Willing Sacrifice: Chapter 6

 

Ogham_Con.jpg

 

 

Kian waited with Aidan as the local police cleared her house. Once inside, without hesitating, she poured herself a drink.

The first floor was a mess. The two men had not gotten upstairs, but on the first floor, every drawer, cupboard, and closet had been opened. Emptied, the contents had been thrown in all directions. Cushions were tossed this way and that, with every piece of furniture overturned. Only her father’s books remained untouched. They were still on the long rows of shelves at the back of the large room, just where Red had left them. His files, however, had been dumped all over the floor. Off to the left, the adjoining country kitchen was trashed. Refrigerator and freezer were emptied right onto the old linoleum. It looked as if the two thugs had swept their arms through the cabinets and cupboards, knocking everything out.

“Oh well, now I don’t have to decide what to keep and what to replace,” Kian mumbled sarcastically. She swept up the broken dishes and tossed them into a cardboard box Mr. FBI had retrieved from the barn.

The agent started in the living room, righting furniture and making neat piles for Kian to go through later. Every once in a while he’d pop into the kitchen and ask her about certain odd items. Kian would explain, but wondered why he wanted to know.

The process brought back sad memories. There was a drawing of the stone structures on her land that had been brought home by her father when Kian was six. There was an old rag doll that had belonged to Kian’s great grandmother. Her mother had said something about a long story behind it and that she would explain later.

“Later?” Aidan asked.

“Yes, when I was ‘old enough.’ Mom would always say that and I hated it.” Kian frowned. “Everything was ‘when you are old enough.’ Old enough never came.”

“I don’t understand.”

“They vanished when I was 10.”

“Disappeared.”

“Vanished. In thin air. They went away like they did sometimes, only this time they didn’t come back.” Kian swung her arms in the air, almost spilling the ice from her glass. “Vanished. You know, left. Gone. Vamoosed.”

“Well, where did they go?”

“Who knows!” Hunching her shoulders, Kian turned around and headed toward the pantry. She poured more Stoli and Kahlua into her glass. “Want one?” she asked.

“No, thanks,” the agent said. “I’m on duty.” He disappeared back into the living room.

Kian went into the bathroom. She filled a large trash bag with old ointments, pills, tapes, and gauze pads. She remembered all of them from her childhood, especially the bandaids. Whenever she skinned her knees, and that happened often, her mother would dress it, always using one with a different design–rabbits, monkeys, ballerinas. Once her mom drew a funny face on one because there were only ordinary bandaids in the house. Kian’s shoulders drooped and she leaned against the sink for support. Memories. Even the good ones reminded her of what she had lost.

“I need you to see something,” the agent said as he rounded the corner.

Kian wiped tears from her eyes. “What’s up?”

“I found this in the mess on the floor.”

Kian took it from him, a puzzled look on her face.

“I think it is vellum,” the agent said.

“What’s vellum?”

“Processed animal hide. The ancients used it like we use paper, but it was far more precious. Imagine a time when what you wrote on was so valuable, so hard to come by, it was like gold. That was vellum.”

The funny marks were not like hieroglyphics or other writings Kian had ever seen. They were more like a series of vertical lines, some short, some tall. The agent looked at her. “Do you know what this is?”

“Never saw it before. What’s with all these lines?”

The agent took the piece and studied it. “I think it is Ogham, a form of writing, but I need to consult someone I know. This could mean something. It could be valuable.”

“Does this have anything to do with Uncle Jacob or with my parents?” That was stupid, she thought, how would he know?

“Probably,” was his response.

With that, Mr. FBI reached for his smart phone and snapped a picture. “Sending it off now,” he said as he touched the screen and Kian heard the whoosh of a departing message. He rolled up the vellum. “I’m going to put it behind your dad’s books in the library. That’ll be good enough for tonight, especially since I will be sleeping on the sofa.”

“What?”

“I am sleeping on your sofa. I am not leaving you alone with some crazed gun-toting thugs out there, especially after you’ve been drinking.”

Kian bristled at that and then spit out, “I am sure your wife and children will love this!”

“No wife, no children, and no girlfriend either.” As Kian turned to leave the room, he added, “You?”

“Me?”

“Wife, kids, boyfriend?”

“Nope,” Kian responded. “No husband either.”

“You like pizza?”

“Sure, why?”

“Find me your yellow pages and I’ll get one delivered.”

