Falling back into himself, Daniel holds tightly on to one of the grab bars by the little cabin, clutching the wooden bar tightly as he sways to the rocking of the boat and trying his bed to hold himself together. The vision he’s just seen is . . . Too much.
The visions have never taken him forward before and this one felt different. Neither the Angels, if angels they be, the bear Mordechai, or more rarely, the other beings and those visions devoid of any creature, have taken him forward in time and none have ever felt so real while feeling so ephemeral. For a moment he saw the girl kiss him, but not her. “Ester. . .?”
Daniel casts around for the Reverend’s daughter and sees her at the back of the boat. Wasn’t she just talking to me? Before the vision started, he thought there was a conversation, but it’s getting harder and harder to differentiate between the visions and real life, between the present and the past and maybe even, now, the future. The future with. . .
But there she is, helping Thurgood untie the boat as he looks over his shoulder quizzically at Daniel, the fisherman whispering to Elijah all the while. “He always ac’ funny like that, ‘Lijah?”
The Reverend Elijah Thompson shakes his head wearily to his cousin’s concern and amusement, “That he do, that he do.”
“Is he?” Ester turns as she pulls the last rope and sees Daniel’s eyes fixed on her, and she looks away, whispering to her father as well. “Papa, he look like he seen a ghost, and now I know that ain’t how he always look when he come out of one of them visions.”
“I know honey, but we getting’ close to the point he needs to be, so they ain’t no tellin’ what he gone do. Le’s just be here for ‘im, whatever he need. Now, come on.”
Elijah brings the crew back to the front of the boat as it embarks, putting his strong hand on Daniel’s shoulder and ignoring the requisite flinch he gives in return. “It’s gone be okay, son. It’s gone be okay. Now let’s go see what the Good Lord got for us today.”
Pulling out into the calm water, the high tide helping them along, Daniel points to a spot far out in the water that looks no different from any other, but he knows it is the right direction. He can see that it will be several hundred yards from shore but he knows they will keep the dock in distant sight. He knows it because he has seen it many times in the last few days.
Thurgood looks again the Dane and the merriment leaves his face as quickly as the sun is leaving the sky. “Son, I don’t got no clue what y’all lookin’ for out there, just open water ‘less you wanna throw the fishin’ lines in.”
Daniel sighs and closes his eyes to focus better, as he always has. “No, today we are looking for something other than fish, though I know not what it may be.”
“Sure. . . I’ll jus’ keep followin’ yo pointy arm there, then.”
Daniel is silent as the boat moves ever forward, his eyes closed and his outstretched arm shifting a little this way, a little that as Thurgood steers the boat by eye. Ester is the first to notice the humming noise coming from Daniel and the first to realize that it is not the sound of a man humming, but something like heavy machinery in the distance, droning with a steady buzz. All three are silent as the watch Daniel’s back with the skyline in the distance before him.
The yards go by quickly and as they do the humming grows in pitch until finally it drowns out the sound of the motor, giving no doubt that while it comes from inside the man Daniel Christiansen, it originates elsewhere. Daniel’s hand begins to come upward in a sign to stop and the boat slows to a gentle rest as he takes a single step forward to the very front of the prow, his foot mere inches from the tip of the boat, his head held high and staring, eyes still shut into the distance.
And he jumps from the end of the boat.
As Daniel’s feet leave the edge of the boat all three passengers jump after him, Ester’s hand nearly touch his shoe as it leaves the boat, but as it does, he move upward. He flies from the trawler and into the air, straight up into the sky and begins to glow a sickly orange light as he does.
The light grows brighter as he flies and when he is barely a spec in the sky the ocean is drowned in the light of mid-day, light pouring from the spot where Daniel’s body hung like the brightest sunlight of summer in a cloudless sky, all centered on the man Daniel Christiansen as they see his body high above, his arms outstretched and his body spinning slowly.
Ezekial can feel his skin pulsing with a warmth like none he’s ever felt and this is no vision. He can see infinitely into every direction and towards the shore he sees the city of Miami, but he sees it as it is now, as it is a hundred years from now, and as it was a hundred before, a thousand before. He sees all time and he sees the ocean full of ships, ephemeral but real, from every era. Two man duggouts compete with futuristic aircraft carriers and all manner in between as he sees pristine beaches overlaid with tall skyscrapers and charred ruins. He sees everything and he feels whole.
But there is work to be done.
As Ester, Elijah, and Thurgood shield their eyes from the bright lights, their mouths agape and sweat forming quickly on their now warm faces, they see him there, like a being of pure light as he slows his spin and darts off towards the shore, gliding a hundred feet in the air. The land is illuminated there as bright as daylight, as is the ocean, and they can see him clearly as he pirouettes and dances on the rail of brightness on which he slides.
Daniel begins to feel the rays of light bend to his will and each glimmering piece of iridescence bend around his fingertips as he begins to weave geometric patterns in the air which coalesce into organic shapes and forms. Reaching the shore he starts there, pulling gossamer webs of light into streams of form which begin to build on each other to form an ornate structure out from the shoreline and into the ocean, building to a crescendo of wires out where the boat still lies, the three passengers staring in wonderment as he glides through the air.
The lines of light begin to build a magnificent portal, long and undulating like a tunnel of light and wind, toward a specific point, far out in the ocean. Through the strands of the structure Ester can see what looks like girders and beams supporting it, holding its structure up as if it were a man made thing, maybe one of the radical art sculptures she’s seen in the books of European architecture. Some sort of man made colossus built to mimic the wind as it flows from the shore to the ocean.
But in this instance it is built of light and gossamer wind made of individual photons and electrons and within it Daniel can feel the molecules singing in his blood as he bends the material of the universe in his fingers and as the angels watch on, sagely nodding to the tune of his ministrations.
The humming builds to a deafening level as he spins, feeling the present, the past, and the future moving within him, feeling the angels, the others, the memories and the premonitions all dancing within his mind, Daniel feels at peace as it all comes together and below him his friends see the structure come together for an instant as hard, material pieces suspended above them before. . .
Before it is gone.
And the light is without, and the structure is as dust, and Daniel is as a wisp of fog on the wind.
And there is a splash and he is gone.
Reaching towards the darkness which may be the surface or the deep Daniel is casting about, reaching for anything to save him. Still feeling the faint whispers of greatness as he grasps at the strings of desperation, he reaches out to find nothing but the bubbles swirling around him.
Soon all is lost but for a moment he doesn’t care. For a moment he knows he has done what the angels wanted and he can rest now. For a moment his legs stop moving and his eyes slide shut, knowing that it is over.
But then it is not.
There is more work to be done.
And like lightning the feeling of unfinished business shoots through him and his eyes open.
Through the green, murky water there is a hand above him and it is reaching.
And he grabs it.
* * *