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.”
****Notice to unscrupulous readers: This communication contains content which is intellectually copyrighted material. Any unauthorized reproduction or usage of such material is expressly prohibited, and will result in the exercise of author’s rights under copyright law and UCC provisions guarding copyrighted content/intellectual property, and action may likely be taken against any violators of said provisions.
Released in April 2014, and available only on Kindle and Nook until now – my romantic thriller and slice of Hollywood satire is now available in paperback format through Amazon. Concerning a group of people who converge in Los Angeles and Hollywood, Thespia’s Abandon tells the story of an A-list actress and screenwriter who come to realize they are controlled by forces of darkness operating through one of the biggest movie studios in Tinsel Town – Zion – but, with the help of friends in the right places (a poet-revolutionary, new age author and his clairvoyant wife, and a “star-child” from outer space), overcome the odds stacked against them, managing to topple the evil “Emperor of Hollywood” and his political controllers in an apocalyptic climax you’ll have to read to believe.
Hello WordPress readers! I would humbly encourage you to consider buying/reading my new novel, “Dead to Love,” a “supernatural thriller,” though so much more than that (I hope). With elements of sci-fi/fantasy, romance, horror and suspense, my story weaves an essay on family, children, community, and justice against a backdrop of demonic conspiracy, quantum spirituality (spiritual science), and a world on the brink of apocalyptic transformation. This is to be the first book in a saga one might compare to a Lord of the Rings for our times (again, I hope). Vampiric cops, ghoulish priests, malicious doctors, fairy underworlds, flying unicorns, legions of celestial warriors, and a woman at the center of it all who realizes the otherworldly powers of an avenging angel – these things and more comprise Book One of a series which encompasses far-flung fantasy as well as everyday reality, with mind-opening results.
Thanks in advance for your patronage of my work, everyone, and may you find a thrill on every page!
Please enjoy this excerpt from my latest novel, entitled “Dead to Love,” a fantasy thriller with a slightly sci-fi edge about a psychic whose disappeared daughter, she discovers, is the victim of an ancient network of vampiric beings, as many other missing children in and around her community have been. Said psychic/housewife/mother transforms into an inter-dimensional, time-traveling avenging angel who takes down the network of vampires in her hometown, visits a fairy world in the inner earth, a distant planet helmed by a fellow potentate and angelic avenger, and ends up a kind of messianic leader on Earth who leads a revolution and war against the elite rulers who have worked in collusion with the vampire beings for eons to suck the life force from the human race and ecology, for their own power-mad ends.
I am also looking for a graphic artist to design the cover, or to even turn this into a graphic novel, so please comment or email me if interested at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading!
Part Three: Insurrections and Resurrections
I don’t know how much time passed before I finally woke up behind my own eyes again. It could have been one hundred years, or ten minutes. I had vague hints left in my head of perhaps time and space travel, and the sense that they were boasting of their cosmic pockets of dominance, showing off their handiwork in the form of slaves and the results of their brutal impositions and abuses of power in locations like our humble little hamlet. I figured they had wiped my memory of most of what I had seen, but leaving behind streak-like remnants of themselves upon the windows of my mind.
I came-to in my body like brass that awakens as a bugle, the sunlight on my arms like writing on a chalkboard saying, “Here is a body. Your body. You have come into the world again.” Indeed, the sun was in its body, smiling down at me through a dead tree on a spring morning. I was still lying where I had passed out, next to the Owens farmhouse. I went to sit up, and cried out due to a pain in my spine, and Florian came running to me from around the side of the house.
“Connie! You’re alive! I knew you would make it,” he exclaimed, in a great rush of pathos, as he knelt down beside me, caressing my fallen-asleep arm.
“Where are…” I began, still trying to wake up my body and brain and get my bearings.
“Where are…what? Who?” Florian asked.
“The children. Are they okay?”
“I just checked on them a couple of hours ago. I told them to stay at the house until we returned. I knew we would both return, that you were fighting them body and soul,” Florian enthused.
“Where…are they? The monsters?” I queried, with a tremor in my voice.
