Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What To Live For

'"So can I, maybe, have a set of wings?"  Larry asked.  "I've always wanted wings since I was a little kid."

"I know I know,"  Rick said.  "I want to be really, really fit and strong so I can run marathons."

Omega laughed a little bit.  "I don't think evolution works that way.  And God rarely gives us things that we can do for ourselves.  Rick,  if you want to be fit enough to run marathons, you can do that yourself.  It takes eight or ten or maybe 20 generations to begin to grow a tail or some itty bitty wings.  Maybe more, Larry.  The thing that is clear to me is that God is still at work, helping plants and animals adapt to their environments, and God is still at work with humans."

The gang was sitting on the edge of a lake, looking at the night stars, waiting for the next thing to happen.  It was late at night, and getting later.

"I think God is more interested in getting us to be better humans,"  Tim said.  "Maybe we love more or we take care of more people."

"So, the history is this,  and Marcus, lots of this hasn't happened for you just yet."  John-John starts to teach.   "The early Greeks figured out democracy, but they only figured it out for some people.  The Jews were the people who taught everybody about one God,  but it was a God who could blast whole populations of people who lived and worshiped different gods or more than one.  So, there was some room improvement there."

"When Jesus came along, he focused on God's love for everybody, a new idea, and that started lots of churches, and out of those churches came schools and hospitals and the hospitality of the monks and the nuns,"

"Omega," Larry asked.  "Did you know Jesus?"

"Yep,"  Omega said.

"Then the Magna Carta was signed in 1215 A.D.  which required that a nation, England,  follow the rule of law rather than the whim of a king.  It was the foundation for the laws of lots of European nations.  Now, people can't imagine living a life without law and order,"  John-John explained.

"It was the basic for our own government and the Constitution,"   Rick took it a step further.  "That was an immense step in human rights and dignity for all.  It was based on Democracy, but it took it a lot further than the Greeks.  It was Democracy for everybody.  Although we did have that slavery thing going.  That blew up with the civil war and slavery was banned forever within our borders.  More human rights and equality came to fruition in the 1950s with a grand focus on Civil Rights."

"So you've been improving, growing in law and human dignity for a long time,"  Omega said.  "It's a hard, hard fight to make things right,  but somebody righteous said this,  'The arc of history bends toward justice.'  It's not only beautiful, it's right.  Humans have gotten better, stronger, smarter, more law abiding, more generous, more worthy.  You kids have a lot to live for."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Ribbit in Time

"So," Larry said.  "How do you believe in evolution, when nobody has actually seen an animal 'evolving'?"

"We've seen the outcomes of animals evolving,"  Julie said.  "Little bird that have fat beaks and can't get into little cracks in the wood to get the bug they want for lunch.  Couple of generations late, maybe ten or twelve, the beaks get skinnier and sharper.  That's sorta of how it works."

"But," Marcus said.  "We didn't have a theory of evolution in Rome.  But we figured out that you had to grow and change, or else you died.  Or your species did.  That much was pretty clear."

"Who says,"  Larry continued.  "That we're as evolved as people are gonna get.  That's we're the best we can be.   Or ever will be."

"Then we're in big trouble," Cheryl said,  grinning a little bit.

"I think my Dad," Omega said.  "loves you however you come, fat beak and all."

Everybody was on an island in a little river, more of a creek.  They'd been able to wade, and they made a camp fire and were toasting marshmallows.  Now they were sitting around the fire as the day dimmed into dusk.  Larry looked at the sand beside him.  He'd sensed movement and as he looked to see what it was, he heard a little croak.  A little frog was crouched in the sand beside him, looking at Larry with big eyes and a wild tongue that shot out a grabbed flies.

"So, you needed a long tongue, more than you needed wings or an adult tail?"  Larry asked.

"Ribbit,"  the little frog said.

"I remember a song from church camp when I was a little kid,"  Cheryl said.

"What that?"  Larry asked.

"My froggie he am a queer bird.  He ain't got not tail almost hardly.  He run and he yump and he land on his sit, where he ain't got no tail almost hardly," Cheryl warbled.

"Ribbit.  Ribbit."

And the little frog jumped into the darkening shadows along the bay, leaving little ripples where he had been..

"I wonder what he might  need next?"  Larry asked.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What Happened, and When Did It Happen? Story 4

"Some parts of this life are one big puzzle,"  Rick said.

"Whaddiya mean?"  Omega said.

"Well, you've got great Christians who don't believe in evolution, and you've got other great Christians who think evolution is a very important clue in how things occur out in the wild." Suze said.  "I'm sorta confused by that too."

"Yeah," Larry said.  "It's like Alpha did everything in seven days, in one big whump,  and then he didn't do anything else.  There's been a change or two in the mean time.  Was he happy with that?  Did he have any part of that?"

Marcus said,  "In my Africa, there are millions of animals.  Million and kazillions of 'em.  Did Alpha design each one of them?  Give them different lives and different things to eat?  Like you either get snakes for lunch or maybe coconuts.  I mean, who knows?

The kids were setting in the backyard of the old, abandoned church.  It had somehow got put back together,  like a dream.  They were sitting around a fire pit, eating hot dogs, and drinking rootsy pops.  It was the time of night when the big questions came out.  Ones that kids like to think about.

"Well, I don't have any trouble with little birds who have a beak  that is the wrong size and the wrong shape to get at it's favorite worm, and in time, the beak begins to get longer and leaner, until, one day, it fits exactly in the worm hole,"  Tim said.  "To me, that's a God thing.  Using  the available biology to get where you need to go."

"Yeah, I think so too."  Julie said.

"It's like you've been doing something wrong for your whole life, and then one day, you understand where you went wrong, and how to fix it,"  Cheryl said.  "So you do.  It's like God finally give you the tools to fix it."

"So, Omega.  Is your Dad still at work on us?"  Larry asked.  "That seems to me to be the big question,"

Monday, August 26, 2013

Big, Globby, Sloppy, Sleepy Monsters

The used-to-be ghosts grew taller and stronger,  more handsome by the moment.  But there were moans,  rattles, whispers, and burps filtering through the stadium.

"We didn't know we were wonderful kids.  We were just trying to get the goods and get out.   These sounds make us little nervous," Jeremy said.  "We didn't know that being Children of Alpha was a big, big help, and that being good-hearted was important.  Just didn't know."

Omega smiled at them and they begin to glow in the light of love, health, direction, talent and learning.  The ghosts actually had a future ahead of them, granted their future was in a very different place.

The noises got louder and louder.  Out of the corner of his eye Petey spotted a big, globby, sloppy, sleepy monster with one eye.  And then another, and then another.   Thousands were climbing out from under the seats, slurping and burping their way toward Omega, and the whole gang.  The monsters were greyish,  flat, circles, more like sting rays.

"What are you guys?  Tim asked.

"We're the monsters under the bed.  Sometimes we hide out in closets too.  We're pretty scary," the first monster said.  And he burped.

"Really?"  Petey said.  "Are you out to get us?"

"If we can catch you. . . "  the first monster said.

"Fat chance!"  Omega said.  And he held out his hands and bolts of lightning flew out of his finger tips, and landed on each of the monsters.  Petey thought they were going to have fried monster for dinner.
But each little blast of lightning changed the monsters into baby angels.  "Putti" the Italians call them.  They were little fat baby angels, and they began to play and tumble over each other.  And the burps and slurps turned into the sweet giggles and a few coos.  Love.

Soon, all the monsters were turned into babies with wings.

