Ciana flipped pages of a book about the astral plane. She would put her finger at the top of the page and move it down as she was getting ready to flip. While she was flipping, she couldn’t stop yawning. She felt her eyes slowly closing as she laid in her bed. She jolted awake, realizing that she had fallen asleep. She put her book down beside her on the floor and finally; she laid her head down and nodded off to sleep.
Her book still laid open as she drifted off to sleep thinking about what the book said to do to astral project herself. A gust of wind flipped the pages of the book as she dreamed of leaving her body and letting it go out and explore. She drifted into a deep sleep and her body felt different; it tingled as if her entire body was asleep, like when your arm goes to sleep from laying on it wrong. Her astral projection sat up and looked around. She couldn’t feel her skin or her breath. She looked around and saw that her body was still laying there on the bed sleeping away. She put her hand over her mouth; her face wrinkled with excitement.. She did it! She couldn’t believe it and sat up more to look around.
The astral plane looked as they described it in the book. Close to when Frodo put the ring on and saw the world differently. It’s interesting how similar it looked, as if someone astral project when writing the book.
Ciana squinted and covered her eyes. The red light took her off guard and she stumbled to the floor, not yet adjusted to the plane. She staggered as she stood back up. “This is going to take some getting used to if I want to keep doing this,” she thought.
Once again, she stood up and could put her hands above her eyes to see where the light was coming from, but nothing seemed to be there. Confused, she looked back at her sleeping body, only to realize that she was becoming restless. Ciana was getting pulled back towards her body, as if she had a rope tied to her foot. She fought to stay. She hadn’t explored enough of the plane. She reached her body and floated up above and became equal with her body, then fell slowly into her body and jolted awake.
She opened her eyes with a gasp. “Woah!” she whispered. “That was crazy. I need to do that again. I need to explore and find out what else I can do in the astral plane,” she thought.
She rubbed her eyes, looking down at the book she was reading before she fell asleep. “I turned the pages.” She whispered. Ciana reached down and picked up the book to see what page it was on. On the page was an article about Nikola Tesla had out-of-body experiences when he was younger. She had a love for Tesla, this stimulated from the stories that are passed down from her ancestors. It all started with Samuel Clemens, we acquaint, although most people acquaint him with Mark Twain.
She said the words softly as she read them. Nikola Tesla had an outside the body experience when he was younger. This gave hope to Ciana that if Tesla could do it, then she could. “If anything gave me motivation, it would be this.” She said. She closed the book and put it into her satchel and her note tablets. She slung it over her head and it laid perfectly on her left shoulder. She went downstairs and opened her front door.
The air was crisp and cool. She forgot to grab a jacket on her way out. She crossed her arms to keep warm while she walked to the library. Ciana usually kept to herself. She loved to read books, and she looked very unapproachable when she was reading. That is how she liked it, anyway. If there is one thing she loved the most it was living a short distance away from the library. She reached the library after two blocks of walking. It looked as though the library was a castle; it was all brick on the outside and was very tall. The doors were three times as big as normal doors, there stood two of them. She opened the left door, and it creaked as it opened, making an awful noise as she entered.
The person who’s working the desk was checking in books. The pile for check-ins was about as tall as her. She didn’t want to stop the librarian from doing their job, though she doesn’t know where to look for how to astral project properly. Ciana subtly cleared her throat when she reached the circulation desk. The librarian didn’t look up, his focus was till checking the books. Ciana let out a long sigh, “Excuse me, can you help me find a book?”
The librarian halted and looked up. “What can I help you with dearie?” The librarian was an older gentleman with long gray hair, he was very short and skinny. His smile was so wicked that it gave Ciana the chills.
Ciana’s heart pounded faster. “I am researching about astral projection. Can you you help me find any books on this subject?” She was almost afraid to ask him for any help. He gave her the creeps.
The librarian went back to checking books in; he got through a few books, then stopped. He looked at a spot to the left in the library and then continued on. Ciana took the hint that where the books might be. She left the desk and walked to the area that he had glanced at. The spot she saw him look was at the very top and the only way to get up there was a staircase to the right against the wall and led to a small cat walk. Stopped at the stairs and looked at the catwalk. She was terrified of heights and it looked like the cat walk was too skinny for her taste. But she had to be determined to learn about the subject. She continued to walking up the stairs, holding on the railing all the way up. She arrived at the location that she assumed was correct and stopped to look back at the librarian. He was looking at her with a smile. Then he went back to checking in the books. She noticed the stack of books didn’t seem to get less. She shook her head and looked back at the shelving to find the books she needed.
