Watch for it on Amazon in the coming weeks, as I finish the final galley proofing process and green-light it for sale. This is Book Two in the Dead to Love series. I look forward to having any and all of you who are reading this update buy it!
Watch for it on Amazon in the coming weeks, as I finish the final galley proofing process and green-light it for sale. This is Book Two in the Dead to Love series. I look forward to having any and all of you who are reading this update buy it!
And, NO, it has nothing at all to do with Tolkien or The Hobbit, i.e. Thorin’s map. This is not “fan fiction,” or derivative in any fashion of The Hobbit. The moon-related runes in my book have a very different connotation and meaning, conceived in no Tolkien-esque mindset or “tribute” at all. That said, fans of Tolkien should enjoy my blend of fantasy and contemporary reality in this follow-up to my second novel, “Dead to Love,” wherein our heroine continues her escapades as a human/avenging-angel hybrid globetrotting Earth like a unicorn-riding Kali.
I hope you all enjoy this excerpt, which was taken out of the heart and marrow of my current 55,500 words so far:
California materialized before me with its ragged mountains and disappearing lakes like some kind of geographical belly dancer who wanted to seduce me, but who looked a bit worn down, causing me to think, Why don’t you sit down and have a rest? as I scanned its territorial curves and wrinkles for signs of familiar life. I felt the now-familiar madness making overtures at surging through me again like an adrenaline sweat. My homing beacon zeroed in on a place that had Fiona’s auric imprint, as well as Sebastian’s, though no Jimmy. How odd, thought I, she and the cretin were inseparable. I traced the auric imprint line back like Gretel counting breadcrumbs, and noted where Jimmy’s biophotonic force field had last left its mark. I swooped in close, read the terrain and scanned-and-filed important data points like the exact geophysical coordinates of, I figured, “Jimmy’s last stand”. Too bad, I mused. The apes must have got him. Goddamn good thing my daughter got away. I had to admit that I liked her better with Sebastian, though I can even now hear her saying, “Oh, gag me, mom.” I had even liked and approved of Jimmy until he made his second dive into Loserville. I had also seen that any further attempts to “sway” the boy were lost—pearls before swine, as they say. So, I turned my attention north once again, and “tracked” Fiona and Sebastian, with the principal aim of finding where my daughter’s own auric trail left off. I found it—not too far north of San Francisco (actually near Santa Rosa), the odd thing being that Sebastian’s trail continued for many miles north of there still. Going to take refuge at your father’s Nazi cabin in the woods, eh? I thought, lamenting the sad state of the Earth’s children yet again. I also lamented and even felt scorned by the fact that while we were joyously celebrating, the bastards were hunting down my children. Yes, I saw them all as my charges. After doing my requisite detective work, I saw that they had killed Jimmy, and attempted to kill Fiona, too, but she was “saved” by Sebastian, who was able to get her to safety after he had come across the two of them just in time. Somehow they were able to make it all the way to Santa Rosa before the devils snatched her up. God only knows how Sebastian survived—the kid has moxie, it must be. I swooped far and wide over where the children had ranged, witnessed the aftermath of Jimmy’s killing and felt truly saddened, for my daughter had truly loved him, I knew. I saw the men dumping his body, then turned and flew north once again, and passed the place where my daughter’s auric trail vanished. My sadness burned deep as I realized that Fiona had simply vanished from the Earth. What did they put her in, a lead box? I thought, confused as to how I couldn’t see anything, even in 5D trans-luminous biophotonic aspect. I followed Sebastian’s trail, and saw how crafty he had been to hide himself from the devils. But…it must have been that they just didn’t want him. He got lucky, that was it. I followed his trail all the way up the different highways and byways of Northern California, to the cabin at which his father reposed, on a lake called, “Citadel”. Why did they call it that? Is there a castle at the bottom of it, or beneath it? Probably. The poet Rimbaud had said, “There is a cathedral that descends, and a lake that rises”. Funny how true his words seemed that very moment, so far removed from the place of his pithy declaration—and how embodied by this place—when I flew up upon the location where Citadel Lake sat. I locked in on Florian’s signal, and soared across the pristine alpine waters on a flawless afternoon when Creation seemed to have been made just for me and my glowing sense of wonder at it, and saw the lonely cabin amongst a thick stand of pine trees where rugged cliffs bowed down to a lowing place where the land seemed to curtsy to the water.
I watched for a while the familiar figures I had once come to think of almost as a surrogate kind of son and father for that son—Sebastian sitting a bit forlorn out on the end of the somewhat old and frail-looking dock, and Florian somewhere inside, assuredly—and saw them, by turns, as random motes in Nature’s great mural painting, and near-hallucinations…until I went to them, in my natural, human form.
It was a genuine surprise for Florian, who almost fell over with shock when he saw me at his front door.
