Willing Sacrifice: Chapter 17

 

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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Sunday, August 5th

 

Kian woke with a start. The sun was not yet up, but she could feel the day beginning. She rolled over to look at the clock. Six AM.

Kian pushed the covers down and reached for her oversized tee shirt, the one with the grey wolves on the front. She rolled her legs off the side of the bed and glanced at her bedroom door. It was closed but she’d left it open a crack the night before. For Lucky. Then she heard him scratch, so she pushed herself off the edge of the bed, and went to the door. Lucky came strolling in, chattering all the while. “Okay, okay, Lucky. I wasn’t the one who locked you out.”

She pulled out her dresser drawer and removed a pair of leggings. She wondered why they were called leggings. They were really tights without feet.

Once properly dressed, she stepped into the hallway. The door to the spare bedroom was closed. That was odd.

Using her sense of touch, using her skin as eyes, she sent them out, looking for danger. Nothing. Only the sense of someone sleeping in the spare room. That must be it, Aidan’s in there. She tiptoed into the hall and down the stairs.

Once in the kitchen, she fell into her usual morning routine popping the coffee in the Keurig, feeding the cat, and pouring coffee to enjoy on the deck. But when she put her hand on the doorknob, she hesitated. Her skin felt restless. This time she listened and stayed inside.

Kian took her coffee mug over to her father’s desk behind the dining table. She set it on the mahogany desk and sat in her father’s old leather chair. Burnished by years of wear, it had taken on a bronze patina. The desk was large and spacious, but seemed empty without her father’s papers and books piled on top. She turned the chair to look at the bookshelves that lined the back walls.

The books’ yellowed pages were a testament to the passage of time. This made them all the more inviting to her. But she was looking for something in particular, something about Geronimo, the Apaches, or maybe even medicine men. She took a book from the shelf. It looked promising. Inside she found sepia photos done by Edward Curtis. She opened it to a page with a corner carefully folded down. It showed a Native American woman, an Apache. Under the picture Kian’s mother had carefully written, “Chokole.” So her mother knew something of the people called Apache. Coincidence?

Kian moved her fingers over the picture, noting the high cheekbones, the almost oriental eyes. She wondered what Chokole meant and why her mother had written it there.

She put the book on the desk and, taking a sip of coffee, turned the chair to look at the bookshelves again. The books made her feel closer to her parents. Maybe they would reveal more about their lives and interests.

The library was systematically arranged. One shelf was devoted to Native American topics, another to megaliths, a third to American pyramids, and yet another to Egypt. Her father had always been meticulous.

Kian stood up and pulled down the first volume of Schwaller de Lubitz’s The Temple of Man, a large and cumbersome two-volume set. When she opened it, pages of her father’s tightly scribbled notes fell to the floor. She picked the notes up, placed them back in the book, and vowed to spend more time with her father’s library. It fascinated her.

Kian surveyed the shelves again. Something was drawing her. She let her gaze soften and lose focus. Then she noticed it. One book stood out of place. It was smaller than her father’s more academic texts, and when Kian took it down she saw that it was a work of fiction. She found that strange. Her parents never read fiction. Kian sat in her father’s chair, took another sip of coffee, and looked at the title, Watch for Me on the Mountain, by Forrest Carter.

When she opened the small paperback to the first page, she immediately caught the scent of old books. She started leafing through, letting the book fall open where it would. Someone had carefully underlined some passages. On page 13 she read, “The time for counseling others is in the waxing of the moon toward the full…people felt and thought less narrowly. They were more giving….” That, she thought, ruled out trying to talk to the mob at the chambers anytime soon.

On page 76, she read another underlined passage, “…how easily people forget the food their spirit body needs and are made slaves to the powers that feed their earthly bodies.”

Curious now, Kian looked for the copyright. Nineteen-seventy-eight, six years before she was born. She could picture her parents reading and underlining passages. It was a comforting image.

Then she came to Chapter 21 and found the word, “Chokole.” For the next ten minutes, Kian was totally absorbed in what she read.

According to the book, Chokole, an Apache warrior woman, had been shot and, leaving her earth body, was shown a High Valley where her people could live in peace. There was only one way in and it was well hidden but in her vision, Chokole was shown the secret. To tell her people, she would have to return to her mangled, paralyzed body and wait for Geronimo’s return. Chokole chose to do this willingly because, if she did, Geronimo could take the children to the High Valley. There they would “remember the food their spirit bodies required,” living the old ways in harmony.