She spotted three books that she needed. One was titled Astral Projection, the second one was titled The Plane and How to Find Your Way Through It, the last one, she wasn’t expecting to be in the location. It was actually out of place, but something she needed. It was titled the Life of Nikola Tesla. She grabbed all three of them and headed back to the librarian. She patiently waited for him to stop checking in books. However, he didn’t stop to look at her. She never felt more ignored in her life.
“I found the books that I need. Can I check them out?” asked Ciana.
“I already added them to your account dearie, please enjoy your travels to find your love.” The librarian added.
Ciana’s couldn’t catch her breath. He surprised her with those words. She nodded with a forced smile and turned to the door and walked out of the library. Scared, she walked fast and ran back home. “I said nothing other than looking for astral projection books. How did he know what I’m doing?” She thought.
She arrived at her front door and rushed in to lock it. She lived alone at the house she inherited from her grandmother. This made it easier for her to do her research, and all she had to do was to work a minor job at a local bookstore. Some days after work she would spend reading in the sitting area. Sometimes it was past closing time when she realized she was still there. Luckily, she had a key to the place, and the owner never bothered her when she lost herself in books.
As soon as she locked the front door, she ran upstairs to her office eager to get started on these books she found. She had her office organized to her liking. She had a table with all her research on it and her desk where she had her typewriter. Ciana didn’t own a computer and did all of her work manually. She liked that better because it felt more tangible than staring at a screen with all those distractions.
She sat down at the table, opened Astral Projection and started reading. She kept flipping pages as the sun slowly went down. Soon she realized she was in the last chapter. She looked up from the book and saw that it was nighttime through her bay window. Her stomach made noises. Realizing she hadn’t eaten yet; she went down to the kitchen and heated leftovers from the night before. It was some cheeseburgers she had made. She didn’t enjoy eating and working. Her family was strict on when it is dinner time. You sat at the dinner table and ate with the family, then when they finished eating, then one could go back and finish what they were doing. She finished up her food, washed the dishes, and went back to her office and grabbed the book and carried it to her bedroom to finish the last chapter.
It didn’t take her long to finish, then she grabbed The Plane and How to Find your Way Through It. The book wasn’t very thick. She should be able to get through this one before she fell asleep. It was a quick two-hour read. By the end, she was nodding off.
She nodded off just as she finished the last chapter. She woke up suddenly, realizing that she fell asleep and sat the book down beside her. Without trying this time, she sat up while her body stayed asleep. From the research she just read, it was easier to do this. She forced it the first night, and that’s where it went wrong. She needed to do it naturally. She stood up and continued to walk around her house. She wanted to make sure she would not wake up before she continued.
Ciana was excited to find out where she can go in the new plane after her book. She had a better understanding with where she needed to go. The plane looked exactly like the living world. She was born and raised in Hannibal, MO and was still living there. The house she lived in is where most of the stories came from.
From her research about spirits, she knew they liked to be near thresholds and crossroads. There was only one crossroad and it laid between Hannibal and the Missouri river. She left her house and headed towards that threshold.
She reached the beach that was closest to her house. Boats regularly traveled the waters and during this time in the plane most of them were riverboats. Tourists loved to experience the days of riding the steamboats and tour the river. “I’m sure there are a ton of spirits there.” she thought. To her amazement, there were many people standing around tonight.
As she glanced around to find someone she could talk to she realized that those weren’t people. They were the spirits that lingered at the threshold. The voices sounded as if she was at a party. One spirit that came over to her from a circle. “Are you lost?” he asked.
“I’m new to the plane. Can you answer some questions I have?” Ciana asked.
She backed up a bit, just in case the spirits weren’t nice. Ciana hesitated to stay there while he was coming to her. “Did you die?” the spirit asked.
“No, I astral-projected my spirit into the plane so I could accomplish something I have longed for.”
“What is it you need to do?” He questioned.
