(c)

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

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…”      






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VENTURE INTO MY WORLD

VENTURE INTO MY WORLD
The Watcher's Book of Books