Lance And The Invisible Realm: Part 2Day after day, Lance rushed home after school. He passed Mallory and her friends playing in the yard, passed his mother cooking dinner, and ran straight to his room, to pick up where he left off in the old, red library book with gold lettering on the spine-EASTERN MYSTICISM FOR KIDS.
Soon, he developed wonderful and unusual powers: The power to levitate several inches above his bed, the power to become transparent, even invisible. He also learned how to reactivate his third eye-the invisible eye in the middle of his forehead. Using it, he found that he was able to see without looking. He could see through walls and doors. He could gaze out over great, great distances. Nothing was beyond Lance's field of psychic vision!
For hours and hours each night, Lance would sit suspended in a deep trance, not moving, not breathing. He no longer needed nourishment or rest. Eating, drinking and sleeping now seemed like a silly waste of time. Not even his favorite TV show, "Dr. Softness, the Dentist", could distract him from his mystic studies.
Naturally, Lance's mother didn't approve of this at all. "Lance!" she begged him, "have some dinner! You're looking so pale, so thin!"
But Lance just laughed when she said this. "I no longer need things like dinner to give me energy! I now get my energy from within!"
Page by page, Lance followed the ancient book. He found particularly enlightening the notes and references that had been written in the margins by Dominick Mistrot, the boy who had, in the past, checked out EASTERN MYSTICISM, and who had mysteriously disappeared last year, without a trace. Each day, Lance felt closer and closer to Dominick. He decided that he and Dominick had very many things in common. They were both loners, free thinkers-far too creative, high-minded and daring to fit in with their fellow classmates. If they behaved strangely, it was not because they were strange, it was because they were grappling with issues of profound importance!
Even though Lance had never really known the boy, he found himself missing Dominick. Reading on, Lance kept wondering what had happened to him. Did he move onto a higher plane of existence? Had he gone to Shambala, the invisible realm that all true mystics find once they have reached enlightenment? If so, would Lance ever get there as well?
These questions filled Lance's mind as he got ready for school on the day he had been anticipating for quite some time-the day of his oral book report!
He had meticulously selected his outfit: Wrinkled pants, filthy shirt, unmatched socks. After all, everyone knows that mystics are notoriously sloppy dressers. Into the mirror, Lance practiced a gaze that he had acquired just for this occasion: intense, knowing, wild-eyed-the type of look that was sure to mesmerize the class! Finally, Lance mussed up his hair, grabbed his book and his meditation receptacle-the dark, black, gummi eyeball-and he went downstairs to kiss his mother good-bye.
Then, something very strange happened. When Lance approached his mother, she didn't see him at all. She passed right by him, proceeded to the staircase and yelled, "Lance! Get down here, or you'll be late for school!"
"But Mom, I'm right next to you!" shouted Lance.
His mother spun around, startled. "How did you get there? I didn't see you come down! I didn't hear you, either!"
Leaving the house, Lance contemplated this incident. "I wonder if I was invisible! I thought I was able to control my new occult powers, but maybe I slipped!"
Another slip occurred on his way to school. Glancing down for a second, Lance realized that he was levitating several feet above the sidewalk. "No!" he chastised himself. "No levitating!" Then suddenly, he noticed that his school had vanished. In its place was a dense, stunningly beautiful tropical forest!
"Stop it! Just stop it!" he said as he conjured his grammar school back into existence.
Concentrating hard, he entered the school building. "Control yourself!" he kept repeating. "Control your occult powers!"
Making his way down the hall, he saw Mr. Gordon standing in the doorway of the library.
"Good luck on your oral report," said the old librarian.
"Thanks," replied Lance.
Unfortunately, in the classroom, Lance continued to have problems. He kept fading and reappearing, hovering up and down, in and out of his seat. Luckily, no one else seemed to notice.
"The British are coming! The British are coming!" cried little Annie Brickhouse, waving her hands, galloping round and round the teacher's desk at the front of the room.
When she was through, the children rose from their seats, applauding, cheering. By this time, Lance was floating high above them all. The dark, black, gummi eyeball was floating as well. Somehow, it had emerged from Lance's pocket, and was now orbiting around his head.
"Lance, it's your turn," announced the teacher.
"Okay, I'll be right there!" replied Lance, flapping his arms, frantically trying to maneuver himself toward the front of the room.
"Lance," the teacher continued. "I saw you come in! Your books are still here! You must be hiding!" Then Lance's teacher shook her head and grabbed her grade book, angry. "Well, Lance, if you stop hiding, maybe I'll change your grade, but for now, you get an F!"
"No!" Lance cried. "Not an F! I had a report all prepared! I wore a special outfit! I even mussed up my hair! Look! I'm up here! Don't you see me?"
But no one saw him. No one heard him. To the outside world, Lance had ceased to exist. This made Lance so sad, so frustrated, that he started to cry. Then, as invisible tears streamed from his invisible eyes, he was overtaken by a harsh silence - the same unbearable silence that he had experienced in the OCCULT SCIENCES section of the school library, along with the same intoxicating scent. It was engulfing him, suffocating him.
Desperately, Lance screamed out, "Why? Why did I choose Mysticism? Why couldn't I do a report on Paul Revere? Or Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin?"
Suddenly, Lance heard a voice. "Oh Lance," it said. "Stop being so dramatic!"
Lance recognized the voice immediately. It was creepy and squeaky, sweet and friendly. It seemed to be coming from all directions at once.
"Dominick?" Lance inquired. "Is that you?"
"Yes! It is I, Dominick Mistrot!" replied the voice. "I am speaking to you from the mountains of Shambala-or Agarttha-the Invisible Realm! I have been waiting for you, Lance! Those notes in that library book - I left them specifically for you, so that your journey here would be speedy! Of course, the powerful mystic and master of occultism, hermeticism and tantric theology, Mr. Gordon, offered guidance as well! Now Lance, are you ready? Are you ready to join me here in the Invisible Realm?"
"I ... I don't know," responded Lance, curious but also frightened. "Is it nice there?"
"Yes, Lance! It's very nice! If taste and touch were not transitory earthly concepts, it would be like swimming in a vast ocean of delicious, old-fashioned, red birch beer, being held afloat by zillions of tiny carbonated bubbles forming and popping all around your body!"
"Hey!" replied Lance. "That does sound nice!"
"Then come join me!" said Dominick. "Come join me in Shambala and we will be best friends for all of eternity!"
Hearing Dominick's offer, Lance was extremely moved. He decided that it was the most wonderful, most heartfelt invitation he had ever received. Of course, he had to accept!
And as his fear, and his resistance dwindled, Lance began to drift upward-away from the school and all the other children, away from teachers and oral book reports. Spinning somersaults, giggling, Lance tumbled up through the ceiling, through the roof, as if they weren't even there. Up and up into the clouds he went, all the time calling out with his invisible mouth to his friend in the Invisible Realm.
"I'm coming, Dominick! I'm almost there...!"
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