Andrea and Car at the Lake

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Andrea and Car at the Lake

Post by George » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:41 am

Chapter Eighteen

Andrea

Ask yourself what you would do if you met a truly androgynous individual in the streets. Not the somewhat less masculine male who prefers to cook up ‘lovely meals’ and knit his own socks, not him. Not the somewhat less feminine female who wears a business suit, and closes every deal with a hard sell, not her.
We’re talking about the physical body kind of androgyny — a person both male and female — with much facial hair and large breasts.
Would you tip your hat to say hello? Would you feel strangely inhibited and quickly cross the road? Would you feel sorry for that individual or perhaps suggest the jeers and insults of a side-show for an instant improvement of his/her/its self-esteem? Or would you simply ignore him, or her, or it — whatever?
And if he, she, or it then walked into your clinic, would you write Mr, Mrs, Ms, Master, or Miss on the new patient’s file, your data-sheet and appointment book? See? You don’t know, do you?
You’re not alone.
Meeting up with the Spirit Guide, Andrea, in his occasional personal playground, the Temporal Half-way Realm, caused Barnard many of those ‘I’m in two minds about you, mate’ moments.
At one stage, and in sheer ignorance of her task as an inter-species communicator — a real, live telephone exchange and vision of the past and future transmitter — the mortal asked her to get with it, or shove off pronto. That was very wrong of him.
Truly, if a Creator, in all wisdom, needs a creature just like that, then who was George Mathieu Barnard to argue with the Boss?
But that’s essentially what he did.
* * * * *
Ted was sipping his mineral water and Louise was already making coffee when the still sleep-drunk Barnard finally stumbled into the living room. His visitors were dressed and ready to go thirty minutes before time.
“Tumut is too far away,” George suggested, yawning. “Too far to go, just to eat a dead mountain trout. They make those endless highways out of bitumen, you know. And bitumen stretches in hot weather. And between here and there gets to be a kilometer further every day.”
“Into the shower with you!” Louise ordered. “That’ll wake you up. I’ll have your drink ready when you come out and the car’s all packed, ready to go.” She turned to Ted Willis. “George hasn’t changed one bit. He still fools around like an adolescent.”
“Car’s all packed, is it, Lou Lou? Well... suppose we better go then,” Barnard told them.
“Scoot, George Barnard,” she yelled after him, “and be quick!”
“Have it hot, then turn it on cold,” Barnard grunted to himself as he almost stumbled into the shower. The rosette started to fire its scolding hot water at him and he was beginning to feel more awake.
“Louise, girl, you’re a marvel,” he rhymed. “Your trip to Tumut’s sold. I’ll have it hot and have a soak, then turn it icy cold.” He was coming alive now, but not feeling much better about the long drive ahead. He reached for the soap and lathered up.
“Hi-ho, hi-ho-wo-wo,” he sang, “to Tumut we must go. We keep on driving all night long, six hours in a row.”
Perhaps as much as six hours, he thought. Perhaps longer. Now, wait on... Why should it take longer? It has never taken me anywhere near that long.
“We couldn’t let our Catherine down, we’re gonna do this drive. The car’s all packed, Louise says, come sun-up we’ll arrive.”
“No, we won’t!” Barnard had said it, loudly, and it had sounded so definite. What a ridiculous thing to say, he thought. But then, abruptly, there was a brief vision of the convention center’s driveway and its busy parking grounds. The distinctive metallic-gold Barnard’s V8 was nowhere to be seen.
“You’re not even going to get there,” said an unheard voice, although it sounded ever so clear in George’s mind.
“Good grief!” He suddenly felt very much awake, deeply concerned, and so very responsible for his passengers. Perhaps the car will break down on the way, yes? he wondered. No, that’s not it. This was serious business and again, a glimpse of the parking grounds failed to reveal the V8. He turned the water mixer fully to the left. “Woorree! This stuff is cold!”
“I don’t feel good about this trip, you guys,” Barnard told his companions.
Louise handed him his coffee. She, also, looked uncertain to him. He sipped the piping hot life-giving brew slowly, saying, “I’ve done that stretch of road often enough, but this time, I can’t see us arriving at the other end.” He sipped some more of the coffee and mulled over what he had seen and heard and felt.