“Great. By then I’ll be ready for another drink.”

The pizza arrived an hour later. Kian did pour a third drink, but Aidan gently took it from her. “Look, I know you are upset, but if those bastards come back, I can’t have you impaired.” Kian handed the glass over. He was right. Besides, if she kept it to two, she’d feel fine in the morning.

Out on the deck, the cool evening breeze cleared Kian’s head a bit. Still, neither of them had the energy for conversation. In the end they ate their pizza, sitting in silence watching the stars.

When Lucky started scratching at the door, Kian announced it was time for bed. She felt she should offer the agent something more comfortable than the broken down sofa. There was a spare room on the second floor with a single creaky cot. She suggested that and added, “I could find some blankets or something, too, if you want.”

“I’d rather be down here if those guys come back. Besides I’d also like to spend some time cleaning up your father’s papers, if that’s okay. I’d like to know what the intruders were looking for in there.”

“No problem,” replied Kian. “Can I get you anything else?”

“A blanket or something would be nice.”

“I’ll put a couple on the sofa. You can choose.” Kian reached for the door, and then turned. “You got a name? I can’t keep thinking of you as Mr. FBI.”

“Aidan. Aidan Scott.”

“Well, Mr. Aidan Scott, good night.”

 

NOTES:

Ogham: I was informed by someone in the know that the word is pronounced O-am, not Og-am. The alphabet may have been created by the Druids as a secret method to encode messages during the Roman conquest of Britain about 55 AD.

But has Ogham been found in the Americas?  Yes.

Barry Fell translated many examples. Here are some from West Virginia.

Mystery Hill in New Hampshire may have been built by the Clets, if the Ogham found there is any indication.

There may have been Druids in Colorado.    Although it remains controversial with some.

 

Photo Attribution:

By Rico38 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Willing Sacrifice: Chapter 5

Screenshot 2017-06-05 09.36.30.jpg

 

August 2nd

 

Kian woke late the next morning to find Lucky sitting by the mysterious package.

But then images of Uncle Jacob’s tortured body flooded back. Kian buried her face in Lucky’s soft black fur and forced herself to hold back the tears. She needed a distraction, she decided. Think about something else until the pain subsided. Then she’d figure it out.

In the six months Kian had been back in the house, she had done a lot of thinking about how to redecorate, where to move what, which things to keep, and what to throw away. What to do with her parents’ room on the second floor, for instance. If she cleaned it out, their disappearance would feel final. She would be condemning them to stay “vanished.” So she had done some rearranging, moving her dad’s favorite armchair into the corner and her mom’s knitting supplies into a basket by the closet.

Truth be told, sometimes she would just walk into their room and sit. It felt as if she could talk to them in there. She would tell her mother about her day and tell her father what she had been reading because, along with her red hair and freckles, she shared his love of books. Wonder what you would make of ebooks. Bet you would have filled up 10 clouds by now.

Today Kian planned to attack a second bedroom, the one overlooking the deck and garden. It had been a combination guest room and catchall when she was young. There was a private bath, as in her parents’ room, and a private porch. It would be perfect for her “grown-up” bedroom. All she needed were new linens and curtains. She would sleep in her new bed tonight. Tomorrow she would make the attic into her study, if she could get all the old furniture down and get a desk up there. She’d been hoping to ask Jacob’s son for help. Now that did not seem like such a good idea.

But she did want to call him about the package. Besides, he’d know what the police had discovered, and she could make sure it was okay to open the package “for the Big One.”

Again she pictured Jacob lying in his bedroom. Lying in a pool of blood. Again, she pushed the images far from her mind. Time to get up and move. Think about something else, she reminded herself.

Kian showered and went in search of something to wear. She put on a pair of rolled khakis, a golden cami-top, and a vibrant orange scooped neck tee over the top, adjusting them so that the cami showed. She surveyed herself in the hall mirror. Not bad. With that she headed for another cupboard at the end of the hall and grabbed a pair of orange and gold sandals. Slipping them on, she hopped down the steps and stopped at the front door long enough to grab her oversized backpack and rummage for the keys.

Once outside, Kian double locked the door and gave it a jiggle. Then she remembered the package. She went back to get it, stuffed it in her backpack, and, as she walked to her Jeep, she punched Stephen Steiner’s number into her cell phone. Again there was no answer and no way to leave a message. She decided to try later ending the call before she noticed she had a message. She retrieved the message, but the reception was not good. “FBI” and “coming over” were the only words she could understand. They were enough.

