'Theo's Wish' - Sixth Instalment

'Theo's Wish' - Cover
'Theo's Wish' - Cover

‘Theo’s Wish’ – Sixth Instalment

By Tony DeLorger © 2011


CHAPTER SIX

‘Zandra’s Lesson of Faith’

The following day Zandra learned of a problem with one of the housebound Mist people, and quickly left the underground shelter to offer help. Both Joh and Cheryl went along, fascinated about the goings-on in this unfamiliar world.

Three blocks from the park was an apartment block, three stories high. On the top floor lived a family of a mother with two sons, aged 9 and 13 years. The apartments were old and broken-down and situated in a seedy part of the city, where graffiti covered the buildings and rubbish lined the streets.

The resident ghost had died many years earlier and refused to leave his earthly home, thus making all the poor humans that tried to live there, suffer as a result. The old man, Harry as he was known in life, had got rather nasty in his later years. Now, with children living in his old apartment, he decided that he couldn’t handle the noise and was out to end it, any way that he could.

Old Harry had scared the youngest boy witless, appearing twice in his wardrobe mangled and bloody. The mother could not afford to move and was terrified, not knowing what to do.

As Zandra, Joh and Cheryl climbed the stairs of the apartment building, they felt an impending danger from above.

‘This one’s bad,’ uttered Zandra, feeling the rage of the man they were about to confront.

As they arrived at the top of the stairs, Harry appeared on the landing, right next to the door of the apartment. ‘Get out of here!’ he bellowed. ‘This is my home!’

He looked as Zandra did, except that his colour was dark and muddy- not the soft blue of the other Mist people. He was old and lined, with a straggly beard and a menacing brow.

‘I’m warning you,’ he growled.

‘You can’t hurt me,’ said Zandra. ‘You are too long on this earth. It’s time for you to go.’

With that, Harry stepped forward and with his eyes created a ball of blinding light, and with one sweep of his hand directed it toward Zandra. Zandra instinctively ducked but the light caught her on the shoulder and threw her backwards against the wall. She fell to the floor, stunned. Harry turned, grunted then disappeared into the apartment.

‘Are you all right?’ asked Cheryl, kneeling down to help Zandra to her feet.

‘What are you going to do?’ asked Joh, worriedly.

‘I’ve not met one with so much power before. He’s so strong.’

‘Should we get some help?’ asked Cheryl.

‘Usually they accept that they are lost from us, but this one’s not so cooperative.’

‘So, should we get help?’ asked Joh.

‘No. I shall try again.’

The three went into the apartment and found the mother hysterical, screaming at the top of her lungs. Harry had the youngest child by the scruff of the neck and was dangling him out of the window. The mother of course couldn’t see Harry, just her son suspended in midair, about to fall to his death. She was trying desperately to reach him, but Harry’s arm was too long.

‘Leave him alone, you old fool!’ shouted Zandra. ‘The boy lives here now, not you. You are dead! Do you hear?’

‘Dead? Don’t be ridiculous. These people are in my apartment. This is MY APARTMENT!’ shouted Harry indignantly.

‘You died long ago, Harry. Where’s your wife?’ asked Zandra.

‘Why she’s just…she’s out shopping, isn’t she?’

Zandra stepped slowly toward Harry. ‘Bring the boy inside. He’s done nothing to you. Harry- listen to me. Martha’s dead, she died a long-time ago, but she went on. She’s waiting for you, Harry. It’s time for you to go.’

Harry hesitated, thinking about his lost wife. ‘She was just here, cooking dinner,’ he said, his chin jutting out defiantly. ‘I’ll drop the kid!’ he screamed, stretching his arm further out of the window. The mother was in total panic, her arms flailing wildly, trying desperately to reach her son.

Zandra moved closer to the window. ‘She’s waiting for you Harry. All you have to do is bring the boy inside and then you can be with Martha again,’ said Zandra, in a gentle, reassuring voice.

‘Martha?’ said Harry, his lips trembling. He then snapped out of it and looked at the boy. ‘One step closer and he goes!’ he shouted- now leaning even further out of the window, the young boy squealing with terror.

‘Harry, Martha’s waiting for you. It’s been too long. She’ll be wondering where you are. Please, bring the boy inside and then you can be with her,’ said Zandra. ‘Bring the boy inside.’

Harry looked around, his face slowly softening. ‘Where’s my Martha?’ he muttered, his eyes welling with tears. Then Harry slowly brought the child in through the window and placed him on to the floor.

The mother grabbed her son and screaming like a banshee, rushed out the door and down the stairs to escape her haunted apartment. Zandra looked upward and a bright light suddenly appeared and descended on Harry. As he looked up, his face transformed into a smile.

‘Martha? Is that you?’ said Harry, as his body slowly rose, finally becoming a part of the light. Then with a whoosh, the light and Harry were gone.

Zandra fell back on to a lounge chair, exhausted. Joh and Cheryl rushed over. ‘Are you OK?’ asked Joh, with concern.

Zandra smiled. ‘Yes, of course. I’m just a little tired. Give me a minute.’

