Avalon 3.0: part 2 of 4, Love by the Fire

The travelers and the imps arrived together at the place of the Kairos. The sun was ready to set which gave the travelers hope that they might get a break from the oppressive heat. They found the Kairos, Junior, sitting cross legged by the fire staring at the sand and grass in front of him, or maybe meditating. He had something like a backpack behind him, but no sign of a tent. He also made no indication that he was aware of their presence.

“Make camp,” Lockhart suggested, and everyone turned to tend to the horses first. Magpie and her sons pulled up a seat behind Junior and acted like they were waiting for supper to be ready. Decker came up to Lockhart with a question.campfire

“Should we expect to use the fire that is made or make our own?” Lockhart did not get to answer because Lincoln wandered to the other side of Junior’s fire, before it got dark, to get a look at the land they expected to cross in the morning, and Junior reacted.

“No, no. Lincoln, you don’t want to stand there,” he shouted.

The ground began to shake, but only under Lincoln’s feet. He ran and made it to safety before a perfectly round hole opened up and revealed steps winding their way down into the pit.

“What is it?” Katie asked, having noticed the imps scooted further back from that place and always kept Junior between them and the hole. Junior answered without turning around.

“That is the entrance to the underworld, the land of the dead, where Erishkegal rules and Namtar is her henchman who does all her dirty work.”

“Wow!” Lincoln sounded surprised and impressed, but mostly like he realized what a close call he had.

Junior turned and scooted around without getting up. “Are we all here?” He counted heads as they approached. The imps backed up further to make way for the travelers. “This was probably the worst possible time for you to come.”

“Why?” Alexis asked. “What are you doing here?”

“Alexis,” Roland interjected. “I’m surprised you have forgotten. Father told me the story and I had nightmares for years after.”

Junior squinted at the elf, like maybe Roland did not need to say that much. All the same he opened up. “My mother’s father.” Junior paused to think it through and started again. “My grandfather had a mistress who had my mother. The mistress is gone now, I mean dead, not recently, and by cause unknown, or at least nothing proved. But that was why my mother grew up in Egypt, where she could be safe until she matured sufficiently to handle herself.”

“Your mother?” Boston was the one who asked, but Junior waved off the question.

“When my mother came back, my grandfather’s wife tricked her, actually challenged her to take a trip down into the land of the dead.” Junior paused and shook his head. “She and Erishkegal must have planned this whole thing ages ago.”

“But who is your mother?” Boston wanted to know.

“Ishtar.”

Katie bit her tongue. She did not want to say, “The goddess?” again.

“So your mother is dead?” Alexis asked.

“No. That’s the thing. She knew enough to not eat the food of the dead, but she is a prisoner and can’t come back to the world. The gods have insisted that I figure out some way to set her free, and that is what I want to do, so I’m figuring.”

Now Katie could ask her question. “Why do the gods want her free so badly?”

“Because Ishtar is the goddess of love, love and war, but love is the operative part. As long as she is a prisoner in the underground, there is no love in the world, even among the gods.”

The travelers took a moment to look at each other and Lockhart responded. “We can all vouch for the lack of love since we came into this time zone.”

“But it isn’t so bad right now,” Katie added with a look at Lockhart.

“I am my mother’s son,” Junior said. “But it isn’t so strong in me, and the gods know they won’t have me around but maybe sixty years or so.”

Decker suddenly grasped something. “I bet the ghosts down there are having a real good time.” He grinned.underground party

Lincoln asked a different question. He was suspicious. “Who was your grandfather’s mistress—your real grandmother.”

“Innan,” Junior said. “And I don’t want to talk about it. I wasn’t here when she went over to the other side.”

Lincoln nodded. They met Innan, and liked her, the one the Kairos called the goddess of desire. With Innan gone and her daughter trapped in the land of the dead there truly was no love in the world. Junior sighed in memory of his grandmother, and then changed the subject.

“Decker and Harper,” he called them forward, and they came, but with one short, curious glance at each other. “Captain Decker. I have these for you.” Junior held out two gold leafs. “It was supposed to be Major Decker when you started this assignment, but Colonel Weber, the dipstick withheld the promotion. I’ve held on to these for about ten years. Glad to finally get rid of them.”

“Sir.” Decker said as Junior removed the Captain’s bars and pinned on the leafs.

“Lieutenant Harper,” Junior continued. “Your promotion has been long overdue.” He took her single bar and had Decker pin on her Captain’s bars. He let her keep the lieutenant’s insignia in her hand and stepped back to offer a salute. “Belated congratulations to both of you. I understand Bobbi and my Alice self are leaning on the Pentagon to offer another upgrade, assuming you make it back to the twenty-first century in one piece.”

“Thank you sir,” Katie said and turned first of all to Lockhart who offered a sloppy salute of his own.

“Captain Harper,” Lockhart said and smiled, and Katie returned his smile and spoke sweet words with her eyes.

“Excuse me.” Junior whistled and yelled. “Magpie, Snot and Puss.” The three imps appeared out of thin air, standing in the fire with their feet on the hot coals. They jumped for their life, but away from the hole in the earth. Junior explained. “They were getting ready to go for a horse.”

“What?” Several of the travelers reacted, and it was strong enough to inspire Magpie to answer.

“But we been all day and haven’t had nothing to eat.” That was not a lie, but only the truth in the way little spirits tell the truth. They didn’t have nothing all day. They actually had an overly large breakfast before they snuck off.

donkey down“Here,” Junior said, and a donkey, one with a broken leg appeared. Magpie and the boys started to drool to look at it, and Magpie made a comment.

“Donkey bacon is even better.”

“Yes, but just remember, you go near the horses and you will get a lot worse than singed toes.

“Yes Lord, yes,” they all said as they dragged the beast off to slaughter.

“Sacrifice right over the pit of Hell,” Lockhart quipped.

Katie shook her head and Junior offered a correction. “Hellas’ place is up where the Black Sea and the Aegean meet, but I get your point. Erishkegal thinks all sacrifices belong to her. But I don’t believe that is the way to get to her. I’m thinking about what Decker said. Sometimes even ghosts gotta party.

************

Be sure to check back tomorrow for part 3 of 4,  Gollum

Ghosts part 15 M/F Story

Series:  Strange Tales   Story:  Ghosts   by M Kizzia   part 15

            As the mist faded, Mya felt utterly lost and alone.  The fact that she found herself in a graveyard did not help one bit.  When she looked down, though, she saw it was the grave of her grandfather.  There was a space beside him for her grandmother when she died, but Mya knew Grandma was still alive because so far the space was untouched.  So why am I here?  She asked herself.  She could not see anyone around.  It was a slow walk in those heels to get to the top of the little hill, but she made it without mishap and there she looked all around and saw that she was not far from a canopy tent.  There were chairs set up there, and a little grave with the coffin waiting to be lowered to its final resting place.  Mya knew whose grave it was before she saw the stone that would be set up.  It was her own, and she tried to cry.  She felt she should cry for herself, but she could not cry.  She was much too happy about Nathan.

            Nathan!  That thought ran through her head like a shot.  She had to get back to him, but just then cars began to pull up on the narrow, one-way gravel drive.  People were getting out and coming to the graveside.  Mya recognized a couple of her childhood friends, her best friends, her only friends.  As a child with a crippled foot, she did not have many friends, and that almost did bring a tear to her eye.

            Then she saw her mother and she ran to her, almost stumbling once because of the heels.  That caused her to think before acting, and in the end she decided to accompany her mother from a little distance and again she nearly cried because she wanted a hug so badly. 

            She stood a step back and watched the others come.  Her relatives sat in the chairs.  The others stood, making nearly a full circle around her little grave.  Then the priest came and he talked about the love of God.  She knew that was true, absolutely, and she lifted up her heart to the almighty in thanksgiving for Nathan, and she realized then what Nathan had already figured out in the bathroom; that this whole thing was a set-up from the beginning.  That God knew all along that she and Nathan belonged together, but they never would have met if she had not missed the school bus, and they never would have even been close unless they died.

            “Thank you.”  She cried out to God.  “Thank you.”  And she felt then and there that she truly loved God even as he loved her and she felt warm and unafraid and never alone.  Still, she understood that for those gathered around the grave, these were hard words to hear.  If only she could tell them.  If only she could assure them of God’s love; but then she knew that they would learn some day, even as she had, and she prayed for every one of them that was sitting and standing there.

