After many, many hours I believe I have untangled the Gordian Knot of our future . . . at least as told by these voices echoing into our present. I am in the process of quilting together the patchwork of these people’s lives. I have many questions of which I have not yet discovered the answers. All I am certain of is these wonderful messengers lived many decades into our future and were sadly subjected to World War IV. It seems psychics, past and present, have been accurate. Nostradamus, Sylvia Browne, Edgar Cayce, to name a few, all mentioned an Anti-Christ and Worldwide War III. Who could imagine a third world catastrophe, let alone a fourth? And, who could fathom another man so evil, causing millions of deaths?
Has history taught us nothing?
Join me in my search for Glowworm . . .
Upon Lachlan’s return to Kaikoura, NZ from Africa, he was reunited with his childhood friend, Craig Whibley. Whereas Lachlan had a very loving upbringing, Craig was not a stranger to emotional and physical abuse.
Toddler, little man Craig, had turned into a fine young man. Filled with stories from my Nandy how Craig and I played together as babies, I felt immediately drawn to my laconic neighbor. Always clad in my free-spirited colorful New African shirts and Vans tennis shoes, I was quite the opposite of Craig who wore drab clothing and a withered look across his weathered face. Aged beyond his years, there was nothing youthful about Craig. Abandoned by his mother, Nikki, as a baby, all Craig had known was his borderline abusive father, Tucker. Born with a demeanor more like his deceased Uncle Harrison, Craig took parental “tough love” quite hard. Constant disapproval led to massive doses of shame and disappointment. Upon Tucker’s early death, Craig, with his sensitive continence, felt a prolonged sadness. Yet another heavy burden, Craig’s guilt soon replaced the sluggish depression from his overwhelming relief when his father finally passed. Craig often told me, when he had a son, if he had a son, he would never make him sink to the depths of self-loathing as his father had done to him. Constantly told he was worthless, Craig was content to live an isolated existence running the Whibley farm. Until I arrived and yanked him from his self-imposed prison, human contact had been much too painful. My best friend felt it was of little importance if he never contributed much to the world, at least his animals loved him. That had to be enough. It had to be or Craig might lose his sanity. What I did not discuss with my dear friend was I have made it my secret mission to help my broken friend interact with the opposite sex and innocently stumble into love.
This individual, Lachlan, seems to be mentioned in everyone’s journals eventually. Yes, he is key . . .
From the first week of settling in, I had dived into restoring the musty, abandoned family home. My Nandy helped when he could, but was growing tired. Either from old age or melancholy it did not matter, Nandy Cameron had earned the right to rest. Suffering from an abundance of youthful energy, I worked tirelessly. It warmed my Nandy’s heart to see his grandson alive with purpose.
While in Dutch Cape Town, Nandy felt he was ever so slowly losing me. Troubling dreams and night sweats had increased in frequency, and these bouts of insomnia had begun to affect my grades at school.
Some ethereal force was summoning me to return to Aotearoa, “Land of the Long White Cloud,” a magical New Zealand.
When I had confronted my Nandy, after a morbid nightmare, about returning home there was no resistance. Without hesitation we Thorpe men packed our lives in boxes and headed for our homeland. I had my first week of solid sleep on Kiwi soil in the heart of tranquil Kaikoura.
I think Cameron Thorpe sums up a real world conflict, past, present, and future, the best . . .
Dare I speak of the past; stir regretfully those sleeping hornets? Why awaken those frenzied lunatics ready at any moment to empty their bulging sacs of poison into the unsuspecting?
We have endured decades of assaults from the piously driven fanatics delivering stinging blows one after another as they “water-board” their myopic version of Allah down the throats of the naïve.
Dare I speak of those that now lay dormant? Perhaps the mere mention of that brutal, narcissistic pestilence will condemn the next generation to repeat history. Our past is laid under our feet as a foundation for growing wisdom. Each subsequent decade evolves into a more fertile place to thrive for the innocent, and not intended to echo earlier times. Unfortunately, we do not always follow the wisest path. If I plant that seed of suggestion will it rise again?