“I thought we settled this,” Kian mumbled to herself. “You got no jurisdiction here. You want to know something, you go through Owen.” Kian tucked her phone back into her pack, unlocked her Jeep, pulled herself up and in. Seated comfortably, she started the engine and took off for the mall.

Just past her driveway, Kian turned onto the dirt road leading to the two-lane highway into town. That was when she saw a cloud of dust up ahead, a sure sign someone was coming to visit her. She slowed down and pulled over to make room. A Land Rover barreled toward her. She pounded her horn fiercely. The Land Rover swerved. As it passed, she saw Mr. FBI. Without hesitating, she lurched forward at full speed, throwing more gravel back in his direction.

Because there was nowhere wide enough for a Land Rover to turn around, Mr. FBI would have to go all the way to the house before he could swing around to follow. Kian also knew all the short cuts. So, instead of heading toward the highway, she turned onto a dirt trail hidden by a huge pine tree. Here she picked up what her parents had lovingly called the “back road,” but it was more like a back ditch. She drove through a puddle, watching as the mud splashed the sides of her Wrangler. Next came the stream, washing some–but not all–of the mud away. Finally she drove through the pasture. Tall blades of grass whipped at the sides of the Jeep. Must get this cut, Kian reminded herself, as she turned onto the highway, now significantly closer to the mall.

Once at the mall, Kian quickly selected a new comforter, sheets, curtains, and a few throw pillows. She was not an enthusiastic shopper. Usually she got what she needed in a store and left as soon as she could. Having taken care of the linens, she grew more and more distraught as thoughts of Uncle Jacob kept intruding. As hard as she tried, she could not keep them at bay.

She had had enough of the mall. She bought a slice of pizza and a coke, devoured these quickly, and hurried back to her Jeep. As she tossed the bags of linens on to the passenger seat, she remembered the package. She slipped it into one of her over-sized shopping bags. She’d try calling Stephen again when she got home.

The drive back was boring, at least compared to the drive out. Kian smiled a bit as she remembered leaving Mr. FBI in the dust. She wondered if he might be waiting for her at the top of her road, so she took the short cut, splashed back over the stream and through the puddles, and turned onto her road. No sign of Mr. FBI. She turned left toward her house.

As soon as she got to her driveway, she felt a knot in her stomach. Must be the coke and pizza, she reasoned.

Her body tightened. She wanted to stop the Jeep. But, shaking this off as just more craziness, she pulled in front of the house and was about to stop the car when she noticed her front door wide open. She thought back. Yes, she remembered locking it. Kian reached for her cell phone just as two people bolted out of the house. It took a moment for the full impact to hit her. The two were racing toward her and one had a gun.

Kian dropped her cell phone, put the Wrangler into reverse and spun 180 degrees. Then, she floored it, kicking back more gravel and dust. She hoped it would obscure her assailants’ line of sight, but through the rear view mirror she saw one of them take aim with the gun. She swerved back and forth across the road just like she’d seen in the movies. Her eyes darted back to the mirror. She saw the second man shove the first to the ground. The bullet went wild. Flooring her jeep, she spun around the bend. No short cuts this time. Better to be on the normal road. When she spotted the highway ahead, she started to think she might live after all.

Then she saw the Land Rover parked off to the side. Please be FBI, please!

Aidan Scott was leaning against his vehicle inspecting his nails. As Kian braked sharply, a cloud of dust kicked back in his direction.

“Watch it!” he yelled brushing off his perfectly pressed Khakis.

Having driven past Mr. FBI, Kian threw the Jeep in reverse, backed up, and flung open the door. “They broke into my house. They shot at me. My cat is there. You gotta do something.”

“Who are ‘they’?”

“Two men. Ugly ones.”

Kian spotted a cloud of dust coming down the road and pointed it out to Aidan.

He grabbed her by the arm, pulled her from the Jeep, shoved her behind the rear end of his Land Rover, and pushed her to the ground. “Stay there and don’t move!”

Aidan grabbed the Sig-Sauer from the retention holster attached to his belt and crouched beside her. “Don’t move,” he repeated. “Not until I say so.”

