“Welcome Raya, my name is Arlo. I’m the Master Energy Collector.”
“Thank you, Arlo. It’s amazing to meet you, sir. Work experience with you will be both an honour and a dream come true. I never expected you would even read my thoughts, let alone allow me to see what you do!”
Arlo smiled, twinkling light escaping from the corners of his eyes.
“There will be a time after time when I will need a colleague. One day the universe will contract, explode, and divide, split into two again, just as it always has. So I will need an assistant – a Neophyte.”
Raya returned his smile, gasping at the same time while she looked around the Lightroom. Thousands of shelves were stacked on top of each other. The shelves forming a circle, only the narrowest of gaps allowing a slither of a passageway in and out of the space. The shelves were stacked so high Raya hurt her neck, staring up, trying to find where they ended. She couldn’t.
“It’s amazing, Arlo,” she whispered. “So, this is where energy collected from the universe is stored?”
“Well, yes, and no. Most of it gets stored here. Some of it gets recycled, pumped back into the system. There’s an equilibrium that must be maintained. Some energy must be returned. It’s called seed energy. It gets sown back, so in turn, it can create more energy. Would you like to see how it’s done?”
“Oh, yes, please!”
Arlo reached for an amethyst chai ball, held it in front of him. “Watch,” he instructed.
Moving slowly, he crouched, holding the ball away from him, his hands open. Shifting his weight from side to side, his feet firmly rooted to the ground.
“I’m internalising the power of the energy. I must follow the ball; I must not lead it. Soon, the ball will lead. Lead me into multiple planes all at the same time. It will guide me up and down along a vertical plane, then back and forth on multiple horizontal planes. It will guide me to where the universe is out of balance.”
“Got it!” he exclaimed after five minutes of synchronised silence.
Energy now spiralled around him in perfect harmony with his body, his mind seemingly in-tune with the imbalances of the galaxies. He released the ball; it hovered before him. Waving his hands, the ball grew. Soon it was the size of a giant boulder. It glowed, pulsated, then turned itself inside out with a mighty crack, revealing an inverted egg-shaped star map.
“See there,” he pointed. “On the left hemisphere, immediately to the right of the triple star constellation. There is an energy soft spot.”
“How can you tell?”
“Do you see the brightness of the gases and the stars? The shadows that light creates on the planets and the meteors behind it?”
“And do you see the blackness surrounding them?”
“Yes, is that it—the energy void?”
“Ha-ha, that’s what most people assume, young one! But what you see is not always what you expect. It’s not what you see; it’s what you don’t see. Black absorbs light, so, therefore, it is full of energy. But look closer, keep your eyes fixed on the darkness—right in the very middle. Concentrate on the triangulation point between the three stars.”
Raya stared, her eyes focussing on the point described to her.
“Do you see it?”
“I’m not sure. I don’t know what I’m looking for!”
“Ha-ha, then you don’t see it! Keep looking.”
After five minutes, Raya became frustrated. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. There’s nothing there!”
“Yes,” Arlo said excitedly, “that’s exactly right—there is nothing there. There is no light, no hole, just a vast void in a space full of emptiness. A blank in the fabric of the universe. A negative space no one can see except for you and I. Master and Neophyte! Shall we fill that little bugger—putty it up?”
Raya beamed. “Yes, please, Arlo.”
“Stand back,” he commanded.
Waving his arms, jars of light started falling off shelves, hurtling toward him, stopping, floating two metres above his head.
“A little bit from here,” he giggled, “a little bit from there. And, finally, some jars from over there!”
Pleased with his work, he grinned.
“Watch this,” he said with a wink.
With a nod of his head, a twist of his wrist, the jars combined into one. A massive orb of bright light formed.
“Go,” he commanded, the orb exploding from the Lightroom, disappearing into the dark.
“Raya, look up at the star map, focus on the area you just looked at. Quickly.”
As soon as she looked up—she witnessed the birth of a beautiful baby star. Her mouth open, her eyes agog, she asked, “Did you do that?”
“No, we did.”
It was Sunday, nearly 3pm. Robert’s entire weekend had been spent in a tired community room attached to the back of a sad church. It was two days of his life he would never get back. How could a Non-Violent Communication workshop make him so angry and lost for words?
Trixie, the co-facilitator, was wearing a glove puppet, having a pretend argument with Luna, the other facilitator. Luna was also wearing an animal glove puppet, her hand waggling this way and that, to and fro, millimetres from the face of Trixie’s glove puppet. No wonder it was pissed.
Tempest was lying on the floor, propped up on her elbows. She was thoroughly enjoying the Punch and Judy show. Robert observed, not for the first time over the weekend; she wasn’t wearing any knickers. Her slightly creased skirt lifting at the back, exposing her spotty bottom. He turned his head in modesty and aversion.
Lake and Skye, the dreadlocked girls from the commune down by the river, were comparing piercings. Thinking no one was watching, they exchanged a quick kiss.
Robert noticed that Eli seemed agitated. It’d been two hours since smoking his last spliff and it looked as if he was starting to feel edgy again. He kept staring out the window—licking his lips, shaking his legs.
