Shadows of Tomorrow
A Samuel Light Junior Story
By John Pirillo
He kicked up his heels. Literally. School was out. No more crazy days trying to get homework done while fending off earthbound spirits, no more students trying to copy his homework, no more teachers grousing about how horrible they have it. Not that they didn't. He just thought they ought to get together and actually do something about it, instead of always complaining.
"Today's the day I have fun, fun, fun." Sammie told himself as he stepped into Bus 101, the bus he always took home.
"Howdy, Samuel." Mister Faraday told him. He was the bus driver. He had a green aura that bobbed around when he laughed, but lately his aura had sprouted a large dark area around his heart. Samuel wasn't quite sure how to relate to that. Usually, a dark aura meant the person was being negative, or mean, or both. But when it was just a tiny area. He'd have to talk to his mother about it when he got home. She was up to that kind of stuff. He was still learning.
"Hey Mister Faraday! How's life treating you?"
"It's great to be alive." He answered, his smile somewhat fading, but then he perked up. "But actually, it's just great. Get seated, Samuel, I'm closing the door and leaving."
"Gotcha!" Samuel said, climbing into the seat next to raven-haired Wendy. He called her Wendy, but her real name was Petunia, which she hated, so he called her Wendy after the witch that Casper befriended. She liked that. It made her feel special.
"Sam." She greeted, not looking up from the phone in her lap, on which she was flicking through a series of WebPages.
"What's cool?" He asked.
"Getting home." She answered a bit too shortly.
That sent off an alarm bell. Her father must be drinking again. No wonder she was riding the bus.
"Alive." She finished.
"I'm sorry." He told her.
She looked up, startled by his words. "What do you mean?"
Her eyes began to water. "Bug off, Sam; you're starting to get on my nerves."
He took the hint and slid over to the other side of the bus. It was an empty seat. He wasn't afraid of her; he just respected her desire to be private. Before he had slid over, he had touched her binder and felt a shiver of information stream from it up his arm and into his brain. It took only a couple moments to decipher it.
She was in a heap of deep doo doo.
He kept his eyes on her, not sure exactly how to help her. You see, Samuel's problem is that he doesn't like to see anyone sad or hurt. It's something he picked up from his Mom, who was always helping the luckless, the unloved and the unwanted. She worked as a volunteer at the local hospital and went to Old Age homes to read stories to the elders there who couldn't get about, and to comfort the ones who were sad. This pretty much fitted the description of every one of them. Alone and feeling abandoned by their loved ones and betrayed by life and the God they had believed in.
He knew most of it was surface and they didn't really feel that way, but sometimes their loneliness over rode their heart and good sense. That's where his Mom came in. She told them about what death was really about. A transition. That's all. Just like stepping from one car into another. Many of them laughed when she said that, and he smiled at the thought of that. Some grew angry, saying it was blasphemous, they were going to hell and she was leading the way. But most of them felt comforted by her words, less fearful.
"I'm sorry." Wendy said to him from across the bus.
He looked over.
"No problem. Wanta talk?"
"No!" She growled and looked away again.
She looked up and scowled at him. "Why are you laughing at me?"
"I'm not laughing at you; I was just thinking how silly we human beings are."
"Well, you for one, Samuel Light Junior, are one of the most silly of them all. You're..."
Her next words were lost because Mister Faraday slumped over in his seat, gasping in pain and the bus swerved hard to the left. The kids up front saw and screamed. Samuel looked over and saw what was happening. The bus was about to slam off the road and it was a good forty feet down from there.
He dove off his chair and dashed to the seat where Mister Faraday sat and grabbed the wheel. The bus stabilized, but Mister Faraday's foot was still on the gas.
The kids grew more panicked when they saw what Samuel was doing and screamed even louder, making it harder for him to concentrate. Finally, he was able to see Al beside him.
"Steer right gently." Al said.
The bus rounded a curve gently, but still a bit fast.
"Samuel, you'll need to hit the brakes next."
"But he's in the way."
"I know." Al said, his white hair flopping into his eyes as he spoke. "But I know you can do it. Use your imagination!"
Samuel was about to complain about doing it when he saw why he would have to brake. The lights ahead turned to red and railroad guards began descending as a huge train began rolling up. "Holy!" Samuel started to say.
The kids around him screamed even louder yet, guaranteeing that Samuel would lose his hearing for the next two days.
