This excerpt is taken from The Talisman. It’s just after Jack took possession of the fabled treasure and he realised that he was holding the axis mundi.


He was transported with wonder. In one sense he was not in the Agincourt at all, not in Point Venuti, not in Mendocino County, not in California, not in the American Territories, not in those other Territories; but he was in them, and in an infinite number of other worlds as well, and all at the same time. Nor was he simply in one place in all those worlds; he was in them everywhere because he was those worlds. The Talisman, it seemed, was much more than even his father had believed. It was not just the axle of all possible worlds, but the worlds themselves—the worlds, and the spaces between those worlds.

Here was enough transcendentalism to drive even a cave-dwelling Tibetan holy man insane. Jack Sawyer was everywhere; Jack Sawyer was everything.

A blade of grass on a world fifty thousand worlds down the chain from earth died of thirst on an inconsequential plain somewhere in the center of a continent which roughly corresponded in position to Africa; Jack died with that blade of grass. In another world, dragons were copulating in the center of a cloud high above the planet, and the fiery breath of their ecstasy mixed with the cold air and precipitated rain and floods on the ground below. Jack was the he-dragon; Jack was the she-dragon; Jack was the sperm; Jack was the egg.

phkahlse682qbwe.gifFar out in the ether a million universes away, three specks of dust floated near one another in interstellar space. Jack was the dust, and Jack was the space between. Galaxies unreeled around his head like long spools of paper, and fate punched each in random patterns, turning them into macrocosmic player-piano tapes which would play everything from ragtime to funeral dirges. Jack’s happy teeth bit an orange: Jack’s unhappy flesh screamed as the teeth tore him open. He was a trillion dust-kitties under a billion beds. He was a joey dreaming of its previous life in its mother’s pouch as the mother bounced over a purple plain where rabbits the size of deer ran and gambolled. He was ham on a hock in Peru and eggs in a nest under one of the hens in the Ohio henhouse Buddy Parkins was cleaning. He was the powdered henshit in Buddy Parkins’s nose; he was the trembling hairs that would soon cause Buddy Parkins to sneeze; he was the sneeze; he was the germs in the sneeze; he was the atoms in the germs; he was the tachyons in the atoms travelling backward through time toward the big bang at the start of creation.

snapshot_105-1024x688.jpgHis heart skipped and a thousand suns flashed up in novas.
He saw a googolplex of sparrows in a googolplex of worlds and marked the fall or the well-being of each.
He died in the Gehenna of Territories ore-pit mines.
He lived as a flu-virus in Etheridge’s tie.
He ran in a wind over far places.
He was . . .
Oh he was . . .
He was God. God, or something so close as to make no difference.

No! Jack screamed in terror. No, I don’t want to be God! Please! Please, I don’t want to be God, I ONLY WANT TO SAVE MY MOTHER’S LIFE!
And suddenly infinitude closed up like a losing hand folding in a cardsharp’s grasp. It narrowed down to a beam of blinding white light, and this he followed back to the Territories Ballroom, where only seconds had passed. He still held the Talisman in his hands.