The Hue Man
It was a little disconcerting and mildly
un-nerving. But it only lasted for a few moments and then it was gone. I was welcomed
aboard by a few of the other passengers. It was advertised as the journey of a life time.
And so here I was.
I was shown my cabin/room. Not very fancy but
well appointed. The cruise was the whole reason I was here, so the cabin was of little consequence.
Comfort and safety were my only requirements.
I spent the first day getting oriented and situated.
I met most of the passengers and the crew. All of the folks seemed very nice and quite friendly.
I guess that's common for a cruise. We were all here for the same general reason. I excused my self
after dinner and laid down on the bed in my cabin and promptly fell asleep. That was my first
encounter with the hue man and his dreams.
The dreams were very surreal and quite colorful.
I could see things and feel things that were simply awesome. The experience of being there
was so profound that I even felt fear momentarily.
When dawn opened the sky and began to let loose the
light of day, I rustled myself awake. I had rested well and was beginning to forget the dreams.
As the last bits of sleep were dusted off, I dressed and headed for the mess hall and breakfast.
The main course was delicious and very satisfying.
I was sated and could barely waddle to the railing and finally sat down on a chair on the left side
of the ship. There were some others already there and before long we were engaged in deep conversation.
Seems most of the folks traveled a long distance to
be here. And all of them shared the same 'ideology' as I did. We spoke of many things, and other times.
We shared our 'other worlds' and nursery rhymes. We were indeed of 'one mind'.
The cruise was a bit unusual in that it's destination
was not revealed until we were all aboard. It added a sort of mystery and intrigue to the cruise.
For many of us the destination was strictly immaterial any way. The rest were more concerned
about a destination rather than a specific one.
The journey would be rather long for some and all
too short for others. Those like myself who joined only recently, would think the cruise way
too long. In any case we had sufficient provisions and plenty of fuel and a wonderful crew.
The crew consisted of three members. The captain
mostly stayed in the tower. The view was expansive and unrestricted. The entire vessel could easily
be controlled from the tower, however there were auxiliary controls scattered about the vessel.
Some of the controls could even be manipulated by us the passengers. But the captain could also
overrule our efforts.
The captains' mate was usually wandering around
on deck at our level. Once in a while he would go up to the tower and consult with the captain but
usually only at our request for some special maneuver or to stop at some location.
He was quite friendly but quickly got the nickname 'animal'. He was pretty dumb/stupid compared to us passengers.
The cook was the other crew member. Like
all good cooks, he was opinionated, stubborn, and thick headed. He rarely was approachable
and was so hard to understand that we all gave up trying to talk to/with him.
All of the crew members were nice and
despite their obvious flaws they all were very competent and knew their roles/jobs.
Now, I know I said there were three members
and that's true but there is a sort of fourth member that I ought to mention.
Some say this ship is haunted. Others say that the ship has a 'personality' What ever it is, the fourth member
is female and those who have seen her say she is dressed in white and is often seen in the tower and on the upper decks.
She has never been seen below deck. Some claim she is the captains lover others say she was the first mates' wife.
A few even claim that she is the daughter of the cook. I guess its anybody's guess
as to if and who she is.
It was really difficult to say how many passengers
there were on board. I one time counted twelve but another count indicated only six passengers.
It was as if some of the passengers got off at some port of call and then re-boarded from
some other place. What ever, I never did discover how many of us were onboard at any
There were three passengers that I got to
know quite well. One was quite old and very wise. She seldom talked but when she
did everyone listened. I called her the priestess. Another of the three was very
young but quite mature. She talked freely and her conversations were engaging and
intelligent. She and I spent much time together. The third passenger was a child
of sorts. He claimed to be much older than any one would ever have guessed. At first
I thought he was the son of my companion. Lilith denied that and even suggested that
he was my child. He said his name was God
but we all called him Awe-full. He wasn't amused but accepted the nick name without
anger. Oh and I was called 'A Tom' as if 'The Tom' might arrive at any time.
The other passengers were really hard to
understand. They spoke a language that I could not understand. Their names were equally difficult to speak. I tried to
write them down but gave up trying. We got along just fine but although they
seemed to understand us, we never did discover the meaning of a single word. If they were even speaking words!
The four of us could always be found on
the upper decks except for our meals and sleeping. The view was so nice and the weather was magnificent.
After what seemed to be many years to me
we finally came to a port. We were advised not to leave the ship as the port was
unsafe for visitors and all we were stopping for was to exchange some of our trash for
some of their trash. It was quite an arrangement. Who ever planned this cruise had connections. No one left the ship
and after the exchange we were on our way. Our next port of call would be a long time
from now. So we were instructed to enjoy the ride and that's exactly what we did.
Without a doubt this was the ride of a lifetime.
I never dreamed that it would be so exhilarating and so invigorating. I was really impressed.
The Priestess, Lilith, Awe-full and A Tom. What a combination we made. So different
yet so much the same. I know it sounds trite but really, we were like night and day.
Separately no similarities but together we described the full cycle of day-night.