A willing sacrifice, Kian thought as she closed the book and let it rest on her lap. She was now feeling a bit drowsy so she let her head fall back to rest on the chair. As she closed her eyes, she wondered if this could be a true story.

Chokole.

Kian could feel her vision narrow, the familiar tunnel form. Images raced in front of her, then she saw her mother’s face. Kian watched.

Her mother’s face grew older and her laugh lines grew deeper, but her blue eyes sparkled with ever more life. “My daughter, you owe your life to Chokole. Geronimo brought many of the Tineh, what you call Apache, to the High Valley. On one trip he found seven white children wandering the desert. Your great-great-grandmother was among those children. Geronimo gave them a choice. They could follow him but never return to their own world, or they could continue their journey. If they chose to go their own way, he would give them what he could spare, but the trail was long and hard. He did not think the children would survive.

“They all chose to follow Geronimo and found a home with the Mescalero in the High Valley. Within a generation, there were no children with blonde hair or blue eyes. And then I was born.

“My own mother died at my birth, but before she did, she had a vision that I would be sent back to the white world on an important mission. When I was six, I was taken to a church, unable to speak a word of English. The pastor and his family took me in and raised me as their own, but I never forgot my roots.

“At eighteen, I returned to the High Valley and was initiated as a warrior and medicine woman.

“It was then that my own visions started. I saw your father in one and knew it was time to return to the white world and the mission I was given.

“When I left the High Valley again, I did not know what my destiny would be, except that I knew I had to return to your world and find your father. I left everything I had and all the people I’d loved.”

Kian’s mother smiled at her and said, “I have not regretted it. Just look at you. I am so proud.”

Kian had so many questions but when she tried to open her mouth to speak, no words came out.

“Think your thoughts, dear. I will hear them.”

Kian mustered all the force she had within her, “Why didn’t you come back? Where are you?”

“Your father and I have lived in the High Valley for many years now. I need to explain and we don’t have much time. It was not the men in your father’s family who were the Keepers of the Ark; it was the women in mine. It was in the High Valley where it had been safe for generations. When we realized Jacob had the wings, your father and I went to get the Ark. But I had to go into the High Valley alone. It is our rule. I left your father at the hotel.

“I got the Ark but on the way back, I had a vision. I saw men holding your father. I took two warriors with me and we were able to free your father, but there were a dozen of them against four of us and they had assault rifles. Your father was badly injured. We were caught in a deep canyon. The two warriors went up onto the canyon ridge to distract the men while your father and I got away. The only escape was the hidden tunnel back to the High Valley.

“Kian, we have a rule. If you are not born in the Valley and you find yourself there, you must make a choice. You can stay or you can die. Your father chose to stay. I stayed with him.”

“Mom, it’s not fair that they wouldn’t let dad leave.”

“Maybe not, but that rule has kept the Ark and my people safe for generations now.”

Kian wanted to ask about her father, how he was. She had so many questions, but her mother cut her off. “There is more to tell you. When I took the package to the post office, I intended to go back to your father. But I saw men watching me and I knew it was not over. They would not rest until they had the Ark.

“I told your father I was coming to you and he would not stay behind.”

“But you said…,”

“If he left he would have to die. Yes, dear, but it was his choice. We are taking the ancient tunnels. Go to the caves, we will be there tomorrow.

“Kian, there are others on the Second Road. We cannot stay any longer or we will be discovered. They do not yet know you have the vision. Be careful when you use it.”

Kian felt an odd sense of dread pass through her.

“Go, Kian. Now!”

Frightened, Kian fled quickly down through her vision back to safety.

 

Still dizzy from rushing back so quickly, Kian forced herself to open her eyes.

“Woman, you scared the hell out of me!” Jimbo was sitting on the edge of the desk, concern in his eyes and fear in his voice. “You were out like a goddam light. Where were you?”

“I…I don’t know. Somewhere.” Kian was having trouble focusing. She was still fuzzy, but more than that, her body felt heavy, like a huge weight was pressing against her limbs. She could move, but it took tremendous effort. She waited for her thoughts to clear and willed herself to focus on Jimbo’s face before continuing, “I was sitting here and then images of my mother came. Where’s Aidan? I need to talk to him.”

“Scotty and I changed places. When I got back out there, that son-of-a-bitch Power was there with two more of his minions. He spent the night bossing everyone around. By four it was clear I wouldn’t be getting any sleep, so I got Scotty to go out for a while. I hope you don’t mind, but I got me some quality time with that old cot of yours up there.”