"Now, Samuel!" Al shouted.
Samuel reacted like a frightened puppy, but instead of running away, he threw himself on Mister Faraday's lap and slammed both feet on the brake.
The bus swerved right and left as he tried to hang on and steer at the same time while pressing the brakes. Mister Faraday was crying out in pain behind him.
The railroad guards neared rapidly. They were ten feet away, then six, then one, then...
Amidst the chaos of screams and brakes that sounded like they were going to explode and streams of fire and smoke hurtling up from the overheated brake hubs, the bus came to a stop, its nose barely touching the train railroad guard.
Samuel flicked off the engine, and then got off Mister Faraday.
Not a voice anywhere in the bus.
Then he turned around. The kids were all looking at him, as if seeing him for the first time. He raised his hands. "I'm going to open the doors. I want all of you off the bus immediately."
He opened the doors. Everyone flew past him at the front and debarked from the bus.
Samuel leaned over Mister Faraday. The black spot had grown over his heart. Samuel felt Al looking at him, but didn't pay him any further attention, but instead pressed his right hand over Mister Faraday's heart.
He could feel the warmth building there, and then a green light of a soft lambent nature began spilling out from between his fingers and into Mister Faraday's chest. As green light intensified Mister Faraday's eyes flickered open. He looked into Samuel's face and smiled. "You always were a good boy."
Then he sighed and stiffened.
His eyes didn't blink. They remained open.
Samuel was frozen in that moment when a grown man's hand touched his shoulder. "Son, better let me get to him."
Samuel backed away and a tall policeman with a warm face and a thick mustache leaned over Mister Faraday and felt his pulse. He then put his keys near the man's nostrils and looked their surface. A fellow policeman looked in.
The tall policeman shook his head at him.
Samuel forgot most of what happened next, because it didn't really matter. He had tried to save Mister Faraday, but it didn't happen. He had died.
Samuel sat on his bed late that night, his Mom seated next to him, her arms around him, holding him as he cried. "I loved that man, Mom. He was so funny and so kind. Why did God take him away like that?"
She kissed his hair and brushed it lightly, trying to soothe him. "God has a plan and it doesn't always fit our pictures."
"I don't think I like that plan."
His Mom started to laugh, and then she stifled it and held him closer. "You will, Samuel. You will. You just need some years to absorb everything you're learning now."
Samuel wiped at his eyes and leaned back into her more. As he did so, he saw Al standing before the foot of his bed, smiling.
"You did well, Samuel."
"No you didn't." Al and his Mom said at the same time.
"I couldn't save him. What's the point of my having so much power if I can't save someone when they need it?"
His Mom held him tighter.
Al spoke. "You can't save everyone, Samuel. Remember that!"
Al faded away, still smiling, but his eyes filled with warmth and kindness.
Samuel hugged his Mom and she held him tight. He had a lot of growing up to do yet. A lot!
The next morning he got on the bus and Wendy was there too. He looked at the new bus driver and began to shake a little inside. He felt a hand touch him lightly. It was Wendy. "Sit with me, Sam."
She took one of his hands and squeezed it. "I'm sorry I was so mean to you."
She put a finger to his lips to shut him up. "Shut up and let me apologize."
He laughed so hard; she had to take her finger away so he didn't accidentally bite it.
And even though yesterday had been terrible in some ways, this morning was a new day and right then that moment, he was having fun sitting next to Wendy, who began telling him everything that had been bothering her. And in those moments they were as close as any souls could ever be or want to be.
Strap On That Old Jetpack
"A Rocketman Story"
By John Pirillo
"Yeah. Sure. Like hell I will!" Jet swore as he looked at the inky dinky jetpack that Harry held before him. "You really don't expect me to get into that and try to fly without frying my cajones off, do you?"
Harry, also known as Rocketman, looked at his own suit, which hung nearby, deflated on a large steel rack, and then at Jet's, which a woman could wear around her waist, then shook his head. "Guess not. But it beats ten derbies out of ten in the horse race."
"Yeah. Sure. Harry. You get the big clean suit with no peripheral vision, weighs half a ton, and would crush you as soon as fly you, and I get the cool looking panty wear that will probably burn off my butt and my...you know."
Harry laughed. "Come on, Jet, you can't have it both ways. You want me to keep flying you like I have been?"
