Great stories about good people caught in difficult situations.


Chapter Four Hundred and three : Enter the guides

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CHAPTER FOUR HUNDRED and THREE

Jill ran toward the deck. The elderly man turned to his right.

“Who is this man?” the elderly man demanded.

Ooljee’s grandmother started across the grass. As she passed Gando, he pushed Mike off him and followed her. The elderly man turned to his right and asked, “Who is this man?”

Jill reached the stairs. She tried to get to Jacob, but Heather held her in place. As the elderly woman passed Ooljee, she said something in Navajo and Gando picked up Ooljee. Mike followed them onto the deck. The Native Americans moved past Jill and onto the deck. The elderly man turned to his right again.

“Who is this man?” the elderly man asked on last time.

As if he were listening, he tipped his head to the left. Having not moved from her spot at the table, Delphie looked around and nodded in recognition at something no one else could see. On the grass, the children and Edie gawked at the spectacle.

“Jacob!” Valerie screeched as she ran out of the house.

She hurled herself between Jacob and the elderly man only to be caught by Mike. Not a quitter, Valerie fought to get away, but Mike held her firm.

“This man’s father is near,” the elderly man said.

He looked at them in such a way that it was clear that his vision was not clear.

“Where is this man’s father?” the elderly man said.

“Dad!” Valerie wailed.

Sam Lipson stuck his head out of the back. He looked at Valerie and then at the scene before him. Blinking, he nodded to the man.

“Mr. Peaches?” Sam asked.

“Your son has lost his name,” the elderly man said. “He is in grave danger of being lost to this world.”

“Sir, while I respect your culture, I don’t have a dang idea what you’re talking about,” Sam said. “What exactly are you saying about my son?”

He straightened himself up. A lifetime of wielding a hammer and leading men was apparent in his “Big Sam” posture.

“Is this your son?” the elderly man asked.

“Yes, that is my son,” Sam said.

“Son of your loins,” the elderly man said.

“Yes,” Sam said. “He is my wife, Celia, and my son. I was there when he was made and there when he was born if that’s what you mean. I’ve been there as much as I possibly can be through his entire life.”

“This is good,” the elderly man said. “You have just improved his chances.”

He spoke in Navajo to his wife and Gando. The elderly man put his shoulder under Jacob’s shoulder. His wife took the other side. They lifted him from where he sat. The elderly man said something to Gando, who nodded.

“They need a place to work,” Gando said.

The elderly man said something in Navajo.

“Is there a place that he’s been drawn to?” Gando asked. “Someplace outdoors, maybe.”

“He’s been sitting outside on the deck over there.” Mike pointed to the deck outside the medical offices. “I’ve found him there a few times.”

Gando said something to his father and the elderly man replied.

“That will work,” Gando said. “But we need privacy. Can it be made private?”

“Anything can happen,” Sam said. He moved to stand in front of the elderly people. “Nothing’s going to happen until you tell us what is going on.”

“We don’t have time for that,” the elderly man said.

“I explain after we get them set up,” Gando said.

“I can help,” Delphie said.

“Will that satisfy?” the elderly man asked

“Will that satisfy?” the elderly man asked. The power in his voice caused Sam to step back. “Your son is in grave danger. We need a cot and a place to work. With any luck, we will find and retrieve his soul, and possibly his name.”

“What are you talking about?” Valerie asked.

Jill began to cry. Heather hugged her. The elderly man ignored them.

“Has this man had an injury?” the elderly man asked. “Possibly to his heart?”

“He was in the Sea of Amber,” Delphie said.

The elderly man stifled a gasp. His brown skin paled a shade. He patted his heart rather than ask the question again.

“He had a piece of metal next to his heart,” Jill said. “When he was injured a few years ago. It was removed.”

“Yes, that explains it,” the elderly man said with a nod. “Will you help us get to this spot in the sun and air?”

Sam grunted. Without much effort, he picked up Jacob in a Fireman’s hold. He carried him across the grass to the stairs to the office. Mike ran after him and caught them at the bottom of the stairs. Together, they got Jacob up the stairs. The Native Americans, including Ooljee, followed close behind.

“Jill?” Delphie asked. “You know where the cot is?”

“You’ll explain when I get back?” Jill asked.

“I will,” Delphie said.

Jill jogged into the house. A few minutes later, she appeared on the deck with a cot. Sam and Mike helped Jacob onto the bed. The elderly people said something to Jill, and she looked over at the rest of them.

“They want Blane to be here,” Jill yelled across the grass to Heather.

“I’ll call,” Heather said. She took out her cellphone and dialed the number.

