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Part Chapter Eleven
of the book “In The Service Of 11:11.”
Note: In 1973 there had been a serious disagreement with the Midewayers of the then 11:11 Emergency Platoon and me about a certain project – a healing. I wanted to go ahead, they tried to stop me, but I was stubborn and went ahead anyway. There were dire consequences resulting from my stubborness, and for quite an unbearably long time I saw hide nor hair of the Midwayers. I missed them, and asked to be given another task – for things to be as the once were.
* * * * *
It happened in an immeasurably small fraction of time. Drifting off to sleep one moment, Barnard found himself standing on a concrete pier in the very next instant. There was hardly a hint of color in all he saw; the dark but tranquil bay, the somber, misty night-sky, the concrete pier with its steel safety railing. To his left a distant modern city, at his right, some eight paces away, stood the noble Warrior. Behind ABC-22 stood a group of some ten, perhaps twelve Entities of widely varied sizes.
The rookie wondered why they were so hard to discern, but he marveled at their vastly different sizes. “You brought many friends, Bzutu,” the human remarked, “a crowd. But they’re hard to see and so are you.”
Something was different about this trip, but the mortal did not know what it was. He had seen other Entities before, though never so many at the one time, and never before had they looked so vague.
There was no answer from the Warrior. No introductions. ABC-22 shifted his weight, observing his mortal student patiently at all times.
“This is not one of my lucid dreams, is it?” Barnard asked.
“We are here,” came the Guardian’s reassuring answer.
“You said you would guide me,” the human reminded him. “I asked for something worthwhile to do to make up for my willful behavior. I asked for something important to do, so you know I can be trusted again. This can’t be it! Are you playing a joke on me?”
“This is it,” came the somewhat loud and abrasive response.
Barnard looked around. There was nothing to do on this cold, wet and lonely pier but a spot of fishing. What a stupid idea to come here at night, he thought.
“Get about your task, then!” ABC-22 sounded somewhat impatient. He sounded like his student should already know all of what needed to be done.
Barnard looked back at the gentle swell of the bay. There was nothing much to see. Only a solitary seagull circled in the mist and semi-darkness, perhaps fifty meters away — hovering now — circling anticlockwise — hovering again.
Something came to mind. “A sentinel marking a target?” the rookie asked. “Ah! Is there a school of fish down there?” he wanted to know, but no one answered.
“We never brought our fishing rods, nets, scuba gear...”
He was quickly convincing himself the entire effort was meant to be a joke. “Somebody might inform that bird it’s jolly night-time now,” he suggested. He laughed and looked at the group. None of those present appeared to share the mortal’s feelings for making fun. They were a solemn looking lot. Barnard didn’t mind about how they felt and shouted at the bird, “Eh! Feathers! Go home! Time to go to sleep!”
Then he looked down. There was indeed something in the water, right below the hovering bird. As if on cue with his realizing this, the gull drifted away.
It was hard to make out what this object might be. Mostly submerged, the lapping swell momentarily pushed it into view, then out of sight again for many long seconds.
What could it be? He wondered. A dead pig? “You all brought me out here for a dead pig?” He felt deeply insulted. “That is so unkind.”
“Get it now,” ABC-22 ordered.
The human hesitated, unwilling to touch the pig, afraid to disobey his Superior, he stayed planted on the spot. “I think I’ll go home now,” he suggested meekly. “Better that I go home, you Guys.”
“Get it now!” ABC-22 insisted in the gruffest of voices.
Entirely guided by those back on the pier, it seemed, Barnard hovered out with ease, grabbed a limb and slowly dragged the dead body back to the pier. He marveled at his own strength and fitness as he clambered back up onto the pier, lifting the bloated, heavy load from the dark waters with notable ease.
Still feeling belittled and disgraced, he unceremoniously slammed his morbid catch against the steel safety rail. He stepped back and viewed the distasteful blob of a creature. “Oh, my God! It’s a woman!” he cried out.
She moved ever so slightly and without a moment’s thought, Barnard dropped to his knees beside her, pinning her shoulder against the railing. But she would not open her eyes and the mortal knew he would sense nothing from her closed eyes.
“Spit it out!” he suddenly urged her. That message had seemingly come from nowhere. That was inspired, for sure, he concluded. That came from all those Entities over there. “Spit it out! All of it, woman!” he urged her on. It seemed to be the right thing to say to her.
