(c)

(C) Copyright SNOWbear Productions. T h a n k Y o u F o r V i s i t i n g

Employee of the Quarter

Certificate

Yeah, new coffee cup.

Their words, (not mine).

New EOQ pin for my badge.
{There are so many "David"s that I go by my middle name}.
Don't feel bad, LOL it throws everyone off.

       After 14 years of service for the State of Texas I was honored by my peers; thank you everyone.

TWR: THE CRANE



    The hazed light turned the sky grey, as if it had wanted to rain all that day. But by the time his classes were over, the skies had cleared into a beautiful mid-summer's day again. His father's home was on the other side of the sea port city, along the northern cliff, perched with its own view of the empty docks below. By the time he had reached the old marina, evening fell.
   Every late-afternoon he would unclasp his red cloak just before leaving Mithar's weathered, grey tower to walk home alone. Now, it was near dusk and he was eager to hurry along, leaving his booted prints in the wet sands along the beach. The shoreline along the bay was his favorite route to take.

   Fayendar looked like your average youthful student, loaded down with parchments under one arm and a polished-walking stick in the other hand.  Shoulder length blond hair, braided on both sides as the rest blew in the occasional breeze.  He enjoyed looking out on the gulf waters.  In the bay, the shrimpers fished in their rickety round Ka’nath boats while being waylaid by seagulls, as the sinking sun painted its majestic backdrop.
     Idho was his real name.  The name his family gave him on his first birthday, before that it was just ‘baby’ as was tradition in the Bay area of Lindon, his parents first home.  Back, when he remembered running barefoot through the streets of Mithar with his best friend Branthen, things seemed so stress free.
   Fayendar, which meant Beloved-brother, was his mother's nick name for him; in an attempt to foster better relations with his older brother.  A name that was not taken as it was intended, for he and Calan had always been rivals it seemed. This was another reason why he enjoyed his solitary walks home.  It was also an excellent way to end an already stressful day.  Though today was no different than any other, Fayendar had no idea that it was all about to change.
 

   As he made his way home, he rehearsed the events of the day over in his mind again. Fayendar was a ministerial student, studying for the priesthood; the desire of his father for him to follow in their family’s tradition.  Yet, more and more the student was becoming disillusioned with his teachers. They are long winded, and overly given to details that bore everyone to tears, he thought to himself as he picked up a small branch and threw it into the water.
   His head was full of questions, unasked and therefore unanswered. Fayendar knew for sure the elders would have admonished him immediately, and changed the subject back to their own rambling of dates and conflicting theories. He knew that if he had he raised anything remotely resembling disbelief they would have turned the whole incident around, and would have made him appear to be the foolish one in front of his class mates.  “How dare you grow a brain, and think for yourself!” he mockingly said to himself aloud, then quickly glanced about to see if anyone had possibly overheard him.  So, he just resigned to keep quiet.
    Fayendar enjoyed the long walks home because they gave him time to figure these things out for himself.  Still, for some reason the lessons made more sense to him while he was there studying, among his peers in the watchtower's grey sheltered-chambers. Yet, when he was left with his own thoughts, like now, the certainty of their doctrines unraveled in his mind. For instance, he never quiet understood why it was they were to be so excited about staying in the world, if it was true that their forefathers had originally come from heaven. Or, why they alone were entrusted to be scholars and teachers to lesser men; or --

   Suddenly, a group of annoying seagulls disturbed his private thoughts. They had begun flocking overhead and squawking for someone below to feed them. As he looked out on the long stretch of beach, Fayendar noticed, several yards ahead of him, a dark figure dressed in a heavy dark-blue cloak standing by himself. The man's hood was up, with a high point in the air, and his back turned toward the approaching youth.
   The figure was intent upon looking down at the ground.  For, something in the wet sand seem to have caught his focused attention.  The man was using the end of his oak staff to poke at it; yet, the closer Fayendar came to him he realized that instead of poking, he was drawing in the sand. Presently, standing just a few paces behind the now squatting stranger, and almost looking over his shoulder, Fayendar could see the details of what he was doing.
   It was the design of a bird -- a crane, drawn in exquisite detail. The stranger stooped over his drawing, and added dry colored-sand to its wet  trenched-lines. Then after some whispered words and a few unusual waves of his hand, something under the sand began to move about just beneath the surface, blending the colored sand together. Suddenly, there burst out of the packed mud a real white-crane, violently shaking itself clean; looking from side to side.  After a brief glance up at Fayendar's astonished expression the bird flew off, in the direction of the fishing boats.
   The artist stood erect and laughed aloud to himself as he slowly turned around, acknowledging Fayendar's presence with a smile, "Greetings, Beloved-brother."
   "H- How did you know my name?" The bewildered youth quickly asked.  His clear grey-blue eyes grew even larger, as the silver ring of the Priesthood griped his carved pine-staff even tighter.
   "I know more about you than you think." The face was that of an older gentleman who appeared to be in his late eighties, though his yellow-green eyes hinted at a much wiser brain.  His round face was covered beneath a smartly trimmed beard, and broad smile.  His eyes now bore through Fayendar like piercing daggers.  Yet, the stranger's voice was warm and friendly, with a haunting tone, "I know you enjoy -- hidden secrets." He looked back at the disturbed sand-drawing, then at the scrolls under the student's left arm. "Like the crane, you too will achieve heights beyond the confines of that tower's shadow."
   "You disapprove of the Valithdane Elders?" Fayendar said, looking through strains of his golden, wind blown hair, as he took a wary step backward.
   Smiling, the stranger stroked his peppered-grey chin. "I merely said that you will rise above where you are now."  At that moment a strange breeze caught the edges of his cloak, briefly revealing a large buckled sash, embossed with an Eye sigil on it.  Squinting at Fayendar, he continue, "For the days are fastly approaching when all you know will change. The very world around you will cry for you to listen."
   "Who are you, sir?" Drawing his red, ankle length cloak about himself, Fayendar became very intrigued.
   "I have been called by many names: Drocthuk by the dragons of the north, Silvermane by Men of the east, Balthenorn by the southern folk, and Meirith by those in the west." Smiling, Meirith withdrew a small velvet bag with a draw string, and handing it to the young man said, “As a token of this meeting, that you would not forget, I wish to give this to you.  It is a Blithvere; made by the same craft that created such gifts as: the ancient rings of power, the crystal seeing globes, and the healing leaf-stone gems.  A Blithvere is a Well of endless ink, call its name to command the color you wish.” After accepting the bag and inspecting it contents, Fayendar’s interest in the capped container grew.
  Meirith ended their conversation with a mysterious voice, as he began to walk past Fayendar, adding, "I am just a wanderer, one who journeys south to visit the dwarves even now."
   "Dwarves? They're a lonely sort."  His brows caved in, and lips pursed, feeling a little apprehensive again, Fayendar almost whispered, looking about the deserted shoreline, "The elders say we are not supposed to talk about such things."
   The stranger stopped, whirled back around, drawing up his own garments as if cold, and said loudly, "To avoid people, young Fayendar, does not mean they cease to exist. The dwarves knew much of your people - long before you were called The Fallen. Remember the appearance of the White Crane, for it is the key to your true home."  Meirith stopped his close approach toward Fayendar, letting his stern expression soften to a kindly smile again.  Then briskly turned away.  The full length of his smoke-like cloak went rippling behind him like a shadowy version of a cape as the elderly man strolled away with a slight limp, walking southward.

   Feeling his heart pounding harder in his chest, Fayendar quickened his own pace toward home.  After about ten steps or so, he turned back around with another question on his mind, but was suddenly confronted with the fact that he was all alone on the open beach.  Noticing that even the stranger's footprints and the disturbed sand drawing had vanished as well.  A slow chill crept over Fayendar causing him hurry back down the trail, quickening his march to his father’s house.