Jill nodded. Ooljee’s grandmother hugged Jill. After a few minutes, Jill made it down the stairs and returned to the deck. They watched the deck in a kind of stunned silence. Mike came down the stairs and picked up on of the metal fire pits. He carried it up to the deck. Gando and Mike came down the stairs for firewood. While the elderly man spoke, Sam looked at the railing. He turned and nodded before making his way down the stairs. Gando and Mike dropped the wood on the deck. The elderly people said something and Mike nodded. He followed Sam down the stairs. Gando followed Mike down the stairs. He jogged across the grass. They heard a car door slam and Gando returned with an arm full of blankets and what looked like a heavy travel bag. He reached the deck, and his father opened the bag. The tiny Ooljee took a blanket from her great-uncle. Her grandmother helped the child wrap Jacob in the blanket.

“They want you and me and Blane,” Sam said. “But not until they’ve set up. Ms. Peaches said that we would have to be there until it’s completed.”

“How long is that?” Valerie asked.

“She didn’t know,” Sam said. “Days. But they were clear. We either lose Jacob or they bring him back. As his biological family, he needs us here to ‘follow the line of family home.’”

“And Katy?” Jill asked. “The boys?”

“They said it was too dangerous for the children,” Sam said. “In fact, they asked that ‘the fairy take the babies inside,’ or that’s what Mr. Peaches said.”

“Edie?” Jill asked.

She turned to find Edie was standing behind her.

“I will take them inside,” Edie said. She turned to Sam and asked, “Did he say where they would be safe?”

“I will take them inside,” Edie said. She turned to Sam and asked, “Did he say where they would be safe?”

“Energy neutral location,” Sam said. “I think that’s the …”

“Chapel,” Delphie said at the same time Sam did. Delphie continued, “You should be quite comfortable down there. There’s a little sleeping space in the back.”

Edie nodded. She blinked and the children disappeared from the grass.

“Just pretend we walked by you,” Edie said.

She raised her hand in a wave and disappeared. Heather got off the phone and nodded.

“Blane is on his way here,” Heather said. “We’ll do whatever we need to do to help.”

Jill nodded.

“They will need people to support them and us,” Sam said. “They asked for Jill and the ‘Goddess.’ Gando asked about Jill’s family. I told them what Delphie always says: ‘They are from an old line of healers from Rus.’ He said that any of Jill’s family could help. Mr. Peaches asked if we could contact Rodney and Akeem. They’ve been taking drumming lessons from him. They will need drumming help and people to watch the fire. Since Alex and her family aren’t here, we need to pitch in.”

Jill nodded.

“But,” Sam took a full breath, “I’m not doing anything until I hear what the hell is going on.”

He raised his eyebrows in irritation at Delphie.

“We have to wait for …” Delphie started.

Gando arrived from the deck next to the medical offices.

“What the hell is going on?” Sam asked.

“It would be best if we moved inside,” Gando said.

Delphie got up from her seat. She patted Sam’s heart and started indoors.

“We should go in,” Delphie said.

Heather put her arm over Jill’s shoulder and they went inside together. Mike took Valerie’s hand, and they went inside. Sam followed Delphie and Gando inside.

“Where should we …?” Valerie asked.

“Let’s make ourselves comfortable in the living room,” Delphie said.

Jill went to the refrigerator and took out a pitcher of lemonade.

“Sandy’s cookies are in a tin in the pantry,” Jill said to Heather.

Heather grabbed the tin. Jill put the pitcher on a tray and added glasses. When Jill and Heather got to the living room, Sam and Delphie were sitting on the couch. Valerie was sitting on Mike’s lap in an armchair. Jill set the tray down on the coffee table. Heather opened the tin and set it down beside the drinks.

“Help yourself,” Delphie said. She leaned forward to pour herself and Sam a glass of lemonade.

Jill grabbed a chocolate chip cookie before finding a spot in an armchair. Heather sat down in a chair near Jill. Gando Peaches stood in front of them.

“Can you tell us anything?” Valerie asked.

Gando nodded. He looked at Delphie, who gestured that he could start.

“I think you first have to understand a few things,” Gando said. “In modern science, we know that every creature on this planet, from animals to plants, shares the same genetic material. Our DNA is 80% similar to the DNA of cattle, for example, but only 60% similar to the DNA of chickens.”

He looked around the room to see if everyone was following him. When they were, he pressed on.

“We come from an ancient tradition,” Gando said. “We don’t look at our DNA for similarities. We believe the entire world is sacred as well as every creature in it. We feel our similarity with everything in this world, and so we feel our place in the world.”

Gando nodded. Jill scowled.

