he walked faster, the sense of distance between himself and the object seemed to become greater. For a moment he stopped. Then he took another step. The object drew near again. He began walking slowly. The slower Benson walked, the nearer the object came. The shape of the object became clearer in his mind as he approached it: another pillar. It was shaped like the huge obelisk which he believed himself to be in. But it was only five feet tall. There was light—he could sense it around the obelisk. No place of emission. Just light. Another step and he could see a dot of white in the distance. The pillar had shape, density, and weight. Benson caught this. He could not, however, penetrate the type of material that made up the structure.
“But it’s like the one in the sewer,” he concluded.
Another few steps and he could see the obelisk clearly now, standing white in a cage of light. He would have thought, “fifty feet away,” but that he no longer found space a reliable constant.
Benson took another step and stopped. He was within arms-reach of the pillar. He himself was surrounded by the white light. He looked at the shape before him and noticed an object on top which he had not sensed before. It was a golden quarter circle, a wedge that was shaped exactly like the medallion about his neck. He picked it up. His new super senses could not acknowledge the wedge’s existence, but it was real to his touch and to his sight.
Holding the wedge before him with his left hand, Benson grabbed the medallion at his chest and lifted it next to this new piece for comparison. Only then did he notice the medallion had changed. The eye piece through which the chain around Benson’s neck ran was no longer in the center of the medallion’s curved edge. It had moved to one side of the medallion allowing it to hang lopsided from the chain. Benson thought the hint rather obvious, especially considering how completely un-obvious his journey had been so far. He took the hint, fitting the new wedge to the chain side of the medallion.
There was a burst of light, and Benson released the two shapes, temporarily startled. When he looked at the medallion again, he saw that the two pieces had joined into a half circle. Then the medallion began to emanate a bright blue light. Suddenly he felt something surge through his body and the floor fell out from under his feet. The darkness faded to gray light. Wind blew in all directions. Benson lost all of his new sensing abilities. He was blown around like a feather with no way of controlling his movement.
Images began to flash before him. He saw a boy sitting on a rock, then a huge explosion, then himself standing in the rain. Hundreds of images passed in an instant: flowers reaching toward him like houseplants to window light, caterpillars weaving chrysalis cocoons, the changing shadows of a canyon wall, and the motion of stars around unchanging Polaris. At last, he made out two men walking in the desert and then sunrise. However, this vision didn’t end. He was watching the morning dawn. The sky was pale blue, and pink and orange toward the rising sun. Benson was standing on earth. Yet it seemed to him to be far away. He looked around for the obelisk and for the tent where the others were but could not see them. Then he noticed something on the ground beside him: a small obelisk like the big one in the desert. It was only a few inches tall. He stood staring down at it. Then he looked up at the sun coming over the mountains. Then back at the miniscule pillar. Finally he raised his foot and brought it down on the obelisk. Next, Christopher Benson fell.
Tom woke and saw sunlight outside the tent. He sat up and looked down at Mike who was asleep on top of his sleeping bag. Tom crawled out of the tent and stood up, intending to call out for Benson, but he was stopped by what he saw. The obelisk was gone. In its place there was a pile of rubble. It looked as if the obelisk had been crushed. Benson sat on top of the rubble staring out at the mountains. Tom stared as well—at Benson. Tom was baffled and frightened. Something was happening to his friend that he could