Of all the dreams that he could steal, he came back trying to steal his own, which was a crazy notion.
Nini woke up. He opened his eyes thinking about the wonderful night he spent with her. He jumped. He was alone. She was no longer there. He looked around the cabin and couldn’t see her. He froze in shock. He recognized the cabin. It was his cabin, the one from his dream. But what was this woman doing there? In his dream, he was with a child, not a woman. He got out of bed and ran out of the cabin still in disbelief. He didn’t know who to look for—a woman or little girl? Where was she? he wondered.
Then, he heard a voice behind his back.
“Nini, I got you some flowers. Look!”
He turned and froze again. It was her voice. It was her curly hair, her eyes, and the same white linen shirt she had been wearing all of the time. Now, it was down to the ground covering her feet. She wasn’t the grown up woman he spent the night with. She was a small three year-old girl. It was his Nana, his little flower child from his dream. How had that happened? Something went terribly wrong, he thought.
“Look, Nini. I got them for you. They are called esteva. I have seven of them. Before I picked them, I ask each one for permission. I told them I want them for you. Before I picked them I asked them for forgiveness, just as you told me to do. Aren’t they beautiful?” The little girl extended her hand up towards Nini offering him flowers.
He just stood there staring at her and trying to understand what happened. Yes, his heart was pounding from the happiness of being back in his dream, but everything was still blurry. He was confused. This little girl was a girl he had found in his dream when she was just a baby. He had cared for her ever since. Through this child he discovered the meaning of absolute love liberated from all passions, all conditions—love for every living creature, love for nature, and love for the whole of creation. In all the time that he spent refusing to get back to his own dream and jumping from one dream to another dream that were not his, she must have grown into this beautiful woman while waiting for his return. Of all the dreams that he could steal, he came back trying to steal his own, which was a crazy notion. Now, when he was back to himself, time must have turned back, leaving him where he has left off before. There is no other explanation, he thought. And he didn’t mind that she wasn’t the young woman from last night anymore. After all, love between him and Nana was not about bodily passions, since she was just a child when he knew her in the material world. It was a completely different love—divine love that only god and a small innocent child could give. Sometimes he truly believed that Nana was a goddess because this little girl taught him what true love was. He was back in his dream. He was happy again.
He dropped down on his knees and started crying. The little girl looked at him with wonder. She started wiping his tears with her small hand.
“Nini, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?” Little Nana asked.
“Oh, I was just scared for a moment when I didn’t see you in the cabin. It’s nothing,” Nini answered.
“Nini, Nini, don’t worry. Nothing could happen to me. You know that. I am protected. Did you forget? You told me that.”
“Yes, I remember now,” Nini said, trying to bring himself back to normal. He hugged the little girl. If she only knew how happy he was to be back in his dream—in their dream. He was such a fool for leaving her alone for so long, but I will never leave her again, never, he thought.
“Let’s go get some food and make breakfast, Nana,” Nini said and he stood up, holding the little girl’s hand.
“Yes, but please only vegetables and fruits. And when you pick them, don’t rush. You always rush. Ask them first for permission and then for forgiveness for picking them. And only after that, pick them. And no animals and no fish from the lake—they are my friends. I promised them that they are safe with me.”
Nini was listening to his little girl and smiling. Her heart was precious and her soul was divine. There was so much love in her for everything around and she was just three years old. She had so much compassion in her. He wished that all human souls could be like that. He loved her so much for who she was.
“But I love fish, Nana. I have to eat fish sometimes.”
“No. No fish,” she said again.
Nini smiled and said, “Good. You win.”
“Of course I win. I always win. I am smart,” Nana answered and started laughing. They were laughing together. Yes, she was smart. As a matter of fact, he had always been amazed with the mind of this little girl.
They were walking down the path from the woods leading towards the lake in the middle of the garden. Nini was still in shock from what happened that morning, but he was truly happy to be back where he belonged.
Suddenly, three large figures appeared in front of them and blocked the passageway. They were humanlike but much bigger and with large white wings. The figure in the middle was even taller than other two and had a mark on his forehead in a shape of triangle.
Angels, Nini thought. And the one in the middle must be an archangel. But what were they doing here, in the middle of their dream? And why had they blocked their path?
The archangel addressed Nini, “Nini, you have to go with us.”
“But why?” Nini asked. “I am in my dream. I am permanent resident of the world of dreams. And I can’t leave my little girl alone. Not anymore”.
The archangel told him again in a softer but still demanding voice,
“I am sorry, Nini. We are just doing our duty and you must go with us. Don’t worry about the girl. She will be safe here in the garden. I give you my word.”
