Denver Cereal Denver Cereal

Chapter Five Hundred and two : On their way (part four)


(part four)

“You mean that a few people have money instead of a life and others live life to the fullest but have little money,” Abi said.

“Do they?” Jacob asked.

“Do they what?” Abi asked.

“Live life to the fullest?” Jacob asked.

“Suffering,” Abi said. “It is the human condition. People with lots of money surround themselves with luxuries with the idea that they will not suffer. Even the smallest pain is too much. Little do they realize that the entire point of being here is to feeleverything.”

“The point of life is suffering?” Jacob asked.

“Of course,” Abi said. “Or better said, the point of life is to overcome suffering so that pain is merely another experience, another sensation. Life is about feeling everything. That is the nature of life.”

“It’s good to eat,” Jacob said, in mild chastising.

“Yes,” Abi said. “If you look at the research into poverty, the reason poverty is stressful is that people feel poor. They endure the shame and humiliation of feeling less than someone else.”

“Aren’t they poor?” Jacob asked.

“No,” Abi said. “Those with the most money are the most lacking in authentic love, real relationships, and genuine living of life. This vacancy is not living.”

“Suffering is?” Jacob asked.

Abi nodded. They walked along for a while in silence.

“Are you alive?” Jacob asked.

Abi glanced at him and laughed. She fell silent without answer. They continued to walk. After more than ten minutes, she looked at him.

“It’s a good question,” Abi said. “Gilfand and I cannot die, so are we alive?”

“Do you suffer like the rest of us?” Jacob asked.

“Oh,” Abi said. “We suffer.”

Abi nodded.

“Gilfand and I have suffered greatly in our long lives, less so now,” Abi said. “But that’s the nature of living.”

“Hmm,” Jacob said.

“We have also lived, experience, enormous wonder,” Abi said. “You can’t imagine what it’s like when the continents come together. You’d think that every creature on earth would fight or struggle for dominance.”

“They don’t?” Jacob asked.

“Some do. Not many,” Abi said. “Most rejoice in the homecoming.”

Listening, Jacob didn’t respond.

“That’s one of my favorite experiences,” Abi said. “Gilfand loves it when the sea rises to cover most of the land. He hasn’t done it in a long time, but he used to spend most of his time in the ocean. That’s where he found Manannán, you know, Queen Fand’s consort.”

Jacob nodded. After a while, Abi sighed.

“I believe that I am a part of this earth,” Abi said. “I was created when the earth was. I will likely die when she does. This sun will not last forever. When it dies, Gilfand and I will pass away. For now, we are here.”

Abi lifted a shoulder in a shrug.

“Have you ever taken a break?” Jacob asked. “Hibernated?”

“No,” Abi said. “There is too much to see and do. This planet seems so stable to humans, but it’s changing all the time. There is always something new to see, something fun to do, someone to interact with.”

“Chatter,” Jacob said.

“We’ve come full circle,” Abi said. “Shall I chatter at you?”

“It doesn’t seem like your way,” Jacob said.

“It’s not,” Abi said. “I’ve spent more than a few millennia without saying even one word.”

“Because you were angry?” Jacob asked.

“There was no one to speak to,” Abi said. “Gilfand was underwater and … Really, how much conversation can you have with a single celled organism?”

“Well, feel free to speak if you’d like,” Jacob said. “I’m here.”

“Thank you, Jacob Marlowe,” Abi said.

Grinning, they continued walking toward the Fire of Hell.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

Chapter Five Hundred and two : On their way (part three)


(part three)

Deep in the Marlowe Mine

Jacob and Abi had been walking for what felt like hours. Jacob dared not speak on the off chance that this “Fire of Hell” thing might hear their conversation echo through the tunnel. He glanced at Abi but kept walking.

“Jacob?” Abi asked.

“Yes?” Jacob asked.

“You may ask me anything,” Abi said.

“I was wondering if you had an idea of how much farther we needed to go,” Jacob said, fumbling on his words.

Abi grinned.

“No idea,” Abi said. She stopped walking and turned to Jacob.

“Why aren’t we just jumping there?” Jacob asked.

“We don’t know exactly where we’re going,” Abi said. “We don’t know what we’ll find. In situations such as these, it’s better to walk. Are you tired? Shall we rest?”

“Tired? Not really,” Jacob said. “Bored, maybe.”

“Bored?” Abi snorted a laugh. “Why don’t you speak with me?”

“I was giving you space,” Jacob said.

“I was giving you your ‘man space,’” Abi said.

“Man space?” Jacob asked.

“I saw this concept on a television program that Valerie was watching,” Abi said. “Human men need time of quiet and peace without the chattering of women.”

“Do you chatter?” Jacob asked.

“Not really,” Abi said.

“I happen to love the ‘chattering of women,’” Jacob said. “I used to study at the kitchen counter to listen to my mother ‘chatter,’ although the word ‘chatter’ is kind of a derogatory.”