“I need to find a way to Nikola Tesla. He died several decades ago and I need to find out if he’s on this plane.”
Listening to this spirit talk sounded the same way her father talked to her. Although, it wasn’t him; he looked vaguely familiar. “What is your name?” Ciana asked.
“Oh, that is a good question. I don’t remember my name but I knew what I did before I died. I was a writer of a great fictional books.” he responded. “I know who Nikola Tesla is, I was grand friends with him.”
“By chance are you Mark Twain?” she asked curiously.
He stopped drinking whatever he had and looked at her with a twinkle in his eye. “By gosh, I think you’re right. I am Mark Twain.”
“I am your quadruple granddaughter. My name is Ciana Clemens.”
“I reckon this is very interesting for you. So why are you looking for Nikola?” he asked, interested.
“He started wireless energy and I want to help him accomplish it. In my world, we are paying outrageous prices for electricity. Also, the stories that my father and grandfather have told me about him, I sort of fell in love with him.”
“There is a story I have been told since I have been in the plane. There was once a pigeon that Nikola fell in love with. It was said that this pigeon allowed him to create and do anything he wanted. Until one day this pigeon came flying into his hotel room and was showing him she was dying. When she died, there was a beam of light that came out of the pigeon’s eyes. Nikola lost a part of himself that day and never could produce any more inventions after that. I only remember this because of your name.”
“My name? What does my name have to do with that story?” she questioned.
“Ciana means light!” Twain exclaimed.
“I could be the lost love of Nikola Tesla?” Ciana cried, jumping up and down.
“Ah, there. It sounds like it. But I’m not sure where you are going to find him. The last place I heard of him was in New York.”
“I don’t know how to travel long distances in the plane yet. Can you help me?” Ciana asked.
Twain smiled, “All you have to do is think about where you want to go and you will instantly travel there. But, be careful, you can land in the wrong spot if you haven’t been there. The best way I can tell you, is to picture a place that you have seen in pictures or illustrations. That will help you land in the right place.”
“Thank you!” Ciana said happily. She closed her eyes and thought about the Hotel New Yorker that Tesla lived in. If she was correct, she could get to the 33rd floor and to the room beyond 3327’s threshold. She may find him. As she closed her eyes, she brought up images in her mind of the hotel. All of her research should pay off now to help her get to the place that may have her love. She vanished and reappeared. She was hopeful of being in front of the hotel. She open her eyes and saw the front of the hotel and she jumped up and down.
Since she was in the astral plane all she had to do was walk into the hotel and wouldn’t be seen. Ciana walked through the front doors of the hotel. It was so magical looking. She saw the tall ceilings and the best-looking chandelier that she had ever seen. It was round with 4 tiers of bright lights. The floor was so shiny, like they waxed it every day to keep up with all the new incomers. She came to the stairs and the elevator. She didn’t know how the elevator would work in the astral plane, so she took the stairs up to the 33rd floor. It didn’t take as long as it normally does. It felt as she sped up the stairs without even thinking about it.
Soon she arrived at the 33rd floor door entrance in the stairwell. She opened the door and was immediately met with a sign showing the room numbers. As Ciana looked up and down the hall, she saw so many spirits hanging out at each door. On the sign, 3327 pointed to the right. Ciana went right and looked at all the passing doors until she came to the room number she was looking for.
There were spirits outside 3317 but Nikola Tesla was not one of them.
Ciana thought maybe he could be in the room. She tried opening the door, but the door was locked. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” someone said.
She jumped and looked around at the spirits. “Who said that?”
“I did,” said a young boy spirit. “If you try to force your way into a locked room in this plane, you will awake some evil spirits. They have those rooms locked for a reason and it will not be pleasant.”
“I’m looking for someone that used to live here. Do you know Nikola Tesla?” she asked desperately.
“I don’t know who that is but remember if you force the door open bad things will happen.”
The spirit wondered off back to the crowd that was hanging outside room 3327.
“I wonder what is behind this door?” She thought. She tried to turn the doorknob again but instead of being locked, it was unlocked. She slowly opened the door and saw that it was a portal. She couldn’t see what was on the other side of the portal. The spirit that talked to Ciana came back to see what was on the other side, “Huh.” the spirit said. “I wasn’t expecting that. Are you going to go through the portal?”