“What the—? I thought you were out…saving the world,” he said, with affection and shock mingling nervously in his voice, his eyes riveted upon me.
“May I come in?” I asked, gesturing inside.
“Oh, sure…or, we could take a walk out in the woods,” he quickly suggested.
“I’m kind of tired, or I would, Florian. Do you have anything cold to drink?”
“Sure, come in,” he said, with a kind of forced smile. What’s he hiding?
“All I have is cold beer right now. Lager. I could make some iced tea…” he offered.
“I’ll have a beer, that sounds good,” I replied, thirsty beyond all imagining, suddenly. “I’ll probably drink all your iced tea, and water, too.”
Florian laughed—again, a bit stiffly. Quietly, he got us two beers out of the fridge, popped the caps on them, and handed me one.
“Thanks,” I said. I took a huge quaff of the apparently locally-brewed lager. Not half bad, I thought, as it bubbled down my throat. “So, what’s going on with you, Florian?” I asked bluntly.
“With me? Ha. You run off to God-knows-where, are an absentee parent…my boy runs off after your neglected daughter, and now you show up here—shock of my life that it is—asking what’s up with me? You need a reality-check, lady!” he replied with real passion and hurt, just as bluntly. He stared at me unflinching with those pale blue eyes, just standing there, challenging me for a response.
“Yeah, I heard that’s what you thought of me. Fiona told me. So neglected is she, that –” was all I could get out before he jumped all over me again.
“Yeah, damn right she is. Do you even know that I took her in for a while, because she was…well, worse than a latch-key kid—she was abandoned, okay? Abandoned…”
“I did not abandon her.”
“Now wait a minute here, will you? I need to say this, miss destroyer-goddess-angel, whatever the hell you are now…that while you were out saving the world from the demon hordes, I was taking care of your daughter. I was there, as was Sebastian, while she sat there, night after night, pondering ‘Where’s Mom?’. Do you have a good answer for that, or is it going to be more of this self-justifying, sanctimonious business about…”
“About? Yes, Florian?” I inquired as he struggled to complete his thought.
“Nothing. Never you mind. I just…had to get that off my chest, Connie,” he said, demurring a bit from his initial furor. I really tried to understand his fury, I scanning his mental and emotional centers for more insight on the matter. I realized, to my horror, that he was right.
“You’re right, Florian. I did, in a sense abandon Fiona. And, it breaks my heart that I had to sacrifice all that time with her in order to be this…Shiva-like being, but…there it is. It had to be done. I want to make up for my absence and neglect of my home and Fiona. And, I want to thank you for what you did there…with her, I mean,” I said, standing up and going to him. I wanted to peer as deeply into him at that moment as I had Quarus recently, but this was a different creature. A…man. And one I had been quite intimate with in the past but now felt a gulf a million miles wide between us. I nevertheless put out my arms to embrace him, and he hesitated to return the gesture.
“What? I want to thank you, Florian, and –”
“Seduce me again,” he figured, brusquely, and erroneously, looking away, out the cabin windows into the trees and shaking his head a mote. “I can’t even believe you’re here talking to me right now. I thought you were gone…on the moon, or the other side of the galaxy, or…”
“The moon? Why do you ask that? I mean…why do you assume I would have gone there, of all places?” I asked him, my suspicion-antenna going up. How did he know they took her there? He stared at me for a long moment.
“Because…it was an obsession with you. The moon this, the moon that…” he trailed off, turning his back to me and sucking from his bottle.
“Yeah…but that was years ago, when I’d thought, wrongly, that they’d taken her to the moon—no, was deceived into thinking that was so. And yes, in the wake of that experience, I was a bit moon-obsessed, but it’s been a long time since I was,” I said, even though it was in recent days that my moon-obsession—or focus—had come roaring back with a vengeance.
I heard him scoff under his breath. “A bit.”
“Florian, what do you know about it?” I inquired.
He spun on his heel and looked at me in disbelief. “About what? The moon?”
“I know that at one point you’d thought they’d taken her there, but then that changed to the Queen of Death in her underworld castle, which all makes a good fairy tale, and now in the last year or so, you’ve been in and out—more out, actually—and really abandoned –”
“You,” I finished for him.
He laughed again and shook his head.
“Everything all right, Dad?” Sebastian’s voice came from the back door area. We both turned to look at him. Wow, he’s grown up so much, I thought.
“Yeah, buddy. We’re okay. Just…talking things over. I’ll be out and we can go fishing or rafting…whatever you like, as soon as…”
“Mrs. Girard, is that you?” Sebastian asked in a surprised manner, standing against the screen door, shielding his eyes from the sunlight to see me.
“Yes, Sebastian. How are you?” I asked. He looked utterly perplexed, and not necessarily happy to see me.
“Oh, I’ve…been better,” he replied, sounding glum.