Cheryl, Suzie, and Julie were in love with the angels and kissed their little feet and sang songs to them.
The football stadium turned into a great, big playpen for little angels.

Alpha turned the bad monsters into baby angels, and the ghostie boys into tall, strong, talented knights of love and heart.  Omega said, "We get to have adventures, and we get to meet people, and  things more or less turn out for the best.  Now I'm gonna take them all home and check in with Alpha.  Try not to get into too much trouble until I get back."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Your Real and True Self

The stadium is dark and silent.  Omega and the gang, and the three tag-along ghosts are standing in the center of the field.  It's completely silent, odd for such a raucous place on a Saturday afternoon.

Then, almost silently comes the fluff of wings.  The sound, muffled and dignified, erupts until it sounds like the sky is filled with wings.   And then they appear.  Thousands of angels appear, hovering in midair.

They are a different kind of angel.  Most of the angels the gang thought about were sweet, womanly, and ethereal.  These angels were men, masculine, massive angels with golden shields, scarlet capes, and a 50 foot wingspan.  They were the ones singing Hosannah, swells of gorgeousness.

Omega stood up, front and center.  "Why are you here?"

"We are here to escort our three boys home—if they wish to come," the angel said.  "Do you wish to find your real and true selves and your real and true home?" he asked the three ghosts.

"Well, yeah, but,"  Harry said.

"Yes, or no," the angel said.  "Be very clear."

"Take a chance on yes," Omega coaxed.

"Yes."  Harry said.

"Yes," Buddy said.

"Yes, Sir!"  Jeremy said.

The three boys were outlined in silver, as the whispy, flimsy, greyish ghostly part of themselves faded, and the flesh and blood part of themselves, grew more and more solid until the boys were taller, more muscular, and, by the looks of things, utterly handsome lads, whom they could have been had they achieved their real, true selves.

They were magnificent.

"Do you wish to be forgiven for all of the mean, naughty things you have done?"  Omega asked.

"Yep," said Buddy.   All of us do.  I think that doing mean, naughty things changed who we were."

"Good thing," Petey said, "that when you know how to do better, you do better."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What Scares A Ghost.

"Anybody remember the ghosts?"  Tim was huffing and puffing.

There's nothing quite like having your  own tornado dismantle the very church you were standing in, leaving nothing but your self intact.  That spurred a hasty retreat.  The kids grabbed Marcus who didn't know what had happened. They raced to the nearest cliff outside of town and hid behind an immense rock.

"Rocks, I understand,"  Marcus said.

Up strolled Omega, Petey, and John-John, calm as the dawn.

"Did that make you all nervous?"  John-John asked.

"Oh, yeah,"  Larry said.  "What happened to the ghosts? Did we leave them behind?"

"Nope," Harry said.  "We were right behind you the whole time.  It takes a lot to scare a ghost.  That did it."

"Is there some place we could hide?"  Buddy said.

"How about the football stadium?"  Larry said.  "It's big, there are lots of places to hide, and the whole thing is set in concrete."

Off they go.  Marcus is still completely confused.  But Tim and Rick keep everybody together, even the  ghosties that are not entirely visible.  In about half an hour, they had found an unlocked door and had squirmed their way into the heart of the stadium.

The kids, Omega and his team, and the ghosts found a place on the football  field, and sat down, knees to knees.  They all felt safer when they could see everybody.  Even the ghosts sat, or softly drifted, inside the circle of knees.

The low rumbles started slow, more of a vibration, than a song.  It kept building, and kept building, until the whole stadium was buzzing with electricity.  The energy coalecsed into a sound, a lovely, multi-harmony rhythm, a song.  Hosannah.  Hosannah.  Hosannah.  

A song of Praise.

"No ghost mocks Alpha,"  Jeremy whispered.  "We know better."

Hosannah.  Hosannah.  Hosannah.

"Doesn't sound like anybody is gettin' fried,"  Tim said.

"Alpha doesn't fry people.  He tries to save everybody.  If there is one shred of goodness, one hint of a soft heart,  one breath that expresses a cares for anybody else. . ."  Omega said.

"So do people get fried?  At all?"  Julie wanted to know.

"The Fallen Angel of Dark Justice fries some people, but those people have to be really, really evil for a long, long time,"  Petey explained.  "They have to know that they are wrong-headed, doing bad, bad things—and not care.  And then, if they figure out they've been on the wrong, dark, sinister side of things, and try to be better, well, it may go better for them.  If they are just pretending, because if there's thing Alpha is good at, it's reading the human heart, then the pretending goes against them."

Hosannah.  Hosannah.  Hosannah.

"But if there is a sliver of good within you,"  John-John said.  "Maybe a day when you were kind to a kitty-or a kid; maybe you had a life that was miserable but you tried really hard to get even a few things right; maybe your poor heart loved, even a little bit.  Then you stand a chance."

It was one o'clock in the morning, and the place, except where the street light lit up the interior was as black as the far side of the moon.  And then a strange thing started to occur; the objects inside the stadium began to glow, to shine a little bit.  After awhile, it looked like the interior of the stadium was consumed with fire, except for this:  Nothing burned up, nothing was harmed by the heat.  It flared into a stadium-wide flame, floor to ceiling.

"It's a purification,"  John-John murmured.  "I wonder what needed cleaned up in here?"

"What about us?"  asked Harry.  "We're still really nervous around fire and flames.  And this is coming too dang close for comfort."

Hosannah.  Hosannah.  Hosannah.

The Hosannahs made the concrete floor vibrate, in fact, the whole place felt alive with a non-earthly energy.  Big, big, big energy.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Good Enough Ghosts

"Do you guys know Alpha?"  Harry asked.
"I'm part of his family," Omega said.  "Why?"
"We had a chance to go visit him when we died, but we didn't go,"  Buddy sighed.  "Hindsight. . . "
"Why didn't you go?"  Omega wondered.
"We  thought we could still get girls and have big fun, but we were wrong,"  Jeremy said.  "Oh, there are girls in our dimension, but I gotta admit, they are sort of creepy.   OK, they are really creepy."
"So we just try to scare the girls on the earth,"  Buddy said.  "Scare 'em real good."

"You guys all got girls,  how'd you do that?"  Jeremy asked.
"Yep,"  Larry said.  "Good ones too."
"How'd you do that?"  Buddy said.
"You gotta be a good guy," Tim said.
"Gotta be nice."
"Gotta be a love."
"Gotta be good."

"That kinda stuff?"  Buddy asked.
"Yep," said Rick.  "All that stuff."

"We thought all you had to be was cool."
"We thought all you had to be was sexy."
"We thought all you had to be was cute."

'You wish,"  Larry said.  "OK, it does help if you are cute."  Larry lifted both his eyebrows, a tease,
and grinned.

"Girls don't like it if you are weak."
"Girls don't like it if you are mean."
"Girls don't like it if you are dumb and lazy."

"Mainly,"  Omega said.  "You have to be alive.  That's basic."

"Oh, all right," Harry said.

Then a roaring sound reached the basement windows and rattled the window frames.  The crew walked upstairs to see what was happening.   The sound of the wind got bigger and bigger, and then bigger again.  Bigger.  The old church began to rattle and cracks appeared in the walls.  Then a turret fell off, and a steeple or two, the front foyer.  Bricks began to fly in every direction at once.  The sound was horrendous.  The screaming heebee jeebees.  The sounds of nails being  pulled out of boards left chills and goose bumps on Larry's arms.  Tim's tummy was queasy.     Hymnals flew every which way.  Pews, or those long benches, flew upwards toward the ceiling, then crashed back towards the floor.