“I am sorry, Nini. We are just doing our duty and you must go with us. Don’t worry about the girl. She will be safe here in the garden. I give you my word.”
“Go with the angels Nini,” little Nana said. “Angels are good. They will not harm you. You are under my protection. And I will be here waiting for you.”
The angels looked at the little girl and smiled. The archangel lowered his wing and touched her hair. Then he took the mark off his forehead and placed it on Nana’s chest. “This is a gift for you.” Then he turned to Nini, “Here you have a smart little girl, Nini. You should listen to her. Let’s go. We have to go now.”
Nini looked at Nana. He couldn’t believe that they would be separated again. He still didn’t know what was happening. Everything was so confusing that morning. “I will be back fast, Nana. Go play with your little friends at the lake,” he said. The angels took him away.
We were watching his dream, but not his soul.
AT THE HIGH COUNCIL
Nini was sitting behind the heavy desk made completely out of black glass placed in the middle of the strange space that didn’t have walls or a ceiling. Archangel Michael was sitting next to him on his right side. Behind them, two other angels were standing as guards. In front of the desk were three marble steps leading to the podium with nine chairs made from some type of purple crystal. They were aligned in a single row facing the desk with a chair in the middle bigger than those on the sides. On the ground level, on the right side of the podium, was a chair made out of gold.
Nini couldn’t see anybody, but in each of the chairs some kind of light was glowing and he felt the presence of entities in the room. If I can feel them, but can't see them, they have to be gods, Nini thought. But why was he there? He still didn’t know.
He heard a voice coming from the large crystal chair in the middle: “Nini, you are in front of the High Council of Gods, rulers of all worlds and universes, rulers of all creation, visible and invisible. I am Anu, chief of gods and first among the equal. You are here to answer for the crimes you committed in the world of dreams. Normally, these proceedings wouldn’t happen here. As a human soul, you are subject to the will of Yahweh, the principal god of the human kind. During your lifetime on Earth you were a believer in him and the follower of his son, the prophet Jesus. But since your crimes were committed in the world of dreams, it falls into the jurisdiction of the High Council to decide your destiny. It is needless to say that you are the first human soul ever appearing in front of the High Council. So, to allow for the fairness of the process and that you can understand the proceedings, we will conduct this in the form of the human court.”
“Here,“ god Anu continued. “On the left side of our council is seated Yahweh, your principal god, who will act as prosecutor. It is his will and it is within his rights to do so. Your counselor, defending you and talking on your behalf will be Archangel Michael. That was my decision based on the fact that he, as an immortal living being from the line of angels, from whose seeds the human race was created, will be most qualified to explain and defend your behavior. The High Council, nine of us, will come up with a unanimous decision at the end of these proceedings that will decide your destiny. Is this clear to you, Nini?”
Nini wanted to answer, but he was unable to speak. He was opening his mouth, but no sound would come out. He didn’t know what was happening. He was scared and confused. Archangel Michael addressed god Anu, “Your Most High Presence, Nini understands. We can proceed.”
“Very well,”Anu said. “My Almighty Brother, god Yahweh, will present the charges.”
“Your Most High Presence, my Honorable Brothers and Sisters of the High Council” Yahweh started “here we have the human soul that was admitted in the world of dreams, and there committed most grievous and despicable crimes of stealing other souls’ dreams, thereby causing suffering to those souls inconceivable in the world of dreams. The list and details of all the crimes I have already submitted to you. Since the beginning of time, when His Most High Presence God Anu created the world of dreams, something like that never happened. Just how deviant this human soul became could be witnessed by the fact that at the end of his crime spree he even tried to enter his own dream as a thief. For such crimes, this human soul deserves nothing less but to be deleted forever from the Book of life and more than that—I will make sure that his earthly presence that he already completed, will be deleted as if he never existed. He deserves nothing less! More so, if we don’t punish this human soul in this manner, it will be a big embarrassment for all of us in the eyes of the souls residing justly in the world of dreams. I have spoken.”
“Very well,” Anu said. “Do any of the Honorable Brothers or Sisters have to say or ask anything before I give word to the counselor?”
“I have a comment, Your Most High Presence,” goddess Nabia said. “From the material submitted to us, I could see that this soul came to the world of dreams with a very particular dream of absolute love. It is a divine concept, strange to humans and hard for them to comprehend. As a follower of the Yahweh, the only place he could get the ideas of the absolute love was in the teachings of Jesus Christ, son of Yahweh. So whatever happened to him upon final arrival in the world of dreams that made him become a thief of dreams, must have been connected with his earthly beliefs. I don’t care much about what will happen to this human soul, but I am offended by the statement of Honorable Brother Yahweh saying that not deleting this soul would be an embarrassment for all of us. It would be an embarrassment only to him, for tempting humans to try to comprehend such a precious concept.”
