Ed looked around. He seemed to be in a chamber filled with light that did not seem to have a source. The light was soft, almost glowing, and it felt safe and comfortable. Whatever he was laying on seemed just as soft and comfortable. He couldn’t help it. He sighed. He couldn’t remember ever feeling this safe and comfortable. Not even when he was floating on his back in the warm tropical water on that beach on St. Martin’s.
Suddenly Ed bolted upright.
His hands starting probing his body, first reaching for his neck, then his arms, then searching his belly for the scars and torn tissue. All he felt was soft warm blemish free flesh…or something flesh like. It couldn’t be skin. No skin he knew of let your fingers drift in several millimeters with each stroke.
Where was the tube that had let him breathe for the last horrible ten days? Where were the almost uncountable tubes and wires leading to his arms and chest? Where was the pain, discomfort, and depressed thoughts? In fact…
“Where the hell am I?”
Ed didn’t know he had even yelled out loud. A voice as defuse as the light, and just as warm and comfortable, enveloped him in its warm gentle kind tone- his fear subsided immediately. All that was left was genuine curiosity.
“Welcome, Ed. You are in Chamber Five. You just left Chamber Four. In a few moments we will begin your extraction from the Chamber…it won’t hurt a bit. It is kind of like the feeling you had when you were born back there in Chamber Four.”
For some reason the words made complete sense to Ed even though he didn’t understand at all what they meant. Chambers? What Chambers? He thought to himself. Or so he thought. The voice answered as if Ed had actually asked the questions.
“Let me ask you a question first, if I may?”
“Sure. I am not in any hurry.”
The Voice laughed.
“Hurry, my friend, is something you will never do again.”
“Because, hurry, my new friend (for some reason Ed felt he did indeed have a new friend in the warm syrupy voice filling his world) implies duration, what you would call: “Time.” Time does not exist after Chamber Four. Now…may I ask my question?
“Sure. Sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
“I must admit, it is a pleasure speaking with you Ed.”
A warm flush spread through Ed’s being…a quick glance showed him that his whole body glowed with that flush of feeling. He wanted to remark on it but it seemed unremarkable.
“My question is simple: do you know what the Fibonacci curve is?”
“Sure. It is the pattern you see in sunflowers, pineapples, or things like Nautilus shells and fossil Ammonites. It is all over nature. The Golden Ratio comes from it too…I think.”
“A pleasure to speak with and educated being like you. (Again the flush, followed by yet another glow spreading through his body). Well Life, what you call “Life” starts in Chamber Three. When you leave Chamber Three- you are born into Chamber Four. No living thing remembers being born in Chamber Four. Now, though, you are in Chamber Five. In this Chamber you do remember your “birth”…and your “death.”
My mind accepted this like I already knew it. I guess, I already did…or do. Thought Ed. He was right.
"What is Chamber One then? Or Two, for that matter.”
A chuckle came from the Voice.
“We get that question a lot. In simple terms- Chamber One is the transition from nothing to something. Things become material…like particles, matter, and Time. Chamber Two…well, most of that is used to organize things and separates intellects out for Chamber Three. Chamber Four, the one you just left, allows those intellects to proceed to Chamber Five. Which is where you are now. “
“Is this…is…err…um…Heaven? (Ed's voice struck an octave) or Hell?”
This time the laughter removed every ounce of worry, concern, fear, along with a lifetime of guilt and shame from Ed’s thoughts.
“No. This is Chamber Five. To be fair, if you could meet an inhabitant of Chamber Five while still in Chamber Four…you would think you had met an Angel. I mean look at your body for a moment.”
Ed did as he was told. He was delighted when he finished the scan. His body was perfect. Not the perfect body, but the perfect Ed body. He wasn’t any taller than he was in Chamber Four. Nor did he weigh any more than he did as a young man. He could hear way better than he could, see much better than he ever could, and somehow, he knew he was stronger, faster, smarter, and well…nicer, than he ever was. He was Ed…perfected. He smiled the biggest smile ever.
“I see what you mean.”
They both shared a laugh.
“I have another question…if that is okay?”
This time it was Ed asking, and not the warm wonderful kind voice.
“Of course, my job is to move you into Chamber Five’s Cycle. Answering your questions is my duty.”
“Okay. So, you said that Intellects are selected from Chamber Three…does that mean that only certain intellects become Human Beings?”
“That is an astute question Ed. One that not many Humans ask. For some reason most of your fellow human beings restrict the idea of intellect to just the latest iteration of the Great Apes. Let me tell you…the Earth is an intellect far superior to yours…and you wouldn’t believe what a Star can think…or a snail.”
Ed was flabbergasted. He had been taught that only Humans were intelligent. That Humanity was the pinnacle. That Life was simple at the one celled level - and grew more complex and complicated as it got “smarter.”
He was wrong. Dead wrong.
“Well, then what happens in Chamber Five? Do I become a Star…(shyly) or a snail?”
The laugh this time was forgiving, gentle, sweet.
“No. You simply become more…well, you. You can talk to a Star…or a Snail, in fact, they would love that. If you would like, when you leave here to move out into the wider Chamber Five - I can have both meet you for a nice talk.”
“I would like that. I know this sounds silly, but is there Coffee here?”
This time Ed heard laughter from everywhere. He was standing (if you can call being aware of the your location in Five Dimensions- standing) in what appeared to be some form of hypercube that could be as small as a grain of sand, or as big as a Galaxy. Apparently, the choice was his.
“Of course. All Eleven Chambers have Coffee…we are not Barbarians.”
This time Ed joined in with the general flows of laughter.
He was going to like Chamber Five. Again the Voice echoed in his head.
“Chamber Five is wonderful. Someday you will move on to Chamber Six…we all do.”
“When you are ready. Remember there is no Time in Chamber Five, or duration. Star and Snail are waiting to talk with you…and me too. “
The last thing Ed heard as he phased (there is no other word) to meet Star and Snail and the Voice- were two statements:
First was: “How do you take your coffee? Cream, two sugars?”
Before he could answer Ed heard the Second Statement:
“Outgoing. Chamber Five is empty. Good Job everyone. Thanks Serlee, Shelven.