Category Archives: Fiction

Original stories, over one-thousand words.

“The Bar” Chapter XXII

Leaning over to whisper in Gloria’s ear, Mead whispered, “we’re taking bets on when wedding
bells will ring for those two, you want in?”

“I’ll take November of next year, if it’s not already taken,” Gloria told him, a blissful smile starting to form.

“That long, Gloria? I think they will set the date for May. Six months will be long enough for those two to wait,” Sheila whispered as the headed for the first hut.

Stacks and Candace walked into the small Indian hut and were surprised to see what they would call a fully furnished home. There were two piles of furs on the floor that appeared to be bedding. Stacks of doe skin clothing, and moccasins for what looked like one man, a woman, and a little boy, were neatly stacked behind the beds. Three large gourds and wooden spoons were stacked neatly next to the clothing. There was a large bowl made from rock sitting in the middle of a dug out fire pit in the center of the hut. Bows, quivers of arrows, and two long lances lay out on the floor on the opposite side of the small room, completed the meager collection of this little family. This was the only proof that these were once living, breathing, people of a long ago, all but forgotten, American past.

“I feel as if they should be returning soon. It is so sad to know that these people were never known or missed by our ancestors,” Candace said with a sigh.

“I think they were missed, maybe by one of your own ancestors. This has the look of a shrine of sorts, from what I can tell. See how clean the fire pit is? If I’m right, and I hope I am, the rest of the huts will be just as orderly and clean as this one”

“I hope your right Stacks. It would be just too sad and depressing if you’re wrong,” Candace
told him.

“I agree with Stacks,” Collins said as he ducked his head and walked into the hut. Blaster and I both noticed how orderly everything was when we were here last night.”

There were fifty-two huts arranged in a spiral pattern around what looked to be an open air long house. Rothman told them that the long house was probably where tribal meetings, as well as celebrations had once been held. The long house held large baskets filled with some kind of grain and ears of dried corn. On one of the wooden posts, that held up the building, wooden pegs had been fitted into holes. A beautiful long elaborately beaded headdress, a cape made from animal skins, an intricately carved long bow, and a beautiful hand tooled quiver filled with arrows were hung there, waiting for a ceremony that would never come.

“These had to have belonged to their chief,” Blaster whispered. His voice filled with wonder and respect as he spoke.

“I wish I knew the name of the tribe who lived here,” Candace said, looking as if she was going to cry.

“You know Candace, you may find their name, as well as their story, in some of those chests you have in the house,” Gloria said as she put her arm around Candace and gave her an affectionate hug.

Candace brightened at the thought and hugged her back as she said, “Thank you for reminding me.”

After what felt like hours, Mead headed off towards the small stream that meandered along
behind the huts to fill the glass Mason jar he had brought with him. Soon everyone else followed him to the stream. As they watched him greedily drink from the jar, Stacks asked, “Is it as good as you make it look?”

“Better, and it’s ice cold too,” he said when he stopped drinking to take a breath. “I only wish I had this water at home. Have you ever seen such crystal clear water before?”

“Artesian wells are found everywhere in the world, or so I am told, but I have never seen what they look like underground,” Blaster said thoughtfully.

“Sheila and Candace had walked around taking in the whole scene, when Sheila called out, “Hey, you guys need to see this.”

Shining their flashlights around, they found Candace and Sheila near the far wall, with their flashlights pointing at the wall itself.

Stacks was the first to reach them, followed by the rest of the group.

“What did you find?”

“A story, at least that’s what I think,” Candace said.

“Yep, and I believe it just may tell the whole story about the people who once lived in this cavern,” Sheila told them.

“If you follow these pictographs, starting from right to left, top to bottom, it seems to tell a story,” Candace told them.

“Ok, if you say so, but what is the story? All I see is childish looking drawings…, all over the place,” Mead said as he moved the beam of his flashlight farther down the wall.

“Well, if I am reading it right, and I am not an archaeologist, this is the story of their beginnings in this part of the country. See how it starts out with a large group of people all spread out in a line and some kind of animals, all heavy laden with bundles, which appear to be walking?” Candace said pointing at the pictures.

When everyone agreed, she continued, “here they seem to be walking still, but there are waves
on both sides of them. If you look close you can see that the artist even drew in some fish to show that it was water…, Here,” she said pointing at a specific drawing,” it shows all the people falling down, or on the ground, as if there was an earthquake…, Next you see that the people are all standing in a large group, looking in the direction they just came from. Mothers are holding their
children close to them, or helping someone up. Now if you look here, you see that the water cuts across the land, which they had just walked through. It also appears that some of their people were caught on the other side of the water and they were separated from each other. Look at how some of the people are reaching out towards those on the other shore,” Candace waited a few
minutes, making sure they had all seen what she was describing.

“You think these drawings are describing Pangaea, the supercontinent that existed during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras about 250 million years ago?” Stacks asked her.

“Right after the continents separated into their current configuration; it’s either that or an earth quake that they could be describing. Then of course it could be describing the great flood. I’m not sure about this, but the drawings are telling a story close to what I am saying. There is no other way to decipher this story as far as I am concerned.”

“I believe she’s right Stacks. Look at how the story continues all around the cavern walls. From where Candace left off it looks as though the people started walking again, but up a mountain. Now it looks as if they are hunting. Then here it shows them continuing on covered in skins to keep warm,” Mead said walking ahead of the group and pointing out the drawings.

“The story goes on to describe their long journey here; then it shows them lowering themselves into the ground, and setting up their camp in this cavern” Sheila finished the story.

“That is the short version, but if we could spend more time looking at these drawings, there is a lot more to learn about these people and their history. You can even tell where one artist stopped and another started,” Candace said in amazement.

“I hate to say it, but we need to be heading back to the house. We still have to drive to Ft. Worth, as we need to open ‘The Bar’ tonight,” Collins told them.

“I can’t wait to get back here next Sunday. I think I’ll bring some Colman lanterns and a few camping supplies when we come,” Blaster said thoughtfully.

“Now that’s a wonderful idea,” Candace said excitedly.

“I would think there are a lot of secrets this cavern has yet to reveal,” Gloria said smiling. “And I hope to see every one of them.”

After saying goodbye to Mead, Collins, Rothman, and blaster, they walked back into the warmth of Candace’s cozy kitchen. Stacks remained outside; saying that he wanted to fill the wood bin and have a look around the property before coming in. Candace decided to put together a snack of fruit, cheese, and nuts before they started going through her ancestors old trunks. Placing the fruit on the table, along with saucers and silverware and napkins, Candace poured each of the ladies a glass of wine.

“I hope you don’t mind, but I decided we needed a break before we delved into more of the past.”

“Oh yes,” Sheila cooed as she sat down and picked up her glass and inhaled the fruity aroma.

Gloria smiled and said, “Nectar of the gods,” while filling her plate.

“I think we should do this every day,” Sheila said between bites. “I simply love this sort of food; especially after a tiring day. Of course it could be that I am just too lazy to cook,” She said laughing.

“I for one don’t think it’s lazy to get out of cooking… Sometimes, I mean. However, I would not like to eat this for every meal, especially since I do love to cook,” Gloria said.

“I love to cook too Gloria, but I also enjoy being lazy,” Sheila said laughing at the look on Gloria’s face. She was on her third glass of wine and starting to feel giddy. “But I think I had better stop drinking now, or I won’t be of any help at all in going through those trunks.

“Speaking of trunks…, if both of you are through eating, then why don’t we get started. I’m anxious to see what’s inside of them, especially after seeing the village this morning; I just need to put this in the fridge so it will still be cold when Stacks gets back.” Candace said as she started to clear the table.

Taking the plates of fruit and cheese out of her hands, Gloria said, “You go ahead and get started going through the trunk. Sheila and I will tend to this.

Candace sat on the floor, opened the old trunk, and gasped in surprise. The trunk was filled with what looked to be medieval, hand worked leather journals with silver buckles which secure them closed, instead of lengths of leather ties. Soft and silky as butter to the touch, they were beautiful in their simplicity.
Reverently, afraid to touch them for fear they would dissolve from her touch; Candace donned a pair of disposable gloves, then reached out and picked up the first journal of many.

Opening the journal she saw a beautifully handwritten script, in which the first entry read,

In The Year of Our Lord, the Eighteenth of November, 1817

Jean and Pierre have accepted the position of spies for Spain. I am not pleased with
their decision to act as spies, however, it is not my place to speak ill of their decisions. I am a trusted friend, therefore I say nothing. We have departed for the Americas port of New Orléans, and are experiencing bad weather at sea. We are losing the battle I fear, for the waves have washed away most of the deck hands, and if the hurricane does not pass soon, we shall parish at the bottom of the sea. I will strive to continue writing for as long as I am able in the hopes that, if by the grace of God, one day my children or their children will know of the accounts of my life. The life of a pirate is harsh and more often than not a sentence of death. I must rest now, as the hour to return to my post approach quickly.

Louis Reguad

To be


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“Mrs. Pettyjohn,s School of Knowledge” Chapter 11

“Who called this meeting Seth?” Bertha asked impatiently.

“I did Bertha. I think we need to discuss what happened last night.”

“That’s silly and you know it Seth Williamson. Those aliens were going to try to take over the world, but my mother and Uncle Jim stopped them, with my help of course,” Bertha said indignantly.

“How come you’re so sure they’re aliens today, Bertha, when last night you were saying you thought they were?” Seth asked between clenched teeth.

They were walking through thick trees and underbrush, heading farther out into the woods as she talked. Bertha talked on and on about her uncle and how smart he was, and how that if her uncle said they were aliens, then even the president believed him. All the time she prattled on, Seth was carefully making sure that they were not leaving an easy trail to follow.

After they had walked for almost an hour, Bertha stopped and started looking around.

“Where are we going Seth?”

“Old man Wilson’s in the hospital, so he asked my mom if she would send me to feed his livestock each day, and milk his cows. I thought it would be better to use his barn for our meeting today. Good idea right?” Seth said smiling.

“Well, I suppose it’s alright, but the next time ask me first,” Bertha said as if she was the boss of everyone and everything.

Seth felt his temper rising. Just as he started to let her know exactly what he thought of her Laura and Tina Johnson came through another thicket of bushes and yelled at them.

“This may be a great place to hold a private meeting, but it sure is a long way from town,” Laura said, pulling twigs and leaves out of her long golden tresses.

“If anyone would have bothered asking me for my opinion…,” Bertha paused giving the girls a pointed look, then continued, “I would have chosen a closer place for our meeting.”

“I think this is a wonderful place to hold a secret meeting. Everyone knows that if you want to hold secret meetings you need to go somewhere they would never think of,” Laura said, but was thinking, especially you and your mother.

When the four of them stepped into the dimly lit barn, two unseen children stepped out of the shadows.

“So Bertha, we were wondering if you were proud of yourself today,” Ngame said looking justly irate.

Bertha jumped and squealed as she looked into the faces of two strangers. Looking into the angry faces of Trevor and Ngame, Bertha felt the blood drain from her face. Turning back towards the barn door, she was preparing to run when she saw there was no place to run. There were at least
thirty kids standing there, just staring at her, and not a one of them looking happy.

“I-, I, d-don’t k-know what y-your t-talking about,” Bertha managed to stammer out.

“Are you sure you don’t want to tell them the truth now?” Billy Johnson yelled at Bertha.

Stepping in closer to Bertha, Laura coaxed, “Bertha, don’t be stupid. You know what you did was wrong.  Now, your uncle is hurting their friends, maybe even torturing them. For once in your selfish life, do something good. Tell them everything you know about what is happening to their friends.”

“I’m not selfish, and they’re going to get exactly what they deserve. My uncle will find me and all of you will go to jail for the rest of your lives,” Bertha cried out bitterly.

“I don’t understand why you think we deserve what your uncle, or the government has in mind for us, however I do believe you need to understand that we will not sit around and allow it to happen,” Ngame told Bertha.

As Ngame stepped in closer to Bertha, there were brilliant multi-color flashes of lights, as over a hundred children hyper-morphed into the large barn.

Bertha gasped as she saw the brilliant flashes of lights. Standing before her were more children than she could possibly count, all dressed in black, and looking wickedly dangerous. There were some children releasing small bursts of flames, lightening, and water. While she stood there gasping at the sight before her, she noticed others who were part human, and part animal, and
even kids she could see through.

“I think it is time we show you what aliens are capable of,” Trevor said, as he moved in closer to Bertha his skin started to glow then became as bright as the early morning sun. Shading her eyes, Bertha felt heat coming from him, she began to sweat profusely, and shake with fear.

“I could burn you to death, if I was as evil as you, but I’m not, so take this as a warning. Leave us alone!”  Trevor roared.

Seth and the other children from town had already seen what Trevor and some of the other kids could do, but it impressed and scared him anyway.

“Tell them what they want to know Bertha. If they were here to hurt us, they would have a long time ago. Their school was on Arcane Mountain long before our ancestors moved here,” Seth begged her.

When Bertha didn’t say anything, some of the other children from the mountain stepped in closer. There were others like Trevor who glowed, but what frightened her most, was when a group of girls, none looking older than ten years old, stepped up and proceeded to turn into lionesses, then they roared.

Bertha fell to the floor crying. When Ngame asked her once again for any information she could give them, Bertha shook her head.

“We don’t need you to tell us anything, but we thought we would at least give you the chance to finally do something for someone other than yourself. You know Bertha, I feel sorry for people like you,” Trevor said sadly.

Ngame went to Bertha, taking hold of her elbow, helping her to stand.
Using the power of her mind, she probed and cleansed Bertha’s mind the best she

“Stand up Bertha, we won’t hurt you. We were just showing you a small bit of what we are capable of. Do you truly believe that we could not destroy all of mankind if we wished? There are so many ways to destroy a planet, and yet we have left you alone. Why then, didn’t you not leave us alone

After a few moments, and Bertha not saying anything, Ngame led Bertha across the barn.

“Come and sit on that bale of hay, I think you will need to rest for a little while, and forget all you have seen here today,” Ngame said as she helped a dazed Bertha down on the hay.

“She will sleep until you come for her Seth. I wiped her mind clean of any thoughts about us, and what she suspected was going on in our school,” Ngame said, as her friends left the barn, the same way they had entered.

