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Crickets. Humidity. The smell of long-damp soil. No breeze, not a fucking wisp of a break from the summer heat. The stars overhead seemed to melt in the sky, running down to the horizon, and stream towards them in a great obnoxious sweaty glob of pure incandescent energy. He was always appreciative of her drug connections for moments like this.

They were sitting on the stone next to the altar. Embrioled in a game of "who moves first loses", they began earlier on the altar, side by side, but his touch of only his arm on her was not enough for. As the ensuing rounds of the game unfolded, she lay a leg on him, then sat on his middle, until he could take no more. Where they lay now, on the stone floor, near the altar, her on his lap anew, was where he had tossed her. But she held firm, she had always held firm, and she pulled him down with her. Too hot was his complaint, but she knew he could be cajoled into raising his....... level of temperature temperment. Eyes locked, she surprised him with a question, out of the blue.

"How will we end?"

Perplexed, he asked her to better define her question.
"No," she held firm, of course, "Just answer, how will we end?"

Sounding as if her were a teacher, scolding a penitent child, in fire and brimstone manner, he stated for all the world to know, and she knew it was coming......End? There is no end! Where we are, we have been, and will be again. Where we have yet to go, we have alrea.....mmmpph!
Her mouth on his killed the speech: she had heard it before many times. Many times. His "It's Groundhog Day!" approach to her questions befuddled her sometimes. The time now was for something other than words. So she led the way, like any good guide would. Sometimes he thought the reason she "guided" so well, was the fact that she thought for years as a child she would eventually get a penis of her own, without some guy attached to it, but it attached to her!!

Later..... he asked her the point of her question asked earlier. She could not recall what it was, and it no longer mattered. He agreed, and asked her to ask him anything. She did.

"When do we leave for the next mound of stone? I've read about it, and I know, I know.... we've been to more exotic places, loftier ones, more public ones, too.... but for some reason I just can't suss out..... this one makes me...... nervous."

He asked her why, and she could not focus on the reason, just that this next trip was.......different. He told her that they would be leaving in a few days, leaving this humid, God-aweful country behind. The Aztec temples of Central Mexico was hot this time of year. They had been carved out of the jungle for the tourists once discovered years ago. One thing the locals had no way of considering, was this odd strain of tourist: these two were just plain off the map of weird leaning more towards fucking heartstoppingly shocking. As they lay against each other near the upper altar in the temple, they could make out the moon just now beginning to rise to the east.

This....... Fate game of theirs....... began as an idea a few years ago for them. What were they afraid of? They asked each other to find out their deepest darkest fears, manifest them in the safest yet most daring manner, and exorcize those fears once and for all. Be it in the form of a loose ritual, formal ritual, carefree sex, ritual sex-magick.....or a combination thereof, (reason being, acts they felt most comfortable doing with each other) they had globe hopped, and never been caught in the process. The ancient rock beauty of the Grand Canyon, the lofty stones of Machu Picchu, the view from the Great Wall, the well constructed wonders of Giza, the sheer risk of Mecca, the rough soil of Vatican Hill, Stonehenge.....connections..... disconnections.... reconnections.... reawakenings....... it was slightly risky, oft times spiritually breath taking, but never dull.

They arrived at the next stop on their tour. Having dined, slept, conducted an exploratory of each other, (as per their usual ritual in a new hotel), dined again, and having conducted an exploratory of the site, (security weak spots were found right off, they became quite confidant), she made an odd comment he didn't get the full meaning of, "What a foreign stone pile!", then they dined again (the food was really quite good, afterall) showered, slept.....awoke..... and made ready for their "visit" to the mound of rocks.


In darkness, they made their way to the site. Dressed in construction gear, they mingled with the night crew, and slowly made their way to the concrete piles near the base of the structure. Sneaking from concrete block to block, part of work being done in an attempt to save what she had exclaimed was, "What a foreign stone pile!" they made their way to it's base, and the entry nearby. This was the part they both stressed the most: the actual breaking and entering of the "breaking and entering" violation. To their surprise, the door was unlocked, and they stepped inside. Looking up, he whispered for her to pinch him, but she punched him in the arm instead.

They stood in darkness, silent blackness. They had seen the photos, and knew the stairwell was nearby. Having found it, they began their way up the 294 steps to the belfry. After a long nervous climb, they found themselves in the open aired pinnacle of the tower, ovrlooking the village below.

He smiled at her, but her back was to him. She was taking in the view: seven bells surrounded them in a circle at the top of the tower. They had been locked in place years ago, long silent. She turned slowly, and the moon that had followed them from Mexico glimmered a smile from her to him. He joined her, and laughed. They had made it, almost.

The wind was not a factor. The circle was cast by these bells, hundreds of years ago for them, he put his compass away in a deep pocket. Then the pocket, and the clothing which housed said pocket, joined her clothes on the marble bell tower's floor. He asked her, if she could have one wish fulfilled, what that wish would be.

"I'd wish to hear these old bells ring again, even if only for a second.", was her thought, but, instead she said, "I wish you would stop talking, and sit down. Now."
Her wish, his command. Hell, he was hoping she'd ask for that. They began. Eyes locked, arms wrapped, she on his lap. Sexual energy being released only momentarily, hers mixed with and becoming his, then channeled inward, towards their center, combined. One energy, one power.... one.

