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This page showcases Chapter 1 and 2 of the book, Cosmic Traveler With A Smashed Compass, which chronicles the adventures of a lost soul in the afterlife. Chapter one introduces a couple expecting their first baby, while chapter two introduces the soul in Heaven who claims title to the baby's life.  

Note - paragraphs are broken up for visual convenience. Proper format is used in the actual text. 



Altered State


George Vanberg slowly crawled his way back into consciousness, his eyes unusually sensitive to the morning light. He struggled to focus on the animated colors of five Rosella parakeets engaged in a merry melee around the seed dispenser that was hammered firmly into the windowsill. The birds were beauty as beauty was meant to be, free spirited and wild amidst a jungle of natural green. The sight was truly gorgeous, arousing life within life itself.

Heaven definitely has a bird shit problem, was the first thought George checked into the vacant hotel of his mind for the day. No other thoughts were scheduled to arrive for a while. One blink, then another, were the only indications of life on his expressionless face. In the absence of need he refused to move, his unanchored gaze slowly  drifting out through the large windows that extended across the full width of the room behind the exquisitely curvaceous head-posts of his Balinese bed. He vaguely felt a stream of saliva exiting his mouth, draining into the pillowslip that was lightly splotched with saliva stains of days gone by. But for a quiet, incidental slurp, his cheek remained pressed against the saturated cloth in celebration of his gross indifference to his own grossness. He inched his body around under the black feather comforter to release the strain of his head's awkward tilt, so keeping his face to the outside light. His eyes lifted to the tall trees that swayed to and fro, to and fro, to and fro in a hypnotic hula, to which he gave himself wholeheartedly. 

All five senses mindlessly waltzed off the shelf of physiological contexture like blind gypsies sleepwalking off a cliff, only to reappear a moment later reborn, unified in a state of random acuity. Of life he felt nothing, for from nothing there is but life. One life. Wholeness. With the fixed intrigue of an autistic child, George Vanberg watched the rainforest come alive before him, a single living organism, breathing, growing, healing, dying...

Variegated beams of light splintered the thick tropical foliage with refined secular grace. A parakeet, hurtling through the heart of the forest in sheer ecstasy of flight, caught a raindrop on the underside of its left wing midway through a sharp turn between two trees. Upon impact the droplet split into seven, bouncing off the wing into the thick undergrowth below. George counted them all in a single sweep, noting the individual landing of each droplet, somewhat amused that a slug was inclined to cringe at the chill of one of the droplets landing upon its back. Millions of butterflies, costumed in florae-lime, performed before him, fluttering crazily, weightlessly; the element's final gusts passing between them like wicked spirits fleeing the coming of light. After yet another tempestuous orchestration, Nature resounded with a riotous clash of faunal sentiment as the electrical thunderstorm dragged itself over the mist-drenched peaks of Australia's Dandenong Mountain Range. Only the strongest of all things great and small had survived its wrath. The deep, rumbling groans of the storm faded with the growing subtlety of timpani drums sounding the fool's ending to Beethoven's 'Emperor', his fifth piano concerto. Tum, te-te tum tum tum tum tum, te-te tum tum tum tum tum, te-te tum. tum... tum... tum.... tum.... And oh, how the animals celebrated, singing in perfect harmony the rambunctious song that is life! 

A distant murmur clawed its way into George's delightful delirium.

"Wha... what?" he stammered.

"I've just had another contraction," Catherine said again, sighing deeply. She was lying on the covers with her head and shoulders propped up by several pillows. A TIME magazine was spread out across her belly. She wore a short, yellow satin maternity nightie George had bought it for her the very day she'd told him she was pregnant. Her legs, bare and superbly toned, were crossed at the ankles.

"Excuse me?" George replied, wearily looking over his shoulder. He suddenly sat up and turned fully around to face her. "Another!" he exclaimed, sounding both excited and annoyed. He moved his hand eagerly up under her silk nightie, spreading his fingers out across the swollen belly that had held him at bay on the edge of the bed the entire evening. Catherine corrected the magazine as it slid off her amniotic bulge. The headline of the article she was reading caught George's eye. Another war had started in Europe. The word 'tornado' in small print jumped off the adjoining page at him. A small English township had been completely destroyed.