Swerving to miss Kian’s Jeep, the two men, now in a maroon SUV, sped past. Turning onto the paved road, the SUV scraped a tree. Two seconds later, Aidan maneuvered himself around Kian. Still crouching, he inched his way until he could see past his back bumper. By then, the SUV had vanished.

Aidan holstered his weapon and turned to Kian. Breathing heavily, he asked, “You ok?”

“I…I think so,” Kian stammered.

Aidan reached for her hand and pulled her up. “That was one hare-brained stunt you pulled this morning, running off like that. You could have gotten yourself killed.”

“And how was I supposed to know there were people going to shoot at me?” Still shaking, Kian brushed the dirt and leaves from her pants.

“Well, if you had stopped this morning, I could have told you.” He waited for his statement to sink in before he continued. “Someone broke into the Steiner cabin last night. It had been ransacked. So I called to see if you might know what they were after. Plus I had some questions for you. I’d say you’re damn lucky.”

Visions, dreams, murderers, midnight burglars, gunshots, garbled phone messages, it all terrified her. Things were out of control–way out of her control. So this time Kian did not try to ditch the agent. Whether she liked it or not, she was beginning to think she needed him.

 

 

Photo Attribution:

By Wayfaringemu (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Willing Sacrifice: Chapter 4

 

bl russ.jpg

 

It took Kian’s eyes a moment to adjust, but when they did, Kian paled as her focus narrowed. There in a pool of blood lay Uncle Jacob.

Supporting her weight on the window ledge, her arms threatened to give way. But then her emergency training kicked in. Kian took one long, deep breath to clear her head and heaved herself over the sill into the room. She landed with a hard thud and a grunt. Pushing the officer out of the way, she rushed to her uncle. Check for a pulse, she reminded herself. Is he breathing? “Oh, please, please be breathing,” she sobbed. “I don’t want to lose you. Not yet anyway.”

Even as she knelt down to render aid, Kian knew it was too late. Uncle Jacob had been dead for hours. His body was waxy cold. Blood was matted in his hair and the pool under him was thick and dark. Then she saw the coronet of gold about his brow, a tightened noose around his neck, and a bowl of bloody water tipped precariously to one side. Just like in her Vision of her parents. She shuddered. “Willing sacrifice.” Jacob’s earlier words were all she could think about as she recoiled from the scene in front of her. A shiver ran down her spine and tears began rolling down her ashen face. Kian’s world crumbled before her once again, leaving her alone and scared.

The next few hours seemed like days to Kian. There were questions to answer, forms to sign, and then long hours of just waiting while others did their jobs. She used the time to call her office and have her other appointments rescheduled. She was scheduled be off for almost a week, but she figured the time would be filled working with Jacob’s son. So much had changed and it was overwhelming. Her mind raced through the things that needed to be done. His funeral. Closing the house. An estate to settle. And what will happen to Jacob’s artifacts? Will his son want them? He’d certainly shown interest in them, or at least his son’s wife had.

By the time Jacob’s body was removed, Kian knew she had reached her limit. Exhausted, she wanted to get out of there, get home, pour herself a drink, and find something to eat, in that order. She checked her cell phone. Two-thirty in the afternoon.

“Kian? Oh my god, Kian are you okay?” She looked up to see a tall lanky man rushing toward her. There was something familiar about him.

He knelt in front of her and took her hand. “I came as soon as I heard.”

She looked at the nametag prominently pinned on his plaid shirt. Officer Griffith. Recognition tickled the back of her mind. “Owen? Owen Griffith? Wow, you became a police officer like your dad.”

“Yup. Day off or I’d been here sooner. I am so sorry about Jacob. Here, I brought you something.” He reached into a brown paper bag and took out a cold coke in a glass bottle.

“You remembered.”

“I did.”

He smiled at her, a sad smile, but a smile all the same. “Never could figure out why your mom wouldn’t let you drink the stuff.”

“We used to sit behind your barn like a couple of druggies who’d just scored,” Kian replied. The memory made her eyes shine. “I don’t think your mom approved of coke either.”

Owen took an opener from his shirt pocket, popped the cap, and handed the bottle to her. “Here, drink up.”

The coke was cold, ice cold the way she liked it. It burnt as it went down. The first few swallows were always the best. “That’s good. Thanks.”

Owen placed his hand on her arm. “Kian, I gotta ask you something. Did Jacob ever explain things to you?”

“What things?”

“Just things.”

“Ow-en, what things?”