It was no accident that we all were on the same cruise.
I continued to have these dreams at night.
I enjoyed them but they were strange to me. Especially the ones about Awe-Full. I was
beginning to wonder about myself. I finally asked the Priestess about the dreams. She
looked at me or through me, I wasn't sure. Then slowly and deliberately she asked me
"have you ever wondered about the crew?"
What does that have to do with my dreams I wondered and answered her question with a
yes. They are rather unusual I commented. "Have you seen the fourth member?" I said
no, and that there is some question as to whether she even exists. The Priestess
bowed to me and said "the crew of this ship appears strange to you because you
have never piloted a ship of your own. You have always been a passenger."
Of course this was all true but ...
She looked at Lilith and smiled as women do to each other in some knowing way.
Think about the crew she said. Think about the crew. Suddenly, the captain announced that we had reached our destination
and that we should get ready to disembark.
I wanted to ask her some other questions
but she was already headed to her cabin. Lilith was also on her way and Awe-Full
was wandering the deck looking for something. I walked up to Awe-Full and asked what he was
looking for. His eyes met mine and he said "I'm looking for the female crew member"
"I am going to invite her to join us if she chooses". I was astounded and perplexed.
And decided to get my stuff ready to leave. Chances were that we'd never see each other
again anyway so why bother with 'good-byes'.
As I was about to depart I noticed the captain
and crew by the steps to the tower. I walked over and thanked them for a wonderful cruise
and an excellent journey. They looked as though I had just said the most dread full thing they had
ever heard. Their countenance flushed and their eyes glazed. It was going to be one of those days :(
I turned and began to walk off the ship. I guess
I was the last to depart, everyone seemed to be in front of me. I called to Lilith and the Priestess
but they ignored me. I called to Awe-Full and he did as well. I did notice a scarf or blanket in
his arms. The other passengers were nowhere visible and I just guessed that they got off
at the last port.
I had a task to do now that we were here.
It was the whole reason that I took the journey anyway. I would miss Lilith and
the Priestess as well. Awe-Full and I never became as close as Lilith and I had.
Maybe Awe-Full was jealous.
It was a very large island but had only a single
building on it. It was a very large building and was rather imposing looking. I entered
and began my walk down the great hall. Nothing fancy just a great hall. I could barely
make out a door at the far end. And as I approached it, it never seemed to get any closer.
I stopped for a minute and remembered what
the Priestess had said. Think about the crew. I pushed on determined more than ever to
finish my task so that I might rest in peace.
The crew seemed to be swimming in my head.
The captain was running the controls. And his first mate was helping the passengers.
The cook was busy with preparations. There in the shadows was a girl. The fourth member.
I tried to focus on her but she faded from my view as though she'd never been there.
It was all in my mind I thought. And pressed onward. Finally reaching the door.
I opened the door and looked inside. Somewhere
was a bowl that I was to fill with the jug of liquid I had carried all through the journey.
In a far corner I saw something and felt that
it might be the bowl. As I walked over to it I felt someone beside/behind me. I looked
but never was able to see anything. Again the images of the crew filled my consciousness.
Something about the crew. If only I knew what.
As I got closer I saw it was indeed a bowl.
Upon a wrought stand of shimmering light. Something was Awe Full familiar about the stand and bowl but I couldn't quite
place the reference. The closer I got the more familiar it all got. The images of
the crew flashed on and off like a strobe light. It was getting really hard to concentrate.
I stumbled and fell and was unable to get up.
I was just feet away and unable to do anything. I recalled the years of the journey, the many
ports and grand vistas that I saw. I recalled Lilith and the Priestess. I was delirious,
I could actually see the Priestess and Lilith holding the bowl. And Awe-Full had put the
scarf/blanket thing into the bowl. I even saw Awe-Full come over to me and help me up.
He helped me walk over to the bowl. The crew, the crew. It was starting to make sense
and that scared me at first. I guess when delirium sets in all kinds of strange things
We had taken the journey of a lifetime.
And now as I poured the liquid out of the jug onto the scarf/blanket thing. I realized much
more than I ever imagined. Our vessel had been a body, kindly donated by a unwitting host.
The captain was the brain and the first mate the body. The cook was the emotions and our vessel
had brought us here to this island. I suppose it wasn't so strange but why I didn't realize
this before is beyond me.
As the last drops of liquid fell into the bowl.
I felt relief and satisfaction all at once. And I understood my friendship with Lilith.
And my respect for the Priestess. Awe-Full was God and in the bowl was the soul of that
ship. The crew had done everything they could but were not able to sustain her and so had
advertised this cruise hoping that we would come aboard and take her with us to the home
of wonder. On the island of joy. The ship/body was not able to join us and the crew sacrificed
their lives for this girl/female.
The light was blinding and I could not
open my eyes for a while. I was relieved to be still me and told the captain lets move on
there are many other universes to visit. And I had a companion now and I called her
love. Lilith and the Priestess had stayed in the temple which I now held in my hand.
I put it in my pocket and let myself dream again.