Young adult, paranormal/historical
Fighting the Problem
Without saying anything else, Lobo emerged into the dim light from the darkness to the left of the altar, walked briskly in front of the left-hand row of pews, and stood there with his bare arms crossed. He was dressed just as he was when I last saw him. Evidently he didn’t wear a jacket or coat no matter what the outside temperature might be.
I stared at him in amazement while taking deep breaths, trying to calm my pounding heart. Even though I suspected him of somehow being behind the appearance of that other Jeff, I never expected to see him there in the cathedral.
“You going to stand there all night?” he asked, breaking the silence of the place. “Or, are you going to come over here and talk to me?” The man’s deep voice again echoed throughout the cathedral as if he was using a microphone. For whatever reason, the chanting had stopped. Somehow, even in that low light level, the man’s eyes still glittered, but, it seemed, not quite as much as they had at his house.
The palms of my hands were so damp by that time I wiped them on my jeans. I looked all around, expecting someone from the church to come see who was making so much noise.
“Nobody here but us right now.” After speaking, Lobo sat down in the first pew closest to him and waved me over.
“Wait one freakin’ minute!” I yelled back at him, surprising myself. The shock of seeing the man there had worn off enough for me to challenge him. Sick and tired of whatever games he was playing, I yelled once more. “What about the kid who came in here a couple of minutes ago?”
“Oh him. Your twin’s not here anymore.”
“Oh, I’m sure,” I fired back at the guy. “How convenient.” I walked quickly to where he sat and stared down at him waiting for an answer.
“Don’t get mad at me because you can’t accept the fact you encountered your double.”
“And of course you had nothing to do with it, right? You magically appear where I last saw him? Give me a break. How would you know about his appearance if you didn’t set this whole thing up somehow?”
“Do you really think,” he replied shaking his head slowly, “that in the short time I’ve known you I somehow found a young man who looks exactly like you, dressed him the way you’re dressed, and had him intercept you at precisely the right minute? Besides, tell me how I somehow created your experience of flying over yourself riding your bike this evening?”
“How did you know about that? I didn’t even tell Carla?”
“You answer my questions and I’ll answer yours,” he replied.
Of course, I didn’t have any good answers to what he had asked me—especially ones that fit my little conspiracy theory. What really made me wonder was how he could be at that very spot right after I entered the cathedral looking for my double. Did I ask him? No. In complete frustration, I took off my jacket, balled it up, threw the thing on the pew a few feet from Lobo, and slumped down next to it. As good as it felt to sit down again, that wood seat had a real hardness to it.
“I don’t know what to think any more,” I said. Instead of looking at him, I rested my neck and aching head against the back of the pew, and stared up at the gloom far above. “So much has happened ever since I met you, you can’t blame me for being suspicious.”
“You’ve had a rough day,” he replied, “no question about that. Carla told me what happened at the cemetery. That’s partly why I’m here. I owe you another apology. I should have foreseen the possibility of my energy protection wearing off so soon, but I didn’t.
“Now, as to the escalation of events in your life since you came to my home, that is simply because of your connection to Carla and me.”
“I don’t understand.”
“What you’ve experienced today occurred sooner than it would have otherwise. The collective energy the three of us emit into other worlds is very strong and it attracted this spirit somewhat more quickly and forcibly than would have happened if you were alone. Make no mistake, however, and think you might have escaped all this if you had never met me. Rest assured that you would have experienced similar events but later in the evening, and you would have been unprotected.
“Unfortunately, the link between you and this soldier’s spirit is much stronger than I suspected. That connection eroded the barrier I put around you at an exceedingly high rate. Very unusual.”
“Surely you understand by now how correct Carla was in suggesting that possibility to you.”
After what, or who, I had seen Lyle become, I didn’t argue with the man. Lobo’s words made me think he somehow knew about my experience in the plaza. He couldn’t have learned about it from Carla though, because she left before it happened. My head throbbed as I tried to sort everything out.
Eying me carefully, Lobo said, “If you wish, I’ll transfer some more of my energy to you. Besides helping with your headache and clearing out some of the cobwebs in your mind, it will protect you for another short span of time.”
I didn’t understand that energy thing of his, but I did know it could make me feel better. Besides, any protection from bloody soldiers sounded pretty good right about then. “Yeah … sure,” I told him, “but where does this energy of yours come from anyway?”
“Long ago, I was the shaman for my people. In those days, I picked up a lot of tricks by working with various sources of power.”
“Shaman? Like in medicine man?”
“Something along those lines.” He shifted close to me on the pew, and, as he did before, placed one hand on my chest and the other on my head. Instantly the same soothing warmth I had experienced at his house swam throughout my body. In no time, I felt like I had been washed clean of all pain and tiredness. Even my anger, doubt and fear lost some of their grip on my mind.
“A lot, thanks.” Amazing how he does that, I thought, but the question of the other Jeff hadn’t gone away. “As much as I appreciate your help, I gotta know about that other kid? Who was he? Where did he go?”
“Simple, although you might not think so. That other young man was an exact, but temporary, physical copy of you and produced by you.”
“You’re out of your freakin’ mind. I didn’t produce any such thing.”