“I know. I heard that you –”
“Why don’t we all go down to the dock, or take a walk or something?” Florian suddenly suggested. “It’s a beautiful day out. I love this late spring weather. We’ve got clouds rolling in dramatically, the sun shimmering on the lake…”
“It’s pretty out, for sure,” I agreed. “Looks like a storm coming, though.”
“Weather report app says we’ll have thunderstorms later,” Sebastian said, still standing with his nose against the screen door. The play of light was indeed unbelievably pretty: one of those days when intense sunlight contrasts with intense cloud activity to make a ten-mile high and wide living painting of earth and sky.
“Well, then, maybe rafting or fishing is out, then,” Florian advised.
“I feel like I’ve intruded. I’m sorry for –” I said, suddenly self-conscious.
“No, no, no. Please. Let us sit out on the porch and watch the storm roll in. I have a feeling there are some…great forces of change at work,” he said, referring to the storm and possibly my Shiva-like powers to alter the elements. We exchanged a knowing look with wry smiles on both our faces. We all sat down on wooden chairs with cushions on them, as Sebastian loped out slowly to join us. I could sense his mistrust and even fear of me.
“Do you know where Fiona is, Mrs. Girard?” Sebastian asked, after a long, uncomfortable moment.
I didn’t want to reveal that they had—allegedly—taken her to the moon, for two reasons. One, I knew they would think me crazy, as that had already “happened” and yet had not happened; two, I wanted to see what they knew, as being possibly part of the “bait” for the trap, or just being in close proximity to her—and it.
“I don’t, Sebastian.” I did not feel that this was a lie, as I actually did not truly know of her whereabouts. Just that Uhlfaad and the chiromancers had seen that she’d been taken to the moon. Everything was up in the air. All things were possible.
“Well, aren’t you supposed to be like, all-knowing and all-powerful now?” he asked, straight-faced and level-gazed. Touche, boy.
“Well, yes, when I am in certain aspects of beingness or consciousness. Right now, I’m just like you guys.”
This drew stifled scoffs from the two.
“Really? You’re just like us…right now,” Sebastian said skeptically, challenging me like I’d never known him to.
“Well, Sebastian, I change forms—from my ordinary, mortal 3D form, to fourth and fifth-dimensional states of being, and even beyond,” I informed him like a grade-school teacher informing a pupil on a lesson.
“Where’s your…unicorn?” he asked me. I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic or not.
“Pranu has joined the Hypholon legions in the Great War against Gog, Magog, Moloch, Mammon, Leviathan and the rest of the Behemoths,” I replied.
Sebastian laughed a reflexive laugh of disbelief. “Hypholons? Wow, that’s…”
“Incredible,” Florian finished with a somewhat enchanted look on his face, as he polished off his beer. He got up and went inside to fetch another one. Mine was only halfway finished. I felt like Eichmann at Nuremburg.
“Incredible, yes. But true. Look, I didn’t come here to be interrogated, or interrogate you guys. I just came to see…”
“What?” Sebastian snapped. “If your daughter is here, with us? No, she’s not here… now that you care.” He said that last part under his breath.
“You listen to me, young man, I did not choose all this, okay? It chose me. I don’t know what watered-down, third-party version of the truth you’ve gotten, but I and my star-friends just made some moves recently that have likely secured you a future on this planet we all thought was about to be destroyed. So…you’re welcome,” I shot back. His face looked like a mask of his own face imploding upon hearing this.
“Alright, alright, alright,” I heard Florian say, as he came back out to join us. “Let’s not fight. A lot of things have gone down that maybe none of us necessarily caused, or wanted. And, a lot of good has been going on, too,” Florian said in a diplomatic stab at smoothing things over. He was sweaty again, and getting quite drunk. The way I felt, it seemed like a good idea. I knew the shit would continue to fly. I couldn’t stand my own sober-as-a-dental-office-waiting room mind at that point, and so downed the rest of my lager in a flash. The two men stared at me, their eyes big with wonder.
“So, can I get you another?” Florian asked.
“I’ll get it,” Sebastian volunteered, running inside.
“You probably couldn’t bring me enough sacred ferment at this point. You don’t know the things I’ve imbibed, the wines I’ve quaffed recently, the mind-altered states I’ve been in, Florian,” I stated frankly, level-gazing him.
“Oh? Been hitting the bottle a lot, have you?” he jabbed, playfully.
It was my turn to snigger.
“We’re talking cosmic celebration. Mead, heady concoctions, Iceland bonfire. Faeries. Wizards. Other adepts. Quarus, along with emissaries from all over the galaxy. You know, the usual,” I said, cheekily, laughing at my own joke.
“Here ya go,” Sebastian said, handing me another kind of beer in a brown bottle. I read the label: Shasta Brewing Company I.P.A. “If we go for a short hike we can see the summit.”
