Chapter 17 Ascension Graveyard

Chapter 17

~The Journal of Etta Castle Teague

“Etta, you have the knowledge of the truth of the past. This truth is the power to propel you forward, never backward. Never retreat no matter the cost. Know what is behind you, use it to strengthen your forward movements. “ Mr. Albert used to say that to me all the time. I didn’t fully understand its application until Baldwin was gone and I had no choice but to push myself forward even in the face of knowing his condition was completely my fault, even with knowing I may never get him back again.

*          *          *

Rachel stretched her arms and downed the last bit of coffee from her Styrofoam cup. It was ice cold but she didn’t mind. She was in it for the caffeine. It had been a long day, not really any longer than her usual shifts, but far crazier.

Greenwich Pass had a propensity to be either black or white. Either things were as easy going and uneventful as the next mountain valley town, or it was full of bizarre occurrences. The people of the area didn’t need to have a full moon to behave like they were lunatics. The vein of crazy that ran through the valley clearly coursed in the blood of the locals as well.

Rachel wouldn’t have it any other way. She didn’t know any other way.

She rubbed her tired eyes with her knuckle and stifled a yawn as she leaned into her computer screen. Her shift had ended a few hours ago but she was too tired to drive. She took a cat nap in her office before diving right into Vanessa Wong’s case. Under other circumstances, knowing that her patient was stable would have been enough for her to head home, get some sleep and attack the “giant” of the unknown another day. But this wasn’t any other patient. This was the mayor.

The prodding of pride and the hope of being able to play passive aggressive while gloating in Wong’s face when she eventually came too, if she came to, was just too much for Rachel to handle. She had no proof that the cause of the coma-like trance she was in had anything to do with her contusions and head injuries from the week before, but then she had no proof of the contrary.

“Yes you do, Rachel. None of the test you had done proved conclusive.” She growled and glanced at the clock on her desk. It was nearing midnight. She had been at the hospital since five am. She needed to get some real rest if she was going to be worth a dime in figuring things out. She needed to figure things out for her own ego if nothing else.

She turned off her computer, grabbed her things and headed out her office door. She did a quick primp before heading to the nurses lounge. Dr. Michael Baxter and she had had a good evening of conversation between rounds. He like many others, wanted to know what had happened to Vanessa.

Rachel took her time in telling him. After a few well played hands of cat and mouse flirting, Rachel had landed herself a coffee date with the handsome doctor. He had even asked her to stop by the lounge before she left, a request she was more than willing to oblige.

Michael smiled warmly when she came into the lounge, he even stood. “I hoped you hadn’t forgotten about me. Do you have a quick moment?” He pointed towards the chair next to him.

“Sure,” She smiled but another yawn escaped her.

Michael’s eyebrows rose bashfully. “I won’t keep you too long,”

“I am sorry,” She blushed. “It has been a really long day.”

Michael smiled again. “Okay, I will make this quick then. I was thinking about your case with the Mayor and I might be able to give you a bit of a lead. No promises, but there is a possibility.”

“Oh?” Rachel perked up. She was all about making some grand conclusion of her own, but she was not so prideful to ignore help, especially when Michael Baxter was offering.

“Yeah, I don’t know if what I am thinking of is at all related but it sounds a bit similar,”

Rachel leaned forward. “You going to tell me already or are you going to make me work for it?”

“Work for it.” His grin broadened. “How about instead of coffee, we do lunch on Monday to go over what I am thinking? I will collect the information needed for your case and bring it along with me, and then we do dinner sometime soon, no work only play. Deal?” He extended his large hand to her.

“Deal.” She had obviously worked her magic on him. Graciela had helped a bit as well. She owed her. She owed Jørn more for calling off.

She hoped she hadn’t blushed again when she took Michael’s hand but she suddenly didn’t care. The way he kept hold of her hand and even helped her to stand was well worth the embarrassment.

“Alright then I will call you tomorrow to confirm. I know this great place on the Square called Dahlia’s. Have you been there before?”

Rachel shook her head.

“Excellent. Dahlia’s it is. I’ll walk you out.”

*          *          *

Jørn felt like he had been hit by a Mack truck. He sat in Doris’ front room staring forward as he inwardly gnawed on every word that she had said. Never mind the fact it was nearing midnight. Doris had been talking for hours and had only recently slowed her pace. Andrea had even given her perspective on things.

Jørn had all but completely tuned them out, their voices falling into the background of his pounding thoughts. Etta, his Etta, his wife had stopped the ascension.

How in the world had she done it? The whole idea of it seemed utterly impossible. What hit him even harder was hearing his cousin’s name. Baldwin Falk was apart of it. Where the hell had he been all of this time?! Hiding somewhere only Etta could find him, that’s where! Etta knew all along!