“Of course not, it’s yours any time you want it. I’m sorry the bed’s not more comfortable.”

“Beats the hell out of the branches I’ve been sleeping in.” Jimbo grinned, a dimple forming on his cheek. “Look, I better get out again. I’ll send Scotty back. You’re okay by yourself for a while, right?”

“Sure,” Kian said, deciding she needed a long shower. What was it Uncle Jacob used to say? Come back slowly or you’ll feel it. Well, she sure felt it now.

 

 

 

 

Notes:

Watch for me on the Mountains is available through Amazon and other outlets. (https://www.amazon.com/Watch-Me-Mountain-Forrest-Carter/dp/0385300824/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500899242&sr=8-1&keywords=watch+for+me+on+the+mountain). I have been told by an Apache elder that it is a true story.

Willing Sacrifice: Chapter 16

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CHAPTER SIXTEEN

 

“To call up Paralda, the King of Air, I need a symbol,” Aidan said. “Something to represent air. Do we have any wind instruments around here?”

Jimbo snickered.

“Jimbo, you are too much,” Kian chuckled as she retrieved a feather from her father’s study. “Will this do?”

Aidan inspected the feather brought to him. Its shaft was wrapped in leather and had tiny beads woven around it. “Where’d you get this?”

“It was my mother’s,” Kian replied.

Aidan placed it on the table. “Have any incense?”

“I think so. Dad used to keep it in his desk,” Kian said as she opened one of the drawers. When she found what she was looking for, she took it to the gas stove in the kitchen. “Let’s see if this still works.” She lit the burner and held the stick of incense over it. When it lit, she placed it on a bowl of small crystals and brought it back to Aidan who placed it next to the feather.

“How about a candle in something blue, glass preferably, maybe a bowl or jar? Look, if you don’t have it…,” Aidan called after Kian as she headed for the pantry. His surprised look delighted Kian when she returned with a small votive candle in a small blue bowl.

“I don’t suppose you’d have a wand around here, would you?” Aidan asked.

“No, there was one, Mr. FBI, but my father took that when he left.”

“Okay, then,” Aidan replied, exchanging glances with Jimbo. “I think we can begin.” He motioned Jimbo and Kian to join him around the table, now set up as a makeshift altar.

“The first step,” Aidan said, “is to protect and define our space. There are many rituals to do this, but I like one called the ‘Ritual of the Rose Cross’.”

He faced southeast, the corner of the room next to the fireplace. With his outstretched arm, index and middle fingers pointing, he drew a cross in the air.

“Now visualize a blood red rose in the center of the cross,” he told them.

Almost instantly and in her mind’s eye, Kian saw a perfectly formed velvety soft rose with drops of dew clinging to its petals.

Maintaining an outstretched arm and pointed fingers, Aidan spun a circle around the rose they visualized, pointed to the center of the circle and he intoned, “Yeheshua.”

He then circled to the southwest corner and repeated the procedure. From there he repeated the procedure at the two other corners of the room before facing the southeast once more. He raised his arm up toward the ceiling, turned, and pointed up just above the altar. Again Aidan drew the Rose Cross, intoned the name, and brought his arm down to the northwest corner. From there he swung his arm further down, pointing to the center of the floor under the altar and repeated the procedure one more time. Having formed six rose crosses, one in each of the six directions, he connected them all, circling his arm to do so.

“The ritual may now proceed,” he announced.

Aidan then took a deep breath and intoned a odd sound, one that combined the sound of rushing air with some syllable strange to Kian’s ear. She tried to remember the sound but just as quickly as it entered her ear, it vanished.

“Paralda, King of the Sylphs, attend us,” Aidan commanded. “We have need of you this day.”

Aidan raised both his hands in the air. “You who rule over the air, over the winds, over every breath we take, you who give power to our voices, attend us now. May peace be between us.” Aidan bowed low.

A tall slender being materialized before them. It reminded Kian of a hologram. She noticed that even Aidan looked amazed.

Elfin like, with gossamer clothing shimmering as if blown by a soft breeze, the entity had pointed features that were delicate. A ring of silver circled long golden white hair flowing with unfelt breezes.

“Welcome, Paralda,” Aidan said.

You have summoned me?

Kian heard the voice in her head as much as in her ears.