“Disappeared. I guess we succeeded in evicting them…at least temporarily,” he said.
“Did you see a ship beam them up, or did they just vanish, or…” I queried him.
“I saw strange lights, then felt their darkness was gone,” he replied.
“How long have I been here?”
“Three days,” Florian said. “I thought you were either comatose or close to dead at times. But something told me you would pull through.”
“Let’s go see about the children,” I said, slowly standing up, breathing deeply the blue canopy of spring air.
Florian nodded, helping me stand up, and we walked together across the sunny field full of dead trees to collect the children and deliver them safely back to their families. As we walked, my mind was a moody sea of other-worldly, diabolical images – afterimages seared into my head from my off-planet journey. Although I wanted to determine just what it was I had seen and experienced while trapped in the thing’s head, the recall was painful – and horrifying. It was a kaleidoscope of jarring, inhuman images, symbols, and viscera that had only compounded my existential nausea. Florian must have seen this as we walked, as he lovingly helped me at every step. Smiling as he did so, even though my head was brimming now with the unholy sights of these beings coldly and scientifically calculating what must have been the brains and breath – spiritual weight? – of many children – likely not just from Sheldon Vale. I had the distinct feeling as we walked that they were working out a way to create or clone humans and use them as a slave race. I remembered telepathically picking up on one of them thinking, “When we can clone and replace them, we reduce our thumbprints to virtually zero, and keep the originals for study and slavery.”
I shuddered and kind of bent over a bit under the weight of this notion. Florian grabbed my arm, and suddenly I felt like a Jewish person in the Third Reich pogrom being escorted across some dead waste toward her doom. A feverish dread overtook me then, and I began to sob softly, the tears clashing with my newfound joy at being back in my body and out of the Alf-thing’s head. Florian offered his deep sympathy and support, and somehow we made it across that godforsaken field to the house where the old farmer’s corpse still slept.
“T-too much horror. Too much death here,” I stammered. This planet is inhospitable. Hostile to life, I thought, but didn’t say.
“I know,” Florian said, hugging me close. I was so grateful to him for not trying to explain away or soften my statement, but just accepting it.
I savored being held in his warmth – which I could see now as a copper-orange radiance – as we ascended the sloping yard grown with high grass, and the walkway that led to the front door. I could hear children’s playful chatter from inside – and being suddenly hushed at hearing our footsteps approach. As Florian pushed the door open, his son stood in the middle of the gaggle of children, looking very much like some Peter Pan with his Lost Boys (and Girls). I was suddenly overjoyed to see them all, and hugged them, trying to control my sobs so as not to scare them even further. I caressed and stroked their heads, answering their by turns precocious and innocent queries into where I had been.
“Did the aliens take you away? Sebastian said they took you away. Just like Fiona,” said Tommy.
“They tried, hon,” I said. “But weren’t strong enough to get me.” Though the mention of her name plunged me into a momentary grief again, the kids seemed invigorated and put at ease by this announcement, which lifted me up. I told them they would be going home soon, that Florian and I would be taking them back to their parents that day. There was a somber mixture of gladness and gloom floating around, like the heavy clouds that hung over the pastureland where our reconnoitering broke from its lunar flanks toward some measure of normalcy.
Or, so we had hoped.
“Les is gone,” Sebastian said in a disturbed, excited way.
“What do you mean, gone?” I asked, perplexed.
“His body is gone. Go look,” said he, pointing urgently up toward the room where we’d left his body.
I did just that, ascending the staircase in a slightly wobbly fashion, still adjusting to being back on Earth after my “kidnapping”. Florian followed me closely, as did Sebastian, Tommy, and Ariel, a girl of about ten. I stood in the doorway of his bedroom looking at the bed with its slightly-ruffled bedspread we’d lain him atop of. At first I couldn’t accept what I was seeing, as my mind raced with the possibilities: Did he rise from the dead like Lazarus, or some zombie? Did the aliens come for him during the night?
