Chapter Thirteen “The Lewis List”: Can’t tell the players without a scorecard!

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(Picture is of King George VI)

King Arthur and Tecumseh were the first to exit the pub and both men had their pistols up and searching for targets. Next came Challenger, and Holmes followed closely by Joan of Arc who somehow had obtained a large butchering knife. Most everyone saw Doc leap from the window and land in the middle of the street with the ease of a mountain lion and were gaping at the scene before them.

Doc and Bass were advancing on the two men now holding their machine pistols in their raised hands. Sherlock and Challenger quickly moved behind Bass and the three advanced towards their prey. But, just as they took their first steps a Standard 12 Tilly pulled up behind the Bosniaks and out clambered four members of Section D of his Majesties Secret Intelligence Service carrying sten guns. Stepping out from behind the wheel of the vehicle was His Majesty King George VI himself. He was accompanied by a striking woman with Mediterranean features and long salt and pepper hair under a dark brown beret adorned with a patch with the gold letters GC overlaid against the image of a double bladed sword on a red background. She wore matching para-military dungarees without any insignia or rank displayed.

Both the King and the woman walked over to Tecumseh and Arthur, who immediately put his arm around George and gave him the kind of hug that a long-lost uncle would give.

By now an extremely large crowd had assembled in the street halting the sporadic traffic and emptying the shops of people gawking at the spectacle of their King standing in the street talking with strangers.

Two of the Section D men quickly manacled the two men and hustled them into the Tilly, while the other two accompanied Doc and now Holmes and Challenger to the second floor of the Pharmacy. Unfortunately, the third man that Doc had incapacitated was gone. The radio equipment, however, remained in place. Whoever the man was he had Whermacht connections.

By the time they returned to the street the local constabulary had arrived. The Chief Constable Charles Fox was quickly accosted by William Stephenson and taken to His Majesty. A short but enthusiastic discussion entailed as to the disposal of the two Bosniaks into the care of Stephenson and the Section D men. And, they were trundled off in the Tilly.

Sherlock and Challenger stood off to the side in the shade of a large Elm and watched with fascination the apparent ease with which Stephenson navigated – with the presence of The King emphasizing the importance of the moment – the legal process. Eventually, Doc and Bass joined the two detectives under the tree and they began to discuss the details of the afternoon. Sherlock, Challenger, and Doc all focused on the fact that there were Eastern European’s armed to the teeth with the top of the line Nazi equipment stalking their group. And, not the least of the details was how the King of England was personally getting involved. And, all of them could not take their eyes off of the mysterious woman in the beret. As famous as each of them was in their own previously fictional worlds, they were hesitant to approach The King and his escort.

Bass Reeves being the direct sort of individual was about to call the others on their almost schoolboy shyness when the woman detached herself from George, Arthur, and Tecumseh, and walked over to speak to them.

“Don’t be shy gentlemen. I don’t bite. And, in an indirect way, I am responsible for your being here. After all, it was my Son and I that tasked Fred to fetch you all.” The woman reached out to shake Doc’s hand first, “Let me introduce myself. My name is Mary and I am the head of the Global Security corporation called the Graal Corporation. But, you can call me The Mother.” She shook each hand in order, looking each of them in the eyes with the mesmerizing force of a born leader.

Bass Reeves was the first to make the connection. “The Mother? Mr. Stephenson was talking about Fred being an angel? Is that correct, Maam?”

“Yes, Mr. Reeves. Fred is indeed an angel. One of the very best assigned to this part of the world. If prone to being a bit creative with the way he handles his assignments. But, then again they are allowed much leeway in the way they get the job done.

Challenger caught the drift of where Bass was going with his questions and stepped in with his own, “If that’s is indeed the case…Ahhh…Mother…that would seem to imply some very outrageous assumptions. Such as the one about who your Son might be? Are you telling us that you are The Mother of Jesus Christ the Son of God?” Challenger and Sherlock’s faces betrayed their disbelief in what they were hearing and stepped back a pace as it to say, “Okay, I’ve had enough of looney-bin ideas and events for one day. Now this woman claims to be the Mother Mary?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chapter Twelve “The Lewis List”: Reconnaissance

DOC-profile

Doc Savage and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks of Lester Dent, Inc.
Characters copyright © Lester Dent or their respective owners. All Rights Reserved.

(Derek’s Note: Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! May you find the peace that comes from His Presence as you gather with family today! A reminder that I am posting these “Rough Chapters” as a blessing and to solicit comments and critique. Please feel free to comment on my blog. And, if you like my writing, you can purchase my first book “Those that Remain” on Amazon Those that Remain )

 

Chapter Twelve – Reconnaissance

Arthur’s dinner suggestion had no sooner been spoken when Mr. Slowey appeared at the door and began to herd everyone to the bar. Arthur’s statement that he was buying was due to the fact that he had brought enough food to the Eagle and Child to feed – seemingly – the entire city of Oxford.

“The Mother recognizes the unique nature of the situation we all find ourselves in and would like you all to know that she is going to take care of everyone’s needs. And, that starts this afternoon with a small token of her appreciation for your participation.”

Mr. Slowey’s wife could be heard in the kitchen giggling and gossiping with Margaret Carter…who volunteered to help cook for everyone…as she prepared the large Lamb roast and all the trimmings. And, Mr. Slowey was pouring his best bitter, scotch ale and stout.