“We did,” Aidan said, his voice trembling. “We ask to know about the Ark. We have seen that the pipes summon the Elementals, strong forces indeed. We wish to know more.”

Paralda seemed to consult the Unseen before speaking.

You are wise to view our denizens with respect. I will tell you about the pipes, but first there is a history that must be told.

In the days of old, in a time no longer remembered, there was a knowledge and understanding of nature and of her denizens that stood above anything you could even imagine today. For then it was the Elementals, those amorphous beings which form the four major elements–earth, air, fire and water–that powered civilization, much like fossil fuels and nuclear power do today.

These Elementals were directed by us, the Kings, for without us, the Elementals had no bounds. You see, my dear, fire only knows to burn, not where or when. It was our job, the job of the Kings, to direct them in their tasks, to keep them within bounds so they might be of service of humankind.

This was the way it was intended, Elementals summoned by humans under our guidance as the Elementals–and humanity–spiraled upward on the intended evolutionary course.

But your species was given a unique gift. Free Will. You alone among the Creator’s life forms can choose your destiny and act upon that choice.

And that is how the Creator’s plan went wrong.

There were those among you who chose to break the plan and so they summoned the Elementals without our guidance for they knew we would never allow the greed and destruction they planned.  

No longer controlled by the Kings, the Elementals were misused to selfish and evil ends. They were bought and sold among the Evil Magicians of your race, becoming little more than slaves to those who wanted only to possess them for the power and wealth they could bring.

And so the wars began. But not wars as you know them. There were no guns or bombs, just bands of demonic Elementals commanded by one human to destroy another.

And as these wars escalated, it was not just kingdoms that were destroyed, but the earth itself. Whole chunks of land were made to fall into the sea. Wind storms of tremendous proportion devastated whole cities, and floods ravaged continents.

Not satisfied, yet more clever ways of destruction followed as Fire Elementals, the most powerful of all, were forced to rain their destruction from the skies. Meteors and asteroids crashed down. The very earth itself caught fire and burned.

Finally, out of balance and sickened by man’s wanton use of nature’s forces, the Earth shifted her axis. The evil ones perished as life was wiped clean off the earth, or nearly so.

There were families who foresaw the destruction of the earth, the catastrophes that would rain upon humankind. They gathered the old Knowledge and placed it in Arks which they carried across the seas to places of safety far from the warring lords.

These were the first Keepers, and each went with three families who would help them. Those families were the Guardians. From that day, the Arks have been hidden. Guarded. Protected.

Kian Rudha Buchanan, Keeper of the Sacred Lineage, listen carefully to me. In order for there to be peace and tranquility on earth, YOU MUST ONLY CALL FORTH ELEMENTALS UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF THE KINGS.

Yours is a grave responsibility. Sacred Keeper, do you understand this?

Kian, ashen faced and solemn, replied, “Yes. Yes I do.”

Then I will show you how the pipes are used.

Aidan Duncan Scott, raise the pipe to your lips and sound it firmly.

The sound that came out was neither pleasant nor unpleasant. It echoed through the room and then seemed to flow out into the larger world.

Suddenly thousands of tiny sparks descended down the chimney, through the cracks of the windows, even through the walls as if they could move through the spaces within the atom itself.

With them came winds, tremendous circling currents that threatened to knock lamps and furnishings over. Tiny pinpoints of light darted about, seeming to pinch as they flew by. They were annoying and delightful at the same time.

Paralda held one hand in the air. Kian could just discern a tinkling noise, like breaking glass. The Sylphs, the Elementals of Air, spiraled in beautiful, wondrous patterns before her eyes. They seemed to flow in and out of Kian’s lungs, tickling a bit, but opening her mind as well.

Paralda looked lovingly over his gathering Sylphs, raised his willowy arms once again, and waved them into two groups.

He pointed to the first group.

These may run your windmills, generate power for you, and run your machines. They are willing to be of service, to learn and grow in the company of humans.

Paralda pointed to the second group.

These Sylphs are ready for more specialized work. They are best employed in a school on the higher mental plane, to open the minds of students and help them find the knowledge they seek.

He reached into the second group and pulled out two tiny sparks which he set in front of Kian.

And these two are ready for initiation, for that is how it was always intended to be. Under your guidance, they will seek out knowledge for you, seek out resources, open your mind, guide you to what you need. In turn, you must teach them right from wrong, you must help them evolve, and then you may initiate them as they become ready for their next evolutionary step. May I put them in your service?