Why, she wondered, did it always feel like everyone had secrets that she was not allowed to know? And why wasn’t she allowed to know them?

“We’ll talk about it later. Kian, you look exhausted, what can I do for you?”

“Just get me out of here. I can’t deal with this right now.”

Owen stood. “I understand. I’ll take care of a few details and then get you home. You do look exhausted.”

Kian closed her eyes and sank back into her thoughts only to be aroused minutes later. She looked up to see Owen confronting some man, a dark haired man.

“I’m here to talk to her. It won’t take long.”

They looked like two bull elephants facing off. Leave it to Owen. It wasn’t the first time. Seemed he’d spent their childhood keeping others from getting in her way, fighting her battles for her.

“FBI’s got no jurisdiction here,” she heard Owen tell the man. “You want to talk to her, you come through me, got it?”

“Got it,” the man said as he stepped around Owen and took two long strides toward Kian.

She stood, grabbed her bag, and headed for the door. Maybe having a bull-headed “guardian” was a good thing after all.

The FBI agent stepped in front of her. “May I ask where you are going, ma’am?”

“Home,” she replied, without looking up. His pants were neatly creased, she noticed, his black wing-tip shoes were immaculately shined. A neatnik, she thought. She took note of the agent’s coal black hair, set off by sparkling blue, no, almost turquoise eyes. Odd combination. But effective.

“Kian, you don’t have to talk to this man,” Owen said, crossing the room. “The FBI’s got no right to be here.”

Kian looked the agent straight in the eye. “FBI? Did Uncle Jacob cross state lines or something?”

“Special division,” he replied.

“Oh, like the X–Files.” Kian moved to get past him.

“Please, not so fast. Are you Kian Radha Buchanan?”

He pronounced her name correctly. Most people said “Ky-an” but it was “Key-an.” And as for her middle name, the butchering it took was worse. It wasn’t “Rad-ha,” it was “Row-ha.”

“Look, I am tired. All I want to do is go home and sleep. I’ve answered enough questions for today,” she insisted. “If you want to know anything, talk to Officer Griffiths over there.” Owen gave her a thumbs-up, but the agent did not budge.

“Do you know what Kian Radha means?”

“Whatever,” she said as she tried to squeeze past him. She knew very well what her name meant.

“It means Ancient Vision. Radha also means red. You were aptly named, I see.”

With that, Kian swung her flaming hair around, causing him to take a step back, and this time she was able to push past him.

Interesting but irritating was her assessment.

Pushing past Owen as well, Kian hurled herself into her Jeep and took off, kicking back gravel.

Through her rear-view mirror she could see Mr. FBI dusting off his perfectly pressed suit. Definitely interesting but irritating.

 

 

As Kian arrived home, she spotted the mailman jumping back into his truck. She waved as he drove out. When she got to the front porch, she found a package sitting there. She picked it up. It had postage stamps, the kind you lick, and had been hand stamped from somewhere in New Mexico. But it was the wrapping that caught her attention. Even though the package was now covered in clear packing tape, Kian could see that the brown paper had been precisely folded into neat mitered corners and tied with white string. Who does that anymore? Kian turned the package over. Someone had carefully printed, “For the Big One.”

While unlocking her front door, she thought she caught movement in the woods. It must be deer, she decided. People never came to visit at her secluded home.

As she fed Lucky, she couldn’t push the vision of Uncle Jacob and the pool of blood from her mind. She remembered her visit, the unease she felt that morning, how spooked she was when she got to Jacob’s cabin. Who would have done such a horrible thing? Jacob had no enemies—not that she knew anyway. Who could hate Jacob that much? Who?

Her mind went round and round with that question until she decided it was all too much. She really needed that drink. A stiff one. A Black Russian with orange Stoli, the best Vodka to her way of thinking, even if a bit out of fashion. A double shot with Kahlua. It would dull her mind, make the spookiness go away. It always did. Like in the emergency room when she knew a child had been abused. Nobody would believe her when she tried to say the child was not just accident-prone. Then, as now, it nagged her and she could barely wait to get to the local bar with her friends and throw down a couple. Then she felt normal again, like she was one of the gang, not some crazy outsider. Yes, to her way of thinking, vodka was a miracle drug. Dulled the pain, dulled her senses, and with them her crazier feelings, the ones that brought the Visions, the premonitions. No, not Visions, not premonitions, she reminded herself, they were coincidences. She poured a second double Vodka, this time with less Kahlua.