‘That was amazing, Zandra. You helped that poor man to go on. You released him,’ said Cheryl.

‘It’s what we do, all we can do.’

‘But you help so many, and you are stuck here just like they are. It hardly seems fair,’ added Joh, not understanding.

‘Perhaps that is why we are here.’

‘You know, you could be right,’ replied Cheryl. ‘I think you’re an angel.’

Zandra pulled herself up from the chair and smiled warmly. ‘I don’t know about that, Cheryl, but when people need help and we can give it, it seems the right decision. Come on- let’s get back to the shelter. I need to rest.’

They all returned to the underground shelter, but Cheryl decided to remain in the park, wanting to be alone for awhile. Joh looked at Cheryl worriedly but decided not to question her reason and left her as she wished.

Cheryl sat on a park bench under a beautiful old fig tree and watched children playing in a nearby playground. She was troubled because suddenly witnessing the real world, as she was, she too realised that it was her dream also to have a normal life and to be complete. She was helping Joh to realise his dream, and now all that she could think about was her own.

As she sat there she felt a warm hand on her shoulder and turned to find Max standing behind her. ‘Do you mind if I sit down?’

‘Of course not. I was just thinking. Do you ever think about being somewhere else? You know, moving on?’

Max smiled and sat down. ‘Yes, of course I do. There are many things here that I can’t do and who wouldn’t want more freedom. I can’t even remember what food tastes like, or feeling the sun on my face, the wind in my hair. I’d give anything for real life.’

‘This world is so different to where we come from. It’s complete and so much better. This stupid body I have is so limiting, I just want to be free to experience real life again,’ explained Cheryl.

‘You probably can. If Joh is right and can find his dreamer, you could do the same. You could both have a knew life- at least better than you have now.’

‘I hope you’re right Max. I guess if you don’t know what you’re missing, then you don’t miss it. But now, now that I know, it’s hard not to think about it,’ finished Cheryl, with a lost look on her face.

Max put his arm around her and gave her a hug. ‘You’ll be fine. Everything will work out. You’ll see. Come on, let’s go.’

The Mist people were in and out all day long, going to their various duties and helping the humans as much as they could. There seemed so many troubled souls in this world that both Joh and Cheryl realised that even in death, the real world could be just as unforgiving as their own Half World. It put everything into yet another perspective, and they were beginning to understand that life had so many moods and faces that they didn’t know existed. They were lost in something that could go on forever and something that they may never understand. ‘Perhaps Nester was right,’ thought Joh. ‘It maybe best to accept what we have been given, and make the most of it.’

With that thought engraved on Joh’s mind he fell fast asleep, trying not to think of anything else.

The next morning Joh awoke to find Cheryl already gone. He got up and yawned, and then went into the main chamber to find people scurrying everywhere.

‘What’s going on?’ he asked one of the passing Mist people.

‘Zandra’s in trouble at the old library. We’ve got to get there in a hurry!’

Joh snapped out of his semi-slumber and followed the others to the park exit and into the city. Joh worriedly thought of what could be so wrong and then thought that Cheryl could be in the middle of whatever it was.

The old library was closed for some external building restoration and there were workers and scaffolding everywhere. Sandblasters were whining, with compressors and jackhammers filling the air with unnerving sounds.

The Mist people poured into the side entrance of the library and like a never-ending line of ants descended the stairs to the basement bulk stores and receiving docks. Suddenly not far from the bottom of the stairs the people spread out and gathered around to see Zandra, held by two nasty looking ghosts, while another waited for everyone to arrive and settle down. Cheryl was standing closest to these brutes, only metres away from Zandra.

The leader stepped forward. ‘Nice of you to be here to witness this. You do-gooders have been interfering for too long. You help these humans for what? They’re probably the ones that put you here in the first place. They all deserve what they get, and going to some fluffy cloud of an existence is not what you’re giving us.’

‘Please, I beg you. You don’t have to do this,’ pleaded Zandra.

‘Oh yes we do. You lead these fools, and collect abominations like this, pointing to Cheryl,’ said the man. ‘You move people on and let these humans off the hook. Revenge is all that we want. Give them everything they deserve. And now, you’ll get what you deserve,’ he finished hatefully.

The leader nodded and one of Zandra’s captors removed something from his pocket. When the Mist people saw what it was they drew back in shock.

‘What is it?’ whispered Joh.

One of the Mist people turned around and explained. ‘It is a black crystal, a tool of the occult. Other than being taken by the light, it is the only other way to leave this real world, if you are one of us.’

‘Where do you go?’ asked Joh, hesitantly.

‘You don’t want to know.’

‘Please don’t,’ begged Zandra. ‘You’ll make it worse for yourself.’

‘Worse!’ laughed the leader. ‘You’ll find out what’s worse, my dear.’

The man holding the crystal slowly pointed it toward Zandra’s head and she began to scream, her body reeling with pain as her gentle form rippled under the force of it.

Joh rushed forward through the crowd. ‘Stop it! She’s done nothing to you!’ he shouted.

‘So, what have we here? Yet another abomination of life,’ the leader chuckled, and for the moment lowered the crystal.