“Were you able to help her?” Lucy Laurence asked hopefully.

“I’m sorry Lucy, some people are simply evil, and there is no helping them. If I would have cleansed her mind of all her hateful thoughts, there would have been nothing left,” Ngame said sadly.

“Thank you for trying Ngame, I know we don’t deserve your help, but thank you,” Lucy said as she hugged Ngame.

Ngame was touched by the small gesture, and felt tears form behind her eyelids. Struggling to keep from shedding tears, Ngame said, “I wish I could have done more. We need to get back to the school, and you guys need to get back to town before you’re missed.”

“Yeah, I guess we had better circle around and come back into town from another direction, that way no one will guess we had anything to do with Bertha’s disappearance.” Seth said, wishing Ngame would hug him, as he left the barn.

“I guess there is nothing left to do here,” Trevor said as he looked at the sleeping form of Bertha.

Ngame was watching the town’s children’s retreating forms, when she turned to look at Trevor.

“I like them Trevor. They are really good people. Isn’t it sad how Bertha almost made them as bad as her?”

“Were you able to help them, at least?” Trevor asked.

“I think so, I just suggested that they were to never follow anyone who would lead them to hate or harm others,” Ngame said smiling.

“Great, now I think we had better hurry. It is almost time for step two in the plan, and we need to be there in case Dr. Arababe needs us…

“Dr. Arababe,” PFC Barrett, said as he walked towards her. “I just saw General Anderson driving off. What caused him to leave so quickly?”

“It seems he just learned his dear sweet sister needed him, as his niece is missing,” Mirra said with a small laugh.

“I hope those kids know what they’re doing. How long do you need to clean everything up here, so that we can leave?” PFC Bradley Barrett asked her.

“Give me twenty minutes to clear any information off my computer and get the kids, then we’ll be ready to leave,” Mirra told him.

Mirra had decided that since she would soon be a hunted criminal anyway, she may as well take her small laptop computer when she left. She had set two separate passwords to obtain entry into her computer. One was to enable her to maintain a secret area, one in which she kept information she would share with no one here on the base. The other she used when anyone was close when she turned her computer on. This was her only proof of what happened in this place, and hopefully one day she would find a way to use it against General Anderson, and possible the president and his cronies.

As Mirra erased all she could from the main computer, she heard Andrew in her mind, “Dr. Arababe…, what are you doing with that computer?”

“I’m trying to get rid of any information that I can before we leave, but I’m afraid I can’t get rid of it all’ Mirra said exasperated.

“If you’ll open the door I’ll do it for you,” Andrew said with confidence.

“You know how to do this?”

“Yes ma’am, I know a lot about computers. But with these computers here, I will just burn them up,” Andrew said happily.

Mirra sat down at the computer terminal again, and started typing the code that would open the cell doors. After a few moments, and with nothing happening, Mirra once again typed in the code. This time a warning appeared. The warning read…, Warning, you are not authorized access. Continual effort to access unauthorized areas will be reported to General Anderson…

“Oh no,” Mirra gasped aloud.

“What’s wrong?” Sherrie asked, as she came up behind Mirra.

Mirra turned to see Sherrie, Sara, and PFC Barrett standing behind

“Anderson revoked my access to the children’s cell doors. There’s no way to get them out of there tonight,” Mirra told them, sounding as if she was
about to cry.

Sherrie groaned in disbelief, “Why would he do such a thing? I thought he wanted us to run tests on the children tonight.”

“I thought so too, apparently, he lied, or simply changed his mind,” Mirra said as she sighed, and pointed her index finger to the warning on the screen.

PFC Barrett looked towards the glass cages to see the children staring intently at them.

“Have you told the kids yet?” He asked her.

“Not yet, but I’m sure they already know what’s going on,” Mirra

“They know,” Sara said crying.

“They also know about Hedrick Lieberman’s torture devices, and that he’s coming here tomorrow. Nancy must have listened in on our conversation, when we were in the office, because she asked me about it a little while ago. I told her we were working out a way to get them out of here tonight,” Sherrie confessed.

Mirra walked towards the children’s small cells, her hopes gone, she found it hard to smile.

“I’m so sorry children. We have no way to open these doors. As you know, Anderson revoked my authority to open your doors. I don’t know what to do now, or if there is anything we can do.”

“Andrew smiled at Mirra and said, “If we can get out of these rooms, is everything in place for us to leave?”

“PFC Barrett moved up beside Mirra, and said, “Sherrie explained how you two are able to talk to the children,” he whispered.

“So I was wondering if you would mind being a sort of go-between, so that I could speak with them. I may have an idea,” Barrett mumbled.

“Sure, it won’t hurt to try, even if your idea doesn’t work,” Mirra told him.

“Ask them if they have any talents that would help us get them out of there.”

Mirra asked the children, and then relayed their answer.

“Andrew said they may be able to get out, if we were ready to leave,” Mirra told him.

“Ok, tell him I need five minutes, and then everything will be set to go. Also, are their people here yet?” He asked Mirra.

“I spoke with Ngame a few minutes ago, and she said they were all in place. She told me that Mrs. Pettyjohn wanted to know right before we leave the building.”

PFC Barrett took off at a jog, and Sherrie returned to Mirra’s side with her few important belongings in a small backpack. In her hands she held Mirra’s laptop bag and backpack.

“I brought your bags, the only thing left to do is wipe out the memory of all the computers,” Sherrie told her.

“Were ready to go also, and I destroyed all the blood and tissue samples in the lab. All we have to do now is get the heck out of here,” Sara said as she walked up to them.

“We’re waiting for PFC Barrett, then for the children to get out of these cages,” Sherrie told Sara.

“I’m finished,” Bradley said when he jogged up to them.

“Tell the kids to do whatever it is they need to do, to get out of there,” Bradley said.

The four children stood up, all of them started glowing. Jinnee walked to the wall of her cell that was next to Andrew’s, and placed her hands on the wall. Mirra and the others were shocked to see Jinnee’s body glowing brighter than before, and then fire leapt from the ends of her fingers.

In a few seconds, the wall between her and Andrew melted away. Andrew walked into her cell, and then the two of them walked to the opposite wall. Andrew placed his hand on Jinnee’s back and their glow became even brighter than it had been when she was working alone. In less time than before, they were through the wall into Nancy’s little cell. In turn, they all joined their touch to Jinnee’s back, and the glow issuing from the children was distinctly brighter than before, as they entered Missy’s cell. Once there, all the children touched Jinnee, and the wall between the adult’s dissolved under Jinnee’s fiery touch. Their glow was so bright, Mirra and the other’s had to look away.

Andrew and Nancy grabbed Jinnee as she slumped over in exhaustion. Bradley moved quickly to the children and picked up the small girl.

“Does this always happen when she uses her talent?” Bradley asked them.

“Yeah, it’s always tiring when you use that much power; at least it is for kids. Mrs. Pettyjohn said we just need more practice,” Nancy told him.

“Ok Andrew, do whatever it is you need to do, to mess up those computers, then let’s get out of here,” Mirra told him.

Andrew grinned and said, “No problem, I have always ruined computers when I touched them. Mrs. Pettyjohn said that people with Zeus Fire abilities had too much electricity to be allowed into the computer room. Just lead me to each computer that you want to wipe clean.”

When Andrew laid his hand on the computer’s system unit, smoke erupted from the box.

“That one’s fried,” he said with a grin, and continued following Sara to each terminal.

To be continued…

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“The Bar” Chapter XXI

Candace was wide awake at four in the morning. After tossing and turning for over an hour,
Candace decided to get up and go make the coffee. She dressed in her most comfortable jeans, a black t-shirt, and her thickest, but most loved, dark grey sweat shirt, and headed down stairs, all without turning on any lights. She had always been comfortable walking around in her home in the dark, and never considered the lights a necessity for maneuvering through the rooms. As she
walked into the kitchen she heard Fancy Cat hissing.

“What’s wrong with you sweetheart? I thought cats were supposed to be able to see in the dark,”
she said as she walked over to the cat.

Fancy Cat ignored her as she continued to look out the kitchen window and hiss. Candace
saw that the hair on Fancy Cat’s back was standing up, and that the cat was looking out the window. “Ok little one, what is it you see out there?”

Candace stood looking out the window, and then she saw what looked like a small subdued
flashlight that was bobbing around near the boat dock.

“Quit being an old scaredy-cat. It’s just one of the guys checking around outside this morning,” she said, as she started towards the stove to put the coffee on.

“Didn’t you pay the light bill, or do you always make coffee in the dark?” Gloria asked as she entered the room.

“Good morning Gloria. Actually, I never turn on the light before sunrise. I love to watch the
sun rise each day. I think of it as one of those glorious gifts that very few people take the time to appreciate.”

“Stacks and I used to watch the sunrise with his father on the weekends. When he passed away…,
we seemed to just stop doing anything that we did when he was with us,” Gloria said pensively.

“Enough about the past; I must be hearing things. I could have sworn I heard you talking to
someone before I came in to the room. I must be getting old, or senile, or both.”

Laughing, Candace said, “You’re not losing it yet Gloria, I was talking to someone, and that someone is sitting in the window making that low hissing growl you hear. It seems that Fancy Cat is upset about one of the guys being out on the dock this morning. I wasn’t up early enough to see which one went out, but I figure whoever it is will be back in soon. I can’t imagine one of them missing breakfast, or the chance to go back into the cavern.”

“That’s for sure. Those boys don’t miss meals, nor do they miss going on any adventures if they can help it. Blaster says that there are a few main lessons you learn in the military…, never miss the chance to eat, sleep, or have fun, because you never know when you will get another chance to enjoy those things again,” Gloria told Candace.

Gloria and Candace sat drinking coffee and watching the sunrise. It was going on six-thirty when Sheila stumbled into the room mumbling something about desperately needing coffee. Candace and Gloria laughed and pointed towards the coffee pot.

After pouring herself a cup of coffee, Sheila walked over to the breakfast bar, and sat next to Gloria.

“What are you two doing up so early? I figured I would be the first one up this morning, being as how it is so early,” Sheila said.

“I don’t know about Gloria, but I always get up early,” Candace told her.

“I think I was just too excited about going back into the caverns this morning. It was hard
for me to get to sleep, and when I did finally fall asleep I dreamed about them, which woke me up. My dream was so vividly real, that I actually dreamed in color,” Gloria said jovially.

“Not me, I fell into the bed and never moved a muscle until a few minutes ago. I am excited
about going back down this morning though. I’m glad that I don’t have to go back with the guys today though. I can’t wait to see everything in the cavern for myself. I swear that I felt we had gone back in time when we went into the cavern,” Sheila said enthusiastically.

“I felt that way myself,” Candace said.

looking at her watch, Candace looked up and asked, “Gloria, do the guys usually get up late?”

“No, they should be up already, however they could have been tired enough to sleep in, I
suppose. Did you want me to go get them up? “

“I’ve been thinking about that light I saw at the dock this morning. You would think that
if it was one of the guys, he would have come back in by now,” Candace said thoughtfully.

“Wait a minute Candace; I could have sworn I heard you say you saw a light down at your dock.
Did you say light, as in flashlight, lantern, or what?

“It looked like a small flashlight to me, but then the dock is a good distance away from here,” Candace told her.

“Gloria, I think you need to go get Stacks, if he is in his room,” Sheila said, looking upset. “If he is there, then tell him to wake up the rest of the guys, we may have had a visitor this morning.”

“What makes you think that?” Candace asked Sheila as Gloria hurriedly left the room.

“When the guys are out doing reconnaissance, they go in true military style. This means that
they use night vision goggles, not flashlights, and they never go alone. With Dubois still out there somewhere, I cannot imagine anyone of them using a flashlight at night,” Sheila said keenly.

Candace stared out the window as she said, “You mean that I could have seen Dubois, or one of his men out there this morning.”

“Yeah, maybe it was him, or it could have been someone who just tied up their boat to your boat
dock early this morning. It is a river after all, and there are a lot of people who like to fish the river at night or early in the morning. You did say that your grandfather made a fresh water faucet for fishermen to use down there didn’t you?”

“Yes, but it’s not close enough that they would tie up to the dock.”

Gloria walked back into the kitchen and sat down again, saying, “They’re all gone. I imagine
they will be back after they finish whatever it is they are up to. I think I’ll get started making breakfast, it does take a while to make homemade biscuits.”

Bacon sizzled in the large skillet, giving off it delectable aroma. The fresh-baked aroma of
bread along with the smell of fresh ground coffee filled the kitchen when all five men came through the kitchen door.

“Oh man, does this smell good or what?” Mead said as he walked into the room.

Everyone agreed with Mead as they followed him in from outside,

Closing the door, and effectively shutting out the chilly air behind him, Stacks said, “It seems we had some visitors this morning, but they weren’t friendly enough to knock on the door. It would seem that Dubois didn’t decide to give up and go home after all. We’ll tell you ladies all about it at breakfast. Give us five minutes to put up our gear, and clean up before breakfast, then we’ll tell you all we know.”

Smiling, Candace said, “I was beginning to get worried about you guys. Breakfast will hold
for five minutes, as we have not started the eggs or my grandmother’s special sausage gravy as of yet. We were waiting for you guys to get back first.”

“Biscuits and gravy for breakfast, i’ll be back in three minutes instead of five,” Blaster
said as he doubled stepped leaving the room.

“Well, I suppose that I cannot technically say Blaster was running in the house, however it would not be far from the truth if I did,” Gloria said playfully.

“What else could you ladies expect from us when you make a breakfast like this?” Stacks
said, as he all but ran from the room.

“I see the old adage of ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,’ is still alive and well,” Gloria mumbled as she opened the oven door and removed the golden brown biscuits from the oven.

“Yeah, too bad they don’t like our cooking. Besides that, Candace won Stacks by simply walking
into the bar. Now that he knows she is a good cook…” Sheila let her words trail off, but fluttered her lashes to indicate her meaning.

Candace’s face turned red with embarrassment. “Sheila please, Stacks was just being nice to me,
especially after what happened with George and Mable Friday night, and then of course I did
throw my drink on Stacks.”