   Only years later did the young ministerial-scribe realize just how much that one incident had changed everything in his life.  From that time onward his questions about their traditions, and the world around him, would never be quiet the same; like the singing of a bell unable to be unrung.

TWR: THE REQUIEM


“Like the terrified inhale of a sharp gasp,
I saw her life being extinguished and fade
as in the exhaustion of sorrow.

In the inhale of that crumbling moment
my life’s meaning faded away
as sorrow filled my heart with loneliness.

Cradled in my arms, she died so pale
a lifeless shell, void of expression;
yet forever, my only, one true love…”

The Nephilim Scrolls I:1-9
............................................................................

   "Father I realize it's only been three days, but you still need to eat." The body of her dead mother lay quiet, and bound in a red shroud, with her head in his lap. The slender figure of a man, weary from grief and fatigue, sat with his slumped back against the darkened wall of the stone hune cave.  His graying long hair fell over his limp shoulders and down his tuniced back. With only the slightest hint of pointed ears peeking out, his high arched brows accented a youthful beleaguered face. Yet, only recently had his adult daughter begun to notice his age.

   IL`brekah crossed in front of her father to sit beside him.   She was a beautiful girl in her late twenties.  With a slim build, striking features and large, round brown eyes that were adjusting to their newly darkened surroundings within the burial chamber.  The musky smell of dust permeated the air causing her nose to twitch.
  She tried to find some way of reaching beyond his three days of grief-stricken silence, "Tell me about how you and mother met."  Her voice was soft, but cracked as her full naturally-smiling lips struggled to do so.  It is strange watching him caress mother's covered face like that, she thought to herself, but did not say it aloud. Her high cheek bones nearly teared over as she tried not to cry.  Looking at his pale complexion in the dark cave gave her an uneasy feeling in her stomach.  It was like staring at a deathly white-powered statue she knew was alive.  He had once said that he had devoted his entire existence to her mother.  He looked small, like a wasted shell of his former self -- thin beyond belief.
    "Where did you come from?" Her quaking voice asked, "You've always been quiet about yourself -- why is that, father?"  As a way of not letting her mother go, she now found herself strangely drawn to know more about the distant figure she sat beside.  She had always felt more like a sister than a daughter to her mother, and this loss was devastating.  Her father had left home when she was very young and had only recently just returned, a little too late, she thought.  Now that her mother was dead, IL`brekah found herself alone, gently consoling the cold silhouette of a person she hardly knew.  Lightly rubbing his back, she was startled by his movement.  As he turned to look into her eyes, she noticed they were red and blood shot, like lifeless things unable to cry any more which made her own tear up.
   "Where shall I begin?" His dry, whispering words sounded creepy.  They were odd, even to himself; scarcely his own as his voice broke again, "For such things have many beginnings and each, older than the last..." His cracking dry lips trembled.  As his voice trailed off it seemed that his memories were being absorbed into the shadows of the cave about them. The air was still.  His, now tearing, large slanted-eyes had taken on that uncomfortable, silent stare again; and for the first time a slight grin dared to make an appearance.
   Other than the dusty morning light, beaming in from the opened doorway on his right side, no other light bathed that dark, dank room. As he began to speak again, his daughter listened intently to the song-like rise and fall of her father’s voice chanting.  IL`brekah's thoughts and imagination became immersed in her father's story.  It was as if she had fallen into a trance.  Her expressionless face watched the suspended dust particles drift within the flooding beam of light.

* * * * *

   

TWR: Table of Contents...

THE NEPHILIM AGE
THE WATCHER'S REQUIEM
An Epic Novel
by
David DeLane Snow

........................................
(c) Copyright material
..............................................
Links 
Table of Contents
.......................................................
Chapter Six
Chapter Eight
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen

David Snow


There are a lot, a lot of people with my name, (or me with theirs); check it out for yourself. 
My name is Delane; there is a Nicolas, an ornithologist, an Executive Director, a candidate of a school board, a NFL football player, an Associate Professor at Purdue University, a company's Co-founder, and many others. But there is only one of me, (thank goodness) fulfilling the journey of a Seeker. So, who are you being in your own life?




A Week of Blog


Almost a Blogger Page for everyday of the Week:




Snow Coat of Arms: 1617 - 1982

 Mosses Moran Snow
          !
Jesse Moran Snow
          !
John David Snow== Alma Tracy Lundquist
         !
Elmo Snow == Drucilla Newsome:       Mamie Price:          Wilma Padgett
                   !                                              !                               !
         Bob Snow ============= Linda Townsend:            Betty Smith
                                      !                                                            !
                      David DeLane Snow ===============  Alice Smith:    Benjamin Garza = Anna Longoria
                                                                   !                                                                     !
                                                   Elizabeth Rebecca Snow  ===========       James CuauhtĂ©moc Garza
                                                                                                     !
                                                                    Savannah Alise Garza; Jamison DeLane Garza





A New Web Page...


Coming across several neat quotes on Facebook I've come up with another way of sharing with my friend some of the selection I enjoy the most and posted them here on:

Just Me striving to be mindful...

 
   Everyday we re-invent our ourselves by continuing to add yet another layer of experiences to our lives.  It has always fascinated me how we do this. So many of us think our mundane boring little lives mean so little, and yet we actually are woven into each others lives more than we give thought. To go shopping or drive on the freeway, work or attend Worship services "is" to touch the lives of others. Sitting in a crowded theater full of strangers and collectively experience brief moments in another world and then later as a cultural express our thoughts in review is a way of weaving your life among others.
   I am not perfect and please do not misunderstand my striving toward a standard I know in this incarnation I will never obtain to be perfection  however, should we not at least work at being better than we were yesterday - I think so.
   Do not sell yourself short on the power you have; I did that for far too long. Even the smallest of acts can become an example in someone else's conversation tomorrow. The adult actions influence the youth around you; even in line at the grocery store you frequent. So - always be mindful of your walk in life; someone's watching.

CHAPTER 5: HINDSIGHT

{The Last Chapter...}

Chapter Five
of
The Nephilim Age:
HINDSIGHT
By
David DeLane Snow
.....................................................................................


“If I ever get this published it’ll be a miracle, because at the rate I’m narrating the translation it’ll never see the light of day…”

The Townsend Letters;
 Christopher’s correspondence with Dale Hines.
December 3, 1964

******

[My brother] Ralph’s letter today was a welcomed sight from home with its news that Dale Hines will be arriving soon from the States…  I am among the several groups working under Sir Leonard Woolley.  We are now on an expedition, jointly with the British Museum, excavating the sites believed to be Ur and Sippar.  Thus far we have managed to only move dirt from one location to another!  I do feel that our task will not prove to be in vain.
   Dr. Woolley mentioned various times that this specific area had under gone a major earthquake, and a massive flooding; as evidence of the rock layers of strata shifting...

Exert from
Christopher Townsend’s personal Journal
June 28, 1922

******

  The next morning, over breakfast, Jacob shared his bizarre dreams of the night before with Arlene.  She gave him a resigning look over her coffee cup, “Babe, this is becoming -- somehow -- way, too normal.  I wish we knew what they all meant.”
   Just as seriously, Jacob answered, after a sip of his own, “Yesterday, you mentioned visiting my brother sometime.  How about this weekend, instead of next?”
   Accepting the great idea with raised brows she perked up, “Sounds fine to me, I just need to get a few things packed up for the trip, and see if Jillian can watch Franklin for us.”  The dog wagged his tail at the mentioned of his friend’s owner’s name.  Jillian had a Britney Spaniel named Spencer, and she had taken care of Franklin; they had gone on several walks and she had actually had him in a dog show and won.