“We could leave ten minutes later than we planned,” Louise suggested. She instantly changed her mind, “No, that won’t work either.” She picked up her cup and joined Barnard on the settee. “It’s a funny thing, George,” she confessed, “but I haven’t felt good about this trip for days. Maybe if we wait half an hour...”
“A delay isn’t going to fix it, Louise. This is serious business, this one. Not just a vehicle break-down.” He cast a questioning look at the professor.
“You had better zap out and take a peek at it, George,” Ted chimed in at last. “I’m sure you are meant to get to the bottom of this.”
“Okay. Right now.” Barnard dropped a pillow on the arm-rest of the settee. “Give us this space here, Louise, but stay with us, please. I’ll shortly know what’s going on. Oh, and don’t chuck the rest of my coffee out. I’ll still drink it.”
She took their cups and watched him stretch out on the settee. To George Mathieu it felt like old times with the three of them there. It felt good to once again be together as a team, regardless of their doubts about the trip. They would soon know what was going to happen. There was an inescapable sense of urgency about the need to talk to the Spirit Guardians.
* * * * *
Barnard drifted towards the time-realm of the Guardians, saying, “I greet you all, you Guys.” The mighty Sentinel showed no movement, no emotion. The Androgynous One turned with great difficulty to look the mortal in the eyes. George realized Andrea was once again bridging the gap of a massive time-frame dissimilarity. Even with his now being deeply entranced, he knew Andrea was doing almost all the work of their establishing contact, and laboring with the effort. It was only the second time Barnard discerned those eyes — deep, brown, knowing eyes.
There was something he had to quickly say to her, “Will you forgive me for telling you to shove off,” he asked of her mind. “It’s long ago, Andrea, but I’m still truly sorry I said that to you. People have so many fears and I’m not different when I see you’re half of each sex.”
“You are all ways forgiven,” came her answer. Then she surprised the mortal by saying, “I am a virgin of the Gods.”
What a great way to explain the absence of reproductive prerogatives and androgyny, Barnard thought. But there was little time to think. A torrent of information now flowed into his mind.
“Never you mind, my Friend,” he finally acknowledged all that had come from her great mind. “I understand. You can be such a depressive at times. You worry far too much, Andrea. But thank you all the same.”
“Phew!” he suddenly made as she began to show him her pictures of the future. Wow! A head-on smash! A still-shot of his station sedan loomed ominously. It was partly crushed, a long way down from the road and precariously wedged against a tree. Then, a deep-red mark appeared in the middle of the picture and it grew bigger, until all of it was red.
He passed on the information to his companions as it came into view. “It’s a whopper of a head-on smash,” he remarked coldly. “All of the front with part of the driver’s side of my vehicle is smashed in. We’ve come down from a high shoulder in a patch of hilly country. We’re stuck against a tree, pointed in the wrong direction. We’re pointing North-east! Pointing the way from where we came.”
* * * * *
He finally opened his eyes and blinked. Only then did he begin to fully grasp the shocking reality of what he had witnessed. “Cripes! I’m high up above the road-deck and I can’t get near the car. Gosh! I’m too bothered to come close, because some of us are dead in there. Me included.”
“Where’s the accident, George?” Ted asked. It looked like he was remaining calm, yet Barnard sensed his concern, as well as his determination to depart for Tumut, to beat the odds, and to attend the convention. Louise looked very frightened, but she, too, wanted to know more.
“I’ll check it on the map,” Barnard suggested. He drifted back in seconds. “Give us the map, please, Bzutu, for you are the closest, most powerful and cooperative of all who belong with us.” The rookie turned to the reliable, majestic Warrior as a matter of course. “It’s much easier for you than it is for Andrea,” he suggested, despite his being uncertain which of the Guardians was producing the maps.
The distant Androgynous One had many gifts which were hard for her student to take in. She did have much love and care, and she was a brilliant communicator, but she lacked business sense and had no grasp of urgency, Barnard felt.
The map lit up almost instantly on the screen of his mind and the car traced a thin white line as it progressed at top speed towards its destination.