Tecumseh sat at a table close to the door with The King, while the Inklings and William Stephenson stood at the bar watching and talking about Arthur as if he were Aslan Himself. Sherlock and Challenger were deep in a discussion with Bass Reeves about the uneasiness they were feeling with their current situation and the seemingly nonchalant attitude of Tecumseh and Arthur. Joan of Arc sat alone in the center of the room sipping a small glass of Kopkes port as she seemed to be in a state of shock over everything that had taken place. Doc Savage was nowhere to be seen, with his absence noticed only by Bass Reeves.

Doc Savage quickly pulled Mr. Slowey’s great coat over his shoulders and his slouch hat over his head to disguise his remarkable features and disappeared out the back of the kitchen as everyone was trying to get comfortable. “I’m not hungry.” Thought Doc. “There is something going on here that I can’t put my finger on. All my instincts are shouting at me, and I’m not going to discover what that is from inside the pub. And, anyone with a desire for stealth can only mean trouble. Obviously, our unique group has been assembled for a purpose. And, we are being monitored. But, by who? And, what is that purpose?”

Doc emerged out the back of the establishment and turned into the small alleyway. Quickly Doc walked down the alley in the opposite direction from St. Giles street and worked his way around to the north of the pub to a position behind a butcher shop at the end of the block to observe the street. A quick once over showed nothing out of the ordinary. People strolled down the street window shopping or attending to appointments at the various businesses along the street. Many of the buildings held shops on the ground floor of the building and apartments above, and this is where Doc began to focus his attention. Slowly and methodically he began to scan the upper story windows along the street. Some of the windows were obscured by the branches of the trees that lined the street. His instincts were telling him that the most logical place for someone to observe the comings and goings of the Eagle and Child would be from directly across the street in the small pharmacy. And, his patience and observational skills paid off as the glint of a pair of binoculars showed behind the open window of the second story window. Then down the street a few houses down from the pub stood two men dressed very much in a style that Doc surmised to be out of place. They were dressed as longshoremen on the streets of a University town. Most of the people walking the streets were of a much better class of citizen as they were the wives of the professors and staff of the various Colleges that make up the University of Oxford. “Why would two dock workers be standing around on the streets of Oxford?” Doc thought to himself.

Doc walked slowly bending slightly to disguise his height, until he came to the pharmacy. Slowly he turned to see if the two men almost directly across the street were watching. But, their attention was on the front of the Eagle and Child and not their compatriots hiding place. Taking a quick glance through the front windows of the establishment, Doc jumped up and grabbed the edge of the second story window of the room next to where he had seen the binoculars. The window luckily was open and Doc was in the room quickly and silently. He was in a converted store room for the pharmacy as shelves of bottled remedies and supplies lined the walls and a number of tables in the middle of the room designed as work tables for the process of filling prescriptions.

Normal background noises of a home and the quiet hum of the business below accentuated the clinical smells of the chemicals in the room. The door to the room was closed and to the right and where it should lead to a staircase. Doc assumed that the other room was directly across the hall. He removed the great coat and the hat placing them on the window sill. Slowly turning the knob to the door, Doc heard a muffled voice coming from across the hall…speaking Serbo-Croatian. Doc intuitively knew that he was listening to a native Bosniak giving instructions to the men across the street. He hesitated for a moment as the realization of how he would know that after being alive for only the last hour or so, followed by another thought that told him that Doc Savage was the master of more languages than any man currently alive. The thought continued and became louder and insistent, “It’s how your life was written Clark. You have many skills and strengths that you and the others will need to draw upon in the future. Be strong and courageous!”

Doc glanced out the window as he prepared to open the door and noticed that Bass Reeves was now standing outside the pub and had his eyes on the two men down the street, and had gained the attention of the men.

Doc realized that things were going to escalate quickly. So he opened the door and came face to face with the man in the other room. He was a small man in the process of removing a headset attached to a German Army Torn.Fu.d2 portable radio set. He had set up his radio in what looked to be the chemist’s bedroom. The radio set sat on the floor underneath the window sill. Laying on the beside table was a Luger pistol, and leaning against the wall next to the window and radio was an MP 40 machine pistol.

The man took one look at the giant bronze man and froze, which Doc took advantage of and struck like a cobra. Doc’s left arm reached out and grabbed the man’s neck and shoulder applying precise pressure to the baroreceptors on the the right side of his neck and he dropped as dead. Doc caught the man and laid him on the bed unconscious.

Doc stuffed the luger in his pocket and draped the machine pistol over his shoulders then looked out the window, and instantly jumped through the open window with the luger in his hand, shouting a warning to Bass Reeves who would know nothing about automatic weapons.

The two Bosniaks were reaching for their MP 40 machine pistols that had been concealed beneath their greatcoats. Bass Reeves glanced up and to his left as Doc catapulted from the window, and saw the movement of the two men his curiosity had been focused on in his peripheral vision, and muscle memory took over and the Colt Peacemakers materialized in his hands and steadied upon the two targets.

At that moment is seemed as though someone kicked an ant’s nest.

 

 

 

Chapter Eleven The Lewis List: Reunions

Ebbinghous Battalion

(“Used with permission from the SOFREP website, a service of SOFREP, Inc.”)

Sturmbannfuhrer Benjamin MacBeth drove all that day and into the night. At midnight on the third day. He turned into a large estate in the small village of Great Rollright. There were a number of vans and cars parked in front of a large barn. And, he was immediately met by three men dressed in black clothes and carrying the brand new MP 40 submachine guns. He was welcomed by the three guards with the deference due their leader, and he quickly tasked the three men with assisting the two men in the back of the lorry unload the duffel bags into the barn.