The every thing went quiet.  An eerie, creepy quiet.

The kids walked outside to see what had happened to the neighborhood.

Nothing had happened to the neighborhood.  The tornado had only one landing point.
The church.  The half block where the church stood was the only parcel to have damage.

"Did you do that?"  Omega asked, indicating the three teen ghosts,

"We can rattle tea cups."
"And we can squeaky open a door."
"We can moan and grown in the furnace pipes."

"But, we can do that,"  Harry said.  "We're not good enough ghosts."

Friday, August 2, 2013

Ghosts of a Feather Flock Together

"We wanted to be bad boys, so we could get girls,"  Harry said.  Harry was a sidekick. personified.  He wasn't the best looking kid of the group, he wasn't the smartest. Mainly he was along for the ride and any of the girls left over from his most charismatic and better-looking friend, Jeremy.   Bubby, the littlest guy of the three, barely a teen, barely knew that he was dead.  He was having trouble seeing his peeps.

They had a tendency to fade in and out, to lose definition, to drift a little bit.  On earth there are three forms of matter, the gasses, the liquids, and the solids.  On the ghost side of things, there is only an image and a little bit of squeaky.  Most of the time, when you hear a creaking door slowly shutting, it's a ghost who is having trouble gathering enough energy to shut a door.  Once in a great while, you can hear a door slam shut, but mostly you hear the creaky doors, because  it's the best a poor ghost can do.

"How did you get dead?"  Larry asked the fading ghosts.

"It got away from us one night," Jeremy said.  They had materialized enough that the sound of his voice was clear.  "We were drinking and driving, chasing girls and having a high old time.  We were going to fast in two many directions all at once.  

A pause.

"But that wasn't it,"  Jeremy smirked.  

Completely odious giggles errupted from the three ghosts.   

"So, OK, I was teasing.  Actually, it was drugs and alcohol.   We're were partying hard.  And way over did it one Saturday night.  Woke up on this side of the curtain."  

Another pause while the three boys seems genuinely caught up in the grief that surrounded their lives.

"But that wasn't it, either,"  Jeremy laughed and not in a good way.

Really vile giggles.

"So, sorry about that," Jeremy chocked back the laughter.  

"You are increasingly dumb and dumber,"  Rick was exasperated.

"Speak the truth,"  Omega  wasn't laughing.  

"We drove off a cliff, backwards, in the dark.  Drove over a curb, over a sandy patch, then rolled down the cliff, we were dead before we hit the bottom,"  Buddy explained.  "I was driving.  First time.   Wasn't drinking, wasn't doping.  Just didn't pay attention to the warning signs."  

"Not the first kid to have that kind of trouble," Alpha said.

"Apparently not the last,"  Tim muttered.

"Now, we're stuck with each other.  For time and all eternity.  No girls either.  No wonder we're little stinkers,"  Buddy was  ever-so-sad.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Ghost Writing in Chocolate

The hairs on the back of Larry' neck stood at attention.

Cheryl had made a three-story chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  It was for later, but everybody, at least once, lusted a chocolate lust.  It smelled heavenly.

But it was Larry that spotted it.  An invisible finger was writing in the chocolate on the top of the cake.

You could see the outline of a word on top of the cake.  Slowly with a few corrections, the letters were formed.

"I thought you didn't believe in ghosts," Tim said.  "This ghost is playing in our food."

"Having ghosts is sort of like having bed bugs.  You don't really want them, but there they are,"  Rick said.

"I don't think this ghost is so very scary," Cheryl said.

"Why is that?"  Omega said.

"It's what he wrote,"  Cheryl mused.

"What did he write?"

"Yummers!. . . "

And then the ghosts started to moan, and worked their way to to banshee screams.  The wind blew like a hurricane—in side the basement of the church.  The couch levitated about a foot off the floor and spun around six or seven times.

"Okay,"  Cheryl said.  "Stop it!."

All four guys got picked up and flung  across the room, smacked hard into the wall, and allowed to slide to the floor.

"I mean it!" Cheryl yelled.  "Stop that crapola now!"

"Oh, all right."  The very walls groaned and the words could be understood.  It sounded more like low rasping moans.

"What you are doing?"  Julie barked.  "That's not even your real voice. We just wanna know who you are and why you are here."

"Three.  Teen.  Boys,"  the walls reverberated.  "Lost in the Cosmos."

"Did you get stuck between heaven and earth?"  Cheryl again.

"Oh, yeah,"  the walls breathed.  "We just wanna have fun.  And scaring the bejeesus out of humans is fun."

"Most ghosts choose to stay here, rather than go to Alpha" Omega explained.  "They are a little bit nervous about some of their behaviors, like knocking people into walls and scaring them."

One of the steeples fell off the church.

"Oh, like that'll get you home,"  Omega chided the ghosts.

Very creepy giggles rang  throughout the basement.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

What You Can See and What You Can't. Story 3

The clock levitated, all by itself, a good foot off of the table, and propelled itself across the room, and whacked the wall hard.

"Geesh!" Larry said.

Omega, John-John, and Petey were living in the basement of an abandoned church.  The congregation had outgrown the church, moved out, and hadn't been able to sell it.  Out-moded churches, zoned in family neighborhoods, were not high on people's priorities.  Omega had asked if they could be the night watchmen, guards, and pay a little bit in rent.  The congregation kept the water and the electricity for them.  Since, they had "decorated" with yard sale finds:  aging bean bag chairs, cups and bowels decades old, old, but intact, couches that doubled as beds.  Living and serving on the dime.  And that's about it.

When all seven kids came over for a visit, the place was packed.  Marcus, the kid they'd encountered in Rome, stayed with Larry, and was picking up clues about this new world right, left, and center.  He was boggled by television and his mind was blown by computers.  Those things were not any part of his consciousness.  When he found out that kids his age were learning to drive big, honking machines, he ran away, screaming in terror.

A levitating clock didn't register either, nor did it register with any of the other kids.

"You think, maybe, ghosts?"  Julie asked.

"Maybe," said  John-John.  "The other things is this:  we've had odd things happen all month."

"Yeah,"  Petey explained.  "There were those screams in the night, and nobody here but us kids—and we were not screaming.  And then the oatmeal got changed into green Jello.  That was weird."

"Ghosts rank up there in weirdness as odd as computers and those mysterious little phones," Marcus was adamant.  "At least you can see computers and phones."

"Maybe you can see ghosts too,"  Larry said.

"You see ghosts?"  Omega asked Larry.

"Seein' 'em right now."

"What do they look like?"  Omega asked.

"They look like me and Tim and Rick."


"They are three teen-aged boys, laughing their heads off, cause they can scare the wits right out of us.  They can make noise and move things around, change stuff once in awhile."


"Oh, yeah.  And that's a problem for me."


"Cause I don't believe in ghosts."

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Cathedral Is Inside

The green dragon was leading Omega and the kids along a narrow, steep in places, up and down, up and down, for miles.  Because the rocks were newly phosphorescent, the was enough light to see, but it was  hot and the air was close, almost sticky.

Soon enough, they were following a river.  They weren't descending,  but they may have been going  all the way through the mountains.

And then they were there.

A massive, underground cavern, big as 10 city or suburban blocks.  All of the rocks were glowing, and the light softened the edges of things.  About half of the cavern was covered with a clay-like substance, that you could either burn or or knock off.