“Here’s Picton,” George told Ted and Louise, “Mittagong... Bowral... Moss Vale... here’s Goulburn. The car looks fine. What’s this? Oh, that was Collector. Blink and you miss it. We’re on the Federal Highway now. Water... Lake George! That’s it. We’re fine until just past the lake.”
Again, the still-shot of the company’s V8 at its precarious angle flashed before the screen of his mind. It was followed by a segment of high-speed action. A white sedan came tearing over the hill and around the bend. Then it almost completely disintegrated without hitting anything at all.
“Here’s the culprit, Ted,” said Barnard. “Let us just wind him back and slow him down... here he is... on the wrong side of the road. There is a young man in this car... Looks like an old Valiant... yes it is. An old white Valiant sedan, maybe it’s cream or yellowish. It’s dark here all of a sudden.”
Again, the vision returned and the Valiant disintegrated. A red spot now appeared in the center of the wreckage of the car. It slowly spread outward from the center.
“Is that blood?” Barnard asked.
“No, not blood,” said an unheard voice. He surfaced from the trance.
* * * * *
“He’s dead for sure, this young fellow. His car is in pieces,” Barnard informed the two. “I know exactly where it is, too. I know that very spot in the road. He’s got to be doing over a hundred kilometers per hour. Too fast, and he’s on our side of the road. He’s hiking!”
Louise seemed less certain about going on the trip. “Do you still want to go after seeing all that, George?” she asked.
“Sure, Louise, or Catherine will be thirty-nine for the rest of her life,” Barnard joked.
“What do you intend to do about the smash?” Ted Willis asked.
“We’ll go from here to Goulburn,” Barnard answered, “then we’ll drive the rest of the way from Canberra to Tumut and skip that tricky bit between Goulburn and Canberra. Easy! No smash-up. And it will save us a lot of time as well.” He gave the professor a big grin.
Louise had completely lost her composure. “It’s hardly a laughing matter, George!” she shouted at Barnard. “Can’t you be serious, just for once? Our lives are at stake!” She was exasperated about his apparent insensitivity, unaware of the dilemma George was facing, the uneasiness he was trying to hide.
“George, I would rather not know these things of the future and begin to lead an ordinary life for a change,” she pleaded with him.
“I would rather know,” he grunted at her. “And we haven’t left yet, have we?” His voice had sounded rather abrupt. “I’m sorry, Lou Lou,” he said. “Just let me clear my mind, for there was something else I saw.” He was wondering what was going through Ted’s mind. The old genius was remaining awfully quiet.
* * * * *
Once again he drifted back to the Spirit Guardians. Urgently, he inquired; “What’s that red splotch, you Guys?” He was addressing them all, and the red mark reappeared almost immediately.
Slowly, ever so slowly, the red mark grew and then distorted itself into the shape of a little bright red motor car, travelling sedately south-south-west on the Federal Highway. Barnard kept pace with it and looked inside it. Only one fellow was inside. He was old and frail, clutching the steering wheel and peering into darkness.
“You did pick a dark night for your travels, Oldtimer,” George tried to tell him. “You are drowsy and as blind as a bat. You’re going to nod off to sleep and crash as well, you silly old codger.” The man drove on, slowly, unable to see much of the roadway ahead. “I’m not seeing you right now, am I, old fellow?” Barnard concluded. I’m only being shown what’s going to be, he thought. That’s got to be it.
“Your responsibility!” Unmistakably, this was the somber voice of Ahbecetutu. “The safety of you and yours are also dependent on the saving of their lives.”
“We’re on our way, Bzutu.” Barnard surfaced in a hurry and was ready to leave. “Let’s go, Ted. Come on, let’s go, Louise.” He grabbed the half-warm coffee and gulped it down. “Come on then, Louise. We’re on our way.”
She stayed planted in her chair. “What about the smash! Cripes! George!”
“There will be no smash. We’ve been given something that must be done. Come on, let’s go. We’ll be fine, Louise.”
She was not going to move. “I don’t know!” she cried out. There would soon be tears from the mother of two, Barnard thought.
