‘In its essentials, Indian alchemy is the same as Western, and Chinese alchemy, although set in a completely different spiritual climate, can throw light on both…’
– Titus Burckhardt
… We took up the collapsed form in our arms and carried it up the stairs kicking back open the door to our flat with a precariously lifted foot.
The sofa bed along the far wall of the living room presented an ideal and welcome put down point and as we laid the form to rest, as it were, those delicate lips again parted and let out a soft moan.
Thinking that it would not be long before our unexpected visitant returned to full consciousness we retired to the kitchen in order to make coffee.
Upon our return to the living room some minutes later we found the girl gone!
Nowhere to be found…
Were we dreaming?
In her stead, on our study desk in the corner of the room to one side of the sofa bed, there now lay what we took to be a gold plated cigarette case.
Upon closer inspection the cigarette case proved to be a book… of sorts.
Its title, engraved centrally upon the front leaf of the gold plate looked like this;
We just had time to wonder to ourselves how far the vertical ray extended and whether it too eventually culminated in a chalice and if so which way up it was when we heard a loud banging on the front door.
Our immediate thought was that the girl had returned.
As the loud banging continued with more force we knew this not to be the case.
Inserting the ‘Golden Book’ into our top pocket we exited the living room and descended the stairs in a rather more circumspect fashion than some minutes before.
Two tall bulky forms could be discerned through the frosted glass.
We opened the door and were presented with an I.D. card proclaiming the door’s assailants to be Officers of Law.
“We know he’s in here!” said one…
“Been tracking him for days,” said the other.
And together they pushed passed us and swiftly traversed the stairs.
We followed behind them, slowly, thinking, ‘He?’
And then, ‘Him?’
We had barely reached the top of the stairs when one of the Officers charged back out of our flat, barged past us again and disappeared out of the front door at the foot of the stairs.
“…Given us the slip yet again,” he yelled as he went.
Regaining our feet and our composure we re-entered our flat to find the second Officer peering somewhat forlornly out of the now open living room window.
We stood alongside him and peered too; at the tarpaulin roof of the bay window of the flat below and at the drainpipe which ran alongside.
“He could of been out and down and off in two bounds,” said the Officer.
“Sprightly chap was he?” we enquired and then found ourselves pressed firmly against, and halfway up, the living room wall with a judicious arm held tightly over our windpipe.
“Didn’t leave anything did he?” said the Officer in a rather menacing tone and with a most unsavoury glint in his eye.
We shook our head and by the time we had regained our balance back on the ground the first Officer too was gone.
“We’ll be watching you,” he called from the stairs as we pushed the door to and with something approaching relief re-attached the door chain.
We walked back to the window pulled that shut too and then reached for our top pocket…