            She heard the priest talk about perpetual light, and she thought of the angel who glowed so brightly she could hardly look upon him, and again she felt the love of God flow through her, and she reciprocated and loved God all the more, and then all at once she understood something she had not quite understood before.

            The priest gave the benediction and Mya drew near to her mother, and she spoke, even knowing that her mother could not hear her.  “Mother.”  She said.  “I know what love is.  Mother.  Do you understand?  You did a wonderful job.  You have nothing to be sad about.  I know what love is, Mother.  God is love.  I am all grown up now, Mother, and God has given me the most wonderful man in the whole world to love.  And I do love him, Mother, with all of my heart, but first I loved you, only I did not understand what that was.”  Mya paused and reached out toward her mother’s face, but she did not touch.  All the same she saw her mother turn briefly to look in her direction.  “First with you, and now with Nathan, I know what love is, Mother.  God is love.”  And Mya watched while Sam, Mother’s friend, came up and placed his hand gently on her mother’s shoulder.

            “Sam.”  Mother reached up and patted that hand and then left her hand there as if not wanting him to go away.  “She would have made a beautiful woman.”  Mother said.  “I can almost see her all grown up and all filled out.”  Mother tilted her head to the side a little the way Mya did once and though she was not looking at Mya she spoke this way:  “I see her in a purple sundress and lavender heels to match, and she is lovely.  No, she is beautiful.”

            “I am so sorry.”  Sam said as Mya leaned forward and kissed her mother on the cheek.  Mother paused and put her hand to her cheek and then began to weep as Sam helped her back to her feet.  Mya watched while Sam escorted her to the waiting limo, and Mya finally cried for her mother.  She knew her mother was only twenty-seven and Sam was not much older.  She hoped and prayed that they would be good for each other and she hoped and prayed that her mother would never forget about love.

            “You did I good job, Mother.”  Mya repeated herself.  “I know what love is.”  Then the cars pulled off and Mya thought to run.  She pulled her heels off to run faster because she knew where Nathan would be and she felt if she did not see him soon, she would burst for the love of him.

Ghosts part 14 M/F Story

Series:  Strange Tales   Story:  Ghosts   by M Kizzia   part 14 

            When the morning came, Nathan was the first to wake.  He did not think anything special and did not immediately remember the past couple of days, being in his own bed and in his own place.  He did wonder, though, who this immensely comfortable female creature was that was snuggled so tight against him.  He heard her let out a little sigh or sound of utter contentment and it prompted him to look down.  She had the most radiant, raven hair that came back easily to his hand and that revealed a face that was absolutely stunning with  high, thin brows and rosy cheeks, long dark lashes which somehow he knew covered big, beautiful brown eyes.  She had a little nose and sweet little ears and wonderfully luscious thick lips, but not too thick, he thought.  Then he looked further and let his hand run down her back.  She was young and masterfully made, slim in all the right places and well toned, and all her curves were perfect in every way, and she had the most utterly gorgeous bumps.  He sat up like a rocket.  Mya opened her eyes slowly at first.  Nathan hopped out of bed and grabbed the clothes he had set on the back of the chair.

            “So is it that bad?”  He heard Mya ask, but he had already shut himself in the bathroom and he was trying to get his racing heart to calm down.  He could not help looking in the mirror.  He looked to his own eyes to be about twenty-four, or anyway, not over twenty-five.  He looked at the back of his hand and there were no spots or wrinkles, and not even a hint of such things.  The skin was firm, but with the elasticity of youth.  And he had abs, and a perfect hairless chest, and he could not help lifting his arm and making a muscle; but then all that time he was wondering if Mya would like it.  He could not stop thinking about her.  She was perfect.  She was almost too perfect. 

            There was a knock on the door.  “So was it that bad?”  Mya asked through the doorway.

            “No.”  He shouted back.  “It was that good.”  It was too good.  It frightened him, and what he was feeling frightened him even more.  He was not going to be able to hold out very long.  If he thought Mya was beautiful, absolutely attractive and sexy at eighteen, that could hardly describe what he thought now that she was twenty-two.  Anyway, she was certainly over twenty-one.  “I’ll be right out, and it was perfect, only I think we need to get dressed.”  Nathan put his ear to the door for fear that he might hear her start crying again.  He breathed because of the silence, and then he dressed in his slacks and polo shirt, not even realizing that the suit was gone.  Then he had a thought and promptly accused God.  “You knew this from the beginning.  You set this up.  How could you?”  He did not expect an answer, but he felt now that him being eighty-four and her being seven should no longer be an obstacle.  In fact, it took a second for him to remember how old he had been and how old she had been.

            There was another knock.  “Are you coming out?”  Mya was getting impatient.

            “Hold on.”  He said.  He looked in the mirror again.  He looked twenty-four and felt twenty-four, and he was thinking like a twenty-four year old and could hardly help it considering what was waiting for him in the other room; and then he realized that he was acting like a twenty-four year old as well, locked in the bathroom, scared out of his wits by the beauty of the woman.

            He opened the door.  She was sitting on the edge of the bed, mercifully dressed in a purple sundress with white flowers.  Mya stood right up and he saw that the dress was quite short, and she was standing in high heels.  Along with everything else, he was not surprised that she had incredible legs, and those heels.  He bit his lower lip and noticed she was biting hers, looking at him with big eyes filled with trepidation.

            “You look spectacular.”  He said in complete honesty except for thinking that the word spectacular was not good enough so he added the word, “Awesome.”

            Mya reached out and grabbed him by the arm.  Only his head had been sticking out the door.  She pulled him all of the way into the room and said, “Wow!” and rather loudly, and she made him turn around once so she could get the full view.  “That does it, I don’t care what you say.  You are my boyfriend and I am your girlfriend whether you like it or not.  If I so much as catch another girl looking at you I’ll poke her eyes out.”  Her mouth was open that whole time and Nathan had to reach out and tap it closed.

            “Scratch.”  Nathan said.  “Women scratch each other’s eyes out.”

            “That too.”  Mya said with that irresistible smile and she stepped up, right into his arms.  What could he do but hold her?  She certainly did not mind.  He noticed that barefoot, Mya topped out at his chin, but in these heels her eyes came up to where he could kiss both eyelids without bending in the least.  He did that, and watched her flush.  She pulled in closer, if that was possible, and raised her lips.  He met her half way, and he was thinking all sorts of terrible, wonderful thoughts when he remembered her again as a child.  He broke it off and broke free, turning his back like when he turned to the sink.   He knew the issue of their ages was a sham.  He had no excuse there.  It seemed on that score they were designed for each other, and judging by her reaction to him, he imagined on looks they were equally designed for each other, and he knew in terms of compatibility, they were also designed for each other.  He was already reading how she felt about things.  It was how he felt.  And he understood the way she thought because that too was how he thought.  Yet there was one other thing, a small thing perhaps, but very important.

            “No.”  He said.  He was shaking his head sharply in denial.  “It’s just.  I can’t.”  He paused because even he knew that was not true.  He could so very, very easily.  “I just want you to be happy, that’s all.”  He did not say anything about his own feelings of inadequacy.  He hurt his mother when he married a Baptist.  He failed to make Mildred happy.  He failed with Lisa.  He hurt and failed with every woman who ever loved him, and likely ever person who loved him.  He would rather die than hurt Mya.  He did not say these things, but it was in his voice.  When he said “I just want you to be happy,” he might as well have added, “And I don’t believe that I am able to do that.”

            Mya sat on the edge of the bed and sniffed just once.  “But that is all I want, too.”  She responded.  “I mean, I just want you to be happy.”  She sounded utterly sincere before her voice took on the sound of determination.  “And I feel if the only way I can make you happy is to go away, then I will go away.”  She sounded sniffly again with those last words, and then Nathan heard her crying, but softly, as if she was trying to hide it.

