A bolt of lightning streaked down from the heavens, striking the rectangular object and shattering it. The blue-white plasma of the lightning ricocheted off the surrounding lava to hit the earth; it sent a mild shock through the two women. On the opposite side of the fissure it knocked Julian from his feet. Gale felt her hair stand on end. Deb gasped.

It began to rain, a torrent that raised a cloud of hissing steam as it struck the lava, turning its crust back to stone. Tiny sparks skipped along the ground from puddle to puddle. Thunder shook the terrain in a parody of the earthquake.

“Are you hurt?” Gale asked Deb, shouting to be heard over the thunder.


Other voices were shouting. Gale and Deb were joined by a score of the men. On the other side, through the steam, they could see Julian and numerous others. The heavy clouds overhead did not cover the entire sky. A sliver of grey stretched across the eastern horizon. There the sun god rose from death and defeat, reborn to a new day. The first light of dawn washed over the landscape. A low billow of thunder sounded in defeat as the rain ceased.


“I see.”

The sunlight painted a rainbow in the dissipating steam. A singular slab remained of the stone coffin, frozen in place atop the cooled magma. It reminded Gale of a surfboard cutting across a mounting wave of rock. The base of the coffin, though, was not what commanded her attention. Rather the man who stood upon it.

Gale felt her heart flutter. She felt faint. Atop the hill of chilling lava, in the midst of the steam and the rainbow, the sun rising behind his back, stood the man from her dreams. There could be no mistaking him. She had seen him too many times.

He stepped down, dressed in blue jeans and shirtless, his dark, wavy hair blowing in the breeze, some sort of tiny leather bag hanging against his chest. He looked around, an expression of confusion evident on his face.

“The Lotus blooms,” one of the men whispered. He dropped to a knee.

“The Lotus blooms!” The man beside him followed his example.

“The Lotus blooms!” The cry sprang up all around, as the gathered men all knelt.

Brian Alderman frowned. Then his eyes settled on Gale. The most piercing blue eyes she’d ever seen. His expression changed. He walked over.

“Hi,” he said.

“Hi,” Gale replied.

“I’m Brian,” he said.

“Hi,” she repeated. “Gale. My name’s Gale.”

“Uh, Gale?” Brian looked around, returning his gaze to her. “Is this the real world, or what?” Gale leaned on Deb for support. “I’m not sure anymore,” she said.

By TheCheezman

WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless. Denn die totden reiten schnell!

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