The sky is evenly overcast, the temperature is cool, the wind is blowing and in the distance, sand and beach mist in the air around them make it hard to see far. After much explaining, Miriam walks them to where a native American Indian looking man is standing, facing the land at the frothy edge of the waves.
” This is Salty Wind. He is a gatekeeper or spiritual taxi cab to and from this heaven. He will appear when another heaven is open to you that you can travel to. When you are ready you may trade with him shells of spirituality and you may travel to others heavens,” Miriam explains.
John opens his hand to Salty Wind and offers his shell to him. Salty Wind puts his palm out, fingers up and shakes his head no.
” That shell cannot be traded, it will stay with you forever,” Miriam tells him.
John closes his hand and reopens it and the shell disappears. He does it again and it reappears. He tries throwing the shell into the water and feels something in his pocket. Reaching in his pocket, he finds his shell.
” Ok?” John says, staring at the shell.
” You will find these shells of spirituality often, much like John found his personal shell and how you are about to receive a shell from me. There are various ways to procure these shells. Some of them may simply be washed ashore. Someone in your heaven may give one to you as a gift, you may be out exploring the Gulf and find them. There are numerous ways to acquire them and they are very special. You can recognize these shells by the feeling they give off when you pick them up or hold them in your hand. You can even see the feeling. It will be as if they are calling to you or singing out to you. A beacon. You will know,” Miriam explains.
” What if I lose my hand,” John asks.
“ John!” Su exclaims.
” No really, I almost lost my hand in the wall of wind, it was like trying to blow away or something,” he tells her earnestly.
Miriam interrupts, ” Not to worry, you were not losing your hand. You were merely transforming to ride the wind as sand. You would have re-emerged whole when you were finished. Just as when you died, you re-emerged here whole.”
” Oh, so I was all messed up huh?” John asks.
” It wasn’t a pleasant sight for the cleanup crew,” Miriam says.
John looks down at his arms and legs and shakes them.
” What are you doing?” Su asks John.
” Just making sure,” he replies.
” Crazy,” Su says.
John holds out two Turkey Wing shells together and starts making a flapping motion with them and his elbows while running around doing a bad imitation of a turkey ” Gobble gobble, gobble gobble.”
Lucky and Bosco follow him.
Miriam giggles and turns to Su, ” It’s been so good spending time with you honey.”
” Don’t go, please?” Su says with a sad look.
” I have to go.”
Su starts crying, “ But I want you to stay.”
” Oh Suzie, you still don’t see. You have much to learn. You are free. I am here for you, I always will be. All you have to do is make it so and I’ll appear. My heart and soul came here to this place for you to show you your way. I’ve done what I’ve come to do, I must go back to my own heaven.”
” But I don’t want you to go. Don’t go. I want to go with you!”
“ You cannot go with me. As I cannot stay here in this form and you cannot stay in my heaven in your form. But we can visit each other in our own heavens and always exist in each others. You will see … Take this…..” Su’s mother says as she reaches inside her chest and pulls out a glowing object. ” This is a piece of my heart and soul, when you are ready, give it to Salty Wind and you may visit me in my heaven.”
The stone glows and pulsates then dims in Miriam’s palms. Reaching out handing it to Su, Su sees it is a Junonia. As Su adores the shell, Miriam turns, approaching Salty Wind, handing him a shell and turns to Su. ” I love you Suzie Anna Weez.”
Miriam walks into the water, slowly submerging herself beneath it as a dolphin. She jumps out of the water displaying her gorgeous porpoise body, leaving her fin above water as she swims away transforming into a light that travels beyond the distance the eye can see.
Su falls to her knees sobbing. John is watching from the dunes and slowly starts walking towards her to comfort her.
Su walks on her knees to Salty Wind offering the Junonia to him. Salty Wind holds his palm out, fingers up.
” You are not ready,” he tells her.
” Please! Yes, yes I am!” Su pleads.
Salty Wind turns and slowly walks into the water chanting, then disappears.
” Nooo!” Su yells with tears in her eyes.
Crying on her knees with the Junonia in her hand, she holds it to her forehead and the stone begins to glow.
She looks at it and sees her mother appear with a faint glowing light around her.
” See, all you need to do is will me here and I’ll be here for you. You don’t even need the shell,” Miriam says, smiling.
Su holds the shell out to her mother, ” Mommy?”
” The shell was but a gift of my visit. You hang on to it, it has healing properties and when you are truly ready, you may use any spiritual shell you find to come visit me in my heaven.”
Su stands up and hugs her mother.
” Walk with me,” Miriam tells her.
Su and Miriam walk down the beach. John slowly follows them from a distance watching them, hoping Su will be ok.
John sees a glowing shell on the beach. He is trying to keep an eye on Su and Miriam, but is overwhelmingly distracted by the shell, it seems to call to him. He picks it up.
Looking up he sees Su and Miriam have gotten quite a ways ahead of him, then sees Miriam’s light disappear and Su kneeling in the sand with her head down.
John bolts to Su, ” Baby?”
Su is smiling at the shell with tears in her eyes. ” I understand now, she is always with me, always. I can call on her and she will appear anytime I want.”
John hugs her gently while she is kneeling down. ” Do you want to be alone?” he asks
” No, I love you and guess what!?” she says.
Su gets up and starts running , laughing and holding her arms out like she’s about ready to fly and shouts ” Sanibel forever baby!”
Su jumps in the air and flies over the island. John smiles, following her and they fly together like two pelicans in search of a place to nest.
From high above they both see shiny objects reflecting with bright sunlight all over the island and in the turquoise waters surrounding it, that seem to pulsate quickly and randomly.
Su and John look at one another smiling, then dive, racing for the same one at the same time.
Copyright © 2013 by John Edward Petersen
John sees the flash of light again. A flash of light, like the headlights on a vehicle coming at him. The light quickly hits him square in the eyes, stretches outward in a straight line until his whole vision is filled with light.
A semi-tractor trailer blows a tire beside them while they are driving, causing them to swerve off the road, then back across the road where another tractor trailer going in the other direction slams into them head on.
John and Su both see a bright flash of light and jerk their heads back. Lucky yelps and is momentarily frightened, running over to Su sitting next to her and leaning into her. ” Oh! … Oh puppies, it’s ok, all done.” Lucky licks Su’s face.
