Chapter Nine: The Field Between the Worlds
Actually, they fell out of the sky, to be more exact.
And they hit the ground.
And it was dark.
"John? George? Paul? Are y'here?"
"Well, say who you are. I can't tell---my ears feel like they're stuffed with cotton and it's pitch black out here."
"I'm here. John."
"I'm here. George."
"And it's me, Ringo. Where's Paul?"
"Dunno, mate," came John's voice, close to Ringo's ear.
That gave Ringo an idea. "Put your hands out, mates," he said. "We'll know how far apart we are."
Three hands touched. One hand was clammy (Ringo's), one hand warm (George's), and one hand cold (John's).
"Do any of you have any fucking clue as to where we are?" John asked, his voice high and trembling with fear. "Mates, I don't mind telling you, but I'm scared. Where's Paul?!?"
John half-expected Paul's voice to come out of the smothering darkness to answer him, but it didn't.
"Hey---who am I touching?" he said unexpectedly. "I don't want to---um, grab any of you, so tell me who's this I've got."
"Not me." George's reply was a bit dreamy.
"NOT ME!!" Ringo's reply was definite.
John was rather amused, but touching who/whatever it was dampened his amusement.
"Are you sure it's not either of you?" John asked, voice whispery.
"Quite sure!" came Ringo's voice. "Hmmm," came George's voice.
"That don't sound right, mate," Ringo chuckled. "Save it for yer wife."
"Hmmm...what? You think I'm---" George spluttered.
"Wanking. Yes. I do."
John was again amused, but he brushed the thing again. This time, he touched warm skin. He held back a shudder, wondering how George and Ringo could laugh at a time---and in a place---like this.
He touched what felt like a nose and felt warm breath against his palm. Warm, slow, and steady breathing. He moved his hand upward, feeling thick, long hair. He smiled in relief. It was Paul and he was sound asleep.
He relaxed and let his eyes wander. There was nothing to see; it was pitch black in the place that they were in. He waved his hand in front of his face and smacked himself. He was surprised. He hadn't realized his hand was so close.
He wiggled his fingers and put his hand down, hitting George in the head.
"Damnit, John! Watch what you're doing!"
"Sorry. Can't see."
Now he could see the dark circle of George's head and reminded himself that he needed to be more careful---
See? Saw? George's head?
John's eyes slowly moved and he could just barely make out a light far in the distance.
"Lads," he said, "I think the sun's rising."
The sun rose quickly and was hidden in the clouds, which were now gray.
"Looks like rain," George said.
"Hmmm," John replied, not paying attention.
All of them having regained their sight, Ringo bent over Paul, putting a hand to his cheek.
"How is he, Ring?" John asked.
Ringo looked up, meeting John's troubled gaze.
"He feels a little cold, but it's probably because of how it is out here." Ringo shivered. "It is a bit chilly. Other than that, I think he's sleeping. Don't worry, John."
"I can't help it," John replied wearily. "I keep havin' this feeling that there's something really wrong with him---"
"Never known you to worry so much," Ringo said.
John managed a wan smile. "It's not just that I'm worried, Ring. There's just this bad feeling I have about all this. Look, I'll just put it this way: 'Somethin' fishy's goin' on here!'"
Ringo smiled and leaned over to look at Paul's face again. Maybe he had overlooked something; maybe John was right...
Paul's eyes were still closed and he was breathing softly. His left hand rested on his chest, fingers slightly curled. It looked very white, contrasting with the darkness of his clothes.
No, Ringo thought. It's not exactly white; it's kind of...translucent...
A horrible thought flitted through his mind and he grabbed Paul's hand, getting John's attention. It was alternately cold and warm.
Sleeping, John thought as he looked on. How ironic.
They were on what seemed an empty, barren plain. There was only one tree, which was about five hundred feet from them. They were in a field, almost like a meadow, except that it lacked tall grass, though it was soft looking. The field continued its smooth, rolling softness up to the tree and beyond the tree was a small dip, creating a small hill behind the tree.
If it hadn't been for the pretty sunrise (but John was positive that sunrises at home were far better), it could have been easily said that the place was sadly wanting in colour and life.
But there was something strange about the place as well. It somehow purified his mind so that he could think clearly. He didn't mind that, but he couldn't help reflecting, uncomfortably, that maybe sometime he wouldn't exactly want to think clearly.
"D'ye suppose this is part of the mission, then?" George asked.
John jumped up. "Bloody hell, George, you're right! Why didn't I think of that?" Clarity of thought, hmph!
"Well, you aren't exactly the brains in this outfit, John luv," George said with a wicked smile.
The Voices. Right on time.
"That's one of the Voices we were telling you about," George yelled over the howling wind.
The Aurora filled the sky---John was struck dumb by its beauty.
"Yeah. The Aurora."
**Not much time to talk, but we've got a couple things to explain to you chaps,** said the female Voice.
John looked a bit skeptical, but Ringo just nodded at him.
"This is all real, John."
With that, Ringo stood with George and looked towards the Aurora. John knelt down by Paul.
**I suppose you four---excuse me, three---have some questions for us?** It was the male's voice.
"Yes, we bloody well do!" John snapped, his head twisting to where he heard the Voice.
George and Ringo were startled. "John!" they whispered simultaneously.
