I had heard of a map that was unlike any other. In short, this map appeared in a different configuration to whoever was holding it. To my jaded palate, it sounded like yet another urban myth but still I continued to overhear mentions and pick up references, vague and more certain, to its true existence. Intrigue had me delving deeper. I sought its acquisition, seeing my mission as part Mercator, part "Treasure Island"; part geographical alchemy, part modern day folly.
As much as I could be certain of anything, these were the facts as I understood them: the map would show you either what you wanted to see or what you needed to see - opinions varied. It was made of some substance between paper and parchment, possibly of extraterrestrial or indeed futuristic origin. It was resistant to all forms of copying - it could not be photographed, scanned, photocopied, filmed, videoed, snapped, instagrammed, attached, uploaded, drawn or painted. Attempts to do so would lead to a mind-swirling, possibly fatal, bout of vertigo. Even medieval monks with their care and scrutiny would have fallen into the abyss attempting to replicate this bewildering artefact. Its possession was a double - no, more likely a many -edged blade.
I had a little money saved up and my seniority and the nature of my regular research allowed me to take some leave from my post at the Institute. I was determined to locate this map and then… and then what? It was the key to heaven or hell or somewhere unimaginable to the human mind. Perhaps it was even the fabled map of the inner mind that would unlock the escape route from quotidian reality and open up all those spiritual and higher levels of consciousness and other forms of reality that seers and seekers had long sought, taking me to new realms, new planes.
But why should I be so fortunate, so proficient? The warnings came in rapidly: tales of how others had interacted with this map and the fragments of testimony that told of their fate. Did I dare go on knowing all the following?
Of course I did. What other purpose could there be in this life?
Enough of the rhetorical questions.
Finally, I came to understand that my identity in this doesn't matter a jot. It is all about the map. The usual Facebook, job application, passport control details about my age, gender, birthplace, occupation, racial heritage, skill set, taste in films or books or music… mere trivia; an irrelevance against the great quest. We have not recorded the names of those who built Stonehenge or the Great Pyramids. Of course, there is a layer of personal ambition fuelling my search but in terms of the bigger picture, I am just the lucky soul who finds himself - or herself, you will never know - in the right place at the right time - pun intended - and able to start putting all the disparate pieces together as they came in, as I found them or sought them out. With the abiding aim of getting my hands on or my intellect around the fabled map of nowhere.
Let's sift the evidence… carefully.