   Smiling at both their reactions, Jacob complimented the idea himself, “Sure, Jillian’s been a great neighbor, I don’t think she’ll mind.”  Then adding an earlier, but unspoken thought he said, “I don’t know why, Arlene, but I just have this strange feeling that Stewart has more answers than what he’s letting on about.”
   Sounding a little confused, his wife asked, “What do you mean? You -- you think he knows something about your dreams, Jacob?”  Then sighed a disbelieving breath cooling her Irish Cream.
   With a big grin, he admitted, “That’s exactly what I think.  Remember, there was that odd comment in my grandfather’s letter about Miriam, which he had written years before I even came across all those letters.?
  “You’re right, that was weird hum?  It’d be nice to see if there were some answers, Stewart could pass on.”


   The week passed quickly.
   Then, that Friday night as they slept, Jacob drifted off to sleep thinking it would be peaceful and uneventful.  He was wrong on both accounts.  The air conditioning had gone out that Wednesday afternoon and the apartment’s maintenance man had yet come by to replace the unit’s compressor, leaving them with another night of stifling heat.
  Even though it was only mid-October and winter had not begun to make itself known in the lower parts of Oklahoma;  it had felt like summer all day.  Their ceiling and box fans were only circulating the downdraft of the day’s earlier heat.   Arlene was more miserable than Jacob; yet, they both found themselves restlessly drifting off to sleep - somehow.

   From out of the warm, unknown darkness Jacob’s hazed vision grew. He felt like he was walking into a darkened movie theater.  Floating past all of the black-silhouetted cushioned seats as his gaze lead him directly into the High Definition’s 3-D screen itself. Jacob became mesmerized by what played out in the movie before him.  The sights and sounds of a strange battlefield roaringly lay before him, and became an ever gruesome vivid scene, and he a part of its action. The reality of the gore on the silver screen was shocking, and something he just could not pull his mind back away from as a lingering smoke continued to roll across the land.
  It looked like the carnage the day after a major combat on some ancient battlefield, or maybe the lull before its second wave was to attack; at this point Jacob was uncertain. The grass was blotched with pools of blood that glistened beneath the smoldering haze of tents on fire.  Scorched bodies littering the ground about Jacob as he nauseatingly made his way toward the wall of a medieval style castle.  A putrid stench inescapably filled the air as the aroma of death penetrated the very senses of dream.  The realism of it all was beyond belief, and no matter where Jacob looked, he was there in real time; no long in the setting of a modern movie theater.
  Whether it was near dusk or early dawn, he could not tell for sure from the blackened burnt-orange sky’s illumination.  Silhouetted-decapitated heads mounted on pikes jabbed at the red glowing horizon.  Their expressions glaring back with silent frozen-screams.  Beneath each pole were the mangled remains of the unfortunate victim’s brutally beaten bodies laying in a mangled heap. They had apparently lost their fight against a formidable enemy.  The entire battle-field was littered with mutilated and charred body parts of the half dead who beggingly reached skyward, for a mercy that would never come.  Their fateful demise had been cruelly sealed.

   Jacob felt like vomiting.  He could almost discern distant moans gaining in volume from behind him, but their words were lost in pain and agony.  Suddenly the ground underfoot had begun to vibrate with the approach of the advancing onslaught. As his panoramic view turned to the left, he saw the defending armies screaming and gathering strength as armored knights rode out onto the field. The army's eagerness to engage was in stark contrast to what had obviously been an earlier defeat, just days before.
  Someone was beginning to shout a speech of encouragement, just as another group entered the fight. They bore down, against what appeared to be a barbaric horde of monstrous club welding beast. Without warning, out of the corner of his eye a shiny, black armored figure came rushing toward Jacob.  The warrior’s green eyes were wild with rage, as both hands griped a huge bastard sword, raised for its killing assault.   Jacob's heart pounded in his chest, as if it were about to burst.   A voice called out to the running knight, "Barad, slay that creature!"  When the sword came down a pain shot through Jacob’s entire body and everything went black.


   Out of the blackening silence, Jacob made his way through the low lying tree limbs, trying not to get hit in the face again.  Up ahead he saw a twisted mangled-forest.  It was smothered in the smoky-haze of a moonless night, with only a lone cricket‘s annoyance sounding nearby.
  All too human eyes stared back from their embedment within a tree’s rough trunk.  Jacob’s sleeping mind whirled with a horribly throbbing head ache.  As his dreaming eyes tried to focus in on the tree before him, he saw a contorted grayish-face beginning to stare back at him.
   From out of a mouth that had not yet formed came a wicked, hoarse laughter.  Its ensuing roared louder as though it hid knowledge of some cruel joke about to be played out.  The laughing grew into a growling yell of rage as its tooth decayed mouth blared open.  The tree faded away while the face slowly began to be flushed with color and a long, unkept beard grew, and its face morphed with aged features.
  From out of the flickering shadows a torch’s light was drawing closer, revealing that Jacob was now standing at the end of some long-forgotten stone-corridor.  With the increasing light about the wrinkled face, he saw a bearded man’s crouched figure; sitting in the corner of a cold, sandstone-tiled prison cell.
  Through rusty bars Jacob could see the small figure, dressed in tattered worn-rags, looking up at him in utter shock.  At first, Jacob could not tell if the crazed prisoner had seen him or had looked through him.  Then -- jumping to his feet, the ragged man leapt toward Jacob in an almost vicious attack.  He was there in a single motion at the wall of bars, which stood between him and Jacob; grabbing the rusty cage with his face struggling to press through.  He shouted, “Why are you here?”  Both of his bleeding ankles were shackled to a chain laced through a ring in the middle of his cell floor.  The wild, hairy little man was half Jacob’s stature.
   A Little Person, Jacob thought to himself, as him moved back with a start asking, “What?”
   “Don’t play dumb with me, you heard what I said!  Why are you here, Dreamer?  I thought I was the only one who could enter that way.”  With a panicked half-glance down the hallway the dwarf interrupted any reply Jacob might have had with, “You have to leave at once.  If they find you, it’ll be too late!  Don’t be a fool and get trapped here, like me.”  Then yelling, “Trapped I tell you!  Get me out of this hell hole!”
   The little man began violently shaking the locked door of his cell, and shouting at the top of voice, “Leave - leave before it’s too late you fool!”
   The flickering light grew brighter and brighter as everything became illuminated with its own inner glow.  Within seconds the blinding white consumed everything.

   Jacob now saw himself appear to walk into a formless sterile-white room of nothingness, and stopped.  Alone, and emotionless he stood there for what seemed like hours.  Then, as if from the other side of a stage, Miriam approached across from him.  They were both dressed as before, and were standing in the empty void of white, just a few arms length from one another.  
   In a flat, monotone voice Jacob asked her, “Miriam, I won’t be seeing you again after this, will I?”
   But she only smiled slightly, and ignored his question, “After the flooding rains, we came out of the ark, that my father-in-law had built.  My husband, Shem, found my mother‘s book, and was angry with me that I had kept something from the old world, and forbade me to speak of such things again.
   “Then a man came secretly to me in the woods.  He was called, Silvermane, and wanted to see the scrolls I carried.  In returning them to me, I saw that they were all blank, and began to cry at their loss.  He bade me not to worry, saying that a concealing-mark was placed on them, and only when a messenger came to me would my words be revealed to him.  For he would proclaim them before the world as a requiem of our time.
   “Afterwards, I hid the scrolls of my mothers lore away in a jar, and sealed it with the Eye of Silvermane, in the hopes that one day his words would come true; that our lives before the pouring rains, would not be forgotten -- even though they are now forbidden.”  She was quiet for a second, then added.
  “For me, that was seventeen years ago; but for you, Jacob I fear a greater amount of time has passed.  I believe Silvermane’s prophecy is now fulfilled, and that you are that messenger.  Answer me this:  Who is the key?”
   Without hesitation, Jacob held up the tablet and said, “Balthenorn.”
   With that the dream ended.