"Christ, the world's a mess," he muttered to himself. From under her nightie his hand hit the magazine, knocking it onto the floor.

Catherine thought nothing of his action. "I had my first contraction about ten o'clock last night," she declared triumphantly, laying her hands lovingly upon his. Catherine smiled at him adoringly. Her olive complexion was florid, her blond hair mussed and her lime eyes clear and sparkling. George returned her smile, although he was far from convincing.. Obviously he was disappointed.

Throughout the long and lonely course of the evening Catherine had quietly endured the intermittent pain of early labor, all the while psyching herself up for the ultimate climax. It was now, only hours before the birth, that she was finally ready to confront her glory. George, bedazzled in contrast, could not but struggle with the shock of exclusion, his tone mimicking a child who had not been invited to his best friend's birthday party.

"God, Cath! Why didn’t you wake me?" he complained, withdrawing. He just couldn't help himself. Catherine lowered her eyes to the restless phantom in hyper snare.

"Be patient, my precious, Vladimir," she whispered dreamily, stroking her belly. "It won't be long." The child to be would be named after Vladimir Nabokov, at Catherine’s insistence. He was the man, her favorite writer, at least at this stage in her life, and George knew better than to oppose her on it. There was no point. Her mind was a steel vault of pretention that no one could open, not even herself, for a long time since had she lost the combination.

Benumbed by the pounding flutters occurring within, Catherine declined to answer George’s question. The matter of waking him had never crossed her mind. It was her trip after all and hers alone.


George eyed Catherine curiously. She glanced at him, her eyes amazingly aglow in the luteous light that filled the room. She looked absolutely stunning, so much so that all ill feeling quickly dwindled away within him, leaving in its wake an idealistic lust anxious to ravage the pure and youthful innocence of the moment. 

"I can’t think of anything more beautiful than making love to you just before our child is born," George said softly. Catherine's eyes moved away. She did not respond. She seemed oblivious now to his being there beside her. In the silence that followed George wrestled with the perverse nature of the request, until romanticism redefined itself, tranquilizing his conscience. Catherine concentrated on her breathing, counting as she inhaled and exhaled. Another contraction was demanding her audience… 

Riding up and over the onrushing tsunami of pain, her body gradually relaxed again, unlike her mind that continued brooding over the inevitable. Yes. It had to be. Such intimacy before the pains of birth were to pin her down to the unimaginable was exactly what she was in need of, and she knew it. Aroused by a spontaneous mutiny of want, need and fear, Catherine lunged into the awkward entanglement that took but a fleeting moment before the crescendo outran itself into the arms of physical release, which under the circumstances was perfectly acceptable. There was no need for George to exert control, for him to contemplate and strategize Catherine’s sexual implosion. In fact such thoughts couldn’t have been further from either of their minds. Their lovemaking was a swift, compulsive act that symbolized the instinctive unification necessary to combat the uncertainty of the events to come, and nothing more. Absent were the pitiful reassurances from he regarding future longevity, as too were her sighs of gallant resignation over the characteristic suddenness of his defusing. In this room, this moment, there was just love, fear and a collaborated hint of shame that set alight their cheeks with a subtle flush of red.

"That was really beautiful," bounced between them in broken murmurs as they slowly uncoiled, descending into their own. Both lay on their backs, looking up at the bare white ceiling. After a few short breaths Catherine began to move from side to side, then, following a determined heave, rolled off the bed onto her feet with a speed unique to that of a pregnant woman annoyed.

"Christ! There's more to life than just fucking!" she declared, incensed. Taking what George called her Napoleonic stance – knuckles on hips with a stern face of incurable self-righteousness – she stared down at him. George blinked slowly, consoling her with his silence. "There's knowledge, George, God damn it," she insisted, her voice slightly quivering. Ah! Ah! You are such an idiot!