“You want some more coffee, Jørn?” Jørn snapped out of his thoughts, his eyes glanced down into the dark liquid. It had been neglected the same way the Sheppard’s Pie she insisted he eat for dinner had been, a few bites here and there, a few sips, but otherwise his appetite was completely gone.

Doris’ held the coffee pot in hand, tilted at the ready. Jørn shook his head. “No. No, thank you, Doris.”

She handed the pot the Andrea and sat down in the chair next to him, rubbing her hands against her knees. A sudden calm and solemnity filled the room. Only the sound of the grandmother clock’s ticking on the mantel could be heard. Jørn remained for almost a complete ten minutes longer in silence before finally speaking.

“I should probably go now.”

“Oh, honey you don’t have to rush off.”

He stood. He wasn’t rushing. He needed to change environment. “It’s almost midnight and you need to get some rest. Today was intense.”

“I hadn’t really given any mind to the time.” She stood up and eased into his stiff embrace. Andrea came back out of the kitchen with a bag filled with leftovers. Mark was right behind her. Thomas stayed glued in front of the television.

Mark took his place beside Doris and squeezed her tight, kissing her temple and rubbing her back. Doris rested her head on his shoulder and her face grew pink. She was having a moment. They were having a moment as husband and wife, partners, friends, trusted confidants. Jørn looked away from them and his eyes collided with Andrea’s. He smiled and took the bag from her hands.

“Thank you for, dinner.” He chanced a quick glance back at Doris and Mark. His head was beginning to pound. He had had enough. He wanted to run, needed to run, clear his head.

Mark extended his hand and shook Jørn’s vigorously. “No, thank you Jørn, and thank that wife of yours.”

Jørn nodded but his jaw clenched. He needed to process what he had heard before he said anything to Etta. He needed to find Etta in order to say something to her. But he suddenly had no desire to find her, not now, not with all of this in between them.

Mark continued, a tear streaking his cheek. “You tell her thank you for giving me my life back. A man is nothing without his heart. Doris is mine, just like Etta’s is yours. You understand what I mean. And that Baldwin fellow, whoever he is, if you see him, you thank him for me too.”

Jørn gripped the bag and forced a smile before saying goodnight and pulling off on his bike. He drove towards the hills, his mind on auto pilot. He had not packed any running gear with him but he was going to run anyway. He couldn’t go home and he could think clearly. He was inwardly imploding.

He didn’t know what was putting his guts in the meat grinder more, the fact that not only had Etta kept this ability or whatever it was that she had used to stop the ascension from him, but she had kept it a secret that she knew where Baldwin was. She had known he was alive, had been in contact with him, and had not said a single word!

It had been over a decade since he had heard from him, almost that long since he had moved his life into collision with Etta’s before completely intertwining with hers, all on the pretence that Baldwin Falk, his first cousin, her fiancé, was gone.

But that wasn’t true. Jørn stayed because he loved her, didn’t know when he had started to but he knew he did, but he was suddenly questioning if she ever loved him back.

He felt like it was a stupid thought but he just couldn’t shake it. The realization troubled him so deeply that he began to doubt everything about himself and Etta.

He came to a rough stop upon the hills, his tires kicking up dust and rocks and shooting them like bullets into the darkness. He flung off his helmet, leather jacket and even his scrub top, tossing them on his bike and without a second thought ran off into the darkness.

He could hardly see a thing in front of him, but he kept on running. The imagery of it all was reminding him of his life: he could hardly see anything, not with the ascension, not with what they were about, not with Etta, not with Baldwin. He had been running in the dark all this time.

“Father God, where are YOU!” He shouted into the black, his growling voice echoed into the shrouded tree line. He heard no answer and felt no peace only the intrepid role of howling questions and a thousand wayward thoughts as he considered everything Doris and Andrea had said.

 

“She just rolled in out of nowhere like John Wayne, bullhorn a blazing!” Doris had said. She smiled and even lifted up off of her seat with elation. Her arms and shown signs from her fall as she fought to get out of harms way once the human stampede began. “She said, as of today no more ascensions,”

            “No, she said from the order of Baldwin Fawn,”

            “Falk, honey. Baldwin Falk.” Doris gave Jørn another strange look after she corrected her niece. “That’s the other good news. Your cousin is alive. Did you know that?” Jørn did not move. “None of that nasty stuff people used to say about Etta doing something awful to him was true, not one lick of it. I never believed she did anyhow. And neither did you. You married her.” She smiled. Jørn stayed corpse still.