“Trust the mighty Warrior with the code and number printed on his flak-jacket,” Barnard told her with an encouraging smile. “He doesn’t fool around. I do all of that for him.”
“I don’t know any warriors, George.”
“Yeah, but I sure do.”
* * * * *
Almost all of us, if not all of us, have intuitive flashes at least at some time in our lives. Can this be our mind, transcending time? Can this be the work of our Spiritual Selves — these Gifts from the Gods whose home remains Eternity but who are simply on work-experience assignment with mortals, for a time, and in time?
Barnard doesn’t really know precisely how it works.
What he thinks is that Karl Jung’s ‘Collective Unconscious,’ the seat of Universal Consciousness and the ‘Intellect’ dwelling in the Half-way Realm may be one and the same thing. But the domain is not sterile, disinfected, or devoid of life. The Half-way Realm literally teems with a more ‘electrical’, less material life. And some who dwell there, Ahbecetutu, Andrea, Emenohwate the Healer, and the Seraph, Juliette, are the mortal’s closest Friends, brilliantly minded and imminently trustworthy Friends.
At times a rather scarce commodity on this planet.

Chapter Nineteen

The Car At The Lake

During the many years of counseling people, generally the most caring and sensitive individuals of our intricately mixed races — generally also the most troubled — George Barnard found many with a latent psychic ability. On a few occasions when great talent was evident, he taught them to enter another dimension in time, the domain of the 11.11 Spirit Guardians.
So often, their very first efforts ended in their finding little more than mere figments of their imagination. But there is a certain limit to everyone’s imagination. Sheer perseverance will, in the end, bring visions of the future and the past... any time, and anywhere at all. And these visions tend to become stronger and more accurate with time and practice.
His students learned to become the masters of their time. The therapist was simply carrying on with the work of Professor Dr Edward Willis.
* * * * *
Ted had made himself comfortable on the back seat of the car. He had insisted Louise take the more comfortable front seat. He had closed his eyes, but he often did that, just to think more clearly. Ted Willis would not fall asleep.
Louise was the restless one. She seemed to have little faith in George Barnard and the Spirit Guardians, and perhaps Louise had long ago said farewell for the last time to her very own Spirit Guide called John.
Already, they had turned onto the highway and the engine responded with a contented purr to the demand for more speed. They were now climbing old Razorback Mountain.
Louise could wait no longer. “George, what is it we have to do?” she asked.
Barnard negotiated a few more tricky bends before answering her. “There’s an old fellow in a little red car on the Federal Highway, and he’s going towards Canberra. His car looks like that little red delivery vehicle my firm used to have, remember?”
“Vaguely I do,” she answered.
“Well, it looks like that, only smaller still. We’ve got to keep the old guy awake, or he’ll crash. If we manage that, we’ll be fine, too.”
“That’s insane, George! That’s like blackmail.” There was both anger and disbelief
in her voice.
On the back seat, Willis was clearing his throat to speak, then he must have thought better of it.
“It’s my job,” Barnard told her. “The Spirit Guardians, and only occasionally with my help, change the projected or known course of an event. We cooperate and that’s how it goes, Louise. Minds greater than ours may well have concluded that this is the only trade-off we can go for. Positive outcomes all around instead of chaos.”
“A depression lifted, for a Miss Jamieson freed? A trade-off. Balance,” Ted Willis remarked. “George knows what I’m saying, Louise. He’s got it right.”
She was silent for a while, brooding. “You mean to say we are buying our lives by keeping him awake? The lives of the three of us in return for the one life of that old man?”
“No! Well, yes. Kind of. Plus the life of that young idiot who is low-flying near the lake,” Barnard answered. “Don’t forget him. More to the point, a total of five lives saved for some energy expended, if I can figure out what to do.”
“That’s utterly flaming ridiculous!” she almost spat at him after some thought. “I have heard some crazy things in my clinic, but this beats the lot. Yes! I think I’ve heard it all now, and then it had to come from you, George Barnard.”
“He’s got it right, Louise,” Ted repeated. “The balance must be maintained and we don’t necessarily know what keeps that balance. Have faith.”
