Chapter Eight “The Lewis List”: Tecumseh

Chapter Eight

Tecumseh

Tecumseh

(Derek’s Note: Tecumseh was among the most celebrated Indian leaders in history and was known as a strong and eloquent orator who promoted tribal unity. He was also ambitious, willing to take risks and make significant sacrifices to repel the Americans from Indian lands in the Old Northwest Territory.)

 

William Stephenson and C.S. Lewis stepped out of the Austin Cambridge Staff Car and walked over to the giant black man holding the menacing looking six shooters. They noticed that the man was frozen as if he was afraid to move. But, his eyes were watching every move the two made as they approached, and the two guns tracked where the eyes were focused.

“Hello my good man, my name is William Stephenson of the British Government. You look as though you wish someone would tell you what is going on. Am I mistaken?” Stephenson and Jack were now standing directly in front of the man. “I think you can put those guns away, sir. We are most definitely not bandits and you are quite safe here in Oxford. Might we have the honor of making your acquaintance?” Stephenson extended his hand in an offer to shake his hand. That seemed to ignite a spark of life in the man, and he holstered the two peacemakers, and absent-mindedly extended his hand as his attention wandered down the street.

“Name’s Marshall Bass Reeves of the U.S. Marshall’s. Oxford? Ya’say? Well, if that ain’t a fine kettle of fish! This really is Oxford?” Bass turned around again as if to make sure he was not dreaming. “Dang sure a long way from Okmulgee in the Indian Territories. Wouldn’t happen to be able to let a fella in on how I got here?” With that question, Bass turned and focused his eyes upon the two men. Then he reached out and grasped their hands and shook them quite vigorously.

Jack offered an answer. “Well, Bass, unfortunately, we can’t explain that, other than to say that you are indeed in Oxford England. And, you seem to be caught up in the same mess that we are. So I suggest that you come with us. We were heading just over there at that establishment. So I would be honored to walk next to an honest to God U.S. Marshall.”

Stephenson walked back to the Austin and found that Margaret had taken his place at the wheel, and they drove the last few yards and parked near the Eagle and Child. As they passed Bass and Jack they noticed a small group of distinctive individuals standing near the entrance of the pub, one of which looked surprisingly like someone in a Sherlock Holmes costume.

Margaret looked at William and said, “Sir, it looks as if our little group has grown. And, if I am not mistaken we seem to have three men who only exist on the pages of books. That looks like Sherlock Holmes. The other has got to be George Edward Challenger, the other Conan Doyle sleuth. And, if I am not mistaken about my American literature, that is Doc Savage!”

Stephenson looked at Margaret and exclaimed, “Doc who?”

“Doc Savage! Sir! He’s a character from a series of American pulp fiction novels. My young cousin Teddy reads them. He’s addicted to pulp fiction novels. He sends away for them from America. I have to admit that I have read a few of them and they are surprisingly fun. But, if that is actually Doc Savage? He’s a good man to team up with Holmes and Challenger. Whoever is putting this altogether seems to have a flair for excellence Sir.”

“That’s just what I’m worried about Margaret.” William worried. “One, we have no idea why whoever it is who is bringing us all together. And, secondly, the level of talent being brought together seems to imply something bad is getting ready to happen. England doesn’t need one more thing right at the moment. What with that madman Hitler building his modern army over on the continent and Parliament dragging its feet to prepare for what can only be war. We don’t need an outbreak of fictional characters running around on the streets of Oxford or Bloody London for that matter. I don’t care what quality of men they are. When the press finds out that Sherlock Holmes or Doc Savage for that matter are actual people there will be a frenzy.”

William turned his attention from Margaret to the scene building momentum on the street in front of the Eagle and Child. He noticed that a number of the members of the Inklings were now emerging from the Pub. William recognized the ever-present pipe and swept back hair of J.R.R. Tolkein. There was the craggy-faced Owen Barfield, and there was balding and bulbous-nosed Hugo Dyson. Besides the members of the Inklings, other people were emerging from buildings all along the street. The amazing figures of Doc Savage and Bass Reeves were drawing people from their homes and businesses.

William, Margaret, and Joan disembarked from the Austin (Joan at Margaret’s encouragement), and walked over to the group, just as the sound of a supercharged V8 engine exploded from the alleyway next to the Eagle and Child. Everyone on the street turned in awe as a royal blue Cord Supercharged Phaeton convertible emerged behind the rumbling sound of automotive horsepower. The vehicle slowly maneuvered next to the Austin 10 staff car and parked.