 

He kept running, picking up the pace, the impact jarring his knees. He felt heavy, and rightfully so. He was carrying a massive load on his shoulders. Etta had looked him the face day after day, night after night, and lied to him. Each time they made love, when he was feeling hit with guilt, not just for breaking his faith covenant with God, but for breaking the unspoken oath to his cousin, she lied. He would ask her what they would tell Baldwin about what was going on between them, or what about Baldwin period. She would change the subject or give the same old cryptic response, “Don’t worry about, it’s all my fault.”

Now he understood why. What had she told Baldwin about them? He had to have known. She had clearly not broken contact with him. The memory of finding Baldwin’s picture in Etta’s drawer made fire burn in his chest and again he picked up his pace. He wanted to smash it to bits the same way Doris described Etta’s Lotus destroying the ascension pods.

 

            “Jørn you should have seen it! Those things could walk! They came out of nowhere, just like Etta had and they flanked her like this,” Doris gestured with her hands. “Then Etta told them to break up the pods. I didn’t hear her say it, but I could tell because she didn’t look at all shocked with they smashed those stupid things to smithereens.”

            She laughed. “There was also that strange wind that knocked all of us down too. I think it gave me whiplash, it hit so hard.”

           

The tip of Jørn’s sneaker rammed into a rock and he went tumbling head first into the darkness. He braced himself for the fall, his forearms sliding across the unforgiving terrain, stopping him completely in a wash of painfully torn skin, blood and sweat.

Gasping for breath, he rolled over unto his back and waited for the pain to ebb away. Silence again flooded around him. The chill of the night air slid across his pebbled chest. He thought about Vanessa Wong as he lay still. Doris said she had been laid out too.

 

“Did Etta,” The words seemed to escape him. “Did Etta shoot her, did she?” Jørn winced as he asked the question.

Doris looked confused. “There was no gun shot. I mean I didn’t see one.”

            “There was that Lotus that had cornered her though.” Andrea added.

            Doris grabbed Andrea’s arm. “Yes, there was that!” She turned her attention back to Jørn. “But that thing didn’t do anything to her either at least not from what I saw.”

            Andrea spoke again. “Etta, your wife, she stuck out her arm like this, and then the mayor fell flat. I can’t say that she shot her because that is all I saw, but then who knows. As bad as it sounds, I don’t even care. The mayor was trying to make everyone ascend and because of Etta my auntie is still here.” She kissed Doris’ check and wept.

 

Jørn pushed himself up from the ground. The fire in his chest and arms had lessened but the pain in his foot and heart was another story all together. He rotated his ankle and checked for a sprain. Then he checked his toe. He could thank God for that much. He was intact enough to head back to his bike and then back home.

He slowly walked back down the trail, taking his precious time. He was still in less of a hurry to face Etta. His fear for her had morphed into something else. He didn’t know what it was, couldn’t describe it. He just knew he wasn’t prepared to face it, not yet.

 

It was easing into three in the morning by the time he made it home. The apartment was quiet and eerily still. He crept into the bedroom and peaked in. The bed was completely empty. He suppressed the anger that was rising up in him again and settled for a shower instead, and then bed. He could do those things at least, get clean, get bandaged, and then get rest. He would settle for getting understanding some other time.

*          *          *

“I think my ankles are swollen.” Etta leaned back in the coolness of the hidden room, wishing for some heat. Her feet were screaming from all the walking she had done over the past few hours and she was damp and smelled less than pleasant from all the digging and burying she had to do in the woods. She suddenly wished she had let Kyle do it as planned.

She rubbed her hands together and blew into them. It was always cold in the secret room, it didn’t matter the season. Whoever had built it obviously didn’t give a thought to heating. The only thought they had in mind was reinforcing it like a bomb shelter—sound proof and virtually escape proof.

Etta had her speculations about the mysteries room. She had heard rumors as a child, that years before she was born, there was a serial killer who lived right in Greenwich Pass. It was said he worked as in usher at the movie theater. At least five people in Greenwich Pass were abducted and killed having been last seen at some slasher flick. Their bodies were found but no one could ever locate the actual murder scene.

The man who was the number one suspect had no family, and no friends so when he disappeared from Greenwich Pass without a trace no one really put two and two together. That was until the killings stopped.

It all made sense in Etta’s mind, this creep of a man killed people and used the secret room to do it. It was all just wild guessing on her part. Nevertheless, the serial killer did exist and Etta hoped the Towes got him.

“You’ll live.” Baldwin poked his head through an adjoining wall. “You have some sweat pants and a hoodie in there. You should get changed and freshen up before you catch a cold.”

Etta limped away and did as instructed, letting the hot water from the bathroom soak into her hands. She wished she was at home so she could take full advantage of a bath but she was too exhausted to drive. It didn’t help at all that her car was parked several miles away from the mall, hidden away from sight.