George continued to look at her, adoring her. "Give the man a tiger!" he growled playfully as she turned about face, wanting only to part his company and rid herself of her dependency. He knew exactly where she was going. They'd acted out this scene throughout the pregnancy many times before. Catherine, naked and voluptuous, waddled her way into the next room to be seated behind a precarious citadel of books that depicted the strategic disorganization of a truly great scholar; a title she so avidly yearned, yet was destined never to acquire, at least in the minds of those who knew any better.

Catherine was a true disciple of the Academia, for she pursued the subject of knowledge vigorously, whilst arguing adamantly that confusion had not even the smallest part in her life, when, it fact, it was unmistakably the flamboyant protagonist. 

George addressed her gauche diatribe with a renowned finesse that left even the most erudite professors agape. "Knowledge, Cath, ha!” he laughed after her, flopping back into the pillows. “God, you must be joking. It was knowledge that brought about the Fall of Man! That’s Watts, I think, dear.” Catherine refused to take George seriously without academic references. He had no qualms about improvising fabrications for the sake of being heard. Raising his voice a notch to ensure she could hear him through the wall, which she could easily, he said, “Now, as for making love on the other hand, Cath, let me quote Shakespeare –  ‘ ‘Tis the purest of all moments on Earth when two bodies court the divine, reaching the euphoric climax, fleeting yet profoundly emollient, that lies just beyond the mortal breath. Alas, all the frantic gasping of those transcending!’ End quote.”

Catherine banged hard on the wall that separated them. Just once. She’d had enough.


George heard the wisdom of his childhood hero, Wolly Razorback Mulden, whisper in his ear. “Aw, don’t be messin’ with a pregnant sheila, mate. It ain’t easy lugging around another person in ya’ belly, particularly when half of it belongs to someone else who’s doing jack shit to help carry the load.” Wolly had a point, subsequently such playful bantering was to be indulged in moderation. It was, after all, George’s sole consolation when confronted by Catherine’s untimely outbursts, the likes of which only women are prone to when entrapped in the alienated spirit of prenatal retreat. What a shame he politely refrained himself and dared not speak again. Poetry was afoot in the heavenly field of daffodils through which his mind was prancing.


Oh, hail ye, princess warrior of Creation! Fear not the reverence of your feat and the obstinacy of your passion. You are alone with the jewel of life – its beginning – born under the rose and thorn of human desire!  George smiled at the thoughts of envy and respect that quenched his heart. It is true, he added to his silent praise, there is nothing more beautiful in life than a pregnant woman! Wrapping his arms and legs around the softest of pillows, he wafted into the emotional calm of one truly in love. On the bedside table lain his present reading, Shakespeare's ‘Romeo and Juliet’. He had not the strength to reach for it, nor the interest. What could Shakespeare possibly teach him of love?!

Opening a textbook on Quantum Physics, Catherine snatched up the pencil that marked her spot in the pages, doodled herself into a frenzied state, then threw her head down onto the desk and burst out crying. She too was very much in love, although not with George per se, but rather with life, as in life on Earth. Unfortunately the fulfilling joy of what life meant to her at this moment was irrationally enchained by an inherent disposition that pertained as much to her and to her child to be as it did to the entire human race. It was more of a feeling than any specific thought that fueled the inordinate distress of her volatile mind; an inescapable feeling of hopelessness and resentment that has tormented each and every mortal ever since human consciousness became aware of itself. And rightly so, should we be pissed. Life on Earth is like an abandoned infant in a universal Serengeti; exposed, defenseless, destined to die. Everything is destined to die, and there's not a damn thing that can be done about it.

Grating her teeth, Catherine slammed her fist down on the desk. Her head rose rigidly, the desperation in her eyes searching through the unavoidable calamity of her being for a way out. It was freedom she sought, freedom from the very injustice she was about to impose on her child to be. But how can one escape the finite nature of existence from which all are spawned? The senseless tragedy that is life seized her, choking her and her unborn child.

"My baby! My baby!" she cried. Tears fell onto the pages. Reason rose to the occasion, only to be decapitated by the dull blade of her lingering melancholy. "What is the meaning of life if it is not to live forever?" she uttered acrimoniously, peering out the window at the beautiful rainforest. The certainty of its death stared back at her. Her arms covered her belly, shielding her child from his fate. She looked to the ceiling, to the god hidden behind the plaster. "Damn you!" she said indignantly. "You will not steal my baby from me! I won't let you!" She threw herself onto the desk again, weeping a gushing river.