The driver of the Cord stepped out and shut the door with a careful push and turned to the group. He was dressed in a well-tailored dark brown cotton suit with a golden lapel pin illustrating a sword super-imposed over the two letters “GC”. Under the suit, he wore a scarlet blouse and matching cravat. His jet black hair was long and braided and fell down his back, and his feet were covered with expertly crafted matching brown leather shoes. The man appeared to be an extremely wealthy and successful man. He was equal in size to Doc Savage and Bass Reeves and of obvious Native American heritage. He slowly walked out into the street with his hands behind his back in the manner of a man examining his surroundings. He walked past the group – silent now in the presence of such a remarkable figure – as if he were a general reviewing his troops. Then he turned to the group and in perfect American English asked, “Well, are we all here?”

Jack recognized that this must be the one called Tecumseh from the character list and walked up to the man to introduce himself. As he walked up to the man he thought, “A Lawman, a superhero, two detectives, a legendary woman of God, a female Army officer, Winston Churchill’s head of intelligence, and now Native America’s George Washington! What more could possibly happen? And, when does Arthur show up?

 

 

 

 

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Evil Incarnate

1200px-570_Wewelsburg

(By Harald Köster, Bochum, Germany – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=539611)

(Derek’s Note: The above picture is one of the sites where Heinrich Himmler indoctrinated his SS troops into his ideology. The Wewelsburg was the most important site in Himmler’s pseudo-Germanic religious doctrine.)

 

Chapter Seven

Evil Incarnate

 

Heinrich Himmler held the jewel-encrusted chalice in his left hand, his forearm draped with a red and black trimmed towel depicting a black eagle clutching a black swastika inside round wreath. His adjutant Hermann Gauch followed behind with a tray with five brand new Totenkopfrings. Lined up in front of Himmler stood five of the largest “Aryan” officers Gauch had ever seen. Each of these new officers was hand picked by Gauch himself. Prime specimens, pure Aryan genetic examples of Nordic superiority. And, now each would take the blood oath and vow fealty to the Fuhrer, even unto death. Herman noticed the zeal with which Himmler was imitating the role of a priest in administering the cup of blood for the five initiates. Holding the chalice just so that the initiate’s lips could reach the cup, but not allowing them to grasp it. As each of the initiates leaned forward to sip the blood Himmler would rotate the cup and wipe the cup with the towel. The initiates all towered over Himmler and needed to bend down to the chalice. And, to a man these men kept their eyes fixed on Himmler. Their gaze one of adoration and expectation.

Gauch, watched as each man enthusiastically vowed to give his life in defense of his Fuhrer. The level of fanaticism exhibited on the faces of these men – each so physically similar as to seem brothers – a testament to the efficacy of the indoctrination these men had gone through over the last few years. But, these five were different. They had been selected at an early stage of their development. Each had risen through the ranks of the Hitler–Jugend and their development monitored personally by Gauch. These men were the continuing realization of a dream. The creation of an elite team of assassins within the ranks of the already elite Schutzstaffel called the Einsatzgruppen.

Sitting in the main ceremonial hall against the wall near the huge blazing hearth, were the special invitees for tonight’s ceremony, family members, and party functionaries. Plus, three men, mostly unknown to many in the leadership of the Nazi Party, from Turkey. Standing partially hidden in the rear of the room, they watched intently as the men were given their rings. These three men were Nizari’s. A sect of Islam most considered extinct. But, now reborn amidst the chaos of a coming world war. This ceremony was not so different from their own. The same level of devotion and intensity existed in the eyes of these young men as in the eyes of their troops in Syria.

Herman Gauch had encountered the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem on one of his expeditions to retrieve archaeological artifacts in Iraq. Himmler’s effort to prove the validity of his theories of Aryan history in Eastern Europe and the Middle East resulted in extensive travels for Gauch over the last few years. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini had prophetically realized the need for the tactics of strategic elimination of his enemies. In essence, the need became apparent for a specialized team of assassins, whom the three in shadows was an example of. Husseini understanding the value of calling upon history to supply inspiration, decided to resurrect the infamous Azeri Ismaili sect early in his tenure as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. “Once in Power, Never to relinquish!” Husseini reminded himself every morning at dawn prayers. He intended to not only stay in power but to be the instrument for the removal of every vestige of Jewish influence in his Palestine. Gauch recognized an asset with similar goals as his mentor and boss Heinrich Himmler. Although Husseini had declined the offer to visit Berlin, he had sent the three assassins to Berlin as a gesture of future good relations. These men were led by a man they were calling their Imam; Imam Sabri Demir. The other two – Salah Khan and Hilal Cady – were ethnic Bosniaks, and Imam Demir was a Syrian.