And then I recalled his words the day before: “I have a whole closet full of books that could tell you a story” – about the UFOs, aliens, whatever they were. I stepped into the closet where earlier he had pulled a gun from a shoebox, and saw a pile of books on an upper shelf, flanked by two old banker’s boxes. Pulling aside some hanging clothes, I spied a few more boxes on the ground, amongst haphazardly dispersed pairs of old shoes and boots.
“Hmmm,” I said aloud, as I pulled one of the boxes out from its dark, dusty hiding place.
“What have you got?” asked Florian.
“I don’t know. Les said he had books that could tell the story about the aliens. I just want to look through and see if there’s anything that can tell us something useful about these beings,” I said, extreme curiosity dripping from my voice.
I pulled out a large notebook, and began flipping through it, soon hushed into utter amazement at what I was reading. Florian could tell by the sounds I was making that it was something incredible.
“What?” he inquired, matching my own curiosity, then repeated his query a few moments later when I refused to answer.
“It’s…I mean, this guy…okay, here’s a passage: ‘My conversations with the cosmic time-traveler who claims to be a teacher and oracle for humanity who is millions of years old and who calls himself Onquoristhenes Barl, or just Quoris for short, have altered everything I knew, or thought I knew, regarding human existence and life on Planet Earth. Since he arrived, one month after Carol’s passing, he has revealed our true human origins, purpose of life on Earth, and also who and what the aliens that operate via the ancient vortexes are – one of them being right here, next door at the Owens farm.”
Florian stood next to me, looking over my shoulder and reading silently along with me in mute amazement.
“He explained that as an immortal “way-shower” and tenth dimensional tracker of these beings, he had been witness to their first colonization of Earth long before the first humans were present – about five million years ago.” I turned to look at Florian shrouded in amazement, His eyes returned the sentiment, and began scanning the old man’s closet for more written records of his interactions with supernatural beings. He pulled a box off of the top shelf, and walked out into the room and placed it on the bed, fingering the books and papers contained in it.
I continued: “He gave me instructions for warding off the evil ones in what he called the ancient tongue or Universal language – Obrez och izz machem azzdel mog paz ib, repeated again and again until they disperse, for instance, is a very ancient protection spell against them. He also informed me of how to summon him, in case he needed protection or aid of any kind: Ma’az zoll higun b’el maz Onquoristhenes Barl mogeb.”
I hadn’t considered the summoning power of what I was saying as I read out of Les’ notebook – even struggling in places to pronounce the words as I did. I just read out the words. Then, as soon as they’d come out of me, I looked across to where Florian sat upon the bed, whose eyes gave me a kind of “Uh-oh” look that I’m sure I must have been sending as well. We sat in a crushing silence for a long moment, expecting this warrior to appear. Who was this immortal protector of the innocent from evil which a nice, now dead and disappeared old man had written about? I thought.
We sat there a few minutes more, eyes darting about the room, expectant of the visitor, going to the window to see if he may arrive in a ship, holding our breath.
But, indeed he did not show.
“Maybe he didn’t show up because I did not have an intention to summon him when I read the words,” I supposed.
“Or, perhaps they were meant to be spoken only by the old man,” Florian opined.
“That could be. Nonetheless, his writings are incredible. I want to take some of these with us to read,” I declared. “They probably have information we can use in our battle against…them.”
“I just hope he has no family who will come looking for him, and who will find some of his personal belongings rifled through,” Florian cautioned.
“I sense he has no one left. At least, none who’ll be urgently looking for a man who’s now disappeared. And, not before I can get these notebooks back here.”
“Where do you think his body went?” Florian inquired abruptly.
“Well, my instinct tells me his nefarious neighbors stole the body for reasons all their own,” I replied, gesturing toward the Owens farm. A strange heat thundered through me just then, causing my heart to skip a beat. I swooned, and Florian rushed to my aid. I assured him I was fine, but he insisted on me lying down on the bed. I thought nothing at the time of the fact that the body of the old man had been laid there less then twenty-four hours before. I closed my eyes and quickly drifted into a strange dream-like vision. Or, vision-like dream.