“How does that relate to Jacob?” Jill asked. Her voice cracked with emotion. “He’s been sick and is getting sicker. Now you show up out of nowhere and say he’s dying!”

Gando gave her a compassionate nod.

“Jacob is infected with something that is slowly pushing him out of his body,” Gando said. “It can happen to anyone. In his case, it sounds like he had a severe shock and was stuck in this Sea of Amber. My father had heard of it. What is it?”

“It was the historic home of the serpent,” Delphie said.

“The Sea is said to be created out of despair,” Heather said. “When humans or any earth inhabitant, really, feel despair the Sea grows. Human suffering brings about the birth of the serpent.”

“The serpent?” Gando asked.

“An ancient species,” Delphie said. “With the improvement in human conditions, the Sea has dwindled. The Serpents made a plan to revive their species by sending a breeding pair here. We happened to kill them both.”

“And all of their offspring,” Jill said.

“So, you’ve seen these things?” Gando asked.

“Alex and her team helped us,” Heather said.

“Well, Alex,” Gando shrugged. “You never know what those guys are doing. My niece is on their team. I don’t think they know half the time.”

Everyone nodded. Gando looked at the ceiling for a moment.

“Has Jacob had a significant shock?” Gando asked.

“He has been selling his company,” Valerie said. “Our company, Lipson Construction. He found out that he didn’t have to work there anymore.”

“That sounds like a good thing,” Gando said.

“He found out as a surprise,” Sam said. “They thought he’d be happy.”

“He started to get worse around then,” Jill said with a nod.

“The work probably kept him going,” Gando nodded. “Good, that’s helpful.”

They fell silent for a moment while Gando looked at the ground.

“Is Jacob becoming a serpent?” Valerie asked the question that terrified her.

“A serpent?” Gando asked. “He can’t transform into something other than what he is. Without his soul in place, though …”

Gando shrugged. Seeing the fear on everyone’s face, he continued.

“One thing is that he is very loved,” Gando said. “My father said that he’s never had so many show up when he called the four winds. Human spirits, angels, powerful beings. Your Jacob is a great man. He is very loved. That will help him in the struggle ahead. But you should be clear: this is his struggle. We can only guide.”

“It was quite a crowd,” Delphie said with a nod.

“Your dad asked about his heart,” Jill said.

“Somehow this poison got into the center of his being,” Gando said. “His heart has been invaded. It’s likely that the injury he had to his heart was never energetically sealed.”

“I was in the Sea of Amber,” Delphie said. “It didn’t affect me.”

“Why is that?” Gando asked.

“I’m not sure,” Delphie said. “I had a stroke, so you’d think that it would get into my brain.”

“Did you heal energetically?” Gando asked.

“Probably,” Delphie said. “Energetic boundaries are a part of my tradition as an oracle. Jacob knows how to do it. He even knows how important it is that he does it, but …”

“He doesn’t,” Gando said. “I know this. It’s hard for us active men to take care of this energetic crap.”

“Things have been crazy since you got back from the Sea of Amber,” Jill said.

“Things around here are always soap opera crazy,” Delphie said.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

“Things around here are always soap opera crazy,” Delphie said.

“He hasn’t had anything to do really since he left Lipson,” Valerie said. “He finished the Marlowe School. The rehab work continues to unfold under the care of his teams. Tanesha’s house is done. Sandy’s studio.”

“Most of the work here is done,” Delphie said.

“He’s lost connection to his work,” Gando said with a nod. “That’s helpful.”

“How will you help him?” Jill asked.

“We will call him back,” Gando said. “My father is a powerful shaman, second only to Ooljee. The child is young but powerful. In her short years, she has apprenticed in a few sacred shamanic traditions. My mother is no slouch.”

“Nor are you,” Mike said.

Gando nodded.

“We will give him all that we have,” Gando said.

“Why?” Sam asked. “Why would you disrupt your life like this?”

“Healing is our life,” Gando said. “This is our life. We heal where we see the need. We trust that we will be guided to what needs us the most. Today, it was your son, Jacob.”

“How likely is it that you’ll …” Jill stopped talking. “Or that the …”

“A lot of it depends on him,” Gando said. “And you. Sam, Valerie, you will need to be solid in your desire to have him return home to his body. And there’s another?”

“My husband, Blane,” Heather said.

“The acupuncturist?” Gando asked.

Heather nodded.

“Great,” Gando said. “He may have some ideas from his tradition to help.”

Gando nodded.

“If you don’t have any further questions, I should help set up,” Gando said.

“We need to build a blind around the deck,” Sam said.

“I’ll help,” Mike said.