Gauch kept his eyes on the Imam. The Imam seemed an enigma and exhibited a one track anti-semitic mind. The Bosniaks hardly spoke and allowed the Imam to do the communicating. Gauch was impressed by the level of training the three Nazeris exhibited and grateful for the subtle skills of infiltration and quiet death they had taught the Einsatzgruppen trainees. But, still there existed a mutual distrust as the understanding became more and more apparent that only their mutual hatred for the Jews was keeping this alliance together. His thoughts were interrupted by the realization that the Imam was staring back, and as their eyes locked a darkness descended on the fringes of Gauch’s peripheral vision. Darkness with movement, as if there were something behind the darkness. And, a coldness that brought a shiver to Gauch’s already darkened soul.

Imam Sabri Demir held Herman’s gaze and smiled.

Chapter Six The Lewis List: The Savage Doctor!

Doc Savage

 

Chapter Six

The Savage Doctor!

“Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better, that all may profit by it. Let me think of the right and lend all my assistance to those who need it, with no regard for anything but justice. Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage. Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens and my associates in everything I say and do. Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.” -Doc Savage

 

(Derek’s Note: Writing a Mashup Novel that mixes fictional characters with historical characters can be a challenge, as I tend to get off on bunny trails about how that fictional character might think about suddenly becoming flesh and blood. Plus, the idea of how three characters such as in this chapter how they might relate to each other and the perception of their situation. Enjoy! Please feel free to comment or critique!)

 

The voices in his head were competing to be heard. Monk, Ham, Renny, Long Tom, Johnny…and a strange low guttural human growl. Vertigo kept Doc from being able to distinguish where the voices were coming from. His eyes were dazzled by the spinning colors and judging from vertigo he realized he was caught in some form of a whirlwind. The voices were there, but nothing else. After a few moments to analyze the sensation of spinning through the colorful whirlwind Doc recognized that just beyond the colors was what looked like a countryside.

The brilliant colors and the speed of the whirlwind began to dissipate and the Man of Bronze began to settle to the earth. Clark Savage, Jr., better known as Doc Savage America’s most enigmatic and yet philanthropic crime fighter, realized that he was alive in the real world! These were his first thoughts! The recognition of his unique situation; a fictional character taking on flesh! Doc knew who he was, and the flood of sensory input as a fictional body became a physical body was almost overwhelming. But, Doc’s fictional training took over and his mind gained control of this new experience. As Doc was floating to the ground, his heightened senses began to take in everything. Directly below and to the right was a row of houses facing a wide paved tree-lined street. And, from the names on the businesses Doc realized he was descending onto a British street.

Settling to the street Doc looked to see if his powerful six-foot-five-inch frame – Doc was wearing his riding outfit; khaki breeches, immaculately shined calf-high riding boots, and a long-sleeved cotton shirt under a leather hunting vest – or his unorthodox arrival had attracted any attention. There were a scattering of people walking the street, but no one seemed to notice him…except for a rough looking horse-shaped face surrounded by a great black mane of hair staring from the window of the establishment directly in front of his landing spot. Doc looked up from the face and saw the name of the establishment, “The Eagle and Child”. “Something about that name,” Doc thought. Doc queried his cavernous memory and found a reference to a group of writers in Britain called the Inklings that used this pub as their meeting hall. “But, why am I here? And, why is that man the only one to notice my arrival?” Doc thought.

Barely, had the thought finished when the door to the Eagle and Child opened and out stepped the largest and oddest looking large but small man Doc had ever seen.

The man reminded Doc of his friend and compatriot Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Blodgett “Monk” Mayfair, who’s arms resembled those of an Orangutan. But, this specimen standing here was a darker and more sinister looking individual. His head was a size larger than the normal homo sapiens specimen and had the remarkable resemblance to a horse. Long and prodigious nose, huge penetrating dark brown eyes, and a huge mouth that held a grin that seemed to be attempting to decide whether it wanted to be a smile or a grimace. A body that was almost as wide as it was high and again the jet black hair that cascaded over the monolith of a head.

