Walter knew that what happened in the first seven years of his life hadn’t, necessarily, determined what had happened in the rest of his life but he also knew that in the first seven years his mold was cast, in the second seven years it had hardened, and by the end of the third seven years, his form was pretty much set. He was well beyond the age of twenty-one, over twice that age, by the time he started to feel that he wasn’t living an authentic life. He remembered all the sins that he had committed but he felt neither guilt nor pride in the work he’d done at The Committee’s bidding. What he did feel was tired and angry; tired of living a life that had been programmed into him, and angry with what had been done to the child that he had once been. His anger was aimed at himself as much as it was at anyone else. Walter wondered why people have to learn obliquely, through metaphors and parables and then why, in his case, it was taking so long. What he couldn’t yet admit was that he was seeking unconditional acceptance and, since he hadn’t received it from his parents, he had been seeking it from others. What he didn’t understand was that he could only receive it from himself.
To have seen what happened next, Walter would have had to turn his head around and, though his chains were loosened, his mind was still conditioned to focus on the shadows rather than the real things from which they were cast. In reality, the storm that the calcite created was only the name of things that we cannot see and the mistake of accepting what appeared as reality. Above him, there was a crack in the sky through which the clear depth of the Void appeared.
As Big Head stared at the godlike beauty that was held aloft by the swirling wind before him, his mask twisted from that of the victor to one of the vanquished. Hand in hand with Terror, and without her eye patch, stood Sketcho Shiva; her beautiful face calmly looking down on him.