If Catherine had had the gift of prescience at this moment she may well have taken her life right then and there as a redemptive offering to off-set the events to come, and together she and her son could have walked the path to Heaven without contending with a serious sacramental breach; a breach that would ultimately result in their separation before God. Her son, as it is with all sons and daughters, was going to die, only her son's death would be awfully violent, very painful and entirely her fault.

George walked into the room, struggling to put on his robe whilst carrying the feather comforter. Catherine had her back to him. She was shivering slightly. He cloaked her with the fabric that was still warm from his body. Upon his knees George came to rest alongside, and kissing her gently on the cheek, he pulled her into his arms. Catherine fought him momentarily, but it was not so much George she was fighting as it was the stifling dismay that hovered over her heart. With a heavy, heavy sigh she gave in to it, in to him, as if she'd never had a choice. She didn't. Death is the fate of all living things – gods, mortals and every thing in between. It has always been this way.

'Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.' 

And here lies the reality of our situation…

In the beginning, well at least near enough, there were dinosaurs. These dinosaurs were a creation of a god who has long since departed this realm. Throughout the course of this god's worldly creations there came a wrathful deity with an insatiable appetite. There was no gigantic meteor that caused the dinosaurs' extinction. (Who thinks up these things?) It was a simple matter of one god trying His hand at Creation and another god dropping in unexpectedly for lunch.

"Hmmmm? And what do you call these winged delicacies?" asked the wrathful deity to the busy little god, who knew not of evil, but only the marvel of creation.

"I deem them... ummm.... Pteranodon!" declared the little god proudly.

"I see," said the wrathful deity, contemplating the pleasurable intimidation of his hunger. His flaming eyes, fueled by committed deviance, looked around with devilish delight. “Hmmm,” he growled, “such a wonderful day for an apocalypse, wouldn’t you say!”

Without further ado, the dinosaurs, along with most of their biological constituents and the passive god who indeed did create them, all were sucked into the blazing mouth of this merciless deity, who up and left the cosmological cook-out the moment it was over, but not before the malevolent fiend sought after and destroyed the little god's celestial domain that was nestled in the shadow of a nearby star. Desolation and lifelessness, not absolute but very nearly, reigned in consequence on Earth as it did in Heaven, that is until another god came forth from the inner realm with a completely different artistic flare, and thereafter, many others followed, each wanting to contribute to the animated mural of Earth's evolution, and each wanting to reign over it.

And in the end, when a bodacious clan of Homo Sapiens dared to challenge these gods, imagining and creating secular monuments of their own design at the expense of the forests and rivers and oceans and sky and wildlife, which took many a god eons to sculpture out of matter, there came a deific response of absolute wrath not unlike the last that had devoured the dinosaurs to the bone.

Not a single soul saw it coming, and not a single god of earthly allegiance dared to intervene. They had their own survival to worry about.


Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven...


The Constitution of Being

From their own Heavens and Hells do souls come to be reborn


Deep within an unbuttoned part of physicality there is a Kingdom. Strikingly wondrous to the eternal optimist and profoundly ruthless to the immortal pessimist, it is a Kingdom that sits comfortably numb in the secret hearts of all Humankind. It is known as the heavenly Kingdom of the Don, the Almighty Don – the Godfather of all Creation – and it is this, His Kingdom, that is so created by all souls who come before it, transforming infinite nothingness into cosmic bliss.

The dazzling radiance conceived by the union of countless souls is the natural resource from which this Kingdom is built. Its magnificence is beyond compare, and the mastery of the Kingdom's design is utterly, and unquestionably, deific. The Don is the engineer, architect and sculptor of the coalescing light, a light that is a reflection of one and all fitted into the finest threads delusion can tailor. His Kingdom is positioned at the frontier of consciousness. What lies beyond it is not in question. His truth is all-pervading. For those who want it bad enough, ingression into His domain is undoubtedly transcendence into Paradise, where the price to be free is the cost of one's freedom.