Jet turned right and examined the harness apparatus they'd used the last flights, and the bullet marks on its framework and the scorch marks as well. "Might be some improvement. At least I won't be a sitting target in your arms."
"Right on. Instead, you'll be one all by your lonesome." Harry reminded him.
Jet growled, and then eyed Einstein as he came up, his pipe held in his right hand and his mustache twitching from a large grin as he stopped, having overhead the snapping dialogue between the two boys. "I see you two are getting along fabulously."
"Yeah. Just like a cat and a dog." Jet grumbled.
Harry barked with laughter. Jet gave him a dirty look, took the inky dinky jet pack and stomped off. "I'll try it, but if I burn my ass, you're paying, Captain Harry!" He swore, resorting to his least likable appellation of Harry's name.
Harry nodded, doing his best not to laugh. He knew his friend probably would relent, but he also worried too, just like Harry. After all, the jet pack WAS small. Unlike his own which he could climb into and wear like a miniature rocket.
"Look, son." Einstein said, after waiting for Harry to assimilate his thoughts and possibilities. "Every man has to deal with their own mortality. At least you're not in your forties like me, facing death every time he gets up to brush his teeth."
Harry exploded into laughter.
"No, really." Einstein insisted.
Harry shook his head and walked rapidly away, seeking to help Jet deal with his newfound freedom in as safe a way as possible.
Einstein watched a moment, and then turned as Tesla came up and joined him. "They are quite the pair, aren't they?"
"Yes, and without the both of them this war would be a lot tougher, and a lot more dangerous."
"Has Harry stabilized yet?"
Einstein turned to face Tesla. "His interdimensional flights have continued to increase."
"Then you believe him when he says he's experiencing our world in the future, or a future, where Hitler has won?"
"Let's put it this way. I don't disbelieve him, and after all, didn't we originate the interdimensional time crossover equation ourselves when we designed the rocket suit Harry wears?"
"Yes, and that's what worries me. The new one Jet is testing is even bearing even more heavily condensed time matter."
Einstein turned to follow the two young men as they joined up together and headed for the testing area. "Somehow, I think it will turn out all right."
"According to Harry, the future didn't...turn out right."
Einstein looks at him. "I don't believe in accidents. I think it's a warning of what could come if we do not apply ourselves diligently in our defense of humanity."
Tesla shook his head. "I hope so. For our sake and the world's?"
Jet slung the jet pack over his shoulders, while Harry helped him strap it on properly. "This control here. He touched the breastplate, where a spinner and dials glowed brightly. Use the spinner to accelerate and slow down. The dial on the right, press it to turn right..."
"Yeah, yeah I know. Dial on left, press to burn my ass off on a tight left turn."
Harry smiled. "I'm glad you're taking this so well."
"I wouldn't be if you weren't coming along with me. If I go up in flames, I want you to be there to go down with me."
"What a comforting thought." Harry said, his eyes twinkling with mirth.
Jet suddenly gave Harry a hug.
"Wish me luck and last one to the Tower of London's a big baby!"
Jet ran up the ramp to the outside of their bunker, pressing the spinner and twirling it, sending bright blue rays from the rear of the jet pack as he leaped at an angle. In moments he had cleared the ramp and shot off towards the distant Swiss mountains on the other side of the valley their base was hidden above.
Harry ran like crazy to get into his rocket suit.
Jet adjusted the mike on his throat. "Red Dog, can you read me? Over."
A crackling came from the receiver in his right ear. He pounded it lightly and caused himself to fall into a spin for a moment, until he adjusted his rockets and attitude.
"Red Dog here. Over. Ready for those hot dogs yet?"
"You shut your mouth, Harry!" Jet yelled, the air blasting into his throat as he did.
He touched a control on his chest and a helmet slid from the back of his suit and over his face. "Now that's cool, man!" He muttered.
Suddenly a rush of wind whipped by him and he almost lost control again.
"Yoo-hoo!" Harry cried out as he shot past in his Rocketman suit.
Jet gave him a three fingered salute, and then poured on the juice.
As he did he felt this kind of wobbly motion in his belly and head, as if he was going to throw up, and then the Swiss valley below vanished and he found himself soaring over a huge metallic city with gigantic bombers guarding it, their wings emblazoned with Nazi Swastikas.