The lorry was soon surrounded by a full Zug (Platoon = forty men), and the unloading was completed in short order. Macbeth was stretching his back and legs when Kompaniefeldwebel Delbart Tesch approached saluted and announced, “The men will be ready for inspection momentarily Major.” Benjamin turned and watched as the men organized themselves for review by MacBeth, their operational commander.

Macbeth quickly walked down the line studying every face. He had personally selected each of these men from the training program. A few – the Sergeants – he had groomed from their Hitler Youth days. This unit had grown together over the last five years, and Macbeth had driven his men relentlessly until they were the match of any SS Unit in the Whermacht. But, for the purposes of this operation, Macbeth had agreed that the men of the Ebbinghaus Battalion would augment his Kommandos. His men were the arbiters of purity, pure Aryan supermen. Where the Ebbinghaus Commandos – although highly trained and motivated – were a mixed breed of fighters trained for behind enemy lines operations. Indeed, many were not even German. His men were tasked with the tough jobs and the cleansing of the world for the purposes of the coming thousand year Reich. He was determined to prove that the Aryan race was the purest and highly developed race on Earth. And, he knew that training…and fear…was the way to excellence and victory. So he had taught these men to fear him. The looks on their faces as he stopped momentarily before each man released an intoxicating wave of satisfaction in his evil sadistic heart. It was the Ebbinghaus men that he was worried about. Mixing mutts with his supermen was unsatisfactory.

MacBeth harbored a pathological hatred developed as a young man for the British and the Royal Family in particular. Although his father – a Presbyterian Pastor – had taught him that his genealogy as a MacBeth could not be connected to the historical king of the north, he had convinced himself he was the rightful heir to the Scottish throne. His delusion became so pronounced he eventually rebelled from his father’s faith and sought out spiritual leaders who led him into occult rituals…human sacrifices…designed to give him supernatural power over his enemies. It was during one of these meetings at a midnight meeting deep in a forest in Bavaria where Macbeth met Heinrich Himmler.

Benjamin MacBeth was a born psychopath. A fact that Himmler recognized when MacBeth had joined the SA – the Brownshirts – early during the rise of the Nazi Party to prominence. Himmler groomed MacBeth and stoked his beliefs about his ancestors until he became firmly entrenched in the genetic purity philosophies driving the extreme Aryan ideas of the Fuhrer. Himmler’s control and influence over MacBeth were complete and gave Himmler a highly trained deadly tool that was now poised to strike at the newly crowned King George VI and others in the British government. Himmler had dangled the perfect motivational carrot in front of Macbeth, leading him to believe he would be the new king of an independent Scotland when England surrendered.

Macbeth reached the end of the line and proceeded to move to a position just a few feet in front of his Sergeants. Quietly he snapped his arm out in a salute and said “Heil Hitler” just loud enough for the Non-Comm’s to hear. Then looking at his second in command, Delbart Tesch, “Dismiss the men. And, get me some food Delbart. It’s been a long drive and you and I have much planning to do.”

“Yes sir!” Delbert answered. Then asked, “Should I have food brought out to the barn for those two men that arrived with you?”

MacBeth answered as he turned and walked away towards a large rundown estate farmhouse. “Negative, those two can take care of themselves. In fact, no one is to interact with our guests unless I specifically require it. Understood, Spiess?”

As Delbart turned and followed he answered, “Perfectly clear Major!” As Delbart followed behind his commander towards the farmhouse he noticed that where his shadow fell, it obscured the ground or the objects on the other side of the umbra. As if the shadow was not just the absence of light but the presence of something darker. Delbart’s skin crawled and thought, “Welcome back…whoever you are…”

 

 

 

Chapter Ten The Lewis List: Obscure Purposes

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(Photo by Samuel Zeller: https://unsplash.com/@samuelzeller?utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=photographer-credit&utm_content=creditBadge)

Obscure Purposes

Thomas Slowey – the owner and proprietor of the Eagle and Child – pocketed the ten-pound note from William Stephenson and ushered the rest of the afternoon’s customers out the door, while Jack and Ronald shepherded the eclectic troop into the Rabbit Room, which became quite crowded. Jack took up a position near the hearth and was joined immediately by Tecumseh, who gave Jack a look that he could sit down. Jack thought to himself that if ever a man could command with a look this man was him and proceeded to sit down on a stool right near the ash can.

Tecumseh looked at the faces gathered before him; William Stephenson, Margaret Carter, Joan of Arc, Sherlock Holmes, George Edward Challenger, John Ronald Reuel Tolkein, Owen Barfield, Hugo Dyson, Clark Savage, Jr., and Bass Reeves. Tecumseh’s gaze fell upon the questioning look of Thomas Slowey and said, “Thank you, Mr. Slowey, for making your establishment available for our impromptu meeting. I am sure that we will be taking advantage of your excellent selection of refreshments after we conclude our business.”

Mr. Slowey – fingering the ten-pound note in his pocket – smiled and left the room, as the prospect of more business settled into his understanding.

Tecumseh looked around the room for a moment and then said, “My name is Tecumseh. And, yes that means I’m pretty old. I was born sometime in the late 1700’s and history says that I died in battle during the Battle of the Thames. Well, I can assure you that those reports are false. As here I stand before you. However, the fact that I live today is not that remarkable. How this came about is. And, if I can get the story told before Fred shows up and steals your attention, that will be a bonafide miracle”.

