In which Hellmantle returns
to Srinagar and finds the first translations of the inscriptions from the black
Fish Monastery, near
Pakistani border, Kashmir Valley
night Hellmantle has a strange dream in which Jesus appears. This account was
discovered in the newly found source of information and is presented here for
the first time in the annals of the Norman's life history. It sheds light on
the effect the discovery has on our intrepid explorer and adventurer touched by
divine inspiration and unwavering belief in his purpose. Here is the original
record of his dream the night he recovered the lost scroll:
that nigh that Jesus opened His arms outward to me and from His chest opened
what appeared to be a refrigerator door spreading light that swallowed me up. I
remember that part because it was as if Jesus was watching all of my dreams
last night, so I turned to Him and with His opened arms a warm light washed
over me like a warm wind. I cannot recall all the details but I remember seeing
Jesus who had the same hair as me including the same type of beard. Then it felt
like my jaw had suddenly clicked into joint after 20 years of it being stuck
just outside the jaw socket. I took a deep breath that was pure satisfaction as
if I had feasted. I was proud as mustard.
In the morning Hellmantle
awoke to the sounds of the wind and the stream and the tumbling of the odd
falling rock. He reached a point of cold that caused him such shivering that he
thought he might dislocate a shoulder so he got up early, woke D'Aqs and they
climbed the ridge to see the sunrise.
The brightness coming from
behind the snowy peak affected the homogeneity of the blue horizon, announcing
the arrival of the life-giving star. The lone tree on the ridge felt the
morning burn first before the valley floor below that still remained in the
night's shadows. A line of light spread toward him on his right, sneaking up to
engulf him. It rose and paused, obscuring the clear line of the mountaintop.
Then the first rays appeared not as one but as many single rays, and then - in
a moment - it became thicker with light so that his face was covered. He turned
his eyes to avoid the onslaught of light as if the heart of God was exposed. A
pure goodness welled over him as if a hand of God reached into his soul and
flicked on a switch. He felt lit up from the inside as if he too was emitting a
"As if the eye of God is on
me," he said.
"And it brings warmth - immediate
heat - the one thing all living things need the most here," said his loyal
"God's presence is the
light, His voice is the heat; His message is in what I feel in my spirit when
touched by the light as if I've been healed."
Like a funnel, the sunrays
cut through the heatless valley air bridging night and day. The sun peeked over
the eastern mountain ridge replacing shadow with light, doubt with surety,
ignorance with enlightenment. Slivers of light snuck over the ridge creating a
waterfall of light that, for a moment, cascaded over frosted rock. A sunrise in
the Himalayas was an experience of timeless memories long forgotten. The first
moments of light brought back the realm of possibility, all that was good in
life and all that brought joy, as if a child again.
"Life is anew. The day is
fresh and is being given to me to live well again, a chance to make it the best
day ever. It is a gift! Life will not last forever."
"Only your character lasts
for eternity." D'Aqs was philosophical.
"This is the same
sunrise that was experienced by Jesus and Thomas and His flock who traveled
with Him to Kashmir. Jesus set out to find this heaven on earth before
His earthly days would come to an end. And this is it." Hellmantle was
speaking to God.
The birds that were still
around on the first day of March began to usher in a new day, awakening the
wolves and bears and tigers that lived wild in the area.
"If the locals believe Jesus
flies among them, does He still have an earthly presence? And if so, wouldn't
it be here?"
"He must have known that
Moses had been buried in the area so it had some important Old Testament
"I suppose it's fair to say
that Thomas, Jesus and Moses all witnessed the wonder of a new day sneaking
over the mountaintops up here in the bosom of the Himalayas, like a baptism of
light directly from God, a more powerful rite of passage than water on the head
by the hand of man." Hellmantle grabbed his beard and pulled in thought. "Up
here God chooses you for a moment. It is you and only you who are to be brought
out of hibernation and into life. It is your day. This mountain is real and
this wind is real. The rays of sun touch my skin like a soft carress by the
hand of Helios."
There, alone on the ridge,
they didn't want to leave the warming light. The others were still in the
shadows. D'Aqs, stunned and quiet, only wanted to sit and let the sun dry up
all the things he once regarded as problems.
Soon breakfast was ready at
the fire and the majesty of the sunrise was over. Hellmantle and D'Aqs had tea
as Abid prepared for the return to Srinagar.
"I can now understand why
the tribe of Gad chose the best land in the mountains. Something very safe up
settled Switzerland, right?"
did. Less diseases, safe from invasions, closer to God, clouds so close you can
touch them, crisp air. The full package."
"So what's the true story of
Joshua and Jude, the real names of Jesus and Thomas?" Hellmantle contemplative
"Perhaps it was Thomas'
doubting nature that brought his mission so far?"
"Perhaps a traveler once
told him that there existed a land where men call heaven on earth. Thomas
probably doubted it until a stranger told him the same thing while he ate
dinner in some café in Galilee. So, still wanting to doubt it, Thomas resolved
to go see for himself once and for all so he set off for this heaven on earth
and ended up here."
"Word was likely sent back to
Jerusalem that his mission was planted in the ancient land of India and that if
He was open to journeying to Kashmir that indeed He would find God's heaven on
"Right," Hellmantle agreed.
"Knowing of Thomas' doubting nature, and respecting him for it, the Master is
likely to have known of His twin brother's whereabouts and thus used Thomas'
judgment of the land to be accurate and just."
It was a rugged land and one
that kept them moving until they reached the lush fields in the lower part of
the Vale de Kashmir. There was flat land for miles, a lake and countless
streams from which to drink and fish. On horseback they arrived safely in