She had started replacing the stationed Lotus throughout Greenwich Pass right after her encounter with Mr. Albert. It had taken her several painful hours, not to mention the backbreaking dig and recalibrating she had to do in the woods. She would have killed to have had a helping set of hands, but using Kyle wasn’t worth the risk. If Mr. Albert suspected him of being involved with Etta, it was only a matter of time before he let the Towes know.

She needed to give Kyle the heads up on that one.

In the end, swollen feet, and smelly flesh aside, it had been a fruitful day. She unrolled her sleeping bag and dropped her weight upon it. At least she had planned ahead in that regard. She had only closed her eyes for a brief second before Baldwin started talking to her again.

“Show me what you used on Wong today.”

Etta pealed open one eye and stared at him. He was serious. Rather than argue she pulled the thing out of her sweat pant pocket and showed it to him. It was no larger than his thumb, curved slightly like a claw, and was white in color. When he looked away from it, she tucked it back in her pocket and closed her eyes again.

“How does it work? What is it, exactly?”

She didn’t bother opening her eyes. She wasn’t even certain she could if she tried. “What it is, is an isolation of Lotus frequency. You know, the stuff they use to put people in a trance while they scan them? This is that in a more pressurized volume.”

“So its concentrated coma in a spray bottle?”

“Baldwin, it is necessary is what it is.”

“How do you know its safe, Etta? How do you know Wong will wake up from that?”

She mumbled something under her breath but forced herself to sit up. “I know its, safe because the Towes use it on humans every pre-ascension both on the ascenders and the rejects.” She thought about Heidi Flagg, how the Lotus had put her into a sleep she never woke up from all those years ago. Doing so to Wong was like getting revenge for her.

She continued, “I know it can be reversed because I have used it on a raccoon or two or five. The point is it that if I hadn’t used it today on Wong the Lotus would have rippled her apart. So technically I saved her life.”

Baldwin studied her. “That’s not all of it. There is something else to it.”

“What Baldwin, did you want me to get shot?”

“I didn’t say that!”

“But that is the reality you seem to be missing. Everyone was watching me. If I would have let the Lotus kill Wong, Rick Henley would have opened fire on me.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Don’t be naïve! Be mad about me leaving you in the dark about it, but don’t play dumb. It would have been a blood bath out there. But because I put the mayor to sleep for a while, everyone else backed down. Gosh Baldwin! Wake up! And let me get some sleep!”

“When do you plan on waking her up?”

“When it is necessary. Goodnight.” She dropped her head back down on the sleeping bag and pulled to top layer up to her ears.

*          *          *

She was out like a light. Within minutes she was breathing heavy and a slight snore was coming from her nose. She only snored when she was exhausted. Baldwin had many more questions on the tip of his tongue but it wouldn’t profit to wake her up with them.

He was still tense about earlier. No matter her explanation, no matter how absurd it was, he just couldn’t get past the betrayal. It had brought back the first time she had ripped out his heart with Jørn. He comforted himself with the knowledge that that time her betrayal wasn’t planned, but it had still caused a fisher in their relationship, today only brought the fishers back to remembrance with a threatening vibration of widening even further.

He sighed. “Goodnight, Etta.” He laid his body next to hers and closed his eyes, knowing full well he wouldn’t get any sleep. He had not slept in years, had never felt tired.

He was beyond surprised when he woke up in the midst of a dream.

Promises: A Poem

I am not going to make any promises

I am just going to run with the sun

I will create my own revolutions

Spin like crazy until gravity is undone

I am not going to make any promises

I am just going to keep  my eyes on the prize

Let the river carry me where she bids me

To far away lands I had not realized

I am not going to make any promises

Perhaps this one for just this sake

I shall be the only me possible

And chase the Son while I am awake

Milk and Sugar: A Poem

His kisses

Taste of mike and sugar

The perfect blend of creme and sweetness

Perfume his savored lips

Dripping like honey with the music of his love

And the rhythmic motion of his fingertips

Playing against the smoothness of her jawline

She yields again to his embrace

Rising again from the oceans of kisses

She breathes once more

But dives in again

For another  impassioned taste

Quote

Establishing…

Candice Coates:

In light of my last post and the link added to it, I decided it would be a good thing to repost this entry from back in the beginning….

Originally posted on I came for the soup...:

“Art is not about becoming rich. Art is about enriching the world.” ~Candice Coates

With any new adventure, one must not only explore the lay of the land, but also establish who they are before they take the first step forward. Before Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) took His journey into the wilderness (the place of new adventure) He was established by the affirming Words from Father God, that He is His Beloved Son in Who He is well pleased. (Rough paraphrasing of Matthew 3:16,17. In Matthew 4:1 He is then led into the wilderness or steps into His adventure)

Taking the time to share a blog is truly inviting others, strangers into the secret rooms of your heart that you have created or are actually exploring for the first time yourself. Its a discovery. You are inviting others to come along with you on a tour of the unexpected terrain…

View original 298 more words

Going With the Flow

So I don’t know if you have noticed lately, but my blog entries have been less freewrite short stories and more poetry, less focused art and more the random doodle (I have some I meant to post and just simply forgot…it happens…you understand.)