“Not consciously, no, but a wiser and more powerful portion of who you are did. What occurred is an extremely rare event. Very few people in the world possess that talent.”
“Oh, so, you’re telling me I … created this … this other me, clothes and all, but I just wasn’t aware of doing it, right?”
“Yes,” he replied, his eyes flashing, “clothes and all. Can I explain the exact process to you so you would understand it? No, but I will tell you this. You most likely produced a second Jeff more than once because of all the shocks you had today. That and you were also badly in need of help. You forget our conversation about the natural human capacity to produce duplicates after Carla crushed your Coke can.”
“No, I didn’t forget but—”
“But you don’t believe it. That’s your problem. Now listen to me. I came here only after talking to Carla and also sensing the presence of another Jeff Golden. I not only perceived his presence, I also communicated with him in ways you could never comprehend. To put it simply, he asked me to meet you here so we could talk in peace. He is a part of you, which means you set this whole thing up yourself even though you have no memory of doing such a thing.”
“Wait a minute, how could you—”
“Forget how I do things. It’s a shaman thing. Leave it at that. All you need to do is to stop fighting the problem.”
“Fighting the problem? What the hell are you talking about?” Only after that one little word left my mouth did I think about my surroundings. Lobo didn’t bat an eye, but I was glad Carla didn’t hear what I said inside her church.
Lobo stood up, walked a few steps towards the altar as if he was thinking and then turned back around.“Take a deep breath,” he said, “and listen very carefully. When you hear or see something you don’t believe, don’t like or don’t understand, you tend to jump on it like you are trying to wrestle an alligator, or you run away from it, or you do both—wrestle first, then run away. What that does is to erect within you a wall against your ability to deal with the issue effectively. Instead, you get yourself all tied up into emotional knots. It’s like quicksand. The more you resist, the deeper you go.”
“But that’s who I am, Lobo. I can’t change that.”
“Not true. Nobody is stuck in such emotional cement. You can restructure your mind if you really want to, but you have to work hard to make it happen—especially with that hair trigger anger of yours. You must start making that change now, and as fast as you can. If you can’t, with what you are now facing, you could end up dead. Did you hear that? Dead.
“You’ve heard me warn you about the danger you’re in before, but now is the time to start really believing what I’m telling you and taking corrective action.” As if to see the impact of his words, Lobo abruptly stopped talking, and gave me one of his hard stares.
The sudden silence around me made the air feel thick, as if I could reach out and touch it. Memories of the day’s events flooded my mind and my hands began to shake again.
“Trust yourself,” Lobo said, breaking into that dense quiet. “Your inner self that produced another Jeff Golden is showing you the power you have to do whatever it takes.”
He made it sound so easy, but I knew it couldn’t be. Oh, believe me, I wanted him to be right, but I had no idea where to begin. “So what do I do exactly?”
“Excellent question. First of all don’t resist whatever problem or negativity life presents to you. Accept it for what it is and work through it. Simple as it sounds, tell yourself repeatedly to, not fight the problem, so that you get the concept through your head. I know you’ve heard people say, ‘Count to ten when you’re angry or upset before you react.’ It’s good advice. In your case, you might want to try breathing slowly and deeply while concentrating on each breath you take as you count just to five.
If you can start doing those few things now, you’ll discover within yourself a wealth of strength. You truly have the choice of making your life a heaven or a hell.”
“Now,” he said, changing the subject, “Carla told me about your experience with the pyramids. Even so, I want to hear it from you directly. Tell me everything that happened from the time you touched the pyramid until you came here to the cathedral.”
I really didn’t want to go through all that, but his words echoed in my mind, “Don’t fight the problem.” Instead of making his request into a problem, I did as he asked.
We talked for about fifteen minutes as I explained everything the best I could with Lobo asking questions. When I was done, his wild eyes flickered all around me as they had done many times before. I wondered how those eyes could still flash so much when there wasn’t much light in the cathedral for them to reflect.
“What?” I asked.
After a long pause, he stood up and finally gave me an answer.“First of all, the nearness of the Dade battle anniversary tomorrow, December 28, at least points to why all this is occurring now. Second, you and Carla guessed correctly when you concluded the man pursuing you might be from Major Dade’s command. In life, he was one of Dade’s officers.”
“How do you know?”
“He’s no longer rushing all around you at a blinding speed like before. This change allows me to perceive him more clearly now. He has slowed down because he senses he has your attention and he even wants you to see him.”
“So that was him I saw Lyle turn into.” As I said those words, I felt that same slithery sensation in my stomach I noticed at the cemetery with Carla.
“Your friend Lyle didn’t actually change. What probably happened is this officer projected an image into your mind. From what you said, I think he was trying to show you how he died, bullet wounds in the chest, and finally having his head split open.”
I shuddered with the memory of what I had seen in the plaza. “Well, he did a good job of it. Wait a minute. You said officer. How do you know that’s what he was?”
“Officer’s wore dark blue coats, over sky blue pants,” Lobo replied in a lowered voice as he pointed to the pew behind me, “just like what he has on right now.”
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© 2011 by Doug Dillon. All rights reserved.