Barnard tried to work out what Ted could have meant by balance, then decided to stay with the driving. “Suit yourself, Louise,” he answered her. “I don’t know everything. I do as I’m told, as befits a rookie member of a Spirit team. It may seem like blackmail to you, but it isn’t. Not really. It’s different, complex, most unusual this time, I grant you that. It’s a temporary hand-over of my free will prerogatives. That’s all. It doesn’t hurt.”
They were passing through the charming township of Picton. None of them had spoken a word for some time. There was no feeling of urgency about the matter in George’s mind. Not yet. But there was also no doubt. The visions and warnings had come through so strong and clear, so powerfully obvious, only a courageous fool would disregard this view of the future. I am no longer a courageous fool, Barnard thought. Quite bright, but timid, especially after the Jennifer Sutton disaster.
“How are you going to keep this man awake, George?” Louise suddenly asked.
“I don’t know yet. I’ve got to think of something soon. I’d better.”
* * * * *
“Thirty kilometers to Mittagong, George,” Louise informed Barnard. “It said so on that sign back there. Do you remember we each got a pie at University Restaurant years ago? And there was something in it, or something wrong with it? Remember? It made us itchy all over and we scratched ourselves raw. You could do that to him.”
“What? Sell him one of those moldy old pies?” George laughed. “They’ve just sold the last of that killer batch an hour ago, Lou Lou. Too late.”
“No. I mean you could make him itch all over. Make him scratch. That should keep him awake. It kept me awake all that night.”
“What a good idea! What a whopper of an idea! Yeah, that will do the trick. I’ll never forget that night, but I don’t care if it sends him half mad. As long as he sticks with the driving. What do you think of that one, Teddy Willis?” George asked.
“Brilliant thinking, Louise,” Ted praised her.
“Help me with it, Louise,” Barnard suggested. “Make him itch like crazy.”
“I don’t know how to do that! That’s your shamanistic department.”
“Put your mind to it, Louise, it will help me.”
“I’ll try,’ she grunted. ‘Man, you’re different.”
“Louise, with the enthusiasm, the energy and zest of my youth, I undertook to learn and understand all there is to know in our far-flung universes. There was never a doubt in my puny little mind I could achieve this. Someone took pity on me, and threw me a rope from way up above. And I climbed the rope, all the way into the sky, and I met up with the Great Biami.”
Willis chuckled about Barnard’s referring to the initiation of the Kadaicha Man of the black Australian tribes. The professor would have ‘met up with the Great Biami’ many long years ago. But Louise did not understand the metaphor.
“I thought I knew you, George Mathieu,” she said. “Now I think you’ve lost the plot in all those years I haven’t seen you.”
Barnard was undeterred by her remarks. He went on, “The Great Biami showed me all there is to know so I could sense that total comprehension would be far beyond the power of mortal man’s mind. The joke’s on me, Louise. Where some may see the flash of a glow-worm in a small meadow, I saw a brilliantly blazing torch, but in an infinite number of dark universes of the unknown. The joke’s on me. Right now, all I can hope for is that one day, when my Spirit and soul are one and the same, I can begin to grasp what it’s all about. Meanwhile, I trust that on occasions — just every once in a while — I can provide the Gods with a bout of laughter at my expense. I shall not begrudge them their fun.”
Ted laughed heartily, then quickly clarified his unruly cackling was not indicative of his having become a God. He was too young by far for such a promotion.
Louise felt differently. “If you hadn’t always been one of my most caring friends, George Barnard, I would tell you right now that you are by far the strangest man I’ve ever met. I don’t savvy you at all.”
* * * * *
Aware of the fact the oldtimer was now itching all over and occasionally scratching himself as his little red car ambled along, they drove on without talking. They made a pit-stop in Goulburn and poured themselves a drink. Soon after, the V8 gobbled up the many kilometers to the Federal Highway junction.
“I feel itchy just thinking about how itchy he must feel,” Louise complained.
“Then you’re doing it right,” Barnard told her. “Stay with me and keep it up. I’m watching this poor old guy and our whammy sure is working. He can’t nod off like that.”
They traveled on in silence for a while until Louise spoke again. “I can see the lake. That’s it over there, and now we had better slow down, please.”
