"A Samuel Light Story."
Time stands still.
Faces hurl along a stream of time.
Abutting a great cliff of nothingness is a hand.
An arm raises a bridge.
A long line of people, their heads downturned, walk slowly along a clockwork path, that ticks slowly round and round until it starts all over again.
Images of children with bleeding eyes.
A soul that flies not with wings, but with streams of blood squirting from its feet.
Samuel woke up, shook his mop of hair to clear his mind. He rubbed his eyes, and then slid from his bed to look at himself in his dresser mirror. Twenty something years had worn hard on him he thought at that moment. And what had he accomplished. Nothing. Death. More death and an occasional ray of hope and healing.
He shook his head again, then frowned when Al showed up, seated on his dresser, blowing a harmonica furiously, blowing "My Life Sucks Blues."
Al stopped and his harmonica vanished.
M stepped into the room, whirling round and round in her beautiful Hollywood red gown. Her lips were painted raspberry red and her eyeliner as well. She threw herself on my bed beside me and put her head on my shoulder and crooned a beautiful lullaby. There I was with one of the sexiest woman who had ever lived, and instead of getting excited and aroused; I was becoming calm and peaceful, centered and clear.
She stopped and gave me a light kiss on the middle of my forehead.
A touch on my right shoulder.
No one there.
A touch on my left shoulder.
No one there.
A blazing white road appears before my feet, which I cannot see, and stretches into infinity. Along the road is a long caravan of beautiful angels, all dressed in pure white clothing that glistens like the dewdrops of a morning rain on a crystal yellow daisy's lips. Ahead of them was a gigantic orb of light that they were all stepping into and vanishing.
How I yearned to follow them. To become one with that Light.
My eyes opened outwards again and I saw Al and M both seated on my dresser.
"Hi." I said, yawning.
Al grinned. M waved timidly at me, and then blew a long, luscious kiss that blew all that timidity out the window.
"I'm feeling sorry for myself, aren't I?" I asked Al.
He didn't reply. He didn't need to. He looked at M and she gave him a slight nudge with her shoulder, as if saying....say something nice. So he did. "Pause."
I gave him a look. I had been hearing that over and over in the visions and dreams of last night and now this morning. It was morning, wasn't it?
I stood up, threw open the drapes across my bedroom balcony window and the lush, brilliant Las Vegas sun poured in, illuminating the room in slivers of gold and silver. Particles of dust danced and spun together, playing out the cosmic movements that all particles of God did. I watched entranced for several long moments, then turned to look back at my invisible friends.
Al and M are not alive anymore. Not to our world. To their world they are totally alive, vibrant and conscious in every way. It's their right. It's our right, if we're smart enough to accept it. Many don't. They hang onto the illusion that Earth is all there is and it can't get any better. They're wrong. Dead wrong. Earth is just a shopping center for a better soul, a way to pick up what you've learned over lifetimes and make you into something worth selling to God. Not that you have to sell yourself. He already owns you lock, stock and barrel, but He likes His children to want him to want them, just as he wants all of them to love him unconditionally, as he does them.
I sighed. Preaching to the choir. Myself.
I slid on my jeans, threw on my slippers, then went into my kitchen and hammered out some eggs and toast for breakfast, grabbing a small carton of Sunkist orange juice to wash it down. I ate slowly and methodically, pondering what I had done the last week or so. I didn't get to ponder long though.
Ring. My doorbell. Sounded like the doom alarm. Open me up so I can suck you into another enterprise of human danger and frailty.
I opened my door up and was swept up into the arms of my giant friend, Jimbo. A Texan giant in his mind, and of course, in reality, even though we were almost the same height. He was broader, and built sturdier. He could even have given Hercules a run for the money.
"Sammie, its god-awful good to see you again. Hope you got more of that..." He sniffed the air a moment in silence. "Eggs and toast. No bacon?"
I shook my head.
He grinned. "That's okay."
He swept past me and helped me clean up the rest of my eggs and toast. I had, for some reason I couldn't explain, felt compelled to make enough for three, and good thing I did, because he ate enough for two. That was Jimbo.
He finished the last of the toast by dipping it into a huge mug of coffee, and then with juices slipping down his lips onto the plate, looked up at me.
"Heard the news?"
I should never have asked.
"They found a haunted mine in Henderson."
"Figures. Everything else is haunted here." I muttered in a sarcastic voice.
He gave me a long look. "You feeling sorry for yourself again? Because if you are, I'm going to have to knock you on the side of the head to get some senses back in that body of yours."
"Jimbo, think about it. We've been at this spiritual detective thing now for how long...?"
"Haven't counted. Long time."
"And what has it gotten us?"
He thought about it a moment, took a look guzzle of the rest of my orange juice, and then burped. "Beat up, chased out of countries by armed thugs, sucked up into flying saucers, chased by ghosts, and whipped by crazy religionists."
Jimbo gave me a strange look and I burst into laughter.
He grinned. "I shoulda known what you were up to."
"But really, what have we really got out of it?"
The doom chime rang again.
I groaned. It couldn't be good news. Someone had to be wanting us to risk our necks again, go out on a limb they didn't dare to, but our limbs were okay to do so. I opened the door.
A delivery man stood there with a huge basket of fruit and beside him were two large bouquets of flowers. "Sign this." He said, offering an invoice.
"You must have the wrong place. No one sends flowers here."
He looked at the invoice. "You Samuel Light?"
"That's him." Jimbo said, leaning over my shoulder. "Sign it, that fruit looks great."
"Don't you ever get enough to eat?" I groused.
He grinned. "Nope. Sign it."
I signed it, and the deliveryman handed the flowers towards me, but before I could take them, Jimbo had them out of his hands and carried them to the kitchenette where he deposited them on the table and began sorting out the fruit for eating.
I brought the flowers inside.
Jimbo was scarfing up several apples. One in each fist. One was yellow. One was green. "Read the card, Sammie."
I set the flowers down and took a card from the basket.
"Read it out loud."
I read it out loud.
I and Jimbo were throwing ourselves between two sand dunes to avoid the raiders chasing us. We had two children between us. We had taken on a job of rescuing them from a cult that worshipped Djinni, a devilish spirit that demanded the blood of children.
I concentrated on the sand ahead of us and it began to twirl. Slowly at first, then faster and faster. At that moment the horde of cultists burst between the dunes and I released the sand devil on them. They screamed in terror as it whipped them around, tossing them back and forth.
Jimbo and I took the children while the cultists were struggling to deal with their fate, and made it to our SUV four wheel and hauled out of there.
We reached the parents of the two kids at the airport, where they had booked a special flight to America to take their children away from the reach of the horrible people who had abducted them.
As we watched the children run to their parents, both Jimbo and I, both thoroughly exhausted, bruised and bleeding in a dozen places from our narrow escape, broke into tears.
Jimbo stopped eating and looked at me.
"You got that look again, Sammie."
"What look?" I asked, though I knew and was just faking it to gain some recovery time.
"The look of a man who has seen the bird of paradise, and discovered it's only a duck."
He laughed. He didn't need to know the duck I had just seen. We had both lived it together, and at that moment I knew what I was being shown.
I looked up and Al and M were standing at my balcony window smiling.
"Thanks!" I said.
Jimbo said. "You're welcome, partner."
I laughed again.
Funny how the down moments can sometimes be the calm before the storm of happiness.