“Now that was funny,” Gloria said laughing at the memory. You know sweetheart,” Gloria said
turning to look at Candace. “I enjoyed Friday night more than I can ever tell you. From the minute you walked in the room, I knew you were going to be a special part of my family.  Then I saw the way my son looked at you, and I was certain of it.”

“I don’t know what to say, except I felt the same way about you and Stacks, and Sheila of course,” Candace said when she saw the look Sheila was giving her,

“It’s about time you mentioned me. I was starting to feel pretty much unloved,” Sheila said, with a mock pout on her face.

“You are loved very much, and will be loved by the boys even more, I would venture to guess, if
you were to set the napkins and silverware on the table,” Candace said laughing at Sheila’s antics.

As Gloria finished scrambling the eggs and Candace turned off the burner under the sausage gravy, the men started filing into the room complaining about their growling stomachs.

“I could smell the food cooking all the way into the bathroom. I thought about not showering,
but figured someone would make go back upstairs to bate if I didn’t. I sure didn’t want to have to go back,” Blaster said as he entered the room.

“I hope you ladies fixed enough food, I am so hungry. That fresh cold country air, early in the morning, sure makes a person hungry,” Tommy Collins said.

“Tell me about it, I am so hungry I could eat a hors-,” Edward’s last word was interrupted.

“Horse,” everyone said at once, and laughed. “In that case Rothman, perhaps you need to
start filling your plate, before all the food is gone,” Candace said as she handed him a plate.

After saying grace Candace asked, “When I came into the kitchen this morning Fancy Cat was
sitting in the window growling and hissing. I walk over to her, but she continued to stare out the window and fuss. Would you mind telling me what was going on out there now?” Candace said, directing her question to Stacks.

Stacks took a bite of his biscuit smothered in sausage, and chewed, before he spoke. Taking a
sip of coffee, he said, “Well, the first thing that happened was I woke up hearing a loud scratching noise on my door. When I opened it to see what was going on, Fancy Cat ran into the room, and straight to the bedroom window, then started growling and complaining about something. When I looked out, trying to see what she was looking at, I saw three flashlight beams moving away from the dock, moving into the woods, headed south. That’s when I dressed and went to wake the others up.”

Stacks took another bite of his food, and Justin Mead said, “Once we were dressed, we grabbed our gear and headed out to see what they were up to. We split us, and I went to check out the docks. They had a small engine bass boat, tied up to your dock. It was one of those ten point two Water Quest fishing boats, and it looked new. I suppose they bought it just so that they could make their nocturnal visiting trips here quietly and unobserved.”

Continuing where he had stopped talking, Stacks said, “Rothman and I followed in what
looked to be a straight path, give or take a few trees. Dubois and his men went straight to a large stack of rocks, and started moving them over. It took around two hours to get all the rocks moved, but when they did finish, they immediately started digging. After an hour, and quite a bit of creative French, mixed with English curse words, they hid their shovels and pick axes under a
tree and stacked rocks around to hide them, then headed back to their boat, and left.”

“Blaster and I watched them until they started moving rocks, then we decided to have a look around. It seems that they have searched your property for some time. I think that when they abducted you at the bar Friday night, that they were just tired of looking for whatever it is they’re after. It could be that Dubois thought that you may know something, or they just wanted to be able to keep an eye on you, so that they could look closer to the house,” Tommy Collins said.

“I think Collins is right Candace. I only wish we knew what it is they’re looking for. Have you thought of any more stories your grandmother told you about your ancestors yet?” Stacks asked.

“No, I really can’t think of anything at all. I guess we should probably go through those old
trunks and see what we find. That is of course if we don’t find anything in the
cave today,” Candace said thoughtfully.

After getting the dishwasher filled and started, Stacks said, “I’m excited about going back down this morning. I suggest we clear up this mess and get going. We need to take some food and water with us today, so everyone needs to grab their back packs and whatever else they can think of and meet me back here in the kitchen.”

At eight-fifteen they were walking through the cave entrance from Candace’s bedroom.

“Rothman you and Blaster take the lead. I think we all want to see that Indian village you
told us about,” Stacks told them.

After an hour of walking, and of close walls and then crawling, the cavern opened up displaying the historic and opulent beauty of America’s native Indian past.

“Oh my, would you look at this,” Candace exclaimed when she took her first look at the Indian

“Oh Candace, it’s the most magnificent display of history that I have ever seen. I would be
willing to bet that we are the first to have ever seen an Indian village that is in such perfect shape…, well at least in this century,” Sheila remarked.

Gloria stood there shaking her head and looking shocked, when she said, “I feel as if we have traveled back into time. I keep expecting someone to come out of one of those huts.”

“Let’s hope that doesn’t happen, Gloria. If memory serves me, the last time Indians had a
village in this area, they were not too happy with the pale faces,” Collins told them.

“I wonder how they felt about us black guys. Do you think they left our scalps?” Mead asked.

“Nope, If you were caught with a pale face, you died with that pale face,” Sheila told him.

“Yeah, and I am partial to my scalp,” Blaster jokingly said.

“Gee thanks Blaster. I could have gone all day without hearing something as creepy as that,” Sheila said as she good-naturedly whacked him on the head.

“Alright you guy’s, if you are through goofing around, how about us taking a look around. I
think we should start by looking in the huts, and together, not separately. This does feel as if we are invading someone’s privacy,” Candace told them.

“I agree with Candace. It almost feels as if we are walking into someone’s home uninvited,”
Stacks said as he took Candace by the hand and started walking towards the nearest hut.

Gloria looked and Sheila, winked, and said, “Invited or not…, here we come.”

To be continued…

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“Mrs. Pettyjohn’s School of Knowledge” Chapter 10

“I wish we would have gone to visit Mrs. Pettyjohn long before this,” Johnny Dylan said to Seth Williamson, and the other children who had been at the barn last night, as they slowly followed the adults back towards the town.

“Yeah, me too, but I am so angry at Bertha and her mother using us to help set up the trap for those other kids. I want to do something to help. I feel as useless as a chigger, just standing around like this, and doing nothing,” Seth replied.

“I agree, we should have told Mrs. Pettyjohn we wanted to help. There has to be something we can do to help straighten up this mess. I feel as if it was my fault this all happened,” Laura Johnson said, wiping the tears from her eyes and cheeks.

“If that is truly how you feel, then meet us behind the wall of the back gate,” Trevor said from behind them.

Everyone turned to see who had spoken, but there was only a fleeting blur, of a child-like form moving at a tremendous speed away from them, and not easily seen.

“Oh wow, did you see that?” Lester asked his friends.

“I think I did, but it looked like when you are looking above a gas heater during the winter and see the translucent heat waves rising,” Laura whispered in awe.

“Are we going to meet them in back of the school?” Billy Johnson asked the others.

“I am that’s for sure, however if anyone does not plan on helping, and just wants to cause more trouble, then I will advise you to go home. I promise to beat up anyone who comes just to spy on us for Bertha and her mother,” Seth said as he took turns looking at each one individually, and giving them his most evil stare.

“Lucy, we know that you hang around with Bertha a lot, so if she is your best friend, and you are planning on telling her about this meeting…, I suggest you go home now. I will not beat on girls, but I am not against putting snakes in your hair, or down your blouse, and making you miserable for the rest of your life. We have done enough harm to these kids, and I want to help, not hurt, them,” Seth told her.

“Just because Mrs. Norton and my mom are good friends, doesn’t make Bertha and I friends, Seth Williamson,” Stamping her foot on the ground in frustration Lucy Laurence continued, “and for your information, the only way to be best friends with Bertha is if you follow her around all day telling her how smart and beautiful she is. I tried to be nice to her, but I am not her best friend, especially after we found out what she, and her mother, did to those kids.”

“Then those who want to help come with me, and for those of you who do not want to help, go on back to town and keep your mouth shut about this meeting,” Seth said as he turned to walk down the garden path that led to the back wall of the school.

When Seth and his friends walked around the corner they were surprised to see the large group of children waiting for them. Trevor and Ngame were standing in front of at least twenty children, as far as Seth could figure.

“I hope they are not going to jump on us,” Daniel Johnson whispered
to his brother Billy, and Seth.

“I hope they don’t either, but I couldn’t blame them if they did. We were partly, if unknowingly, the reason for all this mess,” Billy answered back.

Seth nodded his head in agreement, and kept walking toward Trevor and Ngame. Walking straight to Trevor, Seth offered his hand in friendship to Trevor.

“First I want to say that we had no idea Bertha and her mother were setting your friends up to be abducted. We all feel bad about the whole thing and we want to know what we can do to help get them back. Secondly, we would like to prove ourselves worthy of being your friends. The only way we prove it is to do anything you ask us to do, within the law that is,” Seth said grinning.

Trevor looked at the offered hand, and then as Seth spoke, Trevor mentally asked Ngame if he was telling the truth. When Ngame told him that Seth was telling the truth, he reached out and shook his hand.

“We know what happened last night, and we also know you were reluctant to go to the barn. Ngame and I were there and we managed to get away before we were seen. My name is Trevor Argali and this is Ngame Akan,” Trevor said as he indicated Ngame with his head.

While Seth and Trevor introduced each of their friends, Whitley Tyne used his scanner ability to scan the children who there to see if there were any who were there for the sole purpose of telling Bertha and her mother what was said. When he was finished scanning he used his mind merge skill and told everyone that they were all willing to help, and were only angry with Bertha.

“What can we do to help?” Johnny Dylan asked Ngame.

Ngame looked at the tall handsome boy and felt her heart flutter. He was beautiful to her, with his creamy dark chocolate skin, large bulging muscles, and thick, and yes an extremely kiss-able mouth.

“Excuse me, what did you say?” Ngame asked, blushing at the thoughts that had gone through her mind, knowing full well that the inaudible laughter coming from behind her was from her friends who had heard her thoughts.

“I asked what we could do to help you get your friends back. My name is Johnny, Johnny Dylan, and this is my little sister Marcy,” he said pulling his sister around from behind him.

“You’re so pretty,” Marcy said shyly.

“Thank you Marcy. You are very pretty also,” Ngame said smiling at the younger child.

“Trevor, why don’t we take everyone down the hill to that big bunch of trees, so that we can sit on the low limbs and talk? We have a lot to figure out and very little time to do it in,” Ngame said as she led the way to the trees.

Once they were seated on the low limbs and grass Trevor said, “What do you think about turning things back around on Bertha and her mother?”

“You mean kidnap Bertha? How do we do that?” Seth asked.

“And how would we ever make anyone believe it? No one would want Bertha,” Laura said laughing.

“Not kidnap, well not really, but this is what we had in mind…

Mirra paced the room trying to think of what she could do about the problem of the lab report on the children. She knew the part about the children being normal was a good thing; however the small part that said that they were super normal had the potential of being disastrous.

“What if I head back to the lab and delete the part about the children being super human. I can delete it from the computer, and print a copy that says they are only healthy human children? The only way General Anderson will find out anything different is if they redo the tests, and that will be impossible if the children are not here,” Sara Williams asked Mirra.

“Can you do it safely, and are you the only lab-tech that has seen the results of the test?” Mirra stopped pacing and asked her.

“No problem Mirra. All the day lab-techs were gone when the results came in, so there was no one else to see it. The only other person I told was Bradley, and we came straight here to tell you,” Sara stated.

“Then do it, at least it might buy us some time. I can always say I want to run more extensive tests on the children tomorrow, if we cannot figure a way to get them out of here tonight.”

“Good as done,” Sara said as she as quickly left the room.

“I was doing some reconnoitering tonight, before I stopped in to see Sara, and I may have found a way to get the children out of here,” PFC Bradley Barrett said in a low, and comforting, baritone voice.

Mirra thought, and not for the first time today that his voice was so comforting he should have been a medical doctor or a psychiatrist. “Do you really think we can get them out of here safely?”

“I can’t be one hundred percent positive, because there are always unknown factors, but I believe it can be done. The only part I have not worked out is how to leave the grounds. Is there anyone you can call that would be willing to help us leave the area once we are off the base?”

“I believe there is someone I can call, PFC Barrett, someone who would defiantly be willing to help. Just figure out what time we will be
leaving and let me know. I will make the arrangements for our help from there,”
Mirra said smiling.

“Great, I need to do one more walk through, just to be sure, and then I will be back and tell you when we should leave. I will also need to get some wire cutters and shut down the electricity to the fence,” Bradley said as he walked out the door.

“I think it is time to make another telepathic call,” Sherri Norman said eagerly.

“I believe you are right. You try to contact Trevor, and I will try to reach Ngame. One of them may be too busy to talk, but between the two of them, we should be able to let them know what is going on,” Mirra told her. For the first time that day Mirra felt a small kernel of hope rising in her heart.

After reaching Ngame and informing her that they would need help to get the children out of the area once they left the base, Mirra gave the test results to Sherri to take outside to the smoking area to burn. “I suppose it is a good thing that I smoke, at least I have a lighter and it is not unusual for me to be seen on the cameras going out to smoke,” Sherri said, as she took the papers and hid them under her blouse.

Being a non-smoker, Mirra had to agree with her on that point, “I never knew they had cameras out there.”

“They don’t have cameras out in the smoking area, just on the door as you leave or enter,” Sherri informed her, then left the room.

Mirra heard a knock on her office door and called out permission to enter.

“Here is the lab test on the children. I think you will find that these children are nothing but normal kids,” Sara said with a wide smile on her face.

“Great! Are you sure there is no way for anyone to figure out that part of the test results are missing?”

“Nothing is missing, only changed a wee bit, and one of the day lab-techs must have misplaced the blood samples and x-rays, because I cannot find them anywhere. Oh yes, Sherri said to tell you she would be right back if you need her for anything else. You see I also smoke, and I love those dirty old sand filled ashtrays the government has out there. I can’t believe how deep they are,” Sara said smiling.

“You know Sara; I just may take up smoking. It seems that you ladies have all the fun in the smoking area.”

“We did today, that’s for sure. Have you told the children what we plan to do yet?”

“No Sara, not yet, I don’t want to get their hopes up and then find out we cannot get them out. I decided to wait until PFC Barrett says it’s a go, and it is time to leave.”

Mirra had just finished speaking when her office door flew open and PFC Barrett with Sherri behind him hurried into the room. Both were looking shocked and nervous.