In it, a mysterious, yet benevolent-seeming figure appeared before me in a kind of crystalline cloak, who gestured for me to follow him. And as I did so, great towers were felled by the staff he waved all around him, the buildings falling into what became a great, Eden-like garden. It seemed like we had walked hundreds of miles, though it felt effortless, like watching a sunrise. The garden gave way at one point to deep, thick, dark forest. We walked a little ways, and then he rested against a mind-bogglingly huge oak tree.
“I am the one you have summoned, but I knew you long before you spoke the words today,” he said. “There are many earth-saviors upon Planet Earth right now, Constance, and you are one,” he said, with high wonder in his voice. “Your life on Planet Valtane-IV is not a dream or hallucination, as you have feared. No, it is simply one of many places in which the expression of you exists. And you are not dead to love, as you have suspected of yourself, yet rightly of so many,” he added.
He pointed his staff upward in the low light towards the upper canopy of the great, old trees, his gaze following the line it traced, then making its way back to meet mine.
“Now your many selves have come together as one to fight this final battle with evil, personified by the ones you have been battling,” he continued. “Your powers have been enhanced one-hundredfold. You will be able to read minds, become invisible, alter your shape, and perform really anything you can conceive of – only because you have attained the proper level of benevolent intentionality and heart frequency,” he informed me.
He then turned and reached inside what must have been a door in the oak, retrieved an object, then turned, and I saw it was a thin crown of gold or some other precious metal, which he placed upon my head.
“And now you truly are an empress, in the true sense of the word. An empress of world-changing love. The cosmos is like a waiting lover, breathless with anticipation,” he spoke, a smile of innocence and wonder rising upon him. I could only emote the feeling his beatific smile aroused in me.
“Now, you are free to do your work for the people and all life on Earth, by the powers that bid me to you which exist at the center of the Universe, Galactic Crown, and everywhere,” he said, then touched the crown of my head with his staff. “Go, Constance, and do well in your sacred work, with a laughing heart. I will meet with you again soon.”
With that, he kind of spiraled his staff around me and in a flash I was back, snapping my eyes open back in the old man’s room, Florian’s heavy, concerned face hovering over me.
“Wow, that was a trip,” I declared.
“Whew, you came back. I thought we’d lost you there, again,” said Florian with a hard-bitten smile of relief.
“I just saw…Onquor…whatever his name is, in a vision just now,” I declared, sitting up quickly. “I want to look through the rest of that notebook,” I continued, going to the closet where I’d dropped it.
“So he showed up in your hypnotic state…not in person, then, eh?” Florian asked, with something like disbelief or skepticism. “Are you sure it was him, and not…one of them?”
“Positive,” I rebutted. “He crowned me, conferred special powers on me to…read minds, shapeshift, et cetera. Took me through a crumbling city of towers which became an Eden, then to the most beautifully mysterious forest I could ever have imagined,” I said, with true wonder pouring from me. “I feel renewed, rejuvenated, unbelievable!” I exclaimed, with a new fire surging through me. “Let’s collect the children and get them back home where they belong,” I said, gathering up three of Les’ notebooks, and joining the children, who were anxious to be getting home.
It felt like a pilgrimage, the eight of us walking like a large family across the verdant fields, back across the edges of the desiccated Owens farm (we of course wanted to keep the children as far away from that place of dreadful evil as possible), eventually to the highway road Florian and I had zoomed down just days earlier in search of the beasts – though it now seemed like a hundred years ago. Florian’s Mercedes still sat where we had left it. We all perfunctorily piled in, the eight of us easily fitting into the roomy sedan.
“I remember hearing music in my head when I was…away. And, it wasn’t coming from them. Did you sing to me, Florian?” I asked. He smiled, looking down, two of the smaller children between us looking curious at my query.
“I sang, I talked to you, told you old stories…yes,” he replied, smiling a sunny smile at me as he started the engine. “Anything to keep reaching you, keep you connected to the earth. I wasn’t prepared to let you go, Connie,” he admitted sweetly. “I knew love would keep you here. That it wouldn’t let the wolves drag you away.”
