Gravity

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(Photo by Ben O’Sullivan on Unsplash)

 

My life changed the day I pulled myself into the Library. It was a place I never wanted to visit. Life was a daily grind of launching and landing. The struggle to keep the lack of gravity from dominating my life. Just like everyone else I knew. The struggle was very real. The day began with releasing the belts that held me in my bed so that I could sleep without worrying about floating to the ceiling or out the window and out into space. 

Then breakfast. Tubes of “Cap’n Crunch” squirted into my hungry mouth, trying to ignore the longing to have a plain old bowl of “Cap’n Crunch” in a bowl with milk and the satisfying sensation of the actual Crunch. Still, I wondered at the very existence of that thought. No one ever experienced that. This was life on Earth. A weightless existence. We all made the best of it. 

Every day, began the same. The effort to get from point A to point B. Home to work and back again. Everyone’s strategy was different, and much of it depended on how much money you had saved up. How wealthy you were dictated how much ease you were able to experience as you went about business every day. 

The most basic was the cable poles that lined the streets. First I would open the front door of my apartment and hold onto the door frame. Concentration is everything when attempting to move from point to point. And, yes after a bit you gain a certain amount of expertise in this. You either learn to move or you eventually give up and hide in your home and never come out. Thousands of people in our city give up every day. The insane asylums are overflowing with those that give up. But, I digress. Back to the door frame. 

Using my arms like the elastic bands of a slingshot I launch myself at the pole outside the apartment building. There I can grab the cable that winds its way through the city until I reach my office. The hard part is when you encounter people going the other direction. Yes, certain cables are designated for one-way traffic. But, many people let their frustrations get the better of them and they ignore those rules and just grab the first cable they come to. 

Then there are those that can afford a propulsion backpack. As I am pulling myself along on the cable I can look up and see the wealthy powering their way to work effortlessly and in their cocoon of privacy afforded by their backpack. 

Then there are the EMTs in their helicopters rescuing those that lost their grip on the cable. Or those daredevils that use the ancient launchers from the tops of their homes or apartments. A dangerous proposition as you actually need to have a computer app that will calculate exactly what kind of power to use on the launcher and at what angle and elevation to set it to reach your destination. It definitely requires a daredevil mindset to use those. These daredevils keep the EMTs busy. And, we lose a few every week as their launchers malfunction and send their users into orbit and out into space.

As I pulled myself along on the cable a sense of desperate hopelessness rose up in my heart. Why was living this way? Why was there a sense of something better nagging at the back of my mind? Wasn’t life always this way? 

Then I saw him.

About a mile ahead I saw a man walking down the sidewalk all by himself with a big grin and a to-go coffee cup. And, he didn’t have a hold on the cable. He was just walking as if his feet we stuck to the ground. I had heard that there were a few companies working on shoes that would stick to the sidewalks. But, the costs were thought to be too prohibitive as most thought the sidewalks would need to be electrified so that the shoes could be magnetized…or whatever it would take to make that work.

I was dumbstruck. How was that possible? That man was unaffected by the lack of gravity. Then he was gone. He WALKED around the corner. Unfortunately, I had stopped on the cable and received a quite nasty push from the woman behind me. So I continued on my way to my office. 

But, I never made it to the office. I saw a building I had never really noticed until this morning. “Public Library”, the dingy unlit sign proclaimed on the outside of the red brick building. There was that nagging at the back of my mind. Something that said that there was something new, something containing hope. Something tells me that life wasn’t meant to be hopeless and the same-old-same-old. My heart screamed to follow the nagging. So I launched myself towards the two large oddly barbershop poles on either side of the doors of the Library. 

I managed to grab the pole to the right of the double doors. Each door was made of solid dark stained oak and had large smiling faces carved into each door. The faces looked like the face of that mythological character Santa Claus that my father used to tell me about as a child. All those old stories about Santa and a man from the dark times named Jesus. I forgot about those stories. Probably hadn’t thought of them in years. Years and years of struggle to stay on the ground and not drift off into space. Just a life of survival and the mind-numbing hopelessness of the sameness that kept going like a bad dream.

