By Dennis Siluk Ed.D.
(A Story out of Minnesota, and Iceland-2001)
I once heard, or read, "The dead are dead, leave them be." Indeed I thought, I shall, but how dead can dead men be, I would learn soon (and they all laughed as I said that). My name is Jonathan Fable.
I saw what I saw, down they marched down a low path in a silent procession to the sea, these ghostly figures with stern like faces, the spirits of earth, air and water, old soldiers marching; amazed I was to see through the fog like mist, see these phantom ghosts, this evening along the Icelandic coast, I had come here from Minnesota, to visit, a weekend, come by myself to get away from my tenants, I had twenty-one tenants I rented my houses to, twenty-one families that is, and I often took a long weekend, or a short one and few here and there, Iceland, was my selection this time, outside of its capitol city Reykjavik; of which I was some forty miles out, and on a cliff; at this point I was walking down this path to the sea with them-the dead!
I could see these shapes, by way of the moonlit sea, the rocks and cliffs all about had a gleam to it; they had grim eyes, with no blinking or lids, ghosts with an uncommon gray to them, lamp lit crimson eyes. Long stringy hair, some naked, some with old garments on, some almost demonic like, all primitive looking, some even with primate tails, so it seemed, akin to slaves, Moors, Crusaders (from the 11th Century), barbarians, even some World War One soldiers, some Saxons, Romans and Greeks; all marching lordly to the sea, as if they had been lost, and now found.
Someone was leading them, in this long thin line that stretched out for several hundred feet, perhaps two to three hundred of them. The figure leading them looked physical, I saw him turn about a few times, briefly saw him; a man perhaps of one of the past great wars, he looked warrior like. I myself was a war veteran, Vietnam was my war. It all was so very strange, why could I see them? I was aghast. I told myself: get out of here before I get caught in some kind of enmeshed in something I'd regret.
The person in charge, who did the principal leading, again looked back at me, as if he was trying to see if I was following him and therefore could see the dead, but for just what reasons I was not sure, as a result, he stopped the group, and I stopped. His eyes opened wide, as if surprised, as if he was astounded I could see these so called wandering spirits. Then he started back up again. A few of them watched me; but really paid me little attention, and simply continued on their way.
I couldn't stop, I found myself walking with the dead, conceivably out of intrigue, and to a certain degree, out of some kind of magical force, some numb and hypnotic force, I felt I was being lead. A wondrous uncertainty for sure, and so I hurried along behind this long line, this procession of ghostly spirits, sea bound.
My feet got weaker and my knees heavy the closer we got to the sea. Then I started to hear voices in my head, as if the leader was talking to me, paranormally that is-, the jest of it was, under the sea there was a porthole for lost souls on earth I think it was their spirits, or the residue of their spirits, lost and now found, to my understanding, so I'd find out later, some had been lost for centuries, and had found their way to this location, one of several throughout the world. And evidently, the scout, or scrutinizer in front was leading them to their fate, the door to their next beyond, their new abode renewed existence.
Amongst themselves the spirits, these two-hundred marching onward, talked in diabolical whispers, social talk to a certain degree, in all sorts of languages. The closer I got to the sea, the dimmer they became. As they reached the sea, evening turned into twilight, and twilight into dark-night.
There was a chill to the night air, it seeped deep into my bones and it was summer I'll have you know, hot nights normally, but with all these walking dead, I felt like I was in an ice-box, then there was a stillness that prevailed on the shore, as we all stood stone-still looking out into its endless waters.
The water receded, and the spirits quickly walked into the sea, and in a moment's time, sank into the waters, as the current rebound. Next I noticed the hissing water bubbled, souls murmuring, their voices echoed and gave vibrations into the air fill the night atmosphere with a hauntingness, then I figured they must had found the door, for there prevailed a rock hard-silence all about me, as I stood in the water up to my knees, the tide out, yet coming in fast.
The tide then came upon me like a black vulture, unrepentant, swept me off my feet, losing my balance, and falling into the sea, as it covered, caught my breath, and found my feet and stood erect, the tide moved out again, but when I went to move, I found myself buried up to my neck in sand, and knowing the tide would soon reverse itself, come back in, and beside me, was that man peering over me, the very man that was foremost with the dead, the very one leading them, to their porthole location, and when he spoke, his voice was that very voice that I heard in my head, the one that hummed and pulled me, as if it was stretching me out, to see if I had this capability to see the dead, a voice you don't really hear, a voice that is of a different dimension:
"You will be perfect," he said to me, as if he had designs on my future. Then he added, "You can see the dead, there are not many of us that can, you are one of the few...!"
I was confused with all these happenings, to say the least; my mind in a chaotic whirl. It was almost impossible to believe this man, whom said he was walking with the dead, but seeing is believing, and I not only saw it, I accompanied him, and them, to their porthole of entry in some location a ways out into the sea, from this point of land on earth, to join the dead beyond, those who had stayed behind for whatever reasons. I repeat, I had seen it with my own eyes, and so what could I say. I even thought for a moment, this was all a dream (I did suffer often from the lack of sufficient sleep but this was not the case at hand), and then I got thinking, what next, why was he not going to unbury me? I mean I could hear the tide coming in. What did he want with me beyond conversation?
"You are my replacement." He said, humorously, but with a serious enough face to make me believe he meant what he said. Then he said, "If you agree, I will pull you out of the sand, if not, you will join the next group and not have to lead them, rather you will be one of them."
What could I do, I mean, I was at his mercy, and I agreed, and thought for a moment, I had to sign something in blood, but it wasn't so, he said, "Your word is good, it is as good as your soul, and your soul I have seen, is good. If you faultier on this duty, I will come to find you, seek you out, and rebury you where I found you."
Then like a worm stuck in a hole, he pulled me out easily, and I found myself standing next to him.
He then told me, he had been walking with the dead for over a hundred and fifty-years, and before him, there was another fellow, and before him another, all the way back to the days of the Vikings and then some.
I said nothing more for a few minutes, letting him explain to me what he felt he had to, watching the blaze in his eyes, as if he was tired of the job, and wanted to get on with life elsewhere. I assumed he must had been close to 200-years old by the way he was talking. He told me in essence, I would have to remain out here, find a job in the city, and come here in the nights, that I had to be in this spot, to greet the lost souls, and to lead them nightly to their porthole in the sea. This would be my duty until I found a replacement.
"You have a gift," he concluded, adding, "and you will have to use it for the next hundred years or so, walking the dead, how else will they find their way to the porthole in the sea?"
To be frank, I didn't really care, I wanted to get on out of there, and started to walk away.
"Wait a minute," he said, "if you leave, I will have to put you back where I dug you up! I only saved you to take my place."
I didn't quite know what I was thinking at that very moment, I guess I'd start next year, or after I took care of things back in Minnesota, but he wanted me at this very moment to take charge.
Revenge is sweet I thought, now he threatens me, but I PAID HIM NO HEED, AND IN A FLASH, something hit me from behind, on the head, when I woke up, I was back into my cramped quarters in the sand, and the tide was coming, I mean coming mighty fast, and it came, I could hear it, and the old man standing over me like a prison guard, smirk on his face.
"That is really all I remember folks, because when I woke up, I was down here with you, standing at this porthole, waiting, he didn't believe me that I would do what I said I would do, and I do not think I would have done what he wanted me to do to be quite honest."
Then all the newly arrivals, started laughing over my story all the dead, that surrounded me in the deep of the sea here, as we waited for the porthole to open, we all laughed together as the old man-brought more folks down, load after load.
Written 4-18-2007/edited 4-21-2007, reedited 8-2008.
See Dennis' web site: http://dennissiluk.tripod.com/