            Nathan spun around to face her.  “No.  Don’t do that. That isn’t what I meant.”  He lifted Mya from the bed so she could stand and face him, and he held tight to both of her hands while she sniffed back the tears and looked into his eyes.  “I don’t ever want you to leave me.  I would die if you left.”  He was serious.  He was afraid to be with her, certainly in that way, but he knew he could not live without her.  “Please stay.”  Nathan pleaded and he almost got to his knees to say it, and then he really looked at her and he saw the slow spread of Mya’s lips until she was grinning at him like the Cheshire Cat.  Nathan pulled back a little to look sternly in Mya’s eyes.

            “I was hoping you would say that.”  She spoke through her grin.  “I really, really wanted you to say that.”

            “Why you…”  Nathan had to think for a second to come up with just the right word to get his revenge.  “Why you woman.”  He concluded and with that word, he surrendered.

            Mya stepped up a little and put her arms up on his shoulders, clasping her hands around the back of his neck while he dropped his hands to her slim waist and slowly found them encircling the small of her back.

            “You’re a Pinocchio, sort of.”  Nathan said, now grinning as broadly as Mya.  Mya laughed just a little, and it was no child’s giggle but a wonderful, warm and tender genuinely grown-up laugh.  And she nodded. 

            And all this time they remained locked in eye contact.  Then all at once the smiles vanished and Mya’s lips parted ever so slightly and they drew in to each other just as tight as they could and they kissed.  Mya kissed him, not like a little girl might kiss her grandfather or even as a daughter might kiss her father, but as a woman who was absolutely and completely in love with this young man; and Nathan kissed her back like a vital young man who remembered, no, knew for certain what it was like to be on fire for the woman he loved.  It was perfect, and they might have remained that way forever if not for the tug.

            The lips parted first so they could look into each other’s eyes and note that they both felt some sort of tug on their backs.  It came again, stronger than before, and became a steady pulling that wanted to separate them, pulling them in opposite directions, away from each other, and it was growing in strength.  At first, they clung to each other and tried to hold on, but the pulling became too much to resist.  They held each other by the shoulders, then the elbows, then the hands as the room around them began to fade away to be replaced by a kind of gray fog.  As they grasped hands in mid air, their legs straight out behind them pulling ever so hard, struggling equally hard to hang on to each other, Nathan finally called her for the first time by name.

            “Mya!”  And they parted, speeding up as Mya was pulled away, and she screamed her response.

            “Nathan!” and it echoed in the mist.

Ghosts part 13 M/F Story

Series:  Strange Tales   Story:  Ghosts   by M Kizzia   part 13

            When they got to Nathan’s first floor condo, he knew the door would be locked so he went in through the door, bringing Mya with him.  “I didn’t know we could do that.”  Mya said when they were inside.

            “We did it at the theatre.”  Nathan pointed out.  How could she not have noticed?

            Mya looked down.  “I had other things on my mind at the time.”  She answered his unasked question and then ran a finger through the dust on the little table by the door.  “Nice mess.”  She turned her little nose up just a little.

            “Welcome to my pad.”  He said, and he brought her into the kitchen where he turned on the light.

            “Not too bad.”  She said, looking around the room.  “I could live here.”

            “No.”  Nathan shook his head and she almost looked upset for a second, thinking that he might exclude her from some part of his life.  “You deserve better.”  He finished his thought and she smiled.  Then she turned serious and took his hands and made him sit down beside her.  She worried his hands a little as she spoke.

            “I’ve been thinking about what you said earlier, you know, about the way this world has become.  I don’t want to be like that so I have to say this.”  She had to clear her throat and Nathan thought it sounded so cute.  “I’m sorry.  I was wrong.”

            “No, no.”  Nathan started, but Mya slapped his hand softly.

            “Quiet.  Stop treating me like a child.  Let me finish.”

            “You’re right.  I’m sorry.  Go on.”

            Mya cleared her throat again and paused.  She almost laughed when she saw the smile on Nathan’s face.  She cleared her throat in an exaggerated way and they both laughed before she lowered her eyes and began to worry his hands again.  “Anyway.”  She used his word and said it with the same inflection he used.  It almost got them laughing again.  “Anyway, I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have kissed you and I shouldn’t have asked you to be my boyfriend.  Maybe I’m not old enough for that yet.”  She was being more than gracious.  She knew she was old enough on the inside, and he knew it, too.  She looked up at him because she seemed to be finished and she was only waiting for him to respond.

            “First of all, you have no need to apologize for the kiss.”  He thought about it and was as careful as he could be in how he described it.  “It was very nice and I kissed you too, you know.”  Mya looked down.  Clearly she thought the kiss was more than just very nice.  “And as far as being old enough, I know you are.”

            “But.” 

            “Now you let me finish.”  He said, and she quieted.

            “I’ve been watching you very closely, and I have seen the changes you have gone through.  Somehow, you have been growing up and maturing on the inside faster than possible for a living person, but I know it is real.  I have seen how you have responded to people and situations, and I know the difference between a child and a teen and an adult.  In fact, I would say you are an adult now, already.  You are absolutely no seven year old trapped in a grown up body.  If anything, I was thinking your outside body has just been adjusting to keep up with your age on the inside.  You said you did not want to be a child forever, well now you certainly won’t be.”  His eyes looked her up and down.  He was a man, and far younger than he used to be so he could not help it, but Mya caught the look and leaned forward, exposing herself just so and spoke in a more husky voice

            “So, do you like what you see?”

            She was smiling, joking again, but Nathan growled a little, stood straight up and turned toward the sink, turning his back on her.  “Don’t do that.”  He spoke sharply, and she responded with a little anger, or perhaps some frustration.

            “And what about you?  You were nothing but a pot bellied bag of bones.  Your arms were so spindly I was afraid at first if I squeezed too hard the bones would just snap in two.  But now look at you.  You can’t be more than thirty, and you have real arms and muscles and a flat belly and a chest and… and I better not say anymore.  But you know what I mean.  You have shed far more years than I have gained.  Where have they gone?  You’re not old enough to be my father anymore, maybe not even if I was still seven.”

            “That isn’t the point.”  Nathan turned toward her still angry, but he softened the instant he saw her and he realized that she was genuinely struggling with all of this.  She knew what she was feeling, but she needed to know what he was feeling.  She needed to understand, and he could tell by the look in her big brown eyes that she would never force herself on him if he honestly felt that it simply was not right.

            He spoke with all the tenderness that was in him and explained things once again as well as he could to this little girl.  “I remember being eighty-four.  It is a bit like a dream or maybe a story I read once, but I remember working all those years, and all the bad times and good, though maybe not so many bad, I think.  Still, even if it does not exactly feel like me anymore, I know it was me.  And you.  I remember you as a frightened little rabbit, just seven years old with a bad foot and a limp, begging for a ride home so you and your mother could visit your grandmother who was dying.  I remember you that way like it was yesterday, because it was just yesterday.  Do you know what they call old men who take liberties, like do things with seven year old girls?  I’m sorry, I just can’t.”

            “But you just said I am far from seven, and you are becoming a very attractive young man.  Isn’t there somewhere we can meet in the middle?”

            “No.  Stop it.  Not now, not tonight.  I don’t know.”  He turned again to face the sink.  “It is just how I think of you and me, fool that I am.  I’m sorry.”

            Mya started to cry, and after a moment, Nathan sat down beside her and held her.  He could do that much.  He never wanted to hurt her.  It was breaking his heart to even think that he was hurting her.  But what could he honestly do?  She was weeping, holding on to him for dear life and wracked with tears, and he was crying right along with her.

            At last, as always happens, the tears subsided for a bit and Nathan helped her to her feet.  He practically carried her to the guest room where he pulled down the covers.  “I think it would be best if you slept here tonight.”  He said as he glanced at the clock.  “It is almost eleven.”  He said.  “I don’t know about you but it is way past my bedtime.”  Mya laughed once through her teary eyes.  Of course it was way past her bedtime too.

            “Mother would be very upset to know I stayed up this late.” 

            “Mine too.”  Nathan agreed and then he explained before Mya could ask.  “My daughter, Lisa.  She treats me more like she is my mother than my mother ever did.”  He sat Mya on the bed.  “And I am her wayward son.”  He added with a touch of his finger to her little nose.  That made her smile, but it also caused her hand to go up and caress his cheek.  She grinned, almost appearing happy again as she brushed his unruly hair behind his ear.  “Now go to sleep.”  He said, backing up to the doorway.  “You think about it.”  He said.  “And pray about it.”  He added.  “And I promise I will do the same.  Maybe in the morning we will be able to figure this out.”