” I was wondering what that was, didn’t see the whole thing last time. Was it an accident?” John asks.
Miriam nods, ” Yes, time was up. No one was at fault, the truck that blew a tire had a large screw in one of the tires and the driver didn’t know. When it reached a certain speed, the screw caused a tear in the tire and caused it to blow out. The truck that hit you had no chance of getting out of the way. In fact that driver died also.”
” What was that shell those blobs left behind?” John asks.
” The “blobs” as you call them that awakened you to this new life, they knew you, that’s why they left that shell for you.”
” Shell? What shell?” Su asks.
John pulls the Lace Murex out of his pocket and tries to hand it to Su but it disappears from her hand and ends up back in his hand.
” When I had my awakening I was fishin’, sort of and these techno jelly starfish blob like creatures surrounded me and one laid this shell before they left.”
They both look to Miriam.
” That is your shell and your shell alone, only you may use it. And they didn’t lay it like a platinum egg, they merely showed you where it was. You weren’t supposed to find it so soon. “
“ Why not?” John asks.
” You weren’t supposed to pass away so soon. The book you were writing? It was to carry a message of hope to people who didn’t believe in the afterlife. Needless to say it has been delayed.”
” Really? That crappy story?” John asks.
” Your pen need not always be elegant to carry a monumental message of hope and faith, which your story does. Someone who needs it will find it and it will speak to their heart in a language they can understand and have an impact on them that will make them fear not death as a void , a strict set of rules, nor a horror. It will enlighten them as no one else could and it will inspire them to do grand and good deeds in the future, which will make the world they live in a better place.”
” Wow … wish I could’ve found that publisher when I was alive, heh.”
Su jabs John in the arm playfully.
” What does this shell do?” John asks.
” Everything. You’ve already used it and you don’t even know it,” Miriam tells him.
” How? When?” John asks.
” How is up to you so long as you do no harm. When? You used it when you ran to the point the other night and back. You used it when you stepped into the gateway and when you swam under water and didn’t have to hold your breath” Miriam says.
” You went swimming?” Su asks looking at him in disbelief.
” Yeah …What if I lose it?”
” You cannot lose it. It is bound to you and you alone. That is how you control your heaven,” Miriam says.
“ With a shell?” John asks.
Su stares down and begins to cry
” What’s the matter honey? Suzie?” Miriam asks.
Su draws in the sand with one hand and pets Lucky with the other. ” I didn’t get one.”
” I haven’t given it to you yet,” Miriam tells her.
Su’s eyes light up like a child’s on Christmas day when they see many presents under the tree for them. ” Really, can I have it?”
” Yes but you don’t need it,” Miriam says.
” Why does he need it and I don’t?”
” You didn’t need it to fly across the water or to do a loop da loops in midair and go swimming with the dolphins, or to find Bosco or even me, did you?”
” No, why not?”
” Because you have something special about you too honey,” Miriam says.
” What?” Su asks.
” Your soul is strong! You do not need a vehicle or muse for you to control your heaven. All you have to do is feel it … and you can make whatever it is you want to happen, happen. Under two conditions,” Miriam pauses.
” What?” Su asks.
” When you are ready and so long as you do no harm. Same goes for you too John, except your soul is not as strong as Su’s, you feel that you need something, so therefore you do.”
John looks at his shell.
” When I’m ready and so long as I do no harm. Easy enough, I guess. When do I get my shell?” Su asks.
” When you are ready,” Miriam says.
” I’m ready.”
” You are not ready,” Miriam tells her.
Su looks at her mother with a confused look
” I have more to teach you before I go,” Miriam says.
” Go, go where? You are part of my heaven. I want you here,” Su asks.
” This is a wonderful heaven honey. Beautiful, serene … But this is not my heaven and my heaven is not your heaven.”
” I don’t want you to go,” Su says pouting.
” When it’s time you will understand. I will always be here for you. But for now I must teach you certain things so you don’t live out here like beach bums and scare off the tourists and how to contact the living or how not to contact them. The dead have much responsibility when they want to communicate with the living. “
” What about my shell?” Su asks.
” The shell I have for you is a very special one, it must be given like John received his, at a special place and a special time.”
” Soon?” Su asks.
” Yes, soon my dear. Excuse me,” Miriam says, as she steps away briefly, crying with her back to them. ” Sooner than I wish.”
Miriam returns to Su and John, “ Follow me I’ll explain along the way.”
John stands up, extending his hand out to Su and Su politely accepts easily moving to her feet.
They walk along side of Miriam up the beach with Lucky and Bosco, listening to her as she explains things to them. They slowly fade into the sandy beach landscape as the wind carries the ocean spray behind them.
Copyright © 2013 by John Edward Petersen
Waitin’ On Su
Sitting on the beach, John and Lucky watch the sunset.
As the sun sets behind dark layers of clouds and sweeping rain, the dark Gulf waters churn and crash ashore. The wind howls loudly as the darkness sweeps across the beach out into the water.
John wearily makes his way back to the cottage one more time hoping with everything in him Su will be there waiting for him.
” You see her buddy?” John asks Lucky as they approach the cottage. Lucky lays on the porch while John goes inside leaving the door open.
John looks over at Lucky’s bowls. Both the food and water bowl are empty. ” Don’t reckon you need those anymore,” he says under his breath.
John slaps his hands together and paces around in the cottage not knowing what to do. He stops and looks at Su’s multicolored flower overnight bag. Looking at it makes him sick knowing she is gone.
He lays face down on the bed smelling the sheets for her scent which only make him feel worse.
Sitting up on the edge of the bed he hears a slopping noise in the next room.
Excited at the thought Su may have returned, he runs out the bedroom door and sees Lucky drinking water from his bowl.
” It’s your heaven too.”
Lucky looks back at John and keeps drinking.
John watches Lucky drink from the bowl that doesn’t seem to need refilling. Lucky is filling his own bowl somehow.
” A real bottomless mug.”
John begins to wonder how Lucky is doing that and keeps watching him when Lucky suddenly runs outside and begins barking towards the dunes.
John runs out hoping to see Su, but instead he sees Lucky biting at the howling tunnel of wind the same way he bites at the waves. John tilts his head watching and wondering what Lucky is doing. ” What you doin’ man?”