“What’s wrong?” Mirra asked, but was afraid of the answer she would receive.

“General Anderson just drove up, and is parking his car at this moment. I have to get back to my post before he comes in, but I wanted to warn you,” Bradley said, then left as quickly as he had entered the room.

“I’m going back to the lab Mirra. Will you send someone to let me know when he leaves?”

“Yes of course I will let you know,” Mirra told her.

Grabbing the children’s charts, Mirra and Sherri went to sit behind the camera console and starting charting down their observations of the children.

“Have they said anything yet doctor?” General Anderson asked as he grabbed up Andrew’s chart and began to read.

“No sir, they are too scared to talk, as of yet that is,” Mirra told him, with what sounded to her own ears as a false sugary sweetness in her voice.

Mirra started to sweat as Anderson sat down at the computer
next to her, and started scanning the children’s activity from earlier in the
evening. After a few moments he typed in a long string of numbers, and then
shut down the computer.

“Perhaps they need some convincing. I have requested that we receive the services of Hedrick Lieberman tomorrow, and have just been informed he will be here at ten in the morning. I expect you to have all the testing you need done by that time, as the brats will not be in any shape to test afterwards. The only thing for you to do after Hedrick leaves is an autopsy,” General Anderson said matter-of-factly.

“You’re going to kill them? You can’t do that General, there has to be some rules that apply to these children. What about the Geneva Convention rules of war, wouldn’t they apply?” Mirra asked.

“Those rules were made in nineteen-hundred and forty-nine, and they applied to war and soldiers only. Not snotty nose aliens,” Andrews told her tersely.

Mirra’s stomach, and mind, was in a tumult of feelings, the main one being nausea.

“The rules state that we are to treat them humanely, and say that they ‘shall be protected, especially against all acts of violence. Without any adverse distinction based on race,’ of course I paraphrased only the parts which should defiantly apply to these children, but they are in your custody and you are a General in the U. S. Army,”

“Do not tell me who I am or what I should or should not do, doctor. Or you may find you have bitten off more than you care to chew, do you understand, Doctor Arababe?” General Anderson bellowed at her.

“Pretending to be submissive, Mirra said yes sir and bowed her head. She decided it was the best way to hide her true feelings from the general. Mirra knew that if he had seen the vehement anger in her eyes, he would probably lock her up, and she would be unable to help the children. Before he could say anything else to her his cell phone rang.

“Abigail, I am busy at the moment, and if this is not a matter of life or death, then I will need to call you back later,” Jim Anderson said in a kind tone of voice.

Mirra wondered how this sorry excuse for a human being could change from cruelty to kindly in the bat of an eye, when she heard him yell.

“Bertha is missing? Are you sure she has been kidnapped and not just off visiting with her friends?”After listening to Abigail for a few moments, he said, “I’m on my way there right now. Abigail, now just stay calm… Yes I will bring soldiers with me and I will put a stop to this tonight. Mrs. Pettyjohn does not know who she is messing with, but she will learn real soon, even if I have to blow her school out of existence,” Jim Andrews said then ended the call.

“I will be back in the morning to see these brats finished for once and all. Just in case I am not here before Hedrick Lieberman gets her, tell him I said to wait till I get here to start on the children, I want to watch him ‘question’ them,” Anderson said with an evil sneer on his face.

General Anderson hurriedly headed towered the main doors, placing calls on his phone as he walked. He was ordering the soldiers under him back to work.

Mirra sat down hard on the computer chair and breathed a sigh of relief. “Step one, accomplished,” she said to Sherri. Now it is time for step two.

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“Mrs. Pettyjohn’s School of Knowledge” Chapter 9

Mirra felt faint, but she did her best to pull herself together, and then said, “We will do everything possible to get you back home, I promise.”

PFC Barrett and Sara were waiting for Dr. Arababe in her office when she entered the room. They were both surprise to see Sherri following her into the room.

“Are you sure?” PFC Barrett asked Dr. Arababe.

“I am surer of her than I am the two of you,” Mirra told him, “Now, what it is you wish to speak to me about?” Sitting down at her desk, Mirra looked up at the two young people standing before her, and waited for their answer.

“Well, you see Sara and I are in love, and we try to meet when we can. You understand how it is here, between couples, don’t you?”

“Yes PFC, I know very well what General Anderson does when he discovers that one of his men is in love. He does everything to destroy their relationship. Now, exactly what does that have to do with this situation?” Mirra queried.

“Yeah, so Sara and I try to meet in the supply room when we can. Not often you understand, and only when it is our break time.”

“Please PFC Barrett, tell me what is so important that it could not wait,” Mirra Arababe tiredly encouraged him to get on with the story.

Blushing, PFC Barrett continued, “Sorry about that ma’am. Anyway we were in the supply room yesterday when we heard General Anderson standing outside the door talking to someone. At first we thought someone was with him, and then we realized he was talking on his phone. I heard him say…

”Now Abigail, are you sure you’re not just upset that Mrs. Pettyjohn won’t let Bertha into her school?” He was quiet for a moment, and then he said… “Yes of course, if our esteemed cousin, President Austin, thinks there is something to this witch stuff, then it will be my pleasure to bring them in, and question them.” The scariest part was the horrible sound of his laughter and what he said next. He said, “No problem, they will never be seen again. All I have to do is tell Bill that the witches, or aliens, whatever the heck they are, are out to destroy his presidency. I will tell him they are going to put one theirs into office, and he will allow me to wipe “Mrs. Pettyjohn’s School of Knowledge of the face of the earth. The fate of these brats won’t matter in the least.”  PFC Barrett finished telling what he had overheard.

“Dr. Arababe, the other thing is the results of our testing today…, you see here,” Sara pointed at the lab results which she placed on the desk, “The tests show that the children are normal, but…”

“That’s great. If the tests show they are normal, then we should be…” Mirra Arababe stopped mid-sentence and stared at the paper in her hands. “Oh lord no,” Mirra cried out.

“What is it Mirra? What’s wrong?” Sherri asked worriedly.

“Their human alright, but beyond that…, they’re super-human. The test results show that they have surpassed anyone that has ever been tested. It’s as if they are humans on steroids, both physically and mentally.”

“Oh man, when General Anderson sees this, there is no telling what he will do,” Sherri said quietly.

Everyone nodded in agreement.

“If anyone has an idea how to get the children out of her, now is the time to speak,” Mirra said.

Ngame was awakened with the sound of Mirra Arababe’s apprehensive voice in her head. Robbing her eyes and trying to come awake from a deep sleep, Ngame answered, “Yes, I am here. What’s wrong?

As Mirra repeated what she had just learned from PFC Barrett, Ngame rose quickly from her bed and took off running towards Mrs. Pettyjohn’s office. On her way there she saw Trevor coming from the direction of the boy’s living quarters. They arrived at the office door at the same time, and started banging on it. Nina opened the door quickly and looked at the frightened children.

“What is it, has something happened to the children?” She said ushering them in the room, closing the door behind them.

After being filled in on everything the children had just learned, the anger inside Nina started to boil and stepping away from the children, her body burst into flame. Nina’s voice changed to the sound of fire roaring, “She must be stopped…, her petty jealousy has gone too far now. I will go to see Abigail Norton, and stop her myself,” Nina roared.

Ngame and Trevor had seen a flame torrent before, but never to this extent. Nina Pettyjohn was reportedly the only person of her fire-starter clan, or any other clan, who could create a blue flame. The blue flame was by far the most intense flame known to man, or beast.

“Nina! Calm down please before you burn these children alive, not to mention burn down the school,” James Tolliver ordered as he stepped into the room.

“Hi Mr. Tolliver, Trevor said. Don’t worry; Mrs. Pettyjohn is controlling the heat. She’s just angry, so she’s trying to burn off a little energy before she goes nova and explodes, taking the earth and everyone on it with her,” Trevor grinned. As a child from the Star Fire Galaxy, this was something he was well acquainted with.

“Yes, yes of course, however I do believe I feel my feathers starting to melt. So if you would be so kind to extinguish the fire, my dear Nina, I wish to know what is going on here.

Nina began to breathe deeply, after a few moments she spoke, “The troll wife and her evil family have gone too far this time, James. I do believe it is time to show the town what she truly is. Abigail is out to destroy us, using those in power to do it.”

“True, however, my dear Nina, first we need to free the children, and then take care of Mrs. Norton. I have heard that there are those in town, who are angry with Abigail and Bertha, for what they have done, including Mr. Norton. It is my understanding that meeting are now being held that do not welcome Abigail and Bertha in their midst. As a matter of fact, I heard that the children met at the school gym last night, and when Bertha showed up they told her to leave.”

“I bet she was mad about that,” Ngame said.

“Yes indeed she was.”

There was a knock on the door; Mrs. Pettyjohn opened the door to find Professor Knor standing there glasses in his hands, briskly wiping the lenses with a white kerchief. The little man was no more than five feet tall with his thick grey hair standing straight out from his head. The children were always saying Mr. Knor was once struck by Zeus’s Astrapes, or Greek fire as some called it, and that was why his hair always stood up in all directions. Mr. Knor’s normally big brown eyes were larger than Nina had ever seen them.

“Professor Knor, what may I do for you?” Nina asked the elderly augury professor.

In his high voice Mr. Knor said, “I do believe that half the town is headed for the front gate at this moment. It was a truly strong felling of the future that I received, therefore I assume you will need to be on your way quickly.”

“And the reason they are coming?” Nina Pettyjohn asked him.

“They are angry with the two females who created this mess, of course. As they should be naturally,” Professor Knor put his Benjamin Franklin glasses back on his nose and said, “It is a possible future telling that I say now, however if you were to ask for their help, perhaps they would have ideas on what should be done to stop this disaster before it is too late.”

With that the elderly man turned and walked down the hall, carrying on a conversation with some unseen person. Mrs. Pettyjohn would have been worried, but as humans walked around, seemingly, talking to themselves, however in reality using their blue tooth devices, those who were professors had internal implants so that they would be able to stay in touch with their families on their home worlds.

“I am glad that I burned off my anger a moment ago. Perhaps now I will be in control when I speak with the people from town,” Nina said as she checked in the mirror to see to her hair.

“Mr. Tolliver, I believe you will need the services of Professor Travell, to leave here unseen. He is preparing for tonight’s battle, in the library, I do believe,” Mrs. Pettyjohn told him.

“Thank you, Nina. I think I will have him set me down a couple of minutes behind the group who are coming here. I want to hear what they have to say.”

Mr. Tolliver left the room and Nina Pettyjohn walked out into the hall heading for the massive oak front doors. Word had obviously gone out that there were visitors on their way to the gate, because when she stepped out the door she saw the gate was completely hidden from view by a sea of black clad people. Nina looked up to see that there was a full moon out tonight, and though this upset her, she kept walking. As Mrs. Pettyjohn approached the gate, people stepped to the side to allow her, Ngame, and Trevor to move to the front of the crowd.

Nina Pettyjohn watched as the people from town approached the front gate. It looked as though the children were leading the adults, with one tall blond-haired boy in the front. The young man was a handsome lad, Nina thought. He was tall and though still a bit gangly she could see that in a year or so this boy would become a muscular man. His face was strong and angular, with a square jaw. Yes he would be a good-looking man, but would he be a good man. Well, now is not the time for the nonsensical thoughts running through my head such as this, she thought. Everyone stopped about five feet from the gate, and then the blond boy stepped up to the gate.

“Are you Mrs. Pettyjohn?”

“I am. Why are you and the others here?” Nina asked.

“I…, We came to tell you…,’ He looked back to see his friends holding back, then one by one the children’s parents pushed them forward. “I’m Seth Williamson, and I was at the barn last night. We went to see what everyone had to say…, about you and this s-school,” he stammered

“Were you pleased with what you heard?” Nina Pettyjohn quietly asked.

“No, not really, but people have told ghost stories about Arcane Mountain for as long as I can remember. We knew that Bertha and her mother were just trying to cause trouble, and we sure didn’t know some of the kids from your school were going to be captured by the military. Everyone knew that Bertha’s uncle was an army general, but we never thought they would go so far as to get him to take some of your kids, honestly we never meant for this to happen.”

Nina looked at the sad looks on the children’s faces, and decided that perhaps there was still hope for earth and some of its children.

“I understand, and hopefully you and your friends have learned that when you follow others, you must make sure the one you follow has a soul filled with kindness and compassion, not evil and hatred,’ Nina Pettyjohn said softly.

“Yes ma’am,” the children all said in unison.

“Ma’am, if you don’t mind…, will you please tell me why everyone is wearing black,” a pretty little dark skin girl asked.

“And your name is?” Nina asked her.

“I’m Marcy Dylan. I’m six years old, so they would not let me go to the barn with them last night. I told my daddy and mama when Johnny, my brother, went to the barn. Mama and daddy were really angry with Johnny.” Marcy walked up to the wrought iron fence and cupped her mouth with her hands, then whispered, “Mama says that Mrs. Norton and Bertha are really bad people. I think they are mean,” Marcy whispered.

Smiling down at Marcy, Mrs. Pettyjohn said, “Thank you for telling me that Marcy, I believe your mama is right, and you will do well to pay attention to what your parent’s tell you.”

A large black man stepped up behind the small child, laid his hand lovingly on her shoulder and said, “We,” he waved his hand to indicate the people behind him, “I’m Raymond Dylan, and we want to know what we can do to help bring the children home. Tonight Abigail called a town square meeting, which was to start ten minutes ago. No one will be there, as we chose to come here instead. I am the owner and publisher of the “Arcane Mountain Tribune and tomorrow’s front page is devoted to the cruelty and wrong-doing Mrs. Norton and her daughter has heaped upon the people of this town.”

 “ You do understand that If you print that, and Mrs. Norton has her way about it, tomorrow night everyone who owes money to the bank will be bankrupt, don’t you?” Nina asked him.

“Yes ma’am we know, however she has gone too far with her ‘Holier-than-thou’ attitude, especially when could cost children their life,”

“In that case, Mr. Dylan, thank you. I believe you and these good people are doing everything possible for my missing students,” Nina told him.

Raymond Dylan inclined his head to her and turned to leave.

“On moment if you please, Mr. Dylan,” Nina said.