Passing through the middle of the Kingdom there is a Sea, the Void Sea, which is shimmering, clear and seemingly runs forever inward into the very source that it comes from – the Don, who is as vast as the cosmos and as small as a grain of sand. His light is simultaneously lambent and fulgent. As to how He is perceived depends largely on His mood. He is the giver of new life, the celestial sun of relative order. His status as the Almighty God is engraved deeply in the bark of existence for all the universe to see.

On the one side of the Void Sea is the Almighty's empyreal palace and surrounding edenic gardens, where He resides with the most powerful of his soldiers, the Angels, whom the Almighty refers to as His Storm Troopers. And far in the distance behind the palace, with its reverent steeples that hold up the varicolored sky, there are immense jagged mountains overlapping more immense jagged mountains. This is where Lucifer, The Enforcer, resides with his pet chimeras. More specifically, they reside in catacombs found at the base of Mt. Nemesis – the tallest of all the mountains. It is clearly visible from anywhere in the Kingdom. Lucifer's servants, his Hell's Angels, reside in sepulchrals located in a glacier of frozen fire just east of Mt. Nemesis. They serve Lucifer, who in turn serves the Don.

The history of the Almighty Don and Lucifer go hand in hand. Briefly, Lucifer appeared unexpectedly as a sentient cancer in the Don's supra mundane conscience during its early stages of perfecting evolution. To survive, Lucifer had to swear allegiance to the Almighty promising to do whatever was the Don's bidding in the name of all that is good. He is as evil as the Don is wholesome. United, they are irresistible. They have always been united.

On the other side of the Sea, directly across from the palace and mountains, is the students’ compound, where each soul admitted into Heaven may reside. It too is gloriously paradisiacal, much like a tropical resort built on the shore of a sea of diamonds. Each soul has a bungalow that is either on the shoreline or at least has a view of the Sea. At the back of this theistically designed compound are the opalescent gates of Heaven that are built into a giant wall covered in groomed ivy and flowers. The wall runs as high and wide as all souls put together can conceive, and has as much strength in it as the god who constructed it for them. It is impenetrable....

Let it be understood that since the acquisition of a soul's light is the Almighty Don's primary objective, He makes a determined effort to mitigate the loss of that which sustains Him and His Kingdom. Lucifer's crude and violent methods of persuasion are often employed to sway souls to submit their light upon arrival. Should Lucifer be away on some chilling excursion of artful cruelty, then the renegade who refuses to submit will either end up in the Wilderness or be incarcerated in the psyche of a mortal for a life. Perhaps two or three lives even. Human psyches are known as the Bastilles of Insanity, where, following the shocking trauma of transmigration, a soul awakens to a bare cell of solitary confinement from which there is no escape. Insanity hovers with the devoted menace of a starving vulture, awaiting a soul's mental collapse. It is a particularly nasty punishment that has proven to be most effective in coercing souls to recognize the error of their way.  In the eternal end, few souls worthy of the Almighty's Kingdom ever deny Him their light. Very few. Who in their right mind would not forsake themselves for the privilege of joining the only known celestial denomination in existence, so assuring themselves of a god's love, good will and protection for all eternity?

At the back of the students’ compound, in a small clearing concealed by giant palms all around it, a mob of souls, varying greatly in color, huddle over two of their kind who are unlawfully playing cards. In this heavenly realm light depicts one's level of consciousness. The brighter the inner light, the more aware, whether consciously or intuitively, a soul is of itself and of its surroundings. Of the two souls playing cards, one is a dusky little ball of light, nervously bobbing up and down alongside the illusionary table upon which the cards have been laid out. His name is Mockton. Above him the mob of spectators sway back and forth in anticipation like lights on a Christmas tree caught in a stormy breeze. They snicker and jeer at Mockton because of his color. Being gray means he's incredibly stupid. His opponent, whose name is Baconian, sits deliberately prolonging the contemplation of his cards. He remains in spiritual form, that is his shape is distinctly human, only diaphanous. Some say he lacks good sense, some say he suffers from an acute case of obsessive modesty. Whatever the reason, Baconian prefers with a warrior's valor not to disrobe his spirit before the Don, so giving the cosmic Sovereign all rights to his light. He laughs with ignoble ire when speaking of the pledge to give himself unto Him, being the prelude to the formal initiation known as the Disrobing Ceremony.