“I’ll help,” Valerie said. When Gando gave her a questioning scowl, she added, “My father and brother are carpenters. I grew up with a hammer in my hand.”

“Go to know,” Gando said. “In the meantime, Jill and Heather, can you make a few items for us?”

“What do you need?” Jill asked.

“We need as pure of water as you can come up with,” Gando said. “You’re a healer?”

Jill nodded.

“if you can infuse the water with some healing, that will be helpful,” Gando said. “It’s best if it’s cool but not cold.”

He turned to give Heather an assessing look.

“My father says that you are a Goddess of some power,” Gando said.

Heather shrugged.

“We need support for the singers and drummers,” Gando said. “Can you help?”

“Anything,” Heather said. “Do you need food?”

“We will fast until it’s done,” Gando said.

“How long?” Sam dared to ask.

“A traditional sing is three days,” Gando said. “We will know how he’s doing sooner than that. In a case like this, it could happen right away or take a long time. A lot depends on what he has inside of him.”

Gando gave them a sad smile.

“There is a chance that this won’t work,” Gando said.

“Then what?” Mike asked.

“His body will be alive and his soul will be gone,” Gando said. “In modern Western tradition, this is usually seen as a kind of madness or insanity. He will have to be institutionalized or …”

“Or?” Delphie asked.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

“Or?” Delphie asked.

“He won’t survive,” Gando said with a nod. He sighed, before adding, “Don’t give up hope. There is a lot of good here. He is loved both on earth and in the heavens. He has a strong family and warriors around him. He can fight this.”

“He told me not to give up on him,” Jill said in a soft voice.

“That’s very good,” Gando said. “That means he is fighting. It means he doesn’t want this darkness in his life.”

They were silent as they absorbed the information.

“You know what?” Jill stood up from her seat. “I have killed serpents, danced with fairies, birthed twins, lost fortunes, started college, and live a lot of life since I came to know Jacob. I simply refuse to believe that we will not get through this.”

Her triumphant words fell on silence as everyone looked up at her.

“Come on!” Jill said. “We have Rachel through our love for her. Honey survived when she shouldn’t have survived. Heather and Sissy were shot. Charlie was beaten up. My boys, gosh, just recently we saved the Blue Fairy and the kids helped a lot of lost kids souls head home to their families and friends.”

Jill nodded.

“We can do this,” Jill said. “We’ve done it before.”

“We can do this,” Sam said. He stood up to hug Jill.

“We can totally do this,” Heather said with a grin.

“Fuck yes,” Mike said. He put his arm around Jill.

“I’m in,” Valerie said. “My whole life has been a long shot. Having Mike return from the dead. Becoming a real actress. Having my dad back in my life. Jackie!”

Valerie hugged her father and put her arm around Mike.

“We can do this,” Valerie said.

“By heaven, by Olympia, by earth, and sun, we will sing our Jacob home,” Delphie said.

“Good,” Gando said with a smile.

Sam patted his back and started toward the carriage house for a hammer and nails. Valerie jumped off Mike’s lap. They followed Sam out to get tools.

“Water,” Gando said.

“Got it,” Jill said. “I’ll call my family. They can help, too.”

She and Heather moved into the kitchen to get the supplies ready. Valerie followed them close behind leaving Gando and Delphie in the room by themselves.

“Tell my fortune,” Gando said. “I feel very anxious as if this experience will change my life in some profound way.”

Delphie looked deep into his eyes.

“Will I die here?” Gando asked.

“No,” Delphie said. “You will finally live without barriers. You’re right, something is coming. It is not what you expect.”

He nodded.

“Should we call in the fairies?” Delphie asked.

“Know any fairies?” Gando asked.

“Jacob is of the line of Queen Fand,” Delphie said.

“Good to know,” Gando said. “Frankly, I’d call in every helper you can possibly find. We will need them before the end.”

Delphie nodded. Gando put his hand on her shoulder before leaving the room. Delphie stood in the living room of the Castle for a moment. The ghost of her best friend and Jacob’s mother, Celia, appeared by her side.

“I’m frightened,” Celia said.

“You should be,” Delphie said. “We should all be terrified.”

“What do you see?” Celia asked.

“A great battle,” Delphie said. “Fought in multiple times. The outcome has not been decided.”

“And these people?” Celia asked. “Should we trust them?”

“They are the only ones who can lead the charge,” Delphie said with a nod. “They were sent here by spirit, called in by everyone’s loved for Jacob.”

Delphie looked off toward where Jacob’s body lay. For a moment, she stood in silence before whispering, “Time to get busy.” With that, she went to organize the support teams.

Denver Cereal continues next week…

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