Now Available: Chapter 6 is completely online
…so one minute I’m in my living room in 2010, and the next I’m on a space ship over 200 years later. I realize I didn’t actually think this choice through. The adjustments commence: social, educational, cognitive, and maybe most important, the girls share their secret weapon…
Read or listen to Hani’s Story HERE.
Hear the Introduction to Hani’s Story:
Previews, Part 1: Life on Earth
…These, dear reader, are the simply the swift and bare facts. There’s an unseen hand at work in all our lives. We only see it by its reflection, and from a distance. As stark as they are, these events were only the first hints that my life was going to take me to some really strange places.
…Maybe I was just too normal. Maybe the Divine wasn’t interested in someone like me, good-intentioned, occasionally foul-mouthed, wearing my doubt like some cloak of invincibility against getting screwed yet again.
…And, even more oddly, this didn’t strike me as odd. Not odd that I was experiencing the kind of deeply mystical moment I secretly always wanted to have. No, I simply walked through this altered reality and knew this …way of seeing… was natural to me.
…But on the long hypnotic trip back north, while I drove us, up Interstate 75, to IH 85, to IH 95, eyes straight ahead, ears cocked for the slightest sounds of distress from my passengers…I simply gripped the wheel of the car until my hands cramped, driving my dementia-addled mother and my precious dying husband back north, to where I could watch them both slip away from me…
…Lester Worsham sent a fruit basket, so big I could barely lift it, along with the perfectly phrased note of sympathy. I gave the basket to my elderly neighbor, as fast as I could get it out of the house. I just hoped she wouldn’t turn up poisoned.
…My dreams were getting wild, at times even surreal, like the whole universe was flowing around me. Morning after morning I woke up, often not quite recalling what I’d seen, where I’d been, during the night, but feeling like subterranean forces were carrying me toward some destiny I couldn’t begin to imagine.
I knew something strange was coming toward me.
And I wasn’t wrong.
…The woman, the source, finally agreed to meet me, at a Shoney’s restaurant in Brentwood. I got there just before 6 p.m., the place half-deserted, not a good sign at the supper hour. I recognized her from her own description, auburn hair, done up (though she’d left out the startling shade), and blue print blouse. She had a hard edge to her face, looked like a smoker; like a smoker who wanted a cigarette really badly. I ordered coffee just to keep her company with hers, very aware that she was jittery from more than the caffeine and nicotine.
…I paced the living room for a few minutes, seriously considering leaving Washington, now, today, forever; determined, at the least, to quit my job, put as much psychic and geographic distance as money could buy between me and everything I’d worked for.
The rational side of me – what was left of it– suggested that before I burned all my bridges, maybe I needed to take a breather.
I tossed my laptop on the sofa, threw on my sneakers, and left the apartment for a walk, fleeing toward fresh air like a bat out of hell.
…I hadn’t had this much human interaction in months. All of a sudden handsome joggers came out of the woodwork to threaten my life. Now people were materializing out of the trees. Some freak reflection off a windshield from the road above, I told myself, there had to be some logical explanation for what even now I was writing off as an optical illusion.
Maybe I should have been more scared.
Maybe I just couldn’t get any more scared than I already was.
…Our drinks came and macho guy leaned in across the table. He told me I wasn’t going to believe what he was going to tell me. He seemed to be amused by that possibility, which I found a little annoying.
“Shoot”, I said, bracing myself for crazy.
And here came crazy, all right. They were from the future, he confided…
…Either way, I just seemed to be along for the ride now… The only link I could find to normal reality was to ponder the choice between delivery pizza or take out Chinese.
I mean really, like I was going to cook for company myself? Now that would really be science fiction…
…Unnerved, I blurted out the first thing my scattered mind came up with.
“Actually,” I said, “I think I’m the murder victim.”
…Time to go. Lady Macbeth, with blood on her hands.
I had a fleeting image of this crowd in kilts. No weirder than the truth, I thought.