**He has a right to be angry, loves. John, what is it?** The female's voice was very tender.
"Where are we and what is wrong with Paul?" John demanded.
**Like we said, think of this as an in between place. I wish I had some earthy way of explaining this---** She paused and they could almost hear her thinking. **Yes! Have any of you read C.S. Lewis' Narnia Chronicles?**
"Yes," John replied and was seconded by the other two.
**In the first book, Digory and Polly use the magic rings for the first time---and land in a wood---**
"The Wood Between the Worlds!" Ringo exclaimed. "Is that what this place is?"
**Yes...and no. This field serves as a resting-place, but it's between times, not worlds. This is where you'll come for rest when you're traveling between times.**
"Time traveling?" Ringo asked, thrilled.
**In a way, I suppose you can call it that. And yes, John,**---for John had attempted to speak---**time traveling is part of your mission.**
George asked John's other question: "But what's wrong with Paul?"
The female was silent. They didn't have to see her to know she was a little sad and uncomfortable.
"You also asked if the three of us had any questions," John reiterated. He suddenly felt very weary. His anger was gone. He said softly, "Please, just tell us the truth."
The strong wind calmed and he felt warm breath in his hair. He knew it was the female Voice.
**Oh, John,** she began, touched by how much he cared. **He is part of your mission. He is very ill---though he may seem to be better, he will relapse.**
A picture burned into their minds. It was of several doctors seated at a table, reviewing x-rays and all sorts of medical information. They were clearly marked, "McCartney, James Paul." John sucked in a sharp breath.
**The doctors don't know what is wrong with him,** she continued in a softer voice. **He will die in their care. All they will do is prolong his suffering---he is in a lot of pain, John. They will only put off the inevitable, but he will die within a couple months, possibly weeks.**
"But what is wrong with him? Can we help?"
**Time is unbalanced. That dream you and Paul had---those different roads are the different worlds in which you exist. Not you, exactly, but people that look like you, talk like you and think like you. The only difference between you and these doubles are your souls.**
"Great---so we've got to save the world, right?"
She didn't seem to notice John's sarcasm---and he was the only one who would voice any dissent. Ringo was too happy with the idea of time traveling and George thought that the Voices were angels from God. Not that John doubted that, but saving the world was a bit much. He was only a musician, for crying out loud!
**It's hard to explain---**
The male Voice spoke up. **Look, Mr. Lennon. I am going to explain this to you very simply. You will be sent to certain places in certain times. You will be instructed in what to do each time you change places/times. In each time you are in, you have to fix whatever in it that deviates from what you are now.
**Each of these times has to be exactly like your past and present. The doubles are the Might-Have-Beens. They represent what could have happened to you if you had made certain choices. You and your friends exist in what is known as Real Time. Real Time is simply that---the real time in which everything takes place. There is not a parallel dimension where another John Lennon is a car salesman or another Paul McCartney is a teacher; no parallel dimensions, but parallel times. Your doubles simply embody what you could have been. If you, Mr. Harrison, had been smarter with your electrician's apprentice job, you could have been an electrician and not a musician. But you did not make that choice to be smart in your work, which led to your being a musician.**
George cracked a grin at this point.
**Since you did not make that choice, your double of that choice---you have doubles for every life-changing choice you make---just hovers around that time. Your doubles are not real, since you did not make the choices that would make you the electrician, bohemian artist, teacher, hairdresser. But now---they have somehow become real and exist in their own world and their own time. Their materializing is interfering with your future. The Might-Have-Beens are trying to exist in Real Time, your time, but they won't do anything to you except change the part in your life that will make them real. There are many moments of death in your lives---if a Might-Have-Been is strong enough, it will overcome the others and you will become that Might-Have-Been. Except that it won't be a Might-Have-Been any longer. It will become a real choice that you made and it might just happen that the Might-Have-Been that happens will kill you.**
John shivered. He understood this surprisingly well.
**Mr. Lennon,** the male Voice said, **what if someone in the crowd during your concerts during your "bigger than Jesus" period had shot off a firecracker too close to you? Do you see what I mean? They can be others, too---they want to be real. If killing you is the only way they can be, then trust that they will, even if their becoming real is becoming you and if you die, they will too. But regardless of what they decide to do, your friend will die. Unless---**
"WHAT?!?" three voices shouted.
**---unless you fulfill your mission. Fixing time isn't all of it. You do remember the poem, do you not?**
"Yes," George replied, having memorized it.
**There is a girl you're going to meet. She'll help you with your mission---but a part of yours is, besides saving yourselves, you must save her as well. Setting time right will do a lot more for others than just you. She will be with you to avoid being killed by certain forces that want her dead---she is the way out for you if things mess up. These forces would rather not have had you become famous or looked up to. Your lives are already set in Real Time, but they want to change everything. The four of you and this girl have the past, present and future in your hands.**
"And that is why they want us---" George mused. "Yes, I see."
"Why us?" Ringo asked. "There are a lot more people who could do this---why us?"
**Because of your ties across time to this girl---and her ties to you. We have never seen them so strong. And it is your past, present, and future you're fighting for.**
"What about her? What is she fighting for?"
**Love. And her right to live.**
Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, etc.: Lissa Michelle Supler/Strawberry Sunshine
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