"Into the distance, a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction holding me fast, how
Can I escape this irresistible grasp?
Canīt keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted
Just an earth-bound misfit, I
Ice is forming on the tips of my wings
Unheeded warnings, I thought I thought of everything
No navigator to guide my way home
Unladened, empty and turned to stone
A soul in tension thatīs learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
Canīt keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted
just an earth-bound misfit, I"
Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air,
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night
Thereīs no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, A state of bliss
Canīt keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted
just an earth-bound misfit, I
Pink Floyd/Learning to Fly

Phil, who was slowly regaining his strength on the floor, reached out and grabbed Simon's ankle as he passed him and, wrapping his arm around it, he tripped him.

"Don't let him touch you, Jan, don't listen to him." Phil was yelling, trying to be heard above the wind. She looked down at him on the floor and once again drew back from Simon. "Go into the tunnel Jan, you have to go into the tunnel. I'll be right behind you, I promise." Phil told the only lie he could ever remember telling her in their whole time together. She looked at the tunnel which seemed to be calling out to her, she began to walk toward it. Simon tried to reach her but Phil held fast. Not only did he not want him to touch Jan, he also couldn't let him enter the tunnel. If he did the Middle Lands would crumble and cease to exist.

"Light and dark cannot coexist." Phil heard the voices in his head repeating, "One must annihilate the other." Jan took a look back at Phil, lying there, the muscles in his arms straining to the breaking point holding onto to Simon. He looked up at her and, with tears in his eyes, he gave her his love and wished her a safe journey home. She wanted to run to him, to hold him again one last time, to kiss him one last time. To tell him that no matter what she would always love him.

"I know." he spoke to her with his thoughts, "I know."

She faced the light and, with her heart breaking and her tears overflowing, she stepped inside and was whisked away. Hurry child, hurry into the light before it is too late.

"No" he thought back. Simply, "No"

But you can be safe. You and Jan can be together and fulfill your destiny as one. Hurry child, enough foolishness, let him go back into his abyss and you come home to us.

"I can't." he tried to explain to them what he now understood. He glanced down at his torn wrist and cursed himself for his stupidity. He remembered his father talking to him when he was just a little boy. He was about 10 years old and he had painted a picture of the ocean. He was so proud of it that he ran to his father to show him. His father told him how talented he was and how he liked to paint when he was young, too. He always saw himself as being a lot like his dad, even more so than any of his seven brothers and sisters. His father was a good man, humble, decent and kind. He would have given up his life without a second thought to protect the ones he loved. He said "Philip, you are just like me… it must be in the blood."

It was the one trick he had up his sleeve that Simon didn't expect. The one talent, gift, if you will, that he possessed all his life that could put an end to this once and for all. He had it in his blood, just like his dad to give up his own life for the ones he loved. He was selfless, Simon was not. Simon would never understand this gift Phil had because he was only for himself in the end.

"If I go back home to be with her then he will never rest until he steals her away again. He must kill her in order for his kind to survive. If we both live, then someday our offspring will destroy him and all he knows. The only way to stop him is to keep us apart." His 'voice' was thick with emotion but not out of fear. It was out of the knowledge that he had saved her and maybe more than just her if his plan worked.

"Close the door!" he hollered over the wind. The door of light was swelling to bursting as was the door of darkness. They were too close together, the two portals were, and Phil and Simon had stayed too long occupying the same space and time. The negative and the positive were coming way too near and there wasn't much time before they connected and everything they knew would be destroyed.

"Close it!" he demanded, standing now and holding Simon around the neck with his forearm.

Son…

Phil began to cry. "Yes, dad?" it was his father, who died just a month before he did.

I am very very proud of you. I love you, Philip.

"I love you too, dad. Take care of Jan for me, alright?" he knew his father would watch over her.

I promise you, nothing will ever happen to her as long as I am around. But Philip, there still is time, you can still make it!

Phil smiled, "Goodbye, dad." He kicked a table that was next to the bed, into the tunnel knowing it would force its closure. As soon as it touched the light the table shattered and the tunnel imploded on itself and was gone.

"Well, Simon, it's just you and me now." he said in his ear. He dragged him over towards the dark door. For a moment Simon had no clue what was going on. Was he going to just let him go? Already they had been together too long, and he could feel the force of the two polarities, the light and the dark, pressing in on one another. They didn't have much time.

"Gee Phil, this is mighty nice of you sending me home and all. I promise, you have my word now that I will never bother you and your lady again." he put his hand over where his heart would have been if he had one in the first place. Phil wasn't buying it, nor was he letting Simon go.

"You know, Simon, you have never shown me what your little corner of the swamp looks like." Phil said stepping closer to the darkness in front of them. "What's say you show me around a bit?"

"You're insane!" Simon yelled, "We both can't survive in there together!"

"I know that," Phil with a touch of irony in his voice said "and it is exactly what I am counting on." Simon began screaming. Phil had never heard a scream like that in his entire life. Maybe it was a warning to the rest of his buddies down there. Maybe he is saying 'Look out below, I've got a crazy comedian made of light on my ass.' Or just maybe this last trick he was playing really did catch him by surprise. Phil turned to look at his old friends. They were all looking in his direction as if they could see him and, surprisingly enough, when Phil nodded towards them they nodded back. "C-ya fella's, don't forget to wear those seatbelts later, it's dangerous out there in the real world.' Phil smiled at them and they had tears in their eyes. They couldn't fathom all that they had seen, but they knew that whatever Phil was planning on doing, it was his final act. Phil turned and said a quick prayer to whoever might be listening. He closed his eyes and suddenly in his mind he was behind the controls of his plane flying over the darkness of the Pacific. The moon shone on him from above as he banked hard to the left and headed through calm winds towards Catalina, his final resting place. He felt the hum of the motor and heard the whistling of space as it flew over his wings. He reached forward and, grabbing the wheel set a course for the darkness below. Nose pointed downward, throttle pushed forward. Speed increased, night wrapped around him. Balance was the key to everything. Balance, love and light. He stepped over the threshold of the night and flew into the abyss.

Part 38