            Mya nodded.  “Good night.”

            “Good night.”  He said and turned toward his room.

            “Good night.”  He heard Mya again, but he dared not answer her again.

            Mya got out of her gown, not wanting to wrinkle it.  She had already decided to sleep without it but was kind enough to wait until Nathan left before getting undressed.  She found, then, that she could crawl under the covers, something she was not sure she could do, and she snuggled under the sheets expecting to get a good sleep.

            Nathan also got undressed, but it was because he felt he had worn the same suit for two days and that was long enough.  He left his boxers on, though, and crawled into bed.  He was confused.  He was more than confused.  He was madly in love with the girl and he knew it.  She was the most beautiful creature in his eyes that he had ever seen, and he lived a long time and saw a lot.  What was his problem?  God, what is my problem?  He almost said that out loud as he closed his eyes for sleep.  Then he had a thought, and apparently Mya had the same thought at the same time.  The angel said they had two times a time between and a half time.  He translated that as a half a day, two nights and one day between   They had a half a day on the day of the accident, and then last night and the day.  What if this was their last night on this earth?  What if they were taken up in their sleep?  What if they were separated and never got to see each other again?  He was about to rise when he heard Mya at the door.  She came over quietly and pulled up the covers, and then she crawled in and pulled up against him, holding on and laying her head in the crook of his shoulder.  His arm went around her of its own volition.  He could not help that, but he honestly thought it was best if he pretended to be asleep.  All he knew was if he was going to be taken anywhere in the night he was going to do everything he could to take her with him, and she felt the same.

Reflection: The Proof for God: Religion vs. Science continued.

            Is God a Mathematician?  That is the title of a new book by Mario Livio.  I am sure it is a fascinating book, but the short answer is, duh! Of course he is, and everything else as well if I read the PR correctly. 

            In Switzerland, Scientists are touting the new multi-billion dollar, seventeen miles worth of particle accelerator where they hope to find what THEY call “the God Particle” (The glue that holds matter together).  It is all nonsense to equate any particle with God, you know.  Particles, by definition are neither theistic nor atheistic; but I am sure they are just using the name like some manufacturer might use the terms, “new and improved,” or like so many food venders presently use the terms “natural” or  “organic.”  It doesn’t necessarily mean what it says.

            Then, another recent publication is the book by a former Christian Scientist – a reporter who reportedly went in search of the science part.  The conclusion, as I understand it, is she grew closer to some of her Christian Science family and friends, but she did not really find it – not exactly.

            I would have been surprised if she found any scientific evidence at all.

            Science and the scientific method have a marvelous place in the universe.  With mathematics, we may be able to eventually understand everything there is to know about matter and energy and the relationship between the two and science may describe for us the beginning and the end of the universe (especially if it turns out that energy can be created and destroyed after all).  But what it cannot tell us is anything of value (for example):  why we should be interested in science, mathematics and the scientific method, what good are the scientific laws and discoveries, or why we should care.

            To be sure, more of life is understood by means non-scientific than scientific and “proved true” by means other than the scientific method.  A BS degree from the university is a valuable commodity, but there are other places where a BA is much more highly regarded.

            Consider Art, which is about as unscientific a category as you can find.  Greatness (validity) is often a matter of consensus, but not entirely so.  The art world depends on documents, expert and eyewitness testimony, and the jury of history in making its determinations.  Of course, someone can still insist that the Mona Lisa, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Shakespeare’s Hamlet  are not great works of art, and they may try to justify their opinion by suggesting it is all subjective and only (no more than) a matter of opinion in any case.  What that suggests to me is one of two possibilities:  either the person is a “Contrarian” which I have defined as people who get a kick out of taking a contrary opinion no matter how irrational or unreasonable that opinion may be, or the person is in some serious need of some asylum time.

            Of course the above mentioned works are great works of art, and whether we like them or not is honestly irrelevant.  The jury of history alone has declared their greatness, as any jury would say, “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

            Consider history, which is totally unscientific no matter how much historians may grumble otherwise.  It cannot be understood by mathematics.  I cannot be replicated under strict laboratory conditions, and while it may produce some good advice, it does not imply laws that can be applied invariably to the future.  History, instead, is again a matter of documents and what the archeologists can discern from their shards.  It is determined by expert and eyewitness testimony to the point where it can only be, “rewritten by the victors” (as is often the accusation for unreliability) only so far before it is contradicted by the known facts and again, by the jury of history.

            Did Alexander once conquer the oikumene?  Did Cleopatra abandon Anthony at a crucial point and thus place Egypt in the grasp of the growing Roman Empire?  Did Victoria once rule over an empire on which the sun never set?  The answer of history is absolutely yes (true, for real); and while you or I may not see what relevance such things have to our lives, that consideration is, to be blunt, irrelevant.  History is one of the only things we have that explains not only who we are, but suggests where we are going, and the jury of history proves the reality of nearly everything quite apart from what science may or may not have to say about it.

            The jury would say, “Proved beyond a reasonable doubt.”  That has always been the legal answer to the scientific method, and keep in mind that justice is also a thoroughly non-scientific subject; and to be sure, no one (other than a contrarian) wants to honestly live in a world where justice is merely a matter of subjective opinion where one opinion is equal to another.  That would put us all in danger of tyranny – subject to whoever was slick enough to obtain the judgeship!

            Do juries sometimes make mistakes?  Certainly.  Juries have been wrong.

            Do scientists sometimes make mistakes?  Certainly.  Science has constantly been revised.

            Is this true even when the appropriate procedures are followed to the letter?  Yes.

            So is science the only arbiter of reality (to determine what is real and what is not real)?  Absolutely not.  “Proved beyond a reasonable doubt” works just as well for reasonable people.  When a jury considers the facts (what hard evidence is available), studies the documents (contracts, affidavits), considers the expert and eyewitness testimony and follows the time tested procedures, they will far more often than not come to a conclusion that is beyond a reasonable doubt.  Science (for example DNA testing) may have much to contribute to considerations of the law in a given case, but be clear about this:  Law is in no way a matter for scientific inquiry or investigation.  Other forms of investigation are involved, and they often relate to motive and opportunity.

            I could go on to subject after subject that is essentially if not entirely non-scientific, but in nearly all of it, the truth (reality) is proved in the same way and by the same method, and at this point, someone must be asking, but what about God?

            Well, clearly God is not a scientific subject, being neither composed of matter nor energy.  God will never be replicated in a laboratory, proved by the scientific method or described by mathematics.  So does that mean God is not real?  By no means (unless you are truly a contrarian who is also willing to insist that art, history, the law and a myriad of other things are equally unreal).  Rather, the “Truth” of God is “proved” by other means.

            Consider the documents, the evidence or facts (such as they may be), the expert and eyewitness testimony, the jury of history, and the fact that there are billions of people alive today who will look you square in the eye and declare that God is “Proved beyond a reasonable doubt.”  You may not agree, but honestly, it is the atheists who have a terrible uphill battle, and all I can see is Solon, pushing that boulder up the hill only to have it roll down again.  I always feel sorry for anyone who has to work so hard to close the mind (and heart).

            I will say this again, science and religion have no business being at odds with each other as long as each sticks to its area of study and understanding.  It is when the Theologians deign to make definitive statements about this universe of matter and energy and when Scientists draw unwarranted conclusions about reality that excludes any consideration of non-scientific life that we all get into trouble.

Gosts part 12 M/F Story

Series:  Strange Tales   Story:  Ghosts   by M Kizzia   part 12

            The symphony hall was not far away.  There was a little time yet before the concert since the sun had just about set.  They spent the time looking at the posters and reading about the season’s offering, and Nathan confessed that he used to have season tickets.

            “I had to give it up when my ears started going.”  He said.  “God knows that when you get older, all of the senses start to go, one by one.”

            “Can you hear me now?”  Mya whispered.

            “Yes I can.”  Nathan whispered back, and she laughed again, and Nathan thought it was a great pleasure to hear her laugh and he wondered if she was ticklish.  She was, and in short order they were both on their knees laughing as hard as any two people had ever laughed.  Finally, as Nathan got hold of himself, Mya had a thought.