“I feel…clarified,” I said, the colors leaping out like never before. Watching the children jostling for space in the car, I felt alternately sad for the tragedy of their being incarnated in such a maligned world, and also hopeful that they were part of a new generation of warriors against the dark cabal on Planet Earth. These were strong souls – strong enough to handle what they’d been through, and worse, and had come out the other side even stronger.
“Clarified? How so?” Answered Florian, steering back down the highway into town.
“I feel like…being in that thing’s head and assimilating their technology, hieroglyphics, their agenda, just…kicked off something extrasensory, otherworldly in me,” I replied, as I gazed out my passenger window at the leafy whirl of spring dancing in the morning wind. I could read the auras and life force energies of the trees, and even dark and light spots over the rural homes indicating, apparently, the general health of the house, or those dwelling in it.
“So, they kind of…kidnapped your spirit and took you for a ride, is that it?” Florian asked.
“I think what Alf was trying to do has backfired on he and his gang completely,” I said. Florian gave me a square look and raised his eyebrows at that.
“Hey, we need to know where all you kids belong, so…you just tell me where your homes are and I’ll let you off there, okay?” Florian queried the children. There was a strange silence after he asked.
“Do all of you know on which streets you live?” I asked them. The little girl who sat beside me, Gloria, shook her head.
“I’m only two blocks from the school,” said another girl, Ariel. The other children chimed in with their places of residences somewhat reluctantly, which I picked up as a collective message to us that they were not comfortable with that prospect.
“We would love to take care of you, dear ones, but you really belong with your parents,” I said, as some of the children hung their heads. “If you’re afraid because you were taken from your homes, do not be afraid now. They won’t come for you. I have forbidden it. Your parents will be happy to see you,” I added, smiling.
“You promise?” asked Tommy.
“Promise. Now let’s get you all home.”
And that’s exactly what we did, letting each child off at their homes, after making sure there was someone there to receive them. For two of them we had to discern where their parents worked and drop them there. The parents of four of them were extremely glad to receive them, pouring out their gratitude effusively. No one answered at Ariel’s, so we took her home with us.
“Just until we can get you home, sweetheart,” I said to her innocent face like a trusting flower.
Home was for me now apparently Florian’s, after this exchange in his driveway when the four of us pulled up:
“You’re not going back there, I won’t let you. I insist you stay with us.”
“You’ve seen that I can handle myself very well with these monsters, Florian.”
“I’ve seen it, but I won’t allow you to risk his return if I can help it.”
“I’ve seen his mind through and through now, and can unravel him with a word, but if it will make you feel better…”
“It will,” he replied with a very authoritarian insistence.
We all piled out of the car and up the path to Florian and Sebastian’s house.
“You’ve been awfully quiet, young man,” I observed of Sebastian as the thick wooden front door swung open, held by Florian as we stepped inside. “What’s on your mind?”
“Oh, just listening to the cosmos, Mrs. Girard. To life,” he replied, as he made for the living room couch and plopped onto it with a thud of relief.
“This, from a fourteen year-old?” I marveled, gazing at Florian, a sly, proud smile sneaking up his face as he removed his coat and hat.
“He’s beyond his times, surely,” Florian said, as he disappeared into the next room and put his Luger away in a safe. I followed him in there, Ariel close on my heels.
“Fiona is the same way,” I stated, firm in my usage of the present-tense and feeling deep within me that she would be returned safely to me. “An old soul, certainly.”
“We can only hope she will return to us body and soul,” replied Florian.
My eyes swept across three rudimentary but alluring paintings. Florian saw this just as Ariel tugged on my dress complaining she was hungry.
“Those are Lisette’s. So she’s always with me in my dark hours. Let’s get something from the kitchen for the kids to eat, shall we?”
“Okay…they’re nice, her paintings,” I remarked. “Playful, childlike. But, fierce.”
“Just as she was,” he said.