For a minute there I was getting myself all worked up because I thought I was not upholding my end of things. I was not honoring my Quarters (15 minute burst of creativity…follow this LINK to a post highlighting more on that) but when I took a step back I realized that was not true. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What I have been doing is going with the natural flow of my creativity. Let’s be honest, working on a full length blog novel does go well beyond the 15min written work and poetry counts as well.

I have had to take a moment and refocus, completely denying the regimented, controlling attitude that stifles true creative power.

It could be that with the shifting of seasons that the tide of my inspiration and voice is changing as well. I am all about creative evolution. Expression that does not change becomes dull.

So what is my point?

Well I like to keep you all in the “know.” I want to be a woman of my word always. That is the point of this blog, to tell you, or maybe to just convince myself, that I am indeed creating, I am still growing, and it is all so very beautiful in its shifting expression.

Here are some reminders that I keep right next to my computer. Who knows, they may help you relax a bit and keep on plucking away freely and authentically. Follow this LINK to see the blog entry.

Cheers!

 

Another Day: A Poem

Another day to sing Your praise

Before I rise before I rest

Could anyone be more Beloved than You

Days come and go but I still know

Even with the darkness there’s no fear

For You are near.

Great Holy God

How wonderful

I lift my voice in adoration’s song

Just to be near

Keep warm my heart

Loves song is heard in the whispers of your touch

My all  and all

No one else compares

Oh how marvelous you are

Phenomenally

Quite perfectly

Righteous King

So gentle in your Glory

Tenaciously you have fought for me

Unceasingly perusing all your children

Very soon, face to face I’ll be with you

With songs that never end

Xenos upon this earth is my identity

Your promise has so much worth I seek You….

Zealously.

~Amen

I was just sitting down, literally thinking about making myself a burger, and then I started having a moment of praise to God. Ironically each phrase began with a letter of the alphabet and so I took it and ran with it. I started typing it up and purposefully going in that direction. I have not read over it for corrections as I still want that burger but I hope you like it. Oh! and Xenos means stranger. ;)

Cheers!

Rooted Earth

 

 

Rooted Earth doodle  by Candice R Coates

Rooted Earth doodle by Candice R Coates

 

I am not sure if I spent 15 minutes or not on this. I actually just decided to draw a foot, and then I decided not to lift my pen as I drew it. I did lift up a few times as I thought I was finished before the tree began to grow out of the calf muscle…and then there is the pond and mountain range thing  with the birds.

Anyhow the picture is very rough, but sometimes that is what our expression needs to be in order to be organic; rough and unfettered.

Although the image is done, the concept of “Rooted Earth” is still whispering to me…

Cheers!

Chapter 16 Ascension Graveyard

Chapter 16  

~The Journal of Etta Castle Teague

Mirrors have always been such honest things. They never hide the truth of what they reflect. If your hair is out of place, it will tell you. If you need more sleep, it will tell you. If you are living a lie that no one else can see, a mirror will expose it.

            Eyes have the same ability as mirrors. It’s a wonder most people don’t pay attention to them.

*          *          *

Clive sat alone again in the sanctuary. The mall had been so deserted that he could hear the hollow echo of his breathes bouncing off the chapel walls. No one had been around since that morning, since the ascension had been hijacked and the sequence completely disrupted.

Everything had gone so deadly wrong. The Pulse had warned the Seat holders against such rebellion, it had warned them, and yet things had been completely out of their control, especially after last night. He didn’t know what to think, let alone do. He felt the presence of danger tickling his skin, causing cold sweat to saturate his collar and armpits. Still he didn’t move. He hadn’t moved for hours. The Pulse had not let him.

It held him in its grasp, having only released the consciousness of his mind to wonder free, but even that freedom was hindered. Fear kept him from thinking, really thinking about anything at all. He didn’t want to end up like Vanessa; not beaten by the Pulse, and not laid flat by the troublemaker Etta Castle Teague.

The thought of Albert’s granddaughter sent a surge of anger through Clive’s bones and made him tighten his fist with such ferocity that he thought the skin of his fingers would pop. He was so enraged the Pulse couldn’t keep him from it. This is all Etta’s fault! The thought had come to his mind so quickly that he didn’t have the chance to catch it. He had caught all the others, but not this one.