In the course of this ceremony, when the spiritual guise is discarded, the nakedness of the soul is revealed and the rights to the soul's perfectly spherical light, approximately the size of a human heart, is handed over to the Don, becoming as one with the Almighty's radiance and that of His Kingdom. For this to happen the soul must be completely willing to partake in the ceremony. The willingness to disrobe is of the utmost importance. Disrobing marks one's absolute faith in the Almighty's Constitution of Being and trust in the goodness that motivates His actions. No matter how harsh He may seem, the Don, as He maintains, is always acting in the best interest of all souls. The students love Him for this. The disrobing is done solely before the Don, by the Don, in the privacy of what He calls the Chamber of Love. The Chamber consists of nothing but one radiant, celestial, King size canopied bed the size of a thousand galaxies. The canopy, woven by starlight, is held up by four blindfolded angels, who slowly swing their mighty wings in a simple holy dance, while singing beautiful harmonies in celebration of the Almighty's selfless love. No one has ever spoken of what takes place behind closed doors during this ceremony. It's against the law to discuss it. Suffice to say, all souls gaining entry into the chamber ultimately succumb to the will of the Divine, opening themselves unto Him, giving Him the pleasure of their light.

There is one soul, however, and only one, who has ever proved an exception to this…

Baconian once entered the Chamber of Love. It actually changed him from an intellectual mummy to a legendary cynic. When Baconian first came to stand before Heaven's gates, he was uncertain as to who he was, or where he'd come from, as are all souls. This is a natural consequence of the transcendental quagmire – immedicable amnesia – for the matter of whether one’s consciousness is ascending or descending through the psychic storms of existence can be difficult to discern when the plight of affirmation is eternal, leaving one an easy target for the most crass of godly sophists. To have no memory of a past and no concept of a future serves well a practical purpose, because a soul's past is plagued with terrifying abuse and ceaseless servitude, and a future that offers nothing but more of the same. To reside only in the present provides a soul the opportunity of  a  new  beginning, from  one  moment  to  the next,  ceaselessly, forevermore.

Baconian was quite obviously far worse than most who unconsciously drift into the Almighty's cosmological Kingdom, for Baconian was totally unaware that he was even existing. He knew not despite his being. Consider the words of Descartes, 'I think, therefore I am'. Well, Baconian didn't think, therefore he was not. He was a zombie of a spirit dressed as an Earthly vagabond who had been on the interstella streets of madness ever since Time had respectfully misplaced itself. When he first saw the prodigious gates of Heaven and heard the soul splitting shrills of the Beasts of Oblivion from the adjoining Wilderness, he fell into a severe paroxysm of terror, oddly detached from his being yet coming from deep within him. It was through Baconian's complex abyss of self-denial that the Almighty Don miraculously touched him, that is He reached out for Baconian in the depths of his vacated sentience and found him. Baconian felt the fingers of salvation grasp him and pull him free of his mindlessness. He felt the breath of divinity resuscitate him, uplifting him from the bottomless hole of perdition into which he had fallen. Yes! He had been saved! Consciousness filled him as if it were fruit nectar being poured down the throat of his resurrected being. And when he had indulged to his spirit's content, Baconian was quick to offer himself to the Almighty, to be a part of His Kingdom, to receive His love, if only the Don would help him discover who he really was. Baconian had a name, a face, a home, but he knew not where to look for them. The Don promised to show him, asking for but one thing of Baconian in return. Baconian would have to disrobe, surrendering his consciousness, so giving the Almighty the succulent essence of his light... 

For Baconian however, succumbing to the perversities of the divine will was never going to happen, not until Hell itself had frozen over, which it surely did, but not before all hell broke loose, and all souls did tremble with the coming of their demons...... (End of Excerpt)


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