Chapter 24 – Sliding Beneath the Surface

April 20, 2013

Sliding - blogThe St. Augustine Trilogy: Book I

Young adult, paranormal/historical

24

Pipelines

I kept wondering why I had nothing better to do than look at a big chunk of wood. It took the smell of food cooking to shake me into a hazy understanding that I was lying on my back, staring at one of those big, hand-cut rafters in Lobo’s ceiling. Hamburgers?

“Hi,” Carla said from somewhere very close. “Just about to wake you up.”

Slowly, I turned my head towards her voice. I wanted very much to look at her instead of that stupid rafter. Turned out she was sitting in a little folding chair next to me where I lay on Lobo’s couch. “What the hell?” I mumbled. The last thing I remembered was holding the oil painting of my ancestor at my house.

“Take it easy,” she said gently, putting a hand on my shoulder. “You’ve been asleep for well over an hour.” Behind her, I noticed a fire cracking away in Lobo’s fireplace. I could even feel the heat on my face. Carla had shed her coat and now wore a long sleeved green sweater. God, she looked good.

“Asleep?” I mumbled, my mind still not very clear. On the coffee table next to us, Lobo’s Ball of Realities and my crushed Coke can acted like an alarm clock. As soon as I saw them, I woke up all the way.

Carla tilted her head to the side a little and squeezed her lips together for a few seconds before saying anything. “You, ah, got zapped after you took that envelope off the back of the portrait. It was full of information about Walton, even old letters he wrote. Lobo said your ancestor more or less tried to pour his thoughts and memories into you through the picture and some of the items in the envelope that actually belonged to him.

“All of that overloaded you, like an electric current. It knocked you flat on the floor, but you didn’t fully lose consciousness. I’m so sorry I suggested you look there.”

Electric current? Oh man, that made me think about what happened as I touched the pyramid, and images from another century trickled back into my awareness from when I handled the envelope. “Oh, oh yeah. I remember some of that. You couldn’t have known there would be a problem, but … but what about my house and the painting?”

“When he realized what was happening,” Carla replied, “Lobo jumped up and pulled both the portrait and the envelope away from you. He says you’re OK, but you had a major overload with that connection to your ancestor. If it had gone on for much longer, it could have been a real problem. You were so woozy from that experience, we walked you to the truck and then into the house here. When we laid you on the couch, you went right to sleep. Oh, we locked up your house and left the portrait there.”

I had no recollection of walking out of my house at all. “Thanks for, ah, taking care of everything,” I replied, sitting up and rubbing my eyes. Feeling hot, I flipped the blanket covering me onto the back of the couch. As I did that, I saw I had no shoes on, and my jacket was missing. I hoped Carla hadn’t been the one to take off those smelly old sneakers of mine.

“Oh,” Carla said, “I looked up Lieutenant Walton in a book and confirmed what Lobo said about him dying on December 28 along with Dade and most of his men. By the way, his first name was Robert. Lieutenant Robert Walton.”

“I don’t know if that is good news or bad,” I replied. “I mean everything keeps speeding up and I can’t seem to absorb it enough to make sense of it all. Talk about overload. I mean look at me lying here after collapsing at my house. This is the third freakin’ time you have had to take care of me when I’ve been either sick or just plain out of it in some way.”

“And wouldn’t you have done the same for me?”

“Well, of course but—”

“This has got to be hard on you, but Lobo told me after all you’ve been through, you’ve shown how strong your mind really is. He said if most people in the world had experienced what you have been through in such a short amount of time, they could have gone crazy. You might want to think about that.”

“Really?” I asked, feeling a little encouraged.

“Uh huh, and you know by now Lobo doesn’t say something unless he really means it.”

“I hear that,” I replied, accompanied by a rumbling in my stomach. The delicious scent of hamburgers had gotten to me, and I remembered how I hadn’t finished my little meal at the Athena restaurant. Of course, when I thought about the Athena, an image of looking at myself through panes of glass popped into my mind.

With a worried look on her face, Carla said, “But also according to Lobo, your ancestor is trying even harder to make a connection because you’ve finally recognized him. When you touched the portrait and that envelope, he was ready and waiting to make a serious link. It’s easier for him to contact you through things that belonged to him, see?”

“Oh,” I said, still overwhelmed with the day’s incredible chain of events.

“Dinner!” Lobo called from the dining room table after putting some things on it.

I couldn’t see any coins on the table or scattered on the floor. Either Carla or Lobo, or even the both of them, had picked up the mess I made. That fact made me feel a little guilty. By the time Carla and I stood up, Lobo had gone back into the kitchen. Under the red and blue, hanging Tiffany lamp, somebody had set the dining room table for three people. A plate of hamburgers in buns, a big bowl of potato salad, and smaller plates of lettuce, tomatoes and pickles all sat there making me really hungry. Bottled water stood next to each plate.

“Come on,” Carla said, tugging on my arm gently until she made me sit in the chair facing Lobo’s picture window, even pulling it out for me. I guess she wanted to make sure I didn’t collapse or something. Who could blame her? How many times had she helped me as I bumped into Lobo’s worlds-within-worlds knocking myself silly?

As she sat in the chair to my right, I looked out into the darkness through Lobo’s window. There in the distance, the lights from the bridge to Vilano Beach, the Bridge of Lions, and Anastasia Island glittered brightly. Several seconds after that, the beam from the St. Augustine Lighthouse out on the island swept across Matanzas Bay and out to sea.

“Here’s your salad,” Lobo said to Carla, coming back into the dining room with a bowl full of lettuce and vegetables in one hand and in the other, ketchup and mustard. Since Carla is a vegetarian, I figured he had created a special meal just for her. She definitely doesn’t do hamburgers.

Seeing Lobo with those things in his hands looked really odd. To me, after running into more than one of the guy at the same time, and hearing all of his scary explanations, it looked weird seeing him doing such ordinary things. You understand? What I mean is, the man was so completely out of the ordinary in so many wild ways I had trouble seeing him involved in the everyday task of cooking and serving food.

Anyway, after he finally sat down, it didn’t take long for the thought of eating to grab my full attention. I dove into my meal like I hadn’t eaten in a week. Gotta admit, I stuffed myself with everything I could find while Carla and Lobo had this long discussion about Tiffany stained glass. Borrrring.

When I had gotten half way through my second burger, Lobo started talking directly to me. He and Carla had already finished their dinner.

“As Carla already told you, contact with that portrait of your ancestor and his papers knocked you partly unconscious.”

“That’s not all of it,” I said and went on to explain to both him and Carla what I experienced at the time.

Lobo nodded and said, “That was a very dangerous situation indeed, one you don’t want to repeat. We almost lost you.”

As he said that, the bite of food going down my throat sort of stuck there. I had to gulp some water to help the stuff go down. When it did, I said, “So, ah, I could have, what? died or something?”

“Yes, or as I told you before, your consciousness could have been pulled into your ancestor’s reality without any escape. One possibility is that your physical body in our world would then appear as if you had fallen into a deep coma. For right now, you can’t afford to touch anything from your ancestor’s time, especially personal items of his like letters and so forth. Such things are quickly becoming direct pipelines that allow him dangerous access to your mind in addition to the blood connection that already exists.”

Direct pipelines? Great! Just freakin’ great!

###

Trilogy Graphic - blogFor a brief description of The St. Augustine Trilogy, click here.

For Sliding Beneath the Surface on Amazon.com, click here

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© 2011 by Doug Dillon. All rights reserved.

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