“Is that what the little beast calls it’s self?” The Pulse’s energy grated violently against Clive’s nerves. Heat rose up in his face and his chest constricted. Letting out a defenseless moan, he fell to his knees his head bowed low, just like the Pulse wanted him.

“Yes,” He wheezed. For hours he had been sitting still as a statue, the Pulse’s energy slinking in the darkness around him and through him, but now it wanted answers.

*          *          *

The Pulse had tried to kill Etta, tried to turn her nervous system into jelly along with everyone around her, but something had covered her. Although the Pulse could see the woman through Clive’s eyes it could not see her on its own, nor could it feel her until it had struck out against her, only to recoil as ricocheting pain rippled through the net and the entire being of the Pulse its self.

It had never felt pain before and now that it had it wanted to devour the very cause of the pain, only the Etta-beast had disappeared again—a human, impossibly hidden from the Pulse’s view.

The Etta-beast had somehow done what should not have been possible. She had stolen the Pulse’s glory and stopped a sequence, and was now gone as if she were nothing more than vapor in the hot sun. The Pulse had tasted her frequency, something about it familiar and yet foreign. It had searched for her tether, had been for hours and yet could not trace her!

The anger the Pulse felt was enough to cause a wild fire through friction. It wanted to kill every human in Greenwich Pass, it wanted to kill Clive, yet it used restraint. As furious as it felt, it would not profit for it to wipe out its possessions nor pluck out its own eyes. It needed to see its advisory in order to defeat her. It needed Clive for that.

It lessened its hold on him. Clive felt the pressure release enough for him to breathe, another rebel thought shooting across his mind. His heart pounded instantly. He didn’t want to die, at least not like this.

The Pulse moaned with mocking pity. “You think Vanessa’s words held some truth? You believe that you are dispensable to me?”

            Clive stuttered to speak. “I don’t have the wisdom to know such things. I only pray not, I pray not!” He bowed his head even lower, this time of his own volition.

The Pulse’s energy rose with pleasure. A burning static stench filled Clive’s nostrils and he fought not to choke on it.

“I accept your prayers, Clive Meeks, your devotion to me.”

A different kind of fear rose up in him. He did not believe in the God of the Bible, not anymore. He hadn’t for years, not even while he stood in the pulpit Sunday after Sunday. Why had he taken on the role as pastor? He found himself thinking the question and again the Pulse answered.

“You are what you are because of our design.”

*          *          *

“You put the thought in me to pastor this church?” He thought back to his abduction as a child. He didn’t remember very much aside from being shaken and afraid, powerless, much like the way he was feeling now. But he did recall the years afterward. He felt differently about many things. A compulsive fear would come over him if he didn’t do certain things. The overwhelming urges had led him to drinking. He still drank because of it. Now it was all suddenly beginning to make sense.

“Why? Why me?” He sounded so timid, but the void of emptiness and confusion that had bored down deep inside of him was suddenly feeling as if it was being filled. Answers he had sought but never found seemed to tease his fingertips, dangling just within his reach by the power of the Pulse.

The Pulse deepened its frequency tethers into Clive in a far less volatile why than it had previous times before. The way it touched him now was almost like a mother’s caress. Even the screech of its speech had softened. “You were indeed chosen for a great purpose, but not by some God.” There was an edge of disgust in its tone. “There is no God, only the sequence. I am the sequence.”

Clive’s eyes drifted to the burgundy leather binding of an NIV Bible that sat against the back of the pew in front of him. A strange darkness shielded his eyes.

“Fairytales. The invention of bored and scared men, looking for reason within the darkness that haunted them. You don’t believe, Clive. But you believe in the sequence.”

“I do.”

“Then let me offer you something that book can never give you.”

Clive swallowed down the dryness in his throat. He felt like he was chewing down cotton balls, still he managed to speak. “I am listening.”

“I am going to allow you to aid me, give you a feeling of real purpose. Tell me everything I need to know about this Etta-beast, and I will give you strength and power you never knew existed. I will make those who have mocked you fear you, and I will let you live.”

*          *          *

Etta had been home for a couple of hours. She allowed herself a moment to lie down. Her head was no longer pounding and the assaulting sound of high pitched frequencies had dulled in her ears. She still was not herself, but at least she was not vomiting.

Baldwin sat next to her. He had been silent since they left the hills, a contemplative expression painted on his drawn face. Etta asked him again what was on his mind even offering another apology for having blindsided him that morning.

“It’s not that, not to say that is still not an issue, but,” He turned towards her. “I suppose I had never really taken into consideration the way Mr. Albert felt about me.”

Etta cocked her brow. “Baldwin, really? There are so many more important things going on right now. I mean does it really matter what Albert Castle thinks? That wasn’t even him speaking today. He is a doll, just like Clive, and just like Vanessa.”