"Holy Crap!" He cried out.
His helmet receiver spiked with sound. "Vo getzen?"
Jet laughed. "Come on, Harry. How did you pull this off?"
"Sprechen sie nun, vo getzen?"
"Oh crap!" Jet cursed, and then shot away to his left.
He felt rather than saw a burst of radiant energy sear the space he had just flown through. He rolled frantically a moment, striving to avoid the brunt of the energies and managed, but not without hurtling himself towards a gigantic tower. As he closed in he saw a gigantic soldier, a Super Soldier, a giant over eight feet tall with muscles that would make the Hulk jealous, and a huge weapon that looked like an amped up bazooka.
It spotted him the same time as he spotted it. "Oh really crap!" Jet cursed, and then before he could move in time, something swept by overhead and grabbed him, accelerating him from the launched missile coming from the giant soldier.
"You all right?" He heard in his receiver.
"Yeah. Thanks to you."
He twisted his head to take a look and saw a Rocketman suit unlike any he'd seen before. It was much lighter than Harry's and worn more like clothing than armor. Then he freaked. "Harry?"
The man in the suit turned to look into his face and double freaked. "Jet! But you're dead!"
"Oh holy hell if I am, Captain Harry!"
"But, but...if you're here now, then how...and how...?"
"I'll explain another time. I think you need to let me go, I have a really weird feeling coming on and I suspect if I don't separate from you there's going to be some kind of stupid time convulsion."
"You mean explosion."
"No, I mean...just let me go you big oaf!"
"I love you, Jet!"
"Yeah. I know, brother. Get with it, huh?"
Harry let go and Jet juiced his jet pack and flamed off in a blaze of blue energies. As he did he felt that quiver of upset again and then he found himself plunging towards Lake Lucerne below. Before he could strike the waters, Rocketman swooped down and scooped him up in his arms. "This is getting really freaky, man." Jet said.
Rocketman Harry smiled through his visored helmet. "You don't know the half of it. I was following you, and then boom, you vanished."
"You won't believe where I just went."
"Would you believe me if I said I would?"
Jet sighed. At that moment of his life he would believe anything.
Captain Midnight (1942) was the 17th serial released by Columbia Pictures. It was based upon the radio adventure serial of the same name broadcast from 1938 to 1949.
Captain Midnight was only one of the many aviation serials released in wartime whose leading characters were derived from early pulp magazines and radio favorites. In this serial, Captain Albright is an extremely skilled aviator better known as Captain Midnight, who is assigned to neutralize the sinister Ivan Shark, an evil enemy scientist who is bombing major American cities. Our hero leads the Secret Squadron, whose staff includes Chuck Ramsay who is Midnight's ward and Ichabod 'Icky' Mudd, the Squadron's chief mechanic. Shark has developed a highly efficient mercenary organization, being aided by his daughter Fury who is highly intelligent and second in command, Gardo the henchman and Fang, an Oriental ally. Unfortunately, Shark is after a new range finder invented by the altruistic scientist, John Edwards, whose beautiful daughter, Joyce, the villains attempt to capture to blackmail the inventor.
Radio originsSponsored by the Skelly Oil Company, the Captain Midnight radio program was the creation of radio scripters Wilfred G. Moore and Robert M. Burtt, who had previously scored a success for Skelly with their boy pilot adventure serial The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen.
Developed at the Blackett, Sample and Hummert advertising agency in Chicago, Captain Midnight began as a syndicated show in 1938, airing through the spring of 1940 on a few Midwest stations, including Chicago's WGN. In 1940, Ovaltine, a product of The Wander Company, took over sponsorship. With Pierre Andre as announcer, the series was then heard nationally on the Mutual Radio Network where it remained until 1942. It moved to the Merchandise Mart and the NBC Blue Network in September 1942. When the U.S. Government broke up the NBC Red and Blue Networks, Ovaltine moved the series back to Mutual, beginning September 1945, and it remained there until December, 1949.
PremiseThe title character, originally Captain Jim "Red" Albright, was a World War I U. S. Army pilot. His Captain Midnight code name was given by a general who sent him on a high-risk mission from which he returned at the stroke of 12. When the show began in 1938, Albright was a private aviator who helped people, but his situation changed in 1940. When the show was taken over by Ovaltine, the origin story explained how Albright was recruited to head the Secret Squadron, an aviation-oriented paramilitary organization fighting sabotage and espionage during the period prior to the United States' entry into World War II. The Secret Squadron acted both within and outside the United States.