“What choice do I have? I need to find him!” She took a deep breath and walked through the portal.
Ciana appeared in front of several graves. She walked closer to the graves to read each one. She didn’t recognize any of the people in these graves. She kept walking down the line and finally reached a grave that was blank. “Why would this one be blank?” she wondered.
“Are you doing okay, miss?” someone asked behind Ciana.
Ciana jumped at the sound of the voice. “Why are things always scaring me?” She thought.
She put her hand over her chest and turned around to see who it was. It looked like Nikola, only a much younger version. She smiled, thinking she found him. She moved closer to him. “Are you Nikola?”
Being a kid still, he loved to trick people. He did this throughout the plane, playing games and trying to escape others. “Yes, I am Nikola. Do I know you?”
“My name is Ciana.” She paused, waiting for him to pick up on the cue she received from Twain. But he just stared at her, waiting to continue.
“I don’t know a Ciana. Where are you from?” He asked.
“I am from Hannibal Mo. Do you know where that is?” Ciana replied.
“No. I have never been outside of New York.”
“Do you remember Mark Twain?”
“I’m sorry miss, I don’t.”
Ciana looked back at the blank grave stone. “Do you know why this grave has a blank grave stone?”
The spirit walked closer to Ciana to see what grave she was talking about. He kneeled down to inspect it. “Yes, I know why this is blank. I’m not actually Nikola, but his younger brother Dane. I died when I was twelve and I have been attached to him ever since. He used to be here with me. Then one day he disappeared from the plane. That was his grave, and it went blank when he left, almost like he received a clean slate.”
Ciana felt something new. She had hoped that he was back among the living. “Thank you, Dane. I’m sorry you must be lonely now, not having your brother with you anymore.”
“It’s okay, I got to help you find him. Maybe that’s why I had to stay. Tell him I said hi when you find him.”
“I will, Dane. Thank you so very much!”
Ciana closed her eyes once more. She imaged the beach she left from. But nothing happened. She opened her eyes and looked around. She was still in the graveyard. “Were you expecting to leave?” Dane asked.
“What do you mean?” Ciana asked with a shiver in her voice.
“I’m not about to let you go dearie.”
She took another look at Dane and he shape-shifted into the old librarian. “Whe.. Where is Dane?” She asked breathlessly.
“He wasn’t actually here. His spirit never made it to the astral plane. However, I knew with your research that you knew he had a younger brother and I could play that off very well. You fell asleep before you could read the Life of Nikola Tesla.” The evil spirit smiled.
“I just want to go back to my home!” She cried.
“Aw, I’m sorry dearie, but you are stuck here with me. You can never get out of the plane and you will subject yourself to me.” He sneered.
Ciana ran away from him, but the evil spirit cast a set of chains and they wrapped around her legs and arms, sending her straight to the ground with a thud. He walked over to her while she was kicking and trying to get out of the chains. The evil spirit just laughed and waived his hands. She floated up above the ground. With a snap of his fingers, they disappeared and reappeared into a room. She was in a chair and chained to it suddenly and he was sitting on a couch.
“You will be forever enslaved into the plane and can never go back home.” His deep voice rumbled through the room.
Ciana started crying, “I just.. just want to go home. I did nothing to you.” She sobbed.
“But you did Ciana, you came into the library, into a trap that I had set out for you. You took the third book that wasn’t in the right place. That was the deal you made with Lucifer. You made a deal to find your lost love and in return you could never find him.”
“I didn’t make any deal. You tricked me!” She screamed.
“You can scream all you want, no one is going to hear you, dearie.” He said laughing.
She opened her eyes and suddenly she wasn’t able to see anymore. A bright light caught his attention and looked over at her. Beams of light were coming through her eyes and burying him. He immediately moved out of sight of her, but she realized from his quick screams that whatever she was doing was working. She looked to where he moved to and heard more scream. She aimed down at his legs to prevent him from moving anymore.
He felt to his knees and his face hit a direct path of the blinding light and he burst into flames. The flames engulfed him and he burned to ashes and the chains that contain Ciana immediately fell to the ground. She stood up. She could see normally again. She walked over to the pile of ashes. “What was that? Can I do magic in this plane?” she thought. She closed her eyes and imagined the beach again. This time she opened her eyes, and she was standing in front of the group of spirits she had left earlier that night.