   Jacob sat straight up in bed, fully awake.
   No screaming. No sweating.
   Just an instant feeling, knowing that he would no longer dream of Miriam, and somehow that knowledge made him feel sad.  Looking over to Arlene’s empty side of the bed, he turned as the fresh smell of brewed coffee entered the room.
   Beaming a smile at his uncombed hair, Arlene greeted her husband with the offering, “Morning sleepy head.  Need some wake up juice?”
   He bemoaned, “Oh, you’re an angel.”
   Blowing its brown-creamed surface, she reminded him, “Well, today’s the day.”
   “Yeah, just wondering what they’re like: Stewart and Casey?”
   “Stop being so insecure, they’re probably wondering the same about us.”
   “Hey, if nothing else at least it’ll be a trip out-of-town, right?”
   She smiled softly back with, “Yeah, it’ll be a great visit.”
   Hurriedly putting the cup down and beginning to dress like a fireman responding to a three-alarm call, “Speaking of which I guess we had better get ready to go.”

   They rushed around getting dressed, packed a few bags, and with the green footlocker slid onto the back seat on their Dodge Neon, they were off.  Starting down Interstate 44, a stop over for breakfast at McDonalds, and four hours later they found themselves heading south along 183.  
   After getting the directions on the phone; Steward had facetiously mentioned to Jacob that the suburb of Early had recently gotten The Heart Land Mall, and that after seeing it on the left they were to turn right at the next up coming intersection.
  The small, central Texas town of Brownwood was a lot quieter than what either Jacob or Arlene had anticipated.  Not long after that they found their way down Austin Avenue, past Coggin Park into a fairly nice neighborhood, they located the quaint stone house on Elizabeth street.  Jacob mentioned to Arlene, as they were getting out of the car, that he had not seen so many patched pot holes in all his life, and was glad he had replaced the shocks before they had left home.
   While both were grinning from ear to ear the front door was being opened by a heavy set man chewing the butt of a thick, smelly Cuban cigar.  Jovially he grinned back at them as his huge legs waddled out on to the porch with great effort, “You must be, Jacob, and this -- your lovely wife, Arlene.”
   Jacob reached out for a hand shake but got a bear hug instead, “Right on both accounts. Stewart?”  To which the man in blue slacks and pink shirt affirmed with a chuckle.  His color blind eyes appeared tiny through their coke bottle Armani lenses, as his other hand‘s finger tips secured the smelly cigar bit.
   The slim goddess next to him radiated, with a hiker’s thumb, “That’s him, and I’m Casey.”  She looked like a Barbie doll come to life, looking down and picking up an enormous black Persian cat.  “Yes, and this is Geronimo.  Come on in, guys.” Winking to them both Casey turned to lead the way into their sparely decorated but lavish home.  Her shinny short shorts caught both Arlene and Jacob’s eyes.
  Stewart and Casey made an odd couple, yet their affections toward one another appeared genuine to their arriving guests.

   Putting the monstrously bloated feline down, Casey motioned an extracted gesture toward the dinning table, as if she were a Price Is Right model introducing it like the next item up for bid, “You guys must be exhausted after your trip.  Let’s have a seat in the dinning room.”
   Stewart interrupted,  “You have to excuse her.  I bought the table last month, and Casey’s still showing it off like a prized birthday gift.”
   She beamed, “Well, it was.” While continuing to set silverware for everyone.
  “Very nice.” Jacob smiled back, “We took a few breaks along the way.”
   Arlene sniffed the air, noticing steam erupting above the covered containers atop the stainless steel stove, “Smells great.”
   Motioning for Arlene to join her in checking out the spaghetti’s progress, Casey grinned, “I’m glad you think so, Arlene ‘cause it’s just about ready.”

   Sitting at the huge, intricately-carved table, across from his newly reunited brother, Jacob marveled at the table’s woven designs with a sigh, “Well, here we are.”
   Just as astonished, Steward stared at his younger brother, “Yeah.  Man its been worth it all just to see you again, Jacob.  I’m really glad you answered my first letter.”  He said with a smiling glance at Arlene, “You’re looking good, and married too.”
   Jacob gave a raised eye brow nod in his sister-in-law’s direction as well, “Thanks, you too.”  He tried to nonchalantly wave the cigar smoke out of his face, without showing his annoyance, but the ladies noticed.
   Casey, seeing Jacob’s reaction, gently took the cigar out of her husband’s mouth while waving an index finger at him.  Crushing the smoldering butt in an ashtray, she said, “Jacob, you don’t know how many times he rewrote that letter so you wouldn’t think he was a nut.”  Stewart blushed a bit at Jacob’s head shaking at the dissipating smoke with a false grin that gave his thoughts away.  The blonde headed goddess poured two drinks as her brunette counterpart stirred the meat-sauce mixture.


 


    Stewart and Casey seemed to be the ultimate odd couple, complete opposites in every way, yet they couldn’t keep their hands off one another and seemed genuinely in love.  That is when her fat Persian cat, Geronimo wasn’t in Casey’s lap shedding his black coat.  They were nice people, and financially well off -- with all the latest creature comforts: pool table, air hockey, digital stereo equipment, three televisions, and what not.
   Stewart was a witty, huge man, who weighted close to two hundred eighty pounds, wore coke-bottle lenses for glasses, and smoked $15.00 Cuban cigars.  Ten years back, he had moved out to California to attend UCLA, for a degree in journalism, and while there he met Casey.  After they married, he moved back to his quiet roots where they both stuck out like sore thumbs.  Though he lived in Brownwood, Stewart commuted the 70 miles one way to Abilene, where he worked as an editor for the newspaper; and a part-time accountant, on the side.  Yet, it was when they were on the verge of moving back to California, that Stewart had stumbled on a lead that had finally gotten him in touch with Jacob; so they remained in Texas.  
   Casey on the other hand was a shopping, stay-at-home domestic goddess.  She was tall, thin, sexy, and seemed very self-confident.  Jacob was a little taken back at how well she and Arlene got along.  Casey, as it turned out was the only daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher, and thus was their commonality in spiritual matters.

   After Stewart’s summary of being a newspaper man for the last 15 years, and detailing just about every major story he had ever worked on; he finally relented the stage over to his little brother.  Jacob started off with, “I’ve been an manager of The Men’s Taylor, a tuxedo rental shop…”  But after a bite of food he gave a delicious moan, then divulged, “I love spaghetti, this is great Casey.  My twin foster sisters: Dona and Candace use to do all the cooking, in-between arguing and dating every guy in school.  They were characters; uhm, and there was Rollin, my first dad, a retired Navy cook and drunk, but boy could he cook -- awesome Lasagna.”
   Arlene was a little surprised by his sudden burst, she had never heard Jacob talk about the people from his past in such favorable light before, it made her grin for some reason, maybe because the bitterness of his lost childhood was beginning to fade.  Arlene had also begun to notice that Stewart’s presence made Jacob genuinely smile more, and that was a good sign to see.