“My Honorable Sister Nabia,”Yahweh said. All of my believers on the earth were promised salvation through the acceptance of blood from the sacrifice of my son, Jesus Christ, who died for their sins on the cross. His teachings about love are not of any consequence here.”
“So now, on the example of this poor soul, you are denying your own son’s teachings, if I understand correctly?” Nabia asked.
Yahweh wanted to answer, but Anu stopped him. “My Brothers and Sisters, this is not the place nor the time for a quarrel. Let’s see what our Counselor has to say. Archangel Michael, give us your word.”
“Your Most High Presence, Most Honorable members of the High Council, Almighty Yahweh,” Archangel stood up and started. “Here we have Nini, poor human soul that was so pure and righteous during its earthly life, that it gained access to the world of dreams only after one circle of life. That in itself is rare and commendable. Even during his earthly life, he was so often a visitor to the world of dreams that everybody thought he was a resident already. The same is happening now to his female counterpart, who is still in the world of living, regularly visiting the world of dreams. Yes, I mention his female counterpart. That is where the cause of all of Nini’s problems began. We know that his dream was of absolute love, which is a divine concept conditioned by the duality of the souls of gods. In human conditions, where souls don’t have that ability, absolute love could be realized only through the unification of two identical souls, one male and the other female, into one. It is almost impossible to happen, but it did to Nini. In the world of dreams, Nini was fortunate to find his counterpart, even during his earthy existence. In his dream, she was a three year old girl. He was twenty-three. Of course, this was acceptable because the absolute love of souls has nothing to do with physical passions of humans, but there was a problem. Both of them were still living in the material world on Earth and getting older there. Nini always felt a presence of his female counterpart on the earth. Close to the end of his life, his longing became so strong, that he started searching for her in order to unite in the absolute love on the earthly level. Of course, at the time, that would be possible, because she grew up into a mature and beautiful woman. At one point, he thought he had found her, but it was a mistake. It wasn’t her. It left him hurt and disappointed and then, shortly after, he died and came to the world of dreams.”
“Here, in the world of dreams,” Archangel continued, “Everybody was impressed by the human souls who are able to achieve absolute love. It was the example of the success and greatness of our creation. Nevertheless, god Anu was still cautious about the progress of the human souls, so he ordered a wall to be built around this dream and angels to be posted as guards, so it could be protected and observed for the benefit of the future development of human souls. So we angels were there, waiting for Nini to show up in his dream. His female counterpart was still visiting regularly, but Nini never came. He was hurt, and upon arrival to the world of dreams, he denied himself to dream the only dream that he had in his soul. By doing that his soul became empty. And nobody noticed that. We were watching his dream, but not his soul. His empty soul started jumping from dream to dream, never realizing its true identity, never truly happy—just making disturbance and damage. An empty soul, my Honorable Gods, can’t be responsible for its actions—we all know that.
At this point, Archangel paused, and then he said, “It was only by accident or when drawn to his own dream, we would never know that he jumped over the wall of the garden, trying to steal his own dream, not realizing what was he doing, that he got noticed by my angels, and soon after he was apprehended. In the meantime, after uniting with his female counterpart, his dream took over his soul again, and he was again Nini, that pure human soul that everybody respected in the world of dreams.”
Archangel paused again before continuing, “So, now, my Honorable and Almighty Rulers, I ask you: Who is responsible for what happened? Is it Nini, for trying to find the absolute love in the material world? Is it god Yahweh, for permitting his son Jesus to teach humans about love? Is it Angels, for not noticing an empty and hurt soul arriving into the world of dreams? Is it the gods, for allowing this experiment in divine love between human souls to happen in the world of dreams? I apologize for taking liberty to say this, but we all have a part in the responsibility for what happened to Nini—all of us. So, the only solution now is to let him go back to his dream and we may still see the success of this story. What happened was a mistake. We may learn from it for the benefit of the future of human souls and not punish one human soul that made a realization of the concept of absolute love that had been available and possible only to gods. God Yahweh wants this soul deleted and I ask you, if we do so, what will happen to its female counterpart? She is still among the living, as pure and righteous as Nini was. She is still visiting the world of dreams and dreaming the same dream. Right now, she is waiting for Nini’s return to their garden. Does she deserve to be punished with eternal loneliness, just because she dare to dream of the absolute love? I have spoken,“ Archangel said and sat down.
“Well, that was a lengthy discourse, Counselor,” Anu said. “We appreciate your diligence. Do any of the members of the Council have a question or a comment before we retire to make our decision?”