Lucky looks back at John, sits down and paws towards the wind.
” What?” John asks, as he watches Lucky bite at the wind making his flews flap around exposing Lucky’s gums and teeth.
John sticks his fingers in his own mouth and feels around. In amazement he runs into the bathroom, looks into the mirror and looks at his own teeth. ” Holy shit! I got all my teeth back.” Looking in the mirror he smiles to see a sight he hasn’t seen in decades. ” Every one of them. Oh, Su is going to love this.”
John leans on the sink bowing his head and starts to cry. ” Su … Su baby … If you can hear me, please come back. I need to see you … I need to know … know what to do. This isn’t heaven without you.”
Standing there quite some time he hears Lucky bark. He runs outside to where Lucky is. Lucky is still is interested in something near the dunes.
” What is it buddy?” John asks him.
Lucky paws up to the wind. John watches and sees something slowly emerge in the wind. As the sand blows into the wind’s path, John can see figures. They are bending over and reaching out to Lucky as if handing him a treat.
John sees the figure of a woman leaning over with her hand out. Lucky bites at the sandy hand. Another set of figures, a man and woman walk by as a couple and wave.
John steps to Lucky’s side as the outline of an Indian appears and offers Lucky something.
John reaches his own hand out to grab whatever it is the Indian is trying to offer him. When their hands meet, John is sucked into the wind and is now a figure himself, outlined by the sand in the wind.
John looks down and around as his body starts to feel very light like the wind and he begins to become like the sand blowing in the wind, flowing with it in a human sand cloud form.
John looks at his own ghostly figure. His hands flow and try to become part of the sand that is blowing in the wind, then they return to their normal form.
He can see through his body. Only the outline of wind and sand wrapping around his physical energy is visible.
” Oh this is weird … You wanna try it Luck?….” he says.
Lucky is hesitant, then stands up on all fours walking into the wind and sand wall appearing ghost like as sand wraps around his energy also.
In their new form John pets Lucky. Just as Lucky’s fur sheds when he was petted outside the winds and wall, the sand sheds from him when John pets him, flowing in a stream as the sand separates into smaller granules making their way further and further away.
” You ok buddy?”
Lucky sits and paws up.
John pats around his own body as if patting for treats in his pockets trying to figure out how to give him a treat. Turning to the Indian, the Indian hands John something. John looks at it not sure of what it is and the Indian points to Lucky, then places his hand to his own mouth making the eating sign.
John gives the object to Lucky and Lucky eats it.
Turning back to the Indian he sees him pointing down the beach. John looks but doesn’t see anything.
” Come on buddy,” John says to Lucky.
Stepping out of the blowing wind and sand with him, he and Lucky no longer have the appearance of sand ghosts, they are as if you would see them in real life.
John puts his fingers in his mouth and can feel all his teeth. ” Ok, that was cool. I like that. Next time we ride the wind.”
Lucky barks, wagging his tail.
” Now let’s see what he was pointing at,” John says looking around.
Lucky sits and paws up, ” Rwaw rwaw.”
” I got none buddy, I think that’s what he was trying to tell us. Maybe there are treats for you over there somewhere.”
” Rwaw rwaw,” Lucky sounds out again.
” Sorry buddy, I got none, come on let’s go see.”
John runs his hand across Lucky’s nape looking around in the dark in the direction the Indian pointed to.
There’s got to be a better way, it’s way too dark out here to see anything.
John thinks as he stares out at the water. As he thinks, the sun begins to rise and the morning sun shines bright white on the surface of the water.
John sits on the beach watching the white clouds as they begin to fill the sky. The sun becomes more intense as time passes.
Lucky paws up again, ” Rwaw rwaw.”
John looks away from the brightness of the sun on the water over to Lucky, ” I’m lookin’ bud.”
” Rwaw rwaw.”
John reaches out and holds Lucky’s paw, staring at him, trying to figure how to find what the Indian was pointing at.
” I’m tryin’ buddy, I really am,” John says trying to comfort him.
John feels a presence behind him blocking the sun and wonders. Afraid to move he waits.
He feels something touch him and holds still. Su lays her head on his shoulder near his neck.
John starts crying as Su embraces him from behind.
” Hi baby,” she says.
Lucky wags his tail thumping the sand. ” Rwaw rwaww errrrr,” he howls happily.
Su looks at Lucky, smiling and reaching out to him giving him a treat. Lucky licks her face over the other side of John’s shoulder, wiggling his butt from wagging hard.
Lucky tries licking the tears from John’s face.
” I thought you were gone forever,” John sobs.
” I know, I’m sorry,” Su says, feeling bad.
” Why did it take you so long?” John asks sniffling.
“ I had to come to terms with it.”
” Are you going to stay?” he asks.
Su squeezes John and kisses him on his neck, ” Yes baby, I’m going to stay.”
” Really!?” John says excited.
John turns around and looks at her, she is more beautiful than he has ever seen her. More relaxed and content. She looks comfortable, with no pain from kneeling down.
” Yes,” she says, looking at him in his eyes.
John pulls her to him and cries as they embrace. Tears well up in her eyes and stream down her face.
Lucky tries to lick them from her face.
” Oh Lucky … I missed you so much!” she says, as she rubs Lucky’s face and playfully pinches his lip. Lucky playfully wraps his mouth around her hand.
” No bites,” she says.
Lucky sits and paws up wagging his tail.
” Good boy!” Su says.
” Where did you go?” John asks.
” Where did you go? Su asks.
” What? I’ve been here the whole time,” John asks looking at her strangely.
” After I swam with the dolphins, I went and found guess?”
” Guess?” John asks.
” Guess who I found?”
” Your mother?”
” Yes, but that’s not what I’m talking about,” she says.
” The person who created backgammon?”
” No silly … But maybe we can track them down too … No, look,” she says smiling.
Su points down the beach. John looks and sees her mother with a large chocolate Labrador walking towards them along the shoreline.
” Is that … Bosco?…..”
” Yes. I went and got Bosco so Lucky would have a friend.”
John stares and gets choked up.
” What’s the matter?” Su asks.
” I was so afraid I’d never see you again. I didn’t know if you wanted to be with me or what,” he says.