   As the meal wound down everyone was getting full and refilling their iced teas.  Pushing his empty plate aside, Jacob confessed, “You know Stewart, I’ve had so much going on, that to be quite frank with you, I never thought in a million years I would ever know anything about my real family.  Then, the very day I gave up on the idea altogether was the exact day your letter arrived in the mail.”  After a sip of iced tea, added, “Strange.”
   Stewart’s eyes beamed back through their huge lenses,  “I know the feeling.  The day I sent that letter off, I had the very same dream I had when I was a kid.”
   “Dream?”  Injected, Arlene as she shot a sharp glance down the mahogany table.  Her spaghetti laden fork poised in the air with its last bite getting cold.
   Catching her interest, Stewart elaborated, “Yeah.  When I was 12 yrs old-”  He started to reach for his ashed cigar, but caught Casey’s gaze instead, then continued with his story,  “I had a dream on my twelfth birthday that made it clear to me that I had to find you, Jacob.  This, overwhelming feeling that I needed you, more than you ever needed me.
  “In my dream I saw two young boys arguing.  The older one was rough, and very independent; said he could do everything by himself.  When the younger brother asked about their mother the older brother said, “After all that she’s done to us how could you still love her? She beat us, and contrived stories against us to our father.  She even loved her daughter more than us!” Then the younger brother said, “It is not about her, it is about us.”
  “I can’t explain it, Jacob, but I woke up thinking about you, and how my life only had meaning when I thought about my little brother.  So, I searched for you using every means possible. Now, here we are.”
   Trying to not let his tearing eyes be noticed, Jacob replied, “Thanks, that means a lot, Stewart.”  After a quick sip of tea, he asked, “We -- had a sister?”
   Stewart knew it was coming, “No.”  Then a strange tone dropped into his voice, “But, it does get a lot stranger than you can imagine.”
   Jumping to conclusions, Jacob caught the inference and asked, “-So, um, what other dreams have you had?”
   Stewart ignored his wife’s disapproving pursed lips as he clipped the bit off a new Cuban, and ignited its flavor as a reward for his patience in waiting for this very moment to arrive.  His jovial rolling voice took on a mysterious tone as though he was sharing a tale of mythical times.
   As Stewart began sharing with his brother and sister-in-law all his dreams that he felt might have some bearing on their reunion, the kitchen filled with a light haze of cigar smoke.  No one seemed to take notice this time around.  For the visitors quickly became engrossed in their host’s stories, losing themselves in the picturesque details.  Oddly enough, they not only turned out to be the identical dreams Jacob had shared with Arlene in private, but occurred on the same days as well.  With each telling the younger couple exchanged bewildering looks, that only validated Stewart and Casey’s exact experience.
   Just as Stewart began Jacob’s final meeting with Miriam, Casey suggested a break by clearing off the table, with Arlene’s help, and began a fresh kettle of water for coffee.  It was edging into late afternoon, and a cold front had moved in dropping the temperatures outside down into the low thirties.  With everyone settling about the kitchen table again, Stewart resumed, then finished his account of seeing the dwarf in prison, and Miriam’s parting words in the brilliant white surroundings.

   After a moment of silence, Arlene interrupted Stewart’s melodramatic attempt to accentuate the mood with blowing smoke rings by declaring, “So, let me see if I can get this straight.  You have both been having these weird dreams, independent of one another, about the daughter-in-law of Noah; and the scrolls she hid away, that came down to her through her maternal grandmother‘s side of the family, which all told about meeting the angel from the Garden of Eden? Right?”
   Stewart and Jacob both looked like they had just been hit in the back of the head.  Their opened mouths and wide eyes mirrored one another.  Trying not to laugh out loud, Arlene asked,  “What -- you didn’t get it till now?”
   Smiling from across the table, Casey retorted, “Oh my God!  Arlene, as smart as they are -- I can’t believe it.”
   Stewart remarked, looking into the chewed bit of his cigar, “Hump. Noah?”
   For Jacob it was somehow the missing piece, “Garden of Eden? - hum!”
   But Arlene persisted, “Well, that is what you’ve both are talking and dreaming about -- isn‘t it?”
   Casey acted like her years in Sunday School had finally paid off, “I can’t believe it.  Neither of them go to church and yet they both dream about the Bible.”
   Yet, Stewart seemed to be holding a trump card and played it with the mysterious voice in tack, “They still don’t understand. Jacob it goes deeper than that.  Only after our father passed away, did I come across his personal papers, and learned that he and our grandfather both were having these same dreams.  Dad speculated that they were all somehow linked to his father’s discoveries in the middle-east.  Apparently, grandfather never spoke of the matter to him. Which is one of the reasons why I was so curious to see what was in the footlocker.”
  Stewart finished with his point, being, “I believe there are deeper truths left unstated in the Scriptures, and only vaguely alluded to in other Sacred Texts as well.”  Smiling, the big man returned to his smoke rings as if he had won a hand in cards.  Stewart got up from the table to make himself a harder drink.  Vodka and lime.
   After their two and a half hours of conversations, and several cappuccinos, they were now all on the same page when, Casey asked, “Wow, and I guess that brings us up to -- what’s in the box?”
   To which Arlene nervously laughed, “I was just going to say that, Casey.”

   After restroom breaks, and rounds of mixed drinks, Jacob and Arlene found their way to a  plushy decorated sunken-living room area.  By now Jacob had retrieved the boxed legacy that had brought them all together.
   While going through everything in the trunk and sharing what they had discovered or listening to Stewart fill in the blanks with family history, Casey interrupted everything.
   Holding up an envelope that had been torn open long ago, she got the group’s attention with, “Hey, Stew, I think you might be wrong about your dad not knowing about things.  Here’s a letter written to him while he was still away at college, it’s from your grandfather.  Listen to this:
   ‘…Even more fascinating than the Salun Parchments in the amber box are, what I call: The Nephilim Scrolls; for they seem to be the very essence of everything missing from the Genesis account.  You are aware, son, there were far older civilizations than the Israelites, many of which were never recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures… ,but my colleges think I am crazy, and have disregarded the speculations of my nineteen years of work.”
   “Why didn’t he publish any of his writings?”
   “From some of the letters I have, grandfather’s colleges thought his finding were too controversial for the times; except for a Dales Hines who thought our grandfather should have published them no matter what.”

Dialogue Notes:
  Interesting.  Does it mention what his ‘work’ was, that he was referring to?

Yeah.  He said it was ‘a narrative of a transliterated poem,’ written in a black leather-bound manuscript.”
   With an almost pleading look that said I’ll take whatever you fill-in-the blanks with, Jacob’s eyes looked across the room peering into another world, “Stewart, I’ve spent my whole life feeling like I’ve been holding my breath.  Like, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, for something to happen.  I’ve always felt that -- if I just turned around fast enough I would see someone standing behind me.  Like I almost “knew” something; like it was just on the tip of my tongue, and at the moment that it comes to me and I figured it out ‘it’ was gone --.”  Arlene noticed her husband’s face, knowing he referred to his night terrors.  His deeper thoughts welled up as the beginning of tears.  She also knew that alcohol tended to bring out Jacob’s sentimental emotional side as well.
  Reading them both as if he had known them for a thousand years, Stewart began a reply, “There are some questions, Jacob, which we don’t even know to ask.  Some issues that never come to mind, and the ones that are brought up are dismissed as ‘crazy’, ‘foolish’ or seen as childish fantasies.”  Reaching for his long stemmed Churchwarden pipe and packing it with some aromatic tobacco, Stewart began to quickly inhale a lighter’s flame into the pipe’s small bowel.
   Jacob took in his brother’s ritual as something serious, “Okay,”  wondering where this introduction was leading.
   Then continuing, through puffed clouds of Cherry Cordial with its toasted black Cavendish fragrance filling the room, Steward gave a gritted smile, “Like, when you were a child, Jacob, you busied yourself -- like we all did learning to cope with the world around you, ignoring the difficult questions of why or how could fate drop us into such miserable situations as: an alcoholic family, an abusive mother, or homelessness altogether.  Yet, few ever challenge why they had an affluent upbringing or the ease at which they acquired their higher education.”
   The younger brother’s, “Yeah,” and facial twitch denoted that he agreed that he struggled with such thoughts himself, but had only disregarded them as experiences of personal growth.
   Injecting her own thoughts into the conversation, and what at first sounded like a totally different topic altogether, Casey said, “You know, I never liked India much.  That was before I met Natiska, a co-worker, whose from India.”  Arlene repositioned herself on the couch to face Casey as she continued, “I felt like I had known her my entire life, it was eerie -- like deja vu or something.  The more we spoke and became best of friends the more I came to believe we had known each other in a past life.
   Unbelievingly Arlene said, “You mean, like in reincarnation?” Trying hard not to roll her eyes.
   Knowing exactly where she was heading, Casey politely added, “It was hard for me to accept at first too, Arlene.” Then smiling back at Jacob, “It was like -- having something on the tip of your tongue, but the details are just too elusive to grasp, as if they never happened at all, but they did -- in the past.”
   “Sounds Weird.”  Arlene spoke quicker that she intended, but added softly, “Sorry, it’s just beyond me.  So, who do you think you were -- in your past life?”
   Casey began with details that told her guest there were years of information and knowing compressed in a brief statement, “I lived along the coast as a common Indian girl like any other of the day, my name was Putlibai, and I died in London, in 1891.  Only after Stewart researched an article about India’s relationship with Pakistan did I realize who Putlibai was -- the mother of Mohandas Gandhi.”  Breaking into her blonde smile again, she admitted, “I know, it’s weird, but I could sit here, Arlene and give you details of things and places that just shouldn’t be possible, how do you explain that?”
   A little blown away at how the night’s conversation had taken a twist, but getting interested in its turn, Jacob asked his brother, “So, Stewart, guess you believe in reincarnation too?  Who do you think you were?”  Hoping it didn’t sound too flipped or trite.
   Not in the least offended his older sibling became all the more serious, “Interesting you should ask, Jacob.  Because of all the strange dreams you and I both have shared, and how our entire family has been so obsessed with history, foreign languages and such, I think we have both held the key to everything the whole time.”  Blowing a scented smoke ring into the middle of the room sending it toward the unlit fire place, Stewart dramatically added, “Well, let me put it to you this way: I think grandfather’s trunk holds the answer to that question.”
   Everyone’s eyes suddenly gave the dispersed items atop the coffee table their undivided attention.  A cold shiver ran down Jacob’s spine in that instant as he sighed an air of bewilderment, “I hope so, I really hope so,  Stewart.”
   Just as Arlene reached for Christopher Townsend’s black leather bound manuscript, Stewart injected one last thought before the night turned a corner, “Remember, Jacob, in this life we chose to better our choices than the mistakes of the last one; such is karma’s cycle.”

