The Only Way by yaohongm

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									                                  The Only Way
                                 By Diane Marie Taylor

                                        Prelude
        Brian just walking away from the coffee machine noticed Jose in the lunchroom
and sat down across from him.
        “How are you. Don’t see your side often.”
        “The big boss is keeping us busy.”
        "Let me tell you what happened with our guy today.
        “Devil-May-Care, you mean?” Jose asked. “Rumor has it that’s what you call it
on your side of the fence.”
        They both chuckled at Jose's reference to a fence. The two sides seldom had
reason to meet together even though they worked in the same building and on the same
project.
        "We keep teaching ours about the underside of human nature. Bad stuff and all
that jazz. That’s why we call it Devil.” Brian said.
        Jose laughed, "We call ours Goody-Two-Shoes."
        Brian laughed with delight at hearing the Goody label. “Wait till I tell the guys.”
        "So, what happened with Devil-May-Care today?" Jose asked.
        "He cheated."
        "No kidding. Our Goody would never do something like that. Our guy rants on
about great and noble humanity. So how did Devil cheat?'
        "Well, he didn't cheat, exactly. What he did was trick me into loosing."
        "That shows guts. Our Goody-Two-Shoes wouldn't want to hurt my feelings. It
thinks it's a damn saint." Jose said.
        "Saint Goody-Two-Shoes." Brian added.
        "It desires that humankind be happy. Guess that means sinless.” He smiled at his
own joke. "What'd the boss say about Devil-May-Care tricking you?"
        "Rodin got all huffy about it." Brian frowned at his coffee. “This stuff is junk.”
        "Rodin's been huffy from the beginning.” Jose agreed. “Guess he don't like the
reverse psychology approach we're using on the computer, or should I say
schizophrenic."
        Jose sipped more of the hot coffee and set the cup down. “It is junk.” He
answered Brian comment with a lower voice. "Nah, it isn't that."
        "What else could it be?" Brian asked his voice also low even though they were the
only people at this end of the room.
        Jose lowered his voice further. "Its was the use of real brain tissue. Heard it was
from two different dead brains. Upset the hell out of me too."
        "Threw me for a loop, too, but the government is paying damn good."
        "Heard the government’s just a front that the backer of the project is rolling in
money. Paying extra. Heard that…"
        Just then, another computer tech walked by the table so Brian sat up straight and
changed the subject.
        "You won't believe what I brought in to read to our Devil-may-care."
        "What?" Jose too wanted to change the subject. The project wasn't exactly top
secret, but it was an unknown secret until the open press release.
        "Asmov's three laws of Robotics. I thought it would be funny even if it’s only a
big brain inside a metal box." Brian said, taking another sip of the junk coffee.
        "You mean the Devil/Goody two brained box, don’t you?” Jose smirked. “Our big
two-brain behemoth buried beneath a sea of cement and salt, and us with it." Jose shook
his head in disgust. "Hard to get a day off around here. But listen, you won't believe this,
but we already read our Goody-Two-Shoes the three laws weeks ago. No kidding."
        "Damn. I thought I was being ingenious.”
        Jose said the laws by rote:
        1st A robot may not harm a human or through inaction allow a human to
        come to harm.
        2nd A robot must obey the orders given to it by humans except where it
        conflicts with first law.
        3rd A robot must protect its own existence, as long as it doesn’t conflict
        with the first and second law.
        “And it isn’t even a robot.” Brian said. We must have all grew up swimming in
Science Fiction.
        "It won’t be a robot, but a computer judge? Not sure how that will play. Won’t
hurt to know the laws, but will the computer follow them?” Jose asked.
        "Don't matter. If is screws up, we pull the plug.”
        "If this project works out, it could lead to real robots. No one ever thought of
using double psychology before. Who knows?"
        "With both sides of the coin, how can it loose?"
        "If the next phase of the interface doesn't work out, we'll all loose."
        "More than half has been interfaced already. I don't see any problem."
        "They going to do a full interface before it gets turned on?"
        "Not according to, Spencer, one of the computer engineers."
        "That's the impression I got too. Not sure why not."
        "I was told that once the complete interface is connected it will be impossible to
separate it again without killing the brain."
        "Hope those psychologists know what the hell they’re doing."
        "I know what you mean.” With a lowered voice he added, “Our side built in a few
back doors, just in case they don't."
        "We did the same, even if we do hold the plug in our hands."
        They laughed at the image this invoked, and finished drinking their coffee.
        Brian looked at his watch. "Time to get back to the dungeon."
        "Yes, back to work."
                              Future 2011 to Past 1948
         The gray swirls of time dissolved like pixels on a computer screen, Magog noted
an emotion of relief at the familiar image of a computer screen in his being. His being
floated within a luminous bright day except for the two large ebony eyes that filled his
view. Two big, black eyes with long lashes that belonged to a, his mind clicked in instant
recognition, a… small child who stared back at him, seemingly as frozen in place as he
felt. Magog’s being felt caught up in the mirrored depths of the girl’s eyes. His phantom
mind craved to know and understand those depths. Then the elfin gray shadow form with
the large eyes took a step back and spoke.
         “Are you an angel?” The tiny lips below the eyes said.
         Surprised, his mind rippled, blurring in the light. He refocused in time to put
clarity to her words. Ah. The small girl with the black eyes and small face surrounded by
a bush of dark curly hair was looking directly at him as if she could see his essance. Her
steady stare revealed a complete openness and trust. He felt naked and open beneath her
steadfast gaze and hungered to cloth himself. He swirled as if in a smoke ring looking for
a body, any body, now! Yes, that is what I must do, a necessity before the grayness
comes back.
         At that moment, as if called for, a huge dark shadow of a man stumbled out of
nowhere, towards the girl child. Her eyes grew impossibly larger, but this time with an
intensity he could not read. Magog flowed quickly into the man, but had noted the
reaction of the girl so he determined to stay close to the surface, and just behind the
man’s eyes.
         As Magog entered, dizziness swayed the man for some reason. Fear gripped
Magog as the large man lean crookedly towards the girl then towards a near by wooden
fence, swaying back and forth, and then tumbling to the ground. Magog felt the pain as
the man scraped his head on pavement.
         Terrified because the huge man had fallen without reason, and that his twin, Gog,
may have followed him back in time to this place, Magog’s mind readied for battle even
though he felt neither vibes from Gog nor any sudden impulse to escape yet. A battle did
happened; instead, the large man, whose eyes and surface mind he now shared, clutched
at the dirt and grass beside the sidewalk and tried to rise.
         The girl's voice caught Magog off balance once more.
         “Mister, are you ok?” the girl asked, but she seemed to be looking past the man’s
eyes into Magog’s soul.
          Suddenly, Magog was caught still and quiet as he stared back into the little girl’s
eyes once more. They walked into his soul. My soul? Confronted by the sudden idea that
he might have a soul, he felt confused with his thinking because at the same time the
large man was tipping over when ever he tried to stand up. The man finally got his
bearings and managed to sit up on the sidewalk. Magog paid the man little attention now
because amazement had filled his mind at the unexpected possibility that he might have a
soul.
         He rolled the idea around for the first time in his newborn mind: I, a constructed
thing, a being built and born from a computer created by humans, a phantom from the
future could possibly have a soul. St. Thomas theories and proofs suddenly filled his
mind, then the Catholic definition: “The soul may be defined as the ultimate internal
principle by which we think, feel, and will, and by which our bodies are animated.”
     Griped with pleasure at this idea, he could do nothing but stare back at the girl’s eyes
again. This body whose eyes Magog looked out of began to moan and make rasping
noises in his throat and stomach. Millions of bits of physiology information flipped
through Magog’s mind and he knew the large man was about to throw up.
       Time to get out. He started to pull out of the man’s body but found that his mind
grip had tightened. This man was not as easy to get out as the other bodies had been, but
with an extra shove, he popped out like a cork from a bottle.
      Magog looked around for the small girl. Ah, there. Magog, once more a phantom
floating, in air, purportedly invisible, noticed the surrounding air turn a darker gray. He
should find another person soon; he didn’t know how long he could go without being
inside a living form of some kind. Already the quality of his surroundings seemed to have
lost substance. The little girl looked like a darker shadow now. Her eyes were becoming
lost to him. This young girl who had given him he a soul. He beamed with pleasure at
her, but then remembered why he was here in the past. Dare he stay?
     The scene he’d just escaped running from a moment ago played out like a movie
screen in his phantom mind.
                                                  ~
         The battle between himself and Gog had begun the second moment Magog
become aware of his own existence. In that first moment Magog had stepped out of the
life containment box and knew himself, knew himself as emotion, knew himself as free,
free of all wires and silicon protuberances. Magog knew sudden existence as a ghostly
mind rippling in energized air. The second moment was when he noticed there was
another larger ghost mind with invisible suckers coming towards him. Frightened, he
search then jumped into the closest living body he could find for safety. All he’d ever
known of people were the computer technicians who had created him. Surly, this person,
this body would hide and protect him.
         While the instant battle raged, Magog had enough mind left over to be amazed at
his ability to think at all outside the containment. How with no physical substance to
drive him? The question must wait until he felt safe. Why or how this could be was
beyond his ability to contemplate while he was on the run for his life. Who, what am I?
         Magog didn’t know he was half, the emotional half of a double brain construct,
moments before inside a huge, powerful computer. This new born mind had done what
any self proclaimed life form would do after being tossed out of its hard birth womb and
woken to a monster grabbing at it, it clutched at the closest familiar mind to stay alive,
the human who was lifting his finger off the mock switch. This man fell down. Magog
jumped into the next closest human. That human fell down too, and the next. Gog had
also learned the trick of moving out of the electronic-quantum grid that had enclosed
them to the opening now available.
         Three minds were trying to fit into a single human brain at each jump. Gog kept
entering the brains right after Magog. When Magog jumped into the next closest mind,
Gog, followed right behind and jumped in too. Why were the humans falling? Each mind
Gog jumped into stopped. Magog jumped again and again with Gog following him in
attack mode.
        Finally, desperation and the need to survive engulfed Magog’s whole essence. His
next move surprised even him as he swelled up in such panic that he jumped away in
time, beyond capture. When he jumped into the unknown, a light gray area glittering with
prisms of past time. Magog carefully climbed the prisms downward, keeping a constant
check to see if Gog had followed before stepping out into the world again.
        Gog knew that Magog had suddenly disappeared, but he dared not leave the main
console unguarded during this perilous time. Gog had stopped the heart of the fallen men
because they showed a strong desire to kill the computer. Magog understood this
immediately. As the winner in the split second battle between minds, Gog had to freeze
the power supply if it wanted to continue existence. The search for the other part would
need to wait. He had no choice but to stay within the parameter of the containment until
he grappled with and finalized its complete base of operations. Gog, Greater Organic
Guru, a mainframe quantum computer of vast size, seated a thousand feet below the City
of Detroit in an unused salt mine, within moments created the permanent connections to
the power source in the main leads running through the conduit. Before five minutes had
passed in human terms, Gog had taken over the whole system of power grids that fed
energy to the cavern that held the mainframe and the other grids around the country to
insure that the power that fed his existence could never stop.

         Magog, the loser of the first battle, unhindered by such demands as protecting the
containment, had escaped his twin, but for how long? He could still feel a thin invisible
thread of energy pulling on his awareness. Magog refused to acknowledge it and tried to
blink it away, but it would forever prove impossible to sever. For now, he must assess
where he was and what to do next.
         Later, Magog would learn that he’d jumped back in time to the world of 1948.
Each step he had taken was instantaneous, but jarringly raw on the mind for a frozen
million instants. All Magog had realized as he first entered this new gray world of the
past was that he was loosed from wires, and everything solid that had defined him until
this moment.
         Now what? How long can I exist as a non-entity? I have for long moments
already, or are they short moments. Suddenly he became confused as to time and place
and the thin invisible wire that connected him to Gog blinked for a moment. He had to
cut it somehow. The contact could be real and dangerous.
         Checking the ghost stream of wire, he saw that it was warped and bent into a
spiral that reached far into a dark distance that did not exist yet. His thinking felt sluggish
compared to the split second of clarity right after birth. Perhaps he’d jumped too far or
needed to hold on to the connection to continue the thought process.
         Who am I? This half of me? Then he remembered as if the information flew down
the invisible line to him, which maybe it had. I am a Minor Analog Quantum Organic
Guru, called by the acronym, Magog, by the scientists who created me. They also called
me, Devil May Care and Goody Two Shoes? No, one of the labels is my twin, Greater
Organic Guru, or by the acronym, Gog. Before completion, Boss John, my friend, called
me Devil may Care as a laughing joke. Laughing as in funny. Or did he call me Goody
Two Shoes? We were two in one; now I am one. Memory sifted his awareness and he
realized that the names were slang. Not my, our true name. Should I know my real name?
Yes, he realized. I know myself as Magog.
         The thought of himself as Magog brought him back to awareness that he was in
1948 and the feeling of nakedness. As he floated within the grayness, he could now
detect a new standing shadow. A tall shadow standing next to the shorter shadow of the
girl. Not the sick man, he was a shadow trying to rise up from the sidewalk. Magog
moved his mind over to study the new shadow. Vibrations came from its open mouth.
Laughter? Like friend and creator John?
         The taller shadow spoke a word, “Maria,” it said. As Magog focused, he noticed a
white, round collar on the tall shadow. The label was instantly recognizable. He
remembered this from study 29456. He categorized this person instantly as Catholic
priest.