“Thanks. Good enough if from the goddess of the grain. Hey, you know there’s a lot of cosmic activity happening there at Shasta. Glad to be drinking in some of the mystery,” I said, taking a good swimming gulp. So this is what the sacred mountain tastes like, I thought, smiling. I can feel your great, sacred mount holding sway over the land.
“Oh, is there?” Florian asked. A distant rumble of thunder punctuated the question.
“Yep. Interdimensional battles. Forces of light versus dark. You know, there are beings that live inside the mountain, and who visit it by starship,” I stated, not really caring how they’d respond. Predictably, the response was mixed.
“Oh, come on, you guys. You were there, and saw the fairy lights, the reality of different dimensions. Surely, you heard Fiona talk about it. Eh, Sebastian?” He looked down at his shoes, and then out towards the coming storm, the wind now picking up. He sort of shook his head slowly.
“I don’t know what to believe,” he said.
“Well, I’m not here to make you believe any one thing over another—or, anything at all. I just want you to be aware that there are higher realities out there, and that they do affect us in ways we are not yet attuned to, normally.”
“And you are. Well…obviously you are. But, how did you get this way, Connie?” asked my former lover and neighbor.
“What do you mean?” I asked him, genuinely unsure.
“I mean…there you were all those years…a fairly meek, easygoing wife and mother with whom I enjoyed talking from time to time, and then…Boom! Almost overnight, you are stalking and killing demonic forces, your husband dies, you take your child out of school, and go on this crusade, which has gone on now for four years…”
“What’s your point, Florian? Did I choose for those demons to run my town? To inhabit my husband, the school principal, doctors, lawyers, judges, politicians? Even TV and film actors, so-called pop stars…even the county coroner? Priests? The pope himself? Probably millions, judging by our battles with them. Did I?”
“No, you didn’t, but –”
“But nothing. I finally found my strength. My center, my self-mastery, that’s all,” I said forcefully, taking a swig of my Shasta ale. More thunder in the distance—a bit closer. A flash of lightning. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven…boom! Wind picking up melodramatically. My wrath stirring the stately trees, and even Sebastian’s longish fair hair now.
“Okay. Fine, Connie—you’re right, you didn’t choose it. But, you can choose how you react to it,” Florian said, to my extreme incredulity. My face must have gained ten new wrinkles upon his saying this.
“And, how did you react, all those times we were facing the demon hordes, huh? Out on the road, the Owens and Brooks farms…and when they chased us down at your place? You were furious, and wanted to kill them all, like a man possessed! Don’t dare try to say that you’ve somehow been more reasoning or rational in all this!” I nearly shrieked, standing up to my full height of five feet seven inches and looking this hypocrite in the balding, sweating face. “You are all thankful for my wrath—my work against the devils! Don’t tell me you aren’t grateful that my group’s work has allowed you to breathe cleaner air, drink purer water, and eat better food, thanks to liquidating the trolls of industry controlling the weather and food supply! Don’t tell me that you’re not grateful my efforts cleared them from Sheldon Vale, among many other locales, allowing Sebbers here to go to school in a more kid-friendly and generally fear-free and demon-free environment! My efforts saved many thousands of dying animals—birds, whales, dolphins, deer, moose, fish, bears…” I trailed off, losing my train of thought due to another flash of lightning and almost instantaneous crack of thunder.
“We better get inside,” Florian said in his crisis-be-damned, coolheaded alter-ego. “Come on,” he said, standing and motioning for us inside. I went automatically in and sat on a comfy leather chair. Sitting down, I looked around the place remembering it had been Florian’s Great Uncle’s. Strange things populated the walls of the place: weird, framed objects and symbols, paintings, pictures of strange animals—cryptids, I think they’re called—and other things I could not swerve my fascination from. As Florian shut windows against the arriving storm, I scanned the walls of this supposed-Nazi’s domicile. Photo after photo, image after image, I just got the sense that this was no Nazi—at least, no conventional Nazi I’d ever heard of or read about. And then, there it was—a likeness of a double-headed dragon, gold against a red background. I’d never seen anything like it.
“What’s this?” I asked, pointing to the image.
“Oh, that. I don’t know…some secret society thing, I think. I’m going to make us some coffee. You want some, Connie? Connie?”
“I was lost in that picture. It seemed like whatever it was, it was made in or had come from some other place, realm, planet entirely. I looked closer. In small, block lettering lining the bottom of the framed image was the word: HERALD OF TARTARIA.
“Tartaria, now where do I know that name from? Is that like…the Tartars? Tatars? Of the old Steppes, Mongolia, and Siberia?” I asked to the room.
“I honestly don’t know, Connie. I think it could be,” said Florian, as he fiddled with the coffee maker, Sebastian diddled his smart phone in the other room, and the wind rattled the wooden panes and some wind chimes that made a mousy, tinkly little noise.
