The Waiting Room

Janice trudged up to her luscious bed, tossed the decorative pillows onto the floor, and crawled into it. She pulled the comforter up to her shoulders and then fell back onto the last of the pillows that remained. Reaching behind her, she fingered the hidden switch and turned off the light. With a deep sighed, she whispered, “What a day!”

As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she reviewed the ongoing challenges in her life. Is it ever going to get any easier? —she questioned.

When the chaos began months before, she thought it was a hiccup—a passing issue that would require her attention for at most a week or two. But now that two full months had transpired and the challenge prevailed, she began to wonder.

“Next”

Hearing the deep, resonating voice, Janice looked up from her crossword puzzle. A glimmer of hope bubbled up within her. Is it my turn? Are they calling me? However her heart once again deflated as the long, bony finger pointed at the man seated against the far wall. Unlike her, he feared being selected and sat as far from the doorway as he could get.

“Next!” This time a bit louder. “You, George. He awaits.” George couldn’t avert his eyes fully any longer and without really looking at the draped figure, he stood and trod in his direction. His eyes barely lifted from the floor. This wasn’t his first visit, and it wouldn’t be his last.

Janice watched the young man—too thin in her opinion—saunter to and through the dark doorway. She leaned forward with the hope of sneaking a peak beyond it, but saw only blackness. Once George reached the door jam, he seemed to simply disappear into the darkness. This gave Janice a chill and she shivered in response.

Well, at least I have this crossword to keep me occupied—she reasoned. However, as soon as her eyes refocused on the page, she was reminded that not a single square had been filled in. Oh, it’s hopeless. I haven’t a clue.

As the tail end of that thought reverberated in Janice’s mind, she remembered. She recalled thinking that very thing night after night after night. I’m here… again. Why? Every night for the past two months, she’d dreamt of this waiting room. Each night, a different person was called through the door, and each night she pined over a crossword that was impossibly difficult to get started.

Normally, when she would grow lucid within a dream, she would wake to the somewhat annoying sound of her alarm clock. She’d retain a glimmer of the dream before the stresses of her waking life overtook her. And then she’d drag herself to the shower to try and wash her struggles away.

This time, she didn’t wake. This time, something was different. What is it? It’s George. I know it. Something about him, but what?

Her eyes moved over the crossword puzzle without seeing it as her mind reached for understanding. She knew she knew him, but from where?

As her mind searched, her eyes saw that new information was within sight. She refocused on the puzzle and saw three words filled in: You are next!

Good—she first thought, then—oh wait! For the first time in those two months prior, she began to question whether being picked was actually better than waiting. The fear of the unknown struck her and became greater than the frustration of impatience.

A creak caught her attention. She looked up and saw the dark door slowly open. In each of the previous nights, she had never seen or heard it. In those cases, she wasn’t aware it opened until the deep resonating voice called out to someone. This night, time slowed. She felt minutes pass before the door fully opened.

Just the way George had disappeared into the darkness, the attendant appeared out of it: first his finger, then his hand…his arm, then his body. His hood was still pulled over his head enough to hide his face, but now she saw a glow in his eyes indicating that he was staring directly at her.

“Next.”

Without choosing to do so, Janice popped up out of her chair. She was nearly weightless and was pulled toward the door. For a moment, she felt as if she were a small planet falling toward the sun. Small planet—she wondered. Why is that familiar?

Gravity only managed to get her halfway to the door. She was now once again fully weighted—if not twice as heavy—and had to consciously move her body the rest of the way. Her feet felt glued to the floor. She looked down and concentrated—first on the right foot, then on the left.

After a handful of labored steps, she looked up at the doorway before her. The shrouded figure was gone beyond the edge of the darkness. Even though she faced the doorway squarely, she could not see beyond it.

Suddenly, a soft, chirpy voice sang into her right ear. “Don’t keep Pluto waiting. He waits for no one.”

Janice looked to her right but saw only a spark of blue light. Even though it hovered a few inches in front of her, she questioned whether it was real. It then twinkled as if to say, “Yes, I am real,” and flashed as if to urge her forward again.

Pluto? I’ve been waiting all of this time for Pluto?

Janice looked at her feet again and consciously lifted the right one. She nearly reached down with her hands to help it, but it complied before she had to. As she moved her foot into and through the doorway, she fell.

With a start, Janice woke. The digital clock showed 6:66. Realizing this was impossible, Janice squeezed her eyes shut. When she reopened them, it read 6:59. Not a second later, it switched to 7:00 and rang.

This morning, the stresses of her life remained at bay. The dream did not drift away like the 60 times before. She not only remembered the dream she had just emerged from, but also the full series.

Moments later, she stood motionless under the warm flow of water. She thought about the dream, the crossword, the cloaked figure, and Pluto – the god of the underworld. She vaguely recalled her mythology class as she did so.

And then it hit her. Didn’t that Astrologer say something to me about Pluto in that reading I had last year? What was it?

With purpose, she quickly washed her body and then turned off the water. Wrapping the towel around her, she left a trail of wet footprints between the tub and the office. Where is that tape – and that chart she gave me? She hadn’t thought about the reading for months, but as she reached for the memory of it, she was sure the woman had mentioned something about Pluto. She circled whatever it was on my chart, so I’ll know once I find it.

Ten months earlier, this is what she had said:

“Pluto is going to pay you a visit, and when he does, you’ll know it. Don’t be afraid; he’s only here to escort you to yourself. Here, let me read something to you:

I am Pluto, the god of the underworld. I am known as Hades to the Greeks—a name that has since come to be associated with the gates of Hell. Seven is the most misunderstood of the single digit numbers just as I am the most misunderstood of gods.

In reality, seven has noble purpose—and so do I. We are both here to escort you to the depths of your soul; it is only a hellacious undertaking if you make it so.

I ask you, how can you correct the greatest of misconceptions in your beliefs if you are not willing to delve down to their source? How can you cure your deepest fears lest you walk through them? How can you discover your truest self without stripping away every cloak you’ve put on?

Many, when they first learn of numbers, have come to believe that seven is nothing more than abject suffering and wretched misery—a dark night of the soul.

Take heed, I beseech you. I am here to tell you that seven is not only important—to the initiate, it is the most significant single-digit number. It is only through the seven that mysteries are revealed and secrets told. The instantaneous quantum leap of eight can only occur after the least seen restraints have been severed by the seven.

“So let Pluto work his magic on you. Breathe and trust. This journey is not a sprint; it is a marathon. Pluto will give you plenty of time to process what he shows you.”

“What did you just read from?” Janice asked.

“It’s a book I stumbled upon a bit ago. It’s called Scribe to the Pantheon of Rome.”

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