In some worlds, they would be a High Priest and Priestess, Gods, perhaps. In this world, they would, if caught, be called, charged, and convicted of being sexual deviants in search of a new high, then summarily jailed. Well, they lived much of the time between those two plains. More than a bit left of center, they were in essensce, totally off any and all known Earthly scales.

Energy building, she looked into his eyes deeper, saw what she knew was coming ........approaching them. And did not flinch. Did not slow. Did not speak a word of warning. Allowed it to become her, consume her, and be released from within her. And she saw that he saw, too. He knew. And they moved quicker to join that moment of final convulsive comepleteness. Join it, enhance it, guide it from the imaginary world, into this world. And it came.

She felt it, somehow. First from deep within her, then her enitire body, engulfed by it's power, began shaking. He too, felt it coming. They never slowed. Theye never closed their eyes. They continued their pace, bringing it out from the deepest recesses of the beyond to the here and now.

Then...... she heard it. The bell behind her chimed as it loosed from it's mounts and clapped to the marble floor, sliding by them both. She saw the arch behind him collapse, and it's bell chime as it fell into the darkness. Damn, we're good!, she thought. She looked back into his eyes drawn by the powers deep winthin them, and saw what they said to her: do not stop

At the Grand Canyon, in the midst of their "oneness" ritual, they saw, felt, sensed the rocks around them erode as the river carved it's way down. At the lofty stones of Machu Picchu, momentarily, they saw the holy men walking the stone paths towards them. At the Great Wall, they smelled the food of the millions of travellers that had walked by over the ages. At the pyramids of Giza, they could see the desert below filled with many people, in ceremonial garb. At Mecca, they were lucky to escape with their minds intact. At Vatican Hill, they sniffed the collective knowledge of the Catholic church. At Stonehenge, they felt, oddly, home.

Her sensation of "falling" was telling her that something was definitely amiss. She saw as she looked beyond him again, that the horizon was moving, raising. He seemed to sense her distraction, and quickened his pace. She closed her eyes momentarily just then, and then knew. Knew it all was true.

As they slowly were wisked by gravity from the tower's loft out into the waiting darkness, he had an odd vision. Laying with her, years ago, thinking of the huge rock overhang above them. If that decided to fall, there would be no saving them. There would be no sign they had even been there. Perhaps, a spot under the rock. Howdy, Fate. How the hell are ya? He gave that rock a good slap that day.

She focused on him.... she still held firm as they fell. Her last thought..... their last meal, the canolis were delicious, and the wine was unlike any wine she had ever tasted. Well.... except once, many miles from here. They fell, being followed close behind by that great white marble Tower of Fate. It was about to reset all their defaults. No escaping this, she thought, why am I not afraid? What if I don't find him the next time arou..... She felt him kiss her chest, saw the horizon and the moon spin around them, and thought one last time,
".............falling........."

He focused on her, still in his arms, still seeking that high that they both seeked. Even while free falling out into.......... nothing. Eternity. His thought..... of her, and the world's greatest marble bell tower that would collapse on top of them at any moment. He thought of the last thing he had said to her in this life. A question, of course, fitting. He thought of the first question he would ask in his next life. Have I got a long way..........to run, to find her again? He thought of the time as a child he almost drowned in a pool, and recalled seeing a newpaper clipping of his death (in his mind) as he fought for the edge of the pool. He wondered how the accounts of this moment would read in the press. But mainly.... he thought of her, and reached across the dark span between them, and kissed her chest one final time......

Strong Earthquake Rocks Pisa,
Leaning Tower Topples

(PISA, Italia, Tuesday January 12 2012)

ROME (Reuters) - A strong localized earthquake shook the area around the
central Italian city of Pisa Tuesday that officials said was too much for the city's
famous leaning tower. What had stood for over seven hundred years has finally
given way.

Officials at the National Geophysics Institute in Rome said the short sustained
tremor hit just past midnight local time and registered between five and six on
the 12-point Mercalli scale.

The quake was felt by residents in Pisa province but local officials said no lives
were reportedly lost in the tremor. Oddly, no other damage was found anywhere
else in the surrounding area.

The Civil Protection Department in Rome said the damage to the Leaning
Tower of Pisa, one of Italy's most famous landmarks, was total in scope.
Police and pathologists ceased the search of the tower's rubble today for traces
of victims from the tower's fall. All tower workers have been accounted for, and luckily,
the tremor occurred late at night when there were no tourists near the tower.

The 58-meter (189-foot) tower was begun in 1173 as a belfry for the nearby
cathedral and has been listing to the south since its third story was added
in 1274.

The tower, built on spongy Tuscan subsoil, has been closed to the public for
nearly 10 years for fear it may collapse.

Last month workers began a new attempt to shore up the tower by fixing giant
steel braces to the white marble monument as part of a project to coax it
fractionally back toward the vertical.

No plans have been made to resurrect the tower. A Church spokesman said
the stones will remain where they have fallen. So there they will lay, littering a three
acre portion of the cathedral grounds, in some places piled high as ten meters.

(Elkshepard@aol.com)


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