Baldwin sighed. “No, for that brief moment, that was him, the real him. You know that. I saw the look on your face.”

            Etta sat up on her elbows. Baldwin was right. She had heard the real Albert Castle speak today, even if it was just for a short moment. It had been so long. She didn’t know if she felt more pity for him for being a puppet of the Towes or a prisoner of his own deteriorating mind.

If there was anything remotely good about his current state with the Towes, it was the fact that his brain had been preserved. Dementia had begun to gnaw at it around the time that Baldwin had come to Greenwich pass. That was probably the man reason that Etta had connected to Baldwin so swiftly in the first place, her home life was falling apart again and she had needed a safe place to land.

“You are right,” She said. “It startled me a bit.”

“What do you suppose it means, him being able to have a break out like that? Do you think it has something to do with what the Pulse did today? Maybe like with you, they broke something loose with him, freed up a bit of his natural mind.”

            “I don’t know. I don’t think it matters.” She narrowed her eyes thinking about what it would be like having the old crotchety man back. She suddenly rebuked herself. She would not have him back, not like he was when she was growing up. Even as detached as she was from him at his own prompting, she still didn’t think she had it in her to watch him spiral like that.

He had become slightly verbally abusive when the dementia began to show it’s self. He would have moments of panic, but only when they were at home alone. He privately saw a physician and had begun to manage the disease, but then a few years ago it was like a switch was hit and the dementia was all but gone.

Mr. Albert had gone missing for four days before that. Etta had to tell the sheriff that he had dementia only to end up looking like an idiot when he showed back up again fit as a fiddle and lucid as ever. That is when Etta knew he was gone. The Towes had gotten to him. His frequency had also changed.

But today with his lashing out verbally about the shame that had come down upon them when Baldwin had gone missing, Etta knew she was hearing the voice of the real Albert Castle.

She suddenly changed the subject. “We have been home for hours and still no sign of Jørn. He must be having a grand old time.” She pushed herself off of the bed.

“Why don’t you call him again?”

She huffed. “For what? I called him last. He should have called back by now and I haven’t heard my phone ring one good time which means he is clearly occupied.”

Her sarcasm over the subject never ceased to trouble him. “We can track him, if you want, make sure he is safe at least. Where are your keys?”        

            Etta slipped back on her shoes and began to tie the laces. She needed to head back to the mall. “Baldwin you can track him if you want to. Me, I am good. You ready to go?” She headed out of the bed room. The sun was beginning to set and had cast an orange and pink glow across the sky. It was beautiful. Today had been beautiful. She didn’t want to ruin it.

She slipped on her coat and left the apartment.

*          *          *

Jørn had gone home first, straight home after he had left the hospital, but Etta was not there and had not been there as far as he could tell. He waited around for a few moments before restlessness set in and he needed to go back out and look for her.

He drove around all of Greenwich Pass, even headed out as far Ubert County before turning around and heading back towards town. He found himself praying a lot, asking God for guidance and peace. He hated to worry. Worry was counterproductive to faith.

He had called Kyle earlier. He said he had seen her on the trail but briefly. He didn’t say anything else besides his phone was about to die. Jørn checked the trail parking lot just for good measure.

He drove around the mall parking lot a few times as well, somehow thinking Etta’s car would magically appear. It hadn’t. Desperate, he tried Mr. Albert, going to his house but Albert wasn’t even home. It was a long shot and he should have known better. The world could have been on the verge of imploding and Etta would not have gone to Mr. Albert’s.

He decided to do a turn around the town center. People generally gathered there. He and Etta had lunch their together every now and again when weather permitted. She loved the fountains, the serenity.

“Maybe she is there.” He drove his bike around the town center. A few people were there but not his wife. It was as if she had completely disappeared. He tightened his jaw and pushed away the tension. He would just go home and wait for her. She had to go home at some point.

He pulled his bike around to the light and put on his blinker to turn back towards home. Thomas Allen, aka Chicken Little stumbled slowly across the cross walk. Jørn followed him with his eyes before feeling compelled to help the young man out. He did have a slight concussion after all.

“Thomas? Thomas Allen?” He parked his bike and pulled off his helmet.

Thomas stopped and stared at him, narrowing his eyes before Jørn’s face finally registered. “Oh hey doc,”

“Are you alright, Thomas?”

“Yeah, just heading to Andrea’s auntie’s house.” He thumbed behind himself.

“Dover’s Pointe?” It was the nearest neighborhood in that direction.

Thomas nodded.

“That’s another six miles from here.”

Thomas shrugged his shoulders and started to walk again.

It was going to be dark soon and the guy did have a concussion. Jørn couldn’t risk it. He jogged towards him. “Thomas, let me give you a lift. You have had a long day.”