Tecumseh looked around the room to see if the Angel had somehow found a way to enter the room without being noticed. Seeing that he hadn’t he began to tell his story. “I was indeed mortally wounded at the Battle of the Thames and thought I was done for. But, as I began to drift off into death I saw a great light and there were a number of women” Joan of Arc jumped from the seat she had been given by Sherlock and gasped, ”This too happened to me! When I saw the Virgin Mary!” …” dressed in ancient clothes who quickly picked me up from the ground and as quickly as they appeared I found myself in a room carved out of rock, and the women began to work on my wounds.

I spent many months recuperating in the Fortress of Lyonesse, as it is called, being tended to by who many of you might call the “Lady of the Lake”. Who is actually none other than Mary the Mother of Jesus…” Tecumseh looked at the young French girl and smiled. “Yes, young one, she is most definitely alive and involved in the affairs of us all. Indeed that is why she has gathered us all here!”

“But, to continue my story.” Tecumseh started. “I have been alive engaged in the business of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. And, now you all have become my new assignment.”

Tecumseh looked around the room as if to give a moment for questions, but only one hand rose. That was the hand of Professor Tolkein who was hovering – with Jack, Dyson, and Barfield – over the book Fred had given to Jack. And, without looking up Ronald pointed to the character list in the book and asked. “Everyone on the list is here except one. Are we expecting The Summer King to just appear as our recently resurrected – and favorite…I might add – characters did? Or, are we missing something here? Is this “Fred” going to bring him into the room? I am afraid Mr. Tecumseh, you have not solved anything with the story of your salvation from the hands of the American Military. You have merely raised the curiosity of a group of professors that demand answers to questions much more difficult every day from our students.” Ronald stood as he was talking and held the book out towards Tecumseh. “It says here that King Arthur…or Artur as it is written…should be one of our group. That seems to imply that we are at that stage of history where his services as King are needed…if not destined!”

The Inklings were all now shaking their heads in agreement, Savage, Holmes, and Challenger also shook their heads in agreement as each of them had intellects matching the four Inklings. It seems that Fred and Tecumseh had collected some of the most imaginative and decisive minds for the assignment.

“Yes, well that is the sticky wicket as you Brits like to say.” Tecumseh walked over to Ronald and asked, “Can I have this for a moment, Professor? I promise to give it back.” He proceeded to thumb through the first few pages of the book and there on the pages – as he turned each page – the words appeared describing exactly how everything was happening. Down to each jot and tittle.

Tecumseh turned the book towards the assemblage as if turning the pages – as would a teacher in Kindergarten – of an illustrated edition of “The Sword in the Stone”, he showed them all the words appearing on the page as he spoke. “It seems that the book is doing its job. Now it seems it’s time for the author of the book to do his job. And, that is to write where we are going next. And, if I may give a bit of a clue, shouldn’t really be as hard as you are all imagining.” And, he handed the book to a rather perplexed Jack Lewis.

“But, how in blazes am I supposed to write in the book that which I have absolutely no clue about how to accomplish!” Jack stood and held the book out to Tecumseh and watched in frustration as the words, “…absolutely no clue how to accomplish!” appeared in golden script on the pages. Jack felt he was on a roll and continued, “And, what about these other names? Himmler? Kahn and Cady? Macbeth? It seems that not only do we have modern authors imaginations strolling the streets of Oxford. But, now Shakespeare? Nothing like having two ancient Kings competing for our attention. Can you imagine the conflict between Kings Arthur and Macbeth? What in all of God’s good Grace was…whomever has us gathered here…thinking?”

George Edward Challenger – disgusted with Jack’s small tirade – stood up and tore the book from Jack’s hands and poking his prodigious nose to within inches of Jack’s face he challenged him, “Mr. Professor big brain Lewis, I suggest you grab a handful of courage and do what ya do best. You take ideas out of thin air and set them to pages, correct?”

Jack stepped back carefully to get some distance from the giant dwarfish man, “Yes!?” He stammered.

“Oh come on Man!” Challenger continued to push into Jack’s space and even poked him in the chest. “How would you respond to one of your own students if they answered you with such a milque-toast answer!? I may be the living resurrection of someone’s imagination. But, I’m enough of a man…now…to understand that we each have a role to play here. And, you, my over pampered academical daydreamers, don’t seem to be grasping that!” Challenger took the book and poked his finger on the next blank page. (right after the words”…seem to be grasping that.”)”Well, if you were to write a book about how and where the legendary King Arthur was to appear? Where in the Bloody Hell would your over-rated imaginations say that WAS!?” With that Challenger shoved the book into Jack’s chest and – adjusting his great coat with a Harrumph –sat back down next to Sherlock and Savage, who were both looking with horror at the bullying tactics of their compatriot.

A moment of silence resulted as each gathered their courage to say anything.

“Yes, well, I would like to express the Prime Minister’s concerns…” William Stephenson stood up as if to address the group. But, before he could begin there was a scuffle at the door as Mr. Slowey was attempting to guard the door against another very large individual, and soon the individual walked into the room with Mr. Slowey’s arms pinned to his side and his feet a good foot above the ground. The man walked into the room, then turned and set Mr. Slowey down as if he were shutting a door in the room.

Tecumseh spoke up. “This is why I said that I didn’t think you needed to worry. Ladies and Gents! Let me introduce you to The Summer King, the one the only, eternal King of England, King Arthur Mac Aedan!”

Arthur walked over to Tecumseh and stood with his back to the group and gave Tecumseh gentle punch to the shoulder. “Thanks for the introduction my friend! What do we got going this time?” He said as he turned to the group.