“Is that part of your ancestry?” I inquired.
“I have some Russian, on my father’s side,” he said.
“Well, much of Russia was old Tartary, I believe. The parts east of the Urals. Siberia, that area. Hmm,” I said, my eyes moving along the wall, which was like a private museum of occult knowledge. Dragons, unicorns—and a flying one!—and what looked like old pictures of indigenous peoples during celebrations and rituals. There were small, framed photographs of, presumably, Florian’s uncle at the Great Pyramids, Macchu Picchu, and the Great Wall of China with some woman. What did you know? And, what do you know that you are holding back, Florian?
I sat back down in the chair and tried to mentally project to where my baby now was…No, I hadn’t forgotten about her. I just…needed her to realize I can’t run and rescue her from every situation she gets herself into. And, if it were my fault she was kidnapped, well then…the demons would end up paying a higher price than they could ever possibly imagine. I knew she was powerful enough to keep them at bay—whoever or whatever they were. I saw in my psychic eye once again that she was being held somewhere, and was doing exactly that. I also saw that she was crying. And, calling out for me. It was sheer torture. I wanted to dash off to the moon, find Xolmot Xul, and crush his demon head, but somehow I knew it would be premature or hasty to do so. I didn’t understand just yet exactly why. The angel-catcher on Iapetus? Could they move it to the moon, or build one there? Is she bait for trapping me? Probably.
“Here you are,” said Florian, handing me a mug of joe, and giving me a strange look.
“What?” I asked him as I sipped the still-very-hot coffee.
“Nothing,” he said in a blasé way, watching me. What’s his game?
“It looks like your uncle wasn’t the typical Nazi,” I boldly broached. Florian’s weird look jumped a bit.
“He wasn’t a Nazi. They tried to get him and his ideas many times, but he always resisted. That’s why he died broken, alone, and discredited in this cabin,” Florian said tersely.
“Okay, I understand. I’m sorry for your loss. And, I’m sorry for assuming –”
“You do that a lot, you know,” he retorted, giving me a square, penetrating look. He quaffed his beer again as another crack of thunder and lightning struck not far away. I actually jumped a bit at it.
“I know. I’m working on it,” I said, in a conciliatory way. “I’m working on a lot of things.”
“Like what?” Sebastian queried from the kitchen. “Getting your daughter back? Do you even know what we went through?” Here we go.
“I do know, Sebastian. I know you love her. That she ran off after Jimmy. That you found them, helped get her out of there. I know they killed Jimmy, and you and she escaped and made it to Santa Rosa, before…something happened.”
“Yeah,” he replied after contemplating that, probably surprised I knew that much. “Something happened, alright. She told me you pissed them off so much, they tried to kill all of us! But, you know what? I found my own powers, Mrs. Girard. I outsmarted those stupid bastards. Fought them with my smarts. And won. But, she…just couldn’t…or wouldn’t…” he said, his voice breaking, and tears rushing to his eyes. Ashamed, he buried his face in his hands. I suddenly felt like an ass. I was so sick of wrath, I gazed down at my bottle of Shasta ferment, and fended off rage. I wanted us all to reason this situation out.
“Sebastian, it’s okay. It wasn’t your fault, dear. I deeply, deeply appreciate what you did—and tried to do—for my daughter, but her course lay along a different path from yours. Can’t you see that? Yeah? You were very brave to go into that pit of vipers and help them out, but no one can really ‘save’ anyone…”
“Yeah, but…Fiona’s gone. Jimmy’s dead. They shot him down like a dog, tried to come after us, but…in that melee, I got us to a safe hiding place as they ran around like maniacs…I mean…why? I just don’t get why this world is so evil,” Sebastian recalled, struggling for answers, tears streaking his face. He began to shudder and convulse as raindrops began hitting the windows like surrogate tears of sympathy.
“Sebastian, it’ll be okay. You’ll be fine,” I kept telling him, as he sobbed. Florian walked over and rubbed his back and was trying to console him.
“Will I? I’m next, aren’t I?” Sebastian asked, in a torturous cry. My heart melted for him, but his loss being my loss as well, it was a shared grief.
“No, you’re not,” I said plainly.
“Because Constance here is going to protect us from the big bad wolves, son. Isn’t that right?” Florian remarked with what I thought was some sarcasm, but I couldn’t tell. He looked back at me with the barest smile on his face as he comforted Sebastian. The wind really picked up just then, and the storm, which was now fully upon us, began howling like some banshee desperate to get out of its cage.
“Wow, this is some storm!” Florian commented, as he and his son stood looking out at it.
“You two don’t believe me, do you?” I said frankly. Trees whipped in the yard, their limbs furious green arms trying to wave doom away.
“What?” Florian replied.