When the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor, which curiously was foreshadowed in the program, the show shifted the Secret Squadron's duties to fight the more unconventional aspects of the war. Besides the stock villain, Ivan Shark, the war years introduced Axis villains, Baron von Karp, Admiral Himakito and von Schrecker. The Secret Squadron wartime activities were usually outside the continental United States, with adventures in Europe, South America, the Pacific, and continental Asia. War related subject matter included the theft of an experimental Flying Wing aircraft, radar coupled antiaircraft guns, jet aircraft and other weapons.
After the war, some of the newer villains used war surplus equipment to carry out their activities. Secret Squadron activities shifted to contending with criminals as well as spies. The action continued to operate internationally, with adventures in South America and Africa as well as within the United States.
The show was extremely popular, with an audience in the millions. Just under half the listeners were adult, and it was a favorite of WWII U.S Army Air Corps (U.S. Air Force) crews when they were stationed in the U.S. Radio premiums offered by the series (usually marked with his personal symbol of a winged clock with the hands pointing to midnight) included decoders, and these Code-O-Graphs were used by listeners to decipher encrypted messages previewing the next day's episode, usually broadcast once a week. Other premiums included rings, telescopes, and WWII items. (The broadcast messages were encrypted with relatively trivial monoalphabetic substitution ciphers with word division.)
The scripts depicted women who were treated as equals, not just characters waiting to be rescued. Both Joyce Ryan of the Secret Squadron and Fury Shark, daughter of villain Ivan Shark, pulled their own weight in the adventures. Joyce went on commando raids and became involved in aerial dogfights during World War II.
TelevisionRichard Webb as Captain Midnight, 1954.The Captain Midnight TV series, produced by Screen Gems and starring Richard Webb, began September 9, 1954, on CBS, continuing for 39 episodes until January 21, 1956. In the television program, Captain Midnight (now a veteran of the Korean War) heads the Secret Squadron as a private organization, in contrast to the radio show. As with the Fawcett comic, the only other character of the radio show held over was Ichabod Mudd (played by Sid Melton), who was used for comic relief. Another regular character was Dr. Aristotle "Tut" Jones, Midnight's resident scientist, played by character actor Olan Soule. (Soule was the only actor to perform in both the radio program and the television program. In the radio program, he played Agent Kelly, SS-11.)
The aircraft featured in the series is the Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket, named the Silver Dart, and was based on using both models and occasionally stock footage. The series filmed at the Ray Corrigan Ranch in Simi Valley, California. When the TV series went into syndication in 1958, Ovaltine was no longer the sponsor. However, The Wander Company owned the rights to the character's name "Captain Midnight", forcing a title change by Screen Gems fromCaptain Midnight to Jet Jackson, Flying Commando, and all references in the episodes to Captain Midnight were redubbed (rather poorly) "Jet Jackson".
Comic stripA newspaper comic strip, based closely on the radio program, made its debut in 1942. The strip, bylined by "Jonwan" (Erwin L. Hess) was drawn in a style similar to that of Milton Caniff. As with the radio show, the major characters were retained, including Joyce Ryan, Chuck Ramsay, Ichabod Mudd and Major Barry Steele. The strip was released by the Chicago Sun Syndicate on June 29, 1942, and ran until the late 1940s. The strip had some differences from the radio show and did not reprise the radio adventures. In the strip, Captain Midnight was referred to as "an unofficial fighter for freedom," which is at variance from the radio show, where the Secret Squadron was set up by a high governmental official ("Mr. Jones"), which the hero was recruited to head (unless, of course, "unofficial" meant, in the modern pop-culture sense, "subject to official disavowal if caught or killed on a politically sensitive mission"). Even with the variants, it was far closer to the radio show than any of the other spinoffs.
Comic bookCover for Captain Midnight comic book #1 (September, 1942). Art byJack Binder.After Dell in 1941, Fawcett published Captain Midnight from June 1942 to Sept 1948. The Fawcett character bore little resemblance to the radio character, and only the character Ichabod Mudd appeared regularly in the comic as the sidekick Sgt. Twilight.