” I contemplated what I wanted to do. It didn’t take long after I got over the shock of all this, that I knew I wanted to be with you. But I did come back and you weren’t here. I wondered the same thing about you,” she tells him.
” I’ve been here the whole time. Except…..”
” Except when?”
” Except when I was in the wind. (shakes head) Um I mean when Lucky and I were in the wind.”
” Over there, where you called the wind tunnel?” Su asks.
” Yeah why?”
Su gives him a strange look. ” That explains it.”
” I thought I saw something over there, like a ghost or something.”
John looks up at Su. Su looks back at him.
Lucky runs to meet Bosco and they immediately start running around playing with one another.
Su’s mother walks up to Su and John.
” That is a wall of faith and spirituality,” Miriam says.
Su and John look in the direction where the wind blows in a path along the dunes.
“ It borders the human world and this world. It is much like a transit system and how we stay in contact with the real ‘Ahem’, human life.”
” What?” John asks.
” When people claim they see ghosts in locations such as these, it is because of the energy of that wall of wind as you call it. It is how we show the living that there is life beyond death. It is hope and faith for those who don’t have it or those who need to be reminded of it. It is not only visual but it is an energy that can be felt and heard by the living.”
” Soo, we can communicate with the living?” John asks.
” You are alive, just not as they are. Yes, those who dwell in these realms have been communicating with “the living” so to speak, forever. They call them ghosts or apparitions.” Miriam explains.
” I want to see to Christine and the kids,” Su tells her.
” They have to come here,” Miriam says.
” Dead? Why?” Su asks.
” No, not passed on … You chose this as your heaven, this is your gateway.”
” How can we see them like normal?” Su asks.
” There is a way,” Miriam says.
” How Mom?”
John listens intently.
” Every 29.53 days when the moon and the sun are closest together,” Miriam says.
” Because that is when the sun charges the moon and tidal conditions are appropriate for the sound frequency needed to occur that creates the energy needed for you to pass through,” Miriam explains.
” In English?” John asks, looking at her funny.
Miriam gives John a look.
“ At that time, as the tides are rising to their fullest and receding to their lowest, the shells create a very distinct sound frequency as the water washes over them, a certain ‘noise’ that acts as a key of sorts. The energy you are now, the energy from the shells and the energy from the wind or “The Gateway” will intermingle or come in tune with one another. With the correct amount of energy or tuning, you can visit them, but,”
” Here we go,” John says.
” Stop. But what, Mom?”
” They have to be in tune with you,” Miriam says.
” How?” Su asks.
” They have to be in a state of hope, faith, or love for you,” Miriam says.
” So, sort of like making a wish,” John says.
” That’s one way to look at it. Their energy has to be in tune with yours.”
John’s eyes dash around as Su puts her hands on her knees and looks down.
” How do we do that, how do we get them to tune into us?” Su looks up and asks.
” Stoopers,” John says.
” Stoopers! … my stooper.”
” What are you talking about?”
” My stooper … you remember the little charm I have … had, that was shells on a rope?”
” Remember how we use to rub them together to remind us and get that feeling we were in Sanibel.”
” That’s the energy she is talking about, the sound frequency. That’s what made me calm and relaxed, the sound frequency. The shells rubbing together a certain way created a certain sound.”
” He is right honey, that’s why you were seeing me. That’s why John saw things too,” Miriam says.
Su looks at them both like they are crazy.
Miriam continues trying to explain, ” When he rubbed his stooper together, it made a very specific sound that opened the doorway to my heaven for you. Even though he did it so he could relax, he had you on his mind and you had me on your mind when he did so. And when you rubbed them together, you had him on your mind, unintentionally opening doorways for one another.”
” How come it never happened at home,” Su asks.
“ It did and I’ve visited you many times while you slept.”
Su starts crying and hugs her mom.
” What about other times before the stoopers,” John asks.
” You had a gift and didn’t know it.” Miriam tells him.
” I knew it! I knew I wasn’t seeing things!” he says , remembering back to times he thought he saw ghosts.
John points to Su, ” I told you, didn’t I ? I told you I saw things.”
” Wait a minute … Where are they?” He asks looking around nervously.
” Not to worry, they are not here. No harm can be done here.” Miriam says to them.
” Well if they are real, where are they? He asks.
” Not here,” Miriam tells them.
” Wh wha, I don’t understand,” John says.
” When you were, shall we say, in human form, you had a problem with your ears ringing and you heard noises like crickets and ringing, correct?”
” Yes, but I wouldn’t consider that a gift?”
Miriam nods once slowly.
” Ohhh, the sound frequency thing. Why did it only work on them?”
“ Just as I visited Su and Merl and my other children … people visited you, or people in these realms visited you.”
” These realms?” Su asks.
” Yes, there are as many realms as there are people. They all go to their own forms of heavens,” Miriam says.
” Even the bad people?” Su asks.
” Even the bad people, but their heaven would be as you would call it, hell, maybe purgatory, maybe pure darkness, the big sleep, the great big bar or concert in the sky, planet pot, whatever they want. It’s up to them to decide.”
” I don’t remember deciding this was heaven,” John says.
” I always thought of it as heaven but not thee heaven,” Su says.
” At the very moment of your death this is what you chose,” Miriam says.
” I don’t remember that,” Su says.
” Me either. I don’t remember anything.”
” John, your heaven was to be with Su at the time of your death. Su’s intense desire to be here on Sanibel made it her heaven at the time of her death.”
” I don’t get it,” Su says.
” It’s not the thought. It’s the feeling, it’s a very deep emotional feeling, the very essence of your soul. That’s what brought you here. That is why this is your heaven and a wonderful heaven I must admit.”
” How did we die? Su asks.
John suddenly sees another flash of bright light, the same light he saw the night of his awakening.
Copyright © 2012 by John Edward Petersen
Su screams, ” Bwah wha hhah, Oh no, no, no!”
John quickly opens his eyes and raises his head looking around and sees Lucky on the couch beside him. Lucky is looking over his butt at the porch door.
John quickly looks over at the door and sees Su jumping and running in place flailing her arms like she has things crawling all over her.
John stands up real quick with the flowers still in his hand and quickly moves to Su’s side, putting the hand he is carrying the flowers in on her shoulder.