Bogdan and his family have made it safely to Amsterdam, Nederland where Bogdan’s in-laws live. They are planning a trip to Australia but it appears the KGB is watching.
Amsterdam’s airport churned with excitement. People bustled about in search of their flashjet gates or visiting loved ones. Today’s activities were no different than any other day except paranoia now pulsated in every cell of my body. Two men stood at the street corner when my family and I left my in-laws’ home. Excessive adrenalin surged in my blood vessels. Once inside the taxi I lost sight of the suspicious duo. Would they follow us further or report back to KGB headquarters that I had indeed arrived in Amsterdam and was headed to Australia sooner than planned? Along the path to the airport a car behind us shadowed the taxicraft too closely. Was the hovercraft really tailing us?
How had the KGB found out I had changed my family’s flight plans for two days earlier? I had passed the duty to my father-in-law’s secretary. Proper documents in hand, she was instructed to change the flight departures in person so there was no way the KGB could intercept such information. No phones were used and everything was written down then given back to me. How could the KGB find out so quickly? Inside the terminal my heart about stopped. While searching the departure screen above I noticed the red flashing word repeated over and over beside every flight, including ours . . . Canceled . . . Canceled. Stranded people stood gawking at the news in disbelief. My eyes darted from my wife’s to every stranger standing close by then back to my wife’s. My large palm began to sweat while holding the hand of my dejected daughter, Sasha.
Deek’s Lompoc group is being ignored by the African government. As hard as they try to remain positive they are hit repeatedly with brutal life struggles. To say they feel abandoned is an understatement. For Deek there is only one solution . . . it’s time to build a boat.
I repositioned my feet in the sand and continued to push. The others rapidly mimicked my efforts. Everyone’s muscles from back to legs burned from fatigue. Pushing and pushing, the craft moved another foot. Quickly three other smaller Lompoc tribesmen scrambled aboard the beached vessel. Again we strained with all our might. Excessive adrenalin finally launched our vessel of hope into the frightening ocean ahead.
I yelled. “Brace yourselves! Ready the sail then drop the rudder!” Sly and the others clung to one another near the mast as they met the first wave head on. Water crashed over the bow and exploded in all directions. I cupped my hands to my mouth and hollered. “God speed, Sly! God speed!”
Our blessed boat raced down the backside of the next wave, disappearing from sight. Each and every Lompoc member held his or her breath.
Deek’s Lompoc group is struggling to find decent food. Their hunting expedition turned on them . . . the hunters became the hunted.
Swiftly the bull sea lion lunged to his right, grabbing the shouting victim by the throat. The bleeding man released a scream angering his attacker further. Shaking his head back and forth, the sea lion began to maul his victim’s head. Neck ensanguining from a severed carotid artery, the bloodied mangled man finally ceased screaming when abruptly the bull lion’s large canines snapped his lower jaw. What terrified the silenced victim more than his head injuries was his attacker had begun dragging him toward the breaking waves. Like many of the Lompoc tribe, childhood swim lessons were non-existent and he was one of those who had never learned to swim. Trying to scream was fruitless. Garbled, gurgling sounds were all he was able to muster.
By the time I was able to ready my arm to throw my spear again, the enormous bull lion and mutilated victim were immersed within the churning surf. I hesitated, my target unclear. I felt completely helpless. There were no swim lessons for me as a child either, so all I could do was stare at the flailing man in the white-capped water. A larger pool of maroon fanned out into the ocean as the sea lion pulled his prey under the ravenous waves.
Then with a flicker of disbelief an explosive whitish-gray flash came out of the water. Fins and a powerful tail whipped about. Wedged within the huge triangular teeth of the twenty-six foot great white shark was the head of my decapitated tribesman along with the top half of the severed sea lion. In an instant the hunter had become the hunted yet again. I could not breathe. When the large body of the female shark splashed back into the ocean, a bright reddish-orange pool of blood swelled across the surface.
Aerin is not alone on Kaikoura’s shoreline. Freedom always has a price.
He was upon me. Long fingers clamped around my throat. Harder and harder the stranger squeezed. Sitting on the rocks and caught off balance, all I could do was claw at the man’s hands then his face. If only I could get to his eyes. The man continued to push on my windpipe. Panicked, I kicked and ripped at the strangler’s fingers. Digging my nails into his flesh, I drew blood but still could not breathe. I needed air. Suddenly, I felt far away, somehow floating above myself. Battling for my life seemed so unimportant and the pain in my neck had vanished. Peacefully, my body went limp. Just before darkness consumed me completely, I felt a release on my throat. Starved for air, I sucked in a huge gasp then drank in as much air as I could. Breathing was all that mattered. Before I could focus on my attacker, a scorching pain went across my left temple. Darkness hit with a brutal finality.
Aerin cannot take being confined any longer. Now seventeen-years-old, living within the crystallized dome matrix of New Zealand’s South Island, Aerin feels trapped within a horrible version of “The Wizard of Oz.”
Bookless, I trudged down my aunt and uncle’s driveway with journal in hand. The closer I got to the newly constructed barricade the more I wanted my freedom. Looking back several times toward the house, I waited for no movement in the windows. The dogs ate their dinner seemingly disinterested in my whereabouts. Slowly, I keyed in the combination to turn off the laser barriers, undid the heavy gate and tried to inch out of my relatives’ yard. Movement was suddenly restricted. My clothing was snagged on something. When I looked over my shoulder I discovered why I could not move. Scrum had his teeth locked onto the back of my baggy sweatshirt.
I whispered gruffly. “Scrum, let go!” I then popped him on the head with my journal. All Blacks had maneuvered himself in front of me, obstructing the exit. “All right, you two, back, back . . . yard, yard, go!” Reluctantly, both border collies let me pass but commenced barking.
Without looking back again I walked briskly down the rest of the driveway. I was free. Far above, the crystal peaks sparkled in the winter twilight. It was difficult for me to get a clear perspective of the skies. I squinted. Two seagulls flew about peering out the glass ceiling as well. Realizing I was outside my aunt and uncle’s fortress completely, I was much invigorated and burst into a freedom-motivated jog. Several times I glanced over my shoulder to ensure no one had followed. That is when I ran . . . ran like I never had before. With no previously planned destination in mind, I headed in the direction of the lookout, somewhere above Avoca and Kean points. The roads and skyways seemed empty, absent of crazed looters running amok. My pace quickened. Remembering my uncle’s words, I headed toward Scarborough in pursuit of the previously mentioned vent portal next to the beaches. Crazily, uncaringly, I sprinted, kilometer after kilometer.
Hailee, Lachlan’s fiancé, seems to be one of J.R.’s victims but lived to tell about it. She and others refer to him as the Christian, a man with the gift of gab and determined to sell spirituality . . . his version.
Unsteady on my high-heels, I felt a large hand grab my arm keeping me from falling. I recognized the man with the big brown eyes and shoulder-length, light brown hair, obviously dyed. Relieved, I leaned into the newest Tribune elder. Stupidly intoxicated, I listened to the Christian whisper something then let him lure me into a darkened hallway. I thought the nice man was leading me to Lachlan’s whereabouts. Once inside the nearby stairwell, the nice man slammed my champagne-saturated body against the cement wall. I winced from a searing pain in my head and spine. As my attacker grew closer, I could see grotesque, wiry gray hairs climbing from his nostrils. His breath was heavy with stale garlic and alcohol. Before I could react, the evil Christian planted a sloppy hard kiss upon my lips. I could not move. Warm blood seeped from the back of my head. The Christian’s hand squeezed my throat as the other painfully fondled one of my breasts. His touch burned.