This is my first time as a Soul Pilot.
Yes, I'm nervous.
I have been told to create a habitat, an island world that is just right to receive the claimants, lost souls indeed, disembodied spirits that inhabit dimensions in between or just off the true, and who can't be reached, so they say, by angels or by saints.
They need living help, it is said.
They need me.
How can that be?
I am only a person and nothing special, at that. I hardly make ends meet and I don't have any claim to fame.
But I made the habitat.
I stepped onto an undefined plane, like a desert at dawn, and I looked around and asked myself, if I was a lost soul, what would I like? What would I be drawn to?
The day revolved at speed and it was dusk now, purple and orange bands glorious at the horizon, and above the darkness of the infinite space, and some brightwhite stars twinkling up above.
I sighed and felt myself relax.
Now, for the ground. As I contemplate the ground, it becomes smoother, softer earth and then soft grass springs up, carpets the land, and slow hills rise in the mid distance. Somewhere nearby there is a brook for I can hear water running.
I call for the help of the kingdoms of all the living beings on Earth, and I feel them come and arise just the same; there are birds singing their evening songs, and small insects and other creatures adding their voices to this living night.
It is still and yet all is vibrant, full of expectation.
I want the souls to have a something so that they can find their way from whatever darkness they might dwell within, and so I make a fire, pure and golden bright, and it casts a wide glow; it sparks and carries tiny stars to the heavens.
Am I ready now?
I rub my hands together; my palms are sweaty and my heart beats high.
Are there monsters in the shadows?
Will I know what to do?
They said that I was ready.
I don't feel ready, but I put out the call nonetheless:
"I am here. Is there anybody out there?"
I listen into the night. From behind me, there is a sound, a rushing in the trees, someone's coming.
I walk around the fire so I am on the other side and in the glow, I see that there are two small figures coming from the shelter of the trees ... two children, dark of complexion, looking wild and worn, thin, their clothes all rags and coloured like the night, their hair long, unkempt, their faces dirty. One is smaller than the other but I cannot tell if they are boy or girl.
Out in the open, they drop to their hands and feet; they move like animals, fast movements, tightly coiled intent, extreme caution.
But I can see they are fascinated by the fire. They scent the air and they creep closer.
I am completely fascinated by the two children. All fear is now forgotten. So these are lost souls, and I am to help them - but how?
I focus on them more deeply still and the overriding sense I am receiving is that of hunger. A gnawing hunger so extreme, so painful, it even overrides the fear and terror of being here.
And then there is the memory of fire.
They have forgotten everything else, but they remember the fire.
I feel a connection there and I encourage it; I call to the fire and all who might help here, please come now, I can't do this by myself, I need help to help the children.
As I think this, and as the feelings rise within me, there is a shifting in the scene before me.
At first, vaguely as though viewed under water there seem to be shadows, shapes shifting, and they become stronger - there are many people sitting around this fire now, people who look like the children, in skins and furs, a family group of all ages.
They don't see me, they all look into the fire and they are humming softly, it isn't singing as we know it, it is a vibration that makes the hairs on my arms rise.
I look to the children and they too can see the other people; they are frozen in fear and confusion. They remember the fire but they have forgotten the people, and these are now like a barrier between the children, and the golden flames.
I look the group and there is one, an old woman with long white hair, wrapped in many furs, and she has a crude star painted on her forehead. She looks up, looks around and then she sees me.
Her eyes are milky white, she must be blind or nearly blind, but she gets up slowly, steps back from the circle and walks over to me in measured but clearly painful steps.
She halts in front of me and speaks. I don't understand her words so I bow to her and then point to where the children are crouching in the grass.
She sees them with her blind eyes and becomes very still.
Slowly, she raises her hands, palms open, towards the children. They stare at her and also become very still, very attentive. Then she slowly draws her hands back towards herself, and as if they were attached by invisible strings, the children get up from the grass and walk towards her.
They stand in front of her and stare up at her.
She places one hand each on their heads, and as she does this, a transformation occurs - a rippling goes through the children head to toe and they change from the wild things they were into children of these people, well fed and their hair in braids, and a star on their brows just the same. All three are smiling, and the old woman places a hand on the shoulders of the children, as they help her back to her place in the circle, and sit down next to her on either side as well.
A night bird calls loudly and startles me; I blink and when I look to the fire again, the people are all gone.