A small stream of water shot from her mouth. “All of it! All of it! Now!” Barnard kept urging her, shaking her by the shoulder.
Suddenly, a great stream of water gushed a distance of some meters and the fat and bloated body of a woman, formerly seemingly overweight and scarcely recognizable as human, turned into that of a slim young lady. As she took on her appropriate shape, so did many bruises on her body become evident. Her skin toned up somewhat and there was a deep slash mark across her throat. She felt so very cold.
All the mortal’s inhibitions seemed to be left behind in another world, another reality. He felt only tenderness and charity towards this poor, naked little victim. Above all, there was a pressing urgency for him to get her to liven up.
“Spit it all out, girl!” he told her again. But there was nothing more to spit out. “Look at me now! Look at me!” he insisted. Her head had lolled forward like that of a well-worn rag doll. “Open your eyes, lass! Look at me!”
Slowly, she raised her head like a fearful, cowering dog. She was breathing, unaware of there being no need for her to breathe.
“I’m George Mathieu Barnard. And you are now free,” he informed her. They are not my words! he thought. They were not even my thoughts! “Who put that in my mind?” he grunted, but there was no answer.
Their eyes met at last and all the young woman’s emotions became his. He sensed the horror she had suffered long ago — all of her fears. He felt the love she had given to many in her short life, the bitter lessons learned by her. Her hopes and plans. Her needs and wants. Her slow progress in another time. All of her emotions became those of the Guardians’ understudy, but he could not gather a single fact.
“Who did this to you?” he sharply demanded to know. “Who killed you?”
With that question she whisked away, upwards and at great speed. Barnard was left kneeling on the concrete pier, looking at his empty hand, which only a moment before had held her shoulder to give her support.
“Wow! She flies faster than anybody can!” He stood and turned to all assembled. There was great admiration in his voice. “Can she ever hike! Brilliant!” He felt so excited. Then doubts entered his mind and he turned back to the Guardian. “Bzutu, this was not a lucid dream, eh?” he asked.
“It is not. And we are here,” his Superior answered.
“This was urgent and important, like you promised me?” George asked.
“It is so. Go home, George Mathieu. It is done,” said the Guide.
Barnard noticed the other Entities seemingly fading into thin air. But ABC-22 was still by his side. I can’t leave now! Leaving now would be very wrong, the mortal thought.
“Go home. It is done,” the Guide told him again. “What takes you so long? Go home. Time to go to sleep.”
“Not likely,” the belligerent mortal answered. He stood fast and held onto the railing. “I don’t even know her name,” he complained. “All her emotions became mine. We were so close, we were as one. I must know her name to find her again, later.” A powerful bond had been formed, so quickly, and the mortal was concerned about never meeting her again.
Though all the other Entities were now unseen by him, Barnard sensed they were still there. And he sensed their disbelief of the abject contempt for authority of such a willful human.
“I’ll wait here till the cows come home,” the rookie promised the Guardian, “you know me, Bzutu.” Barnard squeezed the cold railing for dear life. “I must know her name.”
Tempers were rising. Barnard could feel it. It bothered him greatly not to be able to see the other Entities to gauge their feelings more clearly. But the Warrior was in charge, no doubt of that, and he was visibly embarrassed by the student’s tenacity.
“So stubborn you are,” the Warrior complained.
At last it showed, as in bright sunshine — a yellow, flat wooden arrow pointing due west. Attached to a square wooden post, its deeply routed black lettering read VIRGINIA ST.
“Fine,” the human mumbled. “Virginia it is. Might she have been so fortunate as to have inherited a surname as well?” he asked. “Yes?”
Quickly it appeared. A round-edged and enameled metal plate with raised white letters on a dark blue ground. Stuck to a building and facing south, JAMISON Ave.
“Virginia Jamison?” he queried. “Oh, I see. Put an E in there. Virginia Jamieson!” He was delighted to know her name. “Gosh, what took you so long?” he asked jokingly.
“Will you go home now?” came the loud, blunt request.
“Where are we then?” he asked in turn. The answer came, but he missed it in part. It sounded like, “... frisco...”