As I opened the door a warm blast of air escaped and washed over my face, and light streamed out the growing gap between the two doors as I pulled with as much leverage as I could gain from the pole. Until I finally stood next to the door.

I was standing.

There before me were rows and rows of shelves filled with books and people standing around reading books…not held down by anything. 

I walked into the library and came face to face with the Librarian. 

“Hello, Derek. Welcome to the Library. I am here to answer your questions and to lead you into all understanding into the land of Gravity. Out of the darkness and into the light. Out of the hopeless and into the New Creation. My name is Jesus. 

You have been called out of a world that has lost its anchor. I am the anchor. I am the Way, The Truth and the Life. There are weight and gravity in the Kindom and a future. Life without Me is without gravity and lost. Most of the people outside those doors are stuck in their ignorance and have no idea they are lost and drifting off into nothingness. 

You have been called to take the message of gravity to those lost and clueless about their lostness. It won’t be easy as those lost can’t see the hope. Indeed, most won’t even see you. They can’t see beyond their hopelessness. There is a kind of comfort to being lost. Especially when you don’t know you are lost. 

Welcome to the New Creation. Welcome to Gravity.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holy Tsunami! “Chapter One”

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Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Alisdair leaned into the wind and attempted to squeeze his lean six foot three runner’s body behind the umbrella purchased at the airport. The heavy drizzle coming in off of the North Sea quickly soaked his San Francisco Forty Niner’s ball cap and the fleece lined gray hooded sweatshirt that added bulk to his wiry frame. And as hard as he tried the umbrella wouldn’t find a correct angle to buffer the twenty-knot wind driving the drizzle horizontally into his face. At any moment the umbrella would buckle… and that would fit. Just another dreary moment in a life filled with dreary problems. Fatalistic sapphire blue eyes flashed out from a weather-beaten, old too early, leathery unsmiling face, framed by a high and tight haircut long overdue for a trim. The weather felt like one more opportunity for Murphy to kick him in the stomach. Not to mention the cost of the cab ride from Aberdeen Airport to this godforsaken corner of Scotland. “I left this place just for this reason!” Alisdair thought to himself. Standing next to the Foot Dee war memorial, he stared at the drab grey stone building — at the end of a long line of identical drab grey stone Fittie tract homes — where the family Solicitor Henry Drummond had instructed he meet to discuss the particulars of his inheritance.

 

The driving drizzle made getting bearings difficult, just opening his eyes was painfully difficult. Having done the homework expected of any Recon Marine, Alisdair knew this was a historic district – Fittie or Foot Dee – but, wow this was way out of the way. There behind the monument to the soldiers and sailors of the Allied Forces in World War II flowed the River Dee. Next to the monument was a parking lot for a fancy four-star restaurant half filled with patron’s cars. To the left the restaurant itself and an interesting round tower of a building overlooking the river. The only thing Alisdair couldn’t prepare for was this blasted wind and rain.

 

The sun was out there somewhere behind the wind, rain, and clouds, but it was quickly giving way to the darkening sky and wet slippery shadows as dusk approached. Even with the rain pelting him and soaking the sweatshirt, Alisdair stood and allowed the ambiance of the moment to settle into his mind. “Always get your bearings, no matter where you are dude!” The voice of Master Gunny Jingo echoed across his thoughts.

 

Those thoughts were interrupted by the approach of a vehicle moving to park near the monument. The lights of the sedan shimmering on the wet Aberdeen street while the swooshing sound of the tires caused Alisdair to back towards the monument to allow the vehicle into the parking lot. The movement sparked an urgent desire to be out of the rain.