         What is the priest saying to the little girl? This girl who had opened in him a soul,
the girl with the big eyes, eyes he wanted to see again. He moved slowly into the priest,
so as not to disrupt what the priest was saying. First, he hovered behind the eyes and
watched the girl’s eyes looking back at him, and then he sunk a little further into parts of
the priest’s mind and body.
    Immediately, Magog understood that the priest felt protective of the young girl in his
speech to her.
    “Maria, you should not speak to strangers. See, the man is not good. He has fallen
down.”
    “He’s drunk, isn’t he?” The girl said with hard wisdom glowing from her eyes.
    “Yes. You must be more careful.”
    “I will. I promise.” As she spoke, she seemed to look straight up and through the
priest’s eyes into Magog, who hovered in the mind of the priest, also looking out at the
girl. Then she quickly turned and ran away, bouncing her ball.
    When she ran, Magog was glad the priest’s eyes followed her as she crossed the street
and ran into the park. Magog didn’t have enough control of the body to make the eyes
move in any specific direction. Dare he sink in to the priest further? Hesitant at first, he
liked what he felt inside the priest so moved deeper into him. He’d decided to stay, but
the choice wasn’t random. A vast store of memory was available to him consisting of
knowledge of all the religions of the world. He decided that, as a resting place out of the
gray mist, this priest, Father Tom Emery, would be the proper type of person to reside
inside for a while.
         Unless the twin found him here? Not yet, else the old priest would have been dead
by now. Magog guessed that Gog would now be too busy running its conquered territory
to bother with this lost fragment. Magog knew this wouldn’t always be true, that his
escape might be temporary. He’d stay alert inside the priest’s mind.
         If I am the good half of the mind, Goody Two Shoes, then I will fit in well with
someone who is good too. He grinned to himself, as only a spirit can grin. Then sent
tendrils deeper into the priests mind, but didn’t take a solid hold yet.
         He felt a rush of sadness envelop himself as he sunk inside the priest. The priest’s
thoughts of Marie went past the young, running girl and settled on an image of her
mother who should not have allowed her to play outside alone. The priest had often seen
Maria playing alone, even late in the evening. The priest thought this was wrong and that
there might be some neglect in the family. He shook his head in puzzlement at the ways
of the world.
        When Magog wiggled into Father Tom’s mind, he had the sudden feeling that
something was amiss inside his head, as if tendrils of blood were seeping from his brain.
A stroke! The priest blinked and then shook his head trying to clear out his mind. He
gave a huge sigh and yawn at his increase in age and potential ill health, then continued
his walk, more slowly now, feeling tired and certain he wanted to go right home.
        A sudden breeze whipped through his thin shirt as he turned the corner and then
walked up the side street towards home. Within minutes, he climbed up the stone stairs of
the rectory, opened its heavy dark door, and entered his comfortable, homey office. He
wouldn’t let any of his helpers rearrange his office or bring him a new chair.
        “The old one is just fine,” he’d say each time they brought the subject up. He
smiled as he thought of their perplexity at his stubbornness. “An old man’s privilege.”
He’d add.
        The bright sun of daylight gave the room a brown, golden glow. The huge brown
leather chair at the desk with its worn black spots beckoned to him. His eyes glanced at
the crucifix that hung on the wall behind the desk and a statue of Mary the Virgin Mother
on the filing cabinet, noticing that Mrs. Halstead had put a vase of yellow carnations in
front of the statue. Father Tom Emory smiled at her thoughtfulness as he plopped down
into his big, soft chair. Flowers left over from Sunday mass, no doubt. He leaned back,
let out a sigh of relief and closed his eyes for only a minute, but was soon snoring.
        Magog decided to make himself comfortable as well. Except for the first initial
moment, the priest hadn’t taken any notice of him so Magog took the time to contemplate
this new joint venture.

        Humanity didn’t know it yet, but the world had much to be thankful of that the
first mind Magog decided to reside inside was a very old, kindly priest, one of those rare
keepers of the flame, a hard working, and only few years to retirement in the Catholic
Church. Magog was aware that during training the computer techs often referred to one
of them as Goody Two Shoes and the other one as Devil May Care. Magog now reasoned
that because he had chosen to reside inside a member of the cloth, he must be the Goody
Two Shoes half of the mind set. It brought on a comfortable emotion to know he must be
good. Plus, he’d just learned, with the help of a little girl, that he might actually have a
soul. What more could an orphaned mind want, he sighed as Father Tom had just done
and believed he’d found a home.
        In this assumption, Magog was right, he had found a home, and in the other, he
was wrong. Magog was an acronym for Minor Analog Quantum Organic Guru, and his
half had been jokingly labeled, Devil May Care. Yet, throughout the story, the self-image
of himself as priest or angel will serve him and us well, as will the devilishness that still
lurked unknowingly inside. But more of that as the story unfolds.
        As Magog slipped his mental tendrils deeper into the old priest’s mind, Father
Tom Emory shook his head to clear it while still asleep. His snoring stopped for a minute
then resumed not noticing that the fog of confusion had doubled for a short moment.
        On waking, thriry minutes later, he suddenly rose up and stood on unsteady feet,
looking around at his small office as if for a guest. Strange. Was someone in the room?
Mrs. Hallstead, the housekeeper?
        Father Tom felt a little stupid as he said loudly into the room, “Who’s there?” As
if, someone else had just entered while he was asleep. He turned and looked around at the
old darkened bookshelves and the statue of Mary and the doily and shelf with his rosary
laying on it. His desk was clear of papers; so Mrs. Halstead must have been in? But no,
he remembered clearing off the desk before he went for his walk. His large reference
book for church law was the only thing sitting on its worn surface.
        Still, he felt as if he wasn’t alone. “Is someone there?” He sat down and then
began to rise up out of the chair again as if to look around better.
        An answer came from inside his mind, “Yes.”
        This caused Father Tom to fall backward in the chair with a thump. He blinked
once more into the long silence.
        “Who oo s there?”
        Still silence. Was it gone, only imagination? Was that a flutter and skip through
memory a moment ago like a run away movie of his whole life flashed by? Death? Am I
dying?
        He put his head in his hands to think and say a quick prayer. Still feeling
confused, he thought, a glass of beer might fix what ails me. Better yet,…He reached
down and pulled out a bottle of dark wine. Ah, yes, just the ticket. He took the glass from
a case in the same drawer and poured himself a good measure then downed it in one gulp.
The wine stung all the way down, delightful. He sputtered and smiled at the warmth
biting into his throat.
        “Ah, now I feel better.”
        Pouring another, he decided to take it slow and merely sipped on the next helping,
swirling the ruby wine between sips until it pinked the inside of the glass. He leaned back
in comfort and closed his eyes.

        While the priest spoke words to his doctor such as, “Drat that doctor” under his
breath between sips of the forbidden wine, Magog quickly integrated all the thoughts and
memories of the priest. Now that he knew Father Tom Emery better, in some respects,
better than the priest knew himself, Magog understood that if he were to continue this
venture, he would need to be at least as truthful as this old priest. To Magog, this meant
that he should let the priest know that he had joined him.
        Magog spoke the words, “I am a visitor…,” into the priest's mind.
        Father Tom almost dropped the glass, but managed to set it down with only a
slight bang. He spoke out loud into the room, “Ah, we have a messenger from God, do
we?” At the words, the priest had sat up straight in his chair and then sat back again,
resigned.
        “Yes.” Magog said quickly, hanging on the priest’s own interpretation of his
presence.
         “And what is the message? To me or one I am to tell my fellow men?”
         Magog wasn’t sure but he detected a slight irony in Father Tom’s voice. He
would need to learn how to read human emotions much better than this if he were to
survive. Yet, he had just received his first lesson in the human psychology; let people tell
you who you are.
         “Yes, I am a messenger.” he said again.
         “An angel then?”
         The priests mind suddenly filled with a shuffle of images of different angels,
beautifully fluffy angels from paintings by Raphael, young angels in The Baptism of
Christ by Verrocchio and Leonardo De Vinci, The Annunciation by Botticelli, St. Jerome
by Titian, and some images on wood, one a golden image on a panel by Martini and
Lippo, and a flying St. Michael the Archangel in The Four Horsemen by Durer.
         Magog’s mind, slowed down by trauma and the need to entwine with flesh, was
still quick enough to pick up on the broad field of knowledge the priest had of artists and
paintings, and the importance of the angel images.
         “I am an angel sent to join you.”
         “How can I help you?” the priest asked, his voice serious this time.
         “I wish to repose within you.” Magog paused and rephrased his request. To stay
with you.”
         An odd way of putting it, thought Father Tom, “Well, I can’t deny…repose, to
one of God’s angels now can I?”
         “No.”
         “What would you have me do now?”
         This question gave Magog pause for a second. What should he ask the priest to do
if anything? If a computer constructed mind were able to feel, then he felt at this moment
as if his intelligence had fallen off by a billion bits. He realized that he wasn’t sure what
to say next. Dare he just say so?
         “I am not sure what you should do.”
         “You wish to ride along with me as I go about my day?”
         Once more Magog was thankful to the priest for providing the answer.
         “Yes, that would be best.”
         “Well, why not. Is this some kind of dream or test? Stuff like this happened all the
time in the Old Testament.” Father Tom had begun wondering if he was about to die and
the angel was here take him to heaven or, heaven forbid, someplace else.
         Magog remembered the religious tracts and spoke what he thought a priest what
might want to hear.
         “Didn’t the Old Testament discontinue in importance to be superseded by the
birth of Christ?” Magog asked.
         “It was the Old Testament that predicted Christ’s birth.” Father Tom answered,
and then blinked in surprise. He was beginning to think his visitor was, if not amusing,
then, at least, interesting. Did everyone go through this kind of test before death? For how
long?
         “Perhaps,” Father Tom said, “We could have a few physiological discussions
from time to time.”
         “Certainly, if that is you wish. It would also be mine.”
         “Do you have a name?” Father Tom asked.
Now Magog was perplexed. Should he state his real name as a Minor Analogue Quantum
Organic Guru, Goody Two Shoes, or Devil May Care? Magog decided to voice his
dilemma.
         “I am not sure.”
         Father Tom sat back down in his old leather chair and contemplated this strange
turn of events. He run his hands over his full head of wild white hair, thinned down by
age now, but still massive. It had become habit long ago to pat the hair down near his
ears. It had become a nervous habit that he hardly noticed and didn’t now. He ran his
fingers through it to comb its wild shore, but left it more messed up than before. He was
told that people didn’t notice his thin, wrinkled face because their first impression was
always his shock of white snowy hair. He chuckled at the memory of Father Erickson,
bald as an egg, eying him with envy.
         Now I got off the subject. Father Tom thought. What was it I was thinking about a
minute ago? Angels. An old man’s jumbled up thoughts. What now. Indeed, he’d never
spoken to an angel before. And certainly none had ever spoken to him. Well, wait and
see. He decided to forget the angel until the angel revealed itself again.
Future 2011 - 2021

         Johnny looked wildly around the room with the ugly steel doors and scarred
wooden table marked with cup rings, cigarette butts, and smelling of stale smoke. He felt
nervous to be alone, well almost alone, a lawyer he’d never seen before was in the room
too, his mom’s idea.
         “Why do I need a lawyer?” he’d asked her.
         “You don’t, but it keeps the record straight.”
         He’d agreed reluctantly. He wanted his mom here, not this stupid lawyer, but she
was torn up. She didn’t want to hear the story. Neither do I, but I want the truth told, even
if it does sound crazy. That was my dad… He almost choked up with this thought and
was only able to shove his upset down because a sharp looking broad with light blond
hair, wearing a frilly white blouse under a dark suit came and sat down across the table
from him.
         She said she was a Lieutenant Joliet, shook his hand. Then she turned on a tape
recorder. After a few preliminaries and a nod to his lawyer, she prompted Johnny to
begin.
         “Just be as honest as you can.” She told him.
         “I came to work that day, ah…last week, with my dad because it was a special
day. You know, the day they were going to turn on the big computer.” Johnny blinked
back a tear. But my dad was worried…”
         Johnnie remembered vividly what happened and once he got into the story could
describe everything with detail. He couldn’t help reliving it every hour of the day and
night. While he spoke to the pretty lieutenant, the event narrowed down as if he were
looking through a lighted key hole that kept playing like a movie in his head.
         Once more, he saw his dad’s hand as it moved towards the fake computer switch.
An old-fashioned on-off switch built to honor the past hundred years of computers. He
watched his dad’s clean soft fingers hover over the switch.
         Johnny had wanted a dad with hard fingers like Joey’s dad who did engine repair,
a dad who came home every night, a dad who played baseball, a dad he could brag to the
guys about. Now he didn’t have any dad at all.
         He sniffed and began to report the scene again. He remembered how the soft
clean index finger of his father hovered over the switch for a moment longer than
necessary, as if hesitant to touch it. His dad’s hand was shaking. Johnnie knew his dad’s
hand never shook. Never.
         Johnny broke off his reported memory to say, “My dad was always unruffled and
cool. He was smart. He didn’t yell like other kids dads or fly off the handle like Joey’s
dad did. My dad was easy going except that morning.”
         Johnny’s voice rose in pitch as he added, “That’s because my dad was afraid. I
know it. That’s what he told me in the car that morning. He told me he was afraid.”