“Forget it, Louise,” George told her. “The one and only hazard is near the southern end of the lake, as you get into hill country again. Keep working on the oldtimer and I will too.” But he eased off a little on the accelerator, just to please her. She was obviously spooked by a potentially predetermined fate that was fast approaching.
They lost sight of the lake and were moving into hill country. The V8 was now only crawling along the deserted highway, half on the gravel shoulder, half on the asphalt. Ted was keeping an eye to the rear, just in case someone else might be travelling in their direction at this unlikely hour. The big car had almost slowed to a stop.
Barnard switched the lights to low-beam and turned off the heater-fan. But for the gentle purr of the engine, one could almost touch the silence of the very early hours of the late summer’s morning. They were only a short distance away from the very spot of his visions. With the windows wound down, he strained to hear what his mind told him must soon become audible.
“I think I can hear something, George,” Louise remarked. She, too, was listening intently.
“Yes,” he told her. “Sounds a bit like someone screaming. Tires! Here he comes!” Barnard yelled. He shocked the V8 into action and it almost leaped off the road-deck to the very edge of the gravel safety strip. Rapidly blinking flashes from a pair of headlights knifed their way through the stands of trees. A white flash darted over the hill and ripped around the bend on the very edge of their side of the road. A shock-wave of air hit their car, and they all instinctively raised their arms for protection.
“Holy Mother of God, save us,” Louise prayed as the white flash roared past. Then she looked back at the speeding car as it tore around the next bend. “I think that was... a Valiant, George... yes, it was for sure!”
“It was. I saw the grille. How fast did you think he was going?” George asked her.
She put both hands on her chest, trying to breathe deeply. “What an idiot! I reckon about... a hundred and fifty... kilometers. My...”
Barnard turned in his seat and spoke to Ted, “How close do you think he got, Ted?” he asked. But Ted was watching Louise’s behavior with great interest. He didn’t answer.
Louise answered in his stead, “I wouldn’t like to say. From here, George... my... my... what an idiot! We would all have been dead... if we’d been... on the road.”
“Nothing surer, girl,” George told her. “It would have been a head-on smash.” Again he turned to speak to Ted. “What color did you think it was? Was it white or cream or a pale yellow?” He eased the V8 back onto the road and brought it up to speed.
“Who cares!” Louise suddenly shouted. “Who gives a damn what bloody color it was!” She was looking pale and distressed.
Barnard glanced in the rear-vision mirror and saw Ted smiling. The professor wouldn’t answer. Louise’s behavior was intriguing him so much.
“Don’t go so fast!” Louise was shouting at George. “I’m rattled!”
“Relax,” he told her. “That deal back there — that was it, Louise. There’s nothing else coming our way between here and the capital city. Trust me. We’ll be fine.”
“Spooked I am. I’ve had it! Gosh, I nearly died of fright, Georgie,” she cried out. Tears were now rolling down her cheeks.
“Did you wet your pants then, Lou Lou?” he asked her and laughed.
“Don’t be stupid!” she shouted, suddenly turning on him. “You can say such stupid things! Dumb you are!”
“Yeah, I know I’m stupid, but I’m alive. We all are. A good fright now and then keeps you healthy, Louise. This close call will keep you looking young and beautiful for many years,” Barnard assured her.
“What an idiot you are!” she shouted.
It was good to see Ted Willis secretly enjoying himself so much with her antics. He would always remain a keen student of human nature, and Louise was far from hiding her innermost feelings. Not at any time did Professor Willis show any sign of panic or fear.
That was hardly the case with George Mathieu, although the therapist’s casual behavior might have been mistaken for his being a cold-blooded, risk-taking daredevil. Barnard began to slowly realize, and was simply overawed by, the accuracy of the advance information and visions supplied by Andrea and Ahbecetutu. He fell silent.
Hold-ups considered, they were making good time. Just ahead, a small red vehicle turned off at Northbourne Avenue and rolled into Phillip Avenue, ACT.
“Look at that,” Louise shouted. “There he goes! That must be him! Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but in real now-time. I’ll be...”
No one commented on the obvious.
