(Have you read Chapter one and two of Reverend Bill?)
Tom stood up quickly.
“I’ll be going down the hill in an hour. If you want to go, you’d better get a move on. You want some more coffee?” Tom said.
Rev Bill was not sure, that after such a good breakfast he was ready for another kidney busting, slow turning ride in Sara, the Truck.
“Tom, I believe I’ll stay here if you think you can trust me not to burn the place down. I am tired of moving, and I feel good here. I feel God here. And, in spite of your opinions, I need to pray a little.”
Tom said, “OK! You got it. I’ll miss your company, though. You’re a Hell of a talker.”
Tom had already turned his back moving towards the truck, Sara. “Don’t forget to pet Tilley. She needs more attention. I ain’t been around much, lately. UH, keep your fingers away from her mouth for a couple of days. Just in case, you know?” Tom said, with a little wink.
Tom bent over, picking up his equipment, and moved to the truck to put it into the bed. “Oh, by the way, stay away from the rock by that big Joshua tree, just north of the house. It ain’t safe. I ain’t going to come back here and haul your butt down the slope to a Doc. And watch for snakes! They love this time of year, and they ‘specially love tender-foots, that don’t know where they’re laying. By the by, there’s one rattler that loves that rock you were on this morning. You there in your underwear and all, you might have given him a start. Or maybe, just a laugh!”
With this Tom clambered into the truck, all the while laughing, and cranked Sara up. She caught, sputtered, and died. He turned it over again until she was ready to roll. With a repeat of the sounds from yesterday, the truck began to move.
Bill watched as the old truck moved down the road, bouncing, sputtering, and belching a cloud he could see long after the truck had gotten out of sight.
Bill walked once completely around the shack, then went inside. He then made a quick accounting of the shack.
There were only two rooms. One, about eight by eight feet, was Tom’s bedroom, with hundreds of paperback and hardback books. These included biographies, histories, romance novels, science fiction, even self-help books. These covered every conceivable author and situation one could think of. There was also a well-worn Bible. The large kind that most people put in their living rooms. Bill opened the cover, looking for the page that dated, and named all of your kin.
Tom’s Bible had that page torn out. Curious!
The other room was a combination kitchen, living room, and now, bedroom. It was a little larger at eight feet by eleven. Many of the things Bill noticed in these rooms, were books. He noticed that the books that had been his chairs were physics and chemistry books, while the breakfast table was, mostly war and spy novels. This man loved to read!
However, there wasn’t any evidence of electricity, therefore, there were no radios, televisions, or any other modern appliance. Tom obviously did his cooking and reading by gas or kerosene flames. Bill found little evidence of clothes, either.
Where did his money come from? There were no unused or used envelopes. Bill assumed that Tom did not get government assistance. Bill based this on the fact that Tom obviously dropped everything on the floor. This would surely include a government envelope or check.
He had assumed that Tom was nothing more than a cultural drop-out. Maybe, even a crook. But, no! That can’t be. The guy is too full of love and life.
Rev Bill walked back out and wandered in the desert. He prayed as he walked. At the same time, part of his conscious brain admired the beauty of what was around him.
He rounded another large outcropping of rock and slowed down. There was a huge tree there. He decided to sit on the rock, and let the world pass by. Birds flew overhead, red hawks dove for field mice, and he saw rabbits going about their business. He began to feel the lives that were around him. The air smelt wonderful and fresh. He floated with the world, and as it turned in space, so did he. He thought about what Tom had said about everything being a part of God. No wonder Tom was so happy at being alive. He didn’t seem to regret one thing about his life.
Twilight came, then darkness. Still, Rev Bill sat, mesmerized.
Bill felt something around his chest. He slowly glanced down, remembering Tom’s warning of snakes. Around his arms, over his chest, and around through his back was a rope. He didn’t like this, it was breaking up the ‘feel good.’ Bill felt increasing pressure as if the rope were pulling at him.
Bill saw the ground coming up to greet him. He had been pulled from his rocky seat onto his face.
As he hit the ground, the air rushed from his lungs, and he heard a grunt issue from his body. He felt a whirlwind in his brain like his nerves were having tremendous traffic jams in his mind. The earth was moving past him.
No, he was being dragged, on his chest.