When he turned back to see what she wanted, Nina asked, “Do you believe what the Norton’s are saying about us?”

“If you are asking me do I, or any of the other town’s folk, believe you are abusing these children, the answer is no. However if you are asking me if I believe you and your student’s are different, in some way, from the rest of us, then truthfully the answer is yes. I neither know nor care how you are different, but what I do know is that you have never harmed any of us or our ancestors, ever. You and your predecessors have shown nothing but kindness to each of us, and it is time we return the decency.”

“In that case, When Mr. or Mrs. Norton tries to destroy any of you, remind them that I own the land that their bank and home sits on. Inform them that if my students are not returned to me immediately, that I will cancel my agreement with them. Tell them that if they do anything to you, or these other good people, that they will answer to me,” Nina said, she turned and walked back to the school.

“Yes ma’am, it will be my pleasure to tell them,” Nina heard Raymond Dylan say.

Now, it is almost time for us to leave. Trevor, please ring the bell for assembly.”

“Yes ma’am, Mrs. Pettyjohn,” Trevor said as he hyper-morphed into the bell tower. In only a minute’s time, Nina heard the bell ring.

To be continued…

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“The Bar” Chapter XX

Gloria’s face lit up as she started to speak, “As you know, Edward and I headed for the largest opening to the right of the large room. We saw many little pathways going in different directions, but Edward said that we should stay on the main path, the first time out. I believe he was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up if the going got rough. I was a bit upset at first, however after an hour of walking; I was inclined to agree with him. It was at that time I finally decided I need to take a break. Edward found a couple of large rocks for us to sit on, and by that time I was so tired, I was ready to sit on the stone floor if I had to. We had just sat down when Edward decided to shine his light on the walls around us to see how large the room was that we were in. That’s when I thought I saw a flash of light.”

Gloria stopped talking so that she could take a sip of coffee.

She continued, “Edward hadn’t noticed the flash and continued scanning the area, until I asked if he had seen a flash. He told me that he hadn’t, but asked where I had seen it at. I showed him where I thought I had seen it at, but when he shown his light there, we saw nothing. I figured it had been my eyes, as well as my imagination playing tricks on me. We forgot about it and had started talking about the timeless beauty of these underground rooms, when Edward pointed his flashlight toward what appeared to be an arch way, and that’s when we saw the flash again.”

Gloria looked to Edward Rothman, and he continued taking over where she had stopped, “I saw the flash, so I walked over to take a closer look at the sandstone arch. Shinning my light up I saw small veins of silver that ran through the arch and that seemed to widen as they headed off into a smaller chamber just ahead. Gloria and I decided to follow the veins to see if indeed they led to larger veins. As we walked up to the smaller chamber, we saw that the veins of silver were getting smaller the closer to the opening that we went. I told Gloria that what we were seeing was probably a small amount of silver, and wouldn’t amount too much, when Gloria shined her light into the room. The room sparkled like one monster of a flashlight.”

“Are you seriously saying you found a room full of silver?” Candace had a look of shock on her face as she asked, looking from one face to the other.

“Serious as my ex-wife wanting alimony,” Rothman said as he crossed his heart with his index finger.

Candace looked around at all of her friends, and then burst out laughing.

“I think you may have just found what it was Francois Dubois wanted. Somehow he must have found out about the silver.”

“I don’t see how he would expect to load it up in his van and be out of here quickly. Think about it Candace. He hurt Mom and Sheila, and then he went so far as to kidnapped you. What with the police looking for him now, he would need to get the silver out of the limestone and somehow get it out of the country, all before getting caught,” Tommy Collins said thoughtfully.

“Collins’s right Candace, it just doesn’t fit,” Sheila said.

“I agree, also if he did not have time to melt it and remove it from the limestone, it would be too heavy to be able to carry much with him,” Mead said as he got up from the table and headed for the kitchen.

“Darn, I was hoping we had found what he was looking for at least. I guess we will just have to keep looking,” Candace grumpily said.

“Humph,” Gloria said to Candace. “I would’ve thought you would have at least been excited over finding out how wealthy you are now.”

“Yeah, Candace my girl, and just think, if you ask me to marry you now that you are wealthy, not to mention a good cook, I guess I would just have to say yes,” Blaster said jokingly.

Dogging the napkins that everyone at the table was throwing at him, and laughing at the glare Stacks aimed his way, Blaster said, “Well I would have to break a lot of young ladies hearts, but I could be talked into it.”

“Sorry Blaster, I really hate to break your heart, however I must decline your offer. I am not so sure I want the world to know what is under my home. I love the peace and quiet I have here, and could not imagine giving up my home so that others can destroy what my ancestors so judicially kept hidden, all these years,” Candace said, smiling at the thought of how many years the local Indians, and then her family members had known the secrets of her land.

“Alright then, if not wealthy in the financial sense, you are certainly wealthy in ancestral family history,” Gloria said smiling at Candace.

Stacks deep in thought, jumped when Mead asked, “What’s on your mind Stacks?”

“Dubois could not have known about the cavern. If he knew about it he would not have had his men digging up the yard. I think it has to be something else he’s searching for.”

Running his fingers through his thick sandy blond hair and sighing, Stacks said, “I think we need to keep searching, for now at least.”

“Sheila, did you and Mead find anything interesting tonight?” Candace asked.

“If you mean like an ancient Indian village, or a silver mine, or even a room full of bones, the answer is no. However what we did find was fairly interesting,” Sheila said with a wicked grin.

“Yeah right,” Mead said as he gave Sheila a look that said he would get even with her later.

Sheila continued, saying, “I shouldn’t be telling the first part of this, after all it was Mead who made the discovery.”

“You’re on Mead, and from the looks you and Sheila are giving each other, I think it won’t do you any good to try to leave parts out of what you tell us,” Stacks told him in a voice full of sympathy.

“That’s the truth,” Mead answered quickly.

“When we left you guys, Sheila said she wanted to follow the opening that headed directly to the left. Our path went straight for a while, then it started curving right and left, but besides that, it was going down and soon the walls started closing in around us. We also saw a lot of other paths we could follow, but some were full of large rocks and the others looked to be low entrances, so we decided to go as far as we could on our current path. After a while the walls started to close in around us. We agreed that we needed to turn back and try another one. I had started hearing a strange sound, but when we entered a small chamber, it sounded louder. At first I couldn’t make out the sound, but when we followed the only other path leaving the little room, the sound starting getting louder. I told Sheila that I thought it was the sound of rushing water. I asked her if she wanted to see if we could find the source of the sound, or turn back and take another path we had seen earlier. Sheila said she wanted to continue on, so that is what we did.”

Sheila took over from there, “The sound of water rushing interested me, and I wanted to see it, but the longer we walked the louder it became until it sounded like a roar. I was just about to tell Mead I thought we needed to turn back and bring ear plugs next time, when we walked through a doorway, for lack of anything else to call it, and both Mead and I stopped dead in our tracks. There about twenty feet below us was a grand room filled with stalagmites and stalactites, which reached out to touch each other for what looked like miles. We were standing on a craggy ledge, with what looked to be no safe way down.  We could see there was a river running through the entire room. The whole room looked surreal, in its overwhelming splendor. I found I was speechless from its beauty.”

“Yeah it was something to look at all right. I was a little worried about being on the ledge, not knowing if it was strong enough to hold our weight, when the jagged piece I was standing on, broke. I had been on the left side of the ledge, and I remember thinking why on earth did I ever step so close to the edge, when the floor fell out from under me. I thought I was going to die; I closed my eyes and screamed as I fell. You can imagine my embarrassment when I realized I had fallen only a foot and right onto a wide stone step that was the first of many steps down to the cavern floor. Sheila, of course, was standing there laughing,” Mead said indignantly.

“Screamed like a banshee, he did.” With a grin on her face and with Mead’s eyes trying to shoot arrows through her, Sheila continued the story. “Teasing aside, I was terrified when Mead fell. I screamed for him and fell to my stomach to look over the edge, and found my face staring directly into his. Surprised, I looked past him to see steps that went all the way down. The only reason we had not seen them before was that the thin ledge obscured our view. The path quickly curved so that the whole think was impossible to see if you did not know it was there. I asked Mead if he thought the path was man-made or natural. He said it looked as if the stone had been chiseled, so it was probably man-made.”

“I am not sure, but I think someone worked awful hard to turn a stone path into level steps.” Mead told them. Continuing, Mead said, “When we reached the bottom of the stairs and started looking around, we discovered that there was a part of the room we could not see from the ledge. There was a small, but loud, waterfall that emptied into a pool, and from there it flowed over the edge and down into a channel that continued on as a river running farther into the cavern.”

“Did either of you taste the water?” Candace asked them.

“The water is so crystal clear, that I could not resist tasting it,” Sheila told them.

“That’s the truth. It was great tasting and ice-cold. I think the waterfall we found, would be downstream from the part of the river that Collins and Blaster found,” Mead said thoughtfully.

“What makes you think that?” Gloria asked him.

“No one else said that they were walking down as deep as we went. That makes me think that it has to be farther downstream,” Mead answered.

“Collins, did you or Blaster notice any other way out of the part of the cavern you were in?” Stacks asked.

“Not me, I was too busy looking at the strange beehive shaped Indian homes. We can look for one tomorrow when we go back, if that will help,” Blaster offered.

“I’m guilty of not looking also. Wait till you see the place, you guys are going to be shocked at all the stuff we found down there. I wonder what Indian tribe built their homes to resemble bee hives. I don’t remember ever reading about anything but teepee’s and adobe huts,” Collins said, slowly shaking his head.

“I know of only one tribe, it was the Mayans in Southern Belize, but not here,” Candace said.

“You know, kids, there are a lot of things about the Native Americans ancient past that our ancestors never stopped to learn about, before they tried to annihilate them. I am ashamed to say,” Gloria said, truly sadden by this truth.

Everyone sadly agreed with her. Candace looked at the clock, and announced that it was after midnight, and if they were planning to go back into the cavern tomorrow, they needed to get some rest.

Candace and Stacks volunteered to wash their coffee cups before going up to bed. After saying goodnight, they were alone in the kitchen when Stacks said, “Candace, would you mind if I kissed you goodnight?”

Scrunching up her face in a thoughtful manner, Candace said, “Why are you asking my permission tonight? I seem to remember two kisses where you did not ask if it was alright.”

“I- I guess it’s because I hope to take our relationship farther than just stealing a kiss every once in a while,” Stacks said nervously.

When Candace raised her eyebrow uncertain as to the meaning of his statement, Stacks quickly understood what she was thinking.

“I didn’t mean it that way, but I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t interested in going to bed with you Candace. What I meant was I want to really kiss you and when this is over, take you out for dinner and all the other stuff that goes with dating.”

Placing her dish towl on the counter Candace said, “what took you so long?’

Reaching up and standing on her tip toes, Candace slid her arms around the neck of the most handsome man she had ever seen. When their lips met, Candace knew from deep inside of her, that this muscle-bound golden Adonis, was her Adonis and her soul mate.

To be continued…

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“Mrs. Pettyjohn’s School of knowledge” Chapter 8

Trevor and Ngame were in the dining hall speaking in hushed tones when Mrs. Pettyjohn approached their table. Nina Pettyjohn was dressed in a black silk dress. Her elegant dress greatly resembled the dresses portrayed in the movies as a witches dress, with its high starched collar and sleeves puffed to the elbow, then tapering down to a V over her long delicate fingers. The movies had it wrong. This dress was known as the United Galaxy Alliance’s uniform, to be worn in times of war only.

“I just wanted to tell you how proud I am of you. You Ngame, for taking surveillance flight when you sensed something was amiss, and you Trevor, when you hyper-morphed back here so that we could be instantly informed of what was going on,” Nina Pettyjohn told them.

“Then why doesn’t it feel like I did the right thing? I should be with my friends, not here eating dinner as if nothing is wrong,” Trevor slammed his fist on the table in anguish, his chin quivering as he struggled to keep from crying.

“Yes ma’am, we know we did what we thought was best for everyone at the time, but now we feel like we deserted them. Will we be able to help them, to get them back?” Ngame hung her head as her tears began to fall, making a thumping sound as they hit the table.

“I have spoken to the leaders of almost all the inhabited planets throughout many galaxies, over the last few hours, and they have authorized me to do whatever necessary to bring my students, your friends, home. We will do exactly that,” Mrs. Pettyjohn resolutely told them.

“Now I want you to eat your dinner and try to get a few hours rest. I want everyone rested and refreshed for tonight. Tonight we will go to this place where they are holding Andrew and the girls, and bring them home,” Lord willing, Nina thought as she patted them on their backs and walked away.

“Mrs. Pettyjohn, wait,” Ngame said excitedly as both she and Trevor motioned for her to return to their table.

Turning around to look at the two children, she saw their faces were intensely focused inwards. Nina knew this could mean only one thing; they were receiving a telepathic message.  Walking quickly to their table, Nina approached them, but did not speak. She knew that when they were finished talking, to whom ever it was they would inform her of their reason for calling her back.

“Ngame Akan, can you hear me?” Dr. Arababe silently called out.

Mirra was sitting at her desk trying to relax and focus her thoughts out into the evening, to someone she did not personally know, something she had never attempted to do in her life. After fifteen minutes of calling out to Ngame, she had the feeling that perhaps she was heard, but was being ignored. Wasn’t this what she did when she didn’t know the number that showed on her caller ID? Ngame may be ignoring her simply because she did not know her. Hence, Mirra decided to try once again, but with a slight difference, she would leave a message.  

Earlier Mira and Sherri had silently discussed the children’s mind merging ability and both had decided to never speak aloud on the subject, for the protection of the children as well as for themselves.

“Sherrie, I think we should try leaving a more in-depth message this time. It is possible that they are not answering us because they do not know us.”

“Well I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to try. Either it’s that, or we are just not strong enough to reach them. You know Mirra, they are just children and they could be wrong about us being telepathic.”

“Humm, yes of course there is always that possibility, but as a scientist I feel I must continue trying to reach Ngame,” Mirra said.

“Yeah me too, just thinking about talking to someone other than you using telepathy is enough to keep me trying to reach this Trevor Argali,” Sherri said as she sipped her diet coke, and tried to tamp her excitement down enough to focus on contacting Trevor.