Poppy with the dungarees and cap turned and stared at Robert. She smiled, batted her eyelids. Poppy was a Scorpio; she’d told Robert this! Of all the star signs, according to Poppy, Scorpios were the sexiest and most intense. They radiated passion and exuded insatiable desire, making their lovers feel they had gone to heaven. “Sex is cheap,” she said, but love was free, and she had plenty of it to return. That’s if Robert was prepared to invest. He shuddered, turned his head.
Robert wanted to groan, but his stomach did it for him. Kale biscuits, lentil burgers, and spirulina drinks tearing uncontrollably through his bowels, attempting to evacuate themselves to the nearest exit. When will this hell on earth end? he wondered, wishing he could do the same and hoping he could hold on.
“Okay, Luna,” said out of the ether. “That’s it! You guys have been amazing. Thanks for coming, participating, and sharing your wisdom. I hope what you’ve learnt over the last two days will help you communicate with people. Remember people have feelings, wants and needs; and you need to consider these when communicating.”
No shit, Sherlock, Robert thought to himself. Two days and $250 to watch some glove puppets and hang out with some freaks.
“Right, everyone, stand up,” Luna commanded, clearly oblivious to Robert’s needs and feelings. He had tried to express these on the first day but was then made to wear a glove puppet—a donkey or a jackass? He didn’t care to remember. Regardless, he had hardly said a word since.
“Everyone form a circle,” Trixie added. “Nice and tight. That’s it.”
Twelve participants and two co-facilitators stood in a circle. Eleven kindred spirits, one fish out of water.
“Now, join hands, everyone.”
Poppy immediately sashayed to Robert’s right-hand side. Gladys, with her long-braided Hiawatha plaits and doe eyes, moved seductively to his left. Gladys smelt of jasmine, her hand was warm, soft, and Robert smiled when she placed it in his. Gladys had intrigued him the most. She was the most down-to-earth, the most honest. Possessing a frankness belying her innocence and charm, she intrigued him. While Robert didn’t believe in the universal laws of attraction, he was strangely attracted to this dark-haired beauty wearing brown leather boots and a cowgirl dress.
“Energy fills the entire universe,” Luna started. “And, when you form a thought in your head, you tap into this energy. We all have the ability to create a thought and cause the subject of that thought to be created. I want you to send that thought, that energy into the universe. Now, I want you to make the circle as wide as possible. Don’t let go of your hands. That’s it.”
Robert looked over at Archie, convincing himself that Archie was struggling to work out which way was forward, which way was back. Mimi and Haven managing to guide him safely and stabilise him, so he didn’t fall over in his confusion.
“Now we are one,” Luna added, “I want you to make a thought because when you make a thought, you create energy. So, clear your minds, focus on one thought only. A single thread. Focus, focus on that thought only.”
God, I need the toilet, thought Robert.
“Everyone got one? Great! You’re all awesome. Now lower your arms and slowly close the circle. Make it as tight as it can be. And as you walk forward, I want you to raise your arms, make a whooshing noise. When you get to the middle, your arms should be reaching as high as they can go.”
The circle became smaller, then expanded again. “Whoosh,” people shouted, everyone that is, except Robert.
“Awesome, out again, good. Then in again, whoosh!
“And again, in, out, and whoosh! Release that energy into the universe.”
“You want to see where the energy comes from?” Arlo asked.
“Of course,” Raya responded, “That would be amazing.”
“Right, follow me. I’ll lead you to the collection chamber.”
Five minutes later, they stopped outside a big black locked door.
“We need to change into these,” said Arlo, reaching for two white jumpsuits hanging on a peg.
“The chamber is a vast empty space, a chasm of nothingness. We dress in white so light can be reflected onto the walls of the chamber. You can’t see the walls—at first—but they are there, believe me. And when the light is reflected from us onto the walls, the walls turn black. We then scrape the walls, pour the contents into a jar. When we leave the room—hopefully, the jar will be filled with the most amazing energy! Then it’s stored. It’s as simple as that! Would you like to go in and harvest some energy?”
“Oh yes, please.”
The Master and the Neophyte dressed all in white, entered the collection chamber. Arlo instructed his apprentice on how to take a scraping. Then they exited the chamber.
“Have I collected much?” Raya asked impatiently.
Arlo studied the jar, then started to laugh. “I’m afraid not. I’m sorry. This sample’s from earth. We always get such poor returns from there. They sap more energy than they create. There’s not enough here to do anything with!”
“I’m sorry, Arlo—I hoped to collect more than that.”
“Don’t worry. It was your first attempt, and as I say, earth is notoriously slack in energy; shit returns.”
“What will we do with it?” Raya asked.
“Simple, we just throw it back,” he laughed. “As I said, shit returns! Let’s go back to the Lightroom.”
Arlo picked up the amethyst chai ball, focussed his thoughts on earth. The ball quickly rose above him, growing then opening, revealing a star map with earth at the centre.
“Watch this,” he said, throwing the jar toward the open passageway of the Lightroom.
Robert bent down to pick up his belongings. He wanted to collect his stuff and needed to get out as soon as possible. As he bent, Robert felt something hit him like a bolt from the blue. He stumbled, lost his footing, semi-collapsed. It was then he felt his bowels involuntarily release.
Arms folded, Luna and Trixie smiled knowingly.
“I guess the universe rejected his energy,” Luna added.
The glove puppets turned toward each other and started laughing.