FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1979
The main center of the city is architecturally dominated by peaked roofs of two story buildings that lean inwards. The walls of the buildings are of wood, brick, and stone, all of which have been painted in autumn colors. The roofs are all shades of gold. Most of the lower level buildings in this area of the city are storefronts, which at first seems both odd and normal. Normal, because under ordinary circumstances you would expect to see shops in a city. Odd, because in a world full of Dreamers, who can supposedly Dream anything they want into existence, why would they go to a store to buy anything?
The people are costumed in dazzling array of attire. Many wear the same kind of leotard that I have on; only theirs are decorated. Some are just brightly colored, others are animal prints, and some are like paintings of landscapes, oceans, forests, jungles, mountains, and stars. They’re sort of like full body tattoos. I see a blazing white unicorn adorning one man’s body, on another, a gray wolf. There goes a raven, there’s a lion, and there’s a comet. It’s a fantastic display of color and images. Others are attired in costumes from a variety of times and places.
I walk amongst the merchants and their customers to try to figure things out. It becomes apparent that it’s not only newcomers, and presumably inexperienced Dreamers, who examine the wares to purchase goods. I can tell by the elaborate outfits that some of the men and women deck themselves out in, that they must be experienced Dreamers. The medium of exchange they all use is not dollars or coins, but rather everyone has a pouch with a precious or semiprecious gem or a crystal. Where do you get the stuff and what is worth what? Even more important, where can I get an instruction manual for this place?
As I ponder this rhetorical question, I wander deeper into the city making my way towards its heart. At the central plaza of the city of Atlantis, I’m told by a helpful passerby, reside the temples of the Gods and Goddesses of Dreamland. Within the absolute dead center of everything, lies a foreboding obsidian ziggurat. It seems like everyone goes out of his, or her, way to avoid it, even to avoid making eye contact with it. There’s something curiously familiar about that place. Hey! The building resembles exactly the one in my jungle dream! Hmm? Should I really be so surprised? I guess this is where I’m supposed to go to find some answers.
I ask another passer-by and I am reluctantly told that the obsidian temple belongs to the most ancient of all the Gods ever worshipped in Dreamland. They are known as ‘the Outer Gods’. Although the origin of the name is shrouded in mystery. Worshipping of these Gods ceased generations long ago. No one even knows the name of the Gods who were once worshipped there. The God’s names have been more ignored than lost. I was told that each High Priest was to pass on the temple’s secrets and that the last high priest was found atop the temple’s stairs in front of the main entrance. An obsidian dagger was found in his hand. His chest was cut open and his heart was missing. Abandoned though it is, something resides within the temple’s walls. Strange lights are seen and odd noises are occasionally heard, though no one dares venture to find out who, or what, is causing all of this.
Those Gods have been consigned by this brash and arrogant generation to irrelevance. It figures. Today for this majority their moral compass is avarice and their Gods are possessions and pleasures. They dream the vision crafted by advertising agency committees and teleprompter recited by their spokesman, their man who would be King Ronald Wilson Reagan. We are most definitely living in the Age of the Masses as described by Jose Ortega Y’Gasset.
Across from the temple of the Outer Gods, facing the setting and the midnight sun is the temple of the Queen of the Night, the Mistress of the Moon. On the opposite side, facing the rising and the zenith sun is the temple of the Sun King, Defender of the Light. Though a heavy feeling of foreboding lingers like sludge in my thoughts, I walk across the central courtyard toward the abandoned obsidian temple of the Outer Gods.
I want to know why it resembles my dream temple of the jungle.
Could it all be that my dream only foreshadowed my finding this temple, and that is all? There’s still that funny feeling that I’m meant to go in there. That feeling tells me that She is waiting for me. Well, for whatever reason, be it my overblown imagination, my destiny, or just a bad case of indigestion, I’m going to go in to seek the answer to Jon’s disappearance.
At the foot of the stairs leading up to the temple’s entrance, lounge pairs of leopards and jaguars. To speak with the Gods of this temple I’m going to have to get past these feline guards. I take a deep breath and try to pretend that they are just like any other cat I’ve met in Atlantis.
“Hello nice Kitties, you have a visitor.”
At the sound of my voice, they all lift their heads to scrutinize me, except oddly, the closest one. I think it’s a male leopard. He’s a little surprised when he finally lifts up his head and glances at me, after being nudged by his female mate. I wonder if the male leopard’s hearing is impaired. He rises up, arches, stretches, and walks toward me. He smells my hand and checks me out. I smile and hopefully appear friendly.
“What brings you to the Sacred Mountain?” The leopard asks as he puts his face up to mine and sniffs me. I try to remain calm and not to be offended by the smell of his carnivore cat breath.
“Ahh...” I could say that the place reminds me of my jungle dreams. But before I can think another thought, words begin to bubble out of my mouth. “...a lost lover.”
“This is not the home of some lonely hearts advisor. Be gone,” the leopard snarls.
Why did I say that? “But you don’t understand.”
“Then you had better clarify yourself, and quickly.”
I’ve the feeling that when a Leopard tells you quickly, he means quickly. I take a deep breath to calm myself and take in the faint scent of those orchids! Again? Should I be surprised? On further thought, no. A feeling of disassociation comes over me as I blurt out a string of words in a single breath.
“What I meant was that a young lady had lost her love, he physically vanished under very strange circumstances, possibly as the result of some sort of evil magic; I offered to help her find him and I was hoping that the Gods that dwell here could aid me and this young women.” Hmmm? I nervously wait. Well, that is as good a reason for being here as any reason I could have come up with, if I had consciously thought about it.
“That is a sad tale, and who is the teller of this tale?”
“Oh, you want to know my name?”
“You are asking for an audience with She who dwells within, should we not know who it is that favors such a request?”
“Ahh…of course. My name’s Lamont.”
“Are you perhaps The Lamont Corazon?”
“I don’t know about the The part, but that’s my name.”
“We have been awaiting your arrival. Come, follow me,” the leopard commands.
There’s not only someone home, but somebody has been expecting me. The place is, only now (?), or always has been (?), not deserted. She who dwells within presumably is the one who has been calling to me from out of my dreams. Hmmm? I notice that carved on each side of the temple’s entrance are now very familiar symmetrical patterns of skulls, reptilian faces, and pictographs. Again, as I ponder their origin, the patterns and images are not from any ancient Mediterranean or Middle Eastern culture that I’ve ever seen.
The leopard guides me into the pitch-dark depths of the temple. I hesitantly trod through a thick carpet of dust. There is no light of any kind. Why bother, no visitors. Does save on the utility bills. I’m taken somewhere into the deep recesses of the temple, presumably to where the Goddess dwells.