Remy the Gatekeeper
After the doctors inserted a line directly into Thomas's
chest, he regained consciousness on Wednesday, over three days after reaching
the main trail on Mount Stenhouse. Four fellow employees stood beside his bed
in the intensive care unit at the hospital in Hong Kong and witnessed the
moment he regained consciousness. Immediately he sat up, arms flailing as if he
was still climbing the mountainside, ripping out the lines of hydration in both
arms. He was half-crazed and manic, but the doctors pushed him down, gave him
an injection and he drifted off into a deep sleep. He wondered if he was still
climbing or was he clawing back to the warm light of joy?
Like a phoenix in its nest of cinnamon and myrrh, he had
burnt to ashes and was reborn again. It is said that man loses 21 grams at the
moment of death, when the soul goes upwards to the empyrean behind the sun
rejoining his ancestor spirits. If so then perhaps there, on Mount Stenhouse,
he became 21 grams lighter, and then, when he came out of his coma back to the
pains of reality, he regained his soul but this time it wasn't 21 grams but 22
grams. He felt different; he felt holy. Perhaps that's what he gained:
one extra gram of soul. God only knew. If 21 grams is the weight of two
nickels, then perhaps he retuned to the world in the intensive care unit at 11
The truth was that he should have been dead, or at least
lost something. With a temperature of 106 degrees, he wasn't expected to live.
A human being can survive 105 degrees but not 106. His muscles melted during
those two days lying unseen on the mountain. His kidneys stopped functioning
and he suffered second-degree burns over his body and third-degree burns on his
seventh chakra on his forehead between the eyes and the right side of his face.
He was in a level-six coma, the closest to death a man could be, but he had
lived. Many doctors from Mainland China came to visit the foreigner who somehow
cheated death and survived the ordeal, not only the dehydration and sunstroke,
but the 106 temperature. Once again he was a zoo animal to gawk at, and he was
thus happy to leave the hospital after three days.
His office had tried to contact his mother but the
telephone number they had had long since been disconnected so no one in his
family knew about his time in the mountains. It was odd and strange but perhaps
not difficult to explain that it was Josh who called him at the hospital.
He was summoned to the phone at the nurses' station, and
Josh proceeded to tell him how he had had a dream and that he felt something
was wrong. Josh called his office, and they gave him the number for the
hospital and told him that Thomas had suffered a "hiking incident."
"Thomas," he said, "I had the strangest dream last night.
I dreamed that you approached me and wanted to walk through this doorway that
for some reason I was guarding. I saw that you were dying so I said to you: ‘No
Tommy. It's not your time to die yet.' I didn't let you through the door -
actually it was a gate. So when I woke up this morning I made a point of
tracking you down because I knew something was wrong." Thomas stood there at
the nurses' station shivering in the air-conditioned cold at a loss for words.
The only thing he could say was: ‘Thank you. You may have saved my
life.' There have been other strange, ESP events in their lives, but
nothing can compare with this one. Had he been that close to death? And why
would Josh be the gatekeeper?