“Ngame Akan, I am Dr. Mirra Arababe and I want to help. I am here with Missy, Jinnee, Nancy and Andrew and I have promised to try to reach you. Please talk with me…”

Mirra words were cut short when she heard a young girl’s voice as clear as if she was standing next to her.

“How do I know you want to help them? I don’t know you, and I sure don’t trust you or any of those bad military people who took my friends,” Ngame said vehemently.

Mirra blanched at the anger she sensed in Ngame’s voice, but she understood and agreed with the reasoning behind it. “I do not expect you to believe or trust me Ngame. However, I promised Andrew and the girls I would contact you, if I could.”

“What did Nancy want you to tell me?”

“Just that they were alright for now, and that there were at least two people, other than myself, willing to try to help them escape from here. Andrew told me that if I could contact you, you would know that I was a telepath and like you, I must keep my talent hidden from others here on earth,” Mirra told her.

“How many telepaths are there, other than you?” Ngame asked.

“A friend of mine, her name is Sherri Norman. She is trying to reach Trevor at this moment.”
Mirra was beginning to think Ngame was not going to say anything else, when she finally heard her again.

“Will you tell me where they are holding my friends?”

Mirra went into detail describing where the military had taken the children to, as well as the location of the hidden entrance. She then said, “Ngame, it is not safe for you or any of the others to come here. I don’t know how we will get your friends out of here, but your being captured would not help them and only serve to hurt more of you. Let me see what we can figure out, and then I will get back to you. Is there anything you want me to tell Andrew or the girls?”

“Yes, if you would just give them our love and tell them… all wear the black, until your return,” Ngame said cryptically.

“I will give them your message. And Ngame I give you my word of honor that I will do everything to protect your friends, and see them returned home safely. I cannot promise their return, only that I will try,” Mirra said, with sincerity in her voice.

Ngame’s face was ashen as she disconnected her mind from the stranger and turned to Trevor to see if he was still speaking with Sherri Norman, the friend Dr. Mirra Arababe had told her about.

Trevor’s normally warm sun freckled skin appeared whiter than normal to her, and he had a look on his face that mirrored her feelings.

“Why did you call me, and to whom were you speaking with,” Mrs. Pettyjohn said, directing her question to either one.

“I was summoned by a woman who said her name was Dr. Mirra Arababe,” Ngame answered.

“Was she someone from your home planet? My goodness, I did not know there were others on their way here. I would have thought all transports were canceled, however I suppose some of the closer transports could have been diverted south…”

“Mrs. Pettyjohn,” Ngame interrupted.

“It was not someone who I knew, but someone who is at that secret base, with Nancy and the others.”

“There are others like us there?” Nina Pettyjohn’s anger was beginning to rise, “Did they tell you how many others were there? How are the children, are they alright? Oh jumping asteroids, are their more children there also?”

Nancy shook her head then said, “She said that they were alright for now, she was going to try to help them get away from there.”

Mrs. Pettyjohn asked Ngame for all the details of her conversation, then asked, “Was that all she said to you? Did she ask you any questions about us or our whereabouts?”

“No, she did not try to get any information at all from me.  As I told you, she sounded to me as if she truly wanted to help; and she did give an accurate description of where they had taken them.”

“Did she now? Well that is something to think about, however I do not think we should trust her with any information at this time. I believe I will discuss this with Mr. Tolliver and the elders, before any decisions are made concerning Dr. Mirra Arababe,’ Nina said thoughtfully.

“Were you able to listen in on the conversation Trevor? It appeared that you were speaking with someone also.”

“No ma’am, I mean I was talking with someone, but she said her name was Sherri Norman. She told me the same thing about Andrew and the girls, but she said Missy was pretty scared. She also told me about another doctor they have there…, I think she said his name was Dr. Monroe, and that he was bad. She said that Dr. Arababe was going to try to keep him away from our friends as much as she could. She sounded real nice, and she even asked if I wanted her to tell my friends anything. Before we broke connection, she told me they were going to try to leave there real soon,” Trevor said, looking up at Mrs. Pettyjohn with a hopeful expression on his face.

“Let us hope these ladies are truly good humans, however if they do get in touch with you again, do not tell them anything. Listen to what they have to say and inform me immediately. Now children please do try to eat and lie down for a while. I want everyone here rested when it is time for us to act,” Mrs. Pettyjohn said, then headed towards her office to place calls of her own.

“You were right Andrew; we were able to speak with your friends telepathically,” Mirra told him from behind the observation console.

Andrew hurriedly sat up, and then remembering to act casual he looked around at the few people walking past or working at different stations.

“Did you talk with Trevor or Ngame?”

“Sherrie talked with Trevor, while I spoke to Ngame. I was afraid she wouldn’t speak with me, but after a while she decided to answer me.

“What did you tell them?’ Nancy asked.

“I told them you were all safe, for now, and that we would do our best to try to keep all of you safe. I also told her that we were going to see what we could do about getting you out of this place and safely home, Mirra told them, fervently hopeful that she, and Sherri, would be able to just that.

“Before anyone else could say anything, PFC Barrett approached Mirra, along with the lab tech, Sara; Mirra had met earlier in Missy’s cell.

“Here are the results from the first tests we ran on the children. If you do not need me for anything right now, I want to take my dinner break, if that is alright with you Dr. Arababe?” Sara said smiling as she handed the clipboard to Mirra.

“Thank you for getting these done so quickly Sara. I do not need you to do anything at this time, so of course you may go to dinner,” Mirra said after she had looked down at the papers Sara had handed to her. There on top of the clipboard was a note, requesting that she bring the clipboard with her for a meeting in her office. The note also said that if she did not trust Sherri, then she was to give her some busy work, so they would have time to talk. Mirra informed Sherri of the note, and informed the children they would return to finish their conversation after their meeting.

As they started to leave for Mirra’s office, Jinnee’s shy voice rang loud in their minds, “Ma’am, if it won’t take long, could you tell us if anyone sent us a message?”

“Oh dear, I am so sorry, yes Ngame said to tell you, ‘all wear the black, until your return.’ I believe that was all she specifically said to tell you.”

Mirra and Sherri, once again, turned to head for her office when they heard the children’s collective gasps.

“Does that mean something that I am not aware of?” Mirra asked.

Clearing his throat, and sounding rather nervous, Andrew said, “It means war, if we do not return home quickly. The multi-universe will unite, and wage war on earth. It also means the end of your world.”

To be continued…

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“The Bar,” Chapter XIX

Stacks had turned to see if Candace was behind him, when he saw her disappear into the smaller opening in the rock. Swearing silently to himself, he turned back to follow her, but stopped to wipe away the chalk mark he had made on the wall. He did not want to leave a trail that could potentially cause them to become lost later on. That was when he heard Candace scream.

Fear clutched at him as he ran towards the path that Candace had taken. As he turned the corner into the entrance, that he had seen Candace going into, he found himself slamming into her, their bodies connecting with a resounding thud. The breath slammed out of him with a whoosh knocking Candace backwards. Grabbing her before she could fall, Stacks steadied her and pulled held her close to him, and his loudly thumping heart.

“What’s wrong Candace, what did you see?” He asked. Holding her close to him while he shone the light down the path trying to see what had upset her.

Candace felt her breath leave her when she slammed into Stacks. She felt as though she had run into a brick wall. For a moment she thought she was going to pass out, but when she was able to take a breath, the tingling in her body cleared and she managed to shakily say, “Bones, lots and lots of human bones.”

“Stay here,” Stacks told her, as he went to look for himself.

Candace shook her head and managed an, “I’m alright now Stacks. It’s just that I tripped and when I looked up… Well it was just a surprise, that’s all.” There was no way she was going to let Stacks out of her sight. At this moment she did not want to be left alone.

Walking into the small room, Candace clinging to his shirt, Stacks saw that Candace was not exaggerating when she said there were lots of bones. There were what appeared to be hundreds of skeletons, all neatly stacked, one on top of another, resembling stacks of firewood. They were stacked from the floor up to the ledges, there were many more skeletons stacked on top of the ledges, as far up as someone could place them. 

“I didn’t know Indians buried their dead in caves,” Candace said bewildered.

“I have never heard of it myself, but then I was never any good in history. My mind was jammed packed with all those dates to memorize, that by the time I had memorized them for the test, I had forgotten everything else but the dates,” Stacks said with a small laugh.

“I remember a little more than that, but I don’t remember reading about Indian bones ever being found in caves,” Candace said. Thinking aloud, Candace continued, “I remember reading about the ‘Hypogeum’s of Malta, they used the underground catacomb chambers to entombed their dead, because the land was too rocky to dig graves. Perhaps the Indians did the same thing, in rocky areas.”

“What is a hypogeum? Stacks asked, as his brow rose in question.

“The Hypogeum is a series of underground chambers carved from rock creating a great burial complex. The Hypogeum has three main levels – Upper, Middle, and Lower levels and in all, the underground cemetery, in Malta, covers an area of about point three square miles. If I remember correctly, the lower and middle levels are entirely carved out of rock using antler or wooden picks and stone hammers since metal tools are not known to have existed at that time. The article said that the ceramic remains found there suggest that the site may have been used as early as four thousand BC.

“Four thousand years before Christ? That’s truly unbelievable,” Stacks said looking around the room.

“I wonder if there are any more burial chambers down here. I think that if there is one burial chamber, then there are probably more.”

“Sounds reasonable to me, but I think we need to get out of here and leave them to rest in peace. I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do believe it is a sin to disturb the remains of our ancestors,” Stacks said as he ushered Candace out of the room.

“I agree with you on that,” Candace said as she left the small burial Chambers.

“You know Stacks, Some of those bones could be, and possible are, my first ancestors. There may be something written about this in some of those old trunks, in the house.”

Looking at his watch, Stacks said, “It’s possible, but for now, let’s head back to the house. We only have ten minutes until we were supposed to head back anyway. “

When Stacks and Candace arrived at the stairs that led up to Candace’s bedroom, they saw Rothman sitting on the top of the stairs.

“I am sure glad to see you. I was dreading the thought of having to go looking for you two. Everyone else is in the dining room having coffee,” He said smiling at them.

“Oh come on now, Rothman, do you really believe Stacks and I would get lost in a little old cave,” Candace teased, as she used her hand to brush off the dust from her lavender color sweat pants.

“I don’t know about you, but Stacks gets lost going to the store,” Rothman teased back, as they walked into her room and closed the panel behind them.

Candace turned back to look at the door they had just came through and said, “You know, that door is so well hidden that I almost don’t believe it can truly be there. I wonder if there are any more entries, from my home, into the cavern.”

“To tell the truth Candace, I was wondering how many more secrets are hidden within and under your home,” Stacks said with a laugh.

“Quite a few,” Rothman said as he walked through the door heading for the dining room.

Stacks and Candace looked at each other, both of their faces registering a look of surprise and question.

Candace spoke first. “They must have found something during their search of the cavern. I wonder what they could have found.”

“I have no idea, but they may have found more burial chambers,” Stacks said as he took Candace’s hand and started down the stairs to join the others.

The November nights were starting to become quite cool, but in the caverns it was twice as cold. Candace was shivering, when she walked into the dining room and felt the warmth coming from the large stone fireplace. Both Candace and Stacks rushed over to it and held their hands out to welcome its warmth.

“Whoever decided to build a fire,  thank you,” Candace said as she turned her backside to the welcomed warmth.

“You can thank the guys for the fire,” Sheila told her.

“Thank you,” Candace said as she walked to the table and sat down.

Gloria picked up the large carafe, pored Candace and Stacks a cup of the wonderful smelling brew, then handed it to them.

Reaching out to take her cup from Gloria, Candace said, “This coffee smells so good. Is it the Milano coffee you told me about at The Bar?”

“Of course it is,” Gloria said amused. Stacks would disown me if I tried to give him any other coffee.”

“Ok, I’m a believer and have been since Friday night. When this mess is over, I’m going to start shopping in Granbury for my coffee. Didn’t you tell me the name of the little shop he bought it from was ‘The Coffee Grinder? ”

“That’s the place.”

Stacks was impressed that Candace had remembered the name of the coffee shop. Taking a sip of the hot delicious coffee, Stacks sat his cup down and said, “Before Candace and I tell you what we found in the caverns, I would like to hear about everyone else’s endeavors.”

Blaster was the first to speak. “As you know, Collins and I headed to what look like a small opening in the back of the large entry chamber. It was a long path that reminded me of a crack in the earth after an earthquake. We walked for about forty-five minutes when the walls seem to start closing in on us. I took the lead, and had just begun to think we would have to turn back, when I noticed a larger opening at about knee height, straight ahead. Collins and I decided that we might be able to travel the rest of the distance on our hands and knees. I told Collins to wait there and I would try it first.”

Collins interposed, “I was afraid we were going to get stuck if we tried to go farther. We were walking sideways and the going was getting pretty da-darn tight.” Smiling at Gloria, Collins was proud that he had caught himself before saying a bad word.

Collins continued, “Blaster had to work at it to lower himself down, but once he was on the ground he was able to crawl the rest of the distance to the opening. When he disappeared into the dark entrance, I waited until he yelled that I should follow him. Blaster was whooping and yelling with excitement, but with all the echoes in the cave, I couldn’t make out what he was saying.”

Blaster started where Collins left off, “When I first crawled through the opening, I used my light to explore the area in front of me. I wanted to make sure that there was not a drop off or something else that would pose a danger to us. Once I knew it was not only large, but safe, that’s when I stood up and started looking around. I could not believe my eyes. What I saw in every direction I aimed my flashlight, were what looked like giant beehives, built-in a large circle. At first I was worried that I would be attacked by bees, but that’s when I saw a longhouse made of what looked like mud and straw sitting in the middle, surrounded by the beehives.”

Collins and Blaster enjoyed the excitement they saw in each one of the faces sitting there staring with open disbelief of what they had just heard.

“You found an Indian village under my land?” Candace asked incredulously.

“Yes ma’am, we sure did,” Blaster answered beaming with pride at being the one who made the find.