“I said, you two don’t really believe me—what I can do. Even though you’ve witnessed it many times. You have eyes but cannot see,” I said.
“I believe what you are but not how you are,” Florian quipped. I thought it a pithy remark, but still that of a contrarian skeptic.
“That’s rich. How am I, Florian?” I asked, as debris flew up in the front yard, and a deck chair was knocked over.
The two men looked over at me—nervously, in their own ways.
“Uh, Dad, I uh…I’m gonna get the canoe in the shed,” Sebastian said, and went to go outside. Rain had begun pelting the house in a sideways fury, the drops about quarter-sized.
“No, Sebastian, it’s alright. Let’s hold up for a minute and let the storm pass,” he counseled.
“It’s not going to pass,” I stated calmly, standing and looking out the front window at the raging tempest.
“What?” they asked in unison.
“It’s not going to pass until…” I was trying to tune into the storm itself, which seemed to have some message for me—for us.
“It’s not going to pass until what, Connie?”
“Do you believe in me? Do you believe in yourselves?” They looked at each other as if to say What the hell is she talking about?
“Yeah, we believe in you,” Florian said after a long pause. Sebastian grunted his assent.
“Okay, then. I am the way, the truth, and the life. And what I can do, so are you able to,” I declared spontaneously and assuredly. I then opened the front door with great effort against the wind, went out onto the porch in the howling gale that was now dropping huge hailstones and stared out across the tree tops where the blue sky had only shortly before quietly held puffy clouds aloft. It was now a violent, slate gray, with mottled whitish areas of stormy disruption. I held my hands out, palms outward, like I had at the Owens Farm, but this time had even more energy, wisdom, and informed power behind me, and almost instantly the wind, rain and hail that were blowing against the house rushed away from it, nearly pulling me over as it sucked away, creating a vacuum. I held firm, closed my eyes, and began repeating this mantra:
“I am the master of reality,
I am the master of the skies;
I have ultimate power –
I make the storm abate or rise.”
Saying this morphed from simply words into meaning which I could truly feel in every cell of my body. I said it twelve times, and palpably sensed it drawing away from us. I then said this:
“Storm, I control you; I bid your fury abate. I turn this tempest to light rain, and the sky to blue from gray slate.”
As I said this, continuing to hold my hands up, visualizing energy exiting my body through my psi-charged hands, within one minute the violent tempest that was threatening to blow the cabin off of its foundation, retreated back across the lake, the scene becoming exactly what I had invoked: a return to soft, warm blue sky with a few rain clouds. A few raindrops hit my cheek and arms as if to say, “As you command. We are guided by your hand.”
I looked up into the now placid sky now dropping pleasant raindrops straight down, smiled, and said, “There, that’s more like it,” and looked in the kitchen window where Florian and his son stood in rapt wonder. I made a gesture and shrugged, as if to say, That’s me. That’s my power. I picked up the overturned deck chair and sat down in it, looking out at the scene of tranquil summer beauty before me. Shortly following, Florian and Sebastian joined me out on the porch.
“Looks like you can go rafting now,” I said, smiling. I can do anything.
“Yeah,” Florian said, with a mix of anxiety and impressed wonder.
“So, can you use that power to get Fiona back from the bad guys?” Sebastian asked, breaking the tranquility with his hoarse baritone.
“Yes, I plan to, Sebastian,” I replied, looking square at him. He looked away, out onto the now becalmed lake which now reflected shimmering sunlight.
“Good. Hey Dad, I’ll get the canoe.”
“You go ahead, son. Why don’t you head out by yourself this time around? I’ll go with you later. I think Connie and I have some things to discuss, okay?”
“Sure, Dad,” Sebastian said, with some disappointment, but also understanding.
We watched the tall, somewhat gangly young man retrieve the canoe and take it down to the water. The weather had turned positively Edenic.
“So…” Florian said.
“So,” I replied. We gave each other a deep, knowing look.
“I don’t think you know what you did to me, Connie. You shook me up, turned me upside-down…” he added.
“Well…I am sorry about that, but you have no idea what I was doing, do you? Well, you may have some idea, but you really don’t know what I have been called to do here on Earth. I mean, I’m sorry that it was to the detriment of you and Fiona, but—she has the same powers, did you know that?”
Florian sort of winced and took a deep breath. “No, I didn’t. I knew she was some kind of special being, but no, I didn’t know that, Connie.”
“Yep, she’s a chip off the old block, I’ll say. Soon she’ll be just like mom—chopping demon heads off and returning light and hope to the world,” I said, to a somewhat skeptical countenance from my opposite.
“Say, do you have any wine? Honey wine in particular?” I said, changing subjects.
“No, I don’t. We’ll have to go down to Miller’s Country Store. Hey, I thought you…never mind,” said Florian.