* * * * *
According to the deeply entranced Louise Hewitt, the near-sighted oldtimer in the little red car was precious ‘merchandise’ to his fatherless grandchildren, one of whom would become a great achiever. But they all really needed him. The young Valiant driver, only an hour before, had broken up with his steady girlfriend. She had called it quits. Emotionally devastated, he had atypically become careless about his welfare and the safety of others. His people owned a farm not far from the lake and it was somehow essential for this property to be retained by the family. Although rather young, he was generally very responsible, and also their sole breadwinner.
Louise did not have to prove anything to George she had not already proven dozens of times in the years they studied together. Louise was a veritable wizard at picking these things out of nowhere — feminine intuition, supercharged, high-octane driven, Barnard called it then.
George Mathieu could rarely do what came so easily to Louise Hewitt, and the therapist did not always trust the accuracy of his intuition either.
“Check it out, Ted,” Barnard suggested. “Have a look at what Louise just snatched out of fresh air, and tell us what else you get.”
Willis’ unexpected answer alarmed his ex-students. “I taught you two to use your minds. You each took a different direction. I have many gifts for which I’m most grateful, but I can’t do any of the things you two were doing,” he said. It sounded almost believable.
Barnard veered off the road, too quickly, and stopped the car in a skid. They both turned and looked their old lecturer in the eye.
“You’re pulling my leg, Professor Willis,” George told him. “You should never say such ridiculous things when I’m driving a car at speed on a pitch-black night. That’s tricky!”
“Say you’re only joking, Ted,” Louise demanded. “Please, Ted?” she pleaded with him. For a moment, it seemed her world was in danger of falling apart.
Briefly, the white-haired old man reached out to her and patted her on the hand. “I listened to all you just said, Louise, and my own Spirit Self told me you’ve got it right. I can hear it in my mind, loudly. ‘This is so,’ or, ‘So be it,’ or, ‘Amen.’ I’ve heard this voice for years. Many, many years! But I can’t do what either you or George just did, and I never said I could, young lady. You both presumed I could from day one. I taught you to use your minds. Your individual talents and dissimilar minds.”
No one said anything until they reached Tumut. They all had different things on their miscellaneous minds.
Fancy Teddy Willis teaching us things he himself can’t do, Barnard thought. How
cool, how excellent is he? I always believed he was nearly perfect in every way — surely a Saint, and almost a God.
* * * * *
Ted Willis knew of the existence of the Eleven Eleven Spirit Guardians of the Half-way Realm and of their close association with Seraphim. Although the professor understood the Guardians to be occupying various facets of time within the space occupied by common mortals, he was always vague about their specific function. Ted often referred to them as ‘keeping universal balance.’ He called them the Voices of Joan of Arc, the Guides of Dante, or the Teachers of Nostradamus. But Ted knew none of them by their looks, name, code, or number.
George Barnard saw experiential evolutionary life as progressive according to a boldly sketched, eternity-foreseen blue-print. This blue-print could be little more than a rough outline of slow creature progress since the non-negotiable free will of fickle mortals could have an horrific impact on human advancement.
Accidents of space might ‘collide’ with the flow of required events in time. Key individuals might be lost from that giant chessboard of life. Essential events might not come about to complete one of many successive time/space schemes in the overall strategy of guided evolution.
As a spare-time mortal rookie in a platoon of Spirit Guardians, Barnard followed orders, mostly, as instructed by the brilliantly minded Eleven Eleven. In turn, the Guardians took their instructions from yet infinitely greater minds. And only the events most threatening to human welfare were circumvented by the Guardians. Only rarely was the mortal actually involved.
This was one of those occasions.
Louise Hewitt, Barnard suggests, might have long ago decided to care for her patients without relying on the advice of her real or imaginary Spirit Guide, John. Louise, for a time, continued to mistakenly see the event of the ‘Car at the Lake’ as coercion by the Guardians.
The mother of two refused to acknowledge the function of the 11.11 Spirit Guardians as Protectors and Teachers, trustworthy and ethical in their ways. Her time had not yet come, but she, too, would soon ‘climb that rope, up into the sky, to meet the Great Biami’. Barnard had sensed it, and probably, so had Professor Willis.
But Ted would never mention it.


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