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  • Writer's pictureLee Weaver

The Fifth Dimension: The Hidden Portal - A Sequel

WE PREPARE FOR A SECOND LOOK

After we had narrowly escaped being entombed by the earthquake on our first exploration of the cave and the hidden kiva, we returned to our headquarters cabin to debrief.  I was reminded of a quote from Rod Serling, writer of the TV show, The Twilight Zone.  “There is a fifth dimension as vast as space and as timely as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of a man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge.  This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.”  


We all agreed our adventure seemed like something from the TV show, but there is no denying the existence of the cave, the frightening reality that we could have been buried forever by the earthquake; so many realities witnessed by all five of us.  The only thing of which we had no physical evidence was the encounter with Hank’s body: no pictures, no recording of Dr. Manning’s conversation with the ethereal Hank; nothing but the hearsay report of five men, all consistent. This was NOT our imagination!  


Gathered around our conference table, each of us, in turn, related our inner feelings and our outward experiences. Each of us was recorded by dual tape recorders as protection against one being compromised. Our stories differed only when we were not all present concurrently.  Those differences were noted and resolved. The tapes would be independently transcribed by competent typists when we returned to the city.


After completing our debriefing, we decided to take a last look at the site where we had entered the portal.  As expected, though we tramped out the area extensively, the specific site could not be determined due to the displacement and movement of boulders, rocks and detritus with the earthquake.  Thinking there was no more that could be done presently, we packed up all our gear and headed to the city.


IN ANOTHER DIMENSION

“Achak, the Council of Three requires your presence immediately!”

At the Kiva: “Achak, the Council has determined that you have acted very unwisely and failed in your Advancement Assignment, your task.  You failed in your conversion of the soul and body of the Outsider, the one they called Hank; and in that you compounded the failure by carelessly allowing the Outsiders to access the area we have claimed for ourselves.  Further, the Outsiders desecrated our Kiva and the Altar.   Then we had to entreat Earth God to close the portal. What do you think your punishment shall be?”  

  

“Great Masters, the Council of Three are the wisest men of all the Anasazi! My fate is in your hands.”  


“Achak, because of your youth the Council is softening the sentence. For twelve moons you may not leave our presence alone for the Outside.  On your Advancement Assignment you will go out but always and only in the company of a Senior. You are being assigned a new Advancement test.  For the same twelve moons you will be on probation. If during that time three witnesses present a charge against you, or if you fail to satisfactorily complete your Advancement you will be permanently banned from this tribe.  Your new Assignment is to replace the lost body and soul of the Outside person called Hank. It is said! Go now!”


AT THE GENERAL STORE IN RANKIN

Two men, looking scruffy but moving athletically, pull up at Mike’s General Store in an old rusty pickup.  As they enter Mike says “Welcome boys, it’s been a slow day. I’m glad to have some company. What can I help you with?” 

‘We’re needing some gas, and just browsing.’ 

“Don’t think I’ve seen you around these parts before. Are you just passing through?”  

‘Yeah, sorta. We’ve got a fishin’ camp on the Pecos.’  


Mike didn’t notice the eye contact between the two as if in silent communication or telepathy but went out and gassed up the truck.  As he reentered the store, he noticed a peculiar smell which made him think of incense. As he rang up the sale he couldn’t understand why he was beginning to feel woozy, but suddenly he sank to the floor. Quickly the two visitors put the “Closed” sign in the front window, and by telekinesis moved Mike’s unconscious body to the bed of the pickup and covered it with a tarp.  As they drove away they saw another car pull off the highway and start toward the store, then drive on, apparently seeing the Closed sign.

Within an hour a sheriff’s deputy stopped at the store. Knowing Mike’s schedule and habits, finding Mike gone even though his truck was still parked beside the store, the deputy immediately questioned the circumstances. Having called the sheriff for reinforcements, the deputies began an inch-by-inch search of the premises. Curiously, no footprints, no tire tracks, no fingerprints, nothing was found. The coffee pot was still warm. There were ashes in a saucer – the deputy made a mental note of this, as he knew Mike did not smoke but used chewing tobacco. The cash register still had plenty of money in it – there had been no robbery, nothing had been disturbed in the store. There was no sign of struggle or foul play. In Mike’s living space everything was in order. Everything about the entire site was in order – except, there was no Mike! Had he wandered off afoot and fallen? Had he unthinkingly left with someone in their vehicle? Though recognizing there was still a lot to investigate on site, as a precaution the Sheriff put out a bulletin to all the surrounding counties.  


Back at the office, the sheriff and deputies gathered to debrief. The deputy who had observed the ashes in a saucer remembered he had put them in a small plastic bag and pocketed the bag. Getting the bag out as he related this to the group, he gingerly opened it and sniffed gently – not deeply so as not to blow the ashes away. 