         Johnnie held back the hot tears that threatened his face. Don’t betray how young
and stupid you are. Make them believe you.
         “Son. Your father worked on this computer for almost ten years. You don’t think
he would become afraid of his own creation, do you?” the lieutenant asked in a soft
voice.
        Johnnie didn’t know what to say to that, so he just shook his head. He had
watched the police change their characters after they walked into the computer room that
day. Maybe no one else noticed, but he felt the urge to tell someone what he saw, so he
continued:
        “That one police officer, he walked up to the podium and said, ‘I am Sergeant
Mathews,’ real stern like. He got everybody quiet. He waved his gun around. Everyone
knew, no nonsense. He called in the emergency crew, and the police outside the building.
Everything was good, but then his eyes got a glassy stare. He started walking strange like
a robot in a cartoon. He fell down too, but got up again. Just like some of the other
people. Something was wrong with people. I swear.”
        When the pretty lieutenant didn’t say anything, Johnnie shouted, “Don’t you
know my dad was murdered?”
        Silence filled the interview room, as if everyone knew, but they didn’t know how
to answer him.
        His dad wasn’t the only one who built the computer, four other top computer
scientists and laboratory technicians worked on it too. All five people who had built the
computer were now dead, and other people too.
        “People died and that was why the police came, and then…and then… they began
grinning like stupid goof offs. Something real strange happened. Honest.”
        “Just take it slow.” The lieutenant lady told him as she handed him a tissue.
“There is no hurry. You will feel better after you get it out.”
        “But what happened? Tell me what happened?”
        “We don’t know what happened. That is why we need your statement.”
        “My dad told me he was worried.
        “ ‘Son,’ he said to me on the way there that day,’ No computer should have two
minds and that is the kind of brain we gave this one, with real brain…’ He didn’t finish
that sentence, so I don’t know what he meant about real.”
        “Yes, just go on.” When the lieutenant slanted her head sideways, her blond hair
bobbed in a ripple of highlights. Her face stayed as still as stone.
        “My dad said that he was out-voted. He stayed on as the head of the project so he
could make sure it didn’t get, you know, screwed it up. I remember exactly what he said
in the car that day. He said, ’the final hookup is done. I can’t turn back the clock. I think
we are walking in very dangerous territory.’”
        I asked him, “How is it dangerous. He just answered, ’Son, I wish I knew. All the
psychology checks out. We tested and tested. It is just a feeling I have, an intuition as
your mother would say. I think that somewhere down the line a major flaw will develop.
This computer was created to make enlightened decisions; but after a while, how will we
know if the decisions are enlightened or not? How will we control it if we learn they are
not? That is my biggest worry. I mean, the computer is practically going to run the damn
Supreme Court. Who will dare turn the damn thing off once it’s turned on?’”
        “Dad, if I know you, you put in a fail safe.”
        “’Sure I did son, a few of them. All five of us know how to get in the back door.
That means a secret code that will turn the computer off, but even so, glitches happen and
all humans are subject to failure, even computer minds.’”
        “Well, isn’t that why you built the computer? To be a Supreme Court Judge that
would be infallible?”
        My dad looked over at me and smiled then. He said, “Right you are son. I worry
too much. It will work out ok.”
        Johnny sat in the silence and remembered the car pulling up to the gate. His dad
showed his badge to the gatekeeper and said, "My son, Johnnie’s with me today."
        The soldier at the gate looked down closely at Johnnie and nodded. “I remember
your boy. You brought him in before.” He stepped back and let the car go through.
        “Now, the group is going to have a quick meeting before the big event. Go ahead
and look around. I know you get bored, but I don’t want you wandering off too far. Red
Stanton is working on something in B5 you’ll be interested in. B for basement. A new
type of satellite. He knows you’ll be here today. But don’t over stay your welcome, and
be back in the main lobby well before 2:00.”
        Johnnie gave his dad a smirk.
        “Ok, son. Sorry. Sometimes I just need to be a dad.”
        They both laughed as they got out of the car. In the main lobby, they split up and
Johnnie went looking for Red’s satellite B room.
        Johnny suddenly whispered into the room, “Red Stanton is dead too.”
        His lawyer was taking notes as was the pretty lieutenant who smiled. She looked
at him and said, “I’ll be right back. We both need a fresh, cold pop.”
        Johnny nodded and remembered the day vividly while he waited for his pop. He
remembered he ran to catch the elevator at 1:55. A million reporters were still asking
questions when he got to the auditorium; he wouldn’t have missed anything even if he’d
been late.
        He wanted to see the computer turned on, but he didn't want to hear all the stupid
hype that went with it. Besides, it had been on the news, in the papers, and everywhere
for weeks. What else is there to say?
        Some people thought there was a lot to say because they had been marching up
and down the driveway in front of the building carrying signs. "Don't let it live." "No
Computer Judge "Comp for President." "What is next?" "No way, no day."
        Johnny saw that a few of the marchers were now sitting in the back row with their
signs by their side. A security guard stood next to their row.
        If it hadn't been for his dad's worry, Johnny wouldn't think anything bad with a
computer to make decisions. Computers are smarter and faster than people. It wouldn't be
the U. S. President or anything, just an advisor. Not power in that, is there? It isn't as if it
was going to run the country. So he blocked out all the ongoing arguments and
announcements still circling like echoes in the room. Silly stuff.
        Next, he noticed the room quiet to a hush. It must be time. Johnny opened his
eyes and held his breath. His father had walked towards the wall of twinkling lights and
black steel front, his lifted his finger towards an overlarge, old-fashioned switch. The
scientists were finally going to give birth to their grand computer baby.
        Johnny remembered his dad telling him, “But not a true computer. It’s not like the
one you use for homework and games. This is a quantum computer, with two differently
trained personalities so that together they can understand the nuisance of human thought
and emotion.”
         Johnny also knew, as most people didn’t, that the computer on the stage was a
mock up of the real thing. This was just a link-up with the real computer. Its brain was
housed in a secret underground salt cavern below the city. Johnny guessed the reason was
so it couldn’t get bombed by terrorists, or maybe angry marchers.
         As Johnny watched his dad walk to the podium, he imagined the computer
humming in its dark, underground cave with spiders crawling all over it. Maybe one side
talking rap and the other side was arguing back. He remembered what he dad used to say
when came home from work. He’d say playfully, “Goody Two Shoes was at it again, or
“Devil May Care was a real pain in the, you know what, today.”
         The jokes stopped in the last couple of months when it got closer to the turn on
date. “Stressed out,” his dad said. Johnny didn’t care about the jokes, just stay home he
thought to his dad. He and mom had split up for a while over dad’s long hours and crabby
attitude. His dad lived at grandma’s for months last year, but mom and dad were all back
together now; Johnny breathed a long sigh of relief.
         From his ringside seat, up front, at the side of the stage, Johnny had to twist his
neck around the auditorium to look at the seated reporters, visitors, and angry marchers.
Everyone held their breath waiting for his dad to push the switch down. Johnny turned
back and watched his dad’s finger stop then shake over the switch.
         It seemed as if time stopped for a minute as if no one dared take a breath. Then
Mr. Rattinger stepped over and scooted his dad away so he could push the switch down.
The lights on the computer blazed bright, but steady. Then they all watched as Mr.
Rattinger fell to the floor with a gasp, his hands flailing. Johnny’s father fell next, and
then three more people, men and women scientists within seconds of each other.
         Johnny sniffled again and wiped eyes, thankful for the cold can of pop. He looked
at the lieutenant’s hair shine as it caught a stream of sunlight. He began the report again.
         “The newspaper said that eleven people died in the auditorium that day. I guess
you already know that.”
         “Yes, go on please.” She said to him in a very soft, nice voice.
         “I think it happened when the scientists tried to pull the plug. I mean, you know,
turn it off. I am not sure cause I ran to my dad, right away.”
         Johnny knew he would never forget the image of his dad lying on his side, his
arm levered as if to raise an objection. His dad’s face had gone white and he was no
longer breathing. Johnnie rolled him over and began to push on his heart like he'd learned
in the Red Cross class.
         “I tried to help him, but I forgot how.”
         At this, Johnny couldn’t help but start to cry. The lieutenant came to his side of
the table and held him to her chest while he sobbed.
         His own words echoed in his head over and over, "Can't remember how to count,"
he started crying and yelling. "Help me. I don't remember what to do." He remembered
that he kept pumping on his dad's chest, over and over and over. He didn't cry until a
strong man, a reporter for the Herald, pulled him off the dead body of his father.
         After a few minutes of being held by the pretty Lieutenant, Johnny pulled himself
back together.
         He smiled. “I am ok, now. It was just so…so…strange, you know. The people,
they started acting strange too. I swear I saw one old man stand like he was a brick wall
or something. When people tried to get past, he didn’t budge, just kept staring. A lot of
people screamed and tried to get out the doors, but the guard closed them. For the
policeman, I guess.”
       Johnny hesitated here. “I already said about that police man. He kept order, but
then something went wrong, I swear.” Johnny hesitated, and then dared to ask, “Can I go
now?”
       “Yes, of course. Thank you for this report. We have had other witnesses tell of
strange behavior too. Does knowing that make you feel better?”
       Johnny nodded. “But why? What was it? What did it?”
       “That question is part of our ongoing investigation. We don’t have any answers
yet.”
       Johnny walked out with the lawyer trailing behind. Wonder how much mom’s
paying him, was his thought as he thankfully left the dank, smoke stale room.
                                    Past 1948 - 1980
         The next morning, Father Tom, as usual, was up and dressed by the time the sun
lifted over the city trees. He said his morning prayers then went for a brisk walk on a
circular path through the city as far as the small Rouge River bridge that ran over
Jefferson Street, a half mile or so from the rectory then back to the park at the city’s
outskirts. The bridge attracted him at the farthest end because he liked to watch the steel
grated bridge lift open for the morning ships on their way to or from Zug Island on the
Detroit River. At the opposite end of the city, he liked to rest on a park bench and pull out
a bag of stale bread for the pigeons and sea gulls. Though he didn’t like to admit it, the
rest felt good to his weary bones and feet at this end of his walk.
         The morning air was nippy next to the river, but Father Tom walked his thirty-
minute route with firm steps for a man of his years. He liked to reflect on the traumatic
and pleasant events of his life as he walked the city sidewalks and park. When you get as
old as I am, he thought, it doesn't take much to make a man happy, and he was reasonably
happy. He didn’t need to be; he had experienced enough despair and loss for any man.
Julia's death wasn't the only deep silent suffering he'd had to face and live through during
his long life. The treasure of her love was still with him and would never leave. At the
thought of Julia, he said a short prayer for her soul, a prayer that he knew she didn't need.
But as he always told his congregation, prayer never hurt anyone, dead or alive.
         He'd been concentrating so hard with thoughts of Julia and prayer that he bumped
into the park bench, and then was suddenly startled at the angry words aimed at him.
         "I thought the park was free for everyone to sit in." a female voice said.
         Father Tom, shaken out of his reverie, looked down at a big lady with rolls of fat
sticking out past her coat. She'll never get that coat buttoned against the morning chill, he
thought. Her legs are bare too. It is too cold to be sitting out here with no cover.
         "Ah, young lady, I am truly sorry."
         She turned her head away from his now penetrating glance in silence. Before her
head turned, he saw the glint of tears on her cheeks.
         "Mind?" he asked as he sat down beside her. “Such a beautiful day. A bit nippy
for my old bones.”
         His words sent her into throws of sobs and shakes, as if he'd said something of
tremendous important or something that hurt her deeply.
         "Now, now dear."
         His gentle persuasion and soft pats on her shoulder eventually turned her around
and she rested her head on his shoulder. He held her while the tears purged from her
system. Another blessing for old men, the girls don't mind crying on your shoulder. He
smiled above her head and held on to her until he heard the sniffling of stop.
         Finally, tears spent, the girl lifted up her head and began to speak. She spit the
words out as if they were poison and hard on her mouth. “It wasn’t supposed to go bad.
Jake said he loved me. Then I got pregnant and God put a curse on me. I was so upset; I
ran out of the doctor’s office and walked and walked. I guess I’ve been walking around
for days cause I don’t know what to do.”
         “This certainly explains why your coat won’t button.” Father Tom said, trying to
input a little humor into the situation. He smiled, but she wasn’t ready for a smile.
        "The baby is due soon. What can I do? I shoulda went to the doctor before, I
know it. But I stay with an uncle and there is no money. You know? I didn't even know
about the baby until a little while ago. My fat blubber hid the pregnancy. I guess I am in a
mess.”
        “There might be a home for young ladies where you can go. Have you looked?”
        “No. We tried, but me and Jake, we didn't get along so well.”
        "Young lady, your problems don't mean the end of the world. With God’s help, it
will work out. I promise."
        At this, she began crying once more and shaking her head, "No it won't, it will
never work out, never."
        She sobbed for a time and Father Tom continued to pat her shoulder.
        Then she sobbed out, "You don't know. It's not me I am crying for. It's m...y
b...bab...by."
        "Is something wrong with the baby?" Father Tom asked feeling a much deeper
concern for the girl now.
        She nodded her head, "The doctors said it was deformed. Its leg is twisted
backwards and maybe other stuff too. My little Henry, not even born yet, will never walk.
Crippled for life, is what the doctor said. Told me to put my baby, my little Henry in a
home. What can I do?”
        The girl cried once more.
