Glen sat up and straightened the covers of his bed before he looked around. He rather hoped he put everyone to sleep. No such luck. Boston had her pillow scrunched up beneath her chin and sat cross-legged on the floor, rapt at attention. Alice had found a little roll-around tray table and she had her steno pad open and was taking notes. It figured. It was much easier to erase certain digital, video and audio information than it was to erase pen on paper. Hard copy took some real magic to fix.
It was not that Glen, that is, the Traveler had anything to hide, but even at this late date, there were some things better not known and for a variety of reasons. Glen frowned and looked at the rest of the room. Bobbi was asleep on the spare bed on the men’s side of the partition. Glen figured this would happen since the poor woman had to be exhausted from the stress if nothing else. Lockhart was in the next bed, also sleeping. Glen turned his head. If Fyodor was not asleep, it was the next best thing.
“Okay.” Alice got his attention. “All caught up. Go on with the story.”
“That was the whole story,” Glen said. “Besides, aren’t you supposed to be working on that treaty? Should you really be wasting your time on me?”
“Absolutely.” Boston spoke for both of them; but this time Alice frowned.
“There are people working. I have given instructions on several possible things to look for. I’m supposed to be sleeping, now, go on.”
“Danna just vanished with a whole troop of Little Ones,” Boston prompted.
“Okay,” Alice said again. “Maybe a few questions first, like who is Danna and why did the Little Ones, or whatever you call them, refer to her as goddess?” Alice looked down at her notes. “And, I am sorry but I am having a hard time believing all this stuff about fairies and goblins and elves and stuff.”
“Yet you have no trouble believing that there is a Vordan battle fleet on the dark side of the moon preparing to invade the Earth?”
“Only because I have seen some evidence of that. Anyway, I saw Star Wars, but Lord of the Rings?”
“You know, Peter Barrie said whenever someone stopped believing in fairies, somewhere in the world a fairy drops down dead.”
“Yeah.” Boston supported that idea. “So go on with the story.”
“Actually, I told Barrie that was not true, but he just said, “Dramatic License.” Glen shrugged.
“Stop it. Would you just stop it. I have seen the Princess with my own eyes, I’ll grant you, but I haven’t seen any geisha or cowboys or Dannas.” Alice took a deep breath before she spoke again. “Alright, start with these Little Ones. What are they, really?”
“They are sprites, spiritual beings, and the littlest spirits in the earth; though there are plenty of them. They are what people all over the world have called nature spirits. They green the grass, move the clouds, bring the rain and cause the waves that roll across the sea. They cull the herds, tend the fields and make the roses bloom. They work in the air, the waters and the fire under the earth where they keep the blood of the earth boiling and turning because the blood is the life; but people are mostly familiar with the sprites of the earth. Those are the elves, fairies, goblins, dwarfs, pixies, brownies, hobgoblins, imps, and, well, I could go on.”
Alice shook her head. “Science understands too much of what you describe for me to believe what you say. These things are strictly explained by natural forces, nothing more.”
“Natural forces, yes. But these are the natural forces that make it all happen. When there is some anomaly that science cannot explain, it is because one of the little Ones has screwed up.” Glen smiled, but remained serious. “In the old days I used to get yelled at for that and often told to fix it. I got yelled at a lot, sometimes, but anyway, you are just speaking like a modern know-it-all, no offence intended. A hundred years ago and throughout all of the rest of history, people would have had no trouble understanding what I am talking about.” He paused for a second to think and Alice politely kept quiet.
“Let’s put it this way. These days, the universe is seen as a big, dead empty. It is no more than dead matter and mindless energy that acts and reacts according to certain so-called natural laws, like the laws of gravity or motion or E=MC2. But the truth is this: that the whole universe is teeming with life, only we can’t perceive it all in our lowly estate. Think of it like layers in a cake. We, and again I mean no offense, but we are like the bottom layer of the cake. All we can see is cake, and so we assume that everything is just cake. What we can’t normally see is the chocolate frosting, that holds it all together the other layers of cake, maybe a raspberry filling and the fancy decorations on top, not to mention the glass of milk to go with it.”
Boston jumped up. “I got quarters. I’ll be right back. Don’t start until I get back,” she said, but Glen yelled after her.
“Chocolate chip cookies and a Doctor Pepper!”
“Wait a minute.” Alice spoke but she was not talking to Boston. “I see some convoluted sense in what you are saying, but it still sounds like nonsense. Next thing you will be telling me is there is a Mother Earth or like I should believe in Santa Clause.”
“No comment on Santa,” Glen said. “But I have known several Mother Earths. Gaia was nice; strange but nice. She liked her Apollo which is probably why she gave him Delphi when she went over to the other side.”
“The other side?”
Glen shook off that question and answered plainly. “When she died. Of course, she did not really die the way you and I understand it. She just gave up that little bit of flesh and blood she used to wear, that’s all. As I said, they are all spiritual beings. Once upon a time there were the gods, and there were Greater Spirits and Lesser Spirits and finally Little Spirits, some of whom I happen to be responsible for. There are plenty of Little Spirits that I am not responsible for and primarily because for good or ill they have some relationship with human beings. I have only had a passing glance with the human race because usually I am a human being myself, and because of that, it would not do for me to have some kind of power over people or whatever.”
“Like the djin?”
“Generally, yes. That djin was somewhere between lesser and little. It is not a hard and fast line, you know.”
“So now you are saying there really are gods like Jupiter, Mars and Venus and stuff?”
“Were. They all, mostly, went over to the other side some two thousand years ago, or so. That was when the human race was deemed civilized enough, or maybe mature enough to not need the prodding, the guidance, the testing in the fire, the inspiration of the muses, you know. Curiously, I was always counted among them as the Kairos, the name they chose for me. God of History, they said, but I really just watched history happen and tried to deal with things that might push it off track, like alien invasions.”
“Yes. It is funny, you know. I have no idea what might happen tomorrow or for maybe the next hundred years. I always said that was because time was in flux. It was not exactly written yet, and might change if I was not careful. Yet I can look back on this time period in history and certain things are clear.”
“I remember future lives, too.”
“Oh yes, I forgot.”
“Anyway, I can look back and see some things clearly.”
“They are not in the record books. They should not be here.”
NOTE: To read this story from the beginning or to read any of the stories of the Traveler please click the tab “Traveler Tales” above. You can read any of the stories on the right independently, or just the Vordan story on the left, or the whole work in order as written. Your choice. Enjoy. –Michael.