Chapter 20 – Sliding Beneath the Surface

April 8, 2013

Sliding - blogThe St. Augustine Trilogy: Book I

Young adult, paranormal/historical



Prayer? I’m going to need all the help I can get? Lobo sure had a way of making a bad situation worse. Not what I needed to hear. Was my situation really that hopeless, I wondered, or was Lobo just being Lobo and trying to keep my attention highly focused? Or, maybe, I thought, the guy might simply be very religious and believe in the power of prayer. No wonder he and Carla got along so well together.

Carla! I wasn’t sure if she would ever speak to me again after our argument in the plaza. “Uh, Lobo, how’s Carla?”

“She hasn’t edited you out of her life yet, if that’s what you mean.” Lobo sat down on the pew and looked up at me. “Miss Carla came back to my place mighty unhappy. However, I explained to her the depth of your emotional distress. As a result, her own anger, shall we say, no longer consumes her as it did.”

The breath I held as Lobo talked came out in a big whoosh. “Oh man, Lobo, thanks. You saved my life.”

“Not yet I haven’t.”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t mean that literally.” Still those chilling words jerked me back to the long dead military officer who had just tried to touch me. I still couldn’t get over how real he looked. “You said the officer we saw was … solid, right?”

Lobo nodded.

“And my double, he was solid too, wasn’t he? Because I saw people walking around him.”

“And you want to know how a separate part of you and the spirit of a dead person can become as solid as this?” When he said the word ‘this,’ he reached over, grabbed my shoulder hard, and held his hand there with the same amount of pressure. The muscles in his bare arm stood out in clear definition.

That hurt. Believe me, the guy is strong.

“You would do well to simply accept the solidity you speak of as one of those little mysteries of life. Like right now. At this juncture in time, you feel my hand on your shoulder and we have been talking for a long time. You see me, you hear me, and you even hear my voice echo around this cathedral. You would never suspect I am a double of the original Lobo, would you?” He removed his hand from my shoulder, held it up, and wiggled his fingers.

“Oh come on.” I laughed, but it came out like a ragged burst of nervousness. “You telling me you’re not … what? the, uh, the real Lobo?”

Instead of a response, I got one of his penetrating stares as he folded his arms.

“No way. No … freakin’ … way!”

“You have a cell phone and Carla has a cell phone. Call her and ask her where I am.”

His challenge to prove him wrong gave me an intense sinking feeling in my stomach. On top of that, my brain seemed to twist in on itself trying to absorb what the man was telling me.

“Go ahead,” Lobo prompted. “You’re wasting time.”

Don’t’ fight the problem, I said to myself. After taking a few deep breaths, I dug into my pocket and pulled out my phone. It hadn’t worked on that stinking road, with all the bodies, but it worked right there in the cathedral. I punched Carla’s speed dial number. In seconds, she answered

“Hi Jeff. You calling to apologize?” She didn’t sound too angry.

“Hey, Carla. Ah, yeah. I really am sorry about how I acted in the Plaza.”

“Um hm. Well, Lobo helped me understand the pressure you’re under, but why are you calling. Just come on back here to his place and we’ll all have dinner, O.K?”

“Ah, right. OK. I’ll be there … soon, but—”

“Are you still in the plaza?”

“Wellll, right now, I’m, ah, in your cathedral.”

“What?” Carla yelled into my ear. Then in a calmer voice, she said, “What are you doing there and how did you get in? The cathedral should be closed.”

“I’ll explain later. But listen, do you know where Lobo is right now?”

“Lobo? Sure. He’s sitting with me in front of the fireplace. You need to talk to him?”

That’s when my stomach really started turning in knots. “Uh, yeah, thanks.”

“Do you believe me now?” Lobo’s voiced boomed out of the phone, making me jump.

Sitting next to me, Lobo said nothing. He didn’t need to. Two Lobo’s. Not possible, I kept saying to myself. Or was it? After all, I had seen my own double.

“By the way,” Lobo said on the phone, “a person’s double is called a doppelganger in German.” I slapped my phone shut like it was a rattlesnake trying to bite me.

“Convinced?” the Lobo next to me asked. He unfolded his arms, made a fist with his right hand and pounded the back of the pew. “Solid, but temporary I am.”

What do you say to something like that? I didn’t know. That’s why I kept quiet. Stunned. Yeah that’s the word. It about sums up what I felt, even after all the totally crazy things I had experienced that day.

“Oh please,” Lobo said. “You saw your own double. How is communicating with a Lobo double any different?”

When I still didn’t say anything, he got up, walked back into the darkness of the room to our left and yelled, “Come with me.” His voiced bounced and echoed throughout the cathedral one final time. At first, all I could see back there was the red glowing letters of an exit sign, and then a door opened to the outside with a bang. Light from downtown St. Augustine showed Lobo waiting for me.

Taking a deep breath, I grabbed my jacket and walked back to the exit.


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

For Sliding Beneath the Surface on, click here

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© 2011 by Doug Dillon. All rights reserved.

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