   Picking up the book, Arlene told her sister-in-law, “This must the translation of the scrolls, you mentioned from the letter, Casey.”  Opening it up and gently turning through it pages, Arlene fanned the book about showing the group its text.  Three lines broken up with a space.  The top line was an exact copy to the tri-coloring of script on the scrolls; curves, tails, dashes and sprinkling of dots.  The second line a strange transliteration of the foreign tongue with an English interpretation being the third line.  Handing  the book over to her husband, Jacob accepted it like an ancient relic newly disclosed to the general population.
   After drinks had been refilled, the four of them decided to take turns reading the manuscript aloud to one another.  So it was that at long last Jacob began to know his family secret:

 “The Requiem: Like the terrified inhale of a sharp gasp…”      






TNA CHAPTER 4: The Green Legacy


THE NEPHILIM AGE
A Novel By
David DeLane Snow

..............................................

   In trying to compose a reply to Stewart, Jacob unexpectedly found himself becoming hopeful, that he had in fact gotten in touch with his long lost family.  A wave of questions came to him as Jacob wrote, asking if anything was known of their mother’s whereabouts, or about his father.  He also asked if Stewart knew anything about the smell of moth balls, because they always seemed to induce a feeling of nostalgic melancholy in him.
   Then about a week later he received a reply to his letter.


Dear Jacob;                                                                      May 5, 1991

   About two years ago, I read in the Abilene News Reporter, that our mother had drowned in a boating accident; I never had contact any with her before her death.
   As for the smell of moth balls, funny that you should remember that.  Our grandmother, Mamie Newsome-Price, Lucy’s mother, use to pack up their winter clothes in a cedar chest, and layer them in moth balls.  She was a sweet person who unfortunately reeked of the smell.
   Our father had been struggling with health issues for several years, ranging from lung cancer, then a brain aneurism; he had to be readmitted into the hospital two weeks ago, and I am devastated to inform you that he passed away last Tuesday, from complications with pneumonia.
   Being the executor of his estate, and holder of his Will, I wanted to let you know that you were mentioned, and if you had ever been located ; you have a claim.  Along with a check for $142,000, you are to receive the deed to a large three bed-room house, on the northeast side of Witcha Falls, as well as a foot locker.
  The steel footlocker is somewhat of a well kept family mystery.  It was discovered at the time of our grandfather’s death, in 1975; with a note attached; saying that if and when you were ever located, it was to be given to you, (if not, then to me).  I remember playing in our grandparent’s attic as a child, and being told not to open it, even though it was always kept locked.  It should be arriving at your home in the next few days.  If possible, I would be interested in knowing what it contains.

Your brother,
 Stewart

   Instead of a few days, it was three hours later, after Jacob had received Stewart’s letter in the mail; that a UPS van drove up, and after awhile of waiting for the driver to get his paperwork together, Jacob gave his signature.  Along with the steel footlocker, Jacob also signed for an enveloped package, again addressed from Stewart.  Inside the envelope was a small brass key, and a single-page note, with yet another envelope, addressed: To Jacob and Stewart.
   The note from Stewart read simply:

Jacob,
This was the letter we found taped to the locker in 1975, and its key.
ST

  Then reopening the faded envelope, Jacob read the following letter:

To my beloved grandsons,                                                    July 12, 1974
   Jacob, if you are reading this know that you were very much loved, and that your loss from our family was a grave tragedy; please contact your brother, Stewart, letting him know what you have inherited.  Stewart, if you are reading this, then I know you have not yet found Jacob, please do not fail to continue searching for him.
   The secret of the scrolls were too controversial for the academic community to take them seriously; yet, it was and remains my firm belief that they are, in fact what they purport to be, an authentic record from the antediluvian period.
   Do not be alarmed by the dreams, by now you have both come to know who Miriam is, and have a thousand questions yet to ask.  Let her answer them in her own way and time.  Remember the key; also, I have kept several old correspondences, in hopes that they may yet be of some use in filling in other gaps either of you may have as well.

Your grandfather
   Christopher Moran Townsend


   Jacob was beginning to feel as though he had stepped into a bad Twilight Zone episode.  The unfolding of one strange event after another had his thoughts all in a whirl, but his curiosity about the trunk got the better of him as his pulled it into the apartment, from off the patio.  The trunk was a green, steel footlocker with brass corner-protectors and a single padlock.  The one in the middle was clasped shut with a Master lock on it.
   After heaving it onto the living room coffee table, Jacob turned around and placed the envelopes on his desk behind him, then turned his attention back to the trunk.  Retrieving the key, which he had slipped into his pocket for safe keeping, Jacob opened the steel footlocker.

  A cluttering of items met his searching eyes as the smell of moth balls became less offensive.  He saw a few photo album-sized books, a bundle of letters, a castle-shaped jewelry box, a small ornately-carved wooden box, a black-leather jacket, some letterman sweaters, and finally an unusual looking hard-leather tube-like case.  On top of everything was a large manila envelope, which Jacob opened first.
  He removed a photograph, that had obviously been an enlargement of a smaller older picture, because in the corner it was dated June 1923.  In the black and white picture were five men dressed in three piece suites and two in work clothes.  Jacob’s interest peaked as his eyes grew upon seeing two faces he suddenly recognized as the same two men he had seen in his shop.
   Flipping the 8x12 picture over, Jacob noticed, written on the back in a spidery handwriting, was: (L to R), Townsend, Hines, Morgan, Roberts, Carter, Stapleton and Martin.  Setting out for Egypt.  East Baker Street, Brownwood, Texas June 27th, 1923.