We all stood there a long moment looking at the paintings, Ariel included, then adjourned to the kitchen and as the sun fell through the plum, cherry, elm and oak trees so familiar to me, we let comforting smells of cooking a hearty meal enfold us. Strangely, this felt more like a family, a spirit of unity, then my own family had. I let the spirit of celebration and unity dance like a dervish as after eating we joked around, played impromptu music on Florian’s piano, drums, and other instruments he had laying around his living room. Sebastian sat down at the piano during this beautiful burst of spontaneity and played what sounded at first like a Chopin piece, but which I came to realize was his own. When he finished, I asked, “Is that yours?” to which he merely smiled humbly.
“That’s for Fiona, wherever she is. Maybe she will hear it and will return to us,” said he, and my heart paled, caught itself, then smiled.
“Hope so,” I said, wanly.
Soon after that Ariel and Sebastian wandered out into the backyard area, no doubt to wonder at spring’s industry budding in the gardens and on the trees. Watching Ariel excitedly bounce around the yard through the sliding glass doors, I couldn’t help but think of Fiona, though my sadness was brightened by the sheer joy I felt being back on solid ground and in my body. Life itself buoyed what could have been a sad moment as I watched the children with whom I felt a kinship play in Florian’s backyard.
“Nice to have a moment alone with you,” Florian said from the kitchen. “Can I get the empress, destroyer of evil, something to drink? Beer? A glass of wine? Mineral water, perhaps?”
I told him wine sounded good and asked what kind he had. He said he had a good bottle of 2006 Bordeaux in his wine rack, and I said that sounded wonderful. As he opened it and poured us each a glass, I wandered his library again, pulling the occasional collection of poetry or treatise on mysticism or magic off the shelf and flipping through its enthralling pages.
“Here we are,” said Florian, handing me a glass as we sat down in the living room.
“Danke schoen,” I said, accepting the libation and tipping my hat to his German ancestry.
“Bitte schoen. Nice to see the children playing out there. Sebastian’s usually hiding away somewhere studying or writing,” Florian remarked.
“Yes, it is. Though seeing Ariel running around…”
“Reminds you of Fiona, I know,” Florian comforted. “She will be returned to us, I feel it.”
“Yes, so do I,” I replied. The wine was touching something deeply Gallic or Romantic or ancient in my blood. It made me think of errant knights and rogue nobles playing with courtly love and sophistry. Was I just trying to distract myself from the hard truth – that my life had just fallen to pieces?
“You know, I swore after Lisette and the anguish her loss brought me that I would never, ever love again. That it would be just me and Sebastian, but…”
“But,” I urged him, after a long pause.
“But, I never counted on you, Connie. For years you were just the neighbor next door. The wife of a man whom I even knew in a cursory way was beneath you. But, I never gave it much thought, you know?”
“Yes, you busied yourself in your gardens and greenhouse. I could tell the time and seasons by you,” I revealed, laughing. Florian echoed my levity. “We called you ‘The Gardener’.”
“I can think of worse names,” he countered, with a deep smile and another quaff of the wine. I must have looked worried he might be offended, for he added, “It’s a compliment, my dear,” with a devastating smile. My thoughts spun wildly as I drank down the excellent ferment, which I commented on.
“This particular selection comes to us from the Haut Medoc. There’s an expression in this Chateau that’s more fulfilling than sex or religion for me.”
“It’s superb,” I agreed. “Alfred never liked wine. It was always beer or vodka breath. Eventually I was so disgusted with his drinking that I myself stopped altogether. Nice to experience something positive in the alcohol world.”
“Oh, you’re a non-drinker? I’m sorry to corrupt you,” Florian replied, looking genuinely worried.
“Oh, no, no…I had no good reason to drink. Never went out, buried myself in my work, took care of Fiona, was a homebody. I’m happy to have rediscovered it. I used to imbibe in my younger days. I did drink some good wine in college once or twice.”
“Good. Well, I’m glad that’s all over between you and that monster…who probably couldn’t name one cultivated grape, the troglodyte.”
“Right. I should check on the kids,” I said, getting up.
“Oh, well let’s go together,” said Florian, following my out through the sliding doors.