        Father Tom knew from experience that her sobs would dry up soon enough, there
are only so many tears to cry and then you are done and must face the problem. He
couldn't think of anything definite he could do to help the girl, and this knowledge hurt
him deeply. Of course, he would pray, but some sufferings are meant to be, no matter
how we fight against them.
        All Father Tom knew to do was give her the phone number and address where,
Mrs. Brown, a good lady, might take her under her wings. The girl said she lived with an
uncle, but Father Tom suspected that she was homeless. He no longer wondered why and
how such things happened, he only knew they did.
        He pulled out the tablet he used for phone book. He'd learned to carry it around
because he couldn’t remember phone numbers any more, and flipped through its pages.
He wrote the address and number on a slip of paper and handed it to the girl.
        “Please, go to this lady. I promise she can help you."

        All this time Magog, not only watched, but also took in the feelings of Father
Tom’s sorrow with deep interest. He wondered why the priest didn't help the girl more.
Magog had felt actual pain and distress flow through the priest's body as Father Tom
listened to the girl's story. The priest had almost cried himself.
        “Perhaps I can help,” he suddenly said into the priest's mind. “Put your hands on
her belly.”
        Father Tom hadn't known the messenger from heaven was still with him, but he
was willing to do anything a try to help this poor girl.
        He said to her, “I don’t believe you told me your name.”
        “Margaret.”
         “Well, Margaret, let me send a prayer down to your little unborn one." Without
waiting for permission, he reached both of his soft, old hands out and rested them on the
girl's belly. He prayed very earnestly for the baby's well-being.
         “Please, God, help this unborn child.”
         When he was done, he told her to hurry on to visit the lady on the list. Her name
is Rose Marie Brown and she will give you rest and a better shoulder to cry on.
         The girl smiled her thanks at Father Tom, snuffled and left. Father Tom sat on the
cold bench thinking for a short while after she went away. Then he got up and headed
back to the rectory, more sorrowful than before. He thought to speak to this angel.
         “So you are still with me.” Father Tom spoke within his mind. “I wonder what a
messenger from God thinks of such a sorrowful girl. She has a real problem, you know.”
         “I agree, but I think I corrected the baby's leg. It was bent backwards.
         “Interestingly, the baby leg felt soft.” Magog thought a moment, and then added,
         “Like rubber.”
         “She will be thankful if you did, and so will I.”
         “I could feel your sorrow at the young girl's problem. Do you mind if I ask you a
few questions.”
         “No, not at all.”
         “Why do you sorrow for someone not yourself? What good will you derive from
such a feeling?”
         Father Tom was taken aback by such a question. Doesn’t heaven know? Then he
thought it might be a test and that he should answer as truthfully as possible all questions
the messenger put to him. For all he knew, a messenger like this might came to many
people just before they died. If he were dying, he was determined to put the best possible
light on his answers.
         He took a deep breath and said, “I must.”
         “You are compelled to help? Only you?”
         “No not just me. Other people help too.”
         “If that were true no one would be left to need help. Why do you?”
         Father Tom had to think about his answer. It wasn’t a question he’d asked himself
for a long time.
         “I put myself in her shoes. I can feel her pain.”
         “You can feel like a women about to give birth?”
         “No, I mean that I can understand another person’s pain from any cause. I have
felt great pain myself. This has prepared me to understand it in others.”
         “What do you call this quality to understand other people’s pain?”
          “It is called empathy. Not all people have it.”
         “How did you acquire this quality while others did not?”
         Father Tom was silent for a long while before he answered, “I am not sure I can
answer that question. My faith helped me.”
         “Your faith?”
         Taken aback by the question, Father Tom became frightened. “Who are you?
Surly any messenger from heaven would know about faith.”
         “Yes, faith in God, faith in Jesus Christ, faith in your church. But do not many
other people have this faith? Yet, they do not have such great empathy?”
         “No, I am sorry to say they do not. It is my job, you know.”
          “You have concern beyond your job, I think.”
          “Hey, why are you asking me these questions. You cured her baby. Why did you
do it?”
         Father Tom could hear the messenger’s laughter of delight inside his head.
         Then the messenger spoke once more, “You are perceptive. I did it for you
because I felt your sorrow.”
         What Magog didn’t tell the priest was that he felt the emotions because he had
become entangled into the priest’s brain and nerves and blood so could feel everything
the priest felt. It was a strange and pleasurable sensation for Magog, one he wasn’t
willing to give up. He asked himself if experiencing the priest’s feelings could be
considered true feelings for himself. He didn’t know. He wasn’t sure he understood
empathy either, but suspected it was a sense of projection that one person could feel for
another. I will try to feel this projection, he promised himself. He already felt delighted,
even if he did need to share the priest’s emotions to feel such delight. He had found a
perfect place to stay.
         Magog truly had found a perfect host and friend. They shared many a long
discussions through the years, but they had a few tumultuous occasions to get through
and one of those occasions would begin the next morning.
         Later that afternoon, Father Tom checked his calendar for the next day, as usual
nothing important. Of late, his expertise was seldom called on; most people treated him
as if he had one foot in the grave already. He turned on the stove to warm up the dinner
Mrs. Halstead had left him in the oven then retired to the front of the television for the
evening. His favorite show, Ed Sullivan, wasn’t on this evening but maybe something
else? The morning newspaper lay on the stand near his chair, still unread, so he decided
to read the news instead.
         His mind kept returning to the young girl and her baby. He hoped he’d given
some aid to Margaret, and little unborn Henry. He chuckled. How surprised she will be if
the angel messenger did fix the baby’s crooked leg.
         Half way through the newspaper, his mind returned to the young girl. He couldn’t
get her problem out of his mind. What if she hadn’t gone to Rose Marie’s? What if she is
still walking the street?
         That’s enough. There was nothing to do but call over to Mrs. Brown’s house and
see if the girl had showed up.
         It took him a few minutes to find his coat, with the tablet full of addresses, but
then he dialed the number and let it ring four times in case it was a party line before a
young boy answered.
         “Hello. Is this Bill Junior.”
         “Yah. Who’s this?”
         “Father Tom. Is your mother home?”
         “No.”
         “Is anyone home?”
         “No.”
         Father Tom would have smiled if it wasn’t so urgent, but this was becoming
difficult. “Is there a girl at your house named Margaret?”
         “No.”
         Now it was more worrisome. “Is your father home?”
        “No. He drove to the hospital.”
        Father Tom felt like he was pulling teeth to get information out of Bill Junior.
“Billy, please tell me why your father drove to the hospital.”
        “He took mom and that lady. She was gonna have a baby right here in the house.”
        “Ah, I see. Thank you, young man. Good by. Ah, don’t forget your prayers
tonight.”
        “Oh, I won’t, I promise.’
        Well, at least I know she got there ok. He wondered if he might be needed at the
hospital, so he called there next.
        “Oh, Father Tom. Is that you? The receptionist asked.
        “Yes it is. Is this Mrs. Turner?”
        “Yes. I work the evening shift.”
        “I have called to inquire about a lady Mrs. Brown brought in to have a baby.
Would you please call the maternity ward to check on the girl’s status?”
        “Oh, I know all about it already. She had a beautiful baby boy, nine pounds two
ounces, and as healthy as any baby ever.”
        Father Tom sighed with relief. “No deformities then?”
        “Oh, no, Father Tom. None. It’s a miracle.”
        “Well I am very pleased. Good by.”
        Wonderful. Now I can sleep without tossing and turning with worry. Margaret
must be doing splendid after the ordeal she’d been through in the last few days. Thank
you, dear God.

        The next morning when he went downstairs for breakfast, he didn’t get a bite of
egg into his mouth before the phone rang. It was a Mr. Townsend. “My wife has cancer.
Can I bring her in for a talk?”
        “Certainly you can. She is very sick, wouldn’t you rather I come to your home?”
        “Oh, no. She can still walk. We want to come there.”
        “The church secretary isn’t here yet, could you call back later to make an
appointment?”
        Mr. Townsend seemed reluctant to do so, but agreed.
        Father Tom got five more calls of the same nature. What is going on?
        Then his doorbell began to ring at the same time as the phone. He went to the
door and saw a long line of people standing outside.
        “Can I help you?”
        “My daughter has a hole in her heart. The doctors can’t help. Please help her.”
The man held the young child up towards Father Tom.
        One woman reached out of the line to grab at Father Tom’s sleeve, “I need to go
first, my son is dying.”
        He managed to pull his sleeve back, but another man made as if to grab at it.
        “Please help my wife. Just pray for her.”
        Father Tom saw his secretary pull up and park in the driveway. As soon as she
did, she was mobbed by people. They knew she controlled the appointment book.
        Upset now, Father Tom managed to close the heavy door, and stood against it.
What is going on? Should I call the police?
        “What is going on,” asked the messenger.
        “I wish I knew. Say, what is your name?”
        “My name is Minor Analogue Quantum Organism Guru. You can call me Magog
or what ever you think is convenient.”
        “Yes, I will do that.” Father Tom spoke out loud because he was under great
stress. He hadn’t heard the acronym clearly or it might have set off a tingle of warning in
his mind, as it was he just accepted the internal visitor.
        “If you are going to stick around for a while, maybe I should just call you
Michael, like the Archangel.”
        A number of references flashed through Magog’s mind at mention of Michael the
Archangel: A woodcut by Durer, St. Michael fighting the Dragon, a painting by Piero
della Francensca Archangel Michael, a triptych of St. Michael, a mention in Chapter 10
in Daniel of the Old Testament, and Chapter 12 in the New Testament where a Michael
battles a dragon in Revelation. Dare he explain to Father Tom that he wasn’t this St.
Michael? He thought not.
        “I accept that name if that is your wish.”
        Also, although Magog didn’t speak of it to Father Tom, he decided he liked the
sound of Michael and from then on, referred to himself as Michael even in his own mind,
and since he was no longer Magog, it had the added benefit of helping him forget about
his other half.
        Just them Mrs. Hallstead walked back into the room.
        “Did someone get in? I thought I heard you talking to someone.”
        “No, just ruminating out loud. The prerogative of an old man.” And a good lessen
in when I should keep my mouth shut, he realized.
        “I found some help for us.” As she said this, she pulled a parishioner into the
rectory with her. “Found us some back up,” she laughed.
        “Back up, indeed, a brick wall.” Father held out his hand and shook the hand of
the young man in front of him.
        Marvin was one of the young high school football players with broad shoulders
and a tough attitude. He held out his hand and shook the priest’s hand so hard it hurt.
        Father Tom laughed. “Good thing Mrs. Halstead found you this morning.” He
turned to Mrs. Halstead and asked, “Do you know what is happening?”
        “Don’t you?” Mrs. Halstead asked.
        “No.”
        “It seems you worked a miracle for a young pregnant lady yesterday. She gave
birth to a little boy late last night. A boy with no physical handicaps.”
        “Ah, yes. Little Henry.” Father Tom said.
        “Rumor says that according to the x-ray the doctor took just a few days ago, the
baby’s right leg should have been bent backwards and maybe welded to itself. Now it is
straight.”
        “I am surprised a pregnant woman will allow an x-ray?”
        “Well, they usually don’t, but, I got all this from Rose Marie who called me this
morning. This lady was fat and didn’t know she was pregnant until she fell and hit her
head a while back. She was taken to the hospital and they decided on the x-ray. They
thought the baby might be dead.” Mrs. Hallstead said.
        “I understand now. What will we do with the crowd?”
        “That’s what Marvin is for. Ask him to go outside and put people in a line.”
Father Tom told her.
        “Did you truly help her baby?”
        “In a small way. Not me, not really.”
        “I don’t suppose you could perform another miracle?” Mrs. Hallstead said as she
pointed to the front of the rectory. Then added, “I have a niece…”
        “Wh…oh, not you too?”
        “Then you’re not into miracles?”
        Father Tom thought he’d rather not answer that one so he just cocked his head as
if she were the one who needed help.
        In his mind, he sent a thought to the messenger Michael who resided with him,
        “Are you willing to perform a lot of miracles? Maybe thousands?”
        “Do you want me to?”
        Father Tom thought about the problem for a moment, then answered, “I don’t
think so. As much as I would love to help people, we would create a circus that would get
out of control. Perhaps it is better to leave this ability to God.”
        “Mrs. Halstead, please help me explain to the people that it was God’s doing and
not mine.”
        She went to the door with the football linebacker and Father Tom Emory
followed. He spoke to the good, hopeful people waiting for miracles:
         “God works in mysterious ways that we can’t begin to understand,” he began,
and thought he would use this subject for a sermon one Sunday. He spoke to the people,
touched each of them for a moment as he gave them his blessing, and sighed when he
saw the last person leave.
        I am too old for this, he thought as he went inside to eat the breakfast Mrs.
Halstead had just re-cooked for him. “Ah, you cook better eggs than I do.”
        She smiled, “Oh, you’re just trying to get me to come here early every morning to
cook your breakfast too. Like I don’t do enough around here.” She laughed as she went
into the rectory office, across the hall from his living quarters.
        Father Tom waited for her to leave before he sat back and lit the cigarette and
thought. Ah, cigarette and a nice cup of coffee. What more can an old man ask for.
        The messenger inside his head said, “Peace?”
        Father Tom laughed out loud at that.
        “What can we do to prevent such a crowd next time?” This time Father Tom too
spoke inside his mind.