            “Oh, but I have never heard a symphony before.  Mother only listened to country music.  What exactly is a symphony?”

            “What is a symphony?”  Nathan puffed.  “What is a symphony?”  He grabbed her hand, pulled her to her feet and rushed her inside.  They snitched a program and ran up the stairs to the box seats, Nathan hoping that the performance was not sold out.  “I used to sit here.”  Nathan said, catching his breath.  He was certainly under forty years old by then, but not by all that much.  Mya, who was not winded at all, had to be maybe and finally an honest eighteen, maybe.  They sat and Nathan explained all that he could about Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, and then after an intermission there was going to be a waltz by Strauss and a piece by Mahler.  By the time he finished, the hall was beginning to fill up and Mya began to get excited.  In fact, Nathan was giving her hand a fatherly pat as if to say, just wait, when an older woman came to sit in his seat.  Mya nudged him and he got up as quickly as he could, but it was not quick enough.  The woman’s shoulder went right through his shoulder.

            The woman paused and looked at the ceiling as if searching for the air conditioning vent.  She pulled her shawl up fully around her shoulder and took the next chair over so Nathan got to sit down again.  Mya was trying to hold back a laugh and Nathan was wiping his brow.  “That was close.”  He said to the woman, but of course, the woman heard nothing.  He turned back to Mya but she hushed him.  The orchestra was warming up and the lights were going down.  Beethoven was wonderfully done.  Nathan could not resist pointing out his favorite part in the piece, but he saw that Mya was just about moved to tears so he really did not need to say anything.  When it was over, he thought that Mya applauded more than anyone, and then it was intermission.

            The old woman beside them did not look like she was going to move, so Nathan politely said, “Excuse us,” even if she could not respond.  Of course, their legs inevitably sent through her legs, and Mya stopped them at the curtain for a moment to watch.  The woman bent down as if searching for the source of the breeze, and the she pulled her dress all the way down to cover her legs.  Mya did finally giggle a little, but there was no little girl sound in it.

            When they got downstairs, they found it very crowded and very difficult to get around without walking through people.  Several men turned up their collars at the sudden cold, and some women adjusted their shawls and sweaters, but really, Nathan and Mya disrupted very little.  Nathan felt bad, briefly, that he could not get them some of that famous watered down orange drink.  They found the water fountain but Mya said that even in the hospital all she could do was wet her lips.  The lights flashed and that startled Mya for a moment.  She grabbed on to Nathan, but he assured her it was nothing to worry about.  They went back up the stairs, more slowly than the first time, but when they arrived, even as the orchestra was beginning to warm up once more, they saw that two late arrivals were sitting in their seats.

            Nathan had a thought, and without saying anything, Mya asked, “What is it?”  She was beginning to know him rather well, too, and she could read the excitement etched across his face and eyes.

            “Come on.”  That was all he said, and they were off, running again, going down the stairs two at a time.  The lights were off by the time they broke into the orchestra seating.  They reached the stage as the applause for the conductor was abating.  He dragged her right up on the stage, her looking more than once nervously at the crowd even if she knew the audience could not see her.  By the time the first strains of the waltz began, he had her in the back corner of the stage, opposite the percussion section, where there was some room to move around.

            “What is it?”  Mya finally insisted.

            Nathan smiled and lifted his left hand.  “The waltz.”  He said.  “We should be dancing.”

            “Oh.”  Mya put her hand to her mouth.  “But I’ve never danced like that before.”  She almost protested.

            “Then time you learned young lady.  Come, come.”  He insisted.  She took his hand and he lifted her other hand to his shoulder while he set his hand gently on her waist.  “Just do what I do.”  He said, and they bumped legs.  “I mean the opposite.  When I step forward, you step back.”

            “Oh.”  Mya turned a little red and decided her only recourse was to keep looking into Nathan’s eyes.  He looked into her eyes as well and waited for the right time to start, and then they waltzed.  She was so unsure at first, but it was not long before she got it.  The waltz was not a complicated dance.  By the end of the Strauss piece, Mya was moving with delight, so gracefully and effortlessly, and Nathan was feeling a bit awkward as only a man can feel when dancing with a beautiful young woman.  He stepped back at the end to look at her.  Her school clothes were gone and she was dressed in a lovely gown, all pink and sparkling and a little bit low cut, he thought.  He still had on his suit, but his shirt was tight and spotless, the suit looked like it just came from the dry cleaners and he was wearing a tie.  He had not worn a tie in years

            Then it was over and while the people were applauding, he leaned over and kissed Mya’s cheek, and she kissed his.  Nathan was thinking that this was like dancing with his daughter on her wedding day.  It was a dance he never got to have.  She ran away when she was eighteen and when she came home she was already married.  It was not that she eloped, though.  She lived with the scum for two years first.

            Mya was thinking something quite different.  She still had to get a little on her tip-toes, though not much, and she kissed him softly right on the lips.  “You could be my boyfriend.”  She said.

            Nathan’s eyes got big for a minute before he grabbed her hand roughly and dragged her backstage and down the hall.  They went out the stage door, actually walking right through it without realizing it.  She was shouting, “Let go, let go!” and tugging against his big hand.  He was not speaking, but thinking terrible things.  When he got her outside, he found some stacks of crates in the alley and he threw her down to sit on a crate, not hurting her, but not taking no for an answer.  Then he spoke.

            “Stop it.”  He shook a finger in her face.  “I’m eighty-four and you are just seven years old.”  He knew that was a lie when he said it, but his mind was still telling him that.  “I don’t mind being your grandfather.  I don’t even mind being your father, but I’ll have no talk about boyfriend and girlfriend.”

            “And why not?”  She shot right back at him, not intimidated in the least.

            “Because I’m too old for you, I mean way too old.”  He shot back.

            “Don’t you think that is for me to decide?”

            “You can decide anything you like.  I don’t care.”

            “Well, I don’t care either.  I don’t need you hanging around, you know.”

            “Oh no?  Where are you going to go?”

            “I don’t know.”  Mya shrugged.  “What do you care?”

            “I don’t care.”

            “Well, I don’t care either.  I’m grown up and I can take care of myself.  I don’t need you.”  She folded her arms, turned her head and stubbornly refused to look at him.  Nathan paused.  He just realized something he had overlooked.

            “But I need you.”  He said.  “Your insight and willingness to go through all of this no matter what is the only thing that has kept me going.”

            “Really?”  Mya asked, turning back to face him, her eyes growing terribly wide with surprise.

            “Really.”  Nathan confirmed, and he lowered his eyes, unwilling to look into hers.

            Mya got up and put her hands on his arms, not hugging him exactly, but inviting a hug.  He responded by squeezing the breath out of her, and she found a few tears.  “But don’t you know?”  She said.  “You saved my life.”

            “I tried to.”  He answered, suggesting that he failed.

            “No, I mean really.  I thought you were nice from the very beginning, and I was right.  I was wonderfully right.  Don’t you know you are the most wonderful man in the whole world?”

            “Hardly.”  He said, looking once again into her eyes and loving her smile.

            A voice came from overhead where there were likely some apartments, though they could not see a speaker in the dark.  “Hey, buddy!  Could you keep it down?”

            Another voice joined the chorus.  “Take her home and screw her brains out, you’ll both feel better in the morning.”

            “Come on.”  Nathan said and Mya was right with him.  That last was certainly a line he was not going to cross, but the taking her home bit made some sense.  His condo was not all that far away, and they walked hand in hand, but both were quiet.  Neither was willing to bring up the boyfriend-girlfriend thing again; but in Mya’s heart, that was the way it already was, and Nathan kept telling himself it could never be that way.

Ghosts part 11 M/F Story

Series:  Strange Tales   Story:  Ghosts   by M Kizzia   part 11

            After that experience, neither felt any desire or need to return again to the scene of the accident – the name they finally settled on calling it.  Nathan decided that they needed something good to do, so he led them to a nearby garden which he knew and which always seemed to have something in bloom, and certainly at that time of year promised plenty. 

            While they walked, Mya found a question that started with her short summary of recent events.  “So, the suicide bomber thought he would go straight to paradise, but he didn’t.  That young man thought God owed him tons of good, but nothing happened there.  The minster refused to believe that he was not already perfect, though he was still stuck on a park bench, and the burly man refused to believe in anything at all, even if his own experience proved the opposite of what he was saying.  I don’t get it?  Why don’t they just say, I was wrong and get on with it?”