There was an area that looked like a altar or a big, big table. It glowed too, although the table was covered with pineapples, grapes, mangos, kiwis, beautiful plums and peaches, and egg plants, corn on the cob, all kinds of potatoes, yellow ones, golden ones, blue ones, purple one, with wrinkled tomatoes, sweet peas, and watermelon.

"Really?"  Petey asked.  "The dragon is a vegetarian?"

"Must be," Omega said.

"All that fire-breathing stuff,  just for show.  Apparently,"  John-John said.  "You see him set anybody on fire?"

"No."  Omega said.  "No,  not once."

The dragon purred.

The kids wandered respectfully throughout the underground cathedral.  About half of the magnificient space still had the clay covering, but the other half had been cleaned and polished to an astounding shine.  The soft, watery colors of gold, of lavender, pink, sky blue, silver, peach, and scarlet were burnished and the light seemed to come from within.  The were massive stalactites and stalagmites that touched the floor and the ceiling.  And astonishingly enough, the underground Cathedral was close to the surface so that there were slivers of life that left long trails on  the rock floors and walls.  It was a sacred space.

Jewels were everywhere on the clean side of the Cathedral.  Not so much on the clay side of the cathedral.  Jewels were encrusted on the table, in patterns on the walls, inlaid in the floors.  They caught the light and sparkled in their multiplied magnificence.

Rick was muttering under his breathe, "And I just thought he was some stupid reptile.  Turns out he is an artist, working on the most beautiful of projects.  So, why did you save his life, Omega?"

"Turns out green dragons are exceedingly rare.  Gotta be careful with them."

"Hey!!!!!!!"  Tim came around a big rock, carrying armfuls of straw.  "Hey!!!!!!!!  What are you guys doing here?" 

"What are you doing here?"  Larry demanded.

"The green dragon could get anything he wanted,  carrots mostly, from people's gardens.  And he could mine for jewels.  But he didn't have a decent bed.  So we are making him a bed."

"We?"  Cheryl asked.

"Me,"  Marcus appeared too.   "I'm helping too.  We found a great big woven piece a cloth, like a burlap sack, and we're laying it over branches and leaves, covered with straw.  It's beautiful too.  And our dragon, who'd been in a bad mood because he never slept, slept for three days, and woke up in a  beautiful mood.  That was so fun and it felt so good to help somebody else.  Wanna help?"

And the kids helped move around the stores of branches of leave, laid them carefully with golden straw.  The bed was about as big as a city block, so there was room for all of  the dragon, including his tail.   

The dragon responded with growls, with purrs, with yelps, with mild roars.  Clearly he loved his bed.  Suzie, Cheryl, and Julie crawled up on his giant arms and gave him big smooches on his cheeks.  He loved to be loved.  Pretty much like every being—kids, kitties, dogs, armadillos, and dragons— on this sweet earth.

Omega said, "Well, that about does it.  We've done what we are supposed to do.  Learned to love unlikely critters and help out where we can.  Turns out Alpha has pre-wired your brains so you feel good when you do good."  

And then Omega snapped his fingers.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Let Sleeping Dragons Lie

Omega, Petey, John-John, and five of the seven kids are walking down a path in the barren lands of Israel.  The landscape is mountainous, hot, the color of sawdust and copper,  Along the cliffs that tower above them are dark holes that signal a cave.  No where are seven caves clustered together.  They are trudging, hot, discouraged, and impatient.

"Well, Alpha said this was the road.  And, oh, there's the oasis.  I could use a cool drink of water," Omega nodded off to the left.  Everybody brushed the dust from their clothing and found the pool of water where they had long, cooling drinks from the spring  that fed the pool.  They shaded their eyes against the sun and leaned into the shade of the palm trees and the rocks.

"Look!" yelled Larry.  At a slant, higher up on the rocks, there were seven dark, foreboding holes along the cliffs, like beads on a chain.

"Let's go," commanded Omega.  "Oh, all right," muttered Rick, not particularly relishing the idea of the hike up.  Off they went, up and up and up into the cliffs, following a trail that sometimes disappeared and sometimes took off in odd directions.   They moved around the last corner of the trail and were at the mouth of the first cave.

"Ready?" Omega asked?  They  nodded one by one, moved silently into the coolness of the cave, and the darkness.  Soon enough, they were down on their hands and knees moving along the trail in the dark, feeling their way—away from stone drop-offs, sloping cliffs, a rushing, underground river, and mysterious holes in the dark.

"Ow!" shouted Larry,  Something big moved in the dark.  "Wonder what I stepped on?"

Our of the dark shot an arc of flame, coming straight at Omega.  It crashed against the rock wall, and fluttered out.  Omega stood.  Fist in the air.  And threw something as hard as he could, straight at the dragon.  It was a lightning strike, a snapping and popping, brighter than the eyes could handle lightning strike.  It exploded in mid-air, fell to earth harmlessly.

"Run for the river," shouted Omega.  "Get in the water, You'll be safe there,"

Another shot of flame lit up the room.  Then another and another and another.  The flames were coming at the kids and Omega faster than they could deflect or run from there, crashing against the rocks, leaving the dark stains of ash and flame.  They'd duck down into the water, come back up, gasping, needing air.

Every lightning bolt Omega threw malfunction and exploded in mid-air.  The dragon was untouched.
It reared up, prepared for one last massive blast.

It came.  Then all was quiet.  And even darker.

"Get him!"  Larry yelled.

Omega stood up and prepared for one last, killing strike.  His arms were high; he sizzled and buzzed with the power within him.  The dragon was spent, exhausted, lying helplessly in Omega's sight.

Omega looked into the dragon's blue-green eyes, which were weeping with the sadness of a too-soon departed life.  Omega lowered his hands, opened them in the fashion of love, open palms, out-stretched, peaceful.

"Alpha spared your life today, Dragon!  Neither do I take anything from you.   I leave you a gift.
The rocks will now be phosphorescent, glowing with life, lighting your way in this dark place.
You will be able to see your way clear, the rest of your life."

The dragon purred.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Oh! Jerusalem!

The dusty path stretched out in front of them.  Omega, Petey, and John-John led the way, trailed by Julie, Rick and Suzie, Larry and Cheryl.  They kept their eyes peeled for any sign of a flying green dragon, of their old friend, Tim, and their new friend, Marcus.

"I wanna Coke," Larry said.

"Wrong Century,"  Petey said right back.

"Wish we were in the high seas.  We might still drown, but we'd be cooler,"  Suze said.

"Hey! I think there's a town on the horizon, looks like they are building walls and such around the city," Rick mused.

"Not much of a city," Larry said.  "Every thing is made out of rocks.  Not much for a spiritual city.  Thought we were looking for Jerusalem, a grand place."

Omega explained, "It's a rebuilt city and it has a rebuilt temple.  Alpha wanted people to be really careful with His temples, and if you weren't you could fall over dead.  Sorta scary stuff."

"They are building a wall around the city,"  Rick said.

As the students walked into the heart of the city, they came to a flat place where the market and the ovens were.  It was too hot to keep big ovens in people's homes, so there were ovens in the core of the city, where you could bake the bread for your family.  Often, Alpha's prophets preached from the street corners, and they were sort of a strange lot.  One was there today.  He had wild, unwashed hair that was long enough to reach his belly; he wore linen robes and sandals, but they'd seen long walks between washes.  His eyes were wild.

"My name is Obed!" he shouted.  "And Alpha has told me to say these things, because there are beings here from far away and, maybe far into the future.  Oddly enough, he says they are older children, not yet men and women, no longer children.

"Do not become drunken and besotted on elixers that lie to you about important things!"  Obed pronounced these things with great power.