Captain Midnight in the comic had a skintight scarlet suit and an array of gizmos like Dr. Mid-Nite which released clouds of blinding darkness, the infra-red "Doom-Beam Torch" which he used to burn his emblem into walls and unlucky villains, and a "Gliderchute" (similar to the flying Wingsuit) attached to the sides of his costume.
In his Captain Albright secret identity he was a genius-level inventor like Edison. He had a secret laboratory in the desert. Otto Binder was one of the writers on the comic book.
In 2010, Moonstone Publishing's revival of the 1940s title "Air Fighters Comics" published its issue #1, which included a new Captain Midnight story.
In 2012, Dark Horse reintroduced the character, with a 3-part story written by Joshua Williamson with art by Victor Ibañez and Pere Pérez. In June 2013,Captain Midnight #1 was released by the same publisher as an ongoing series.
BooksIn 2010, Moonstone Books published a collection of new Captain Midnight short stories entitled Captain Midnight Chronicles. The book's stories reflect an amalgamated version of the Captain Midnight character and his supporting cast, and incorporate elements from the various media incarnations of the character, including the radio and television series, the Columbia movie serial and Fawcett comic book.
Listen to1949 Key-O-Matic Code-O-GraphReferences
The First Night of Annihilation
A Samuel Light Junior Story
By John Pirillo
Streamlined darkness. Lines of darkness that stretched out into infinity. Enveloped by a cashmere velvet of deep space, but no stars.
Peacefulness. Gliding through infinity with no need to do this, to do that, to hurry here, to hurry there.
"Sammie, wake up, Damnit!"
Velvet black was shattered into shards of harsh sunlight smashing into his eyes. And an ugly face. A wonderfully ugly face. Jimbo. His eyes wide with fear.
"Can you hear me?" Jimbo hollered.
"If you whisper."
Jimbo breathed a sigh of deep relief, then helped Samuel to sit up. "You took one straight in the front teeth. I thought for sure you were a goner, when you flew down backwards."
Then Samuel realized the whole baseball team was gathered around him. The sound of sirens grew. Coach Adderberry was on his other side, his face filled with anxiety. Sam was his best batter and the game was on this very night.
"You okay, son?"
He never called any of his athletes by their first names, either son, kid, or batter or catcher, or some such thing. His balding head was sweating in the near summer heat. "Someone get me that water!" He yelled over his shoulder.
A hand pushed through the amassed players and he took the Arrowhead Sports Bottle, dripping beads of sweat from the cooler it had been in. Stuck it into Samuel's hand. "Drink it. All of it."
Samuel obliged, not sure if he could. When he drank, he noticed that his top front teeth hurt and his lip. That was when he realized his lip was split and his teeth loose. He looked at Jimbo. "Do I look as bad as I feel right now."
"Worse, which is why I thought you were...you know."
Samuel almost choked on his water and everyone immediately, tried to help him. He waved them off. "It's okay. I was just trying to laugh."
Coach Adderberry smiled then in relief. He stood up and looked at his team. "Already, boys, back to work. Samuel's the same old snarky boy he used to be."
Everyone laughed, clapped Samuel on his back, told him to feel better, then marched back onto the field for their practice. Game was in ten hours. "I'm leaving you in Jimbo's hands, if that's alright with you?"
Jimbo nodded. "I'll make sure the paramedics find him."
"Be hard to miss me." Samuel cut in. "I'm the only one laying in the dirt with a busted upper lip and a mouthful of loose teeth."
The Coach laughed, patted Samuel on his head, then joined the team. Immediately he began hollering at them to tighten up, get here, get there and everything began to settle back into the normal routine of working out on the field, while striving to tighten control over the game.
"You really did have me worried, Sammie." Jimbo finally said.
"Yeah. Me too."
"What happened to you?"
"I got smacked by a line drive hundred mile per hour hardball in my mouth is what happened!"
"No, after. Your eyes were all over the place beneath their lids, and you kept muttering something about the Dark Ones are coming. What's a Dark One?"
Then Samuel remembered.
The ball was smashing right at him. He stretched his glove out to catch it. He was shortstop at the time and it missed his glove and smashed into his mouth. The was all he remembered of his physical self until Jimbo called him back to...he rubbed his jaw...reality. Ow, that hurt! He thought.