            Nathan looked at Mya and slipped his arm over her shoulder.  She responded by placing hers around his waist.  She was looking up at him like a girl might look up to her father to explain the hard bumps and curves of life in a way that she could understand.

            “I have made plenty of mistakes in my time, and I have generally admitted them, but for most people these days that is not how the world works.”  Nathan began.  He paused for a moment while he remembered a story.  “There was a woman in church way back when Mildred and I were going.  I remember whenever the preacher started talking about sin; she would arch her back and give him terrible stares.  I heard her once going out the door in front of us.  Even as she was shaking the preacher’s hand she said, “Some of us don’t think of ourselves as sinners.”

            “But that’s crazy.”  Mya said.

            “But she was absolutely sincere.  You see, the world has become a very hard and fast place.  If you admit doing something wrong, and especially if you apologize and say you are sorry, most people see that as a weakness, as something they can hold over your head and manipulate you with.  Consequently, most people will never admit a mistake even if they know better, and they will never, ever say they are sorry.  Do you follow what I’m saying?”

            “Yes.”  Mya said.  “You are telling me the whole world has gone crazy.”

            “Maybe the world is crazy.”  He would not object to that description.  “But it gets really bad when you think that no one can ever start over.  You see, when you admit the wrong and apologize, you get over it and it gives you the chance to try something else, something different or new; but if you never admit that you were wrong, you get stuck.  It’s kind of like telling a lie, and then trying to cover it up with another lie, and then another.  If you don’t confess, you never get over it.  It just gets worse and worse.”  Then Nathan added another thought.  “I think the whole problem with every one of those men is they are unwilling to admit that they were wrong.”

            “What about you?”  Mya asked.

            Nathan leaned over and rubbed his knuckles gently, lovingly really on the top of her head.  He spoke instantly.  “Sorry.  That was wrong of me.”

            Mya pinched him in the roll he still had around his stomach, causing him to yelp.  “That might have been wrong of me.’  Mya grinned.  “But I’m not sorry.”

            Nathan grinned right back at her.

When they arrived at the garden, Nathan was not disappointed.  It was as beautiful as he remembered.

            “It’s lovely.”  Mya remarked.  “So charming and quaint.”  She was trying out the words, and then she tried something else.  She got on her tip toes, steadying herself with a hand on Nathan’s arm, and she kissed Nathan right on the cheek.  She smiled as she stared at him with true love and affection in her eyes.  No one would have ever guessed that a day ago they were complete strangers.

            Nathan coughed to bring her back to the flowers.  He also took her to a bench where they sat and drew in the myriad of scents.  Mya kept saying how beautiful everything was, and she got up a couple of times to take a closer look when she saw a more distant flower with a new color.   Nathan could hardly bring himself to move at all.  He was amazed at being able to catch all of the aromas, which were indeed beautiful, and he found he could even pull out the scent of one or more flowers independently from all the rest.  Poor Nathan could hardly smell anything after the age of seventy-five or so.  Now, the return of this most vital sense was positively overwhelming him with pleasure.

            He was startled out of his reverie when he heard Mya let out a little shriek.  He bolted to her side, his first run in more than twenty years, but he found her delighted, indeed, enchanted and not in danger as he feared.

            “Look.”  Mya pointed, and there was a kind of light fluttering around one of the flowers.  Nathan looked again, and he noticed that there were several lights in that corner of the garden.  Then he looked closer, giving his new, wonderful eyes their first real workout, and he saw a little human-like figure with wings, a figure no bigger than a hummingbird hovering over a rose.  He noticed, because the light was right then noticing him.

            “Fairies.”  Mya named them and she clasped her hands together in pure delight.  Obviously her seven-year-old world view had no trouble accepting such things.  But that was not fair, Nathan thought, because she was clearly now more like seventeen, and he knew it.

            One part of Nathan’s mind tried to say that fairies were impossible, but it was another piece of his mind that parted the silence of his lips.  “I knew it.”  He said.  “I always knew this universe was not the way I was taught.”  Mya looked curious, so he explained.  “Like the burly man.”  He said.  “We were all taught that this earth was no more than dead matter and energy, that our minds, our consciousnesses were merely an accident of nature.”  Mya was shaking her head as if that did not make any sense, especially in light of their experience.  “But somehow, deep inside, I always knew the universe was alive, everywhere.  I bet there are all sorts of things in the real world about which the living with their closed matter and energy minds have no idea.”  He concluded and Mya nodded as if to say that now she understood.

            The fairy flew up to Mya’s face and then Nathan’s face, and finally began to fly around them in a circle of streaming pink light.  Other fairies were attracted to this and joined in adding golden, lavender and pale blue lights to the mix.  Round and round they went, faster and faster so that Mya and Nathan could not keep up and began to get dizzy.  The two humans drew closer to each other, and eventually held on tight, getting as close as they could lest they inadvertently bump one of the speeding fairies that they could no longer distinguish from the light.  Then the circles of light began to rise and for a second, Mya and Nathan thought they were going to rise with it; but as soon as the circles got above their heads, they began to contract in size, becoming smaller and smaller circles until it came to a point and the light and the fairies vanished altogether.

            Mya clapped her hands and nearly squealed with delight.  If she had been younger, like closer to actually being seven, she probably could not have resisted making the sound.  Nathan stood with his mouth open in wonder.  It was the most glorious sight he had ever seen!  Then he remembered the angel and said to himself, the second most glorious.

            Nathan started to let go of Mya, though he felt very comfortable holding her in that way.  Mya also did not seem to want to let go, but they did, and Nathan had a terrific thought.  He held out his hand, palm up as he spoke.

            “Would my lady care to attend the symphony with me this evening?”

            “Yes.”  Mya said a bit loud and much too quickly.  “A date?”  She asked.

            Nathan shrugged off the implication even if he could not stop smiling.  “No, no,” he said.  “You are supposed to say, “Yes, My Lord.  I would be delighted.”  And then you put your hand, palm on my palm, and give a little curtsey while I bow.

            Mya laughed briefly at the idea, and it was no little girl giggle.  She offered her hand and spoke as requested, and then Nathan drew her in to hold his arm again, noting that she was now as tall as his shoulder, and then just a little bit more.

Ghosts part 10 M/F Story

Series:  Strange Tales   Story:  Ghosts   by M Kizzia   part 10

            There was a second gate that let out of the fenced area down closer to the actual scene of the accident.  Nathan was reluctant to lead them past the angry young man again, though he added that man and the minister to his prayer list, even if that list was growing rather long.  He knew the angel only asked him to pray for the terrorist, the young suicide, and he was tempted not to worry about the others, but he also knew that Mya’s prayer list was very long and that she was praying regularly, if not continually for them all.  He could only imagine her asking God to love and help others in a completely kind hearted, loving and selfless way, and he thought that perhaps that was another lesson the grown-up world could learn from the young.    

            They saw the man as soon as they got through the gate.  He was pacing back and forth on the edge of the street.  Nathan had no trouble identifying the man as the big, burly fellow who moved up at the last to sit behind him.  “What is it, friend?”  He asked without hesitation, feeling very gregarious with Mya so close beside him.

            The man turned to face them and Mya gasped and buried her face in Nathan’s side.  The man was missing the side of his face, down to the bone and including his eye.  His right hand was missing almost up to the elbow, and the stump was a bloody mess that looked to be festering.  He recognized them right away, too, though his vision of them seemed a little skewed through that one good eye.  “The old man and the little kid.  What are you, a hundred and something?  And Kid, you must be, what, four or five?”

            “I’m eighteen.”  Mya picked an age, though she probably was not that old yet.  “And he isn’t a day over forty, though he probably was.”  She brushed Nathan’s hair again behind his ears and this time he did not mind at all.

            The big, burly man stared at them for a moment and Nathan prepared to run and drag Mya after him if necessary.  He was a bit surprised that the man did not respond to her teenaged flippancy with anger.  Instead he looked up and threw out his good hand.  “What is wrong with everybody?”  He shouted to the sky.  “So just tell me this.  When is the ambulance going to get here?  I could die before they show up.”

            Mya and Nathan looked at each other with the most curious expressions.  It was Mya who spoke.  “But we are already dead.”