"Do not  open a girl's heart to love, then fail to love her!

"Honor Your Father and Your Mother!"

"Complain not so much, if you also fail to correct the very bad thing.

"Do not lie to thyself, nor to anyone else.

"Be hopeful for thy life.

"Love as many people as you can for as much as you can, for thy people are trying their very best.

"Be not disparaging about other people, for you do not realize what hardships they are trying to overcome.

"Be watchful for a young, beautiful God that is to come.

"Be not too sad for very long, nor very deeply, for you are of great worth.

"Be watchful and careful over thy sexuality, for otherwise, you can mess up thy brain and cause great harm to thy heart."

"Didn't we hear those someplace else?" asked Larry.

Obed looked at Omega, "Aren't you.  .  . ?"

"It's not my time."  Omega said.  "But tell us this,  is there a green dragon that lives around here?"

"There is," Obed said,  "He lives in the place of the Seven Caves."


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Danger On The Roiling Seas

A day later, they were afloat on their little boat headed east and south on the Mediterranean Sea.  The waves had sweet white caps on their tops, and the boat gave it's passengers swift dips and a few turn arounds.  But nothing scary.

"Marcus, you are a tall, skinny kid," Rick commented.  "Are your parents and your people of the same build?"

"Yep," Marcus replied.  "We come from the Congo-Burundi part of Africa.  Some of our kings are over seven feet tall, skinny, weighing no more than 150 or 160 pounds,  We love to dance, in wild  costumes with animal pelts, feathers, and gold and jewels. We tell stories, we live in houses that look like giant bee hives.   I expect I'll do the same kinds of things, if I can stay a free man. Not so easy in Roma."

"Do you know how to read and write?"  John-John asked.  "Our American kids can, wonder if your education extends that far?"

"No, I haven't had teaching, but I'd like to learn,"  Marcus said.

"Latin?"  John-John asked.

"That and Greek.  In my mom and dad's  world, I need both.  Then I never have to worry about being a slave who can only do hard labor.  I want to learn my numbers and math too."

"I can teach you,"  John-John said.  "I read and speak those languages.  Aramaic too."

"So, how come we understand you?"  Larry asked.

"Yeah?" Cheryl said.

"It's a God-thing,"  John-John said.

Out of nowhere, the sea turned upside down,  it seemed.  The waves became deep troughs and the winds blew in from every direction at once, whistling and screaming both.  The waters washed over the little boat and through the limbs, dripping back into the sea.  Everybody was hanging on for dear life; there was no steering in such a storm, and they were blown way off course.  The sky disappeared into the grey and black clouds.  They didn't know north from south, left from right, nor up from down.  They only knew they were in deep trouble.  Then, they heard a piercing scream, and watched with their mouths open, as Marcus lost his grip, and slipped over the side and was lost from sight.

Omega dived into the roiling waters, propelled as if he were a human spear.  He'd dive deep, come up for air, dive again, again, and again, coming up for air.  Still he came up empty.  Marcus was in the sea.  Omega couldn't find him.

Finally, he hauled himself on board of the little boat.   Sputtering and wheezing sea water, Omega said this, "I think  I saw the green dragon down there.  I didn't see Tim, though, and I didn't see Marcus.  I probably couldn't have held on to the green dragon, even if I could have caught him.  Two lost kids.  Gotta find them."

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Zeus's Beard

Only Marcus seemed unaffected by the roiling heat.  Everybody else, all six kids, Omega, Petey and John-John were stretching out in the shade of Olive trees and drinking water from a little spring.  They were on the edge of stone white cliffs that overlooked the beautiful sea just beyond them.  It was hot as mid-July in the American Southwest, and they needed water.

"Look!" Suzie said, pointing toward the sea.   "The deepest blue of the deepest blue.  The landscape of sea and sky."

"This must be Greece," Omega said.  "The birthplace of mathematics, philosophy, the sciences, law.  Gifted people."

"Let's get going," Omega waved the kids to their feet.  "I think we need to walk eastward, on to Athens. There's somebody there I want to meet."

The landscape changed as they walked on, going from wide open spaces and steep cliffs, to hamlets where people grew grapes for wine and olives for oil.  Then before them stood a smallish city, tiny by their standards, but graced with sculptures and temples, a place for the market.  In the middle of a market, sat a man on a three-legged stool, teaching and gesturing.  He was so lively and provocative in his thoughts and his opinions that people gathered around him, arguing and gesturing right back.

"Aristotle,"  Omega said.  "Alpha said he was right in many ways and would be proven so even into the 21st century, and really, really wrong in others.  Said he was worth meeting and talking to.  But then Alpha thinks that about everybody."

"The world is worth looking at," Aristotle shouted.  "Best pay attention.  As much as you can.  As close as you can.  Be meticulous in what you observe!"

"The difference between careful science and just fooling around is your ability to write down your  observations,"  Omega commented.

"What's meticulous?"  Larry whispered.

"Being careful to do something right.  To give it time and attention,"  John-John answered.

"Life itself is your teacher!"  Aristotle

"What about the things you can't see?"  Omega asked him.

Aristotle smiled and answered,  "Well, then you have a bit of a problem."

"There are dimensions and universes a plenty out there you can't see.  Beings and angels, maybe some ghosts, maybe some demons, some wandering souls who haven't made it home just yet.  There are kindnesses that people do that flavors the air we breathe with sweetness, wondrous music, the adventure of art and drama, true love. beauty, real live hope for our lives.  All of those are great gifts from Alpha, our creator,"  Omega explained.  "Stuff that's just hard to see."

"I love the thoughts of that.  I try to explain some of that stuff as 'forms,'  as the form of love or family.  But it just doesn't quite work or work for very long,"  Aristotle sighed.  "A grand creator?  Marvelous."

"Is there room in your form for the thought or the reality for green dragons?" Omega asked playfully.

"No," Aristotle smiled.  "I'd bet on Zeus's beard that there is no such thing.  I've yet to see one."

"There is in mine,"  Omega said.

Monday, June 24, 2013

How Alpha Speaks

"But, I think I need to go with you!"  Marcus  was adamant.

"Why?"  Petey said.

"Because there are adventures to be lived, there is love to be explored, and hope.  Lots and lots of hope.  You all act as if you are hopeful about your lives.  You are not lost souls nor are you slaves.  You don't act like dumb kids.  I think I need to check this out."  Marcus had been hanging out with them for the two or three days they were in Roma.

"Your folks O.K. with this?"  Omega asked.

"Yeah, I told them you were safe and healthy, and Roma is neither, especially for kids from another place.  We're not citizens here, just slaves.  And I want to be free.  I'm good to go."

"So, let's go," Omega said.  They were pushing their little craft out of the willows and into the tides.  Off they went.

Later in the day, the winds picked up on their pretty little sea.  The waves crested above the rim of their craft and soaked them again and again.  And then a haunting melody crept into their minds, until Suzie began to sing along with it, and the other kids realized they were all hearing and singing along with the melody.  Beautiful women's voices soared over the crashes over the waves, and soon enough, they were caught on a strong current and washed up upon an island in their sea.

A gorgeous woman met them in the island cove, but all the kids could see was the top half of her body and her long, dark hair.  She had on, what looked like the top part of a toga.  Every once in awhile, it looked like a tail close to her flipped out of the water.  Once the craft was up on dry land, the sound of the waves increased as the wind screamed past them, and the luxurious sound of women's voices invited them onto the island.

"Who are these girls?"  Julie asked.  "They don't speak as much as they sing and they draw us into island."