“What? That I what?”
“Nothing, really,” he said, giving me a weird look, then averting his eyes.
“That I, as an avenging angel of higher-dimensional…abilities wasn’t allowed to drink? To get drunk? I told you how it is. I have my 3D form still intact, and can raise my vibration to higher levels that transcend mortal flesh…”
“Right. Right,” he said, a bit nervously. Or, as if he didn’t quite believe it still. I guess binding demons, stopping bullets and quelling storms hasn’t been enough for him. “I’ll uh…go run and get us some wine, Connie,” Florian said in a stentorian burst, fiddling for car keys in his shorts. “Honey wine, did you say?”
“It’s called mead, but yeah. If they have it. They probably won’t. If not, just get a few bottles of whatever,” I instructed him, my head thrilled by thoughts of all those bees, all that pollen, all those bottles of fermented bee juice.
“Will do. Don’t go anywhere,” he replied with a twinkle in his eye, then disappeared out the door.
I spent the time he was away having a look around the place. If he had anything to hide, he certainly wouldn’t have left me there in the cabin alone. Stacks of papers, some very yellowed, were crammed in piles into bookshelves along with the many titles that the old man had stuffed in alongside the manuscripts, documents, and other papers. Sifting through unashamedly, I discerned that he had been some kind of member of a secret order. Multiple orders, evidently. It was a fascinating collective sheaf of telling and very esoteric, occult documents talking about “degree-rendition requirements for membership applicants,” “development of undetectable substances or messages for mass manipulation” along with a hundred other mind-blowing things which mostly confirmed my long-held suspicions about secret control-mechanisms and “committees” in the world, but also gave birth to new ones. There was a letter apparently written to “Hans” regarding Nazi UFOs in Antarctica and the Hollow Earth entrances at the poles. Sifting through those rustic shelves holding god-only-knows-what secrets, I found a book called “The Kensington Runestone” about the famous stone tablet that apparently was like the notebook or shopping list of a 13th Century Viking, only it was found in Kensington, Minnesota. It was a small gray book which I immediately grabbed up and began flipping through fascinatedly. It seemed to leap from the cosmic library right into my hands, pre-ordained. My eyes roamed the runic glyphs, parsing their archaic idea-forms, and intuiting their meaning. I held the book in my hands as I continued perusing Hans’ (now Florian’s) shelves. I poured through sheaves, books, folders and files like the cosmic detective I was. Then, I pulled out a wrinkled manila folder with “Maria” scrawled on the front of it. I began pulling out letters apparently sent to Hans from “Maria”. Then, a picture fell out into my hands of Maria Osric of the Vril Society, with writing on the back, apparently in her hand, saying, “My dearest Hans, If we cannot be together at the research station or in Berlin, we will be together in some other time and place. Perhaps another life?” Who was this man who refused the Nazi’s attempts to get a hold of his work as a chemist, and who was a member of secret orders, and came to this remote place in a Northern California forest to live out his years?
I was staring at the picture of the beautiful Maria Osric when I heard Florian’s car hitting the gravel driveway. I tossed the picture back in the manila envelope in which I found it, and kicked back relaxedly in the leather chair, the book on the runestone on my stomach. I closed my eyes, visualizing an image of my life being in perfect peace, and once again what exactly “moonfrost runes” might be. The bones of the damned letter the words and names. I also tried to picture what Florian’s country store looked like, and how often he visited it.
“Yeah, they didn’t have much. Didn’t have any mead, but I did get us some…other offerings,” said the tall blond man in the khaki shorts who intermittently captured my fancy.
“Ooh,” I said, as he unbagged the various bottles and placed them on the counter. “What did you get?”
“Let’s see—another six pack of IPA, a bottle of Napa Chardonnay, a red blend called Happy Hills, and a bottle of one of my favorites…” he said, holding up a bottle of Jagermeister. I rarely engaged in hard alcohol, but something inside of me burned bibulously like I’d never known. I could, also, with my powers, either increase or eliminate altogether the effects of alcohol. I think I had tapped into a mainline leading to the god of alcohol’s frenzied splendor.
“Oh, I also got a bottle of tequila,” he added.
“What, are you planning a party?” I asked.
“Maybe,” he replied with a smirk. Just then, Sebastian hit the door, sort of nodded his head at us without saying anything, and made his way into a back room. I turned my attention back to the Teutonic man who’d procured us the party favors.
“A party of two, then?” I said, trying some softness and charm. Our eyes locked like eagles in a mating spiral, as Florian busted the cap on one of the screw-top bottles. Holding my gaze, he took a pull off of the Jagermeister then offered it to me.
“Trying to get me drunk, monsieur?”
“Hey Dad, you should see this!” Sebastian hollered from the back room.
“What is it?” he barked back.