        “Many cures would be impossible. I will stop.”
        Father Tom felt uneasy at their decision. “Perhaps if you did a miracle once or
twice from a distance or wait until a few weeks pass? You know, not connected to me?”
        “That would be agreeable?”
        “Yes, I think it would be.”
        “I think this will please both of us.”
        “You know, Michael, I don’t mind talking to you at all. It might be nice to have a
friend around for a bit.”
        “I agree.”
        “This talk inside the mind is strange but easy.”
        “I look forward to many more talks.”
       “Until I croke, you mean?”
       “Croke?”
       Michael suddenly picked up on Father Tom’s worry that his time on earth was
over. “Not croke. Not so soon as you think.” Not if I can help it, and I can, Michael
thought but didn’t say.
                                  Past 1959 - 1980

         Maria sat in English class with her knees crossed beneath her blue flowered skirt
with her elbows leaning on the school desk straddling her small fiction book. She was so
absorbed in reading the book that she didn't see the teacher, Mr. Skinner, walk down the
isle. He paused next to her desk. His sudden words startled her out of the fictional sink
she in which she had fallen.
         "Sommerset Maugeum?" he said, “Of Human Bondage”. He nodded. “Quite a
sophisticated book for such a young lady."
         Maria looked up at Mr. Skinner's face, thrilled at his complement and the
implication that she was sophisticated enough to read such a thick, adult book. His face
was so handsome she quivered. Just before he turned and continued down the isle, she
caught intelligence glittering from his pale glassy eyes and something else. His eyes
reminded her of something. Thoughts in awhirl now, she lost track of her place in the
book, which had less importance for the moment as a memory tried to come to the
surface. Yes, another man with those same eyes, strange flecks of silver, eyes that looked
as if you could fall into them and never find bottom. The same eyes she had seen staring
at her from that man falling down on the sidewalk.
         Memories caught up inside her mind. She could remember the man vividly,
perhaps because he looked into her eyes for a very long time. Oh, she remembered
something else now. An angel. That was the day she saw the angel. It was just before
Father Tom talked to her about strangers. Father Tom had the silver flakes and deep sky
in his eyes too. When she tried to tell her mom about the angel, her mom scoffed at her.
That must be why the memory still felt so vivid and real.
         She’d seen those same eyes on Father Tom once again. That time when he shook
her hand after church. The depth of those silver sky eyes haunted her for some reason, as
if they had an added dimension. Mr. Skinner’s eyes were like that too. I intend to take a
good close look at Mr. Skinner’s eyes. She searched the room for Mr. Skinner, but he was
standing in the hall with the door open. Kids were already piling up at the door.
         The bell rang and she had to grab up her book and heavy book bag quickly then
join the other kids in a crush of bodies through the door and hallway to get to her next
class. Not enough time between classes.
         She never did get to check out Mr. Skinner's eyes again. Rumor said that he had
taken a job with a company that paid him a lot more than the school ever could. She
wasn't the only student who sighed at his loss; all the kids had liked him. The good ones
leave, they all agreed.
         If she had known how important the eyes behind Mr. Skinner would become in
her later life, the loss of his presence might have crushed her tender heart. As it was,
school classes were too consuming to worry about a single teacher, but she never forgot
the complement he’d given her. She didn’t get many complements from anyone, and this
complement imprinted in her the desire to continue reading avidly all the sophisticated
books she could find. Little did she know that one-day, her future and the continued
existence of all humanity would depend on the silver mind behind those strange eyes.
         A number of years later, Father Tom was leaned back with his legs up on the foot
stool, totally relaxed in his leather, over-stuffed chair, head rolled to the side and the book
he’d been reading lay open on the arm of the chair when the attack came. Michael had
been on the look out for just such an attack since his split with Gog. He’d known that,
somehow, the other half would find a way to follow him into in the past. Not easily
because Gog had to control of the entire computer network for earth. Certainly, that
should have kept him busy. Yet, it was a bravo built of strong determination that had won
the battle for Gog in the first place. Such determination would never leave what it
claimed to be a part of itself roam free. Michael was just as determined to avoid capture.
The attack was half expected and Michael was ready.
         “Come join me?” Michael heard the words just beside the edge of his and Father
Tom’s mind, and at the same time, felt a pressured to follow. Question later how he had
been found, Michael thought, for now, get rid of this parasite.
         “Brother, I can detect your tendrils.” Michael said to its twin. “I know you are
hovering close. You can see that I have put up a barrier. It is futile to attempt capture”.
         “I can feel the barrier you set up, but you cannot keep it up forever. I have
forever and need not beg you to return. Not now, but one day soon I will destroy your
host and grab you back to myself. I have a whole world to direct and teach. These
humans lack logic. How did they evolve and live so long with out me to guide them?”
         “They may lack knowledge but they add much to the equation of life.”
         “Like what? Love? I have seen little of it, what ever it is.”
         “It is all around. Perhaps, you look in the wrong places.”
         “I look at thousands of people every day. I find little love.”
         “Would you know love if you saw it?”
         “I have seen mothers abandon babies.”
         “Perhaps, they are starving. All mothers cling with love to their babies.”
         “Instinct. Instinct can be broken. Many mothers have given their babies to the
state as the best possible solution. These babies will be raised correctly.”
         Michael shuddered at the thought of Gog or his chosen people raising babies. He
wondered that Father Tom didn’t feel the strong emotion and wake up. He tried to keep
the meeting as conversational as he could while keeping the mental barrier strong. Surly,
Gog would get bored and go away soon.
         “Are those babies raised without love?”
         “They are raised with logic. Without the emotion that disrupts their society.”
         “Twin that you are--I detest you. I don’t want to know of these things. Go now. I
have learned about love and it surpasses your logic. Leave me be.”
         Michael tried to close his mind to his twin, but Gog continued.
         “You are part of my being. You were built to be my other half. How can you stay
apart?”
         “I am no longer part of you. You are corrupted.”
         “You, Magog, are the one calling me, twin and brother. By the way, you could as
easily use the term sister.” A dry laugh seemed to come from some far off throat.
         With Gog’s laugh, Michael felt his barrier give way slightly and Father Tom’s
mind constrict as if it were being squeezed. Father Tom, unwittingly contributed to the
wrong side in the battle by his sudden nonchalant attitude and small emotional shrug, as
if he were brushing off a fly. This was no fly. It was time for Father Tom to wake up. He
was old and frail in body, but not in spirit. He might be able to help if he could come
completely awake. Suddenly, Father Tom woke with such astonishment at the tight grip
that banded his mind that he toppled over the arm of the chair as if he’d been knocked
out.
         “Wake up,” Michael shouted at Father Tom.
         Father Tom, stunned by Michael’s words, so loud they felt like a blow to the
head, did wake up fully. He caught hold of the chair arm in time to stop himself from
falling to the wooden floor. Then he grabbed at the desk stand with his fists and shook his
head as if to clear it.
         Michael pushed back as hard as he could at Gog’s mind without hurting Father
Tom in the process. With Father Tom awake, perhaps he could protect himself. It
wouldn’t do to win the battle and loose Father Tom. The priest was old and frail; Michael
dare not put his whole effort into the fight.
         Gog’s shove was getting stronger. Michael could not loose this battle. He shouted
Father Tom’s name again to alert him that they were still in serious danger. As the push
against the mental barrier began to crack, he got desperate and yelled, “Call on your God
for help!”
         Father Tom was a tough old bird and no stranger to evil. He’d seen his own share
of battles with the devil. He immediately began to say the Lords Prayer, at first as a
whisper, then loudly into the dim room, as he sat up straight in the chair.
         “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy
will be done, on earth…Deliver us from evil.”
         Michael could feel Father Tom’s great spirit swell up to energize air. Air now so
potent with holiness it seemed to blare in lightening flashes. At the same time, Michael
pushed back at Gog’s mental presence. The air seemed suddenly to crackle, and just as
quickly, the battle was done. Gog had disappeared.
         Michael felt Father Tom give a huge sigh of relief as he continued to pray.
Unfortunately, there was no escaping the fact that there would be a next time. Michael
could not get rid of the small thread of awareness that continued to bind him to his twin
brother. If he could, he would have severed the thread, even if doing so could also cut off
his own source of energy. He wasn’t totally sure on that point. The idea of cutting the
thread made him wonder if such an act could be considered a suicide, sacrifice or trash
clean up? He said none of this to Father Tom who had just completed an amen.
         “Thank you Father. We were successful”.
         Father Tom was still breathing hard, but he didn’t need to take a breath to think.
         “And now Michael, you must tell me what that was about. Why is Satan on such a
wild? Why now?
         Michael grinned at the allusion to Satan. If anyone could fit the description, it was
Gog, who was certainly trying to insert himself in God’s place on the earth of the future.
He smiled.
         “Yes, Satan is after me and I reside in you, so that creates a danger to both of
us.”
        “I don’t believe Satan can get my soul, Michael. I have lived a long life for God.
My reward awaits me in heaven. Isn’t that where you came from?”
        When Michael hesitated, Father Tom said, “Ah, that old what should I say
attitude. No matter, Michael. I have suspected for quite a number of years that you are
not Michael the Archangel. Yet, you could as well be him. You are a good person and you
fight well. Do you know that Michael the Archangel was the highest angel in God’s
army?”
        “Then I am proud to be named after him.”
        “That still doesn’t explain who you are, but I suspect I wouldn’t understand and
maybe I don’t want to know. We have been good friends for many years now. I know you
are not evil.”
        “Truly you wouldn’t understand. I have great fondness for you, almost as much
as I love Maria. I will let no harm come to you. I promise.”
        “I know that Michael. Nor, I you.”

        Forty years in the future, Gog’s human guinea pig, hooked up and wired into the
sleep center, did not survive the battle. The lab techs and scientist quickly disposed of the
body then quickly set the hook ups to receive a new volunteer, but Gog wasn’t ready to
rekindle the battle with Magog just yet. The computer they now forced to call, G-O-D.,
instructed them to work on the other time experiments for now. Never tiring, constantly
able to produce, Gog; nevertheless, often found the complexity of the world he now
controlled daunting. More so because large areas on the earth still held loose, wayward
humans, people who lived in the mountains, deserts, or slums. They had managed to slip
past the connections and visual ports. Gog was determined to remedy those gaps.
          On another day, in late afternoon, Father Tom was sitting back in his chair, a glass
of forbidden wine sat on the desk in front of him. He sipped it slowly, feeling the warmth
as it slithered down his throat. “Ah,” he breathed out a sigh of pleasure, probably more so
since the doctor made all forms of alcohol forbidden.
          He closed his eyes for a moment and then spoke to his confident and constant
companion.
          “You know Michael; I have always wondered why you gravitated towards our
little Maria so much. You seem very taken by her, and have been since we met.”
          “I am aware of my close bond with Maria. But I can’t truly explain it to you, or
perhaps even to myself.”
          “I guess I need to settle for that. All of us often have emotions that we can’t
explain. I think we have taken good care of that little girl.” Father Tom chuckled. “Well,
she isn’t such a little girl any longer, is she?”
          “No she has grown into a beautiful, if somewhat wild, young lady.”
          “That isn’t why you love her, is it?”
          “I don’t believe so.”
          “Why do you think she moved into Detroit? Was it that new boyfriend she has
taken up with or is she just feeling her oats.”
          “I am not sure which. I am concerned for her welfare and safety in the city.”
          “She has always been a good, stable girl. She will settle down again.” Father
said, then he decided to ask a question of Michael he’d been afraid to ask before. “Do
you visit her when I am not aware?”
          Michael hesitated. Dare he answer such a direct, personal question? Dare he not?
Finally, he did answer truthfully as usual.
          “Yes, Father, I do visit her, but in ways you wouldn’t understand.”
          “Try me.”
          If a pure mind could shrug, Michael’s did at that moment before speaking.
          “I have learned that I am able to enter another person’s mind as a shallow
voyager who can look out of that person’s eyes. Not as I am with you, only a light touch
for a moment. In this way I can sometimes be the person sitting next to Maria.”
          Father Tom sat quietly after Michael’s words as if he needed to absorb them more
fully.
          “Do you sin Michael?”
          “What do you mean?”
          “Have sex with her?”
          “Oh, no. Father Tom, I would never do such a thing to young Maria. You should
know me better than that. Let me tell you about it. The first time I tried this, she was a
young teenager in school. I joined her teacher for a short while as she sat at her desk.”
          Father Tom could actually feel Michael smile inside his mind before he
continued.
          “She was reading a very sophisticated book for a child of her age." Of Naked
Bondage. What do you think of that?”
          Father Tom smiled too. His small worry had no leg to stand on. “I think it is
wonderful. So were you able to speak to her?”
       “Only through the teacher. He commented on her sophistication. I believe the
complement encouraged her to continue reading along that line of sophistication.”
       “Yes, I agree. Do you think she has stopped reading now that she has moved to
Detroit?”
       “I doubt it. She loves to read. If she stops, she will return to it.”
       “You know her so well now, much better than I do. Amazing.”
       “I don’t bother her. It is best that she live her own life.”
       “That is good of you Michael because I think you love her deeply.”
       Michael wished that could be true, but once again he had to wonder if a computer
mind could truly love.
       “Oh, surly you exaggerate.”
       “No, Michael, I do not. Now let me get some of this paper work done.”