“George Edward Challenger’s my name.” The mini mountain offered as he gave a short quick bow and extended his hand. “Might you be the great philanthropist Clark Savage, Jr.? No need to answer that my good man, I already know it’s you. Only one individual in this world would fit the description of the person standing before me. Considering you have arrived in this place in a manner similar to my own a few moments ago. I can only assume that some poor fellow or tribe needs the services of the world’s greatest minds.”

Doc looked Challenger up and down, smiled and took the offered hand. “Yes, you would be correct Mr. Challenger. I am indeed Clark Savage. And, I would have to agree with you if only on the point that this is a remarkable situation we find ourselves in. Because, if I am correct; you sir are an imaginary character straight from the imagination of one Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”

“Oh, we are going to match attitudes are we, my rebellious yank? You would be correct! Except that for a juxtaposition to your observation, I seem to be as real as you. And, I would remind you my good man that you also are a figment of the imagination of an author that writes a style of fiction that if placed next to the achievements of my creator, yours would be considered of an inferior rank.”

Doc looked Challenger in the eyes and a strange trilling sound rose up from the ground and enveloped the two men as they engaged in the time-honored tradition of a “Stare Down”. Dark brown eyes drilled into and were consumed by gold flaked eyes. Each the outlets of two of the greatest imaginary detectives written into fiction in the history of literature.

The stare down was only interrupted by another voice in close proximity clearing its throat.

Doc and Challenger turned to see another man standing close at hand with his arms crossed over his chest. He was wearing an expensive obviously tailored tweed wool suit under a tweed greatcoat, that the man began to remove and casually give a once over. Satisfied as to the quality of the greatcoat the man looked up at Doc Savage and George Edward Challenger, with the same piercing gaze that the other two had been employing with each other.

The man stepped closer and the other two detected an indifference to the trivial in the haphazard manner his clothes – although expensive and clean – hung on the incredibly thin frame. There before the two men stood a veritable scarecrow. But, each could feel the charisma emanating from the visage of the man. The man was wearing a soft cloth cap which barely touched the high forehead and seemed to form merely an exclamation point at the top of his long thin nose. This man’s face was as thin as Challenger’s face was broad, and held grey sunken eyes of someone with a bird’s appetite.

The man raised his cigarette to his mouth, extended his hand and said, “Sherlock Holmes at your service! I must say that I am more intrigued at this moment than I can say I have been in my many adventures. Considering I seem to have been granted the dubious pleasure of gaining a corporeal body. And, the opportunity to meet my alter ego that my creator has audaciously seen fit to bring to life. It escapes me, however, why both of our presences would be required, when one of us should be sufficient for any situation that my mind could conceive.”

Holmes looked from Challenger to Doc and allowed a civil if perfunctory smile to transform his haughty features. “And, you must be none other than the famous, if somewhat larger than imagined, Clark Savage, Jr. So, our mutual and momentary befuddlement aside. Have either of you had a thought as to why we are outside the hauntings of that group of stuffy academics known as the Inklings? I have never found much use for Fantasy writers. There are enough fantastical goings on in this world without creating more to distract those of limited mental faculties.”

 

 

Chapter Five: Lester Dent

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Chapter Five

Lester Dent…

(Derek’s Note: Lester Dent (October 12, 1904 – March 11, 1959) was an American pulp-fiction author, best known as the creator and main author of the series of novels about the scientist and adventurer Doc Savage. The 159 novels written over 16 years were credited to the house name Kenneth Robeson.)