            The man frowned as far as they could tell from what lips were left.  “Don’t be stupid.  We can’t already be dead.”

            A woman took that moment to come by on the sidewalk.  The burly man jumped out in front of her and began screaming.  He raised his arms, including his stump and yelled.  “Would you get me a fucking ambulance!”  Mya and Nathan were repulsed by the man’s anger, but not as shocked as they were by the woman’s response.  She screamed, making Mya burry her face again a bit deeper to prevent her own scream.  And then the woman shrieked something about a ghost and she hurried off back the way she came.  It was the woman’s terror that Nathan and Mya felt most of all, and as strongly as they felt the cruelty in the woman with the puppy.  Nathan was suddenly glad that they had not spent much time around many living people since the accident, and it reminded him once again that he and Mya had become very sensitive to the disposition of the souls of the living.

            “Damn selfish bitch.”  The burly man was saying.  “Can’t she see that I need help?” 

            “Why not?”  Mya looked up again, now that the feeling of fear had passed, and she was genuinely confused.  “I mean, we are already dead.  Why can’t we be dead?”

            “Eh?”  They had the man’s attention again.

            “You said we can’t possibly be dead.”  Nathan reminded the man.

            “Because missy.”  He spoke to Mya.  “If we were dead we would no longer exist.”

            “Not if there is a God.”  Mya said forthrightly. 

            “Maybe the spirit can survive after death.”  Nathan tried to add his own thoughts but stopped when the burly man’s frown deepened and a little piece of lip fell to the ground.  This caused Mya to hide her eyes a third time. 

            “Don’t give me that God crap and all that spiritual mumbo-jumbo.  That’s all just so much shit and you know it.”

            “No.  I know the spirit can live after death.”  Nathan was completely certain about that, obviously, and his words reflected his certainty.

“            If you believe that, you’re an idiot.”  The man walked to the back of a parked car.  “Look, I know what is real and what isn’t.  It’s like this car is real.”  He pounded on the hood, and though in fact he was putting his hand right through the hood, there was no doubt that he thought he was pounding on it.  “Science tells me what is real, and that is good enough.  If you want to believe in some fairy tale, that’s your business, but I’ll say you are an idiot.”

            “But maybe there are some things science doesn’t know.”  Nathan suggested.

            “I’m sure that is true.”  The burly man responded.  “But when they figure it out I am also sure it will be as solid and real as this car.”  He made to pound on it again and went through it again.

            “But please.”  Mya could not stand listening to the pain in the man’s voice.  “We all died yesterday.  The accident was a whole day ago.”

            “Yes.”  Nathan took up the cause.  “If you were bleeding for a whole day, you would be dead by now, except you are already dead.”

            “What are you talking about?  Did that concussion rattle your brains?  That kid only blew up ten, not five minutes ago.”  He went as if to look at a watch, but that part of his arm was missing.

            “But.”  Mya was not for giving up, but the burly man was not going to listen.

            “Look.  I don’t want to hear about your God.  I don’t want anything to do with a God because there is no such thing.  I don’t want some freakin’ fairy tale hanging over my shoulder telling me what I can and cannot do.  I am my own man, the captain of my soul and master of my fate or whatever.  And even if there is a God, I don’t want anything to do with it.  A pox on your moronic God.  He should leave me alone forever and I’ll do just fine without him, and when I die, and when you die, I am sure we will all just blend back into the universe and cease to exist.”

            Nathan was concerned for the vehemence and seriousness of the man.  He thought it best if they did not tempt him any further, but Mya was still not giving up.

            “But.”  She tried again, but the man’s shout cut her off.

            “Screw your God.  He can leave me alone, forever!”  He said, and suddenly he began to sparkle like the old woman sparkled, except his sparkles were pitch black, of a kind that swallowed all of the light rather than giving light.  It started out in small spots, but as it spread, the spots began to join with others and became black blotches all over him.  The man screamed.  Nathan heard, “Not that.  I never knew. Not alone.”  Or Nathan thought he heard those words.  Mostly he just heard screams.  Mya had her face pressed into Nathan’s chest and she was crying her eyes out.  Nathan was frightened half out of his mind, but he could not tear his eyes away to save his sanity.  Then it was over.  The man was gone and only a black wisp like smoke remained.

            Then Nathan heard a voice come from the smoke that frightened the other half of his mind.  “Would you like to join him?”  The voice asked.  “It will be very easy.  Curse God and die.”  Nathan nearly lost his wits completely on hearing that, but Mya was dragging him to his knees by then and he wrenched his eyes from the black wisp to see her kneeling and watch her clasp her hands in the classic position of a child at prayer.  Her eyes were shut tight, too, and Nathan thought that was a good idea.  Nathan squeezed his eyes shut and felt his mind and his heart go out to the God of Gods.  “Please, please.”  That was all he could think at first.  “Let there be light.”  That came to him.  “The darkness can’t stand against the light.” And slowly he regained his wits.  “God, give that man another chance, just a little more time to see the light, and please send a better messenger than me.  Please, please God, please.  The man can’t hear me.  I tried.  I tried.”  After another moment he opened his eyes, and he saw that there was an actual light shining over his shoulder.  He knew, without looking, that it was the angel, and the wisp of darkness stood no chance at all.  When Mya opened her eyes, she saw the man sitting on the curb, gasping for air.  With that done, Mya took Nathan’s hand and quickly led him away. 

            “We have so many to pray for.”  Mya remarked.  Nathan agreed and he lifted up a prayer then and there for the suicide bomber.  He was told to pray for the man but thus far he had not actually prayed a bit.  He had just said he would like he always did when he was alive.  Then he added a prayer for the angry young man, and one for the minister, and another one for the business man and the hungry man from the hospital.  Then he started on his daughter and eventually worked his way through everyone he could think of.  He did not pay much attention to where he was going, but trusted Mya implicitly to lead him carefully down the street.

Ghosts part 9 M/F Story

Series:  Strange Tales   Story:  Ghosts   by M Kizzia   part 9

            “Well, I am glad that is settled.”  There was a man sitting on the park bench, their park bench, and he was reading the newspaper.  Nathan did not have to guess who it was, and when the man lowered the paper, Nathan saw that he was right.  “So the terrorist does not understand why he is not in paradise, and Mister Thomas thinks God owes him, and the little old lady has vanished to who knows where, no great loss there, so what is your problem?”

            “None.”  Nathan answered honestly.

            “We’re just great.”  Mya said.  She stepped up and took Nathan’s arm for the first time.  She was tall enough now that she could do that, and as she placed her other hand on Nathan’s bicep, she glanced down at her own breasts.  She thought they were turning out just right as she imagined they were not even finished growing and she was still smiling about being called beautiful and attractive and sexy.  It was heady stuff for her.

            “Nothing?’  The minister asked, skeptically.

            Nathan was surprised to see that the minister was hardly changed at all by the experience.  He was a good looking man with a full head of black hair that was just beginning to gray a bit at the temples.  He looked fit besides, like he ate all the right foods and worked out regularly at the gym.  Indeed, Nathan got the impression that this was just the sort of man who would actually go to the gym.  Nathan shrugged as he spoke.

            “I was thinking that there have been a lot of cultures throughout history that believed the spirits of the dead could not pass fully over to the other side until they were properly buried.”  He could think of no other reason for their still being there.

            “Not catholic, huh?  This is not purgatory, you know.  There is no such thing.”  The minister sounded like he knew all about it even though Nathan guessed it was his first time being dead.  “So don’t you wonder why you are not in heaven, or someplace else?”

            Mya and Nathan both shook their heads and laughed a little about sharing the same response.  Then Mya spoke.  “I assume when God is ready he will take us to where he wants us to be.”

            “Blind faith.”  The minister looked disgusted with that idea.  “It is just one step before ignorance.  I spent my whole life fighting blind faith and trying to educate the ignorant masses about the ways of God.  I regularly made profound statements from the pulpit, most of which would probably go right over your heads.  And then I lived it out.  That is very important, too.  I fed the poor and clothed the naked and visited those who were sick or in prison.  Let me tell you, the only question anyone should be asking is why I was not translated instantly to heaven to receive my reward.”