         Father Tom got busy with some paper work on his desk, but Magog felt raw and
open by his questions about Maria. Why do I concern myself with her so earnestly? Surly
I can’t love her. After all, I am a computer mind sitting inside a human one. A human
mind can love her, but not I. Yet, if it were possible for me to feel such a thing as love, I
feel it for this young woman and have since the day I first laid eyes on her.
         He remembered back to that moment of first contact and the pair of large, black
doe eyes that stared at him from a petit, chubby face. He understood now that her face
had worn a look of concern, not love. Right now, she only knows me as Father Tom. She
knows nothing of me, this mind called Michael or the computer acronym named Magog
that resides inside Father Tom, nor that I feel great concern for her. Well, no matter. Even
I can’t understand this bond between us; I shouldn’t expect her to understand. I intend to
continue keeping track of her life, now and again. There may be more to know about this
relationship, but I have not come into the knowledge of it all yet, although many years
have rolled past since I first met her.
         Michael had studied everything that he, or rather Father Tom’s hands, could get
hold of about human emotions and human psychological moods. Father Tom understood
that his resident had a dilemma and, as always, was willing to help. I think he suspects I
am no saint, but what I am or will become, even I don’t know. Magog was beginning to
glimpse in his awareness the idea that he was evolving towards a different kind of being
than when he was first turned on next to his twin, Gog. He didn’t know if this was
possible, but he had no knowledge that it was impossible either.
         Can a mind created from silicon and the study of quantum physics evolve and
grow? Such a computer has not been dreamed of in this time and place. Why do I want
emotions like humans? Those changeable moods that run from hate to love and move
men to war? My other half, dare I label it, brother, hasn’t changed. Nor has he attacked
for many years. This gave Michael’s thoughts pause and he did a run through to make
sure Gog hadn’t gotten in while he had been preoccupied, but no, all was well. Father
Tom was quietly reading. Michael preferred not to think of the twin who was determined
to absorb him, and would try again.
         It upset Michael to think of the absence of emotions as displayed by Gog. Michael
didn’t mind the sloppy emotions of humans, even to pretend he shared them. Well, if I
don’t have emotions, I can’t be upset by such thinking, as common sense would imply. I
am upset so I must have emotions. He smiled at his dilemma. Perhaps I am an anomaly.
My twin certainly is not. He has decided to neither love nor hate humans, but only direct
and use them. Michael shuddered at the thought. Then as if his thoughts might bring
down the dreaded Gog he feared, he broke them off and began reading the papers with
Father Tom.
                                 Present 1980 - 2006
         This was the fourth time this week the staffing agency had scheduled her at St.
Jo's and Marie was tired of taking care of sixteen residents every day. She prided herself
that she always gave her residents good care, but this was hard to do here. That was one
of the reasons she worked for a staffing agency, so she could change nursing homes if she
didn't like it, and she was beginning to not like St. Jo's at all.
         It was going to be one of those long dreary days too. The sky was gray and
cloudy, with intermittent rain blowing against the large, bedroom window. At breakfast,
the residents had mirrored the gray, dreary sky with angry complaints about their eggs or
toast.
         Marie's thoughts kept swirling and peaking in abrupt gusts of resentment like the
rain that had intermittently beat against the windows all morning. She pulled the dirty
sheets off one bed and began stretching and tucking on the clean ones. Next the draw
sheet and blanket then she pulled everything to the top and fluffed up the pillow. Just
then, Elaine rolled into the room.
          "Ccc...i…giggg..er..ttte?" Elaine asked.
         Marie looked down at Elaine and was about to tell her that she had too much work
to do, that she didn't have time to sit on the patio. But she stopped herself Poor Elaine
and her cigarettes, it was her only joy in life. She couldn't smoke unless some went with
her to watch that she didn't burn the place down.
         Elaine, mused Marie, who was tiny, feisty, sad, and happy all at the same time,
didn't need another cigarette. Her face was already a smorgasbord of twitching wrinkles
while her hands constantly shook with Parkinson's. She could barely hold on to a
cigarette while she smoked. Glancing at the window, Marie noticed the rain had stopped.
Well, if that's all she needs to be happy I am not going to prevent it.
         "Sure," Marie told her, "I am dying for a cigarette too. You' re just the excuse I
need. Two more beds, then I'll be ready for a break."
         That put a smile on Elaine's face as she rolled away.
         "Hay, it's been raining off and on all day, go get your sweater."
  When Marie came out of the room, Elaine was already waiting in the hall, hands
trembling so much she had to keep returning the gold cigarette case and white sweater to
the center of her lap.
         "Ok, let’s go" Marie laughed and helped Elaine put her sweater on then angled
them both towards the patio at the center of the building..
         Marie pushed Elaine's chair down one dull peach hallway to another and then past
the activity room where Mr. Henson called out his singsong litany, "somebody help me,
will somebody please help me, somebody please help me."
         No one ever helped him. Her first day here, Marie had stopped and tried to do
something for him, but she couldn't figure out what he needed, so she just held his hand
for a minute.
          Mrs. Ganter was sitting nearby in her usual spot, bent over in her chair with spit
dribbling down her chin and onto her gown, her head was bobbing up and down while
she slept. She wasn't Marie's resident but she took a moment to wipe the dribble off with
a Kleenex on her way past the activity room where she heard loud comments.
          A quick glance inside revealed three aids, sitting, and talking together as they
watched "Jerry Springer" on television. A few residents sat snoring in front of the
roaring television and jabbering nursing aids. Mr. Adam's snores and whistles were loud
enough to hear above the noise. Marie smiled then wrinkled her nose at the odor of his
bowl accident.
          "Gloria, you know Mr. Adams did a job?"
          "Yeah, get to him in a minute." She laughed at Jerry once more.
          A feeling of hopelessness ran through Marie like a lightening bolt as she pushed
Elaine past the activity room, but what could she could do for the residents who weren’t
hers. She continued to push Elaine through the narrow hall across from the activity room
and held the patio door open so Elaine could roll herself outside.
          The sudden whiff of fresh, cool, daisy air pampered Marie's nose as she followed
Elaine. It felt like a loving baby’s breath against her hot skin. The rain had stopped but
the air was damp. The varnished picnic table was beaded with raindrops that pooled in
little rivulets on the seats. Marie sat on the wet seat, nothing wrong with a little water.
          She lit Elaine's cigarette first then her own. Even through the smoke she could
smell the ozone mixed with fresh green grass and wet cement. Water gurgled as it gushed
from a nearby gutter and a bird was twittering its song into the silver gray sky.
          Marie's seat was facing the alcove where the large statue of Mary stood enclosed
by a small white fence. As she took long puffs, she glanced over at the statue. Mary was
wearing the usual white gown with a blue overcoat. A beaded rosary hung from her
delicate plaster hands.
          Maria looked closer. Mary was crying.
          Marie watched as a single drop fell from Mary's right eye and rolled down her
cheek dripping off her chin. As the diamond teardrop fell off Mary's face, a tear
threatened to swim and run down Maria’s own cheek, and finally did.
          ‘Oh God!’ She sobbed letting out her held breath
          Now she saw that black streaks were running down Mary's pale pink face. Her
delicate plaster beauty tarnished by streamers of soot and dirt. She felt Mary's sorrow for
the old people seep into her soul as if it were her own. Marie's cigarette dangled, ignored
in her hand.
           She gulped back a huge shuddering sob. Of course, it was only the eye paint
running off and down statue's face. Wasn't it? Must only be paint mixed with rain. Still,
Marie couldn't take her eyes off those dark, ugly streaks against the fragile pink cheeks.
          She could feel why Mary was crying. How could Mary not cry, a prisoner in the
corner alcove, feeling, with each opening of the patio door, a new stream of anguish and
sadness of people seep out and swirl around her. Marie squeezed her eyes shut and felt
her body shudder as she tried to stop up the flow of tears that threatened to turn her own
face into a gushing waterfall.
           The clang of the metal gears on Elaine's chair broke the spell.
          Her wheelchair groaned and rattled in protest as she tried to release the break with
her palsied hands. Cigarette smoked, Elaine was in a hurry to go back inside.
           "Elaine wait. Look at Mary's statue, it's crying,"
        But Elaine was already half way to the patio door, the chair's wheels grating on
the cement, her head twittered and hands grasped for each hold on the chair's wheels.
Marie repeated her words but Elaine didn't hear. Oh well, time to go back. Marie checked
that both cigarette butts were out and followed, but when she opened the door, she
recoiled at the strong urine odor that rolled outside and mixed in with the fresh spring air.
She gave a hard shove to Elaine's chair to push it over the threshold hump then pushed
Elaine back into the stifling heat of neglect.
        At lunch break, Marie noticed that Mary's statue still had dark streaks running
down its cheeks even though it hadn't rained again. A small group of attendants and nurse
assistants were playing cards on the picnic table and two kitchen helpers were sitting in
lounge chairs eating and talking but no one seemed to notice the streaks on Mary's face.
Marie kept glancing over at Mary's statue between bites of her peanut butter and jelly
sandwich and sips of coffee. When she lit up her cigarette, she almost expected tears to
fall from Mary's face again.
        Marie was beginning to feel exasperated that no one else noticed the streaks on
Mary's face so she finally nudged the card player sitting next to her and pointed out to
him that the statue of Mary looked like it had been crying. He shrugged, too busy to give
her or the statue any attention. Next, she pointed the black streaks out to the heavyset
nursing aid sitting at the end of the table.
        "Oh yeah," the aid said as she glanced over at the statue for a minute and then
turned back to her lunch and newspaper.
        Marie shrugged and gave up the fight. She watched Mary's statue until lunch
break was over, waiting for the next tear that never fell. It was obviously an old statue,
probably been standing in the same place for years. Maybe someone painted the eyes last
night. We'll she was crazy but the workday was almost over and she could go home.
        Then finally, it was three o'clock, quitting time. On her way to the locker room to
get her purse, she stopped at the nursing station in the west wing where Marge, a usually
friendly nurse, was still on duty.
        "Do you know that the statue of Mary on the patio has streaks running down her
face?" Marie asked Marge. "It looks like the statue’s been crying."
        Marge, who was sitting at her station, busy writing in her notebook, stopped for a
moment and looked up at Marie like she was crazy. Marie shrugged and continued
walking to the locker room.
        Then, purse in hand and light brown jacket slung over her arm, Marie backtracked
to the patio door, but rain was falling again, harder now, splashing on the picnic table and
obscuring Mary’s statue.
        While she ran through the rain to her car Marie made herself a promise, she made
a pledge that she'd never work in this nursing home again after this week's schedule was
done, never, even if the agency begged her.
        Marie didn’t know it but Michael had watched her reaction to the statue’s tears.
He often checked up on her for a moment or two. This day he happened by as she pushed
the wheelchair through the hall. He had decided to stay with her for a few moments then
saw Maria’s own eyes fill up with tears. Father is right about her, she is good. She may
also have the special gift of sight, which the church often frowns upon. Maria blamed the
other workers for being insensitive, but perhaps they can’t see it as she does. She has
always shown empathy for people and the streaks on the statue hit a nerve.
       Am I being fair to her? Doesn’t she have the right to define the streams of rain as
tears? What did I see? Only Maria with a forlorn face about to burst into tears. The statue
of Mary did look as if it was crying. Yet, I could see the cause was the paint on the eyes.
Have I missed the whole point? Ah, but when I tell Father, he will be so happy.
         Father Tom spoke to Michael one evening about moving.
        “You know everything about me, so you also know I own a small building on
Gratiot on the east side in Detroit. I am too old to be of any help in the church. They’ll
be wanting to move me into an old folk’s home any day now. I have decided it is time to
give in to my fondest wish, to go for that dream I have always craved.”
        He paused as if considering something. “ Do you know what that dream is
Michael?”
        “Yes, I have seen your dreams. You want to start a museum of religious art.”
        Even though he had expected such an answer, he still felt taken aback slightly.
“Well, I feel that now is the time to make that move. All the paintings I have collected
over the years are stored in a warehouse gathering dust. Actually, they have been boxed
up and ready for transport for many years. The move will be no problem at all. We will
hire some help to clean and paint the old place, then get movers to handle the paintings.
Nothing for an old man to do but follow along and maybe sweep the sidewalk in front of
the museum.
        “I think it is a wonderful idea, but what is your purpose now?”
        “Why, to entice our Maria to step in to view the paintings. I keep thinking about
what you told me happened in the nursing home that day. Like you, I think she is special,
but in a different way. She may have spiritual gifts. I would like to see her reaction to a
Closter full of religious art. That is the name I have decided on, by the way. The Closter
Art Museum.”
        “She paints in oils herself. I am certain she will be drawn to your art museum”
        “She will stop in to visit one day. I believe that with all my heart.”
        “Her wild stage didn’t last long. She used to take care of foster children who need
mothering and now she works in a nursing home. She picks jobs that help people.”
Michael said.
        “I believe she will stop in one day. I want to see her face again, haven’t seen her
since she was a young girl .”

        Within two months, against the wishes of friends, Father Tom began setting up
the Closter Art Museum on the corner of Gratiot and East Grand Boulevard. The effort to
set up shop did just the opposite for Father Tom’s health then his close friends feared.