Tom pulled him roughly to his feet. Bill could see his lips move, but could not hear his words. He couldn’t hear anything, as a matter of fact. Slowly, the whirlwind in his mind went away, and sound began to return to his ears.
“You idiot! Didn’t I tell you to stay away from here? What in blue blazes do you think you are doing? You don’t know what power you might have UN-leashed,” Tom continued to rant and rave.
Bill was thrown over Tom’s back, like a sack of flour. Bill was carried like this until they arrived back at the shack. Tom gently placed Rev Bill back on his cot, as a child into its crib.
Bill felt himself slide into sleep.
Tom watched over him for three days, before Bill awoke.
Bill asked, “What’s going on? How long have I been asleep?”
Tom gently said, “You shouldn’t have been there. I tried to warn you away. The Old Ones used to use that Gate after years of prayer, sacrifices, and preparation. You might have died there. Worse, you may have loosed energies on the world that might have changed everything you call reality.”
“What? Are you Nuts?” Bill asked bluntly.
“Well Yeah! We have already covered that, the toothpaste is out of the tube!” Tom responded, “But, my mental state has nothing to do with God’s Gate.”
Bill’s eyes were wide open, and his jaw was hanging slack, now. “Wait! Slow down. Can I get a cup of coffee? Have you got any aspirin?” Bill was almost begging. “Tell me again, what you said, slower and quietly.”
Tom began slowly, more seriously than Bill had seen him talk before. “When I first got here, decades ago, it was through that Gate. The one you fell asleep on. You see, it is a force of Nature and God. You hop on the Gate in one place and land in another,” Tom said. His eyes searched Bill’s face for understanding.
Tom started again, “Physics geniuses would call it kin to a black hole. But, it comes and goes without sucking everything in! Some might call it a Portal. To me, a Gate!”
“You see! The Old Ones used these for millennium. It allowed them to go from place to place and lose very little time. From the tiny bit I remember, these Gates exist in most places of the universe in varying degrees of intensity and duration.”
Tom stopped, took a breath and started, “But, the normal mind cannot cope with Gates. The state of your mind is almost how you ride or steer the thing. That is why the Old Ones prepared themselves. If you went into the mainstream with anger on your mind or revenge, your exit might have an explosive force capable of tearing apart an entire planet. If you were on one of the side streams, you might just fry everything within a few hundred yards. If you went in with fear, you could lose your mind before your exit. You see, the Gate is like an energy river, with some currents being faster, or stronger than others. You were sitting on the very edge. That is probably what saved you.”
Bill mulled this over in his mind. He decided to ignore the impossibility of such a thing, and ask a simpler question, “You say, Old Ones. You mean like Old Indians?”
Tom said, “No, the Old Ones weren’t from around here. They were from out there,”
Tom’s chin pointed up toward the ceiling.
Cold Ice slipped down Bill’s spine. Goosebumps grew on his arms, and his breathing became very shallow. He suddenly understood something that had been missing.
“Hold it right there! How did you say you got here?” Bill asked.
Tom drew a ragged breath, and said, “Through God’s Gate. I was nothing but a teenager. Way too young to climb onto the thing. When I came out, I had forgotten who I was, and where I had come from. After a while, I wandered down the mountain, and cast around in Bagdad Arizona for a while.”
“After a couple of years, I got a hankering to see the world. So, I lied about this and that and joined up the Marines. I told ’em I was twenty and my folks had died in a house fire, and all of the records were burnt with them. Anyway, I made it past basic training and volunteered for sea duty on Navy boats. Man, that was something else, to see that big old ocean and all of those seaports. Somewhere around Guam, I began to remember bits and pieces of my life before my travel through God’s Gate and arrival here.”
“Hit Korea near the end of that war. Had a buddy named Charlie!” He stopped. Bill’s face seemed to surprise him.
“What, you don’t believe me? I have not got to the unbelievable part yet!”
Rev Bill sat, considering, and then asked, “Just how old are you, Tom? Korea was a long time ago. There has been one war in Vietnam and a few in the Middle East with Muslims, way after Korea!”
Now, it was Tom’s chance to think and ponder an answer.
“I don’t think you are ready for my years yet, but let me assure you, the beautiful face and body in front of you have many more miles on it than you think.” He tried to wink at Bill, but it was more like fur moving on a bear.