Not seeing the children at first, I got a bit concerned. Perhaps we shouldn’t have let them out of our sight, considering that there were parasitic alien creatures still flying around the area. Suddenly I was nauseous as we walked the huge gardens. I paused to sit on a low stone wall as my head spun.
“You okay?” asked Florian.
“I think so. Just a bit dizzy,” I told him, though I truly felt awful.
A moment later, after Florian had begun rubbing my back, the children came running out of the trees.
“I saw Twirl,” Ariel announced.
“What did you say honey?” I asked Ariel. It took me a moment to parse her words.
“I said I saw Twirl. She comes to my house, too,” she beamed. “She lives in the trees.”
“Well, honey, that’s amazing. Twirl is a fairy, right?”
“Yes,” was Ariel’s matter-of-fact reply. “She helps make the trees big and the fruit grow.”
“That’s really interesting,” I replied. I exchanged bemused looks with Florian and Sebastian. “Fiona had an imaginary friend named Twirl. Could she be the same?”
“I would think she has to be, unless…” Florian surmised, and trailed off.
“Yes, I would think so. She must be,” I agreed, suddenly recalling the days when Fiona, too, would come running into the house and say “a girl named Twirl lives in the trees,” and at about the same age as Ariel.
“Wow, that’s cool. A real live fairy, huh? I think I did see something…but it was only a quick flash of light,” said Sebastian.
The trees answered us with a beautiful, green silence after Sebastian’s comment. Gathered in our silent marvel, sun flares exploded in the periphery of my vision. It was, I surmised, the corona of the quantum field also answering our sentient presence. I simply let the light fill me up, energizing me through my eyes and skin. Soon, my nausea and dizziness passed.
“There is something deeply mystical about the trees back here that I’ve always loved,” I said, looking to Florian, who was gazing back into their newly-budding, rioting mass. “Something sacred to counter the alien evil that’s infested this place.”
“There are real fairies in our trees; ugly demons, including your husband, have invaded our town and kidnapped and tortured our children, the ring of fire is going berserk, there are about seven revolutions occurring in as many countries right now…I wonder what else can happen?” Florian asked in a hush as the children ran ahead of us into the house.
“I don’t know,” I truthfully replied. “You know, for such an introverted, studious young man, Sebastian certainly knows how to let his inner child run loose,” I observed. Florian let out a knowing laugh.
“There are two sides to him. The serious one, and the energetic child. I think being around these other kids has been good for him,” he agreed.
“So Ariel’s neighbor didn’t know where her parents worked?” I asked.
“No. In fact they hadn’t seen them in many days,” Florian answered.
“That’s strange,” I said.
Stepping into the house, I went over to Ariel, who was sitting on a kitchen chair.
“Ariel, where do your parents work?” I asked her.
“They used to work at the school, but now they work at home,” said the somewhat pixie-like child.
“Oh, they lost their jobs? During the recent teacher layoffs, is that it?”
She merely nodded, looking sad. Her dark blond hair fell around her face in an unkempt way. I placed a hand upon her head, both in a comforting fashion, but also in an intuitive, empathic way. Perhaps I could see through her mind, use her energy as a compass to possibly ascertain where her parents were. I had done this in some of my in-person psychic-clairvoyant sessions. Sebastian flipped on a lamp, as it was now dusk, and sank into a reading chair in a corner of the living room with a book on the Roman Empire. I closed my eyes and felt into Ariel’s own quantum field.
“What are your parents’ names, Ariel?” I asked.
“Um…Gary and Reb-becca,” she responded hesitantly in a tender, innocent drawl.
“Okay, I am going to try to find your mommy and daddy now, Ariel. I’m going to keep my hand on your head and try to see where they are,” I told her.
“Okay,” she replied, seemingly understanding.
Almost immediately after this exchange, I got the “download” that they had been despondent after her disappearance a few weeks back, and had embarked on a statewide search for her, to no avail. I could feel their great desperation and grief, and that they had almost given up hope. This insight had come to me much quicker and more vividly than any I had done before. Being behind the thing’s eyes had clarified me.