“Sheriff” he exclaimed! “These are not cigar or cigarette ashes – not tobacco at all but some sort of incense! I never knew of Mike burning incense! But check this - just a brief sniff of the cold ashes causes a weird feeling!”


THE COUNCIL OF THREE; THE KIVA 

“You have done well Achak, on the first event in your Advancement test. You selected an appropriate subject to replace Hank and accomplished the bringing in without causing a disturbance among the Outsiders, as you were doing it. With our supplications Earth God closed the old portal, leaving all the interior chambers intact. We are now using the alternative portal; you will prepare the subject you brought in the kiva where Hank was laid. Prepare well – the conversion of the one called Hank was almost complete at the time we were so unfortunately discovered. Leave no tracks!” 


Achak moved Mike’s living but unconscious body to the kiva and laid it on the altar. The Anasazi are well-steeped in the paranormal and in the knowledge of many drugs which Outsiders have no knowledge of: mind-altering drugs as well as those causing or enhancing physical effects. With educated use of certain drugs, the Anasazi have enhanced their use of telekinesis; have exponentially increased their perceptiveness; have perfected ways of extracting a man’s soul from his body, then using that soul in the body of one of their own, in effect creating a man with two souls and the ability to live two separate lives interchangeably. It was this ability which provided the opportunity to put one of their own into Mike’s position at the store, enabling them to keep in close contact with all that is going on in the community. 

Mike had been kept sedated so he could not leave the Kiva. Now Achak, along with a Senior to oversee his work, began introducing selected drugs into Mike’s system; some aromatic, some intravenously, some topical applications.    Achak set up his own station in the Kiva to have continuous treatment and observation of Mike.  Knowing the process cannot be rushed, Achak sorted out his preparations to maintain the proper sequence of applications and prepared to note the effects.  Effects would be slow at first, and subtle, but within a week some results began to be seen.  Mike’s countenance altered almost imperceptibly, but in a firmer way; his body appeared to become more muscular in place of fat. 


On the tenth day Mike’s ethereal spirit rose up and he spoke with Achak.  “What is going on? I really feel strange.”  


Achak explained to Mike that he has undergone a transformation in a process known only to the Anasazi; “you are now one of us.  You may assume either role, Outsider or Anasazi, but you will always be subject to the Anasazi way of life, and subject to our tribal laws and to the governance of the Council of Three.  At their direction you may assume a role as an Outsider, for special purposes or assignments, but in the end you will always be Anasazi.  But, if you go Outside you must act with extreme care. If you are discovered, if any suspicion arises from the duality of your nature, your soul will dissipate as would a puff of smoke and your body will die.”


THE STORY BEGINS TO UNFOLD

A few days later one of the sheriff’s deputies came by to check on the store that was supposedly closed.  Upon entering and seeing a new face, the deputy asked “where’s Mike? Are you minding the store for him?” 


‘Mike got a call from a relative back in Alabama, somebody’s got a serious medical condition and Mike wanted to be sure and see him now, in case he doesn’t survive. I’ve shopped here from time to time, shooting the breeze with Mike, and he asked me to come in, maybe a few days, maybe a week. I like to go up to Odessa sometimes in the evenings so would you check the place occasionally at night?’  


Deputy: “Yes, I can do that. By the way, what’s your name? I’ve not seen you around.”  

‘I’m Jimbo, you can usually find me somewhere down on the river, afishin’.


THE SHERIFF SHARES HIS CONCERNS

After our debriefing back at Iraan, I had returned to my home and office in Fort Worth.  I was sitting at my desk, staring out the window overlooking the cityscape, watching feathery clouds drift across the azure blue Texas sky, looking back over spelunking notes and considering a next step.  The phone rang; a quick glance showed the area code to be 432 which is the area of west Texas including Upton County, which is adjacent to Pecos County, the site of our cave adventure.


With my simple “Hello” the caller said “This is Sheriff Brown from Upton County, Texas. Have I reached the office of the Yates country cave explorers?” When I affirmed that, Sheriff Brown went on to tell me the reason for the call.


Sheriff Brown: “Your Pecos County sheriff and I are pretty good buddies, so I was pretty much up to date on your activities. Seems you had some pretty far out experiences and findings, some idea of extraordinary paranormal circumstances. Now don’t worry, the sheriff counseled me on the secrecy of the effort.  I’m calling you because of some events over at Rankin which raise some questions. 


“One of my deputies stopped one day at Mike’s General Store on the highway there at Rankin, and there was a Closed sign in the window but the door was not locked.  We searched all around and there was no sign of Mike.  It was not a robbery because money was still in the cash register, and nothing had been disturbed. But a couple days later, my deputy went by again and there was a stranger minding the store. Said he was a friend of Mike and was taking care of the store while Mike was gone to Alabama to check on a family member maybe not be living much longer.   I happen to know that is not so because Mike had told me on previous occasions all his kinfolk were gone. When the deputy asked the store-sitter’s name all he said was ‘I’m Jimbo. I’m usually just down on the river, fishin’.”