“What does it mean?” Abi asked.

Jacob laughed. They continued to walk. They’d walked for a few minutes before Abi touched Jacob’s arm.

“No really, what does it mean?” Abi asked. “I thought it was just that kind of talking about nothing that women tend to do.”

Jacob smiled.

“I will tell you that I’ve never heard a woman talk about nothing,” Jacob said. “Even when they are just talking about nothing. There’s always something there — something about them. Something about the world. Sometimes something about me. My mother used a lot of words to talk about her anxiety. She was terrified for Valerie and for me. Always. She had a sense that she wouldn’t live very long. That feeling would overcome her and she would talk for hours about … nothing.”

He sighed and nodded.

“I loved the sound of my mother’s voice,” Jacob said.

Abi touched Jacob’s arm in silent appreciation for him.

“I love to hear Jill talk,” Jacob said. “When she talks about nothing what so ever — that’s my favorite. I listen to her words as if they were a river or a wave. There’s often an emotion underneath or possibly something that relates to the way she sees the world.”

Abi grinned at him.

“Mostly, I like the sound of her voice,” Jacob said.

“As you loved your mother’s voice?” Abi asked.

“Yes,” Jacob said. He grinned. “My mother wasn’t just anxiety and melancholy. She could get really worked up over … politics or maybe something someone said … She loathed bullies or people who treated others as if they were garbage. And let me tell you, she had a lot to say about the great injustice in the world.”

“The great injustice of the world?” Abi asked.

“That so few have so much and so many have so little,” Jacob said.

“You mean that a few people have money instead of a life and others live life to the fullest but have little money,” Abi said.

“Do they?” Jacob asked.

“Do they what?” Abi asked.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

Chapter Five Hundred and two : On their way (part two)


(part two)

“That is where you are wrong,” Gilfand said, softly.

Delphie turned to look at him.

“Go alone, and you stay in the tight box you were placed in as a child,” Gilfand said. “You will stay alone. No friends. You with be alone to face the incredible untouched power within you, facing all that come to take your power away. You stay a slave to misfortune and pain.”

When Delphie didn’t respond, Gilfand continued.

“Invite your lover, your friends, your Gilfand,” he said. “Let us fight shoulder to shoulder, together. You will truly see the end of what came before. You, dear Oracle, can live free.”

“ …end what has come before,” Delphie mouthed.

She shook her head.

“I know that you do not want to make such a change, especially now,” Gilfand said. “But the time is upon you. The soul stealer is dead. We have this chance now to get this done. To finish it. Done and over with.”

“I …” Delphie started. Her eyes flicked to Gilfand. “How can you be so sure?”

“It is what makes sense,” Sam said.

Delphie looked at Sam and he smiled at her.

“It’s time,” Sam said.

“Long past time, I’d say,” Maresol said with a snort.

Delphie shook her head and took a step away from them.

“Do something different,” Gilfand said, mildly. “Try something new.”

Like silent statues, they stood silently watching at Delphie. After a moment, her shoulders sagged forward.

“Good,” Maresol said. “I just need to use the restroom and I’m ready.”

She ran up the stairs to the restroom.

“I will finish up,” Sam said.

Gilfand snapped his fingers and the dishes were clean, put away, and the kitchen was tidied.

“Hey, thanks,” Sam said.

He set down the towel and took off the apron. Delphie looked at him and noticed for the first time that he was wearing his hiking boots. He grabbed the jeans jacket he wore while hiking and put it on. There was a backpack full of provisions at his feet.

“You’re ready to go, too?” Delphie asked.

“We knew you’d do something like this. We thought we might have to chase after you!” Sam said with a grin. “Go get ready. We’ll wait for you.”

Nodding, Delphie jogged up the stairs. She put on her hiking boots and wore the protective jacket that Jill had infused with her healing touch. She jogged down the stairs to find Maresol and Sam waiting for her. Gilfand was wearing a more human-looking body.

“I have water, oranges, and some of those snack bars we like,” Sam said. He held open the backpack. “Anything else?”

“Sage from our garden,” Maresol put a dried bundle of sage into the backpack.

Delphie added a lighter, a few tea light candles, a small charcoal disc, and some of her special, super noxious smelling bad energy clearing incense. Sam added a small tin of chocolate chip cookies to the backpack.

“Then we are ready,” Gilfand said. “Shall we walk?”

“I think we have to,” Delphie said.

“Very well,” Gilfand said.

Sam opened the door, and they set out across the open fields toward the Littleton Evergreen Cemetery. Sam stopped to lock the door. He had to jog to catch up. Delphie smiled at him in welcome.

“Thanks,” she said under her breath.

“We take this challenge on together,” Sam said. “Like everything else.”

She smiled at him and took his hand. They walked together toward the cemetery.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

Chapter Five Hundred and two : On their way (part one)


(part one)

Monday morning — 12:02 a.m.

