to tell me?”
“My son, did I not give you two eyes with which to see? Behold your here and now. You look, but do not three!”
Three? What does that mean?
Something about the interaction with Ra struck a chord within John and he fell to the ground sobbing. He covered his eyes with his hands and the world went dark, but when he removed them, he still could not see.
“Ra? Ra! Where are you?!?” John screamed, and his voice echoed. He was no longer out in the middle of the desert. It was dark and cold and he was inside of some… cave? The ground was no longer the soft, warm sand of the desert, rather a cold, hard, stone floor. He stood and walked slowly, his hands searching the darkness in front of him. The sound of his footsteps echoed. He noticed that the air around his hands was somehow cooler then the air around his face, and then he felt the cold wall in front of it. His fingers found the mortar between the stones and followed it. Each was cut into the shape of a rectangle. A brick wall? Am I in a prison cell?
And then John understood. He put his ear to the stone and could hear the faint sound of the water flowing in the moat just beyond the wall. How did I get in here? More importantly, how do I get out?
“Ra!!! Help! I’m trapped!”
“Look first… then see. Know where you are… and know where you want to be… then take the first step.”
John woke from what felt like a full day of sleep. The last session took so much out of him, he barely made it back to the room before collapsing on the bed. Now that he was awake, his sense of time was completely distorted. He knew not what time of day is was nor even which day.
After looking out the window for clues, John finally decided it was neither early nor late, likely noon or mid-afternoon. He then scanned the room. Johannes was not present, which didn’t surprise him, but what did surprise him was that the room looked as if it had been cleaned while he was asleep. His belongings were placed neatly on a chair next to the bed and the only other evidence that the room was occupied, besides his body under the sheets, was a glass of water on the night stand.
Water! Yes, that was exactly what he needed right now. The sight of it induced the strongest thirst he had felt since those days walking in the desert. Back then, even right after gulping a glassful, he still felt thirsty, a psychological trick his mind played on him due to the sun, heat, and sand that abounded.
As John returned the now nearly empty glass to the nightstand, an envelope caught his attention. His name was written on the front and in Johannes’ handwriting. John reached for the envelope and watched as his hand shook. He lifted the envelope; it was sealed. His breathing became strained. If this was a simple, “I ran out for lunch” type letter, would Johannes have sealed it? It was also too thick to only contain a note or letter.
John carefully ran his index finger under the flap breaking the wax seal. Pulling out the contents, he found a letter, as expected, but immediately discovered what provided the additional bulk. Placing the Egyptian currency aside, John read the letter.