She jumps and screams, ” Aaa! What is that!?”
John looks at Su with a concerned look on his face.
He looks all around Su’s body as she stomps her feet and rubs her arms like she is trying to get something off of her. ” Where’s it at?” he asks.
” Outside, it’s out there by the door,” she says.
” What is?”
” I don’t know, it has green glowy eyes and was looking at me,” she says in fright as she grabs the local shops directory, rolls it up and slowly peeks out the door.
Raising the rolled up magazine she screams, ” Aaaa!”
John reaches out and grabs her arm.
” Baby … don’t hurt it!”
Su looks at him like he’s crazy.
” Get rid of it. Please get rid of it,” she says, almost in tears.
John pauses for a moment.
” Get rid of it!” she yells in anger.
A little scared, John puts his hand out, ” Ok, ok. I’m going. Don’t hurt it.”
” What?” Su asks.
” I’m goin’. Here I go,” he says.
John changes places with her at the door, she steps back and cringes.
Slowly opening the door, not knowing what to expect, he knows it could be anything. Maybe her experience is different than mine.
John slowly cracks open the door and sees it’s still dark outside, he looks a little further around and sees the chairs blocking the entrance to the deck and still sees nothing. He looks a little further towards the shower and doesn’t see anything. Looking further around the door, he sees the corner of the cottage.
” Where?” he asks.
” On the door. Eww.”
John looks at the door and sees it too. He quickly pulls his head and body in the door and closes it.
” Stay here,” he says, looking quickly to the front door.
” What! Why?” Su asks with wide eyes.
” I’m gonna go out there.”
” No, no, don’t leave me in here,” she says, grabbing his arm.
” Come on then, I’m gonna sneak up on it by going around from the other door.”
” Noo, I don’t want to be near it,” she says.
” Well we have to see what it is. It might be important.”
“ What?!” Su says looking at him strangely.
John shakes his head, ” Never mind, you comin’?”
” Ye’es,” she says.
John leads the way out the kitchen door with Su hanging on to his shirt. They slowly creep around the corner of the cottage to the deck. Slowly working their way behind the chairs, John sees the two green glowing eyes and what looks like a longer glowing nose.
Hunched down, John stares at it.
” What is that?” he whispers.
Su looks over John’s shoulder and goes after it with the rolled up magazine. “Nothing I want around here,” she says.
Su runs up to it real quick with little steps and hits it with the magazine and it falls to the ground. John gets a good look at it before it runs between the boards of the patio deck and disappears under the cottage.
” Oh my god!” Su yells.
” Not quite baby, it’s a bug.”
” With green glowing eyes!?” Su asks.
” Yes, a bug with green glowing eyes,” he says, standing up erect.
” It looked like an alien or something,” she says.
” No, its blood is flourescent, that’s what makes its eyes glow green like that.”
” Ew hoo hoo. That’s so weird,” she says standing on the doormat.
” I suspect we’re going to run into a lot of weird things around here.”
” Well that one I can do without,” she says, looking around for it.
John takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, nodding his head. He quickly debates whether he should tell her now, but decides not to due to the state of mind she’s in. He follows her as she opens the door and quickly steps off the welcome mat into the cottage, hopping through the door and starts walking towards the bedroom.
Lucky stares over the couch cushions with his head resting on top of one, his eyes shifting back and forth between Su, then John, then back to Su, then back to John.
John leans over to Lucky and whispers in his ear, ” she doesn’t know yet, I haven’t had the nerve to tell her. You knew though, didn’t ya?” Lucky wags his tail and licks John on the chin.
John rubs Lucky’s head and decides not to tell her just yet.
Su comes out of the bedroom and goes straight into the bathroom. John walks over to the bathroom door and lightly taps on it.
” Baby?” he calls through the door.
” Just a minute,” she says.
John walks into the kitchen and sees Su has made coffee. ” Guess she wants to watch the sunrise,” he says to Lucky.
John pours himself a cup of coffee and fixes it with 1 sugar and 1 creamer and sips on it standing in the kitchen at the counter.
Su comes out of the bathroom and sits down at the counter and opens the computer. ” Their internet connection here sucks,” she says.
John looks over the edge of his coffee cup at her as he sips on his coffee, then lowers his cup.
” Baby …” John says trying to get her attention.
” Huhm?…” Su says, as she quickly taps on the keyboard.
” Ahem, how do you make my coffee when you make it for me?”
” One and a half sugars and one and a half creams, why?”
” Your coffee is so much better than mine. Um — I don’t think we’re gonna get the internet here,” he says.
” I’m beginning to think that myself, they really ought to fix that. I realize we are on vacation, but come on, we are on vacation.”
John adds another half teaspoon of sugar and another half teaspoon of creamer to his coffee, stirs it and sips on it. ” Mmm, yeah that’s good. Thank you … Um — how easy was it for you to tell me your secret recipe…..?”
” You’re welcome. Oh, I knew you would figure it out eventually. What I really do is stir it with my finger,” she says smiling and twirling her finger in the air.
John smiles and takes a sip of his coffee and looks up at the ceiling. “So, uh — has anything unusual happened to you since we were here?”
Su looks up at John staring blankly at him for a minute, ” No, not really. That bug!” she says, as she shudders.
” And those two guys at the store,” she says.
John sips from his coffee and waits again.
” The internet connection,” she says.
” I’m having problems with the phones,” she says, shaking her head no.
” I mean something really weird?”
“ I don’t know, why. Like what?” she says, as she continues tapping on her keyboard trying to get an internet connection.
” I don’t know, have you seen ghosts or?” John asks shyly.
Su looks up over her computer.
” Noo. What’s wrong with you, why are you asking me all these questions?”
” Just wondering.”
John wonders how he is going to get her to realize without freaking her out too bad.
Looking out the blinds John sees dawn is coming very slowly and goes into the bathroom.
Su looks up from her computer looking out the window to check to see how long she has until its daylight and is almost blinded by the light coming through the shades as she opens them.
” My God!” she says, with her eyes squinted.
John steps out of the bathroom, ” Yeh, something like that.”
” What?” Su asks, not understanding his statement.
” I’ve got something I wanna show you,” he says.
” You found one!” she asks trying to contain her excitement.
” Something better, depending on how you look at it,” he says.