Kian knew her limit was three and only under extreme circumstances. But if today didn’t count as extreme, nothing did. The long climb up two flights to her attic bedroom was the best antidote for her desire to pour a fourth drink.

As she stumbled past the dining room table, she picked up the package. She’d call Uncle Jacob’s son tomorrow, she decided. Maybe he’d know what to do with it.

When she got to her attic bedroom, Kian heard Lucky jump off her bed. He scrambled under the small desk as Kian tossed the package on top. Lucky waited while Kian undressed, turned on the fan, and crawled under the sheet. Then, with one leap, he was on top of the desk. He spent the night as if keeping watch next to the still unopened package.

 

Notes:

Drinking and psychic abilities:

Whether alcohol dulls or enhances psychic abilities is controversial. Some psychics, for instance Jane Roberts, took small amounts before going into trance.

It is clear, however, that the over-use of alcohol dulls the conscious mind, thereby limiting not only psychic input, but also the emotional effects as in Kian’s case.

 

Photo attribution:

My own.

 

Willing Sacrifice: Chapter 3

751px-Miller_cabin.jpg

 

Kian squinted into the bright sun as she walked across the wide porch to the driveway. Her white Keds® crunched in the gravel. She inserted the key into the driver-side lock of her battered-blue Jeep Wrangler and opened the door. Throwing her bag onto the passenger seat, she grabbed the handle over the door and climbed in.

Uncle Jacob was to be her first stop. She planned to check on him early before seeing her other patients and then return that evening for a quiet birthday celebration, just the two of them.

Several days ago he’d promised to “tell her everything” on her birthday. Whatever that meant.

Uncle Jacob. Now scooped with age, the small wiry man stood two inches shorter than Kian. He had always called her “Little One,” so she had always called him, “Big One.” Even after returning from Boston, she called him that. It was really kind of a joke, now. Most people found it quite amusing. But not Jacob’s son Stephen or Stephen’s wife.

Odd, Kian thought, as she braced herself for another deep rut in Jacob’s driveway.

It was also strange meeting Stephen after all these years. Odd that a son who had been told his father was dead should show up just when he was dying. Perhaps Stephen thought there would be an inheritance. She wondered if he knew Jacob’s cabin was part of the Buchanan estate. Stephen and his wife mostly left when Kian showed up. But still, they seemed devoted to Jacob.

As Kian pulled around the last bend, she spotted the log cabin, serene in the midst of the forest trees. It was smallish, actually one large room that served many purposes. A little wing was added sometime after the cabin was built. Jacob used it as his bedroom. There was a loft, too, mostly used to store Jacob’s “treasures,” the ones that had not found a spot in his overly crowded living area. Jacob, a retired antiquities professor, had many “treasures.” Like her father who was an ancient languages professor, Jacob had many books. Two of a kind, they were. That is why they had been such close friends and why Kian knew him as her “uncle.”

Kian shuddered as she climbed out of her jeep. The place had a spooky feel about it today. Just my imagination. What’s wrong with me this morning?

Kian crossed the front porch and knocked on the front door, calling Jacob’s name. No answer. She then pounded on the door. Still no answer. She pulled out her cell and called his number and heard his phone ring, but Uncle Jacob did not answer.

“Maybe he’s out back,” Kian remarked to herself. She picked her way through the overgrown bushes and past the bulkhead that went down to a cellar.

A familiar stonewall surrounding the garden area came into view. Kian had watched Jacob build this wall, showing her how stones were shaped and stacked to withstand the years. It taught Kian how the stone chambers, cairns, and walls out behind her own house had been built. Jacob had also erected a small stone circle in the center of the garden, a replica of the one near her stone chambers. Jacob had used it to teach Kian about astronomical alignments and the “shifting of the ages.” His was set to align with the shift between the age of Pisces and Aquarius. “Your circle,” he said, “is much older and one day I’ll show you about it.” Maybe that’s what he wanted to talk about.

Kian caught a flutter from of the corner of her eye. There was a curtain hanging outside Jacob’s bedroom window. Odd she thought, that it should be outside. She took a few steps closer and saw that the screen was pulled out. It lay carelessly on the ground. This was not right. Her heart pounding, Kian pulled out her cell and punched the number for the local police. A young female voice answered.