Lester Dent – author of the famous pulp-fiction series Doc Savage – finished describing his famous character for his next installment in the series – The Submarine Mystery – and leaned back in his chair. “Good old Doc!” Lester thought. “But, I think you need to change. Just like I am growing old, my old friend. It’s time for you to grow older also. No longer will you be completely infallible. You need to become more human, same weaknesses, same propensities.” Lester leaned forward and reached out to the page with Doc’s description; …giant of a man. Trained from birth to be an expert in multiple disciplines. Deductive reasoning of his mind trained to a razor’s edge, body trained beyond Olympic standards. His bronze skin stretched over perfectly proportionate muscles, Doc stands closer to seven foot than six. Close napped hair a shade darker bronze than the skin framing golden flake eyes. An imposing awe inspiring giant of a man…

Lester began to pull the page from the typewriter. But, as his fingers touched the page the words began to vibrate and bounce upon the paper, bulging on the page pushing themselves off of the paper. With a definite popping sound they jumped into the air and ignited. Slowly the words began to swirl before Lester’s eyes, gradually picking up speed and scrambling themselves until the only thing visible to Lester was a miniature fiery multi-colored tornado. As the tornado began to pick up speed Lester stepped back in amazement not sure of what to do next. And, as the last syllable of his question disappeared from his mind, the tornado began to advance towards the bookshelf. Eventually, the tornado stopped before the bookshelf causing the books and knick-knacks to rattle and jump where they had been carefully placed by Lester’s wife Norma.

Lester stepped closer to the tornado to get a better view of what it was doing, and realized that the tornado was whistling. But, not just whistling, it sounded like Doc’s trademark trilling sound. Lester watched as the tornado began to pull books from the shelf and opening each one the words were “peeled” from the pages. Faster and faster the books began to fly from the shelf until volume after volume were suspended in the air while their words were stripped from the pages.

“Norma!” Lester called somewhat weakly. “Norma, come here please! I need you to see this! Please hurry!”

Lester could hear Norma walking quickly down the hall as one final book came off of the shelf, and he realized which books the tornado was pulling from the shelves. These were all the Doc Savage novels – his first editions – Lester could see that the words were gone. Each book was now empty! Every printed word of every first edition of his novels had been consumed and now were spinning in the ever expanding kaleidescope of a tornado right before his eyes.

Norma came around the corner from the kitchen almost at a run and almost ran right into the tornado, which startled her so much that she screamed at the top of her lungs and slipped on the throw rug in front of the book shelf. This caused the tornado to disappear, and sparked action on Lester’s part to keep his wife from falling on her derriere.

Lester dragged a struggling wife over to his typing chair, set her securely upon it, and turned to look at the heap of blank books on the floor before the shelf. A sense of incredulity set itself upon Lester and he whispered to himself. “My Books…”

 

 

 

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…

 

Dead Men Walking…

Handfull of Dirt

We are all dead men walking. We are the new creation, dead to this world and alive to Christ. This understanding is crucial for the war we are in. The following clip illustrates exactly what I mean. 

Lt. Spiers scene from Band of Brothers

Lt. Spiers has a different reason for saying what he told Private Blythe…hopelessness. For the believer though, that is exactly how we are supposed to live. Like we are already dead. Because hopelessness only applies to those who live in this world. If you have been redeemed? Then you are not of this world, but Christ’s, and hopelessness has no hold on you. Rather, give up hope that this world can give you any kind of fulfillment. 
I recommend the sermon Kris Vallotton preached a few years ago on his book Spirit Wars. He does a fantastic job of describing how dead we are to this world. So if we are dead to this world and alive to the promises Jesus gave us? How should we live? How should we fight the war against evil? Fear should have no place in our lives as fear has no effect upon us, other than what you give it. If you believe the lies, then you allow fear to have a place in your heart.   
 
When you were baptized. You became a completely new species of human. Your body may fail you, and we are subject to all the same crud – day in and day out – as anyone else. However, we ARE dead to this world as our lives are seated in heaven. And, yes, it’s a matter of perspective. (in some ways we are the original “Dead Men Walking”) But, that perspective is what keeps me “Daring Great Things”.
I dare, with the understanding that my reward is just on the other side of eternity. I mean, what can they do? Kill me?
I love my kids and absolutely adore my new grandchild Autumn. But, my tribe is waiting. All the Hastings that came before that are before the throne are watching me. Cheering me and the other Hastings still here in this world to attempt great things!
I have always wondered how the disciples went from fearful men cowering in their homes from the Romans to world changers. But, now I understand. Their perspective was from Heaven to Earth. They were convinced that that perspective was the true reality of their lives and that they were already there in Heaven. They were Dead Men Walking! Nothing to LOSE, and everything to GAIN!

 

 

 

 

A Facebook Story

Ludlow

The Amazing Utility of Facebook

Night in the Mojave requires layering. This becomes extremely important when movement stops. Inserting with the always excellent assistance from the Nightstalkers south of ludlow, a tiny way-station along I-40 in the Mojave Desert. The Stalkers left us in the low foothills along Bagdad Chase road and we walked towards the lights. Zero Dark Thirty looks like this no matter where you are. Cold, lonely, and usually filled with things to stumble over in the dark. Thank goodness for night vision.
NSA intercepted telephone communications which placed nameless faceless terrorists approaching Ludlow from the east. The scenario of Jihadi’s inserting along the U.S. Mexico border – anticipated for years – was now so commonplace Special Activities Division and SoCom assigned a team permanently to the southwest region. So here we are, humping into an afterthought of a place to live to intercept professional “haters” somewhere far from civilization. The thought being that out here, there would be minimal collateral damage.
My name is Captain Terry Gentry, on loan from Seal Team Four. our SOG connection, Master Gunny Devin O’Kirk walked next to me listening to the Commando Solo ELINT Aircraft keeping us updated on the progress the targets were making traveling west on I-40. Quietly pacing measured steps behind Gunny O’Kirk was Sergeant Enrique Llona Falconi. Enrique scared Terry sometimes, but was Devin’s favorite. Born of Ecuadorian ex-patriots living in Fresno California, Enrique served as their point man and navigator. Enrique’s favorite movie was the Adam Sandler version of the classic film Mr. Deeds. Everyone on the team felt that it was spookily appropriate that his favorite character was John Turturro’s character Emilio Lopez. After all he could recite almost all of his lines. But, by far his best imitation was his ability to sneak up on you like Emilio did in the movie. One moment you were alone, the next, there was Enrique, smiling at you saying, “I fear you are underestimating the sneakiness, sir!” It was unanimous that Enrique be point man.
Corporal Sammy Samson – Comms Tech – carrying the team’s iPad and signals jamming equipment, and Staff Sergeant Haliburton James – Burt – team sniper filling in behind made up the rest of the team. Burt standing a full six foot seven, cradling his Socom PSR with TrackingPoint scope, reminded Terry of a very mean Blake Griffin. Sammy didn’t remind Terry of anyone. Sammy was the ghost of the group. Urban ops especially. Sammy looked so generic, Terry swore he could stand in a store window and mimic a manikin and spend all day without being discovered.
Tonight promised to be an interesting exercise in communications cooperation between SOAR, NSA, and the team. As controversial as the news was making it, the communications intercepts value had proven themselves at an increasing rate the more illegal immigrants infiltrated into the desert southwest. Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Southern California were rapidly becoming one gigantic – and deadly – hide and seek playground. So the intercepts rivaled gold in value…in Terry’s opinion. So tonight the relay looked like this; NSA relaying to the Solo, then downlinking to Samson and Gunny O’Kirk. The trick would be getting into Ludlow before the bad guys.

Driving all night from Texas is not an easy task. But, driving at night can make it easier. Less traffic and cooler temperatures. Jim Thibodeau and his daughter Wendy O’Neil – a little road weary – anticipating stopping for sleep in Barstow, pulled into Ludlow looking for gas. The map showed both a Chevron and the Ludlow 76. Hopefully, one of them would be open at close to 1AM. The Advocare convention still fresh in their minds, had occupied much of the conversation since leaving Texas. Jim’s weight loss fired up the enthusiasm in his retired years as well as his daughters incredible energy propelling the entire trip.
Jim faced a little bit of a dilemma with his weight loss. Really it came down to realistic priorities. This thought always caused Jim to chuckle. Jim looked in the rearview mirror to see a thinning mirror image of Santa Claus. A graduate of the International School of Santa’s, his Santa pictures reflected the spirit of Norman Rockwell’s picture of the Jolly One. Never was there a better Santa. But, now health dictated weight loss and daughter Wendy turned dad onto Advocare. The weight fell off quickly and Jim became a disciple.
Wendy, a devoted follower of Jesus and missionary to Ireland, formed the other half of her husband Erin and together they had built a joyful family. Erin and Wendy, both dark haired and handsome young adults looked Irish and had the name to prove it. Their love for the island tinged all of their thoughts of eventually returning to pick up their ministry work. But, this week was father daughter. Wendy, very tired from a days worth of driving urgently looked forward to the gas station’s restroom. It would be her turn to drive the rest of the way into Barstow – hopefully they could find a room.
“There’s the Gas Station Wendy.” Jim sighed with his own sense of relief coming through. “You go while I fill up. Then I will go. You want anything from the Mini-Mart?”
“No Dad, I just want to get going? We still have some of the Gorp if I get hungry I will munch on that.” Wendy yawned.
“Ok.” Jim yawned back. “You sure you don’t want some coffee or something?”
Wendy just stretched, pushing her hands against the ceiling of the car. “Nah, I’m good. I just gotta use the restroom really bad.”
Jim just smiled and pulled into the station, the only car at the pumps.
Wendy, quickly sprinted to the restroom as Jim ran the credit card through the card reader and began to pump gas.

“Weasle One, target leaving I-40.” Squawked the voice in Gunny O’Kirk’s ear piece. “Looks like they are heading for the Chevron Station there on the corner.”
“Roger Stryper One.” Devin replied. “We can see them coming down Cucero. We are in position. There is one other vehicle in the station. Looks like a man and a woman. Is this a go. Potential collateral damage situation here.”
“Wait one Weasle.” came the answer.
The team, hidden in the trees and in the outbuildings across the street at the closed Ludlow Cafe, watched as the target van pulled up to the pumps next to the other vehicle. Terry glanced over at Devin as if to convey his nervousness with the situation.
“Weasle One, Stryper One. Over” The anticipated answer came through the cold desert air. “Prosecute, take down. Capture if you can. But, do not take chances. Targets are considered armed with AK’s and RPG’s.”
Terry and Devin, just motioned go to the team. Shadows separated themselves from the desert flora and converged on the gas station. Terry tapped Burt on the shoulder and the PSR coughed a suppressed bolt of metallic phlegm, into the engine block of the van, disabling it. Gunny O’Kirk sprinted from the back of the Cafe across the street, him M-4 leading the way. Samson and Enrique, advanced from the eastern corner of the intersection from their hide in a stand of trees. Speed and extreme surprising violence would be the key to this take down.

Standing in the cold night air helped clear Jim’s foggy mind. Even here under the lights of the gas station, “I can see so many stars! So amazing what God has made. Just think, there are more stars out there than there are grains of sand in the ocean! If that doesn’t blow your mind nothing will.”
The nozzle on the hose of the pump Jim had ended up with didn’t have a clip to hold the nozzle. So Jim had to stand there holding the nozzle as it filled the tank. The annoyance not enough to interrupt the rapture of the stars Jim held onto. But, standing there he noticed classic white dodge van pull in across the pump island from him. It was being driven by hispanic farm workers, it seemed. But, then Jim noticed the men beginning to file out of the van. They looked different. They looked middle eastern.
BANG!
Jim heard an extremely loud noise come from the van. As if someone had hit the van with a sledgehammer. Things began to move in slow motion from that point. Jim noticed the guns coming out of the van. Those were AK-47’s. He had seen enough movies to recognize their distinctive shape. Standing there holding onto the nozzle Jim saw three of the men drop immediately, blood spurting from multiple gunshot wounds. But, there was no noise. Until, one of the middle easterners managed to get his gun firing. That was when Jim noticed the men running from across the street. Obviously, American special forces warriors, they were firing as they advanced. The difference between the middle easterner firing his AK randomly in desperation and the fast and silent professionalism of the operators readily apparent as Jim’s mind took the entire scene in.
Then one of the middle easterners ran around the front of the van and firing to east towards the two operators maneuvering past a row of short ornamental trees, was backing down towards Jim. And, Jim could see that the operators were not firing, because of Jim standing there.
So Jim took the nozzle out of the car’s fuel intake and smashed the middle easterner in the head gas spewing all over the side of the car and over the now unconscious jihadi. And, as quick as it started the fight was over. Out of six jihadi’s, four died, one was wounded by a carefully placed round from Gunny O’Kirk and the last concussed by Jim “Santa Claus” Thibodeau was alive and being carried to a Black Hawk Helicopter in the middle of the intersection.

Wendy opened the door from the restroom to see her father standing with a group of soldiers who seemed to be clapping him on the back like old friends.
“Dad, what’s going on?” Wendy asked.
Jim just turned to his daughter and smiled.
“It’s a guy thing Wendy. Just a guy thing.”
The Team looked at the puzzled look on Wendy’s face and laughed. The tension of another successful operation draining off with the implausible ending to the night.
Jim and Wendy talked well into the night.