Arthur was large if not larger than Doc, and much bulkier. But, it was the face that caught everyone’s attention. His face was square and strong with perfectly proportioned features framed by a perfectly trimmed gray beard, and his very long hair was braided and fell across his right shoulder. He wore innocuous black dungarees and a Canadian Pendleton shirt tucked into an intricately worked leather belt covered with Celtic symbols. On his feet were top of the line combat boots – that William Stephenson recognized as the boots they had been handing out to his operatives. On the right side of his belt he carried a holstered M1911 .45 pistol with red scrimshaw grips, and on the left a Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife.

Arthur put his lumberjack sized arms over Tecumseh’s shoulders and asked with a grin, “I’m starved! Anyone ready for dinner…a Pint? I’m buyin’?

 

 

 

 

Holy Pollination

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Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

(Derek’s Note: Will post another chapter of “The Lewis List” later today)

Yesterday, as I was on my prayer walk, I walked through a part of the street – about two blocks – where the houses all have the same type of tree in their yards. I have no idea what kind of trees these were, but they were all attracting bees.

They were good-sized trees (30 – 40 foot high), and since yesterday was the first day of fall here in Northern California, the leaves are all still green and lush. And, the trees almost formed a tunnel over the street. As I walked into this part of the street, the sound of the bees was profound. It was loud enough to be the only thing I was thinking about…like hearing a jet taking off from a distance. I was fascinated. I could see that they were attracted to what looked like very small flowers at the apex of where the leaves sprouted from the branch, and thousands of tiny brown petals were raining out of the trees and covering the sidewalk and street.

Beyond the fact that this was the end of summer and the beginning of Fall, it seemed strange for bees to be this active pollinating these trees. And, I remember thinking, “Every bee in Butte County has to be here!”

Then The Lord began to speak.

He said that the act of prayer is like pollination. That as I walked the street and prayed for the people living in the homes, I was pollinating them with the hope of Jesus Christ. That just like the bees transferring pollen from flower to flower fertilizing them. As I prayed over the people in those homes, God would begin to move over their lives pollinating their destiny, potentially producing fruit. I may not be the harvester. But, fruit would be produced because someone prayed/pollinated for them.

I was given a vision a few months back that I blogged – “Changing of the Guard…or saving the Prayer Orphans. – about the prayer orphans. That was actually my purpose yesterday, to pray over the prayer orphans. Those families/people that used to have someone to pray for them, but now they don’t, because that person (Grand Parent, Parent, Aunt, Uncle) has passed away. These people are flowers that need their pollination to be finished.

The Lost need Holy Pollen! Without it, fruit won’t be produced for the Kingdom. As we pray we are storing up treasure (Honey) in Heaven. Golden Holy Honey!

 

 

 

 

 

Bass Reeves

Bass Reeves

Portrait of U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves | Courtesy of the National Park Service at Fort Smith

(Derek’s Note: Bass Reeves, U.S. Deputy Marshal


“Maybe the law ain’t perfect, but it’s the only one we got, and without it we got nuthin” – Bass Reeves


Born to slave parents in 1838 in Crawford County, Arkansas, Bass Reeves would become the first black U.S. Deputy Marshal west of the Mississippi River and one of the greatest frontier heroes in our nation’s history.)

 

Chapter Four

Bass Reeves

The Saloon door opened out stepped Cole Younger, Jesse James, and Belle Starr. Late Summer Sunday afternoon in Okmulgee Indian Territory cast a drowsy spell over the three after a successful day of gambling and drinking. The sun setting to the west burned through the dust raised by wagons leaving town. The dusty orange light casting long shadows across the doorways of the shops on Moore street. The young messenger boy skipped ahead to the west on Moore street. They shuffled along the sidewalk following the boy, sent to collect the three, towards the stables where their horses were being tended to. Supposedly, one of their horses had come up lame and the livery hand wanted to discuss what could be done for the horse.

Cole turned to Belle…who had his arm, “This is probably just an excuse to sell me a new one Belle. Most likely he had us marked as big spenders and this is just an excuse to make his pitch and sell off one of the nags left behind by someone unable to pay their bill.”

“Just keep this short Cole. I think Belle and I would like to get to dinner sooner rather than later.” Jesse complained.

Belle glanced back at Jesse, who was walking behind the pair and smiled. “I’m hungry too Cole. Just buy the horse so we can go eat.”

Cole looked back at Jesse. “Who says it’s my horse, friend?” Motioning towards the rapidly disappearing messenger boy. “That squirt didn’t say whose horse was lame. And, since you weigh more than I do, it’s probably your’s! And, if that’s the case, Jesse, you can pay for your own dang horse!”

The walk from the saloon to J.W. Griffin’s establishment took only a few minutes. Jesse walked through the doors of the stable and stood for a moment to allow his eyes to adjust to the gloom inside the building. As Cole and Belle followed through the door, the hairs on Jesse’s neck rose. “Somethings not right here…” Jesse thought as a stable hand stepped around the edge of one of the stalls and approached. Jesse glanced at Cole and noticed the look of concern on his friends face. The stable hand was tall and lanky. His shoulders formed a triangular block with the man’s hips, and as he stepped closer Jesse saw that the man was black. And, although his hat obscured the top part of his face Jesse instinctually understood the man he was facing was the legendary lawman Bass Reeves, and he was reaching for his Colt Peacemakers.

Jesse, Cole, and Belle began to draw their own pistols when the big lawman disappeared in a blink.

Bass Reeves, drew his Colt Peacemakers. Finally, months of preparation had come to fruition. The famous outlaws Jesse James and Cole Younger, and accompanying Younger was the cherry on top, Belle Star. Reeves was famous for the speed of his draw. Many times evil-doers had gotten the drop on him, only to find that was their last action on Earth. As the guns left their holsters the gloom of the stables disappeared and Bass found himself standing at the end of a busy city street in the bright sunlight.

Bass slowly took a deep breath. He was standing in the middle of an empty cobbled street bordered on both sides by shops and houses all attached to each other in a neat row. In front of the shops stood tall elm trees that filtered a warm but comfortable sunlight. Turning around Bass could see a large town down the road comfortably nestled by trees and ancient landscaping. Not a speck of dust anywhere to be seen.

Bass turned to look the other direction and came face to face with an automobile carrying two white males in the front and two young women; one perhaps a child, in the back. Their mouths open aghast at the giant black man holding two deadly looking Colt Peacemakers in the middle of the Oxford Street.

“Hells Bell’s good Lord Jesus! Something tells me I ain’t in Okmulgee anymore!” Bass exclaimed as he holstered his pistols.

 

 

 

 

Intrepid & Lieutenant Carter

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1937 Austin 10 Cambridge. Photo: Courtesy David Marsh, Victoria, Australia (Dave’s Austin 10 Web Site)

(Derek’s Note: William Stephenson was Winston Churchill’s choice to head up his global intelligence gathering operations. He was also the one that recommended William “Wild Bill” Donovan to head the OSS during WW II. He will be Knighted during the war for his efforts. His code name was Intrepid. He is also attributed as being the man Ian Fleming modeled 007 after. Margaret Peggy Carter is better known these days as “Agent Peggy Carter” Captain America’s sweetheart. Margaret Carter started out in the British Army assigned to Bletchley Park and eventually went to Special Operations Executive and thence to MI6. Here she is in transition between Bletchley and SOE and functioning as William Stephenson’s Adjutant.)

 

Chapter three

Intrepid and Lieutenant Carter

Between the families working knowledge of French and Joan’s ancient English dialect, dinner went reasonably well. Janie and Maureen set to making the Maid comfortable. But, bedtime came late into the night as Joan, Jack, Janie, and Maureen sat up listening to the story of how Joan came to be there. The initial shock of being transported to the future seemed to only momentarily disorient the teenager. Which to Jack seemed reasonable considering the things the young lady had gone through already in life. Here was a woman whom God had chosen to lead an army at the age of seventeen who no one would have ever imagined would do so.

“Typical teenager!” Jack thought to himself as he started down the hall to his room. “She no more looks to lead an army than I do! Tomorrow we will head to the college to see what this is all about. But, for now, I need some sleep…”

As the word sleep died in the consciousness, lights from a car swept across the drawn curtains in the unmistakable indication of a car parking in front of the house.

Jack shuffled to the study window and pulled the curtains aside to see who had arrived on his doorstep at 1:30 AM. As there was a full moon above, Jackie saw a woman dressed as a Second Lieutenant in the Army, followed closely behind by a distinguished looking gentleman wearing the kind of wool suit that would cost Jack a year’s wages on fleet street. “They must be lost…” He thought as he turned to greet the couple at the door.

“Hello, might I be of help? You must be desperately lost to be driving around at this time of the night.” Jack half asked and observed.

The young lady stepped up into the light that streamed from the front door and looked Jack in the eyes. “Yes, Mr. Lewis, you can be of immense help. Through some very extraordinary circumstances, we have been led to your doorstep.” The woman turned to allow the gentleman to step into the light. “My name is Margaret Carter, and this gentleman is William Stephenson special envoy to Winston Churchill. May we come in. I am afraid the circumstances require a level of urgency that has resulted in this unfortunate timing.”

Jack stepped aside and mumbled a quick, “Of course…” Jack led the pair into the study as Maureen appeared at the study door and offered them tea. Thoughts of why a member of Churchill’s inner circle would be in his study raising as much alarm in his mind as having a young Joan of Arc sleeping in the guest room. “Things are decidedly becoming more confusing, and less to my liking”, he thought as William Stephenson took his great coat off and settled into the overstuffed chair.

“Thank you, but as much as I would love to have tea, Mrs. Lewis, I am afraid I must decline, thank you though. Mr. Lewis, let me get right to the point of our being in your home at such a late hour. Late last night Mr. Churchill and I were in his quarters at Whitehall discussing…well…discussing important matters. We were in the process of sending Miss Carter here to the signals people with a package when the three of us had a very abrupt visitor…”

Jack smiled and interrupted, “Ah, Fred! That makes me happy that I have shared that unique opportunity with someone else. Especially, two gentlemen, and the lady, of such eminent reputations.”

“Yes, well…Fred…as he so effusively elaborated. Let us know that we had just become players in a situation where you, Mr. Lewis have been designated as the leader. Now you should understand. Both Winston and I are fans of your writing. I am quite fond of your recent book “Out of the Silent Planet”. So we were not altogether surprised by the Angel pointing at you as having the answer. Fred, however, led us to believe that something terrible is about to happen. However, Fred did not – in his abbreviated appearance – elucidate as to that terrible something might be. So, Winston being the man of action that he is decided that I and Miss Carter should come here to attempt to gain an understanding of just what the blazes is going on?” “What the blazes”, said with the force of a man accustomed to control and finding none in the current situation.

Jack looked at both of his guests and shrugged as he answered, “I wish I knew. Fred told me that I was to write the story. He didn’t say which story.” He turned to the typewriter and picked up the book. “He gave me this book. But, the story itself seems to magically appear as the story gets written. So I am afraid that the book itself will be useless as an answer to whatever kind of future it is that Fred has drawn us into.”

Jack stepped over to Mr. Stephenson and holding the book so that Miss Carter could also see. Pointed to the Character list. “So far, Mr. Stephenson, two of the characters have arrived.” Jackie pointed to Miss Carter whose jaw was now opening wide in surprise. “You Miss Carter, and – THE Joan of Arc. And, as you can see there are other characters on the list that – if I am inferring correctly – I have to say, will be nothing short of miraculous if somehow those names become real.”

Margaret Carter gave a short but audible gasp and turned to Stephenson, “Artur!? If that is the Arthur that is intended, then that has implications for current events!”

“Indeed Margaret.” Stephenson shook his head in agreement and looked up at C.S. Lewis. “He shall return at the hour of England’s greatest need! Sounds like something from one of your novels Mr. Lewis. No doubt exactly why Fred…and by extension…Fred’s boss chose you.”

Maureen – who had been standing quietly in the door – said, “We have an extra room for Miss Carter, Mr. Stephenson. If you don’t mind the couch…

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Two: The Story Writes Itself…

Empty Pages of a book

(Derek’s Notes: This is the second chapter of The Lewis List. The characters begin to arrive.)

 

Chapter Two

The Story Writes Itself

Days passed and the book sat next to C.S. Lewis’s bed…undisturbed and actively ignored. Until one day returning from classes at Magdalen College. Lewis, on his way to change out of his formal clothes, noticed the book was balanced on top of the typewriter in the drawing room, and instead of continuing the path to the bedroom turned into the drawing room and picked the book up. It fell open to the front page and now had writing on the first few pages. The front page exhibited the bold words; TITLE! The next page – in the same font and bolding – CHARACTERS:.

“How do I know?” Lewis thought. But, then something seemed to impel him and he sat in the overstuffed reading chair with his pen in hand and settled the book on his lap. Sitting for a moment in the declining light of the early evening, listening to the sounds of Janie and Maureen preparing tea in the kitchen, raised his pen and then hesitated. “Title? What do I call a book I have no idea how to write? This is so preposterous in so many different ways God.” Jack turned the page and stared at the heading CHARACTERS.

The thought came in like a shot from the enemy trenches. “The savage doctor!”

Jack put pen to the page and wrote; The Savage Doctor. “Well then, right! That sounds correct. But, who ever heard of a savage doctor?”

The second thought followed the first with the same sharp dictation of certitude. “Mr. Holmes! And, his Challenger!”

No sooner the thought echoed on its way out of recognition, the words appeared on the pages of the book. Before, even the pen could contact the paper.

Next, “Tecumseh!”, “Mr. Reeves!”, “Shieldbearer Peggy Carter”, “Maid of Orleans!”,”Artur!”.

As each thought shot through Jack’s mind the words appeared on the page until the page was full.

Quietly put the pen back into his pocket and looked out the window. “The story is writing itself,” Jack whispered into the room. “So what do you need me for God if you are going to write the story for me? Am I a first-year student in need of instruction?” Jack chuckled to himself. “Actually, I suppose from your perspective I still have quite a distance to go to achieve first-year status. Who am I to complain? Here I sit grasping a book well beyond anything I could imagine a man could produce. Watching words appear upon the page as a disembodied voice speaks to my mind. I should be amazed. Instead, I sense a very healthy spirit of skepticism, tinged with an equally insistent curiosity.”

The words still hanging on his tongue, and still gazing out the window, he watched as a huge horse appeared on the street at full gallop with a small child on its back. It was pointed towards the garden and in a bound vaulted the hedges and came to a skidding stop in the midst of the Roses.

Jack pushed himself out of the chair and ran to the door in time to see the child dismounting from the Horse. It was a magnificent black stallion covered with the slather of having been ridden extremely hard. Its eyes were wide with excitement and nervously stomped back and forth in the garden barely resisting the urge to continue its flight. The child – barely standing to the horse’s chest – grabbed the reins and was attempting to quiet its nerves. It was now obvious the child was a female and wearing leather armor of an ancient pedigree. Her hair was cut roughly in the form of an unruly child…or perhaps if she were attempting to look like a man. Which became evidently the purpose as the face of the girl…woman…was pretty and petite. But, then she turned and looked at Jack standing there in his professor’s clothes(minus the robes).

She stepped to the side of the horse still holding the reins and then produced a short sword from her belt. “Qui es-tu?” She said with the force of one accustomed to being promptly answered.

“Mon nom est Jack!” Jack reflexively retreated from the sword and the aggressive approach of the diminutive little warrior. “ The thought erupted, “The Maid!” “Es-tu celui qu’ls appellent la Pucelle d’Orleans?” Jack asked.

“Oui!” Joan of Arc answered. Then sensing no danger, but an overwhelming curiosity, she began to look about the garden. And, now at the two wide-eyed women in aprons standing in the doorway of the house. “Ou’ suis-je?” Joan whispered.

 

 

 

The Lewis List

640px-The_Kilns_1997

Photo By jschroe from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA – Lewis’ House, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7304420

(Author’s note: This is the first chapter of a “Fun” Work in Progress (WIP). Thought I would attempt a Mashup Novel. Taking a break from writing on the Grail Fellowship Series)

Rain fell in sheets across the predawn garden and streaked the windows as Clive Staples Lewis watched from his sitting room. The early roses waving in the brisk wind attempting to dodge the drops. Lewis, lost in thought somewhere in Scotland, gently drew on his pipe, enough to keep the coal alive in the bowl. Awake in the sleeping house, ideas demanded his sleepless attention and pointed him towards action. The sound of the teapot whistling drew him back at the speed of interrupted thought to the present.