It was all Kian could do to control her voice. “Hi, my name is Kian Buchanan and I am a visiting nurse. My patient Jacob Steiner didn’t answer the door this morning and it looks like someone might have broken in. Please send someone quickly.” She gave the address.

“Do not go in, wait for the police,” warned the woman on the other end of the line.

Yeah, like I would be that stupid. “No problem, just hurry,” she said pacing around the house. To fill the time, she tried Jacob’s son’s cell. No answer there either.

Unenthusiastic was Kian’s assessment of the officer who finally arrived. He climbed out of his car and glanced around, seemingly without noticing Kian.

“Thanks for coming,” Kian offered by way of bridging what felt like a silent abyss between them. He did not respond.

He ambled to the front door and pounded his beefy fist against it. It sounded like dull thuds against the aged wood. No answer. Again he pounded on the door, this time yelling “police officer,” but again, no answer. So the officer turned and made his way through the brambles to the back of the house.

“That the open window?” He pointed but did not turn to look at Kian.

She wanted to say, “Sure looks open to me.” Instead she just feigned a sweet smile and replied, “Yes.”

“You been inside?”

“No.”

“You try calling his phone?”

“Yes. He doesn’t answer.”

“Any relatives?”

“They aren’t answering their phones either.”

“Terrible storm last night. Blew out lots of screens, I reckon. The old man probably went into town to get a new one.” With that the officer turned to leave.

“So what do we do now?” Kian hurried after him.

The officer kept walking. “Wait for him to come back.”

Kian hurled herself around the burly officer, blocking his path to his cruiser. “Look officer, this man is my patient. He has trouble breathing. He’s weak and may have fallen. We need to check. If you aren’t going in, I am.”

The officer glared at her, took out his cell phone, and walked into the woods.

At least you could answer me.

When the officer returned, he grabbed a nearby rubbish can and set it under the open window. Still silent, he eased his bulky body up and pushed his way in.

“Should I come, too?”

Again, silence. Kian jumped up on the can to follow the officer. Just as she was pulling herself up and into the window, she heard the officer exclaim, “What the fuck!”

It took her eyes a moment to adjust, but when they did, Kian paled as her focus narrowed. There in a pool of blood lay Uncle Jacob.

 

Notes:

Stone cairns, chambers, and walls in the Hudson Valley:

About 50 miles north of Manhattan, the Hudson Valley is riddled with mysterious stone chambers, walls and cairns. There are several different theories about them.

One theory holds that the early settlers built the chambers as food storage, but this theory has been discounted for the most part. None of the chambers have means to keep small animals out. Any food storage would have been quickly consumed by wildlife. In addition, chambers are topped with large heavy stones. This is labor-intensive and easier means of building were available.

Early settlers re-purposed the structures, adding doors in some cases. But for the most part the structures were probably on the land before the settlers arrived.

A second theory holds that the stone structures were built by the native peoples inhabiting the area, perhaps as shelter, hunting blinds or burials.

We do know that indigenous people near glaciers still build similar stone shelters. The techniques to build with rock would be a bit trickier, but not that different from building igloos. If this is the case, then these chambers were built at the end of the last ice age. The Hudson Valley was covered by glaciers up until about 15,000 years ago, so these structures are quite old indeed if they were built at that time.

If it is true that indigenous people followed the receding glaciers north and built in stone along the way, one wonders why there are no rock chambers north of New England.

The third theory holds that Europeans built these structures long before Columbus made his famous voyage. The structures are quite similar to those found in the northern British Isles. We have also found artifacts with Runic, Punic (Carthage), and Hebrew writing along with other metal artifacts from these cultures.

Indeed, there is evidence that travel was common between the “old” and the “new’ world. The Americas may have been a refuge for displaced Europeans millennia before Columbus re-discovered it. That is the premise of this story.

 

Shifting of the Ages:

This is more formally known as the “precession of the Equinoxes.” Approximately every 2000 years we go from one age to another. Right now we are changing from Pisces to Aquarius.

The ancients, we have discovered, often oriented or aligned their structures to particular stars in the sky. We can now date many old stone structures by comparing the alignment of structures with maps of the night sky because the orientation of stars will change through the ages. This type of dating has been done with Stonehenge, the Pyramids and other structures both in the “old” and the “new” world.

Uncle Jacob has dated Kian’s Stone Circle as “much older” based on this system of

 

 

 

Photo Attribution:

By dbking (Flickr.com) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons