Copyright (c) 2016 by Randall R. Peterson ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This is a work of fiction. All persons, locations and actions are from the author's imagination or have been used in a fictitious manner.
By R. Peterson
I floated next to Renhet as we watched hundreds of Gims follow the crowds into Madison Square Garden. I was amazed that the two opposing spirits interacted so closely with people and yet went completely unnoticed by the living. “Don’t people realize that they have the influence of the Lan and the Gim almost constantly in everything they do?”
“Most people do, I think,” Renhet said. “I know when I was living I always struggled with what I called nagging doubts whenever something important that I had to do came up. It seemed to be there a lot more, and speak much louder than the small voice that said you can do it.”
“Why was that?”
Renhet laughed, and made the glowing sphere floating above her white triangle appear to jiggle. “Either the Gim vastly outnumbered the forces for good or else the Lan assigned to me was exceptionally lazy,” she said.
I thought about this for a moment. “Or perhaps you didn’t listen closely enough.”
Renhet’s large blue eyes took on a purplish tint for just a moment and then cleared. “You are probably right,” she sighed. “People are always so busy they seldom listen to what they call intuition.”
Along with the large multitude of Gims moving into the event center we also noticed a large number of Lan. Renhet pulled one of the Lan away from a group as it was about to go inside.
“You look very busy, İzci,” Renhet told her. “Any idea about what’s going to happen?”
“Most of the fans are wrestling with the same challenges,” İzci said. “Drugs, financial problems, and matters of heart and desire.”
“Then why the invasion of Gim?” Renhet averted her eyes to where a large bus had just stopped in front of the main doors. A large group of over excited Japanese tourists moved toward the garden followed by twice as many Gims, a seemingly endless throng of them streamed from the bus like storm clouds of tiny flying insects.
“We think it has something to do with Sir Paul McCartney’s backing orchestra,” İzci turned her eyes toward where a dozen hefty men were carefully unloading musical instruments and stage equipment from two large semi-trucks. “The thirty-member symphony orchestra arrived in six separate limousines, but there was one group we could not get close to.”
I followed Renhet’s gaze as she watched a small group of humans taking possession of what looked like violins, cellos and other musical instruments carefully packed for travel. At least a hundred Gim and a storm cloud of insects surrounded the musicians.
“It’s the string section,” İzci said. “We’ve had a dozen Lam pop when they tried to get close.
“Pop? What is she talking about,’ I asked Renhet.
“When too many Gim cluster on one Lan they can bring up the past and cause an overload of bad feelings, anger, regret and mostly fear,” Renhet explained. “All Lan have experienced a previous life, of course, and everyone especially humans make mistakes.” Renhet’s eyes grew large as she looked at me. “When that happens many Lan implode back into what they were before and become useless to us.”
“What were you before?” I knew I’d made a mistake as soon as the words left my mouth.
“Alive,” Renhet looked at me with amusement in her eyes. “We were all alive.”
“Becoming alive again?” I was intrigued. “It doesn’t sound too bad.”
“You haven’t been here long enough to enjoy the sugar of this dimension,” Renhet said. “Going back to a mortal existence is definitely a lower rung on the ladder.”
We followed the orchestra as they made their way through a side entrance, a safe distance behind the throngs of Gim. “Are we going to need to buy tickets?” I asked.
“Don’t be silly!” Renhet laughed as we floated through a wall and past the entrance booths. At $85 to $300 a seat I was beginning to understand some of the sweetness in this world.
McCartney’s tour manager had pulled out all stops for this concert hiring some of the world’s best musicians so that old Beatles classics like Hey Jude and All You Need is Love could be played with full orchestral accompaniment. We were backstage, and watched as thirty members of the orchestra carefully placed their instruments into the pit area below the stage and began the meticulous tuning that would ensure every note was brilliantly executed.
A Lan whispered to Renhet, she listened, nodded and then turned her attention to me: “Pirouline wants every available Lan to meet inside Chase Square.”
“Who is Pirouline?” I asked as we moved toward the garden’s newly renovated lobby.
“She is what we all hope to become and also our leader,” Renhet said as we moved effortlessly through the crowd.
I tried to stay close, not because I thought I’d get lost, but because being close to Renhet gave me a strange tingling sensation, like falling in love for the first time. And those eyes, those large blue eyes … they took my breath away.
Chase Square was packed with concertgoers but we had plenty of room as we floated above the crowd.
“We all know something is going on here tonight,” Pirouline told us all without speaking. “The size of the Gim’s presence indicates massive death and destruction. We have already lost a dozen Lan because of the Gim’s extra tight security.” She was looking directly at Renhet when she continued. “We need someone to turn and get close enough to obtain details. It is the only way we will know what they plan and how to stop it.”
“I’ll do it.” Renhet didn’t hesitate. I could feel a sigh of relief sweep through the Lan.
“The Gim have monopolized access to the orchestra musicians. You know the risks and the consequences if you are caught?”
“I know, you do not pass go and do not collect two hundred dollars.” Renhet smirked.
Pirouline made a popping sound with her mouth, blinked and Renhet nodded that she understood.
The Lan were taking assignments from Pirouline when I forced Renhet to look at me. Those eyes left me almost speechless. “What does it mean to turn?” I stammered.
“You become dark, a Gim for hopefully only a short time,” Renhet turned away.
“But why you?” I followed her as she moved toward the back stage area.
“You have to have an abundance of darkness inside you,” she said. “I did some reputable things while I was alive that makes me the logical choice.”
“What could you possibly have done that would make you bad?” I was astonished.
“We all have a past,” Renhet said turning away. “Things we wish we could do over.”
McCartney opened the concert with the old Beatles classic A Hard Day’s Night while images from the early sixties film and other material were projected on a giant screen behind the band. “I don’t want you too close to me but close enough to come if I need you,” Renhet insisted. I watched from a distance as my favorite Lan became darker and darker. I wondered what memories she was bringing from the past to make the change. Still those gorgeous eyes kept me spellbound and I found myself singing along with the band as the song ended. “… you make me feel all right.”
The band was doing their fourth number Twist and Shout when Renhet became as black as the bottom of a well and joined the Gim the guarding the string section of the orchestra. I kept my distance but moved to where I could watch her eyes as she slowly moved through the throng.
The show had been going on for over an hour. McCartney had just played Something as a tribute to George Harrison and was telling a story about the early Hamburg days in Germany. The Gim were crowded closely around a swarthy man playing a bass violin. Renhet was having trouble getting close. I could see several of the Gim flash red eyes at her as she pushed her way closer.
Renhet kept sinking out of sight, it was as if every Gim in the pit area was now surrounding her. I floated in the air like a chunk of wood on a storm tossed sea as the band played With a Little Luck, Coming Up, Silly Love Songs, and a duet featuring Stevie Wonder on Ebony and Ivory.
McCartney had just pulled a female audience member onstage and was singing an acoustic version of If I fell in Love with You to the star struck sixty-year old fan when Renhet made eye contact. The Gim surrounded her, packed so tightly that she couldn’t move. The eyes I’d fallen in love with signaled Help Me!
I was fighting my way toward Renhet along with at least a hundred Lan. The Gim were resisting ferociously. When I pushed against one of the dark funnel shaped beings , I first felt an icy cold then seething anger. The fury quickly became fear. I was a child again lost in a nightmare, descending a stairway into a dark cellar where an ugly dwarf waited. I wanted to scream but I had no voice. I was thrown back again and again but I forced myself to forget my past and pushed forward.
McCartney was introducing the last song of the concert when I fought my way close enough to have Renhet reach out and touch me with a tiny thread-like arm. The Gim were all chanting Allah … Eid al-Fitr … Allah.
A library of information flowed to me from her at the speed of light and I was stunned. Qamar Ancona was born in Turkey the son of the ambassador to Britain. He grew up in a wealthy oil-rich family and began playing the floor-bass violin at age six. The twenty-million dollar 1711 Stradivari Cello he played to acclaimed audiences world-wide was a gift from the Saudi Royal Family. The one-of-a kind musical instrument delivered a tone and resonance like no other. It was also the delivery system for death and destruction on a scale never seen since Hiroshima. A radicalized Muslim; Ancona joined the Levant (ISIS) when he was fourteen. This was to be his last concert. Hidden inside the base of the priceless instrument was four kilograms of enriched plutonium encased in lead shielding and connected to an elaborate fusion device made entirely of plastic materials. The nuclear bomb was set to detonate on A E A (Allah Eid Allah) and the final three orchestral bass-notes of Live and Let Die.
“Destroy the cello before it destroys the world!” Renhet’s words entered my mind like the last gasp from a drowning victim and then she was engulfed by the enraged Gim.
Pirouline was pushing beside me and when she brushed against me I felt the shocking information transfer to her. “How do we destroy the cello?” I was frantic. “Should we try to alert a human guard?”
“Even if we were to convince a human that the musical instrument contained a nuclear device,” Pirouline said. “Nobody is going to pry the back off an irreplaceable musical treasure. This is how the bomb was smuggled into the United States.”
“There must be something we can do!”
“We can do nothing!” Pirouline said. “It takes an angel to interact with humans.”
The only angel I knew was the one Renhet had spoken to earlier, a gum chewing prostitute named Compacta hanging around the doorway of a seedy nightclub.
Pirouline knew my thoughts. “Go,” she urged. “It’s our only chance!”
“What will you do?”
“Try to save Renhet!”
Paul McCartney was singing “When you were young and your heart was an open book …” when I shot like a bullet from the rapturous sports arena.
The angel Compacta, dressed like a bag lady this time, was yelling after a young man carrying a 1950 Fender Broadcaster wrapped in a duct-taped cardboard guitar case; in his other arm the musician lugged a Gretsch Red Wheeles amplifier and a handful of power cords when I found her.