Leadville, Colorado

Dionne walked along side Yvonne as she was wheeled out of the rental house on gurney by paramedics. Maresol, Delphie, and Sam followed close behind. Yvonne and Gilfand had appeared out of nowhere a few minutes ago. They’d called 9-1-1. Yvonne would be taken for assessment to the hospital. Because there were a number of world class orthopedic hospitals in nearby mountain communities, it was likely that Yvonne would be moved by the end of the day. For now, she and Dionne were on their way to the small local hospital.

The paramedics closed the back door of the ambulance and the vehicle made a loud trip away from the house. Delphie glanced at Maresol and Sam before heading back into the house. Gilfand met them just inside the door. Sam slipped past Gilfand to continue cleaning up the kitchen after brunch.

“Are you returning to the tunnel?” Delphie asked.

“No,” Gilfand said. “The next part of the journey in the Marlowe Mine is for Abi and Jacob alone.”

Delphie gave him a curt nod and turned away. She’d taken two steps when he spoke again.

“I am going with you, Oracle,” Gilfand said.

Delphie stopped short. Maresol gave him a puzzled look before turning toward Delphie.

“What is he talking about?” Maresol asked. “We are waiting for Jacob and Abi to return. Right?”

Maresol put her hand on Delphie’s arm.

“We agreed that is what we’d do,” Maresol said. “We told Yvonne that we’d be here when they came back!”

“I need to go,” Delphie said.

“Where?” Maresol asked. Her voice rose with concern. “Where do you need to go?”

The sound of Maresol’s voice brought Sam from the kitchen. He was wearing a flowery apron and carrying a wet plate and kitchen towel.

“What’s going on?” Sam asked.

They stood in silence staring at Delphie’s back.

“Are we going somewhere?” Sam tried a different question.

“Delphie is going to the Fire of Hell,” Gilfand said.

“No. No, she’s not,” Sam said. “We agreed to wait for Abi and Jacob to return.”

Gilfand raised his eyebrows at Sam and turned back to Delphie.

“Gilfand is right,” Delphie said after a moment. “I’m going. I knew I needed to go the moment I saw Yvonne. The very moment she arrived. There’s nothing you can say to stop me. I’m going whether you agree with me or not. I must go. I have to go. I need to be there.”

“Delphie!” Maresol scolded.

“Wow,” Sam said. “We’re not going to even talk about this?”

“It’s not up to us,” Delphie said. “It’s up to me.”

“That is where you are wrong,” Gilfand said, softly.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

Chapter Five Hundred and One : God bless, Yvonne (part six)


(part six)

Monday morning — 11:52 a.m.

Denver, Colorado

“Why didn’t I stay home with everyone else?” Tink asked, again, hoping for another answer.

She was sitting in the passenger seat of Jeraine’s car. Tanesha was taking her to school.

“You need to check in with the school psychologist and Mrs. Seigle,” Tanesha said. “Your parents were called to give another statement to the Denver Police so I thought I’d take you.”

Tink nodded.

“I can stay with you all day,” Tanesha said. “If you decide that you want to go home, we’re out of there. No questions asked. If you feel like you’d like to go to school, then I’ll go home.”

“What if I decide to stay and can’t hack it?” Tink asked.

“I’ll come right back to get you,” Tanesha said. “No problem.”

Tink nodded and looked out the passenger window.

“How are you?” Tanesha asked.

“I am …” Tink said, with a sigh. “If you’d asked me last night when we were in Paris or when we were in New York or … I was happy, mostly. I mean, sad some, too. I went all mental all over Sissy.”

“She can handle it,” Tanesha said.

“I know, but …” Tink stopped talking. She turned to look at Tanesha. “I don’t know how to feel. My brother is dead. I am still here. It’s like … unreal.”

“I think you just feel how you feel,” Tanesha said. “I’ve lost people in the past, but they are my loss. This was your brother. He and you have your own experiences of growing up together. No one else has that. Losing him will affect you in a unique way.”

Tink nodded. They fell silent. Tanesha turned off Colorado and pulled into a spot in the Marlowe School parking lot.

“You’ll stay with me?” Tink asked.

“I will,” Tanesha said.

“If I want to go home?” Tink asked.

“We’ll go home,” Tanesha said.

“No questions asked,” Tink said.

“Exactly,” Tanesha said with a nod.

Tink gave Tanesha a long look, before nodding. Not saying a word, Tink got out of the car.

“What’s up?” Tanesha asked.

“I didn’t know you had that,” Tink said.

“What?” Tanesha asked.

“Your mom is such a badass,” Tink said. “I didn’t realize you were a badass too.”

“Hey,” Tanesha stopped walking. “I’ve had to deal with Jeraine for all of these years.”

Tink laughed and they started walking again.

“He’s okay now?” Tink asked.

“He’d better be,” Tanesha said.

Laughing, Tink pushed open the front doors to the Marlowe School.

Denver Cereal continues on Monday…

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