” OoK. What?” she says, shifting her eyes, looking around but not her head.
” Come on,” he says.
” Where are we going?”
” Down to the dunes.”
” What’s in the dunes?”
” You’ll see, it’s a surprise, kinda sorta.”
” Kind of sort of?”
” Yeah, come on, I don’t really know how to explain it. I have to show you,” he says.
” You, don’t know how to explain something? This has got to be good,” she says sarcastically.
” Ohh, it’s an eye opener, that’s for sure.”
John guides her through the path towards the flower.
” Remember how you were asking about if I saw something weird?” she asks.
” Yeah?” replies John as he leads her to the flower and stands in front of it listening to her.
” Well, just a few minutes ago when we were inside I looked out the window and thought the sun was just rising and when I looked out, the sun was shining as if it had been there for hours.”
” Isn’t that weird to you?” she asks.
John looks down at the flower, ” not so much anymore.”
Su looks at him strange.
” Pick that flower,” he says.
Su looks at the flower and smiles, “ That’s one of those Beach Sunflowers you gave me, I love those.”
Su reaches down and picks it and looks at it adoringly. ” So pretty.”
” Pick it again,” he says.
” Wha?” she mouths, but doesn’t say it aloud. She bends over and picks the flower.
” Thank you baby,” she says, smelling it.
” Pick it again,” John says.
Su gives John a hard look.
” What is this about?”
” Pick, it, again,” John says.
John makes it obvious that there’s something wrong by the tone in his voice, his body movements and tilting his head.
” What! I have enough … John don’t do this. I don’t want to hurt my back.”
John breathes deep and lets out a loud breath as he kneels down near the flower. Su looks down at him.
” It’s not going to hurt either,” he states.
” It will if I keep bending over picking flowers like that.”
Su tilts her head looking at the flower, scrunches her forehead and realizes something seems just a little out of place.
John looks up at her and sees she is beginning to make a connection. He rubs her leg. ” Now watch,” he says.
John picks the flower and hands it to her and she takes it from him. John picks it again and he hands it to her and she sees what he is talking about and slowly takes the flower from him. John picks the flower again and she drops all her flowers.
” Oh my God, how do you do that?” Su asks.
As he picks a flower, she sees the stem quickly produces another flower. He tries to hand them to her but she won’t take them.
” How are you doing that?”
” So you do see it?” he says, almost relieved.
” Yes, how are you doing that?”
” I’m not,” he says.
Su looks at him in amazement. ” How?”
” You’re not getting it,” he says, kind of frowning now.
” Getting what?”
John bows his head in frustration, stands up, knocks the sand off his hands and walks to the edge of the water staring out.
Still confused, Su follows him but keeps her distance.
John balls his fists up with his back to her and lets out a loud moaning scream. “Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Show her! … Come on … Show her!”
Su watches him and becomes worried, ” show me what baby?”
John looks out at the water and nothing happens, ” Show her! Come back … Come back!….”
Su takes a step forward wanting to hug him to comfort him but is afraid to get so close as to aggravate him further.
John turns to her and drops to his knees staring at the sand. Picking the sand up in his hands and throwing it back on the beach he looks up at her. She sees a great sorrow on his face, a look she has never seen him have, then looks over him, out over the water and sees a dolphin coming close to shore.
As the dolphin comes closer, she is torn between watching it or comforting John.
She looks down at John and kneels to comfort him placing her hand on his shoulder. ” Baby, look … There’s a dolphin behind you…..” she says in a calming voice.
John’s face changes from sorrow to happiness as the dolphin quickly glides up behind him.
Su watches the dolphin swiftly come ashore and is surprised. Suddenly a hand is on hers, it’s not John’s hand, it’s a woman’s hand.
Su quickly draws her hand away and the woman’s hand rests on John’s shoulder as he bows his head.
Su looks up and sees the woman. Stumbling to stand up and backing away, Su falls to the sand pushing franticly to put distance between them. ” Can’t be,” Su says, staring hard at the woman.
Su’s eyes well up with tears as she stares at her and looks for telltale signs.
” Who are you? This isn’t funny,” Su asks.
” No it is not, Su. I am your mother,” Miriam says.
Su gets angry, ” My mother passed away years ago.”
” I removed my breathing tubes,” Miriam says.
” Quit it! How do you know that?” Su says angrily, while staring at her with tears streaming down her face.
” Just as John had help to come to know, I am here to help you come to know.”
” What!?” Su asks.
Miriam removes her hand from John’s shoulder and steps around him kneeling down in front of Su, taking her hand. Su jerks a little but let’s the woman hold her hand.
” Suzi Anna Weez,” Miriam says.
” How do you know that?” Su asks, looking up at her.
” Suzi Anna Weez. Because I gave it to you,” Miriam says lovingly.
” Is this a dream?” Su asks.
” No child.”
” Have I gone crazy?”
” If you have, John has gone crazy with you. No, neither of you are crazy.”
Miriam smiles at John and reaches her hand out to him. He holds her hand briefly, then releases it. John smiles back at her, then at Su.
” Do you know now?” Miriam asks Su.
Su looks down sobbing, ” No, yes, not really?”
” You’ve passed on. You’ve died honey and this is your heaven,” Miriam says.
Su sobs harder as her mother holds her and caresses her for several minutes.
” It can’t be. The kids are coming … There’s sand.” She picks up sand and lets it fall to the ground.
” And, and shells.” She picks up shells and throws them.
” And the water.” Su stands up and points to the water.
” There’s salt water! — If this is true, I can run out there, fly over the water and swim with the dolphins … And if it’s not, I am crazy and I will drown!” Su says, pointing and yelling out to the Gulf.
Miriam nods her head and Su runs into the water swimming. John gets up to run after her and Miriam places a hand on his shoulder stopping him.
” She needs to do this,” Miriam says.
” What? Drown?!”
” You already know that won’t happen.”
” What if I’m the one that’s crazy?” he questions.
” You are fine and she will be too,” Miriam says to comfort him.
John watches as Su swims further out and goes under water. John lurches forward and Miriam’s grip holds him back.
” Watch,” Miriam says.