“So, anyway, one day while we were getting hammered by the North Koreans, Charlie got his leg blown clean off by a Chinese mortar shell! I was within twenty yards when it happened. He was bleeding like a stuck pig. He was already going into shock when I got to him. Something came over me. I knew about first aid and started pressure on the big vein in his crotch. His bleeding slowed down, but then my hands got real warm. I remember feeling sick to my stomach because I could see his insides, like he was open, you know. I even saw this big open vein. I told it to close. It did! I know this sounds crazy, but I have done such a thing since, a time or two.”
“Charlie is alive today, I think. Older than dirt, maybe. Haven’t called him in a long time. He can’t dance, but he never was what you would call graceful. Anyway, bits and pieces of my past started coming back then.”
“Whoa Tom! This is all very interesting, but you can’t expect me to believe all of this. God’s Gate and you stop bleeding with your mind.”
Tom was smiling, now,
“Well, you used to tell people you ‘healed’ when you were just a kid, now didn’t you? Is that any easier to believe than what I did, Reverend Bill?” Tom asked.
Bill began, then shut up, then began again, “I didn’t heal anyone. That was the power of God working through me.”
Then Bill stared at Tom,
“How did you know that? I haven’t told you a thing about that part of my life Tom.”
Tom smiled, “You speak without words! We all do! Some people know how to listen. I was taught how to do that as a child, in another place and time! You see, many people can’t believe in things they can’t touch unless they learn about it as children when they still can believe. That is the reason why you want to teach a child, the right way. A child’s mind is like a piece of molding clay. You can squish it good or bad. If you teach him to be good with people from a young age, he will grow into manhood, being good to people.” his hands showed the path from child to man.
“I was taught to use my mind like a funnel, to funnel energy through it.
All of my people could do that much. By doing this as a child, I grew up able to move things, see things, read things, without actually touching them. I can’t actually read your mind, word for word. But, I can see pictures. Part of your story I knew before I picked you up some things. While you were walking down the road, I was receiving images. I knew you were lonely, hungry, and soul-torn.” Tom paused here.
As he continued, his stare got more distant, “I can’t get around a lot of people, because their images can be hard on me. You wouldn’t believe the trash that is circulating in many people’s minds. In Los Angeles, I once stumbled into a poor community. The hatred around me was so strong, I couldn’t move. They hated all things white, but most of them hated black too. Someone called the cops, and the Police threw me into the drunk tank. But, I wasn’t drunk.”
Tom shook his head at the memory and slowly continued. “I thought that I was going to die, listening to what was happening in those guys’ heads, both in the cells around me and the cops. ”
“The next morning, a volunteer nurse came around. See, some of the drunks had been beaten, some had insides eaten by alcohol, and some just had bad hangovers, so she probably did this thinking she was helping those that were killing themselves, slowly. Her mind felt good and comforted me. She wanted to help everyone, without one thing in return.”
Tom slapped both his hand on his knees and continued, “They let me out, that afternoon. First thing I did was ask the desk sergeant where I could find that nurse. In his mind, I saw images of small naked children. I think I threw up. They kicked me out of the station. I hadn’t read her name tag, but I remembered what her mind felt like. I went to the nearest hospital, like a hound dog sniffing a trail through the woods.”
“As soon as I stepped into the place, I felt her mind. I almost ran over people trying to reach her. She was upstairs. I took them two/three at a time. Three floors up, I saw her. The charity and love in her heart were incredible.”
Bill watched Tom’s eyes as they began to tear, with drops running down his face.
“She was gentle with an old man she was helping. She looked up and glanced at me. Then she gave me a harder look. She had recognized me.” Tom’s look changed to regret.
“I tried to explain to her I needed to talk to her, but she was frightened of me and called for security. I was thrown out of there, too. ”
In the street, I passed a store window. In the reflection, I realized why I had frightened her. I looked like Hell! I went to a flophouse, paid my six dollars, and took a shower. I washed my clothes in the sink. I borrowed a razor from a guy down the hall and used bath soap to shave. I even combed this mop of mine. I guess I looked and smelled more presentable. Then I went back to the hospital and waited for her to get off her shift. Somewhere about eight p.m., she came out. She looked tired. I slowly approached her and asked for directions to the pharmacy.
She didn’t fear me this time. She told me how to get to the pharmacy and then asked if I was ok.
Her mind felt wonderful! I believe even at that moment, I was sweet on her.”