   There it was.  For the first time, Jacob made a connection to a family he never knew he even had, for he saw the face of his grandfather; a youthful twenty-five year old with his friends and peers, ready to set the world on fire as explorers.  His heart raced.
  Next to Chris Townsend was Allen Carter, he was wearing the same outfit and tweed golf cap, half cocked on his head and giving the camera a huge smile.  Next to him was the other man, Jacob had seen smiling at him in the shop, named Dale Hines.  The other two men on the right were dressed in pin striped shirts and dark-baggy pants and scuffed up work boots, the one on the end, Roberts, dangled a cigar from his mouth; trying to either look older or more prestigious than he really was.  Jacob smiled thinking, This is so cool, a piece of real history, my history.

  Returning the photo to its envelope, Jacob picked up one of the over-sized, white sweaters with a large yellow “P” on the front.  Holding it out in front of himself, Jacob smiled, then put it on.  It fit a little loosely and so kept it on as he continued to go through the treasures before him.  After a quick try of the jacket, Jacob took it off and laid it aside.
  Taking the castle-styled jewelry box out, he began going through it.  It had a lion-headed pull-ring on the lid, and two smaller velvet-lined drawers at both ends.  Opening the lid, Jacob noticed a shallow velvet-lined tray where some military medals were stored; a gold Masonic pinky-ring with the Square and Compass set in an onyx stone, a sergeant’s patch, six Silver Star Medals, along with fourteen Indian-head cents.  Beneath the tray were six spent shells with names scratched on them, each rubber-banded to a rank patch; beneath them were single head-shot photos with the same bulleted-names scribbled on the back of each, as well as a train pocket-watch with its chain.  In the left drawer were three weapons-expert pins, in the right drawer, Jacob saw six identical Engineer Battalion crest and Unit citation pins.

   He had no idea what the items were, but was duly impressed by them.  Jacob carefully replaced them in their original order; then set the jewelry box aside.  Picking up a bundle of twelve letters, Jacob randomly withdrew one, and briefly scanned through.
  It was a letter from Jacob’s grandfather to Jacob’s dad; one part caught his attention:
    “…looking back on it, Robert, had I not gone on those middle-eastern digs I might never have met your mother, because she was one the best linguists available.  Martha and I spent hours and hours pouring over the ancient artifacts and scrolls we found.  It was while we were trying to decipher the scrolls that we fell in love.  I was the better man for having won her away from my two best friends: Jacob Morgan, and Stewart Roberts.”  Jacob figured these were the two men that he and his brother were named after.
   In the folds of the letter was a black and white photo.  It showed two men standing next to one another, posing beside a stair-step excavated-hole, the man on the left was holding up what looked like a small clay tablet inscribed with an eye.  On the back of the picture was written: August 1924, Chris and Dale with Tablet No. 1, Inscription reads: “Balthenorn”.
  Jacob went through all the letters, reading them from start to finish, in order by dates, and was amazed by the exotic life his grandfather had lived.  It turned out that Jacob’s father had been an attorney in criminal law.

   Intrigued, wondering what else he would uncover, Jacob went looking in the footlocker again.   Next, he turned his attention to the small wooden box.  It was ornately-carved with vines and flowers, and stamped on the bottom as having been made in India.  He removed its lid to see that it too was lined with red velvet.  Wrapped in a white handkerchief was what appeared to be the same clay tablet as from the photograph he had found in one of the letters.
  It looked like a fire-baked oval clay-slab 4” wide by 5” long and ¼” thick, with a mixture of sand in it.  Having an interest in history, Jacob thought the writing resembled the runes he had seen from ancient Ireland.   Atop the writing was a stylized Eye symbol.  It looked like a circle with an hour glass in the middle, on the top line was a pointed fish hook facing to the right, and another pointed fish hook design, on the bottom, was facing to the left; like an artistic eye-lid.  Taped  to the back side of the tablet was a note that said: Inscription/ Khazul; reads: “Balthenorn” (Miriam’s Key).


   About that time Arlene returned home from her shopping spree.  Food, bags, boxes, and dresses.  While Jacob assisted his wife in putting away the groceries, he told her all about his discoveries.
  After Arlene finished reading the second letter from Stewart, with its mention of inheriting a house and large sum of money, she handed it back to Jacob with “Oh my God!”  Then, catching her excitement, she curtailed her enthusiasm with a more practical tone, “Well, I guess we’ll have to see what’s left after the lawyers and IRS have their way.  I remember all the fun we had after the reading of my great aunt Myrtle’s will.  The feuding and wait lasted for years, then after all was said and done mother and everyone else got nothing.”  Noticing Jacob’s shoulders drop a bit, Arlene injected, “I’m sorry, babe.  I think it’s wonderful, really I do - let’s just see how it turns out.”






  With that they continued putting away the groceries.  After putting a bunch of bananas in a red hanging basket, Jacob leaned against the dining room table, with his legs and arms crossed; smiling as Arlene was bent over, arranging vegetables in the lower drawers of the refrigerator, “I was reading through all the old letters my grandfather left me.  He was quite an impressive man: a pipe-smoking storyteller, anthropologist, archeologist, and at one time even a professor at Penn State University, back in the ‘50s.
   “He even fought in Europe during World War II, both in the Infantry and as an Engineer.  There was this one mission, Arlene, where he led a squad of six men to capture a German machine-gun.  His entire squad was nearly mowed down.  My grandfather was stabbed in the leg twice, before popping the two German gunners; he was awarded a Silver Star.
  “But, from the letters I read, he never liked the idea that the Army brass gave him the Silver Stars of the other men who were in his squad.  It was some kind of a secret mission or something.  In one letter, my dad mentions that Christopher, my grandfather, had spent years searching for those families of the men in his platoon, so he could give them their medals.  I found them still in his jewelry box, and I don’t think he ever got over their deaths.”
   Arlene cut a look at Jacob, staring at her backside, smiled and said, “Yeah, like that wouldn’t be traumatizing.  Sounds like pretty amazing stuff, Jay.  Now aren’t you glad you wrote your brother like I suggested?”
  He grinned and winked.
  Looking at his new oversized sweater she interrupted him before he could continue; saying as she tugged at his sleeve,  “…No, seriously, you need to take that off and let me wash it, ‘cause -- it smells.”  Jacob laughed a little to himself as he took it off, and handed it to her for the laundry; he remembered Stewart’s comment about how their grandmother had reeked of moth balls.
   After throwing the sweater, and a load of clothes into the washer they both went into the living room, where Arlene began visually inspecting the opened footlocker atop the coffee table.  She pulled out the strange looking tube and held it up.
  It resembled an Indian’s arrow case, but without the arrows, and was capped instead.  It looked like it was made of some type of hide with coarse brownish-black hair in small swirls.  A tight stitching ran from top to bottom, with the bottom being capped and stitched as well.  A shoulder strap was still in tact.  The top cap was locked with a bone-peg and strap device.
  Arlene looked at Jacob and asked, “What’s this?”
  Looking just as inquisitive as her he answered, “Not a clue, haven’t looked at it yet.  Go ahead and open it up.”  Smiling at his wife’s interest, he watched as she carefully pushed the ivory-peg through the looped strap and worked the hard cap off.  From inside, Arlene cautiously withdrew a bundle of yellow parchments; they were tied with seven thin strips of sinew.  The top page was inked in black with the same design as on the tablet.
   Peering inside the rolled-tube of parchments, Arlene said, “Okay.  It’s just a bunch of blank pages.  Well, other than this eye stamped on it.”  They both untied the roll, and sure enough all the pages were blank, except the outer facing sheet.
   Then, grinning from ear to ear, Jacob sounded a little giddy, “This must be the scrolls my grandfather mentioned in the letters.  Some of the men he served with during the war had actually been friends of his during his archeology days, back in the 1920s.  His team came across some tablets, jars and these scrolls -- all marked with that design on them.  It’s not Egyptian, that’s for sure.”  Then reaching over to the ornate box, he withdrew the actual small stone artifact, and showed it to Arlene, “See, here’s the first tablet they discovered.”
   She took, and examined its designs, “Weird, feels like sand-paper.  Wonder what is says?”
   Again, smiling with information, he answered, “ ‘Balthenorn.’  There was a note taped on the back, saying it was ‘Miriam’s Key‘, no telling what that means.”  As he got it back from her, Jacob carefully rewrapped it and put it back in its box.
   Rubbing her fingers through his hair, like a mother who was pleased that her son liked his Christmas toys; then heading for the kitchen, Arlene grinned and said, “Well, you’ve got quiet a treasure trove to go through there.  I’m just happy you’ve gotten in touch with your brother.  You need to share all this with him, ya know.  Maybe we can visit him sometime or have them come up here.”
   While replacing the delicate scrolls back into their hardened container a million thoughts raced through Jacob’s mind.  Like, how he needed to buy a Texas map, “Sounds good.” He called back in reply, “Yeah,  James could take over the shop for me, while we go; how’s next weekend sound?”
  Arlene’s voice smiled back, from an opened pantry, “Sounds good.  Guess I’ll get started on supper now, and check on that laundry.”