Within moments, Su comes flying out of the water like she was shot from a cannon and glides for a long time over top of the water. She shoots up into the sky, looks around and dives towards a pack of dolphins where she plays with them crying and laughing while every emotion in her soul sweeps through her. She struggles to get a grip on them. She is laughing and crying maniacally.
She caresses the dolphins and jumps in and out of the water with them, then follows them as they travel further out into the emerald waters out of John’s sight.
” Do you think she’ll come back?” he asks.
” That is for her to decide,” Miriam says.
” What should I do?”
Miriam looks at him, ” This is your heaven too, I will explain this to both of you.”
John looks at Miriam, feeling as if she is holding back information that she will divulge later and somehow knows Su will return.
” Give her time. Explore and try to get acquainted with your new life. It is a grand one and remember, you can do anything you want so long as you do no harm”.
” Anything we want so long as we do no harm. Anything?” he asks.
” Anything. So long as it does no harm. I will return when it is time to explain more.”
Miriam walks to the edge of the water and down the beach where she meets a tall dark man in a skimpy white bathing suit. Handing him something, the man kneels and Miriam walks into the water and disappears.
” Man, this better not be some kind of freaked out dream,” John says to himself.
John looks around, sits on the beach and watches the water and beach for Su to return.
Hours pass and John starts going back and forth to the cottage taking Lucky with him. Lucky stays by his side unleashed all day waiting for Su to return. John hopes that if he doesn’t see her coming from the beach that she will come up from behind and lay her head on his shoulder. “ I will wait here forever for you,” he says aloud, hoping his words will travel and find her.
Copyright © 2013 by John Edward Petersen
As the sun falls beyond the horizon, the sky darkens to the east. The atmosphere on the beach is pure serenity. The temperature has dropped but is not cold, it is breezy but not gusty, the air is fresh, the tide is lulling and a slight whistling can be heard as the wind rushes over the water, through the trees and past the Sea Oats. A slight ruffling of dry seaweed can be heard somewhere nearby.
Su begins itching and slapping at the mosquitoes. ” That’s it baby, I’m going in before these damn bugs drive me insane,” Su says.
” I’m not getting bit by no-seeums,” he says.
” Skeeters,” she says, slapping at her leg.
“Oh ok, you mind if I stay out here for a while?”
” No not at all, give me a kiss,” Su says.
John leans to Su and they kiss one another.
” Love ya baby, I’ll be in soon,” he says.
” Ok, I’m going to try to play some games, the internet isn’t working still.”
” Ok, have fun.”
John watches as Su walks Lucky back to the cottage and notices Lucky isn’t having problems walking, nor is Su.
John leans to one side then the other and kneels down, ” Weird.”
John jumps and does squats, ” Really weird … No pain. I guess this place really is the fountain of youth. Wow! I’m going fishing…..”
John stands and is as comfortable as he has been in years. Taking in the beauty of everything he sees around him, he feels as if he can actually feel the energy of this place and it feels good to him. He wants to stay.
Closing his eyes he tries to be as still in his mind as in his body. A few moments later he sees a flash of light, like the headlights on a vehicle coming at him. The light quickly hits him square in the eyes, the light stretches outward in a straight line until his whole vision is filled with light and as fast as it came it was gone.
John jerks his head back opening his eyes and is surprised he is still breathing normally. He remembers having had dreams similar to this but always woke up short of breath.
” Whoa! That was freaky.”
John shakes his head looking around and sees it is getting very dark. He can still see the last remnants of sunlight over the water in the clouds and reflecting off the water. Looking away from the water to the east it is pitch black and there are stars and the moon in the sky overhead.
John walks through the soft sand, through the dunes and stops at the yellow flower. Thinking to himself, Su might like this.
Reaching into his pocket, opening his pocket knife, he kneels on one knee snipping the flower several inches down its stem and stands up trying to look at it in the dark.
Looking down he sees another of the same flower and kneels down and snips that one from its stem and holds it in his hand next to the other one.
Standing up again, just as he is about to take another step forward he sees another of the same flower in the same area. John looks at it suspiciously and taps it with his foot to make sure his mind isn’t reflecting the image.
” Didn’t see you here a second ago,” John says to the flower.
He looks around to see if there are any more in the general vicinity and sees just that one. I’ll leave it for someone else.
John leaves the flower and carries the rest inside the cottage to Su.
” Hey baby, got ya something.”
Su is sitting at the computer playing a game, she turns around with wide eyes and a big smile.
” You found one!”
” No, not quite a Junonia.”
Bringing his hand around to the front of him he shows her the flowers. Her facial expression changes from an excited look to a loving, happy look.
” Oh these are so pretty, thank you! I love when you bring me flowers. These are one of my favorites.”
Su leans from the bar chair and gives John a hug looking up and kissing him.
” Really?” he asks.
” Yes, they’re Beach Sunflowers.”
” Oh good, I thought you might like’em, was hoping.”
” Yes, I do. Very much so, thank you. That’s so sweet.”
I was gonna look for some fallen sea oats to add to the effect and thought they might be cool, but you can’t cut the sea oats here and it was too dark, I couldn’t really see any laying around.
“ Oh no, these are beautiful, thank you!” she says.
Lucky walks over sniffing and she holds them out letting him sniff them. Lucky gives them a sniff, sits, starts panting and lifts his paw.
” You begging already? I just fed you while Dad was out there.”
” I think I’m gonna go fishin’. You alright with that?” John says.
” Yes, I was wondering why you haven’t already.”
” Well, I dunno. Mixed emotions I reckon.”
” You go have fun.”
” You wanna go?”
” No, I think I’m gonna stay inside, those bugs love me for some reason.”
” Sweet meat,” John says.
” Yeh, I guess so.”
” Alright, I’m just gonna grab some shrimp out of the fridge and go right on out there.”
” No pole?”
” All my gear is in the car.”
Su reaches into her purse, pulls out her car keys and pushes a button on her key ring.
John kisses her and removes several shrimp from a bag in the refrigerator and places them in a small sandwich bag.
” Thanks babe, I’ll be back later. I’ll give you my lighter in case you decide to come down.”
” Le Torch huh?” she says jokingly.
” Yeah, seems like anything with batteries doesn’t really want to work.”
” The car works,” she says.
” Don’t jinx us. No, the phone is all wonky, my flashlight weather band radio doesn’t work. You got internet?” he asks.