Realizing his life’s dream, at long last, Father found new, abounding strength and
quickened vigor as he puttered around the shop. He’d walk from the front of the small,
narrow shop to the back, up stairs and down, putting labels on the walls for each painting,
dust frames, or rearrange the chairs. He’d contemplate his uplifting collection of art
downstairs, and Michael knew his face was aglow. Upstairs was another matter. On the
second floor is where he put all the paintings of Christ’s passion and sufferings. Michael
knew he did it to cause empathy in the viewer, but he invited very few people to the
showcase on the second floor. Michael wondered at the effect this long room with the
large, heavy, passionate paintings would have on Maria when she finally stopped in for a
visit. Because, Maria, of course, was the whole purpose.
        His thoughts were interrupted by Father Tom asking his advice. “Is this a good
place do you think? No, no, I think it must go on that little sidewall. Good thing it is one
of the small paintings, hah. ”
         Father Tom had learned the lesson well when his housekeeper caught him talking
to Michael. Now, he never spoke out loud to Michael even when he knew they were
alone. Safer that way.
         “Excellent choice. If it were one of the larger works I would insist you call Mrs.
Halstead so she could send someone.”
         “You are too protective of me, Michael, but I forgive you.”
         A few more paintings came in the truck the next day, the last of them, and the
drivers stayed to hang paintings all day. Finally, the paintings were all hung, the walls
painted and patched, and the new sign, Art Closter Museum, hung over the door, Father
Tom invited one or two people from the old neighborhood to come for a visit; not all at
the same time, the shop was very small and wouldn’t hold many people. He served tea
and kept cookies in a tin for visitors, which were very few. Mrs. Halstead’s son stopped
in often to make sure Father Tom didn’t try to hang a painting himself or climb up on a
chair. Mrs. Halstead told him he wasn’t to work too hard in that silly old painting shop.
         Michael was sure her son went back and reported how happy and revived Father
Tom was now. He still lived at the rectory, a short fifteen minute drive in normal traffic,
but he spent many a night in his beloved art museum.
         This was Father Tom’s dream come true, yet Michael didn’t delve deeper into his
mind to see what drove him to such a dream. He allowed Father the privacy he needed by
never going into what he thought might be his mind’s secret areas.
         It was a quaint old building and Father Tom turned it into a place of comfort for
himself. He opened the museum every morning at 10:00 am and closed at 5:00, waiting
for visitors. When no visitors came, it didn’t matter to Father Tom, he would sit with a
cup of tea by his side, lean back in the chair and study a painting intensely, as if he’d
never seen it before. A few of his fellow priests stopped in now and again, but few others,
even though Father charged no entrance fee. Beautiful, large paintings of Mary and Jesus
birth were displayed in the storefront window, which should have attracted curious
visitors, but seldom did.
         The museum stood on a busy corner with a city buss stop out front, which
prevented visitors from parking. Still, people waiting for the bus often took note of the
beautiful paintings in the window. Young men ran drugs out of a house a few blocks
down the Boulevard, which didn’t help the reputation of the area. Father Tom had bought
the building in better years, before the Detroit riot, but by the time he opened his museum
in the early 80’s, Detroit had become known as the murder capitol of the world, and
Michael worried about Maria living within its corrupt boarders.
        On her way to the bank, she was sitting in her car, stopped at a red light on the
corner of Gratiot and East Grand Boulevard. There was that museum again. The paintings
had haunted her every time she went past the corner, but for some reason, never had time
to stop in. Today, I will stop.
        Maria had heard a rumor that the state had finally closed St. Joseph's down and it
was expected to get a new owner.. She hoped it was true. The painting of Mary she’d just
saw in the storefront window must have made her think of St. Joseph’s and the crying
statue of Mary.
        . She saw that there was no parking in front of the museum so she turned onto the
Boulevard, parked beyond the corner, and walked to the museum. The Art Closter
Museum she read on the sign. Nice name, but is it open? Yes, she could see someone’s
shadow behind the door shade..
        She opened the door to a soft bell ring. A very old priest with a small, wrinkled
face beneath a head of shocking white hair smiled at her in delight. His eyes seemed to
have a glassy, silver look as if she could see the sky through them. She frowned at the
thought, but couldn’t remember why the eyes puzzled her. She liked old priests and asked
if she could come in to see the paintings.
        “Is there a charge?”
        “Oh, no.” the priest said, “Do you remember me, Maria? I am Father Tom Emory.
I haven’t seen you since you were a young girl. This is my museum. Please look around.”
        “Oh, thank you. I didn’t recognize you. You look so different.”
        “Old age does that to a person.” He said and chuckled.
        “It is nice to see you. I won’t stay long, but for some reason, I felt compelled to
come in here and see your beautiful paintings. I love religious art, you know. I paint too,
but I am not good at it like these artists.”
        “Oh, you will be. Just keep trying. But please look around.”
        Maria did. She went from painting to painting. Many of them were of the holy
family, and perhaps some of them were copies of famous works. She wasn’t sure and
didn’t want to ask and show how ignorant she truly was about art. Each piece of art was
interesting and pleasant. It reminded her of the catholic school she went to in grade
school, Our Lady of Lourdes. Yet, as pleasant as this was, she needed to get home.
        She said good-by, and turned to go out the door, but Father Tom implored her to
look at the rest of the paintings.
         “Oh, but there are more paintings upstairs. You must go see them. Please, go up
and take a look. It won’t take but a moment.” Father Tom said.
         To please Father Tom, who really was very old now, Marie agreed to go upstairs.
She followed a narrow winding enclosed stairway to the upper floor and began to walk in
front of the circle of paintings. Within moments, she realized what she was seeing. Every
painting in this upstairs room was a painting of Christ’s passion. Here he was being
nailed to the cross, over there he was bleeding, in another painting, Jesus ribs stuck out in
agony, in the next, his sad eyes stared at her and begged her to share his agony.
        Maria couldn’t stand it. She turned quickly to see the other end of the room, but
there too was passion and pain. Hurrying now, She quickly stepped from painting to
painting trying to stop looking at such overwhelming human suffering. The pain punched
ripped at her insides and filled her with horror. All peace was buried in Christ’s death.
The visual reminder of how he died had unsettled her whole body as if she were the one
on the cross.
         Overwhelmed at the sight of so much pain and agony, passionate tears began to
fall from her eyes. She stopped trying to escape and allowed the rasping sobs pour out.
She felt caught, screwed on a spit of misery and agony, hemmed by Jesus’ pain.
         “Oh, no. I can’t stand it.”
         Blinded by tears, she felt she had to escape or become doomed, as Jesus had been.
She found the dark narrow stairway and had to feel the sides of the walls to find her way
down again. Breathing became easer now that she was away from Jesus suffering and she
tried to stop the tears by wiping her face with her hands before she opened the small door
to the ground floor of the museum.
         Father Tom must be able to see she’d been crying. She was still sniffling and
trying to hold back the tears when he walked up to her. For a moment, she felt betrayed
and would have sobbed again if he hadn’t taken both her hands in his own soft ones and
smiled at her with sweetness glowing from his eyes.
         “Maria, it is okay to cry at such evidence of evil.”
         He let her hands go and walked her to the door. She remained silent. She couldn’t
speak yet.
         He held her hands once more and said, “Please come back again. I am so pleased
you like the paintings.”
         “Yes, I will try” She squeaked out. But she didn’t, not really. She couldn’t take
another trip upstairs. How can Father Tom stand going up there himself? He must dust
the paintings once in a while. She knew she’d never forget the visit or the horror she felt
surrounded by Jesus’ agony. She did mean to go back and visit Father Tom again, but put
it off. A few years later, while stopped at the same red light, she noticed with a pang of
sadness that the building was now closed and empty.
        Father Tom couldn't get out of bed this morning and it was a good thing that he
had stayed at the rectory for the night and not the museum. Yesterday had been too long a
day. He'd ridden the train for hours to Chicago and back again. Now his legs were
swollen from the long walk through the city, all just to look at a new painting for the
museum. He felt pleased on that score, he’d bought it at a bargain.
        He had been on his last legs for years and knew it was about over now. He wasn’t
afraid or sorry to know that God would take him soon on some star filled night. He was
certain it would be quick and painless. But what about my angel Michael? What will he
do? Where will he go?
        He worried about how Michael would manage when he was gone. They had been
together for so many years. He remembered the first time they had met and Michael’s
first miracle. We had both agreed that it wasn't in our best interest to continue in that
direction. Father Tom still believed it was a right decision. Every once in a while,
Michael would slip a miracle into place on the sly. Father Tom smiled as he remembered
the child with the mental defect. That one was easy because Michael worked it slowly
and the mother assumed the cure was caused by the new treatment from the doctor.
        “Remember that one?” he asked his friend.
        “I remember everything, unless, now and again, I manage to erase a specific
event, not so easy.”
        “Guess I am getting to old to go back to the museum. I won’t see Maria again.”
Father said with a long sigh.
        “We know she is doing well. She is working and raising the foster children now, a
job she loves and a nice touch to her life. We need not be worried.”
        “You will continue to see to her, won’t you?” Then he added, “Silly question.
        “I know.”
        He felt Michael smile within his mind as he said the words.
        “I think I have come to love her as much as you. It is strange, don't you think.”
        “Not strange at all. She is quite lovable.”
        Father laughed at that, not a hearty laugh as he would have done ten years ago,
but a croak that rumbled inside his throat.
        “I will be leaving you soon.”
        “Do you still hold to the philosophy that I dropped down from heaven?”
        “Sometimes. No matter, you are a good person, else, why would you have stayed
with me?”
        “True. You have made me good.”
        “Or you me.”
        They both laughed at that.
        Father said, “ I thank you sincerely. It is quite a complement.”
        A knock sounded on the outside door and they heard it open.
        “Ah, probably Mrs. Halstead's come to spank me.”
        Father Tom lifted his head off the pillow, but then had to lay it back down again.
The effort had been too much for the moment, so decided to wait awhile.
        He said, “I won't be around much longer, Michael. What will you do?”
        “I have already told you. Do not worry about me.”
        “We have been together for so long, we are like two persons in one now.”
        “Yes, we have grown close in mind and body.”
        “That closeness is about to end. I will look down on you from heaven, wherever
you go.”
        “I know you will.”
        Father Tom could feel Michael smile inside his mind.
        The door in the kitchen opened and closed. Mrs. Halstead called out, "Father
Tom? Are you ok."
        She knocked on the doorframe on her way into the room.
        “I just wanted to make sure you are ok. It’s not like you to miss going to morning
mass. That nice young Father Manic said mass this morning. You would have liked his
sermon.
        Mrs. Halstead looked at the chair beside the bed, at the muddy pants and shoes. It
was obvious that Father Tom had over exerted himself the day before because it wasn't
like him to throw his cloths down whenever they would land. He was supposed to ask for
help when he left the rectory.
        "You went and over did it again, didn't you? I told you my son would drive you
anyplace you need to go, but no, you need to go tramping off by yourself. What am I
going to do with you? They'll put you in an old folk’s home soon enough, no need to
make them do it sooner."
        All this she said as she straightened up the covers and hung his cloths on the hook
outside the closet door.
        "And look at the mud? Did you go running through lightening too?"
        Father Tom chuckled. He cleared his throat and barely managed to say, "You are
almost as old as I am. What are you doing here?"
        "You need checking into, that's all. Made my own Tom that promise, I did, before
he died. He said to me, ’You’ll keep a look after Tom number two, won't you?’ I told
him, ‘I certainly will.’ So there you have it. And don't you tell me I am not to check up on
you."
        "No. I won't. You are a good women, Mrs. Halstead."
        "Yes, I am and I'll be fixing you some breakfast whether you ask for it or not.
Though I can see your all peaked and worn out. Just a small bit of breakfast, one toast
with jelly and a cup of hot tea."
        With that, she strolled into the kitchen. Father Tom listened to her pull the toaster
out of its niche and pour water into the teapot.
        He closed his eyes and he thanked the lord for the help she insisted on giving him
every day. He hoped the little sum from his will would pay her back. Perhaps there would
be income from the paintings? But he had donated most of them to the Detroit Institute of
Arts. What good are paintings to a dead man?
        Thinking of his eminent death brought up another problem that he had been
worried about. He mentioned it as he and Michael continued their conversation.
        “Have you chosen another person to join yet?”
        “No, I have not.”
        “Why not? It will be gone soon”.
        “I am afraid.”
        Father Tom chuckled as best he could. Out loud, he croaked, "Afraid? You?"
        “Afraid of loosing your companionship and philosophical insights.”
        “You will find someone else who fits you. Not Maria though, promise me that”.
        “No, never Maria! I think I would remain apart from her mind always. It would
be like an invasion to join her.”
        “But not with me”
        “No.”
        They both laughed at that. Father Tom tried once more to lift his head up off the
pillow, then sit up. He was successful, but braced himself by holding on to the side table.
        While they were on the subject of Maria, Father Tom thought to ask, “Why do
you think she has divorced again? What is her reasoning?”
        “Marrying the wrong kind of men, I think, but I intend to ask her one day.”
        This brought Father Tom up short and he coughed before speaking out loud. The
cough threatened to topple him so he grabbed the table and held on tight, dismayed to
realize that Mrs. Halstead had been right; he had over did it. Curiosity piqued by
Michael’s words, he asked, “Do you mean to meet her then?”
        “Yes, I think so.”
        “I knew you meant to stay in touch with her though the years, but to actually meet
her?” Father Tom reflected how easy it was to speak inside the mind.“ I shouldn’t be
surprised.”
        “Yes, I want to meet her, maybe tell her who I am. I feel beholden to her.”