"All I know," Larry said, "Is that I wanna go!"

As the day drew to a close, the singing persisted, only now the sounds were not so beautiful.  In fact, it was more like off-tonal screams, really loud, and it felt like madness.    Omega cautioned them to stay inside their own  heads and to trust their own minds, and not let the sounds take over.  "That way is real craziness.  Stay away.  Don't sleep."

They could not see the legs of the hosts, which the kids did not understand.  In any way.

By drawn, the music subsided, and the kids were left with their minds more or less intact.  Larry sighed.    "Well, that was interesting,  I'm thinking we need to leave this island this morning and not look back.  I don't think I could hold onto my own mind for another night.  There was something those women wanted from me.  I don't think they should have it."

Then the swish of green dragon wings fluttered above them.  "Hey-y-y-y!"  Tim shouted, still clutched in the mouth of the dragon, headed toward the east.

"I keep thinking, 'The deepest blue of the deepest blue,'  Rick said.  "I think something is whispering that in my ear and I can't decide where it's coming from."

"That's Alpha talking to you," Omega said.  "He's a little mysterious, even on a good day."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Far, Far Away

"Marcus, where are we now?"  Rick asked.

"You're in  Roma,"  Marcus said cautiously.

"When are we?"  Rick blurted out.

"Now,"  Marcus smiled.  "We were a kingdom for 500 years.  Now we are a republic, and we've been that for about a hundred years.  We are famous for our Coliseum, which hosts our sporting events, our circuses, and our justice system, which is mainly throwing criminals before lions and letting them be eaten alive, and our Pantheon, which honors our Gods.  All of 'em."

"So," Rick said.   "That's probably 400 - 450 BC, our time?

"What do you mean — our time?  Doesn't time belong to everybody?"  Marcus wondered out loud.

"We're not from around here,"  Rick said.  "We're from far-far away, both in time and space.  We measure time differently."

"You gotta alotta Gods?" Larry asked.  Cheryl punched him in the arm.  "Just askin'," Larry whined, a little bit.

"We've got a lot of Gods, because our Gods liked each other a lot,  they had a lot of kids.  Our main guy is Jupiter, a great hunk of a God, sometimes in a bad mood, and likely to toss lightning bolts around,"  Marcus explained.  "You have to take him seriously."

"We only have one God, but he's a walloping Guy.  You don't mess with him, either.  Turns out he made everybody, but he's still sorta scary,"  Larry explained.  "I'm real nice when I pray."

Then they heard footsteps.  Men in barefeets.  Not so-o-o scary, thought Julie.

They gawked at an amazing sight:  eight or ten acrobats, all of them twisting, turning cart wheels, tossing each other around, standing on their heads, building people paramids, yelling and singing.   They surrounded Omega and his merry band of kids and helpers.  Soon, everybody was playing, flipping each other over, and laughing and carrying on.  Rare fun.  Marcus was clapping and keeping time.

Then the biggest guy in the group, maybe eight-feet tall, strong enough that his muscles had muscles.  He had on a linen toga and his arms were bare, so there was  no mistaking his power and his intention.  He glanced around the crowd, until he spotted Rick and Larry, and he leaned down at them, until he was at eye-level.

"You know who I am?" the giant growled.

"Pretty much," said Rick.

"Met somebody called Alpha.  Gave me a right fright," the giant growled.  "Said I could continue to be God of the Romans, until somebody better showed up, then I'd melt away.   I have no doubt that is true."

"Did he mention us?  Rick asked.

"He said I was to tell a bunch of teenagers, from another place and another time, to look for the Green Dragon in Greece, and somebody named Tim was all right, but that Tim was making the dragon a little crazed with all his questions and his jokes.  You all best be hopping right along, because irritating a green dragon is not the smartest thing you can do.  Especially one who can blow fire at will."

Friday, June 14, 2013

In Plain Sight

Another day, another leg of the journey east.  As the kids watched the days go by, Rick spotted what looked like a permanent cloud bank in the not too distant East, in reality, land locked in mists.  As their little boat and the tides took them ever closer, the elements of a landscape became clearer and clearer.  Olive trees.  Simple dwellings.  Hanging flowers over hand-hewn bowers.  A lovely, lovely place.

They found a small inlet, a little bay, and they were able to pull the boat in far enough, they could cover it with tree limbs.  Where ever they were, they knew this was a stop that was not permanent, only a stop over.  They started walking down a dusty pathway.  Ahead of them, the seat of power for the entire world, power in full force, ahead of them, just down the road.

Nobody paid much attention to them.  Their clothes were weird.  Think denims in a place that was looking more and more like Rome.  Dark headed peeps.  Off-white togas.  Latin-speaking citizens.

"I've narrowed down our time to 300 or 400 years before "The Big, Big Time Change," said Petey.

"Let's ask somebody,"  Larry said.  "But I suspect they don't know yet about the BC/AD thing."

Along the pathway, the teens spotted a young man, sitting and leaning against a gigantic stone.  He was a color and a body type the kids had never seen.  He was very lean and very tall.  Omega was over six feet, and this young man was closer to seven.  His hair was curled tight and cut into very unusual geometric shapes.  Very sophisticated, in the mind of the teens, and striking.  "And," Larry mused, "his skin is a color that I've never seen before, a bluish-purple."

"So," Larry asked.  "Have you seen a green dragon flying through here, carrying a white guy who is having a fit the entire way?"

"Well, it's not the first thing that comes to mind,"  the young man said in flawless Latin.  "My name is Marcus.  You're not from around here?"  Omega translated.

"Nope, we might not even be from now,"  John-John said.  "Mr. Marcus, you don't look like you were born here either.  Or your parent's weren't."

"My parents are slaves,"  Marcus said.  "High-powered slaves, with  prestige, in the household of our magistrate.  They were born in Africa in the small nation of Berundi.  They are Watussi.  Long, lean, brave people who command respect by their beauty and their presence.  We live here now, we want to go home some day.  It is a long walk, however, a very long walk."

With that they heard footsteps,  military footsteps, precisio ed, disciplined, intentional.  Marcus turned to Omega, Petey, John-John, and the kids.  "Hurry, Hide," he whispered.  "You must not be here, because you are strangers, and strangers are not at all welcome in this city-state now  or  ever.

"I  can make us invisible," Omega said.   "I'm good at hiding in plain sight."

And then Marcus was standing in the Italian sun.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What The Waves Had To Say

Petey took to the repairs, crawling all over the rigging of their tiny ship, as if he'd been born to homemade ropes and  tall spaces.  Soon enough, on the high seas, they could steer their boat again.  The problem was this:  which way?  They'd gotten completely turned around, couldn't tell left from right, East from West, up from down.  They were pretty clear on what was wet and what was dry, but that's about it.

The   morning of their fifth day at sea they were caught in a dead zone.  No wind.  No tide.  No forward movement.  They were sitting on the starboard side, dangling their legs in the water.  Omega was off taking a call from his Dad, although nobody asked how that was possible.

Then the water began to roil around the small boat, tossing it here and there.  A massive green arm raised itself and pointed toward the East.  Then the shoulders were visible next,  surrounded by an immense red cloak.  The face of Neptune emerged from the Deep.  Although the kids couldn't see his whole body, it looked like he was fifty feet tall, soaking wet.  His other hand emerged, holding a three-pronged weapon, with barbed hooks on the end.  Thirty feet of his cleared the top waves, and he pointed toward The East.