Thomas glanced back at Jørn’s bike. “Nice Harley.”

“Thanks,” He handed Thomas his helmet. “Come on, I will drop you off. Andrea is probably worried about you anyway, right?” He offered a polite smile.

Thomas slid on the helmet. “Yeah, she has called me a ton of times. I told her I was at the hospital getting stitches but I would be to her aunties when I was finished.”

Jørn didn’t bother to tell him that was several hours ago. Obviously he had gotten lost, may have still been lost. “Do me a favor, text Andrea and ask her for her aunt’s address.” He waited until he had the house number, confirming it was indeed in Dover’s Pointe before driving out there.

They drove in silence before pulling up in front of a bungalow a few streets from the neighborhood’s entrance. Jørn took back his helmet and followed Thomas up the steps to the front door. Thomas rang the doorbell and Jørn waited with him for someone to answer. He figured Thomas would not bother telling them he had a concussion and had been wandering around Greenwich Pass for the better part of the afternoon.

The front door flung open and a tiny young woman, that Jørn could only guess was Andrea, leaped on Thomas’ neck and began to cry hysterically. Had Jørn not braced them both, the two would have fallen hard on the porch.

“Where were you?!” She cried. “I have been worried out of my mind!”

“Oh I was fine. I was with the doc.”

Jørn cocked an eyebrow. “Nice to meet you. You must be Andrea.” He offered her his hand. She shook it vigorously.

“Thank you, Doctor.” She gave him a quick once over as she brushed the tears from her eyes. “You don’t look like a doctor.” Her brow creased.

Jørn smiled. “I am a NP, I helped Thomas out today. I saw him walking and offered him a ride home.”

Andrea still looked leery.

“He has a concussion and has been wondering around all afternoon.”

Thomas glared at him. “No I don’t. I cut myself is all. See?” He showed Andrea his bandage.

Jørn gave her a look to which she nodded.

-“Andrea, who is at the door? Is it Thomas?!” A familiar voice echoed from the back of the house. “Oh thank Jesus! Thomas you had us all scared to death! Jørn Teague? Is that you?”

Doris pushed passed Thomas and Andrea and grabbed both of Jørn’s arms and immediately began to cry. “Oh, my goodness, Jørn!”

“It’s a small world, eh, Doris.” He pulled her into a sincere embrace remembering what Etta had told him about her, that she was meant to ascend. “I am just glad to have been able to help Thomas, and I am glad that you are alright too Doris. I really am.” His tone was solemn.

-“Who is at the door? Is it Thomas? I didn’t find him anywhere when I went out. Where was he?” Mark, Doris’ husband hollered from the back of the house but didn’t bother to come to the door.

“It’s Jørn, honey. Etta’s husband.” Her voice was like a hiss and her eyes went wide. Andrea stared at him in similar fashion.

Jørn’s eyes narrowed. Why had Doris sounded so cryptic? “Doris you don’t happen to know where my wife is by chance?”

Doris covered her mouth with her hands. “No! I have not seen her since the ascension!”

“Well if you do, give me a call. I have not been able to get her on the phone since last night.”

Doris gripped his arm again. “Oh my word, you must not know. You don’t know!” She covered her mouth again and the tears sprang forth again.

Jørn’s pulse picked up speed. “What happened to Etta, Doris? Did something happen to her at the Yard?” His hands were fist and his stomach was beginning to clench. No, Kyle saw her afterward, remember? He reminded himself. Still his heart was racing.

Doris just stared at him.

“Doris did something happen to my wife, today? What happened to Etta?” Panic was creeping up his neck. He tried to keep his calm but it was slipping through his clenching fist.

Doris’ expression was nothing short of shock. “You don’t know what happened?”

Jørn’s eyes bored into hers, the color washing from his face, only the worse thoughts sprang to his mind. He should have gotten her last night. He should have saved her and now something bad had happened to her. He was about to lose it completely when Doris grabbed his arms again.

“Jørn, Etta is the reason there was no ascension. Etta stopped it.”

My Heart Sings: A Poem

My heart sings at the thought of Thee

Glory and honor , praise  I avow

My life , my shelter grace devine

My all and all I give Thee now

Storms course but You keep me shielded in light

Rivers of mercy flow from within

My truest desire I find in Your peace

My God, My Savior, My Love, My Friend

 

I generally don’t take the time to write about the poems that I create on the fly, (I haven’t really done that many) but I feel like I should with this one. Sometimes when my mind is unburdened, and even when it is, the thought of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) comes to my mind and this warm light of His love and presence rest upon me. It is then that I know all is well and my heart swells with love for Him. Sometimes I even laugh out loud at the thought of His love for me.