“After I managed to work my way through the opening, I finally saw what Blaster was so excited about. I could not believe my eyes. I expected to see Indians with arrows and spears at any moment. We only had an hour to look around, however, the village looks as though it is waiting for the people to return,” Collins said with awe in his voice.

“I agree with Collins on that. We found water-hides, weapons, and furs, inside the huts. There were small bows and arrows that looked like they were made for their children, I suppose that was their idea of toys, or it could be for training the children,” Blaster surmised thoughtfully.

“I wouldn’t know anything about that, but did it look as if they ever built any fires down there?” Stacks asked them.

“Yep and there was a large fire pit all set up, just like they expected to be returning there,” Collins answered.

“If fires were built-in that cave, then there must be an opening for the smoke to go through or it would have choked them to death,” Sheila said, then asked, “Did you happen to see an opening anywhere?”

“No, and Collins and I looked all around trying to find one, but what we did find was an underground stream moving gently behind the village. The water in that stream was ice-cold and crystal clear. I want to go back there tomorrow, before we have to get back to the bar, and collect a jar of water to have it tested.”

“Good idea Blaster, but don’t tell anyone where the water came from.” Stacks warned.

“That’s not a problem at all Blaster. There are a lot of underground streams in Texas. I think they call them mineral water springs. At least that is what my grandfather called the one that we have on the property. It used to release water into the river through a small opening in the rocks, until my grandfather decided it needed a faucet attached. He then decided to hammer a steel pipe, which was threaded on one end, into the opening. He then attached a shut off valve and the faucet. People stop to refill their water bottles all the time.”

“You know Candace; I think there is a lot to discover about the ingenious nature of your family background. Who would have ever thought to build their home over the opening to a cavern?” Gloria said shaking her head.

“That makes me wonder if the village that Blaster and Collins found was built by the local Indians, or if one of your ancestors decided to build it,” Mead said thoughtfully.

“I wish I knew, however we may discover its origins when we go through some of those papers,” Candace said as she looked towards the old chests sitting lined up against the wall.

“That’s a possibility, but I think instead of going through the chests tomorrow, I want to have a look at the village. The truth is, at this moment, I have half a mind to go there now,” Stacks said.

“I would love to see it myself. How many of you are leaving tomorrow,” Candace said looking worried.

“Mom, Sheila, and I are going to stay, if you don’t mind. I don’t think it is safe for you to stay here by yourself. Sheila can’t work until her arm and ribs heal, which leaves the rest to run The Bar. We are only open for four days of the week anyway, so they will be back on Monday, of course that is only if you are alright with all of us being here, Stacks asked Candace.

“Are you kidding me? I feel as if I finally have a family. I have been so lonely since I lost my grandmother, a few years ago. I really don’t know my parents anymore, nor do I see them that often. Then there is also the unanswered question of why Francois kidnapped me, and will he return. ”

“Then it’s settled, I’ll stay until my boyfriend comes back from his road trip. I can’t wait to see that village tomorrow,” Sheila said.

“I hate to say this, but I don’t know if you will be able to get through the last bit of the way, not with that hurt arm. As a matter of fact, I am not so sure Stacks or Mead can get through the passage, given their muscled up bodies,”  Collins said.

“That may be a problem. You said that once Blaster was able to get down on his knees that he was able to get the rest of the way to the opening. Do you think that we could get in there if we start crawling before it gets too tight?” Mead asked them.

“Possibly, I suppose you guys will just have to try it to see if you can,” Collins answered.

“Then that’s what we’ll do. What about the rest of you, did you find anything interesting,” Stacks asked them.

Mead looked to Gloria, and she said, “Depends on what you call interesting. Naturally we cannot all hope to find something as fascinating as an Indian village,” she stopped talking and pointedly looked at the others seated around the table, “But we did discover that Candace is quite wealthy.”

Shocked at Gloria’s words, Candace said, “My grandparents left me a generous inheritance, however I’m not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination Gloria.”

“Actually Candace, you could be as wealthy as you wish to be, from that Indian village alone. However, what we discovered is worth probably as much if not more,” Gloria told her.

“Quit making her wait Mom and tell us what you found,”

To be continued…

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“Mrs. Pettyjohn’s School of knowledge” Chapter 7

Mirra knocked the papers off her desk as she ran out of her office, and into the smallest girl’s room.

“What is going on here,” Mirra yelled at the lab-techs.

“Dr. Monroe ordered every invasive test known on these poor children, starting with a Coronary Arteriography, ma’am,” the petite young lab tech replied, as she finished injecting the dye into the crying child, cutting her hatred filled eyes, in the direction of Dr. Monroe.

Reading the name badge on the lab techs jacket, Mirra said, “Sara please do not inject them with anything else today, finish this test, since you have already injected the dye into her, but do nothing else.”

“You,” Mirra said pointing to the other lab-tech in the room, “Go to the other rooms and tell them I said no more injections, today. If anyone has anything to say anything about it, tell them to talk to me,” She said as she ran out of the room to confront Dr. Monroe.

“Yes sir, I understand. I will notify you the minute we learn anything about these aliens.” General Anderson grinned as he hung up the red phone.

“I will discover their secrets, and soon. One day soon, Washington will be eating out of my hands.” Jim Anderson told himself aloud.

Looking out his office window, and gauging the work going on in the large excessively white laboratory. He was amazed to see Mirra Arababe all but running towards his office with a murderous expression marring her, normally peaceful, beautiful face.

“Well, well now, it would seem that the little mouse is spoiling for a fight with the lion. Let’s just see how fast she runs back to her mouse-hole, when the lion roars,” General Anderson said aloud, as Mirra knocked on his door.

“Enter,” Anderson said curtly.

“Just what do you think you are doing ordering Dr. Monroe to do evasive testing? We have protocols here, as I am sure you are well aware, that do not include another doctor going behind my back to run unauthorized tests. Those children are to be considered children of earth, until we find out differently.” Mirra Arababe was red face with rage.

Slowly standing up to his full height, General Anderson glared down his large nose and all but growled, “Who do you think you are? When I give an order I expect it to be carried out immediately. I want those alien creatures tested, and I want them tested now. Not a week or month from now when you are finished playing nurse-maid, but immediately. I want to know where they are from and how they got here. I want their ship. If you give me problems or try to prevent me from getting what I want, I will have you replaced immediately and imprisoned. Are we clear on this matter now?”

Mirra looked into the eyes of a clinically insane person, and she knew, even though it went against her morals as well as her heart, what had to be done.

“Yes sir, but may I ask permission to run the test in a quantifiable order of importance? You see sir, if we run tests out-of-order, the test results will be questionable in the scientific world. If this were to happen, we may find ourselves subjected to speculations of impropriety from the world. You know what that could lead to…” Mirra forced herself to look down, so that she appeared submissive.

An evil smile crossed Jim Anderson’s face. He had her now, she was his. He would give in, just a little, but by next week Mirra Arababe would be in his bed, and more submissive than she would have ever dreamed possible.

“We will talk more on this later as I am a busy man, right now. I have decided to allow you three days to run these test in the order you say they’re supposed to be in, but after that time I want to know everything about these creatures. Then we will have dinner in my quarters, and discuss your future here…”

His lecherous voice was grating to Mira’s ears, so much so that she wanted to murder him.

“Thank you sir,” Mirra said as she left the room.

A dumpy five foot nothing, short hair, brunette sided up beside Mirra as she walked across the room towards the children’s little cells.

“Are you alright Mirra? What did the ‘Diablo’ want-a-be do to you?” Sherri Norman worriedly questioned.

Her head still bowed down, Mirra quietly spoke to her lab assistant, “Hand me your clipboard and pencil, as if you want me to sign off on something.”

Doing as Mirra asked, Sherri handed the clipboard to her. “What now?”

“Order simple x-rays on the children. Add more lab testing slips to your clipboard, but make sure you are in sight of Anderson when you do it, then come to my office. We need to talk in private.”

Sherri nodded her head once, and then took off to do as Mirra had asked.

He’s one evil man. I don’t understand why that man wants to hurt those children they’re just babies. Poor little darlings, Sherri thought to herself, as she passed the children’s cells. Noticing Dr. Monroe walk past her, She mentally added him to her evil man list.

General Anderson left the military base that evening at four o’clock precisely, as was his habit.

It was not long before Dr. Monroe opened Mirra’s office door, stuck his head in and said, “It’s your week to work nights, in case you forgot Mirra. If you have a problem, don’t call. I’ve got a hot date tonight and I do not want to be disturbed.” He winked and pulled the door shut and headed up the long corridor to leave.

Sherri knocked on Mirra’s door, then opened it and walked in with the clipboard in her hand.

“I guess you won’t need to pretend to sign papers after all.” Sherri wiggled her eyebrows to make Mirra smile.

Smiling in spite of the way she was feeling, Mirra replied, “True, but I truly thought Anderson would hang around tonight. You know, I get the feeling that he doesn’t believe these children are aliens. For the life of me, I cannot come up with a theory as to why he is doing this to these children.”

“That’s easy. He is doing it because he’s evil, and he wants to prove he is important to the welfare of earth. Then of course he’s the president’s cousin, so he can get away with anything,” Sherri said sarcastically. 

“Are you sure about that? Where did you hear that he was related to President Austin?”

“Dr. Arababe, are you telling me you don’t read the paper or listen to CNN, ever? Anderson is always in the news spouting some cockamamie bull on what he has done to save the world, or some such garbage. Then the president is awarding him medals, and bragging about the loyalty of men such as his perfect cousin, drone, babble, blah, and blah,” Sherri mimicked the sounds with her fingertips touching her thumb, opening and closing them in an age-old visual of someone blabbing on into ad nauseam.

“No, obviously I do not. But that sheds a light on this mess we are in, and the fact that we will not be receiving any help from the Whitehouse, where Anderson is concerned. Well, I guess that leaves you, PFC Barrett, and me, to figure out what to do. You are aware that Anderson has issued orders for us to autopsy them once we have finished all the tests?”

“He wants us to kill them after we finish testing? Oh my stars, this is ludicrous.  It’s insane Dr. Arababe. No, no way will I let that piece of garbage make me do something like that,” Sherri all but hissed out her words.

“Good, I knew I could count on you. Now why don’t we go have a talk with the children? Who else is on the night shift roster?” Mirra asked as they walked out of her office and into the lab.

“Oh yeah, I almost forgot to ask you exactly what did you say to Anderson that made him grace you with his evil smile, instead of yelling today in his office?’

“Ah yes, my mother always told me ‘Mirra, if you cannot dazzle them with your obvious brilliance, then baffle them with, over their heads, bull-sh*#. Understandably, with Anderson I used the latter dusted with brilliance.”

“Good thinking Dr. Arababe. He’s to self-absorbed and ignorant to ever figure that one out,” Sherri chortled with glee.

Unlocking the door to Missy’s little room, Mirra turned to Sherri and asked her to make sure the recording device for the children’s rooms was turned down to zero. By doing that, and not facing the cameras, it would appear that no one was speaking, and more importantly no sounds would be recorded.

Dr. Arababe walked into Missy’s room, and found a tiny little girl curled up on her side, facing her friend in the next room, silently crying. Mirra’s heart hurt more than it had ever hurt in her life.

Sherri came back into the room and said, “All’s clear doc.”

Turning her back to the camera, Sherri leaned down over Missy to feel her forehead. “Hey kiddo, are you alright?”

Mirra looked into the bluest eyes she had ever seen, “I am so sorry sweetheart. I wish this would have never happened to you and your friends.”

In Missy’s mind she heard Trevor say, “Ask her to let us go, I can feel that this upsets her, as much as it does us.”

“Please let us go back to our school. I don’t want to stay here any longer,” Missy said, her little child’s voice quivering with each word.

“I wish I could just let you go honey, but I cannot even get past the guards myself.”

Missy’s eyes opened wide with surprise. “You mean you’re locked in here too? Then why aren’t you in a room like we are?”

“I’m a scientist, and no it is not the same situation as yours. I am not allowed to leave because I know too many secrets, about this place. They are afraid that I may be forced to tell what I know to people from other countries.”

“But you don’t know anything,” Missy shut her mouth before she said anything more and was horrified that she had said that much.

Sherri raised an eyebrow and looked at Mirra. Mirra glanced at her and very slightly shook her head.

“Missy, you must be careful what you say, and to whom you say it. There at least three of us here who are going to try to figure a way to get you out of here, but there are more people here who cannot be trusted. Do you understand what I am telling you sweetheart?” Mirra said gently.

Missy did not answer her immediately; instead she turned to look at her friends through the transparent armored walls. Using telepathy she asked them, “What should I tell her, or how much should I tell her…”

Mirra and Sherri looked at each other, then back to Missy. “You should tell me only as much as you think I need to know, at this time, but only the truth,” Mirra said aloud.

Missy looked at Mirra and in her mind, she said, “You heard me? If you did, then answer me back, try using mind merge only.”

“I can hear you. At first, when I came into your room, I wasn’t sure if I heard anything, but I thought I heard whispering, “Mirra replied.

“I can hear you too, kiddo,” Sherri told her.

“Can you hear me also? My name is Jinnee Adler,” Jinnee’s shy voice said.

“My name is Nancy Stellar, and this place is disgusting. If you can hear us, then that means you are special too. “

“My Name is Andrew Aquinas. Can you do anything besides hear what people are thinking, or talking to others this way?”

Mirra and Sherri both heard each child as they spoke to them. Both women were surprised that after all these years, they had found not just one other person who could use telepathy, but four.

Sherri was the first to answer. “I can hear all of you.”

“Mirra are you hearing everyone talking, or is it just me?”

“It’s not just you Sherri, I heard them also.

Once again, using telepathy only, Mirra said, “Are there any more people with this talent, or did you become friends because both of you have the talent of telepathy?”

“It’s not telepathy that were using, it’s called mind merging,” Andrew answered quickly, purposely not answering both of Mirra’s questions.

“Is there a difference between the two,” Mirra asked, realizing Andrew did not want to answer her question, as she began entering notes on Missy’s blood pressure and pulse rate into her chart.