Tea in cup, Lewis strode into the drawing room where the typewriter sat, and as he set his cup down, there came a knock on the front door. A deep sigh escaped with a puff from the pipe, and a longing look at the cup. “Who could be at the door at this time of the morning? I’ve a mind to ignore their uncivilized approach when most good people should be asleep.”

Opening the door enough to see and not let the rain in, Lewis looked at the figure standing before him. A young man stood in the rain five feet away holding a small oilskin-wrapped package. Tall and muscular, his hair was long and red. His face beamed with expectation and the passion of an Irishman. His eyes burned with the same jovial curiosity that climbed into Lewis’s mind. The rain was falling in torrents now, but the man was dry as if the sun was out. The water seemed to part above the man’s head and refuse to drench him. His cheeks were ruddy and the eyebrows were the same color as his hair, and his smile was brilliant like a lighthouse in the midst of a north sea storm.

Lewis looked behind the man to see what kind of vehicle had transported the man to his doorstep, only to find there was not a car or bicycle to be seen. He looked back at the man, who stepped forward and held his hand out and in a deep Belfast brogue said, “Mr. Lewis, such a pleasure, I have wanted to physically meet you for so long.” He stepped up into Lewis’s face as he extended his hand in response leaning down to within a breaths distance and placing his hand on the door he gently pushed it open, and said, “May I come in out of this bonny weather?” The last word said as he stepped past Lewis, turned and shut the door.

“Hello there!” Lewis exclaimed as his sense of propriety flooded back at the realization that a total stranger had just pushed his way into his privacy. “What business do you have that requires such an early invasion of my privacy sir!”

“Business? Why the answer to your prayers of late. That’s my business, Jackie! And, my name is Aloysius, but you can call me Fred. Much simpler in these days of simplicity. Don’t you think Professor? Like I said, we don’t get out very often. At least not in any physical sense. Let alone to hobnob with our charges. Excited you should be, my good human. Can’t you feel it?” Fred leaned over and sniffed the cup of tea as he settled into the overstuffed chair.

“Feel it?” Lewis said as he shuffled over to his cup and leaned against the typewriter table. “I’m sorry Fred, I have no idea what you’re rambling on about. But, I think that you should tell me right now exactly why you are here, as your beginning to make absolutely complete nonsense about hob-nobbing and charging about and such. Especially at this unconventional time of the morning, that I normally reserve for myself for my writing. So if you don’t mind, I would appreciate your immediate getting to the point.”

Fred looked up at the perplexed Professor Lewis and smiled his electric torch smile, and held out the package. “There is a matter of utmost importance, been assigned to yourself, Professor. Your prayers for this world, the colors, the stories, the history of people and creatures have arrived in the halls of Heaven. Your love for Him has resulted in this. Just remember one thing, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, to search out a matter is the glory of Kings”. The story has to be written and your imagination is not your own…as you so well understand. Remember, His heart is for you and ultimately for the world. It’s why He came and why He died. But, it’s always been about the heart of man. In this case, Professor your heart and imagination have been chosen to finish the story. And, with that, I will beg your leave my young charge.”

With a blink of brilliant light Fred disappeared, leaving the package in Lewis’s hands.

C.S.Lewis stood as still as a gravestone. Slowly he reached down, picked up the tea and placed the pipe on the pipe holder. He didn’t move again until the tea was gone. Thought after thought cascading through the mind and heart of a man confronted with a first-hand encounter with the extraordinary intrusion of the supernatural into the comfortable but mundane reality of life. Minutes passed before he opened the package. The reluctance to proceed due to an attempt to hang on to the moment of time spent in the presence of what – or who – was obviously one of God’s angels.

Quietly Lewis found his penknife and cut through the string that tied the package, and unwrapped the oilskin. There next to the now empty teacup sat a red leather notebook. Embroidered with Celtic Cable work and embossed with a quite stylized Clive Staples Lewis across the front. The book was ten inches high by eight inches wide and at least five inches deep. A good sized book this was and Lewis expected a heft to it. But, as he picked up the book it was as light as a feather.

Opening the book Lewis saw the pages were empty. Each was luxurious to the touch as silk and yet as thick as lamb parchment. He held the open book under the light of the lamp to look closer at the composition of the tome. The workmanship was beyond the current science of bookmaking. No indication was found of the binding of the leather – or whatever that was – to the pages. Each page was supple and yet unyielding. They seemed to give off a faint luminescence. But, when placed next to his hand there was no light shining on the skin.

Lewis straightened up and looked at the ceiling. “A mystery is what you bring me, Lord? The presence of an angel and now a mystery to lay on top of it? And, what – may I ask – am I supposed to do with such a book as this? And, what story?” The silence settled on the last words of the question. And, then the sunrise exploded through the window and bounced around the room and settled on the book causing the pages to shine with a brilliance of burnished bronze, causing Lewis to set the book down on the tea table as if it were a hot iron.

Fred’s soft disembodied voice drifted into the room from far far away. “Only you can write the story, Jackie. Only you can find the characters. Only you can write the destiny. The story will lead you to Him. You are His cypher. Do not fear, you were created for this.”

At the last word, Lewis’s last thought was interrupted by his brother Warnie. “Who are you talking to Clive? I heard voices and came down here to see what the commotion was.”

Lewis turned to see his brother standing in the doorway still in his bedclothes.

“Well, how do I explain something like this? Or, is this just best left to the secret worlds of creation?” Jackie asked himself…