His voice was so deep, the small sea shuddered.  "Follow the Tides," he barreled the words out,  "They will take  you toward the land and perhaps The Dragon will have spit out your friend as well.  Tell The Son of The Most High, that the Great God of The Deepening Seas sends his deep regards and his eternal respect."

And then Neptune sank back into the ocean waters and they paddled toward the East.  Soon enough, they could spot the in-coming currents and they put their paddles away, and hung on for dear life.
The sea was taking them for a ride.

Omega rejoined them.  "What did I miss?" he asked.  "Why are we riding the currents?"

Larry explained,  "Somebody who knows your family says hello."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Three Days Out in Rough Seas.

No land in sight.  The water they'd saved to drink was getting low and the fruit was on the far side of ripe.  Something needed to change and change fast.

The sea swells opened up like giant gnawing mouths, lapping up the next bite.  Everybody was feeling sea sick, tummyitis.  When one swell started to get big, bigger than all the others,  bigger by far,  big enough to cover a giant sea creature, the size of five whales and it was wiggling an eel-like body.
Long, slow undulations appeared as the creature took shape and it's personality, not a good one, took hold.    Must have been those red burning eyes.  Dragon eyes.

"Omega!  Do something about this guy!"  Petey shouted.

"Yeah, but what?  I don't harm God's creatures, all of them are my brothers and sisters."  Omega reminded them.

"Now you tell me," grumped Petey.

Then it turned it's great, red burning eyes at Omega and the crew, and blew hot flames at them. Close enough to singe their eyebrows. The final undulations was immense and the waves swamped their fine, little boat.  Because the boat was put together with reeds and willows, with broad board used for ballast, the water quickly washed back into the sea.

The thing settled back into the water. The kids looked around the small craft and into the deep blue sea.
"Hey!"  Rick said.  "I can't find Tim!"  That sent everybody into the small boat's hidey holes and then they peered over the side.  No  Tim.  He had been washed overboard.

Deep, sad silence.

Then the sea erupted into a huge explosion, that sent spray in every direction,  and unsettled wave after wave.  The dragon look back at the boat.  In it's mouth was a wiggling, yelling Tim, alive, but water-logged.

A huge surge of energy enveloped the whole ship, as if the wood and the reeds could conduct energy.  A huge crack sounded and then one of the masts listed to the right.  The mast had developed a spiral break, like a bad break in a leg.  The green sail slumped to one side.

"Well, crap."  Rick said.

"What happened?"  John-John asked.

Omega shrugged, "It just got away from me.  I get upset and it just goes. . ."

The dragon took flight, taking Tim with him.


Monday, June 10, 2013

A Boat with a Wide Bottom

So, how do you know it's Greek and how do you know what it says?"  Petey demanded.

"Oh, my Dad made me learn Greek.  Said I'd need  it.  But I did it so I could say—'It's all Greek to me'—and people would think I didn't know stuff... when I did know.  Knowing stuff other people don't know is a big advantage," Omega said.

"That's sneaky.  What's up with this bowl with all those Greek letters on it?"  John-John questioned.

"It's unnerving to find a bowl with our names, letters actually, on it.  It's not an old bowl, it's a new bowl.  See how shiny the glaze is.  But the letters have little differences from the way we make them.  They are made an old-fashioned way."

The wind picked up and blew sand.  The island grasses blew toward the East.

"We don't know where we are, and we don't even know when we are,"  Tim muttered.

"I know where we need to be, and when we need to be there," Omega said.  "Now and There."

"We need to cross that sea,  and we need to take the bowl with us.  We need to go East.  If we go West, we'll hit wide open sea for hundreds of miles: If we go East, it's likely we will tangle with Rome, with Athens, and, maybe, Jerusalem—long before I was born," Omega said.  "But we'll be on land, and we can cope with that."

"I can make a boat," Petey said.  "We've got willows, we've got trees, we've got rocks we can sharpen into knives.  My dad was a fisherman, he had to make his own boats and his own nets.  I  helped.  I know how."

And so Petey went to work.  He whacked apart trees, he harvested willows, he wove together sails from long, green tendrils and sharp-ended leaves.  He built a platform, wide and shallow, with low-slung benches and handholds, he gave it a unique shape, more than of a dolphin that could slice through the water.  He built in holds for water and fruit, which he could find on the island, and crafted the 3 immense green sails so the boat could be steered, loaded materials used for repairs.  It had an eerie, organic feel to it, cast an odd shadow.  It sea-worthy, sturdy, more than the sum of its parts.

They were going to need it to be.  A summer storm was brewing, coming in from the East.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Golden Vortex

Standing on a low-hanging ledge, Omega was peering over the edge at what looked like the spinning of a tornado, the top of the clouds spread out over the coast line and hundreds of feet over the pretty little sea.  Dusk.  The little tornado whipped up the dust and small green leaves.  Like any view from the top of a mountain or off the face of a cliff, something mesmerizing invited a big jump into the scary.

The sun, sinking into the West, lighted Omega's skin and face, which was the color of caramel and his hair, which was dark.  The beginning of a beard gave his face the content of mystery.  Nearly six and a half feet tall, Omega was almost graceful, but there were plenty of pratfalls yet. His feet were big, nearly size thirteen.  It looked like he might be good for another six inches. He was in the clumsy but cute stage, there was the possibility for real gorgeousness.   He could top out at seven feet tall.  Jumping off the ledge didn't look like a good idea at the time, but seriously, Omega was contemplating a jump.

Over he went.

"Oh, crap!"  Petey yelled.  "Don't you go without me!  There's no telling what's out there. . ."  And he jumped.

That left John-John and six other kids  wondering what in the world they should be doing.  "We could sit here and twiddle our thumbs.  Or, oh heck."  John-John grabbed Larry's hand, who grabbed Cheryl's hand, who hooked arms with Tim, who grabbed Rick.  Julie and Suzie grabbed their boys.  In tiny, baby steps, they edged toward the ledge.  Then.   Then they were gone.

The wind howled, then screamed, then moaned,  and then it whistled.  There were no teens left to be seen.

They had jumped into a golden vortex, and the wind  spun clockwise, which created such upset tummies.  They were in a massive kaleidoscope, with the colors of sunset whirling around them, flashing lights, lightning, spots lights.  It tossed them, six ways to Sunday, and they no longer knew which way was up, which way was down, or if there was a way in or out.  The sound was enough to wreck their ear-drums.

Then they were spit out.  On a lonely, warward island with palm trees and white sand.  The sprawled on the beach, and were quietly, prone until the dizziness passed.   Which is did.  Eventually.

Gingerly they sat up.  John-John and the six kid were in a heap.  It was sorta awkward.

"Do you know where we are?"  Rick asked.

"Nope,"  Omega said.

"Do you know when we are?"  Suzie asked.

"Nope,"  Omega said.

Petey found a bowl, a ceramic, hand-made bowl, painted a bright blue, with symbols around it's middle.  "Hey," Petey said.  "These are the Greek symbols for Alpha and Omega."

Friday, May 31, 2013

Time Wars - Story 2

""So, what if we're doing a time jump, and we jump back to Ancient Greece, how old am I— really?"  Rick asked Omega, who was skipping rocks across the small pond.  "Am  I minus 2500 years old, and  fifteen years to the good?"

"Time could turn cartwheels all the way around you, and you still would be you.  Time could blend ever so carefully with space, spread out over a hundred million millennia, and you would still be you.  Time could stop entirely, not unheard of, and start off in another direction entirely, sort of a surprise,  and you still would be you,"  Omega said.

"So," Tim said.  "I wanna be a kid forever.  Will I get to be 80 years old and still be a goofy kid?"