Sherri busied herself with checking Missy’s water thermos, and any other odd job she could think of to fill the time for the cameras. It wouldn’t do, for them both to be seen on the recording just standing staring at the children for too long,

Nancy answered saying, “Telepath’s send messages to each other over long distances, and you’re born with it. Like, when you get a feeling somebody really needs you, and when you go to them and they ask, ‘How did you know I needed you?’ Well that’s the first signs of  telepathy. “

“Yeah, and then after you learn how to use it as well as focus, then you can talk to others like you from far away, like Trevor and Ngame do,” Jinnee told them.

Mirra deliberately refrained from responding to the information Jinnee had just given her, after she heard the sharp intake of breath from Nancy and Andrew. “Ok, then how are you able to, what was it you said, mind merge?”

“Your professor teaches you, that’s how you learn to do it,” Missy answered, then smiled as Mirra silently told her that she had to go into Jinnee’s room.

She also explained to them about the cameras and audio surveillance that was always on them. Orders from General Anderson, she said then made an ugly face to show what she thought of the man.

“I wish I could have gone to your school. It sounds wonderful compared to the school I went to. I want to go to a school like that,” Sherri said in her whiniest voice.

“Mrs. Pettyjohn will let you come to our school, if you help us get back there,” Andrew said thoughtfully.

“Yeah, you and Dr. Arababe must be special too, because both of you can talk to us this way,” Jinnee told her.

“I am beginning to think you are right about that Jinnee,’ Mirra said thoughtfully.

“Dr. Arababe, if you’re not allowed to leave, then how will we ever be able to leave here?” Andrew asked.

“I’m not sure, Andrew, but there is at least one soldier on our side, I think,” Mirra pensively replied.

“PFC Barrett, he will help us. I know he will, because he didn’t give us full knock out shots,” Missy informed her.

“Missy, you weren’t supposed to tell anyone. He was good to us and we shouldn’t say things that will get him in trouble,” Nancy admonished.

“Don’t worry Nancy, Sherri and I will never tell anything we have learned tonight,” Mirra said as she finished getting the vital signs from Andrew, and leaving his room.

“Sherrie will bring your dinner to you at six o’clock. We will be back after that at nine tonight. Remember this though, if I or anyone ask you any questions using speech, do not give any information that you do not want the General, or anyone like him, to know.”

“Yes ma’am,” came four replies from four worried little children.

“Dr. Arababe,” Andrew silently called out to her.

“Yes Andrew,” Mirra answered, walking behind the console and out of the camera’s view.

“I think you’re a telepath. So would you mind trying to talk to our friends, and let them know what is going on in here? If you do talk to them, tell them we are alright now that we have you and Sherri and PFC Barrett.  I know that they must be worried about us. Please,” Andrew asked.

“I am not sure I know how to do it,” Mirra answered.

“It’s easy if you are  telepathic. All you have to do is call their name in your mind. If they hear you they will answer you,” Jinnee told her.

Will they talk even though they do not know me?”

Nancy answered this time, “If you call out their full names, they will know we trusted you enough to tell you about them. Not only will that, but you being able to talk to them lets them know you are like us.”

“That’s true enough. Alright then, we’ll do it. You give me one name, and the other to Sherri, and we will both try to reach them. If only one of us is a telepath, then it is worth a try. Are there others who may be able to help us get you out of here?” Mirra asked.

Yes ma’am came four replies at once.

“Then that is exactly what we will do. Now, who do I need to try to contact?” Mirra happily asked. Her spirits for the first time that day were lifted.

To be continued…

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“The Bar” Chapter XVIII

“Why don’t you show us where you want us to sleep tonight?  That way we can put our bags in the rooms; and have time to draw maps, so that we will not stay lost the whole time we are here,” Stacks laughed after making his comment, and being playfully swatted on the arm by Candace.

“It is not that hard to find your way around this house. At least it isn’t once you see the layout, and see how each generation added rooms, meant to suit their own tastes, as well as add their own part of history to help each generation get to know them, as real people and family.”

“Are you saying that this place is like having a family museum?” Stacks asked with awe in his voice.

“That’s exactly what I havebeen telling you. Each Antechamber is filled with furniture, portraits, and photos that were important to the generation who built it. Nothing has been changed since my first great-great-however many greats there should be, grandfather first settled here. The only thing anyone else does is have repairs done as authentically as possible.”

“Wait here, I have a feeling everyone will be as excited about taking a tour of this place tonight, as I am,” Stacks said as he bent down and placed a quick kiss on Candace’s mouth, then left to gather the others for a tour of her home.

Candace slowly raised her hand and touched her lips where Stacks had kissed her, and then with a sigh and a smile, she turned and waited for everyone to join her.

It was not long before everyone joined Candace in the living room, anxious to tour the large sprawling estate.

“When do you think we should start going through all those papers,” Blaster asked, looking down at the trunks stacked neatly on the living room floor.

“Tomorrow will be soon enough to get started on those and search for hidden passages, but for tonight let’s get everyone settled in their rooms. However, first thing on the agenda is a tour of my home.”

“As Candace took them through the many rooms of her home, everyone was in awe of the beautiful antique furniture and portraits that graced the antechamber, and foretold the age of each section of her home. However the most surprising area of her home was when she led them through an antechamber filled with ‘Old West’ memorabilia, which led to her private rooms.

Stacks felt as if he had truly stepped back in time. Candace’s entire section of rooms, from the ceilings, to the floors, and every piece of furniture, was made from hand-hewed oak.

“Oh wow, Candace, this is beautiful,” Gloria and Sheila said at almost the same time.

“Thank you, I happen to love these rooms most of all. It was the first rooms built on this property when my great-great, however many, great-grandfather Bordeaux bought this land from the government. I think it was in the late eighteen-sixties. There were originally two rooms with only an attic, built by the great-grandfather Bordeaux. I think my grandmother said that after five years and two children, they added two more rooms.”

Taking them into the two bedrooms she was talking about, Candace told Gloria, “These rooms will be yours and Sheila’s, if that is alright with you.”

“Oh, it’s more than alright,” Gloria said.

“I think it will be fun sleeping in these rooms,” Sheila, said as she sat down on the bed, then jumped up as if she had been shot squealing, “Oh my God, Candace is this a feather mattress?”

“Sure is, it is the same style of goose-down mattress that they had back then. Naturally it is not the original, these mattresses are Hungarian goose down, but it fits the rooms’ history,” Candace said as Sheila sat back down on the bed and sighed.

“I will never want to get up in the morning,” Sheila said, her voice low and silky.

Blasted leaned his long muscular body against the wall, then with a yelp he felt himself falling backward.

“What the hell,” Justin Mead said, as everyone turned to see what made Blaster yell out.

Blaster was nowhere to be seen.

“Where did he go,” Stacks asked no one and everyone.

Edward Rothman was standing looking at the wall, when he said thoughtfully, “He was standing right there, when Sheila drew our attention to the bed.’

Everyone agreed, but at that moment, they heard Blaster say, “I’m right here,” and then the large wood panel in the wall swiveled opened and Blaster stood there with a wide smile on his face.

“Are you alright?” Stacks said as he stepped over to look at stacks bruised face.

“Man do you look rough. What the heck happened to you?” Tommy Collins asked before anyone else had the chance to say anything.

“Well, it seems as though I have found another secret passage. I couldn’t see anything, but when I fell, I tumbled down some steps. I felt around until I found the steps again, then I felt the wall and worked my way back up stairs.’

“How did you get this panel open?” Candace asked as she stood there inspecting the open wall panel.

 It took me a while to figure out how to open from inside there,” he said motioning with a head movement.  “But there is a handle inside there on the wall.”

“No Blaster, I mean how did you get it open to get in there in the first place?”

“Oh that. I’m not sure, but I think I must have pressed on the boards, just right for it to open, when I leaned against the wall.”

As Candace started to push the board back in place, Stacks reached out his hand and stopped her, saying, “Wait a moment Candace. Do you have a flashlight? I think someone needs to be inside there just in case we cannot figure out how to open it.”

“I suppose your right about that. I have cleaned and polished these walls for years and I have never had it open up for me,” Candace said as she opened her closet and took out a flashlight. 

Stacks asked Mead to stand inside and Blaster showed Mead where the handle was, in case they could not figure how to get the panel opened. After pushing on the panel for some time, Stacks and Blaster finally pushed on the board next to the one that had opened, and the panel quietly opened up. The only difference being, this time it did not automatically close.

“Wow. Now that is too cool. I think we should some extra flashlights and all go take a look at what Blaster found,” Sheila said excitedly.

Stacks did not think that it was a good idea, especially this late in the day, but when Candace agreed with Sheila, he reluctantly agreed.

“I think we should take our weapons down there,” Blaster said thoughtfully.

“Why would you think that?” Gloria asked him.

“I got the feeling when I was down there, that whatever those steps led to, it was big and underground. If I am right, then there could be snakes down there. I do not want to run into another snake unprepared,” Blaster said with a visible shiver.

“I’ll agree with that,” Jamerson said as he motioned for Mead and Collins to go with him, to gather the weapons and flashlights.

While they waited for them to return, Stacks took Candace’s flashlight and walked down the steps to see if he could make out how large the underground room was. The three women waited nervously until he returned.

“What did you see Boss?” Blaster asked, when Stacks came back into the room.

Stacks had a look of utter surprise on his face when he walked in.

“It’s not a room, it’s a cave or a cavern, I think,” Stacks said, shaking his head in amazement.

“It’s a what?” Candace asked disbelief evident in her voice.

“A cave or cavern, I can’t remember the difference between the two, and not a little one either, from what I can tell.”

“A cave is a natural underground void large enough for a human to enter, while a cavern is a large cave that was formed through things like acid rain. Another definition for cavern can also be series of connected underground caves,” Gloria said in her best school teacher voice.

“Thanks Mom. In that case it’s a cavern made up of connecting caves, “Stacks replied.

“This just gets better and better,” Gloria remarked, quietly, almost as if she was talking to herself.

“Yeah, but you have to admit, that ever since we met Candace we have not had a dull moment,” Sheila said with a grin on her face.

“That’s the understatement of the year,” Jamerson said as walked into the room.

“If I was a complete idiot, I would have to ask what’s next, but…,” Blaster said grinning at Candace.

“You are an idiot Blaster. In case you didn’t notice, you did just say it,” Mead said as he playfully slapped Blaster on the back of the head.

“Except I didn’t say it, I just said that if I was a…,”

“Shut up,” everyone said at the same time.

After the laughter died down, the flashlights were passed out and they all headed, single file, down the stairs and into a large cavernous room.

“Would you look at this,” Gloria said looking around her.

“Yeah, and it has passages going off in five directions,” Candace replied.

“I think we need to separate into pairs, so that we can cover a larger area,” Mead said as he walked across to an opening, which he hoped, would lead him deeper into the cavern.

“Alright, but we need to start heading back here in about an hour and a half. Which means we should be back here at ten o’clock,” Stacks said, looking down at his ‘Doxa divers watch.

When Mead turned to leave, Blaster called to him.

“Wait up,” Blaster said as he walked over to him. He handed him a couple of pieces of chalk, “You will need to mark the walls, just in case this place is larger than we think. Also, someone needs to go with you.”

“Smart thinking, the only problem is, I wish I would have thought of that myself,” Mead said, as he accepted the chalk.

Blaster handed out the chalk, and then asked everyone who wanted to go with Mead. Sheila said she would go with him, and they left.

Collins and Blaster headed off to the back of the cavern and into a dark passage that was almost hidden from view.

Gloria looked at Edward Rothman, looped her arm in his, and said, “Come on Edward, you can be my date for the evening.”

With a gallant bow of his head Rothman said, “My pleasure indeed, madam.”

 Stacks smiled at Candace, “I guess that means you’re stuck with me.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Candace said as she, mimicking his mother by looping her arm through Stacks.

Candace and Stacks walked for about thirty minutes, down a long winding passage, before they finally came to an open area large enough to be called a room. 

“I cannot get use to the idea that there is a cave under my home,” Candace said as she wiped the spider webs from her face.

“I would imagine it’s a shock, but I think it’s great. Just imagine how much history is down here,” Stacks said as he looked around the room.

There were smaller passages of to either side of the one they were presently on, but after some debate they both thought it was best, if for tonight only, that they stick to the largest passage.

“Um, Stacks,” Candace said as she looked around. “Look over there on that wall. Is that Indian cave drawings?’ she said as she moved closer to the wall, shining her light up to a ledge that was at least fifteen feet above them.

“Sure looks like it to me, but I can’t be sure.” He said as he added the light from his flashlight to hers, in an effort to make out what they were looking at.

Using both flashlights to illuminate the wall Candace breathed in sharply and exclaimed, “Oh my goodness. It’s a pictograph of a war between Indians, soldiers, and the early settlers. Look here,” Candace said pointing to the first section of the drawings. “See the Indians seem to be fighting a bunch of settlers, but over here,” she said using the beam of her light for pointing to another part of the drawing. “Here we see what looks like soldiers running down the hill, aiming their guns and shooting at them. It is so beautifully drawn, it takes my breath away. Just think about it Stacks, this was possibly done by my great-great etc. grandmother’s family.” Candace felt closer to her family, at that moment, than she had in years.

Stacks stood beside Candace watching the glow of love for her ancestors fill her eyes and face. He wanted to kiss her more now than he ever had. Now was not the time, he told himself. There would be time for kissing later. He was deep in his own thoughts of love for her, when he heard Candace talking again.

“I wonder how anyone managed to get up on that ledge,” Candace said, as she looked around for some way up onto the ledge.

Slowly moving the beam of his light to the right then left, along the ledge, and seeing nothing he shrugged and said, “Beats me. I thought maybe there was another cave opening or passage that would lead to it, but I don’t see one from here.”

“I guess we need to try one of these passages, but I have no idea which way we should go. You know something, I think this place is so large a person could get lost and never find the way out. Its spooky in here” Candace said as she inched closer to Stacks.

“Yeah, it is kind of spooky when you think about it. I am really glad Blaster thought about using chalk to mark our way back,” Stacks said, moving forward towards the largest dark passage.

Candace had not seen Stacks move away from her as she headed to a small passage way, that was to her right, directly under the rock shelf she and Stacks had looked at. She had just started down the path when she tripped and fell, sliding into the small room. She lifted her head and looked up to see stacks of human bones, all around her. Candace screamed.

To be continued…

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