Kian was tempted, oh so tempted. But this was not a decision she could make hastily. “May I think about it?”

Yes. You are wise and you have listened well to my words.

What Kian did next surprised her. She raised her right hand and placed it over the two sparkling Sylphs Paralda had chosen for her. “I bless you to the amount you are able to receive.”

She then looked at the two groups of Sylphs that Paralda had separated for her. “And I bless you to the amount you are able to receive.”

To Paralda, Kian bowed and humbly said, “We thank you for your service.”

Paralda gestured to his Sylphs who obeyed, formed one long line, and spiraled up the chimney.

Paralda then turned to Aidan, who had summoned him. With your leave, I will depart.

Aidan bowed. “We bless you. Peace be between us.”

And then Paralda, too, was gone, the room suddenly empty and quiet.

 

 

 

Notes:

The ceremonial information is accurate according to occult traditions. However, the actions of Paralda and the Sylphs has been made more solid than would normally happen.

Willing Sacrifice: Chapter 15 continued

 

Kian reached out and picked up the box. She and the two men huddled under the cone of light cast by the brass chandelier above. Kian pushed the hook back and opened the protecting ebony box. She reached in, removed the Ark, and then set it on the scarred oak table. Aidan handed her the box with the wings. She peered inside. The light sparkled on the shiny metal. Kian reached in and gently removed the gold wings. She slipped them into the slot on the back of the gold Isis. Then she reached in and took out the silver wings, slipping them into place as well. Nothing happened.

“Try the silver first, then the gold,” Aidan suggested. So Kian carefully removed both pairs from the figures and slid the silver wings into place before the gold. Still nothing.

“I’m doing both together,” Kian announced as she again removed the wings from their slots and slid both in at the same time. There was a soft click. When Kian gently lifted the lid, it separated from the rest of the box. She placed the lid on the table.

All three leaned over and peered in.

“What the fuck is this?”

“Can’t tell,” Aidan replied. “It looks like metal. See if it comes out.”

Kian placed her right hand over the top and slowly up-ended the box. She felt the contents fall into her palm as she slowly lifted the Ark. Just when Kian decided she could turn the Ark over again, four small metal tubes rolled out–one gold, one silver, one copper, and one that gleamed both silver and blue. With her free hand, Kian gathered the tubes together and inspected the stack of metal sheets resting on her right palm. She lifted the first one. It was paper thin. “Looks like aluminum foil,” Kian noted as she turned it over.

“It’s engraved.” Jimbo pointed to squiggly lines that marked the underside. “They are like a stack of cards.”

“Or leaves in a book,” Aidan said.

Kian put the pile on the table and gently bent the leaf she was holding. When she let it go, the leaf sprang back, a flat rectangle once again.

“Not aluminum foil, more like Mylar,” Aidan observed.

“Stiffer,” Kian offered. “This couldn’t stay bent, no matter what I did.” She placed the first leaf on the table and took the second one. It, too, had odd squiggly lines inscribed on it, as did the third and the fourth.

“Beats me,” Aidan said.

Kian gathered the leaves back into a stack and picked up the odd blue pipe. One end was flattened and had a slit like a whistle. “You think this thing makes a sound?”

“Your guess is as good as mine. May I?” Aidan reached over and tapped the strange pipe with his fingernail. There was a faint hollow ring. A strong breeze blew through the room.

“Tap the silver one,” Kian suggested and Aidan did. This time the ring was a bit deeper, almost a gurgle. Kian pushed back as drops of water plopped onto the table. “Where’d these come from?”

Jimbo tapped the copper one. The faint ring was even deeper in tone, almost rumbling. For just a moment, the floor seemed to shake. “What-the-fuck?”

“I’m trying the gold pipe,” Kian declared as she reached over.

“Don’t,” Aidan and Jimbo said in unison as they grabbed her hand.

“Why not? What’s wrong?”

“You’ll be playing with fire, that’s why not.”

Kian looked at the pipes. First a breeze, then drops of water, and then the earth shook. Air, water, and earth. This last pipe had to be fire. Kian pulled her hand back. “If just tapping the pipes works like this, what do you think blowing on them would do?”

“Too goddamned much.” Jimbo pushed back in his chair. “Have you ever tried to control the Elementals? You might as well put out a forest fire with a chickadee feather.”

“Heaven forbid,” replied Aidan grinning at Kian. “Air feeds fire. You need earth to tame it. Try a rock, maybe,” Aidan chuckled as he pictured a hapless caveman throwing rocks at a raging forest fire.