Many summers of diving on the coral reefs, it seemed, had affected his hearing in everyday mortal existence. Coral deafness, apparently, is just as troublesome in the Half-way Realm, he mused. “What’s a frisco?” he asked. A mental picture of an ice-cream in a cone danced before his eyes. Vanilla flavored, George presumed. Ridiculous! “You’re messing with my mind,” he reproached the now smiling Guardian.
“San Francisco!” the Warrior informed him.
“You were messing with my mind, Bzutu,” Barnard accused him. “You do it all too often. I know you do.” He stopped to think about being so far from home and he glanced back at the mist-shrouded city. It suddenly looked so different, so old. “What’s the use of my being all the way out here?” he asked. “I belong in Australia. There are thousands and thousands of psychics in this big land who could set the lass’ soul free. Why did you transport me all this way?”
“Your request,” sounded the immediate response. “Urgent and important. You are not a Specialist. You come to learn many things, very fast. Go home now! So persistent you are.”
The mortal gripped the railing more tightly still. He glanced back at the city. 1903? 1908? Ah! 1911! Prohibition! “It’s long ago, but someone now knows this Jane Doe’s name,” he muttered. “That is San Francisco! No, it isn’t. It was!”
The Jamieson girl’s soul must have been listed for urgent release, he thought. “Why and how did she die, Bzutu?” he asked. “It seems such a waste. She really wasn’t much more than a child, this one.”
The rookie had pushed the Guardian too far. The Warrior’s patience had run out entirely. The rail Barnard had clasped suddenly ceased to exist. He was now observing a smartly dressed Virginia Jamieson, being kicked and punched around in an upstairs room. She was roughly tossed into a wide, deep chair. Then, while she was held from behind by the hair, a small sharp knife cut her throat. She passed out but she stubbornly refused to die.
Next up, the trunk of a black, vintage model car opened up. It was parked in a deserted street in the industrial quarter, the lower part of the town. Rain was bucketing down on the city and street lights were few. Four eager hands removed a heavy, round and patterned man-hole cover and the same four eager hands took a rug from the boot of the vehicle.
Head first, Virginia Jamieson’s naked body slipped from the rug and splashed into the raging stormwater torrent below. Somehow robbed of all conscious fear, and just before the iron cover slammed back into place, Barnard slipped in after her. She struggled weakly, then washed away.
“You didn’t bleed to death, Miss,” he told her unemotionally. “You... actually drowned.” He was coldly, casually informing her of the precise circumstances of her demise.
He followed the body through the lengthy cavern. One of the rusty bars was missing from the grille at the end of the tunnel. Unaware of the fact she was now quite dead, Virginia Jamieson’s sleek little body slipped through the gap and washed into the bay. Barnard climbed back onto the pier. He was back in the precise spot he had started from. “So, that’s how it was,” he remarked, expecting to be told to urgently head off for home. But no one had waited for him to return. He was alone.
At least, so it seemed.
In a mere moment of time he was back in his room, sitting on the edge of his bed and wondering why he could feel so good, so suddenly, and after such a troubling experience. Less than fifteen minutes had elapsed since he had initially closed his eyes to enjoy a night of undisturbed sleep, just before the Guardians spirited him away. This is what he had asked for many long years ago, only to be told he was not allowed to share their time-frame. “You did it!” he told the Guardians. “That was great!”
He was wide awake now, feeling pleased. Weeks of bother and depression caused by the Jennifer Sutton interment had been taken from his mind, so quickly. Again, he had given ABC-22 a hard time, but there were things Barnard needed to know.
Had not the Warrior told him, “You came to learn many things very fast.” Barnard mumbled sarcastically, “Not a Specialist... So persistent you are, George Mathieu... Yes, a damned-hard-to-get-along-with nuisance, Bzutu, or I’d never learn a thing.”
The Guardians must understand why their student is so obstinate, he thought. They would know more about me than I do.
* * * * *
The Essence, Soul, or Astral Self of Virginia Jamieson had been dormant, resting in ‘Frisco’ bay for a long time. A diminished personality, but all the emotions of experiential living were contained in the ‘ethereal package’ that had now been set free. An awareness of self, and a realization of the passing of time, had surely been missing. So much, at least, was obvious to Barnard.
She might have been what some call a ghost — an accident of disorderly dissolution of the component parts of a highly complex human creature. How this long-forgotten aspect of the young woman could take off, seemingly unassisted, was a mystery to him.