“This video. A huge hole opened up in the earth and it’s swallowing cars and people…and spitting out oil and purple fire. And…a sort of…river of slimy garbage or something,” he replied.
“Wow, that’s something. Lots of that kind of thing happening right now in the world, son,” Florian said, taking another healthy swig.
“I know, but…not like this,” Sebastian answered.
“Alright, I’ll come take a look,” Florian replied, walking to the back room of the cabin. “Ooh, my God! Wow, that’s awful. Those poor people. Where is this?” he said, disgust, pity, and astonishment commingled in his voice. I ambled back there to check it out as well.
“The video title is ‘Giant Hole Swallows Cars and Spits Slime in China’,” Sebastian said with a chortle of disbelief. “I guess there are more of these slime holes cropping up around the world,” he added somberly.
We all sat or stood there and watched a few related videos to that one that blew our minds. Indeed, it was the worst of the “World Going to Hell” series or style of videos I’d seen on ViewTube in recent years, when I had time to tune in. The hole grew and grew, and little by little swallowed up the outskirts of some small town in central China with a thousand-foot wide sinkhole that spewed back up rivers of slimy gunk. I got the impression that Mother Earth had had enough of being spat on and shat into, and was giving it all back to us, here and there, in larger and smaller doses. Each day, for me, the world (humanity) was redefining insanity. You were never able to say, “Now I’ve seen it all,” because the very next day you would see more that would floor you and reinforce the belief that Earth humans were the most depraved, victimized, ridiculous, and sadomasochistic species of sentient life in the Universe. Sure, they—or, we—could also be quite heroic, lofty, and supremely wise, but those stories or instances seemed to be having diminishing returns of late. I need a big drink. I could quaff a Citadel Lake full of heady wine right now; a true wine of ruddy strength! Then I’d really be ready for the moon demons…
“I’m getting a big glass of wine,” I announced, and went out to the kitchen. Not even wanting to bother with uncorking, I grabbed the one with the screw-top, cracked and unscrewed it, then looked through Florian’s cupboards for a wine glass. After finding one, I poured a large glassful of the “Jackrabbit Vineyards Red Blend,” then turned to look out the kitchen window at the lake.
I nearly dropped my wine glass.
There was Pranu, peacefully grazing in the front yard. Oh, my beautiful one. My animal soul-friend, how was your war? I guess it went well and this is good news, for you are alive…Of course you are!
I went to the back room to tell the guys, and they were enraptured in some ViewTube vid about “Scary Prophecies” or something.
“Hey, Pranu is back,” I said. Either of them hardly batted an eye. I got a monosyllabic grunt of recognition out of Florian as Sebastian oohed and ahhed over the crazy shit being said and illustrated in the video.
“Hello? My Unicorn is back, did you hear me? He’s standing on the front lawn. I think I’ll go for a ride.” This time Florian just said “Oh,” and Sebastian threw me an odd, bothered look. “Do you want to ride my Unicorn?” I asked, however implausible or irrational the scenario, to amused looks exchanged between them and thrown back at me.
“Sure,” Florian said, with a wink. “But, should you be riding a Unicorn in your…condition?” His wry smirk rising…
“Me? I’m just fine. Perfect. I could ride that thing to Alpha Centauri right now.”
More curious silence.
“Okay, you guys…just watch your boob tube videos all day, blah blah blah, whatever…” I do admit I was getting quite tipsy, carrying the wine bottle around with me and taking healthy swigs off of it as I went into “gobbledygook land” as Alf used to call it in my heavier drinking days. At the time, I am quite sure my wine-soaked rantings made perfect sense. To me.
I went back out into the kitchen and set the bottle down on the island in the kitchen. I still had the book on the Kensington Runestone in my hand, and flipped it open and began pouring over the images in it once again. Moonstone, runestone, are these the runes of moonfrost, lo? I thought, gazing back out upon Pranu, who warmed me so deeply, the fact that he’d sought me out again—I knew he would, but the simple fact of it is what amazed me so. I imaged what his rune would be. Simple—a four-legged sigil with wings. I watched that imagined glyph take flight from the pages of the book and ascend into the sky. A raven just then came soaring in over the pine trees right on cue.
I walked out to him, wine glass in hand, and petted and stroked his soft, silken fur. He turned his head lovingly towards me, and seemed to impart in a few tiny gestures the gravity of his recent battles. I just kept stroking him lovingly, twining my fingers in his silken mane, and sipping the blended ferment—the blood of the vine. I could swear a moment later I heard him speak to me telepathically:
Take me for a ride, and we’ll stem the demon tide together, again.
Yes, I no longer required him for the “zephyr ride” as I called it. It was two friends coming together again in essence, not necessity. So, I dropped the wine glass in the grass, had Pranu bow down, mounted him, and said, “Okay, let’s go. Take me to where the healing sword in hand must go.”
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