Twain saw her reappear on the beach. He walked over to her and saw that she wasn’t in the shape she was when she left. “Did you find Tesla?”
“I didn’t, I did however find myself into a trap with Lucifer. Why did that happen?”
“Aw, I am sorry, I didn’t know he found a way onto this plane. Usually it’s a peaceful plane, but he is the devil and he can manipulate his ways into anything. Well, did you find any evidence that he was still in this plane?”
“I found his grave and it was blank. Does that mean anything?”
“Indeed! That shows he is not in this plane, but that doesn’t mean that he is in your world either. I wish you the best of luck.” Twain said sincerely. “If you find him, please tell him I said hi.”
“I will Mark, thank you for helping me earlier.” She hugged her quadruple great grandfather. He patted her on the back. When they were done, he smiled the happiest of smiles.
She closed her eyes again and imagined that she was back in her room. She opened them up and was staring at her bed, where her body laid sleeping peacefully still. She floated back above her body and slowly laid down into the body.
As she woke up the sun was rising over the horizon through her window. She took a deep breath. “That was a long and scary night.” She whispered. She jumped out of bed with excitement. Now she has a real chance to find him in this world. Curious, she wanted to know who really was the librarian at the library. She raced to get dressed and grabbed her satchel and ran out the front door.
Ciana ran back to the library to find a younger gentleman checking in the books. Confused, she walked up to him. “Do you know where the elderly guy that works here and always checking in the books?” hoping that she took care of him while in the astral plane.
The younger librarian stops and looks up at Ciana. “Sorry, I don’t who are you talking about. We don’t have any elderly gentlemen that work here.”
“What do you mean?” she said excitedly. “I just talked to him yesterday.”
“I have been working here for a couple years, miss. We don’t have anyone that works here with that description.”
She sighed with a relief, “What is your name?” She asked curiously.
“My name is Nik.” He responded
Ciana smile. “Do you believe in reincarnation?” She asked him.
“That’s an odd question. Why do you ask?”
“Nothing, you look and sound like someone I knew. Do you have a section on Nikola Tesla?” Ciana asked.
“We do, why the interest in Tesla?” Nik asked.
“His work is so interesting and there are things I wish I could finish what he invented.”
“I can help you research I get off soon, if you would like?” Nik suggested.
“I would love the company!” She said with excitement. “I can pull out the books that I need and I will wait for you at a table?”
“That sounds great!” Nik replied. “What is your name?”
“Ciana Clemens.” She responded.
“Clemens…” Nik said curiously. “Like as in Samual Clemens?”
“Yes, he is my quadruple great grandfather.”
“His work of fiction is great. I loved reading about him, something about his writings felt so familiar.”
She left the circulation desk with a gigantic smile and went to look for the books in the section he had mentioned. She found books on all of Tesla’s inventions and took them to a table. She read through them patiently waiting for Nik to get off of work. She was flipping through the one about his wireless electricity invention that never took place.
“That was probably his greatest invention.” a voice said.
Ciana’s heart raced when she heard the voice. She smiled and looked behind her. Nik stood there smiling back. He sat down beside her and scooted next to her. They continued to read through the books about Tesla and all of his inventions. She had her note tablet out, and he helped her write all the information needed to work on the wireless electricity.
“Wouldn’t be great if this was done?” Nik asked.
“Yes! We wouldn’t be controlled with our electricity cost.” She replied.
The librarian on shift came to them, “It’s getting late, we will close the library in 10 minutes.” She hissed and left.
“Well, I should get going.” Ciana said with a sigh,
“What’s the matter?” asked Nik.
“I want to continue doing this. Is this something you want to do?” Ciana whispered with a blush.
“We don’t have to stop today.” Nik responded.
They left the library to continue on their journey together. Not knowing how strong their bond was going to be. They eventually finished Nikola’s work, and the world became something different. Something great.
W.A. McCauley is a Technology Director for a small-town school. He is the author, of the most recent, and first book, Federal Magic of Investigation. He had a calling to be a writer after high school, coincidently; he didn’t enjoy writing for a purpose then but enjoys writing fiction now.