 

“Best be getting on with this before you get soaked ‘Dair.” Alasdair used the shortened name given him in the Marines and walked across the street to the wrought iron gate just a few feet from the front door of his intended destination. “No lights on…” Alisdair thought, “I hope I got the time correct. Of course, that would be the rule, not the exception. After everything that has happened over the last couple of years, should I expect anything less?” Alisdair stood motionless before the front door and hesitated to knock. Then noticed that the door was open just enough to be noticed. “Not good!” Alisdair froze and the alarms went off, and his body went into adrenaline mode. Sensory feelers from his training went out and muscles tensed. Training is essential to reducing crisis to the smallest components, and this moved Alisdair’s hands and feet as he slowly pushed the door open to allow what light was outside to illuminate what it could of the house. Here in the lee of the wind and rain formed by the house itself, he could hear the water cascading off of the roof and into the small paved yard. Nothing was coming from the inside of the house. It was warm as if someone had been there, but there were no lights, even from the upstairs that rose just off of the front door. Off to the right a living area, nicely appointed with knickknacks and comfortable, lived-in furniture was illuminated by the last light of the approaching dusk.

 

Alisdair stood silent — allowing his eyes to adjust to the darker interior — and tensed for anything that could materialize out of the darkened home. The silence broken only by the talking and frantic running of those that had just parked only a few dozen meters away and now we’re attempting to get to their destination – and out of the drizzling rain – as quickly as possible.

 

Finally – gaining a measure of confidence – Alisdair stepped down the hall towards the back of the house making as little noise as a Recon Marine could make. Towards the back of the home, there was the kitchen, small by American standards, but well organized and extremely clean. Except for the kitchen table tipped on its side and the broken wooden kitchen chair strewn about the floor. And, there in the tile floor of the Back Bay window was an open floor safe. And, to the right of the bay window another door. Only this one was wide open with the rain creating a large running puddle inside the house.

 

Alisdair stepped quickly through the puddle, out the door, and into the small back yard. There were the typical backyard toys. Obviously, there were small children that lived here. A shed was tucked into the northwest side of the yard. And, sticking out of the shed a movement, which looked like a human head rolling back and forth on the rain-soaked ground. Instantly Alisdair ran to the man and found the solicitor Henry Drummond coming out of unconsciousness.

 

Alisdair sat the man up in the shed – he was soaked and bleeding from a nasty wound on top of his head.

 

“Mr. Drummond, what happened? I came to our meeting and found your door open….” Alisdair grabbed an old moving blanket off of the small work shelf in the shed to wrap around the shivering unresponsive man. As the blanket settled around Mr. Drummond’s shoulders, he looked up as if finally hearing Alisdair’s voice.

 

“I – I really don’t know… remember getting your fathers will out of the safe and now here I sit cold and shivery and everything’s spinning around. Is that really you Mr. Robertson? I’d hate to wake up to such a painful reality.” Mr. Drummond lifted his hand to feel the lump on his head and looked up at Alisdair. “Help me into the house. Obviously, I have been robbed. It is time to see what kind of damage has been done.”

 

A noise came from the back door, and Alisdair looked up to see the horrified look of a wife and two middle school kids standing in the open back door. “Henry!” The wife screamed and ran to the shed followed by the two kids. She stopped just short of the scene and looked at Alisdair with suspicion. “And, who might you be?” The wife demanded, not looking at Mr. Drummond.

 

“Stop Gwen, this is the Mr. Robertson that I wanted to have for supper. He’s Arthur Robertson’s eldest. The one that left and went to the States. Augh! Help me up off of the shed floor will you, Alisdair? I need a stiff one and some pain killers for this killer of a headache.” Alisdair picked Henry Drummond up off the floor keeping the man wrapped like a burrito in the blanket.

 

“Henry, that blanket is all full of Sophie’s old hairs from the day we had to put ‘er down. You’ll get them all over the house.” The two kids were slowly backing into the house and now I could see that the lights were on. One of the kids – a boy about thirteen years old – was in a hall closet rummaging in a stack of towels. The other – a girl about eleven – was bent over picking up the remains of the wooden chair used to crack Mr. Drummond over the noggin.

 

“Wendy” Mr. Drummond started when we were near the kitchen. “Please, dear, put those pieces back where you found them. The police are going to want to examine the kitchen. We can’t disturb things here until they are finished. Gwen, did you call them yet?” Mr. Drummond moved very slowly, with quite a bit of shuffling, blanket hugging determination towards the living room. And, it became evident where the man was heading. There near an extremely comfortable leather recliner stood a liquor cabinet. Mr. Drummond reached into the cabinet and came out with a bottle of single malt scotch.

 

Turning to Alisdair and Gwen – who was talking on her cell phone – and held out the bottle as if to say, “I’m going to anesthetize my noggin! Anyone care to join me?”

 

“I’ll have some,” Alisdair replied somewhat curious to see which of the distilleries the bottle came from.

 

Gwen entered the room and grabbed a tumbler for herself and reached into the cabinet for what looked like a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle’s whiskey. Then turned to her husband and said, “The police will be here in about twenty minutes.” She turned to Alisdair and remarked. “One of the perks of living out here in the historical Fittie area.” The sarcasm and bitterness causing shivering Mr. Drummond to wince as he handed Alisdair his tumbler.

 

“I am afraid, Alisdair… can I call you Alisdair… …somehow using formalities at a time like this just seems a bit off kilter. If you catch my drift.” Henry plopped, moving blanket and all into his recliner managing to not spill a drop of his drink. Obviously, a much-practiced move.

 

“Of course Mr. Drummond.” Alisdair moved to a small sofa opposite the fireplace, and Gwen sat in a small overstuffed chair on the other side of the fireplace. “Except that my friends – and I think this kind of thing makes us friends – call me ‘Dair. It’s a Marine thing. Marines are all about shortening things, jobs, and names, anything that can be shortened actually.”

 

“I doubt that is a propensity that is unique to the United States Marines ‘Dair. I did my stint in the Royal Navy. And, I am proud to say that short cuts were my specialty. However, they are not all that helpful in the legal trade. There are just no short cuts when it comes to the law I am afraid. And, to get back to what I was about to say when our names got in the way, whoever broke our kitchen chair over my head it seems has made off with what I needed to share with you tonight.” Henry looked at Gwen, “Did you look inside the safe?”

 

Gwen put her glass down on the small table next to her chair. “No, you told us all to stay out of there Henry. Do you want me to go look…Oh, forget it…I’ll be right back!” Gwen jumped up and quickly headed to the kitchen.

 

“Yes, they cleaned us out, Henry!” Gwen announced as she returned to the living room. “Who would do such a thing? How would anyone even know about our safe? And, Henry what was in there that anyone would want to steal? You did take my mother’s necklace back to the bank safety box like you said you would, correct?” She asked with an “I’m going to add another lump on top of your noggin if you haven’t” look.

 

Alisdair was sitting quietly sipping his scotch watching the husband and wife deal with the trauma of the evening when the Police finally showed up and began investigating the scene, and their forensics team was closely dogged by the two children Eric and Wendy. The evening wore on quickly as the Police work and the Scotch seemed to compact time into a disappearing moment. By the time the police left the night was fully fallen and Gwen had had Straw Hat Pizza – from just down the Esplanade – delivered. And, of course, Gwen would take no excuses or put-offs and Alisdair found himself sleeping in Eric’s room while Eric got to sleep on the short couch in the living room. Tomorrow was looking to be an interesting day.

 

 

 

Chapter Twelve “The Lewis List”: Reconnaissance

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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 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’?

 

 

 

 

Chapter Nine: Darkness Prepares

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Chapter Nine

Darkness Prepares

Slowly the Soviet S-2 submarine surfaced into the moonless midnight off of Dornoch Firth in Northern Scotland. S-2, at darkened-ship, was essentially invisible to anyone beyond a few hundred yards. A hatch forward of the conning tower opened and out climbed a shadow darker than the night. Barely discernible, even with eyes accustomed to the darkness, the figure stepped off of the deck and plunged into the sea.

One hour later the figure emerged on the sandy shore near the A9 bridge over the firth. The man took his time removing the dry suit he wore revealing carefully chosen clothing designed to mark him a common man, rough woolen pants and shirt, covered by a handmade wool pull-over sweater, watch cap, and very worn boots. The man found a piece of driftwood and buried the dry suit close to the waterline so when the tide came back in, the evidence of his excavation would be obliterated.

The man walked along the sand towards the town of Tain, avoiding the A9. Eventually, he found himself at the Glenmorangie Distillery and walked up into the compound where a man stood next to a Crossley Atlas lorry.

“Took ya long enough! Benny! Yer, lucky the night watchman is easily bribed here. Ever since we was wee bairns you were late.” Jamey Hudgens jerked his thumb to the lorry as if to say get in, and turned to walk around to the driver’s side. But, before he could move an Ottoman Janbiya appeared in Benny’s hand and Jamey’s head toppled from his neck and fell to the ground next to the front right tire of the lorry.

“Sorry, Jamey. MI5 will just have to find another rat to do their biddin’! But, thanks for the lorry, Mate!” He squatted next to the body of his childhood friend and wiped his Janbiya on his clothes and slid it back into a very non-ceremonial sheath under his sweater and whispered, “Alluah Akbar.” Standing up Sturmbannfuhrer Benjamin MacBeth spat on the dead informer’s severed head. “I may be late me boy, but ya be deid! Thanks for not making more of a fuss. I’ve an appointment with a seaplane to keep…if’n ya don’t mind.”

Benny climbed into the lorry and quickly drove from the distillery and onto the A9 headed for Tain, where he turned towards the ocean and a rendezvous at Loch Eye. As the lorry trundled down the highway, Benny continued reciting the words in his head, over and over. “The King must die, Long live the King.” Five minutes after leaving the distillery Macbeth slowed along the eastern edge of Loch Eye as if looking for something…or someone. Eventually, two men dressed similarly to Macbeth stepped out of the brush near the outlet into Burn Arboll, carrying large and heavy duffel’s. The two men quickly deposited the duffel bags into the lorry. They made two more trips into the brush until the back of the lorry was half filled. Once that was accomplished the two men climbed into the back and quickly made beds for themselves as Macbeth drove off and proceeded to return to the A9.

Neither Salah Kahn or Hilal Cady had made the effort to sit up front with Macbeth as they had made his acquaintance in Germany and wanted nothing to do with the man. They were content to sleep in the back and would be happy when they would link up with their brother Bosniaks already performing reconnaissance on their target. These men were accomplished Nazeri assassins but wanted nothing to do with whatever it was that lived behind the eyes of the man driving the lorry.

 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

 

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…”

 

 

 

If Your Presence . . .

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As a writer I have found inspiration just about everywhere. As I walk through life, events, incidents, people, places, dreams, all spark the creative urge to write. I don’t write to chronicle events, rather I write stories. I find them more satisfying and — it seems to me — stories written well have more of an impact upon the reader to convey feelings and complex interactions between people. Probably, the one most crucial factor that catalyzed my desire to write was my Mother. My Mother was the one that instilled a passion for reading. This in turn birthed the urge to write. A publisher’s representative once made a comment to me that I seemed to be well read and that it was reflected in my writing. I would have to agree with that. All writers that work at their craft — like musicians — are influenced by the writers that came before us and that we enjoyed reading.

This is not, however, about writing in general. But, about the one source of inspiration that guides my writing. The Holy Spirit, and a particular encounter with Him in the wee hours of the morning.

As I mentioned at the start of this article, lots of things in life trigger ideas for stories. I think if I tried hard enough, I could imagine a story out of just about anything, regardless of how mundane. At times I make a game out of imagining — postulating — a story line from something completely ordinary. Building a world around a complete stranger standing in line at the supermarket, just because they look unique. Sometimes I get myself in trouble doing that, as I tend to get lost in those thoughts and my wife often has to nudge me to get me to come back to the world my feet are actually planted in.

The stories The Holy Spirit brings are much better and definitely not mundane. His imagination dwarfs mine. So when I am half awake in the mornings — the time He likes to share His ideas the most — I have learned to pay attention and write down what He gives me. So I have learned to depend upon Him for ideas. Most of what I have blogged recently has come from Him. I am not afraid to admit that I am in some ways taking dictation, rather than creating something completely new. I don’t consider it plagiarism as He is giving it freely to me. In fact, I think He would be disappointed if I didn’t write down what He was sharing with me. Of course much of what He gives me, He expects that I will use my own imagination to illustrate and amplify what He is showing me so that others will be inspired. It’s how He has gifted me.

But, sometimes the morning visits are not about the writing. Sometimes it’s just about His Presence.

Monday May 6th 2013 dusk, I was talking with a friend about writing. She felt as though The Lord was calling her to write down the things He was giving her. So I told her to talk to Him before going to sleep and give Him permission to wake her in the night to talk. Since, this is often when The Lord wakes me to talk, I thought it might be a time He could connect with her.

So it was natural later that night, as I prepared to go to sleep, to do the same. So I told The Lord — I invited Him — to wake me if He wanted. And, I added; “I won’t complain”. This part was important to me, because in the past when God has awakened me, I would complain about missing my sleep. “Seriously!?! Can’t we do this in the morning Lord!?!” I would whine. So it was important to me to make sure He understood that I wouldn’t complain this time.

Tuesday Morning May 7th 2:57AM; I felt the familiar nudge to wake up. So I woke up and asked Him what He wanted to talk about? Did He have something for me to write? Was there something important that He wanted me to understand?

Silence.

“Okay Lord, then I’ll just pray”. So I took a few minutes to pray and tell HIm how much I Love Him. I was fully awake. So I sat on the edge of my bed and continued to pray for a couple of minutes and eventually ended up standing next to my bed with my arms reaching to the ceiling in worship.

That was when The Holy Spirit overshadowed me. It is not easy to describe the feeling of being overshadowed. The emotions are fully engaged and aware of every physical sensation. I know what it is like to be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. Being baptized in The Spirit is a joyous thing. But, this was different. The Power of the Holy Spirit was not so much emphasized as was His Presence.

I had not turned on the lights in the room and the moon was not up. So it was very dark and quite cold. I was standing there in the middle of my room in my underwear, but I was not uncomfortable. I only felt a warm and comforting peace that lifted the weight off of my feet. Almost as if I were not standing on the floor. The Peace was profoundly intimate and passionate, but not in a physical sense. It was a basic primal familiarity that comes between A Creator and His Creation. It was as basic as that.

He did not say anything. I didn’t see visions or images of any kind. I just stood there and was enthralled, captivated, overshadowed, breathless, between laughing and crying at the same time. It seemed to be the essence of falling in love for the first time exponentially magnified.

When I lowered my arms the glowing arms of the clock said 3:47 AM.

I sat back down on the bed and basked in His Presence. I was wrapped up in Him.

Eventually, I went back to sleep. I got up to prepare for work, remembering what had happened just a few hours before. I wondered, “Do I write this one down”. What did it mean?

I know what it meant. It meant that He was with me. Simple, uncomplicated and unpretentious. The only important thing about that morning was His Presence. He just wanted to be with me. No other purpose. Just to be together.

It reminded me of the following verse in Exodus chapter 33.

14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

To set this in the proper perspective, I want you the reader to understand what I have come to understand. There is no heavy theological explanation for this. From what I can tell, God just wanted to be with me. His Presence was profoundly alive in my room. I am not anything special because of this. The sense I received is that this was something He desires for all of His Children. And, in discussing this with my pastor and friend Larry Lane, we agreed that the key to all of this was the willingness — the invitation — for God to interrupt my sleep. To inject Himself into my life.

I had a very clear thought related to Exodus 33: 14 & 15. I could understand why Moses said that. Once you stand overshadowed by His Presence, everything else seems to dim. The cares of life no longer matter. If He is with you all else in life gains it’s proper perspective. No matter what you are going through in life. When He comes and fills you, overwhelms your being, touches the most central part of your heart with His Presence, life in this world trapped in the bubble of time, is revealed for what it is — transitory. He is the reality of life. His Presence sets all things in order. It is no wonder that Moses, favored by The Presence of The Almighty, would understand that life without His Presence is dicey at best, but amazingly victorious with it. It made no sense to Moses to proceed unless The Presence went with him.

Again, the key to this was the willingness to be interrupted. To allow Him to step in to the room whenever and wherever so that He can just be there with us. Are we willing to set aside our plans, our daily routines, our friendships, our wounding’s, our needs, to make time for Him? I will never be the same after Tuesday morning. I realize I am now spoiled. It would be great to spend all my day standing in His Presence filled with that Peace. But, I know my job is to paint this picture. To describe His eagerness to desire my presence. That is the other side of this coin. In the midst of all of this, I realized that as much as I wanted to be overshadowed by Him. His desire for me was far greater.

Oh what an incredible gift we have in Him.

I exhort you. Evaluate your day. Find time to invite Him to surprise you. Invite Him to interrupt you no matter where that might be. Maybe He will share a funny story with you, or illuminate His Word from the Bible with His unique perspective, or maybe He will just sit there and be with you.

The CliffHanger

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The CliffHanger

I like to read . . . alot. My mother would take me to the Shasta County Library in Redding at a very young age. Some of my oldest memories are of these times when she would take me to the library and read to me. Or, I would sit and listen as volunteers would read to a group of us. Because of this environment I learned to read at a very early age. And, mom made sure that I had a library card and taught me how to use it. I never read any of the Hardy Boys stuff though. Really the very first books that I can actually remember was a series by Joseph Altsheler. He was a prolific writer of young adult historical fiction. My favorite was the Young Trailers series and the French and Indian War series. Don’t ask me to remember the names of the characters though, because I can’t. I just remember how exciting the books were.

As I got older, I read science fiction. One of my favorite things, however was the Doc Savage series. Yep, plain old pulp. Doc and his gang would get into all kinds of trouble solving mysteries and right down to the end you would be kept in suspense until Doc saved the day. Just great fun reading where Doc would always win. But, the fun was in how the writer kept you in suspense all the way until the end.

There is a strategy here that can best be explained by a question. Would you read the book if you knew how it would end before you started reading? I know; some of you are saying, “Well, if Doc always wins? How much fun would that be? You in essence already know how it will end. Doc Wins!” There is some truth to that matter. But, it’s not all about the ending. It’s about Heroes and the adventure. It’s about vicariously living an adventure — as fantastic as it was written — that you will never practically be capable of living. It’s just fun to imagine that someone like Doc could do the things he does. It’s about the journey through that imaginary world. Even if it only exists for the 3 or 4 hours it would take me to read one of those pulp novels.

Living with Christ is much the same way. Life is — or should be — an Epic Adventure with Jesus and The Holy Spirit! And, there will be all kinds of “CliffHanger” moments as you travel through life with Them.

Yes, I know. We know how it all turns out. Jesus comes back and kicks booty and takes His Kingdom. And those that Love Him will be with Him where He is. The Resurrection is an amazing thing to look forward to. But, that is not what life is all about.

Life is a journey, an adventure, set before you as a challenge. Jesus as The Word, spoke Creation into existence. Some say He SANG it into existence. It was a Love Song! The Creation is so glorious, immense and endless and — quite frankly — beyond our capabilities as finite beings to understand. And, there is a purpose to it. God wants to share this with us. God is into adventure, boundless joy, huge belly laughs, infinite compassion, and in contrast to that, an amazing peaceful love that rules everything else. He is extending an incredible invitation to explore all that with HIM. That is, after all what we were created for.

So God is the ultimate author. He is writing countless stories in the lives of His Creation. He wants to write an amazing roller-coaster ride of a story in your life. One filled with passion, and adventure. One where He will be right there beside you the entire way. Leading you through the obstacle course of life. You just have to trust that He knows the way through. After all, we know how the story ends, right? So why not enjoy the CliffHangers of Life?

I have heard that Faith can be best described by the word RISK.

Are we willing to risk this life in the bubble of time to gain what Faith and The Word tell us is the true reality? Are we going to live in that prayer, Thy Kingdom Come Thy Will be done, On Earth as it is in Heaven?

Yes, many of our lives today resemble tragedies. At times there seems to be no way out. We are tied up and on the tracks of life and the locomotive of disaster — whatever that looks like for you — is bearing down on you. If you know The Heart of Jesus, you know He is way better than Dudley-Do-Right at saving people. And, satan has less power over you than that animated character Snidely Whiplash.

So let Jesus rewrite your story. The next time the Holy Spirit whispers something over the top in your ear, that can only be accomplished by Him. Take Him up on it. Step out and take the risk. He won’t disappoint you.

Trust me comfort is not all it cracks up to be.