“Renhet is in trouble,” I told her. “The Gim are helping terrorists to blow up New York City with a nuclear device and only you can stop them.”
“Is Renhet still in our world … or did she …” Compacta shoved a grasping woman that looked like a prostitute away and stuffed a ten dollar bill down her blouse. She stopped chewing and slowly expanded a large iridescent sphere made of grape bubble-gum and let it pop.
“Pirouline and about a hundred Lan are trying to save her!”
“What exactly do you want me to do?”
“The nuclear device is hidden inside a very expensive cello. You have to destroy it!”
“Renhet said it was made by someone named Stradivarius.”
Compacta laughed. She was suddenly on good terms with the prostitute, putting her arms around her like they were old friends. Can you believe this almost-Lam Flachen? He wants me to totally destroy a priceless musical instrument at a packed New York City concert.”
“I’m sure you’ve done worse,” the prostitute said. “Although I can’t think of anything right off.”
I heard a low thump and an agonized cry. The musician had just set his equipment in the street beside a rusted van with back-off painted on the back. A speeding truck’s tire had just crushed the guitar case. The smiling driver craned his head looking backward, but didn’t stop.
Compacta ignored me and approached the crying musician handing him a card as he sat on a curb. I tried to think about how long the song Live and Let Die was, about three and a half minutes I figured. I hoped the concert version was longer … a lot longer.
“Please,” I begged the angel. “You’re the only person Renhet trusted to help us.”
Compacta watched the musician drive away in a rusted van and then turned to me. She was chewing her gum like a cow gone mad. “Did I say I wouldn’t help?”
I followed her down the street, not knowing what else to do. Suddenly she turned and stepped into the street right in the path of a speeding taxi. The screeching tires reminded me of the end of my own life which now seemed like a long time ago. This time though the speeding vehicle stopped in time … maybe angels are charmed.
The turban wearing driver looked Eastern European. His eyes grew wide as Compacta yanked him from the cab and flung him into the street. “Don’t worry, I’ll start the meter running,” she told him, “and we’ll leave this hurda yığını outside the front entrance of Madison Square Garden. “You drive,” she said as we piled into the taxi.
“Me?” I was astonished. “What are you going to be doing?”
Compacta reached under the seat and pulled out a double barrel shotgun that looked as if it had been illegally sawed off. “Hopefully creating a new opening in the string section of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,” she said.
We left the taxi in the street. I moved through the crowd with ease, but Compacta had to discharge one of the barrels into the ceiling to get the crowd to part before her. We approached the stage surrounded by screams and mayhem. All the band members stopped playing and stared wide-eyed … all except Qamar Ancona. He was determined to finish the song … and the Big Apple.
I’d heard the song enough times to know how it ended. There were only four notes left when Compacta stuck the gun barrel into the cello and pulled the trigger. Qamar was on his feet running when the floor base exploded spraying the stage and pit area with centuries old hard-wood and glowing radioactive material.
I was vaguely aware of the police sirens and running feet as I searched for Renhet. I finally found Pirouline. She wouldn’t look directly at me, and I had to get her in a corner to get answers.
“Renhet had a past that she couldn’t leave behind,” Pirouline said sadly. “Sometimes going back is the only way to fix things.”
The Lan were clustered together spinning as one. I finally understood what Renhet meant when she said the sugar of this dimension. It was a feeling of euphoria like nothing on Earth … but not for me.
I left Madison Square Garden and floated for what seemed like an eternity. The Atlantic Ocean kept me company as I moved down the east coast.
It was more than a month before the first tears came and then they wouldn’t stop. I was in a marshy area just outside of Homerville, Florida. I wanted to die … but was already dead. I was still grey and becoming greyer … if that is possible. Two shooting stars crossed the night sky together … and the swamp grew quiet.
I heard Pirouline’s voice like soft wind brushing through tree branches. “Some souls are just not ready for the spirit world,” she said.
“I agree,” a voice like thunder answered.
I woke in my bed. My head was strangely foggy. I couldn’t remember drinking. In fact I had a hard time remembering anything. Dreams can be very strange things. I was showering when I remembered the portfolio I was putting together for General Dynamics’ eight point five billion dollar pension fund, an inspired mixture of blue-chip stocks and long term municipal bonds and the friend I had to meet for lunch. I believed I had exactly what they were looking for.
A half hour later I glanced both ways before I crossed Vesey Street. I had to talk to my broker friend before he went to lunch. The bus-driver laid on his horn the same time as he stomped on his brakes. I heard the huge tires on the 45-foot long transit coach screech as they slid on the hot asphalt. The two sounds seemed to play to each other like stoned jazz musicians tossing the same off-key note back and forth … an octave apart. Suddenly a girl grabbed my arm and pulled me back.
“Wow! I almost got ran over by that bus!” I gasped.
“It’s okay.” She smiled. “Now all things in the universe are in balance.”
I looked into her eyes. They were the most gorgeous blue I’d ever seen.