   Jacob had already gone back to searching through the remaining contents of the steel box.  Thumbing through a photo album, he saw various pictures, all with labels beneath them, written in various ink and handwriting styles.  Black and Whites, and color pictures that spanned the 1920s up through the ‘70s.  Jacob saw a few of himself as a child, being held by his parents, aunts and uncles, and some at play with Stewart.  Something odd struck him.  All of the photographs of him, his brother and their grandfather together, all had bright spots, like an oblong star burst “standing” behind them.
   Putting the album away, Jacob came across two black-leather journals.  One was his grandfather‘s diary, with dates that spanned from the 1920s to the ‘30s.  In another, he found the same spidery-hand writing, only it was penciled in, and triple spaced.  The words were printed instead of cursive, and appeared to be in a foreign language; it was organized with indentions as if it was poetry.

   Before he knew it supper was ready, and they were enjoying lasagna, bread sticks and salad with red wine.  Jacob was spoiled by Arlene’s good cooking, so much so that whenever they ate out, he always stated how much better her creations were.  Their conversations drifted from Jacob’s discoveries to bills, and happenings with friends from Arlene’s church.  She tried getting him interested in attending a class on Biblical genealogy, but Jacob didn’t care for her pastor, who would be the one sharing information on the subject.
   After the meal they both cleaned up the kitchen and table as the sounds of another thunder storm could be heard beginning its downpour outside.  The electricity kept flickering on and off, and nothing on the TV was worth watching, so they both decided to go to bed by candle light.  The air-conditioning had gone off, leaving the apartment warm beneath the quiet ceiling fans.  After a little romance in bed they both drifted off to sleep.

   Just as they had began to drift off to sleep the bedroom suddenly lit up with a brilliant electric-blue flash and a tremendous rattling of windows.  Jacob sat up with a start.  At hearing Arlene’s loud shallow-breathing he wondered how in the world she could have slept through all the thunderous noise.  In another flash of lightning, Jacob could have sworn he saw three men walking about at the foot of their bed.  For a dazed second all he could do was sit there, frozen in a speechless stare.  A second later, after another flash of blue they were gone.  He slowly lay back down and covered up, glad to hear that the air-conditioning had kicked on again.  
   Through Jacob’s closed eye lids another electric-blue flash faded into the soothing light coming from a misty-grey forest.  His breath became even more shallow and relaxed as he found himself walking through the forested area at night.  Rounding the blackened-greenery of low lying tree limbs sweeping the ground, Jacob saw the flickering glow of a camp fire up ahead in a clearing off to his right.
   Drawing closer to the fire, he saw a group of women dancing around a huge stone slab that was resting on a rough bolder.  They were all naked and holding hands singing a song that Jacob could not make out the lyrics to.  As those women raised their voices in ritual chant, the bon fire blazed atop the tabled slab, rhythmically changing colors from an electric flash of blue to a bright yellow then orange, and green.  A more mature, older woman stood on the table next to the leaping flames chanting out another verse altogether, something about a mighty tree, a guardian of light, and the scribe of the Fair Ones.  Suddenly, all the women ended at the same time, and on the same verse they fell to the ground.  Then the older woman stood erect holding a dagger skyward in both hands, and began howling at the full moon as its huge bright-orb rested on the horizon.
  The fire died down to reveal the figure of a bound and blindfolded teenage girl on the other side of the burning logs.  She was assisted down from the table by her sisterhood, as was the senior mother.  They all laughed and embraced the younger girl as she was untied and her eyesight restored.

  The scene faded into a misty blur as the fully dressed figure of Miriam came into view, and walked toward Jacob.  She had a melancholy smile as she quietly informed him, “This is how we were all brought into the knowledge of the scrolls, Jacob; by our eldest mother, aunts and sisters, but it was only the first born daughter who was allowed to carry them.  What you witnessed was my initiation; I was sixteen years old at the time.  Three days later my mother, IL’brekah passed away, and the whole world was changed.”
  He smiled, thinking of the image of her younger self, and asked, “When was this?”
  Miriam began to walk past Jacob answering, “I was beautiful then, glad to see you noticed, but that was twenty-seven years ago today.”
  Blushing a little, Jacob said, “Happy birthday…”
  She had disappeared, but her voice could still be heard interrupting his, “Yes, it was suppose to be -- until the rains came.”

   In yet another blinding flash of electric-blue light, Jacob found himself standing on the ledge of a cave’s entrance.  A dry heat enveloped him as he quickly realized that he was in a mountainous desert region.  About fifteen feet away, in front of him was a group of three men who were hard at work.  They were busy packing up huge clay jugs with straw, and hoisting them into large, wooden crates.  Their clothes look like they could be out of a 1930s movie, Jacob thought to himself.
  They were surrounded by camping gear, tools, and a block and tackle rig.  As they continued to sweat in the heat, loading up their supplies and artifacts, they took no notice of Jacob’s presence, but all kept talking among themselves.  He knew their faces.  But, their voices seemed distant, and difficult for Jacob to make out.
   Just then a loud voice called up from far below the cliff’s edge.  Jacob’s camera like perspective panned over to see two other men below.  They were outfitted in overalls, and stood beside a model-T pick-up truck.  Their arms were reaching upward to receive the next crate being lowered down to them.
   Shocked by what he saw next, Jacob’s astonished eyes were transfixed as he turned around again.  A voice was yelling, “Move Out of the Way, Allen!”  Just then, running from the cave’s mouth, Jacob saw his grandfather’s younger self coming towards him.  As though he was not even there, Christopher passed right through Jacob, like thin air.  He and the two other men all ran screaming, “Carter, No!”  For the rope, which two of them had been holding, snapped into two frayed segments with its load falling to a crash below.
   Christopher ran and fell to the ground.  He slid like a baseball player, landing with his chest and outstretched arms hanging off the edge of the cliff.  The rope’s frayed end burnt past his finger tips.  Jacob had never seen the epitome of total fear before; he glimpsed it in his grandfather’s face that day.
   Seconds later, far below, the white man on the right was scrambling through the shattered mess beside him.  He frantically tried to clear away the splintered wood, penetrating pottery shards and the mass of blood soaked straw from the remains of his friend.  The man had been unmistakably crushed to death.  From their perch above, the men could only watch in helpless horror as the scene below was now forever seared into their collective memories; and now, Jacobs as well.

   He forced himself awake.  Struggling to climb out from under the damp covers, he realized the air-conditioning had gone out again, and that the rains had finally stopped.  Returning from the rest room he was glad the clock had given him a few more hours of sleep.  Dreamless rest soon followed.


VENTURE INTO MY WORLD

VENTURE INTO MY WORLD
The Watcher's Book of Books