He saw himself falling down a long tunnel of white light, sort of a perpendicular tunnel of white light like the ones that people vanished into when they crossed over, but his was pointed the wrong direction. Like Alice in Wonderland he had tumbled head over heels down the tunnel and then landed on a soft surface with lots of shrubs and flowers around it. He had sat up, not feeling any physical sensation at all, just standing somehow. He wasn't even sure he had any feet.
He turned around slowly, or was it float around? What he saw was an endless landscape that stretched as far as the eye could see in all directions. On one side was a huge tropical forest with huge exotic birds playing or perched. On another side was an infinitely long row of artists with their tripods set up with a canvas, and all painting the birds. It was the most stunningly beautiful thing he had ever seen.
Imagine a world where the most important thing in life is not making money, but appreciating the beauty that nature has provided us. That God has created.
"Jimbo, when I saw that, I thought for sure I had died and gone to heaven. I just couldn't understand why I had gone down a vertical tunnel of light. It didn't make any sense to me. No one I had seen cross over ever went down or up, it was more like walking along a path before you, with it extending further and further into the light, but surrounded by a light so pure and white that it's blinding, and yet the most gentle and reassuring feeling you could ever experience."
Jimbo nodded, then Samuel went back in time to his experience again.
I stood there imagining the whole thing as if I were in some kind of cosmic dream, but I couldn't unimagine it, make it something different, like you can in a dream, so I knew it was real, but what kind of reality I wasn't sure just yet.
Then in the distance I could see storm clouds beginning to churn and darken, spreading wider and wider, consuming the light before it, and rushing forward at a breakneck pace, eating up the land, forest and birds in front of it. It was frightening, like watching the death of a world!
Samuel wavered for a moment on his feet and Jimbo steadied him. "You okay? Maybe you need to sit down again."
"No, it's just when I remember that part of my experience, it overwhelms me." He looked directly into Jimbo's eyes. "I'm pretty sure now that what I was seeing wasn't a dream, nor was it the afterlife."
"Then what was it?"
"What will happen to our world if we don't learn how to love it."
Jimbo growled. Which he often did when he was frustrated or angry. "We won't let that happen, Sammie."
"I don't know if we can stop it. We're only two human beings. We're not gods!"
Jimbo shook his head. "I may not believe in everything you do, Sammie, but one thing I know for certain is that it's never wise to give up. It's always better to keep on fighting the odds, then defeat yourself by not even trying."
Samuel smiled. "I suspect you're right, partner."
Jimbo smiled back at him. "Speaking of partners. You know that new chick in our English class?"
And so their conversation came back from the cosmic to the practical and Samuel once more helped Jimbo score with the opposite sex, while he went home in an ambulance to sleep off the worst pain he had ever had in his life.
His Mom stood over him as he lay in bed. "It's all right, Sam, they will do just fine without you."
"It's not that, Mom." He protested.
She sat down next to him and waited.
"What is it then?"
"It's just that my life...it's so all over the place. I'm not normal like the other guys. They see ham burgers and girls in their dreams. I see angels, dead people..."
She put a finger to his lips.
She put her finger back on his lips.
"You're special. God has chosen you to do things others wouldn't want to do."
"I don't want to do them either." He protested, feeling a growing sense of disgust in his voice.
She laughed. "Sam, one thing I know about you, is that you never give up and you never, never turn your back on helping others."
He sighed, feeling the weight of disgust dissolving. He yawned and closed his eyes. "But it would sure be nice to win a girl once and awhile."
She laughed so hard, his eyes popped open.
"What's so funny?"
"Oh Sam, girls aren't prizes to be won."
"Then how can Jimbo is always winning them."
She smiled. "That's for Jimbo to know, and you to find out. Now you get to sleep. I'll wake you up in a couple of hours to watch Saturday Night Live and we'll have some homemade blueberry muffins."
"But you don't have any blueberry muffins." He protested.
"I will have." She said, then blew him a kiss, and closed the door.
For the next several hours he dreamed he was living in a blueberry village, where the houses were made of blueberries and the walls were eatable, and when he woke up to the sound of Jimbo's voice below, he knew he was going to have a good friend to watch TV with. But when he smelled the aroma of fresh blueberry muffins, his mouth watered and he knew he was going to have a happy tummy that night too.
You have got to see this series.The BBC does a splendid job of everything they get their hands on. I read the book and it is really wierd and wonderful . A great read!
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