‘I‘m not from this world, but I know that this is wrong, and you will pay for it,’ snapped Joh, confidently.

‘Zandra?’ said Cheryl. ‘Use the light, you have to believe.’

Zandra, half opened her eyes and looked at Cheryl who was waving her arms and organising the others to form a circle around these misfits. As the Mist people got into position they closed their eyes and a soft light slowly descended around the circle.

‘What’s this rubbish?’ shouted the leader pointing to the crystal. The captor turned it once again toward Zandra and she cried in agony.

‘You can’t overcome this with your prayers, you fools,’ shouted the leader.

‘Zandra, please you must have faith,‘ begged Cheryl.

‘We believe in you,’ added Joh.

‘But we can’t do it without your belief,’ said Cheryl.

Zandra was groaning with the pain, but tried to focus on the circle. Each time she did, the power of the black crystal intensified and threw her back into blistering pain.

‘You can do it Zandra!’ shouted Joh.

‘We know you can,’ added Max.

‘Yes, we believe in you,’ said Tara.

Suddenly all the Mist people began to chant Zandra’s name, over and over.

‘No! I won’t allow it!’ screamed the leader, lifting his arm to shade his eyes from the intensifying light. With each chant, Zandra slowly came around until her eyes were wide open. Then a direct shaft of light fell around the three men, its power pulsing in waves and creating a low growling hum.

‘It’s time to go,’ said Zandra. ‘You’ve done too much and hurt too many people. You will now learn about what you have done,’ she said forcefully, her power growing.

The two holding Zandra suddenly let go and the black crystal dropped to the floor.

‘You idiot!’ shouted the leader, as the two men slowly rose, squirming and writhing. Then they simple melded into the light.

The black crystal began to spin on the uneven floor and sparks began to emanate from it until with one crack, the crystal shattered into a million pieces. Zandra rose wearily to her feet and raised her arms upward. The leader screamed and tried to free himself- but it was too late. His body slowly rose amid the pulsating light and as it reached the steel beams of the roof he faded and the light just vanished.

Zandra closed her eyes and collapsed on to the floor. Everyone crowded around her and two of the Mist people gently lifted her up. ‘We need to get her home,’ they said, and the crowd parted to make way.

Joh and Cheryl embraced, then followed the others back to the underground shelter.

On arrival they placed Zandra on to one of the stretchers and she rested, her usual soft blue form pale and weak.

All the others were sitting in the main chamber- worried about their leader.

‘Has this ever happened before?’ asked Joh with concern.

‘No, this is unusual,’ replied Helen, one of the oldest. ‘We have all had trouble but these souls had vast power, far more than I have ever seen before.’

‘Zandra has greater power than any of us,’ added Max. ‘Yet, these brutes had no trouble in holding her captive.’

‘I don’t like it,’ said Helen. ‘Something’s not right. I can feel it.’

The rest of that day few of the Mist people left the underground- all too concerned about Zandra. Joh and Cheryl stayed close but Zandra didn’t stir. None of the Mist people ever slept, and this event worried everyone, thinking that perhaps these men had hurt Zandra, more than they had realised.

Then, as evening shadows filled the park, Zandra awoke and miraculously rose to her feet, and walked out into the main chamber. Everyone crowded around, relieved to see her well again.

‘Are you feeling better?’ asked Cheryl.

‘I am, thank you,’ she replied, softly.

Joh stepped forward, looking at Zandra rather strangely. ‘You…you seem different, Zandra. Your colour is brighter, whiter…or something.’

Zandra looked around and smiled. ‘Please gather around, I have something I want to tell you.’

Everyone crowded in to hear their leader. ‘Joh and Cheryl, it has been so good to have you with us and you have helped me to understand so much about myself. Yesterday you saved me; saved me from myself. You see I had lost faith. I could help other people, but when it came to me, I could not. You helped me to realise that I am alive just as the humans. We simply exist in another realm.’

Zandra looked around at each one of the Mist people, smiling radiantly at every one of them. ‘We remain trapped here because there is something for us to learn. My lesson was to have faith in myself, and Joh and Cheryl helped me to find that. Thank you so much.’

Max moved forward. ‘But Zandra, if you have found your reason, then…’

‘Yes Max, it’s time for me to move on.’

A swell of voices rose from the Mist people, none of them wanting their leader to leave them.

‘Be still,’ she said. ‘I leave you with your new leader, Helen. You have the chance to move on. You simply need to find out what you need to learn. And be kind to yourselves,’ she finished

Slowly and begrudgingly all the Mist people embraced their leader one by one for the last time, until only Joh and Cheryl remained. They too embraced warmly and then Zandra looked down at Joh.

‘The cats have found your playground,’ she whispered. ‘Good luck with Theo.’

Joh smiled then he and Cheryl stepped back and a brilliant white light fell down around Zandra.

‘I love you all,’ she said as her body rose and joined the light. Then, with a flash, the light was gone.

Joh felt confused. It was sad to see Zandra go but finding Theo was finally at hand- or was it? He began to worry and feel doubt, about his dream, about his plan. What would tomorrow bring?

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