Here is the next part of Purnima (Book 7 of Waldmeer)
Urgent and Confidential
It was late morning before there was enough sun, on this biting mid-June morning, for Merlyn to sit outside her small rented flat. She sat there doing nothing, thinking nothing, staring at the sea below. This spot was the only place, at her home, where she could see the sea. It was worth sitting in the cold – coat, beanie, scarf, gloves. Anyway, cold or not, being outside always seems to change our perspective. It changes things that can best do with a change. The wind dismantles the heaviness, the light reorients the mind, the greenness invigorates hope, and the entire majestic dynamic of nature reminds us of our insignificance and also of our absolute significance.
Eventually, Merlyn checked her emails and read one from Prana Community marked Urgent and Confidential.
Dear Prana Community members,
We regret to inform you that there has been a death in Prana Community, early this morning. A body was found in Ajna Temple, next to the linga. We believe it is local resident, Gabriel, who may be known to some of you. He lived in Waldmeer for many years, then was away for twenty years, and recently returned and started art classes at the Waldmeer Advancement Association. He has been residing in the home of another long-time Waldmeer resident, Ide.
As the cause of death is unknown and Gabriel was a healthy sixty-year-old with no known medical issues, the police have marked it as needing further investigation. A small, brown bottle was discovered next to his body. It has a label; Property of Floating Cave Monastery. The police have asked for anyone who knows anything about Floating Cave Monastery to come forward. No one here has heard of it.
We extend our deepest sympathies to all who knew Gabriel.Sincerely, Prana Community Board
The next day, in the Wurt Wurt Koort Tearooms:
“You aren’t going to the police, are you?” asked Merlyn of Rybert.
“Of course not,” said Rybert. “What did Gabriel say to you before you left him in Borderfirma?”
“He said he would stay awhile with Aristotle and Indra and then he would walk the day to Floating Cave Monastery. He said he liked it there and the monk was an old friend. He also said that one of his all-time favourite places was the salt pond of Floating Cave. Then he was going to walk another day to Odin’s cottage in the Great Valley. Aristotle told Gabriel that no one had been there since his mother’s death and so the forest had probably taken over the house. Gabriel said that it didn’t matter.”
After some time, Rybert said, “He must have worked out that it was Amira who told you about Purnima Passage being a gateway to Borderfirma. It was only one step from you to Prana Community, and one more to Ajna Temple.”
“He was strong and well,” said Merlyn, “and probably had another thirty or forty years left in him. How would he have died?”
“The monk has countless bottles of potions in the monastery,” said Rybert. “Who would know what they are for? Perhaps, Gabriel did know. I’m not accusing the monk of giving Gabriel the bottle, but maybe Gabriel took it.”
“The moon is still growing. It’s another week till Purnima Passage opens again,” said Merlyn. “How would he have got back here?”
“He might have used the frame; the one in Odin’s cottage,” said Rybert, “the one that brought him back to Waldmeer, a few months ago, and also brought Maria, Odin, and me back.”
“But why?” asked Merlyn. “I don’t get it. Gabriel could have had a life in Borderfirma. He could have had a life here on Earth.”
Rybert walked around the room, picking up a few things, and eventually said, as much to himself as to Merlyn, “That’s what happens with someone like Amira. When she first enters your life, you are so ignorant. You think you are smart. Smart enough to work out that she has something worth wanting. And you think that all you have to do is get her to love you. And wham – you’re in!”
Rybert laughed at the thought, laughed at the ignorance of it, and laughed because it was more pleasant to laugh than cry.
“Foolish,” he chastised. “Amira knows it is but lets you continue with your thoughts because she doesn’t want you to lose momentum. In the early stages, it is very connected to your attachment to her. As time goes along, you realise that it isn’t working how you thought. She doesn’t do what you want and, in fact, the whole thing seems to be causing more pain than anything else. In disgust, you decide to abandon ship. But, I’m afraid, it’s too late.”
“Too late to abandon ship?” asked Merlyn.
“No,” said Rybert. “You can abandon ship. But it doesn’t help. It’s too late. You are stuck in the middle. Can’t go backwards. Can’t go forwards. The middle is not an easy place to be.”
“Why can’t you go back?” asked Merlyn.
“Normal life isn’t enough anymore,” said Rybert. “It will never be enough again. You have crossed the line.”
“Well, why can’t you just keep going forwards?” asked Merlyn.
“In theory, you can,” said Rybert, “but it’s hard. It takes a lot of effort. Amira does her best to help, but we have to do it ourselves. We have to want it and understand it. So, she waits. She won’t go away. Once the process has started, she won’t abandon ship, no matter how many times we do.”
“I still don’t understand,” said Merlyn.
Rybert looked at Merlyn’s genuine face and said, “Gabriel lived with her too long.”
Merlyn realised that there was no point questioning Rybert any further on the matter and it was probably something that would become clearer to her with time.
However, she did ask one more, different question, “Where is Gabriel now?”
“That, I don’t know,” said Rybert.
“I went to the temple, yesterday afternoon, after reading the email,” said Merlyn.
“And?” asked Rybert.
“It’s not only Gabriel who has gone,” said Merlyn. “Amira has too.”
“Are you sure?” asked Rybert.
“Yes, I am,” said Merlyn. “I remember what the temple felt like before she was there. She has gone.”
“Then,” said Rybert, “Gabriel is wherever Amira is.”