My awake self thought about rewriting it to make it a little more normal, but I decided not to change it or try to correct its weirdness. Instead I just polished it and sent it on to my in-house editor to correct my atrocious spelling. The only rule of spelling that I am certain of is that there is an R in shirt. Everything else is a guess.* * * * * * * * * * * *
I stopped by the old hermit’s shack yesterday. His name is actually Tobias something, but everyone refers to him as “the old hermit” or Toby. He’s lived in that shack out on the edge of the desert for a long time. I really don’t know how long, but my father used to talk about going out there with his father when he was a boy to visit the old hermit. My dad’s been gone for over twenty years now, so that hermit must be at least ninety... or one hundred... or one hundred ten. He looks even older than that. Dad used to take food out to him regularly, and when Dad got sick, he made me promise that I would see that the old hermit never went hungry.
So because of my promise to Dad... I think... I take food out to the old hermit every few weeks. Often we sit and talk. Once, many years ago when I was still a teenager, Dad sent me out with the food because he had to work. As I went to leave, the old hermit stopped me and then told me in a firm voice, “Stay close to the house tomorrow.” When I looked confused he said in an even more firm voice, “Stay within running distance, boy. Your life depends on it.”
I thought he was crazy, but the next day I stayed close to the house. I was home alone and was actually outside in the garage working on my car when I heard a sudden roar that sounded like an approaching train. There are no tracks within miles of my house so I knew immediately what it was and started running for the house. I was in the basement when everything blew apart.
When Dad and some other rescuers dug me out from under the debris, the house was gone, the garage was gone, my car was tumbled and crushed, and trees in a miles-long and very wide path were all broken off and pointed in the same direction. They called it a clear sky tornado back then. Now they call it a derecho. It is a wall of extreme winds that can flow out in front of severe thunderstorms. Sometimes it will be so far in front of the storm that the clouds will still be in the distance when it hits. With today’s weather radars and all that, they can even forecast them. But back then only Toby knew it was coming.
Some say that he’s a witch. Maybe the proper word would be wizard or warlock or whatever, but he is something. He is very old and very strange and very wise and according to many people, very magical. He has helped me a great deal as I have gone through life.
Last week when I visited him to bring him groceries, he said, “I have had a vision.” When I remained quiet he added, “I think you will learn a great deal from it.”
“What was it, Toby?” I asked as I sat down.
“It was a vision of heaven and hell,” he said.
He waited for a reaction from me, and when I just sat there he continued, “The first thing I saw was a young woman who was dragged up on stage at some big event that looked almost like a concert, but there were no bands on stage. The two security men who dragged her up there tied her spread-eagled to two posts and then suddenly began ripping off all of her clothing until she was standing naked and spread wide in front of everyone. She started screaming and crying out ‘Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!’”
He paused and looked at me in silence for a long time. Then he asked, “Was that heaven? Or was that hell?”
“It sounds like hell to me,” I said.
“For her, it was heaven,” he said with a smile. “She was a closet exhibitionist all of her life and when she was stripped naked in front of thousands of people, she had the most intense orgasm she had ever experienced.”
“Oh,” was all that I could say.
“The vision continued,” he said slowly. “A different young woman was dragged up on stage. She too was tied between the two posts. She too was stripped naked in front of the crowd. She too began screaming, ‘Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!’”
He looked at me and again asked, “Was that heaven or was that hell?”
“Heaven?” I answered. Obviously, I wasn’t very sure of my answer.
Toby laughed. “It was hell,” he said, still laughing. “She was a very timid and shy person in life who often had trouble even speaking to strangers. Being exposed in public like that to so many people was overwhelmingly destructive to her mind. She left the stage insane.”
“Why would you...” I started to ask, but he held up his hands and said, “Visions do not always make sense. Nor are they necessarily visions of real events. Their purpose is to teach us something.”
Then he smiled and said, “Let me continue. The big men rolled a strange square frame out onto the stage and then brought out a naked man. He was struggling vainly against them as they used leather straps to bind his hands to the top corners of the frame and then stretched out his feet and bound them to the bottom corners. A woman dressed completely in a very tight, very shiny, black leather catsuit came out onto the stage with a large, shiny black leather paddle in her hands. She said, ‘50 strokes’ and began swinging the paddle. The man screamed and thrashed with each stroke. When she was done, she walked back off the stage.”
He looked at me and said, “Was that heaven or hell?”
“Hell?” I said. I still wasn’t very sure of my answers.
“Of course,” Toby said with a rough laugh. “The man suffered terribly in that beating.”
“They brought out another frame,” he continued. “A man was already bound tightly to the corners of this frame. The woman with the paddle walked alongside the frame as it was rolled into place. She rubbed the black paddle across the man’s ass and he squirmed and screamed and tried to pull away. She turned to the audience and said, ‘100 strokes,’ then she began swinging that awful paddle. The man screamed and yelled with each stroke until he finally fell silent and unconscious.”
“Was that heaven or hell?”
“Definitely hell,” I answered. I was pretty sure about that answer.
Toby smiled at me. “Perhaps I should have said,” he explained, “that he ejaculated wildly just before he passed out. The man was a masochist in his own masochistic heaven.”
“But... but... but...” I sputtered and he once more held up his hands to silence me.
“Three men bring a woman out on stage. They are all holding onto her very tightly. Two of them let go of her so that they can take off their own clothes. Then they hold her while the third man takes off his clothes. After they are all naked, they tear the clothes off the woman while she cries and sobs. Then one of them lies down on the stage face-up. He already has a huge erection. The other two lift the woman into the air and spread her legs wide. Then they lower her down over the man’s prick. She groans loudly as he impales her.
“Then they force the woman to more or less lie over the man and one of the other men kneels between her legs and the legs of the man already on the stage. He slowly pushes into her ass from behind. She is calling out ‘No, no, no, no, no’ all the while he is entering her.”
“Once she is in place, the third man, lightly smacks her in the face with his huge erection. He does so again and she opens her mouth. He pushes his prick deep into her throat and calls out, ‘Begin!’ All three men begin thrusting violently into her cunt, ass, and mouth. They continue for several minutes until they all suddenly groan loudly and collapse on top of her as she has a tremendous orgasm.”
He looked over at me and raised his eyebrows. In answer to the unasked question, I said, “How can I know? It could be heaven or hell. It all depends on the person.”
He smiled broadly and said, “You see, it is possible to learn from a vision, even someone else’s.”
“I guess,” I answered.
“There was more to the vision,” he said. “And this is for you,” he added as he reached over and touched me in the center of my forehead. Suddenly I was standing with him... or a much younger version of him... in the middle of a great crowd.
“Watch,” the younger Toby said, pointing up at the stage, “this vision is intended for you.”
Five men walked out onto the stage. They were all me. Well, not exactly me. They were big and muscular and dressed in tight black leather pants and white t-shirts that stretched to cover their muscles, but their faces and the way they moved... and especially their eyes when they looked at me... was me. They were me!
Three more males came out on stage. They were naked and puny and looking around in fear... and they were also me!
“What!?” I exclaimed and Toby grabbed my arm hard above my elbow and whispered firmly, “Quiet! Watch! Learn!”
Three of the men sat down on chairs near the front of the stage. I hadn’t noticed the chairs before. I also hadn’t noticed that each of them had pulled his prick out from the front of his tight leather pants. Their pricks were enormous.
One of them looked angrily at the puniest me, pointed at his prick, and snarled, “Sit!”
The very puny me walked over to a jar of something sitting on the stage and scooped out some slimy goop. I guess it was lubricant. He reached back and pushed it between his almost-not-there ass cheeks. Then he pushed one finger into his ass and worked it in and out. After a minute or two he added a second finger and then a third.
I thought he was going to put all four fingers in his ass, but the muscular me on the chair pointed at his prick and yelled out, “Now!”
The puny me walked over and faced away from the man. Then he lowered himself carefully onto the muscular me’s massive prick. He winced and gasped as it slowly went into his ass.
One of the other seated muscular me’s pointed to his prick and to one of the remaining puny me’s. Then he snarled, “Mouth.”
The second puny me knelt in front of him and leaned it to take that massive prick into his mouth.
The third seated me just pointed to his prick and then at the last puny me. Puny me three hurried over and knelt between muscular me’s legs and pulled his massive member into his mouth.
Everyone just sat there for a few moments. The crowd was beginning to get restless and murmur and move around. They quieted when a naked female walked out onto the stage. I couldn’t believe it. She was also me! I don’t know how that is possible. She was a girl, with a girl’s body, but again, her face and the way she moved and her eyes when she looked over at me left no doubt that she was me.
One of the muscular me men standing around said, “You know what to do?”
She knelt between the first puny me’s legs, opened her mouth, and started to lean forward. But the other muscular me, who was evidently the leader of the group, said harshly, “Wait for it!”
Two massive hands sudden reached around the puny me that was impaled on the seated me’s prick. He pinched the puny me’s nipples between his thumb and forefinger and began twisting. The puny me cried out in pain and squirmed on the massive prick which impaled his ass, but his own much less formidable prick began to stiffen.
“Wait,” the other me said again, holding back the female me. Then after a few moments, he said, “Now,” and the female me leaned forward and took the small stiff prick into her mouth.
The crowd watched everything for several minutes, then the two standing muscular me men took their pricks out of their pants. They both walked over to the jar of lube and scooped out a very small amount. They then put the lube on the tip of their pricks. One of them centered himself behind the second puny me that was sucking a massive cock. The other one positioned himself behind the female me.
Once they were all in place the crowd began cheering and yelling wildly. The woman in the skin-tight, black leather catsuit had walked out on stage. She was carrying her long flexible black leather paddle. She walked over and stood alongside the third puny me and slowly dragged the paddle across his ass. The audience cheered when the puny me shuddered and the woman turned and smiled out at the crowd. I somehow expected her to be me. After all, everyone else on stage was me. But it wasn’t me. Instead it was my wife, Doreen. An electric thrill of some sort flashed through me as she looked me straight in the eyes and nodded slowly.
I turned to the old hermit, but he pointed back at the stage and said, “Watch; See; Learn.”
The muscular me who was twisting my– I mean the puny me’s– nipples firmly said, “Begin!” and both men plunged into the ass in front of them. I don’t know if the prick went into the female me’s ass or into her cunt. In either case she grunted loudly as it was slammed home. A very loud “Smack!” told me that Doreen’s– I mean the woman’s– paddle had smacked into the third puny me’s ass.
Now all eight me-people on stage were bouncing and bobbing and groaning and grunting. The Doreen person was flailing wildly with her whip. Some people in the crowd were loudly counting along with each loud “Splat! Smack!” Or “Thwack!”
It all seemed to go on for a long, long, time. The paddle count was at sixty-seven when the leader shouted out loudly, “Now!” and everyone on the stage– except the woman in the catsuit– went into a very intense orgasm. For the six males, it was there and gone, as male orgasms usually are. But for the female me, the orgasm seemed to keep exploding out of her in wave after wave of passion.
I turned to say something to Toby. I expected him to again tell me to be quiet and watch, but there was nothing to see. We were once again back in his old shack.
He looked at me and gave me a very soft smile. Then he said, “There is no shame. It is what is. It is part of understanding the vision.”
I didn’t understand what he meant until I felt the warm wetness in my pants. I had creamed myself watching the people on stage... watching me on stage.
“What does this mean?” I asked, and the old hermit laughed.
“It was your vision,” he said. “Only you can understand what your vision means to you. To understand your vision you have to ask yourself which one of those people on stage was really you.” He laughed again. “And you have to ask yourself, ‘Was this heaven? Or was this hell?’”
I thought about that the rest of the day and then all night. It was a very troubled night and I didn’t sleep much at all. The next day I went back to the old hermit’s shack, but it wasn’t there. The shack wasn’t there. The outhouse wasn’t there. The small corral where he kept his animals wasn’t there. Nothing was there. And it wasn’t like he had taken everything apart and moved. There was no trace of a foundation or fence or well or anything. The ground was hard-packed sandstone that looked like it hadn’t been disturbed for years... decades... centuries. It was as if he had never been there.
I noticed something scratched into the desert varnish on one of the boulders. There were two words with what looked like question marks after them. The first word was yáʼąąsh. The second was chʼį́įdiitah.
As I turned to walk back to my truck, I could swear that I heard the old hermit laughing behind me. I spun around and there he was, but it wasn’t the old Toby. It was the young Toby from the vision. He smiled at me and asked, “What did you learn?” Then he touched me in the center of my forehead.
I woke up in bed next to my wife. “I just had the strangest dream about the old hermit,” I said to her and she replied, “Who?”
“The old hermit,” I answered. “You know, Toby, the weird guy who lives out at the edge of the desert... the guy I take groceries out to every two weeks or so.”
She insisted there was no such person and that I was only dreaming. But when I checked our debit card statement, it was obvious that twice a month I bought extra groceries. While I was examining our debit and credit expenditures, I also discovered a purchase at an online erotic clothing store for a black leather catsuit in my wife’s size and another item, a “ long black leather paddle with leather-wrapped wooden handle.”
That night when we went to bed, I asked my wife about the catsuit. She said that she hadn’t ordered it. “But I had a dream about it,” she said thoughtfully. “We were at this big outdoor event and you were tied up naked on stage in a big naked X. I came out in a really tight, really revealing, black leather body suit. I had this big leather paddle and...”
I’m not sure why I did it, but I reached up and touched her in the middle of the forehead. She fell back against the pillow as if asleep.
I suddenly could clearly see in my mind those two words that I saw in the desert... or in my dream... or whatever. I grabbed my phone from its charger stand and tried to look them up. I had trouble entering them exactly as I saw them in my mind, but when I asked for a translation, the site said they were Navaho words and that one meant paradise and the other meant the place where sinners went after death.
As I put my phone back, my wife stirred next to me. She wasn’t awake. Her eyes weren’t open, and her voice was slurred in that way it is when she talks in her sleep. “Well lover-boy,” she said, “would it be heaven or hell?” Then she reached up and touched me in the middle of my forehead and...
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