Playfully, Kian punched him in the arm. “Are you making fun of me? Look, I remember about these Elementals. Well, sort of, anyway. Dad told me about them. Their Kings are what control them, not rocks or feathers. We need to call up the Kings.”

“Sounds reasonable,” Jimbo replied. “Are you doing it or am I? Or is that knucklehead doing it?” Jimbo asked her as he pointed to Aidan. “I vote for knucklehead. He’s the one with the PhD in weird.”

“PhD in weird,” Kian repeated. “What’s that mean?”

“He’s a Ceremonial Magician,” Jimbo informed her.

“I’ll explain later,” Aidan said. “Right now we need to decide if we call in just one of the Kings or all four?”

“I’ll go for just one,” Jimbo said. “They intimidate the hell out of me,” he confessed.

“One it is, but which one?”

“Air,” replied Kian. “That’s the smart one. He’s the one who communicates, who teaches.”

“Where’d you learn that?” Jimbo wanted to know.

“My father.”

“I told you she comes from a long line of magical folk,” Aidan commented.

“Christ I never doubted that,” was Jimbo’s reply.

Kian looked first at Jimbo, then at Aidan. “Yes, well that long line of magical folks might just stop here if we don’t figure this out.”

 

 

 

 

Notes:

The information Aidan gives on the elementals and their Kings is accurate according to occult tradition.

 

 

 

 

Paralda Photo Attribution: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2fdc59ed32839f416dbb1a24de828942a3dc62d1cc0b81f275005a10442d5698.jpg

Willing Sacrifice: Chapter 15

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CHAPTER FIFTEEN

 

For the fourth time since they had finished dinner, Kian removed the chair wedged under the doorknob and walked out onto the porch. The last rays of the summer sun had long ago fallen below the horizon and now even the twilight had passed. Aidan watched as she switched on the porch light and looked toward Jimbo’s mess kit, tucked behind a nearby bush. She switched off the light and went back into the house. “Still there,” she said. “I’m worried. What if something happened to him?”

“He’s okay,” Aidan said with more confidence than he felt. If there were just three or four people to watch, Jimbo was up to the task. But now there was a fifth and Aidan suspected more were coming, many more if Power had told him the truth. Unless all those perps stuck together, they would be hard to track. Still, he told himself, he would know if Jimbo was in trouble. He always did.

Aidan was just settling back to the task of sorting Red’s papers when he felt his spine creep. “Kian, turn off those lights, someone’s coming.”

Aidan stared at the basement door for a minute. He drew his Sig Sauer with one hand and switched off the living room lamp with the other. The room was pitch black.

The basement door rattled. Someone was trying to get in. Aidan felt Kian jump. He motioned her back and away from the door.

The room was quiet and then the door rattled again, this time more forcefully. “Open this fuckin’ door will ya, Scotty? I’m hungry as hell and this cellar smells like your armpit.”

Aidan laughed, removed the chair, and let his buddy in. “The front door isn’t good enough for ya?”

“Nope, the cellar was closer.” Jimbo stepped in holding his mess kit. “Son-of-a-bitch! Doesn’t this place have electric lights?”

Kian switched on a lamp as Jimbo continued, “You know you really want to secure that stupid ass door down there. I coulda’ pried it open with a toothpick.” Jimbo strolled to the dining table, sat down, and opened his mess. “Have any salt in this place? Watching seven perps is stink-o work.”

“Seven,” both Kian and Aidan moaned.

“Yes, seven and more on the way from what they’re sayin’. Scotty-boy, we gotta talk.”

Kian turned on the old brass chandelier above the oak table. “Let me heat your dinner for you.”

“And spoil this great piece of meat. Hell no. But thanks for the offer.” He winked at her.

While Jimbo ate, Aidan told him about their day, about Power, and their suspicion he was ring leading this fiasco. “You know I never trusted that son-of-a-bitch,” was all Jimbo had to say.

When they told him about finding the wings, then losing them again, Jimbo grinned. He reached into a side pockets in his cargo pants and pulled out a box wrapped in a tattered red bandana. “This what you talkin’ about?”

Kian bolted upright. “How’d you get that?”

“Elementary, my dear lady. That Mary woman was waving it around and bragging she took it from you, so I figured it was important, and I’d better relieve her of it.” A wicked grin crossed over Jimbo’s face. “She buried it inside one of the chambers. You should see what I left in its place.”