” No, I’ve been playing games offline.”
” Yeah see — strange. Oh well, if worse comes to worse, use that Zippo to light your way, it’ll stay lit in the wind. Probably won’t hear you because of that wind tunnel and keep a knife handy.”
” Lucky boy will protect me.”
” You sure it’s ok, you want to come with me?”
” It’s fine babe, go fishing. Where’s that one knife?”
” That one big one you like because it’s made in the USA.”
” Good choice! Now that’s a knife.”
John goes into the bedroom reaches into the camera case, pulls out the sheathed knife and takes it to Su.
” Thank you baby.”
Su lays it off to one side of the counter.
” Lock up when I leave. I’ll bring you back another one of those flowers. I saw one I don’t think anyone is gonna find.”
” I love you, just don’t bring back any fish, I don’t want you smelling the place up, yuck.”
” Yeah, ok. I love you. Lock up.”
John hands Su his lighter and goes out to the car where the trunk is already open from Su using her remote.
He hears Su lock the door behind him.
” I guess something still works,” he says aloud.
John removes his fishing pole, homemade pole holder and a waist pack with his tackle in it that has a filet knife hanging from the belt, then walks down to the beach.
Taking a deep breath he pushes the pole holder deep into the sand. Letting out a short length of line he unlatches the hook from one of the line guides on the pole and puts his heavy 2 piece rod together.
He feels up and down the weighted rig for frays and checks the sharpness of the barbless hook. The hook easily grabs the skin of his finger.
” To catch or not to catch, this is my dilemma,” he says aloud.
Thinking for a moment he casts out his line without bait on it.
I don’t really want to catch anything, I just wanna let my spool out
John sits next to his pole gazing out at the line in the water letting his mind drift with the moon’s reflection on the waves. Moments later his reel sounds out with a clicking
Click , click click clickety click, Urrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
Startled, John stands up looking at the slightly bent pole for a second.
Lifting it out of the pole holder he feels a slow, constant pull. Pushing up on the lock, the drag stops. He lets the weight pull his rod down and he sets the hook. The pole bends and he has something on his line. It feels very sluggish, not like a normal finned fish. It not jerking or really fighting. Probably a ray.
Reeling, the line seems to be going slack. Whatever is on the line seems to be coming at him. Reeling fast and then faster, he sees something near the end of his line in the water. At first it looks like a very light gray colored round shaped fish. Maybe a blowfish?
John keeps reeling, only able to keep enough tension on the line to let him know there is something there. It’s gonna get away.
He sees it again and keeps reeling fast, and pausing, pulling the pole back steadily over his shoulder, holding it there waiting for whatever it is to run. The line goes slack and he begins reeling again. Maybe an octopus?
The line tightens up and whatever it is keeps moving closer to him. ” This thing is gonna beach itself,” he says, slowly reeling just enough to keep tension on the line … then he sees it.
” One of them danged glowing jelly fish. Never saw one of these before,” he says aloud.
Pulling it up to shore he notices that it isn’t hooked. It is climbing above the 2 ounce sinker up the line. He stares at it almost afraid as the light it is emitting softly glows on his face, getting brighter as it gets closer.
He sees the blob like creature pulling itself up the line with hands on little muscular arms, like a human would climb a rope, with human like characteristics.
John drops his pole and the creature falls to the ground on its back lighting up the area with a soft , white yellowish blue light coming from tiny diode sized dots that circle around the edge of the creature’s underbelly. In the center of the lights, the creature’s soft, gelatinous skin has markings similar to those found on a sand dollar. It has a flat face, tiny glowing eyes, a slit for a mouth, two tiny holes for a nose that has two little lights above the openings, two tiny jointed arms with humanoid hands and arms, and tiny hairy jointed legs with crablike feet.
John stares at it in disbelief and wonderment as it just lays there on the beach looking back at him.
” What are you?” John asks aloud.
The creature seems to struggle a bit. John reaches out to flip it over and it makes a squishy noise ending with a little bubbly squeak. John pulls his hand back quickly and stands up to knock it over with his foot, when he sees dozens of the creatures come to shore.
One immediately goes to the one that is flipped over and almost seems to be kneeling over it. The others make a circle around John and an intense light is shone upon him by the creatures.
John looks around momentarily then kneels as the light continues to pulsate on him. In an instant he is shown and realizes his true situation.
The creature he pulled in on the line slowly crawls to where John is kneeling, it wiggles and shifts its body in the sand as if digging or laying an egg, then turns to the water and with moderate speed, disappears beneath the water as the others follow it and the light’s glow dims beneath the reflection of the moon on the waves.
John looks down and sees a Lace Murex shell where the creature left its mark in front of him.
He gently picks the shell up, slowly closes his hand around it and holds his fist to his head for several moments with his eyes shut. He has a grimaced disbelieving look on his face.
For several minutes John kneels, pondering in this position, then rolls into a sitting position with his forearms on his wet sandy knees, holding the shell staring at it as he rolls it around in his fingertips.
” The whole world at my fingertips. How do I tell Su?”
Standing up, he runs and jumps into the water and for the first time, he swims without the fear of being attacked by something in the water.
He swims deeper and deeper and sees the glowing creatures making their way out to deeper water and he follows them for a while watching them.
He swims back to shore, standing on the beach. He looks northward and starts running, faster and faster and faster then out of nowhere like a burst of first morning light, he speeds down the beach beyond the bend to the point he didn’t have the strength nor time to traverse just the other day. He stops at the point.
He looks around, then directs his attention to the large bend in the beach in the other direction and starts running faster and faster, then bolts all the way back to where he left his fishing pole on the beach.
” Oh my God!” he says, kneeling over from exhilaration.
John looks up.
” No offense. Thank you!”
John stares at the dark cottage window from the beach nervously and wonders how he is going to tell Su. ” Lights are out, she must have gone to bed.”
He rubs his face in his hands and walks through the sand to the dunes to the flower he said he would pick for her.
Reaching into his pocket he pulls his knife out, opens it and cuts the flower.
He cuts flower after flower after flower until he has a handful.
Walking towards the cottage he looks back and stares at a single yellow leafed Beach Sunflower that is lit up in the darkness and smiles.
Copyright © 2013 by John Edward Petersen