“I do.” Goddess Nabia asked for a word again. “I just wanted to thank Archangel Michael for spreading more light on this unfortunate happening. It will certainly aid in making up my mind.”
“We will now retire to make our decision,” god Anu said, and the glow of the lights in the nine chairs disappeared. The gods left.
“But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings, saith the LORD: and I will kindle a fire in the forest thereof, and it shall devour all things round about it.” (Jeremiah 21:14)
Nini was looking at Archangel, while still in disbelief that this was happening to him. He had a remembrance of his misdoings before coming back to his dream, but he couldn’t comprehend the depth of his guilt, especially not now when he was finally back in his dream. He didn’t care about his destiny anymore. All he cared about was Nana. What will happen to Nana?
He felt the cold stare and presence of the god Yahweh. As a prosecutor, he could not participate in the council deliberations. He wants me deleted. How ironic it is, Nini was thinking, that for all of my earthly life I believed in this god who now wants to destroy me. To whom can I pray to now?
Nini didn’t know how much time had passed, but the glow of the lights suddenly returned to all chairs. The High Council was back.
“Nini,” he heard the voice of the god Anu. “We have made our decision. Your soul will not be deleted. We couldn’t come to the unanimous decision on that proposal. One of the members of the Council was too stubborn to budge.”
Archangel Michael smiled. He knew it was goddess Nabia.
“But, also,” god Anu continued, “You will not return to your dream either. You will have to pay for your crimes first. So, your soul will be send back to Earth, in the body of the living man, and there you will suffer to live through all your crimes again, each one of them. And if you survive them and do not end up dead or in jail for life, you will be able to search again for your counterpart in the world of living. If you find her and she accepts you there, your soul will be pure again. You will be allowed to return together with her to the world of dreams and your souls may live on in your dream forever. This is our decision. Counselor, do you have anything to say on behalf of this human soul before I close proceedings?”
Archangel stood up. “Your Most High Presence, Honorable members of the High Council, this is not a just decision. Returning Nini to Earth to go through all his crimes again in the material world would be a death sentence for him. He would never survive it. The world of living is not a dream world. Those who would want to revenge and punishment him for his crimes would multiply in numbers with each crime and he would not have a place to hide or a person to turn to for help. God Yahweh certainly won’t help him. And even if, by some luck, he survives, his memory would be completely deleted by entering into another human body, so he would never remember his dream. And even if he does remember and finds his female counterpart, his soul would be so tainted with his crimes, that it is a question of whether or not she would ever recognize him and accept him. As a matter of fact, we can’t even be sure if she would recognize the true Nini or the thief who tried to steal her dream. And lastly, where would be the point of time that Nini would be returned to? Who would he find? If we send him back in time, he would have the chance to find his counterpart as a child or as a woman. But if we send him into present time, by the time he pays for all his crimes, his female counterpart may depart the world of the living or she may be very old. With all of those obstacles, your Most High Presence, this is a death sentence for Nini.”
“Yes, we thought about the memory loss problem,” god Anu said. “That question was raised by Honorable goddess Nabia too. And we have a solution. If Nini survives suffering through all of his crimes on Earth, you will, Counselor, at that moment, be allowed to visit Nini on Earth and remind him of his true nature. That would enable him to sense his female counterpart and to search for her. When and if he finds her, the question of her recognizing him and accepting him is not in our domain. It is between two human souls. After all, we are talking here all day about love, aren’t we? And the last one, the question of the time lapse, we will have to leave it to a chance. For absolute love, there should not be time limits. It is eternal.”
“With this our proceedings are closed,” god Anu said.
Moments after, Nini remained alone in the dark.
Over six feet-tall, slim, dressed in skinny Levi’s jeans and slim fit Massimo Dutti white cotton shirt, Michael Nicolau would look much younger than fifty if not for his short cut grey beard, mustache and hair. He lost lots of hair in his early age and what was left, he kept very short. For his age, his face was pretty smooth with few wrinkles that would intensify only when he was very tired. He was very agile and kept in shape with long walks. With deep, dark brown eyes and a mystic smile, he was a charmer who knew how to fit in, in any group and participate in any conversation, particularly when it came to women.
“Mister Nicolau, mister Nicolau—”
Michael opened up his eyes. There was a stewardess touching his shoulder while saying, “Mister Nicolau, we are about to land in Lisbon. Please, fasten your seatbelt and put your seat in the upright position.”
Michael looked at his watch. The plane was arriving in Lisbon earlier than he had expected. He hoped that Carlos was already waiting for him there.
( From the WEEKEND IN FARO, Chapters Four, Five, and Sixth – By Stevan V. Nikolic – unedited version)