“You didn’t,” Aidan said, a wide grin spreading across his face.

“I did.”

While the banter between the two men continued, Kian unwrapped the crumpled bandana, took the box, and opened it. Her eyes lit up, catching the sparkle of the chandelier above her. Two sets of wings, one gold and one silver. Kian reached out to gently touch Aidan’s hand as she showed him. He leaned in closer to her.

Jimbo scowled. Aidan could all but hear his buddy’s thoughts.

After Aidan could pull away, Kian stood and gave Jimbo a big kiss on the cheek. He blushed.

“I’m going to get the Ark.” Kian took the stairs two at a time.

After she disappeared, Jimbo leaned back in his chair. “What are you doing, Scotty? What’s been going on? And I don’t mean with the assignment.”

“Nothing. But man, I won’t lie to you, she makes my head swim. Sometimes I can barely think when I’m around her, she…”

“Goddamit, that’s what I am afraid of, buddy. Don’t be doing anything stupid. Not until this is over anyway.”

“Jimbo, you don’t need to tell me. Strict separation, I swear.”

“Rule number five. Distractions get you killed. I mean, it’s not like you to let anybody sneak up on you like that.” Jimbo cut off another piece of steak. “Distractions cost us both.”

“Jimbo, I wasn’t distracted. Not then, anyway.”

Jimbo gave him a loaded look, but Aidan ignored it.

“First, I didn’t take into account more than two perps. Second, I should have listened to Kian’s instincts. She’s like you. Her gut isn’t wrong. Only she discounted it and I let it slip.”

“Rule number four, listen to your gut,” Jimbo reminded him as he shoveled potato into his mouth.

“It’s the next thing that gets me. You know I’ve always felt it when someone was coming up on me.”

“Yeah, that creep up your spine thing.”

“Yes, well, this time it was like the perp wasn’t there. Man, I didn’t even feel a presence when that perp took the box. It was like the thief was a shell with no soul, no personality. Ghosts are more solid than that one was.”

“Those miscreants out there, they are into some pretty weird shit, I’ll tell you that. And that woman, Mary. Hell, she’s the spookiest of all.”

“Who’s spooky?” Kian asked as she bounded back down the stairs.

Jimbo jumped up and held her chair for her as he gave Aidan a warning look.

Kian looked from one to the other. “What’s up with you two?”

 

 

“Nothing.” Jimbo shrugged innocently before he sat back down and sliced himself yet another piece of potato smothered in sour cream. “We were just wondering how that person got that box from Scotty today. He’s one hell of a talent at knowing when someone is sneaking up on him.” Jimbo shoved the potato in his mouth and began to chew.

“But I felt something,” Kian interjected. “How come I felt something if Aidan didn’t?”

“You can sense danger,” Aidan said. “I sense people. There is a difference.”

“So nobody can sneak up on you, huh?” Kian grinned.

“Except Jimbo, he does it all the time,” Aidan replied.

“Only when I want to.”

“So, how do you do it, Jimbo? How do you sneak up on him? Maybe that will tell us how the perp did it.”

Jimbo put his fork down, apparently pondering her question. “I worked with an Apache sorcerer once. A medicine man. He taught me to kinda find that part of me that’s my core. It is deep inside. Then I let the edges melt away, if that makes any sense. So I become part of whatever is around. The land, a mountain, the air, even a stream works, although flowing water is tricky. It’s like I become one with the consciousness around me. That’s the best I can explain it.”

Kian, her curiosity peaking, asked, “How do you learn to do that?”

“Like most things, by just doing it. Experiencing it. It isn’t something I can teach you, you just gotta do it.”

Kian understood that. It was like traveling on what Uncle Jacob called the Second Road before she saw her ‘stories.’ She couldn’t explain it to someone. You just had to go out and do it.

“I think it came down from Her-ron-imo.” Jimbo trilled the “r.”

“Her-ron-imo? Who’s that?”

“You know him as Geronimo,” Aidan said. “That’s how he and his warriors were able to appear out of nowhere and go back to nowhere.”

“So are you saying that they became invisible?”

“Not really,” Jimbo replied. “I bet a camera would have picked them up. But they hid their essence, their core. So nobody sensed them; so nobody took notice of them. It’s hard to explain, Kian.” Jimbo leaned back in his chair. “Enough with the jabbering. When are we going to open this box?”

 

Photo attribution: By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) (ARC Identifier: 530880) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons