Chapter Eighteen

Only because hot water always eventually becomes cold, I got out of the shower and headed for bed. Exhausted as I was, I didn’t think I would be able slow my conscious mind down to sleep speed but seemingly minutes after I laid my head down on the pillow, the sun was slipping through the cracks in my curtains and knocking on my closed eyelids until they opened. The morning brought no new revelations discovered by my ever-working subconscious during a handful of hours of sleep. The reason I had ventured off to the mysterious dinner party in the first place had not been realized. I had learned nothing that might help Katelynn in her plight.

After Harry had revealed to me that I was one of the few that had some sort of special positive effect on his demeanor, the party had started to thin out a bit. A few people had slipped out without my noticing, but most of the rest stopped by the couch on their way out to briefly introduce themselves, repeating Paul Northrop’s hope to see me here in the future. All were pleasant and smiling. None held out their hand to shake as they came and went. I imagined that in their little revolving groups they had been standing and chatting in since dinner, my name had probably come up more than a few times. And not knowing who were the mind-readers and who weren’t, I felt very self-conscious and guarded despite their friendly faces and words of welcome. Even though I certainly possessed a gift of some kind related to the mind-reading phenomenon, I felt very out-of-my-league here and had already decided to politely decline Harry’s offer to join his family. Besides, my gift was related to death. I still had not been honest with Harry about the true nature of my new talent. He might be a little less exuberant about my membership if he knew that all I could bring to the family would be the news of when each of them will die.

I didn’t ask anyone else what their gifts were as they stopped by to confirm their consent in making me the newest family member on their way out. Nor did I try to remember their names or match them up with any of the vehicles I had seen when arriving. As much as they all apparently agreed that they would like to see me here in the future, I had no plans on ever seeing any of them again.

Harry gave me brief bits of info, nothing very revealing, where they’re from, how long as a member, kids raising or business running, etc., about the departing people as they passed between the couch and the angry bear on the floor. I wasn’t paying too close attention. I was busy trying to figure out the nicest way to decline his offer as soon as the steady, but slow parade of current family members said their good-byes to Harry and I.

Harry waved towards the door. I turned and saw Paul Northrop standing in it, waving also to me. I waved and he vanished back into the dining room. The same woman that had brought me my first Mountain Dew at the banquet table came through the door Paul had just exited carrying a tray with another bottle of Dew and a fresh steamy cup of cappuccino for Harry. Despite the fact that everyone else in the library had just left during the past fifteen minutes, she somehow assumed the two us would still be here for a while.

She placed the fresh drinks with fresh coasters on their appropriate lamp tables at each end of the couch and picked up the old ones. "I’ll be heading home now for the night, Harry."

"Thank you, Mary," Harry said to the woman. "I’m sure we can find anything else we need. Thanks for all your service and you have yourself a good night, dear."

Then Mary too, turned and faced me as each of the family members that had chosen to stop by when leaving had. "I hope to see you again soon, Mr. Johnson." She gave me a brief curtsy and then she left, leaving Harry and I alone in the huge library.

"I can’t really tell how old people are," I said to Harry, as soon as Mary had disappeared through the doorway and I prepared to reveal to him the truth so that he could maybe retract his invitation once he understood my real talent. "I see how old they will be when they are going to die. That’s why we were testing it out on people in the hospital. I don’t really think I am what you are looking for in a new family member."

Harry’s smile never even faltered for a second during my confession. "You belong here maybe even more than I do," Harry said matter-of-factly. "I know because that is my gift. I know that you are a part of the key."

"The key to what?"

"We’re not sure. This is the ‘work’ Pauly referred to. We believe that we are in a defining period of time for mankind on this earth. Paul, with the help of some others, is studying the transcripts from ancient times that all seem to point to a series of catastrophic events that will occur in our near future. We’re not sure when exactly, but it is very near. Janis, one you did not meet tonight, is another of the true shiners. She says our time is short."

Suddenly the family was starting to sound like some doomsday cult bent on preventing some wrath of God or Satan that was about to be unleashed upon the world. Should this trend continue, I figured, I could probably justify foregoing good manners and just get up and walk out any time I want with no further explanation.

"Are you all part of some religious cult?" I went ahead and asked. I didn’t expect him to say yes, therefore allowing me to stand up, say thanks for the meal, been real, and see ya, but I did want to hear him try to explain how this family was different than your garden variety religious cult, aside from the fact that each member supposedly possessed some unusual gift that set them apart from the other six billion humans sharing this planet.

Harry chuckled. "We are not a religious group. No one here goes to church every Sunday or prays to God. Do you believe in God, John?"

"No," I admitted. "I can’t believe in a Supreme Being that created Adam and Eve and the Universe and all that. I believe we simply are what we are, a life born to die."

"Do you believe in other life forms and other worlds in our universe?

"Sure," I said. "There’s bound to be something else out there somewhere."

"And what do you imagine might be out there?" he asked.

"I wouldn’t have a clue. As far as I know, we haven’t gone there and none of them have ever come here. So until they do, or the government suddenly decides to tell the truth about things like Roswell, I keep an open mind on who they might be or what they might look like."

"What if I told you that I knew they were out there watching us?" Harry said, still looking as though he hadn’t had this much fun in years. "What if I knew what they looked like and how they live and what they like and don‘t like. What if I told you I had met them?"

The thought of Randi informing me that flies would love to explore mouths left hanging open passed quickly though my mind and I made an effort to shut mine once again. He hadn’t actually said he had met aliens from another planet, but it sure sounded like he was heading in that direction. I liked Harry. He was a very pleasant old man. His smile was contagious. His eyes were alive and friendly. It pained me to think he might also be delusional or senile. Although Stephen King and Dean Koontz had been my favorite authors with all their supernatural and alien stories ever since I was old enough to sleep at night after reading one of their tales, I never once confused the fiction with reality, nor, I would imagine, had King or Koontz. As much as I enjoyed leaving reality behind for a while and accepting a world of fiction as the real world while I read the words written by these imaginative writers, as soon as the book was closed, the fictional world it brings to life is left within the bindings on the pages from which it had been born. I glanced at the two walls containing more books than I would ever have time to read even if I never left this room again for the rest of my life, and wondered if maybe Harry had lost the ability to differentiate between the fictional world and the real world.

"So have you met them?" I asked, wondering if this was the time to stand and walk, after he said yes.

"Not like I met you and everyone else I know," he said, "not when awake. In a dream."

"Of course," I responded sarcastically.

"It has been in dreams throughout history, John. That is how they talk to us. That is how they talked to Moses and Hadrian and Odysseus, all the way back to the Pharaohs of Egypt. They communicate with us in our dreams."

"And they have chosen you, along with all the pharaohs and Kings of the past, to communicate with," I interrupted, not concealing my doubt.

"They didn’t choose me. No." Harry said, shaking his head. "Paul taught me how to make them recognize me. But I only done it once. An’ I won’t be doin’ it again."

"So how did Paul know," I asked, though I knew the answer before I had finished the question. Paul’s gift, of course.

"He read the secret in some old hieroglyphics on the wall of a new chamber discovered just last year inside the Great Pyramid of Giza. The secret was supposed to stay buried there and even after its discovery, it had remained buried in misinterpretations of the hieroglyphics."

Okay, this was all cool and interesting stuff, except for the fact that Harry obviously actually believed it all.

"How do you know your mind wasn’t just dreaming what you wanted it to dream, playing out your fantasy while you sleep? How do you know Paul is reading it right since everyone else reads something else in it? What about the Rosetta Stone?" I wasn’t bothered so much by the subject as I was by the fact that this intelligent-looking and otherwise delightful older gentleman was apparently slowly losing touch with reality here. "Did Paul see them in his dreams, too?"

"No," Harry replied. "I am the only one in our family that has employed the secret so far."

"So what did they look like," I asked. I figured if I asked enough questions, eventually I would ask the right one and be able to officially label Harry as one that has lost touch.

"The one that I met, Gabriel, the messenger for God himself, looked very much like you or I. He had eyes and a nose and a mouth. Two arms, two legs, no wings. And he had long yellow hair that came to rest in curls on his broad shoulders. In my dream, I was on a mountain top an’ he appeared in the sky before me, floating about thirty feet away from me over a dark valley that looked a mile or more below us. The sky was bright all around us even though it was night when I had called for him and I could see the moon sitting full in the sky behind him. He was big, bigger than me, bigger than Benny, bigger than Shaquille O’Neil. Pro’bly ten feet tall, at least. He wore a gray robe that swept the tops of his giant bare feet and it was held closed with a wide, red sash tied around the waist. His eyes were a burning green like I never seen before. His lips didn’t move when he spoke but his voice boomed inside my head. ‘Why have you summoned me, old man? What message have you for God?’ he asked me. I was mighty scared at that point. I knew I shoulda got more learnin’ done from Pauly ‘fore I dove in with all my excitement. According to Pauly’s reading of the wall in the Great Pyramid, Ra was the one I would be summonin‘. I looked behind me and saw that I had no where to go. I knew I was sleepin‘, dreamin‘, but I also felt if I had taken a step off the top of that mountain, I wouldn’t never wake up again.

"One thing I learned from livin’ with this family o’ mine is that it don’t pay to lie, so I told the truth to Gabriel too, as best I could. 'I thought I was calling for Ra.’ ‘I am Gabriel,’ he tells me, ‘Messenger of God. What message have you for God.’

"I figgered if I didn’t have a message, Gabriel might just heave me over the side of the mountain for wastin’ his time an’ summonin’ him here. ‘I am seeking truths,’ I told him. ‘You have found the truth. What is your message for God,’ Gabriel asked again, with a little more insistence in the voice inside my head. I couldn’t think of any information I could possibly pass on to God but I felt if I ever wanted to wake up again, I better come up with something. ‘We are four strong,’ I said, thinking of the four members of our family with that special shine. It was the only thing I could think of to pass along that might have meaning to it, though I didn’t know what it might mean. I still don’t know what that shine is, and then I see you at the hospital a few weeks later and knew I had found number five. But ‘four strong’ was the message that Gabriel supposedly then sent to God."

"Wait a minute," I interrupted. "Are you telling me this just happened? This was like a month ago?"

"July 21st," Harry said without thinking about it. "Or maybe the 22nd. I went to bed on the 21st and woke up after on the 22nd. Somewhere in the middle, I met Gabriel and passed along a message to God."

A little over a month. About a week before my accident. "Did you get a response?" I asked, just playing along...for now.

"I think so," Harry said. "Gabriel only said one more word to me before I got off that mountain and woke up in my bed again. For a moment after I gave him my message, he just floated out there in front of me borin’ a hole in my head with his green eyes. I started to think he was waitin’ for more of the message, or maybe he was thinkin’ on whether or not he might jus’ toss me off that mountain anyway. Then he said that one word and vanished. He didn’t fly away or fade away or nothin’. He was just there, an’ then he wasn’t an‘ it was night time again. But ‘fore he disappeared on me, leavin’ me to wonder how I was gonna get off that mountain in the dark, he said, ‘Seven.’"

* * * * *

Seven. I laid in bed, not wanting to leave the warmth and false sense of security one feels when wrapped in their own familiar bed sheets, slowly reviewing everything Harry had unfolded for me the previous night.

God must be a man of few words. Seven. That was all God had supposedly passed along to Harry through His messenger, Gabriel. And according to Harry, I was number five. Had the evening ended then, I would have just considered all I had heard as the ramblings of an old man looking desperately to find some meaning to his life before it ended. But the evening had not ended there.

"I thought you didn’t believe in God," I said, after he had finished his story.

"I didn’t say I didn’t believe in Him. I said we don’t go to church and pray to Him. God is very real, more real than you and I are."

So it was a religious cult after all, only they used books and history for their insights instead of psychedelic drugs. They were probably working on some crusade to save themselves come Judgment Day that would undoubtedly be right around the corner. Maybe Paul had convinced them all that a certain alignment of the stars predicted in Biblical times had come to fruition and that it was time to act. I wasn’t surprised that Harry had picked the number seven for this mission. There were seven Dragons in the giant mural. Seven, throughout history, which this family seemed to specialize in, has been considered a lucky number.

Luck. Just another superstition. There’s no such thing as luck. What happens, happens. Good luck, bad luck, Lady Luck, all just excuses, reasons for the things that happen to us during our lives. No different than God and Satan who serve as the excuses and reasons for the good and evil in our world as well as provide us with purpose for our life and our death. God, Ra, Lady Luck, they are all born of the same desperate need for answers that has been evident in every culture during every time period throughout mankind’s known history on this planet. We are a needy species. Needy of mind as well as body. Needy of reasons and purposes. Needy of believing that death is not the end. At least as far as I have always believed.

"God is of the Immortals," Harry continued. "The Egyptians and the Mayans each wrote in great detail about the Immortals. Ra, the Immortal that claimed the Egyptian race as His for more than a hundred centuries, was not shy about His visits to them in their sleep. Nor were His Parliament. Many of the pharaohs were in nightly contact with the Immortals.

"The Immortals are similar to us in appearance, though they have much larger bodies, probably perfect bodies, unflawed like our mortal shells. It is said to be written in the Hall of Records, buried in a chamber deep under the left front paw of the Sphinx, as well as buried somewhere in the great tomb of Atlantis on the ocean’s floor, a written record of how the Immortals created and instilled a spirit on this earth named Eoa, a unisex being that eventually gave birth to the first man and then the two of them, the son and the Mother/Father, joined to create the first woman.

"The records also explain the secret of the Immortals. They can live forever, but they can also die. Pieces and hints of what The Hall of Records contains are left everywhere ancient Egyptian writings can be found. We, our family, have managed to put together quite a few of the pieces. But there is still a lot of work to do. It’s like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle but with a lot of pieces missing. While some of us are trying to put together the puzzle, others of us are trying to find new pieces to bring to it."

Frankly, it sounded to me like Harry had recently lost a few pieces himself, but even so, he told a great story and was drawing me in like many a good fiction book had done in the past. He seemed to tell it with such pride and emotion. I could almost see the awe in his eyes as he had described his brief meeting with Gabriel on a mountain top. The excitement in his voice was almost youthful as he talked about all the new writings Paul was discovering about the Immortals in hieroglyphics.

Apparently the Immortals were basically a more perfect and complete version of ourselves. Ra had been the fist to discover this planet. It had been a lush, green, living ball of life. In the billions of years that followed the Ice Age and the fall of the Dinosaur, The Earth had been regenerating Herself, growing, breathing, breeding life from Her Soil, nurturing it with The Sun and The Rain. The planet was then inhabited for millions upon millions of years only by the abundant life that The Earth had spawned. Even the animals lived by the instinct that Mother Nature Herself had implanted into Her creations. Everything had a purpose. Between the plant life and the animal life, the life of The Oceans and The Skies, The Earth had created a perfect balance. A perfect paradise. A perfect Eden.

When Ra and his Parliament and his followers found The Earth, they themselves were in awe at the life that She had created. They had come across many planets that had created life of one form or another, as well as many that were dead and dilapidating. But this one, this Earth, was more alive than any ten put together that they had ever come across in their immortal lives traveling the Universe. They bathed in Her life, got drunk on Her spirit, and were inspired by Her creations of life, so much so that they put their immortal heads together and tried to match Mother Nature by creating their own version of life. And in the end, they had created Eoa.

According to Harry, according to Paul, Eoa was more a spirit, a consciousness containing a subconscious built within, than it was a human. Using themselves as models, they created a smaller version of themselves to house Eoa and then set it upon The Earth to do as it will. Ra and his co-creators watched with great satisfaction in their accomplishment as Eoa grew fertile and The Son grew to be the first Man. They watched as the two became six and the six became twenty and the twenty became four hundred. They had succeeded in creating a life even more intelligent than any of the millions of species The Mother Earth had been able to create. Their egos were soaring.

As the Human Race evolved and learned and became civilized, Ra and his Parliament, having created the life forms now trying to become a rooted and productive civilization, naturally had opinions on how their children should live and of course, they must always be grateful for the life given unto them by always honoring, worshipping and obeying Ra's every command.

And so it was for tens of thousands of years, which really isn't all that long in the life of the Immortals. Humans grew and expanded and began to spread out around the Earth, to venture out on their own. Ra and his Parliament, for the most part, stayed at home where they were needed.

As it always seems to be, when you think you've discovered the best, most private, most flourishing fishing hole in the state, suddenly next season everyone seems to know about it. And so it was for Ra, for in 3500 B.C., Zeus and his band of rebels and thugs had also discovered this thriving and busy little planet.

The two Kings of their kind, Ra and Zeus, coexisted on this planet for more than three thousand years, each claiming ownership to their separate areas of The Earth, to rule and command their race of humans and do as they will. Zeus and most of his gang of Immortals were not as sympathetic to the fears and plights of humankind since they had not been here since the beginning to watch us grow and evolve. Ra, though still a very demanding and sometimes ruthless ruler, still possessed more of a Father/Child relationship with the human race.

And a couple thousand years after Zeus had found Ra's perfect little fishing hole isolated off by itself on the far side of the universe, a galaxy so remotely far from the center that it only had nine planets around its sun, another Immortal quietly settled in and began to spread His word and His will among The People.

For a thousand years, God, while digging some roots into The Earth, creating a following from a smaller population and spreading out from there, while advertising Himself as The Good One, The Righteous One, The Only True Father and God, while performing miracles for the hapless and needy and less fortunate humans roaming the earth, God was building the most powerful Army of Angels the Universe has ever known. And when He was ready, once he had a thousand times the power of Zeus and Ra and all their family put together, God sent His young Son to the Earth to win over the rest of the human race, allowing Him to walk among the humans, to live and then to die among the humans, something never done by the Immortals before, stealing the loyalties of those that had once honored the Two Kings, weakening their power and any remaining hold over mankind.

Their independently made decisions to head off to some other galaxy and find a nice quiet planet to take it easy on for a few thousand years or so was not only their wisest choice, it had been their only choice. God had amassed one of the largest and strongest armies in the Universe. And it was lead by one of the wisest, craftiest, dirtiest Generals in the Universe. Better to head for Zuritica or Hertiulis or Arfigop. Any other part of the Universe that He wasn't in is better than trying to go up against the wrath of God and his Army of Angels. Even Hades was better than death.

And so it was, The Earth belonged to God.

* * * * *

By this time I was hooked. It didn't matter anymore if Harry was only playing with half a deck. It didn't matter what was real and what wasn't. I was fascinated with his story and the fact that he believed with all of his kind and gracious heart that every word of it was the god's honest truth made it all the more fascinating. At this point, I would have sat there all night and listened to him tell his tales and would have actually been willing to come back tomorrow night for more. The only thing missing was the popcorn.

At least this is what I was telling myself as I let him continue.

* * * * *

The sky had grown black. Hundreds of suns for other worlds appeared through the large skylight and over the dark lake as tiny, silver dots of shimmering light. The seven Dragons stood watch in the glow of the fire beneath them, silently listening to Harry's tale along with me.

"How can you possibly know all this?" I asked.

"Most of this we have only recently put together in the last two or three years," Harry said, after pausing to sip his cappuccino. "The Egyptian government has been making new discoveries difficult. They are trying to restore the monuments left behind by their ancient ancestors and don't appreciate the rest of the world trying to come in and tear them apart with excavations and tests. Janis is over there right now trying to lobby for the right to re-enter some of the older excavations to try to find any information or writings that were missed or left out that might have been more important than those who made the original discovery had understood. So far she hasn't had much luck with the government but she isn't alone over there. Many universities and scores of ethnologists and historians and theologians are every bit as anxious as we are to learn more of what the ancient Egyptians knew. There is also a lot of pressure being put on the state of Egypt right now to allow the Hall of Records under the Sphinx to be excavated. On this, the government has not budged. Yet at the same time, a university out of Japan who was able to get permission to use some new technology that determines ground density below the surface has determined that there are several large chambers beneath the Sphinx, including one about 35 feet below the front left paw, exactly where many of the writings have placed the Hall of Records."

"Couldn't all this stuff about Eoa and Ra and other worlds just be man's first attempt to give reason for life and death? Or maybe even simply the earliest version of fiction, an imaginative slave trying to please the pharaoh, for example? I mean, what are people going to think of a horror novel of today when it is discovered in ten thousand years? They might assume spirits and the walking dead used to roam the world and feed on the brains of the living."

"That would be a possibility," Harry chuckled, seemingly amused with my suggestions. "But then how did they build the pyramids? The answer is in the Hall of Records. Also in the Hall of Records is the explanation of how they knew the distance between the earth and the sun, the diameter of the moon, the cycles of the stars and comets, and even the mere existence of the other planets in our solar system should have been beyond their means, but they knew. They had no telescopes. There are miraculous structures from that era all over the earth that seem impossible for the people of that time to build, yet they were built. There are things that would have been impossible to know, yet they wrote in great detail of these very things that weren't rediscovered by modern man until the scientists of the last two centuries. This was not early fiction. They knew then what we are still trying desperately to know now because they had been told and helped by those who knew. They got their information straight from the horse's mouth."

"Okay, Harry," I said. "I'm not exactly sold on this the way you are. There are far too many holes."

"We are filling more and more of those holes all the time, John. It seems with just about everything Pauly gets his hands on, he discovers another piece to the puzzle. And Egyptian hieroglyphics is not the only source we are using. We also have two people in the Mayan Territories studying the calendars and prophecies of their culture. They date back to 3114 B.C. The Greeks began their history in 3300 B.C. We have a representative of the family over there, too. These may have been the first two of three groups of people to venture out from under Ra's wing. The founders of the lost continent of Atlantis being the third. The Mayans, with the knowledge they took with them when they left, became the Masters of Time and invented many different calendars, including the one that we use today, The Haab, as it was called in their day. They understood time in a much deeper sense than we do even today. In fact, the Mayans accurately predicted the beginning of a shift in the magnetic pull of the earth’s poles. This shift began in 1992. The Mayans say that when the shift is complete, in December of 2012, the Earth will enter into a fourth dimension of time where it doesn‘t always move in the same direction.

"Even the Native Americans, it has recently been discovered, had a much deeper knowledge of time and astrology than the Europeans had in 1400’s A.D. Keep in mind that at that time, the Europeans that discovered the American Indians and thought of them as savages and barbarians, had only just discovered that earth was not flat, something the American Indians had already been aware of...or maybe more aptly put, they had never forgotten. And these European ancestors of ours that had forgotten that the Earth is round are the same folks that write our history text books. Throughout mankind’s more recent ‘civilized’ history, it seems the more civilized that we become, the more of our own history we forget.

"But all that is getting ahead of ourselves. Originally our main concern was trying to dig up information on 2012. Every where we look, the Egyptians, The Mayans and their calendars, even later predictions that are cryptically written in Revelations in the Bible and the even more cryptic Nostradamus and his Quatrains, all point to 2012, specifically December, at the time of a global shift in energy, as a natural cycle of the Earth completes and begins anew.

"But lately we are learning of something else that might happen much sooner. Janis thinks maybe even as soon as this year or next. It may be something that has already begun and we simply aren’t reading the signs properly. Although, here we are dealing more in prophecy than in fact. But from what little we have been able to piece together of this possibly more urgent matter for mankind, is that Lucifer may be involved. We think he may try to take control of this world before it enters into its new dimension of time."

"Lucifer? As in the Devil? Satan?" I asked, making sure he meant who I thought he meant. I had to admit, he had done his homework, but Lucifer? I had previously seen documentaries on Nostradamus and I was aware of the Mayan Calendar. Atlantis had always been a myth in my mind but I must admit, the pyramids were as mysterious and unexplainable as that single miracle bullet that had killed JFK. Okay, so maybe the latter of those is more fiction than miracle, but the pyramids are very real. I have yet to see a satisfying explanation of how they were built and I had simply accepted the fact that we, modern man, may never know. But of course, not believing in God, Lucifer was even more a fairy tale in my mind than God had been. Harry had been close to roping me in with all his historical facts, but once again, at the mention of Lucifer coming to take over the world, he was about to lose me again.

"Yes," Harry said, seemingly unconcerned with my skepticism. "When God had quietly built his army to run off Zeus and Ra, Lucifer was his General, his strategist, the leader and the strength of the Army of Angels.

"Then somewhere along the way, shortly after God had left His only son to spread His Word in person to humankind, Lucifer apparently took a liking to this particular busy, lush world and decided he would kinda like to maybe have it for his own."

"Harry, stop right there," I said. It was after eleven and getting late. I was getting tired. Talking of history and related discoveries and listening to theories on the beginning of man could hold my interest deep into the night. But discussing a modern day clash that was to take place in the near future here on earth between old rivals such as Lucifer and God, which appeared to be where this last bit of dialogue seemed to be heading, got old real quick. "Unless you have something concrete to show me, to prove to me that there is anything other than an overactive imagination at work here, I should probably be heading home." More than anything, I wanted a cigarette. "I enjoyed your stories, I appreciate your offer to become a member of your little club of talented people, but I am really not much of a people person to begin with and don’t think I really belong here. I can’t say that I share your beliefs, not without some proof that I can sink my teeth into. It’s just all too far out there for me."

Harry smiled. It was a slightly different smile than I had grown accustomed to on his boyishly friendly, old face. He leaned forward, lowered his voice even though we had been alone in the library now for almost an hour and a half, "Oh, I got somethin’ I can show you, John. I was savin’ it for when you said just what you just said cause I knew eventually you would. Give me thirty more minutes of your time and then you make up your mind. Deal?"

As I lay in bed, preparing to review the final thirty minutes of my meeting with Harry on that previous evening, I started to tremble in the daylight that filtered into my room as I wondered once again how I had gotten myself mixed up in all this.

I was given a choice. I made a decision. And life goes on...hopefully.

* * * * *

Chapter Nineteen


Front Desk

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The Master Plan

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Tweny-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five
Chapter Twenty-Six
Chapter Twenty-Seven
Chapter Twenty-Eight
Chapter Twenty-Nine
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirty-One
Chapter Thirty-Two
Chapter Thirty-Three
Chapter Thirty-Four
Chapter Thirty-Five
Chapter Thirty-Six
Chapter Thirty-Seven
Chapter Thirty-Eight
Chapter Thirty-Nine