"Actually, Alpha made your brain elastic and expansive, which means that as you learn new, interesting stuff, your brain cells grow and expand."  Omega explained.  "There are even little bitty parts, incredibly powerful parts, that can sense the sacred.  You know when something wonderful is happening. You are wired for Alpha.

 "Outside of that, your brain just learns naturally.  It can't help itself.  And unless something happens to your brain like Alzheimers, it will learn effectively until you die. And, I'm guessing here, because I haven't died yet, I think you continue to learn and continue to work, play, and feel, continue to be you.  You'll still be you, only smarter.  Way smarter actually.  Alpha is like that.  You won't believe how unbelievable smart he is and what odd stuff he knows."

"How do you know that stuff?" Larry was dubious.

"A lot of it is just plain old learning," Omega said.  "I read a lot of science.  Some of it is putting two and two together, and getting four."

"Or eight and a half?" Larry joked.

"I just know you are always just gonna be you,"  Omega said.  "There's a lot of stuff I don't know, might not ever know.  And some stuff I'm just figuring out.  And a few things I'm very, very sure of."

"So, are you sure of me?"  Larry asked.

"And me?"  John-John said.

"Me?"  Petey said.

"You're still  the mystery, Larry; of course, John-John; and  maybe, Petey is still work in progress."  Omega smiled.  "We're find out a lot just living here on earth, in this time and in this place."

"What about being in another time and another place?"  Larry asked, the teentiest bit impudent.

"We could do that. Wanna go?"  Omega had a sly grin, and it looked as if he had the confidence and the where-with-all to pull it off."


Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Cloud That Ate The Night

The sky was inky black, no light from the stars to light their way.  Omega, the kids, Petey and John-John were traveling by Braille, feeling their way along.  Once in a while a lightning strike would light the night enough to see a few shallow steps.  But the lightning was getting closer, the blows were more powerful by the moment and those rattled the mountain.  They were nearing the top of peak, and there were boulders, drop offs, and whacked-out trees, oddly-shaped by the unrelenting winds.  The trees were smaller and bent over toward the West.   The electricity in the air smelt of burning wires and left a strong taste on the tongue.  It felt like the storm was fixin'  to kill them.

BAM!  The next hit was close to their feet, and the hair on their arms felt singed.

Then there was another.

And another.

Everything was burned  Their eyebrows that were half gone.  The small plants that could survive at the arctic levels were no good with heat and electricity.  They were fried.  The ground beneath them vibrated.

The massive black cloud was gathering power and mass, eating the slivers of light alive.  The lightning strikes were closer together, the immense thunder rattles left them shaking.  A last massive blast knocked Larry over and burned the toes off of his tennies.  The resulting  thunder clapper threatened to topple boulders.

Omega stood up, honestly, he looked more like he was eight, maybe ten feet tall, rather than the easy- going 5 foot ten. The cloud billowed around him and kicked up the winds, already fierce.  He held his hands up and caught the next strike, leaned as far back as he could hurled the lightning bolt back into the cloud. Petey and John-John stood behind him.  "Hee-bee, jee-bees." Petey said. "I got 'em bad."

Cheryl is having none-of-it.   "That stuff is crap," she yells.  "It's not getting at my friends and my guy.  Nothing is gonna happen to them."  She shrieks, "Go where the sun never shines."

Omega grabs the huge lightning bolts, one after the next, after the next.  He's so fast the kids can barely follow the action.  He sends the bolts back at the cloud, faster and faster, until he grabs the last massive one, streaking across the night sky faster and faster,  lighting up three states, and he hurls it back into the dark.

Omega stands square in the face of danger, and in a voice so big and so brave that the ground quivers.  He proclaims this, "Burn What Must Be Burned, Preserve That Which Must Be Preserved."

A huge cracking sounded like Heaven snapped shut, or maybe Hell did.  The clouds roiled and writhed.  Then the sound of the wind screamed into an eardrum-exploding crescendo. An immense mushroom cloud formed at the top of the mountain, and stuck as close as a secret smile, while a giant glowing corona formed around the clouds, looking like a cosmic explosion that could not be contained.

Then silence,  And a dispersal and a weakening of the clouds.   The kids stood up and watched the stars appear, one by one, and  the clouds disappear.  A lovely sweet peace covered the top of the mountain; and the sound of the meadowlark welcomed the first tendrils of dawn.

Two men, both Native Americans, slumped against the boulders, although they looked different from the ragtag men the kids had seen earlier in the evening.   "You guys, the same guys?"  John-John asked.

"Yeah,"  they said, rousing themselves.  The older man was younger, with the long silky hair of a healthy, young brave and said, "Our dads got caught up in shape-shifter stuff a generation ago.  It got ahold of us too."

"We just just got caught up in smoething evil, and were trapped," the younger man said.  He was a stunningly beautiful young man.  

"Once you understand the inner workings of evil,"  Julie explained.  "You never want to stay there.  You ache to leave."

"We'll get you home.  Seems like we're always getting somebody home who has been lost for awhile."  Omega said.  They begin to limp down the mountain.

"But why did they take out after me?"  Larry is still scared, realizing what  power was out to get him.

"For I am tender and plump, and good with ketsup?"  Larry had read that someplace.

 Omega nodded, rubbing the palms of his hands, checking for burns. "Because you were the genuinely good guy, you haven't had enough time in your young life to do anything really bad.  You don't even do naughty things."

"My dad would kill me," Larry said.

"My dad won't.  But after he gets through talking to you. . .    Those were looking for innocent blood of the human heart.  It's the thing that is of utmost worth in our wild world.  The thing worth dying for."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What The Dark Sees

The trail got . . .  weird.  The kids and the kingpins crawled hand over fist along uneven and irregular patches of treacherous rocks that littered over a half mile of the trail.  Sometimes the trail disappeared into swirling waters and wandering creeks, only to emerge a mile later.  They took a lot of the trek on faith, faith that they would make it, faith that they would get where they needed to go, faith that they would not  pitch themselves off a cliff in the dark.

Turned out there were plenty of cliffs,  plenty of thousand-foot drop offs, plenty of twisty turns and walking through shadows.  Just when they thought they were safe, they weren't.

Scarlet mountain was a mountain of granite and you wouldn't think it was be a magnet for thunder and lightning storms.  But storms haunted the peaks and slipped down the sides of the mountain, reenergized somehow and popped back up, even more powerful, even more devastating than before.  It was very loud, loud, enough to hurt their ears, and the closer to the top they got, the more continuous the thunder became, the closer the lightning strikes occurred.  It was a bad place, where bad things gathered to do their worst.

A horrendous black cloud, that spiked lightning every other second, filled the night sky and blocked the light of the stars.  Then the black cloud began to  form shapes, massive, thick shapes that begrudged light and life.  They looked like snapping turtles, wild wolves, black bears, a dense, dark cloud with the processes of thought.

Then the sky exploded into a hundred thousand pieces of light; a lightning strike hit a immense, barren, pine tree a hundred feet high, shattering it into splinters and shards of wood.  It was hot enough to set the resins inside the wood afire,  sparks fluttering skyward.

"Fear not," Omega said.

"Why not?"  Petey shouted.

"Cause that was me,"  Omega muttered.  "Something got away from me.  I'm not sure what, but
I'm thinking that power was mine."

"Couldn't ya be a little more careful?  That coulda been me!"  Tim was having a fit, turning in circles, and sputtering.  "Calm down, Tim," Julie said.  And he did.

But the cloud had stopped roiling, frozen in place.  It was waiting.