Until we can find Mike, and either prove or disprove “Jimbo’s” story there’s not a lot we can do about that, but things seem all mixed up. My deputies are pretty much well-aware of what’s going on in their sector, and number one, I think he would have known Mike’s plans, and, number two, how come he’s never before encountered Jimbo.  Seems unlikely, plus I’m sure Mike told me he has no living relatives. Then, to top that off, I’m hearing those cowboys over to Iraan are seeing some weird stuff. Seems to me you oughtta circle back around these parts and find out what’s going on. Then maybe you can tell me.”


Me (in Fort Worth): “Well, Sheriff, you’ve got a couple interesting points but not much to go on.  Tell you what let’s do. I’ve got a couple loose ends here at the office to tie up.  You contact Sheriff Jones over at Fort Stockton, the Iraan caves being in Pecos County makes him a party to this. If you’re both available, I’ll meet you in your office in Rankin next Monday about noon (hoping there’s somewhere to get lunch) and go over everything that’s new and some old and see if we can pick up a trail and where it leads us.  I’d be particularly interested if any of those cowboys know or suspect other caves in that area, which might be bigger than a rabbit hole.”


The following Monday as I arrived in Rankin, I stopped first at the general store and went in to get a Coke, as a plan to see “Jimbo” for myself. I remarked to him, “I come through here every now and then. Guy named Mike was running the store. Is he still around?”

Jimbo: “Yessir, he took a little trip to Alabama. Prob’ly be back next week.” 

Me: “You from around these parts? Don’t remember crossing trails with you.”

Jimbo: “I usually down on the river fishin’ or I’ll sometimes be in Odessa.”

Me: “Well, I’ll mosey on into town. Maybe I’ll see Mike next time.”


At the sheriff’s office in Rankin I quickly recapped the salient details from our first adventure, and the subject findings, which amounted to very little. The Upton County sheriff, Mr. Brown, was flabbergasted at the description of finding Hank’s body and how his spirit appeared to just dissipate as a puff of smoke. After our brief review, Sheriff Brown then described the events regarding Mike’s absence, and ‘Jimbo’ appearing in Mike’s store. All the Rankin deputies were adamant in their reports, that they had never seen Jimbo anywhere, and particularly not “down on the river, fish’n’”. Everyone wondered if he were a good enough friend to Mike, that Mike would go off and leave his store in the care of someone that seemed so dubious. The sheriff reiterated that Mike had told him once, that he had no living relatives.


Sheriff Jones from Pecos County reported that the cowboys were all rather reluctant to work that part of the ranch where we had started all this “adventure.” The cowboys were never able describe anything concrete, just said “sumthin ain’t right.” Occasionally one might say “it just felt like someone was there. It’s haunted.”


We all agreed that our finding the portal, and the sudden, violent ”closing” of the portal, raised a lot of unanswered questions; with Mike’s disappearance the unanswered (and perhaps unanswerable) questions were greatly magnified.  The three of us, the two county sheriffs and myself, felt that to pursue this mystery would necessitate finding another portal or entrance to the caves we knew existed. We considered two approaches to locating another portal or otherwise accessing caves in the area we first explored.  We could search the whole area, foot by foot, which could be quite time-consuming depending on the number of people doing the search; or flying over with magnetometers or ground-penetrating radar, which would be quite expensive, looking for underground anomalies.  Any approach will be an effort of significant magnitude to require considerably more funding than we could provide on our own. It was suggested that the next step would be to put together a brochure or packet of material to attract the interest of (1) an oil company that wants to know the underground geology this close to a major oil field, or (2) a National Geographic with similar interests as well as the possibilities of a subset of Anasazi, or (3) an anthropologists’ study of the interaction, mingling, and resettling, or dissolution, of Native American tribes.


We decided we would come back together the following week to share ideas on funding this venture.  I proposed to include Dr. Grant and Dr. Manning in all our efforts going forward. After drafting my notes of this meeting, I forwarded them to our two scientists, and we all met in Rankin the following Tuesday.  The first order of business was to ascertain that everyone was pretty much at the same place in understanding the problem and the plan as it presently stood.  


Dr. Manning thoroughly surprised us as he threw out a new proposition – a real curveball! He presented a new supposition about the geophysical events that occurred the day we had entered the cave and found Hank’s body.  He asked, “Gentlemen, when was the last time this area had a torrential downpouring of rain, yet that was quite limited in area? When have you experienced an earthquake that was so limited in scope?  When have you actually seen a soul separate from a body? Gentlemen, you might have me committed to an asylum, or kicked out of the Archeology society, but I say with no hesitation: these events are NOT normal to our physical world – these are PARANORMAL events!” 


TO BE CONTINUED

© Lee Weaver January 2024


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