            Mya was cocking her head to the side a little in a very teenage maneuver.  It was like she was trying to get a different perspective on the man as if that might make things clearer.  “Maybe God wanted something else from you.”  She suggested.

            The minister got agitated.  “I’ll have you know, I was called to ministry at a very early age.  I have given my whole life to God since that day.  Who are you to question my calling?  Young woman, I’ll have you know there is probably a whole book in heaven listing the names of people that have been brought to the faith by my work alone.”

            Nathan interrupted.  He was feeling close enough to Mya by then that he imagined he could understand some of the ways she was thinking.  “Oh, she is not questioning your calling, and I take nothing away from all of your good work and all of the names written in heaven.  Nor is she questioning your intellectual honesty and no doubt brilliance.  I am sure all of that is very important, and I am sure God is grateful.  No, I believe she was thinking of God maybe wanting something entirely different.”

            The minister’s face reddened a bit.  He was getting beyond agitated, but he refused to show it which in its way was less honest than the young man they left by the gate.  Nathan thought steam might come out of the minister’s head at any minute.  “Like what?”  The man spoke through his teeth, barely slitting his lips in the process.

            “Like your love.”  Mya said in all sincerity as she straightened out her head.  Nathan nodded his silent agreement.  He could see that.

            The minister turned pale for all of a minute before responding.  “Now that just proves your ignorance.”  He said at last as the color began to return to his face.  “We cannot love God, you see?  At least we cannot love God the way he has loved us.  We are not going to die for him.”

            “But haven’t you just said you did that?”  Nathan asked, but it was a genuine question.  From Mya’s teenage lips it would have sounded flippant.

            “In a sense, yes, but what I mean is the way we show our love for God is in doing what is right and good and true according to his divine will.  You see, that is why I said that I lived out my faith.  A faith that is only words and a matter of the mind is really no faith at all.”

            “So what you are saying is it is impossible to love God, directly, I mean.”  Nathan said.

            “I know love by the way I feel.”  Mya interrupted.  “I feel my love for God.  Isn’t that the way everyone knows love?”  Mya’s simple innocence caused her to look up at Nathan in case she had it all wrong.

            “That is exactly how we know love, sweetheart.”  He patted her hand on his arm and began to move her away from there.  The minster swallowed, and Nathan was quite sure without asking that the man had spent his whole life trying not to feel anything at all. 

            Mya looked up at Nathan and opened her big brown eyes even bigger than usual.  “You called me sweetheart.”  She said.  It was almost an accusation.

            “Because you are.”  He said.  “I think you have the kindest and sweetest heart of anyone I’ve ever known, and I am beginning to believe the adult world would do much better if we listened to more seven year olds.”

            Mya nearly frowned on hearing that, but instead she sighed and laid her head against Nathan’s arm.  She was almost big enough by then to set her head against his shoulder, the place where she slept so comfortably in the night.  Nathan responded by giving her hand another fatherly pat.

Ghosts part 8 M/F Story

Series:  Strange Tales   Story:  Ghosts   by M Kizzia   part 8

            The base of the bus stop sign was broken off and jagged.  The police had put some orange cones around it and strung yellow “Police Line, Do Not Cross” streamers between the cones, otherwise, though, it hardly looked like anything happened.  People were walking up and down the street, cars were moving in their early to mid-day routine, and they even saw a bus pull to the stop and wait a minute before starting up again.

            “This is it?”  Mya complained.  “We died here, just yesterday afternoon, and this is all there is to show for it?”  She certainly sounded very teenager.

            “What did you expect?”  Nathan asked the rhetorical question.  “Unless there is a personal connection, the world of the living does not want to think about the dead and dying.  Death is a subject best left buried in normal conversations, if you know what I mean.”

            “Fuck you.”  Both Mya and Nathan heard the words and were startled by them.  They looked and saw a young man just inside the gate, staring at them.  He came out to confront them.  “What did you expect, a monument?  In a week, no one will even remember that we ever existed.”

            “My mother won’t forget.”  Mya insisted.

            “And my daughter won’t let anyone else forget.”  Nathan added.

            “Fuck you.”  The young man said.  It seemed to be his favorite phrase.  “I don’t care what people think.  I’m still here.  God can’t get rid of me that easily.”

            “Why would God want to get rid of you?”  Mya asked, showing her innocence once more.

            “Because God owes me, stupid.  I got nothing but bad all my life, so God owes me tons and tons of good, and I will accuse him to stinkin’ high heaven and bring down the whole racist lot of them if I have to.”

            “But why do you think God owes you?  Who told you that?”  Mya really did not understand, but Nathan drew her a little closer for her own protection.  He had an idea of where this man was coming from and he knew it was a hair trigger from violence.

            The young man looked at Mya like she was as thick as the fence post and almost as smart.  He pointed sharply at Nathan in his suit.  “I don’t expect some motherfucking rich man and his daughter to understand, but I learned from a very early age that I did not have a chance in this world.  I was born poor trash and I would never be anything other than poor trash.  You see?”

            “What’s being poor got to do with it?”  Mya was searching for understanding and looked up at Nathan thinking that maybe he could explain it to her.

            “Man, are you stupid!”  The young man backed up a little, threw his hands to the sky and almost turned in a circle before settling down to explain.  “My mama and grandma told me all my life that a poor man in this Goddamn America would never get a break, and they were right.”

            “Maybe you shouldn’t have listened to them.”  Mya suggested.

            “What?  Not listen to my mama and grandma?”  The young man looked at Nathan for support in his argument, but Nathan could only shrug.

            “Don’t look at me.  My mother was a penniless immigrant and my grandmother died at Auschwitz.”  That made both Mya and the man pause and stare for a minute.  Mya had heard the word and knew it was something terrible, and a lot of people were killed.  The young man knew exactly what Auschwitz was.

            “You a fuckin’ Jew?”

            “In part.”  Nathan said, looking at Mya in a kind of reflex action to see if it made any difference to her.  It did not, and Nathan wondered if she ever met a real Jew before.  Probably, he decided.  “I’m actually sort of a Baptist-Jew.”

            “Awesome.”  The young man settled down a little in his attitude and vocabulary.  “So tell me, Jew-boy, how did you manage such a hot lookin’ daughter.”  He leered at Mya and Nathan almost said something, but Mya nudged him.

            “Do you really like what you see?”  Mya asked, setting her hands on her hips and swaying just a little as if to show herself off.

            “Mama, you and I could make love all night.  Sweet sixteen I bet, and I could kiss you all over.”  The young man responded.  Then Mya pushed it too far.  She leaned forward to emphasize her young breasts just a little and she lowered her voice in imitation of a movie she once saw. 

“Do you like what you see?”  She asked again.  She was maybe fifteen or so by then and quite capable of enticing any young man with such a move, but of course she was just play-acting, imitating a movie.  She had no idea of the reaction she would provoke.  The man leapt for her, no doubt with the intention of raping her on the spot, and Mya screamed.  A woman waiting at the bus stop also screamed and backed up a couple of steps.  Nathan reached for Mya to pull her to safety, but he was a bit slow.  The young man went right through Mya as if she was just a ghost, which she was.  The man fell on his knees on the pavement and let out a frustration scream of his own.

“It’s not fair!  God, you owe me big time!  Goddamn you God.  It’s not fair!”

Nathan hustled Mya through the iron gate and up toward the park bench before he scolded her.  “Ok?  Are you happy?  Do you see what a good looking young woman can do to a man?  Part of growing up has to be learning to keep your sexy self to yourself.  There are certain things you just don’t go around flaunting all over the place unless you want reactions like you just got.”

“Am I really good looking?”  Mya heard him, or at least the part of what he said that her teenage mind could process.  “Am I really sexy?”

Nathan stopped.  He remembered scolding his own daughter more than once, and he thought that this time he could afford to be a little softer.  “Yes.”  He said.  “You are very beautiful and enormously attractive, and I think you are doing a remarkable job of growing up under the circumstances, but you have to promise to be more careful on just what you do.”  He was speaking out of genuine concern, and she knew it.

“I promise.”  Mya said, raising her hand as if signifying a pledge not to be broken, though to be sure, she was not exactly certain what she was promising.  Her mind was stuck on the words very beautiful and enormously attractive.  She needed to hear that.  She needed her best friend in the whole world to say that.