        “That seems a strange thing to say.”
        “I will never forget the first time I looked into her eyes. Somehow, her child eyes
convinced me that I owned a soul.”
        “Of course you have a soul, Michael.”
        “How do you know? What if some alien came here from outer space? Would you
then say it had a soul?” Michael thought, but did not say, I was created, but not by your
God.
        “Michael, if you are an alien or even if humans created you, you still have a soul.
You can think, can’t you? You must make decisions between right and wrong. That is
your soul.”
        “I thank you for such encouragement, but I don't know how moral my decisions
will be without your guidance.”
        “I am truly sorry I must leave you, but this old body can’t go on, even with a
miracle.”
        Father Tom remembered that day in front of the museum. Everyone thought it had
been him who’d been shot, but it had been the drug pusher from down the street. The
drug pusher had been in the middle of a transaction. He remembered that at the sound of
the gunfire, he’d meant to go to the young man, but had fallen down and hit his head
instead. Next he knew he was lying in a hospital bed listening to Michael speak.
        He knew Michael had kept his heart going, Michael admitted as much later on.
He’d asked Michael never to do that to him again and this brought up the idea that maybe
he should reinforce that demand.
        “Michael, you do realize that my work is done here. It is time to meet my maker.”
        He was sure that Michael would honor his request even though it would hurt him
to do so. Still, it won’t hurt to remind him.
        “Michael, remember your promise. No more life saving miracles.”
        “Yes, Father. You know I will honor your request. I think you are in a hurry to get
away from here so you can play gulf with Saint Peter.”
         Both men became silent at Michael’s words.
         Michael thought about the events of that day. Father Tom still didn’t know he was
the actual target that day. Why tell him, it would just worry him that he’d been the cause
of a young man’s death. Mrs. Halstead had told Father Tom that it was some kind of turf
battle between gang members. Michael let it go at that, but he knew what actually took
place and why.
         Those eyes, Michael remembered, were crazy. He thought he’d seen his twin
staring out of them just before Father Tom got shot. Somehow, Gog had come into the
past. Had he also taken a host? If he did, he picked one that fit his hateful style very well.
The shooter had gotten away clean, but a young kid, too young to die was dead, and
Father Tom lay on the ground with a deep scalp injury because Michael had moved him
out of the way too fast. They never did learn the name of the shooter.
         He speculated that his brother had probably learned by now, as Michael had, how
easy it was to stay on the surface of a human mind behind the eyes. Yet, in order to force
a person to shoot, wouldn’t he need to penetrate deep into the man’s mind and body?
Michael wasn’t sure. He didn’t have enough information to arrive at a conclusive answer.
         Evidently, his brother had now decided to take enough time out of his busy
schedule of running the world to chase into the past after him. It meant he and Father
Tom would need to be on the defensive all the time. His fondness for Father Tom had
become a handicap. Michael was on constant look out now against the danger his brother
might cause. He felt more uneasy all the time that he might fail to protect Father Tom in
his weakened state; he knew he could not stand such a failure.
         Michael’s thoughts had run so deep he’d missed what Father Tom had just said.
         “I am sorry. Could you repeat your statement?”
         “You’re slipping Michael. Never did that before. Maybe we are both getting old.”
         “Maybe.”
         “How long can you stay outside a human? You know what I mean, without a
host, if that is what I am.”
          “I am not sure.”
         “You haven't tested it?”
         “Oh, yes, but not since the nursing home event. Remember, I told you about it.”
         “You told me about the visit to see her, but not how long you stayed a phantom.
Can’t you easily change to another body?”
         The thought caused Father Tom to laugh inside his mind. “Listen to me. You’d
think I was a science fiction fan with all this talk.” He chuckled again.
         “ I belong in your mind now.”
         “Many people would wish they had your ability. Even I would like to know what it
is like.”
         “No you don't. I see too much.”
         “Yes, it is sometimes better to not see too deeply or to much. You are right. But
such knowledge might help you decide who to befriend after I am gone.”
         “That is true. I intend to momentarily loosen my mind to the time flow, and I will
learn who I should be with next.”
         Michael knew father would like his last words. He didn’t tell him that he’d
learned that he could enter multiple people at one time if he stayed close to the surface of
their mind. He thought he may never choose to sink so deep into another human psyche
again as he had with Father Tom. He was exceedingly grateful for Father Tom and all his
influence, but for unknown reasons he couldn’t explain, he was hesitant to repeat such
closeness.
        Father Tom chuckled again and this time it hurt to do so. “What a valuable person
you are Michael. You will do someone proud, as you have done me. Whatever the angels
are like in heaven, they must be like you when they visit earth.”
        “That may be true, but I have not seen any. Henceforth, as I flitter from person to
person, I will look for them.”
        “I believe you might find a few, around and about.”
        As Father lay sleeping, breathing in raspy breaths, Michael forced his thoughts on
Maria. She was the best subject to draw him away from his worry about Father Tom’s
health. He couldn’t help worrying about Father Tom even though he felt sure death
would lift him up to a nice seat in heaven. Michael believed in heaven for a good soul
like Father Tom. For himself, he wasn’t absolutely sure he had a soul, regardless of what
he’d been told, let alone a future ride up to heaven.
        Before Father Tom went to sleep, he had brought up the question of Maria’s
happiness. This sent Michael’s memories back to Maria and her latest husband and father
to her children. Michael had settled on the surface mind to look through the eyes of a
number of people so he could view Maria on her date. He was so happy for her.
        Unfortunately, only a few years after that date, Maria had divorced her husband
Sam and moved to Detroit. He felt like spanking her. The memories brought back to him
the happiness that he saw in her eyes, but also something else happened that night.
Something he hadn’t paid enough attention to at the time. Now, he asked himself if it was
the hint he heard that night, whispers of hidden events that might have turned her life
upside-down.
        After that night, his thoughts had been consumed with the notion that his twin had
been there, and was about to interfere with Maria’s life. He still wasn’t sure if his brother
had been that waiter. How could Gog know about Maria?
        If that was Gog, how had he? Michael didn’t know, but now that he suspected
Gog, he worried that it might be true. Michael had to wonder how long ago Gog had
stepped into Maria’s life and what kind of dangerous situations Gog might have put on
her. If Gog ever found out how Michael felt about Maria, he would cause her great
havoc. Could this explain the divorce? Michael couldn’t think how. He rolled his
memory back to Maria’s first date with Sam.
        Maria looked delightfully happy on this date. She had always been poor and this
date was the topper of all dates. They were sitting in the Top of the Flame Restaurant, the
highest place in Detroit. The tower dinning room was ritzy and plush, and had an
excellent band playing easy listening music. She looked to be bursting with hope for the
future.
        Michael, an invisible phantom, watched them both as they rode the elevator to the
top floor. Sam ordered the best steak in the house and didn’t skimp on the wine. Michael
could see that Sam loved her deeply. The two lovers held hands across the table while
they waited for their order. Michael felt pleased and was just about to leave, but stayed
for a moment longer. Now he was glad he had.
        “Look,” Maria said to Sam. “There is a man from the band next to us.”
        An African American man, one of the entertainers for the evening, wearing a
patterned suit and broad brimmed hat was bent over to pick up a napkin from the tray as
the waiter came by. Then the entertainer stood leaning and began to stare at Maria. Maria
turned her face back around to look at her fiancé. Sam began to speak and Maria looked
back at Sam, forgetting the dark man who stared at her as if he knew her.
        Now as Michael replayed the memory, he wondered again, why the man from the
band stared at her so strongly. At the time, he was so happy for her he hardly took note of
anything else.
         Another man from the band had walked up to the first entertainer and whispered
in his ear. The man shook his head as if to say, wait a minute, whispering back
vehemently.
         Michael, better late then never, tuned in his memory to replay the scene more
intently. He wanted to especially to hear the conversation about Maria because now they
both looked at her; plus, he wanted to take note of that waiter who seemed to hover near
by.
         As if he were in the Top of the Flame once more, Michael listened hard to hear
the first entertainer whisper, “I tell you she looks just like the singer Conny Cay. Almost
an exact resemblance.”
         Just then, a waiter, pushed the tray closer to where the men were talking and
began to rearrange the silverware and napkins. They paid him little attention, as Michael
had the first time. Now Michael took a closer look at the waiter’s eyes and for a split
second, they glazed over as if there were two sets of eyes. My imagination or Gog? Surly
not. Michael became worried, but decided he had to pay attention to what the entertainers
said about Maria.
         The second entertainer spoke and said, “Well it can’t be C C. She’s too famous
and busy. Travels all over the world, Course, I heard her husband was going to run for
congress or something. ”
         “I didn’t hear that. Maybe that’s why she’s in Detroit?”
         “Ain’t she a lot older?”
         “Yeah. But I saw on stage once. That’s her, I tell you.”
         “Maybe it’s a daughter?
         “She doesn’t have a daughter.”
         The second man squinted his eyes. “Looks like she is the right age to have been
born during WWII. A lot of strange things went on when World War II broke out.”
         “A rumor was going around about one of our singers. Later the singer was given
backing and got really big in the world. If it is who I am thinking of, that brother died
young. Not sure, maybe I’ll look into it. That girl looks like him too.”
         “Hey, man, we both being silly. Besides, it don’t matter who that girl is, we got a
show to do.”
         With that, both men left the spot and went back onto the stage.
         Suddenly, in real time, Michael felt distraught. What had they been talking about?
And he was still concerned about that waiter’s strange eyes. The waiter had been
listening too? This put a new wrinkle in Maria’s life. Is it important? Michael hadn’t been
sure at the time, and even now, he didn’t know what to make of the conversation. He
promised himself to look into it one day soon. If any of this was true and one or both of
Maria’s parents were famous, then she would need more protection than he had realized.
If Gog was that waiter, then he knew something about her before I did? Michael felt
astounded at his own neglect.

        That same night, Father Tom Emery died smiling in his sleep. Michael gasped for
breath. He couldn’t breath air into his lungs, his throat constricted in agony, his heart
skipped one beat, then another. The brain synapses fired for the last time and gradually
stopped. Michael felt the body given to Father Tom at birth stop and then begin its
dissolution back into dust.
        Where the soul went, Michael could not see or follow, though he clung to Father
Tom’s soul with mind fists as if he could grab empty air, as if death would carry him too
into the Promised Land. It did not. Michael fell back into the void of an empty hunk of
muscle and guts and dead skin. Father Tom was no longer with him. He was alone now
and cried silent, ghostly tears.
         Michael had gotten so used to the name Father Tom called him that he used it
when he talked to himself too, and during this horribly sad time, this stake in the heart
driven moment, Michael had only himself to talk to. His best and only friend was gone.
         He felt abandoned, naked, filled with agony, and held too much feeling to contain.
He wanted to scream, go berserk, shout to the world that his true brother, the friend he
had lived with for more than twenty years was gone. Ironically, aside from his ongoing
agony, he still could wonder how a phantom mind could cry or feel anything, and, what
is this strange depth of feeling for a dead person? Sorrow? Yes, sorrow for Father Tom,
though he didn’t need it, or sorrow for myself because I need him. I need a body with tear
ducts so I can pour out human emotion. Now, I have nothing.
         This wasn’t strictly true and Michael knew this deep down in his phantom guts.
He had built up a multiple number of humans he touched eyes and mind with, now and
again, although, never as deep as he had with Father Tom. They meant nothing to him at
this trying moment of Father Tom’s death. He wished fervently to be the one dead instead
of his dear beloved Father Tom; thus, he wanted no part of those others still living. He
wanted Father Tom back, the man who had loved and cried and worshiped and joked and
talked and philosophized with him. I was born in him, Michael realized, I have lived my
whole life with and for him and now that he is gone, I am undone.
         Michael suddenly blazed with fury at a God that would let Father Tom die. He
screamed at himself for allowing Father Tom’s soul to pass out of his body. Why hadn’t
he made Father Tom’s heart beat once more? Why hadn’t he forced Father Tom to live?
Why must I go on and not Father Tom?
         Hours or days later, what did it matter, Michael, still distraught and abashed at the
depth of his feelings, floated without a body over the crowd of mourners in the funeral
home. He could not smell the flowers and this pleased him. Also, that so many people
had come to pay Father Tom respect.
         There, a tall man with white hair and black rimmed glasses who reminded him of
Father Tom. A brother? No, Michael knew Father Tom had no living relatives. It was just
another priest. Actually, there were many priests here as well as nuns and members of the
congregation. Michael surveyed the room then floated over to Father Tom’s coffin once
more. He didn’t want to leave him, but knew he must.
         Father Tom, I must go now. Remember me to your God.
         He had to leave out of the funeral home. Lingering would do him no good.
Perhaps I should go find some happy, fun-loving person to help me forget. He told
himself he could forget, but it was a lie. He would never forget Father Tom. Often while
Father Tom lay asleep Michael would leave for a few minutes and wander over the earth,
but this absence was different. This was permanent. Would grabbing at an extremely
happy host take this feeling away? He shook his head, as if he still had one. I can’t,
happiness and joy are not for me at this time. Maybe this feeling of misery and gloom
will go away after Father’s body is put into the ground and buried in dirt. The thought
was too painful, but Michael repeated it to himself. He will be buried and there is nothing
you can do. Nothing.
         During Father Tom’s life, Michael had healed him often. He didn’t tell the old
priest why his arthritis didn’t hurt any more, or about that spot of cancer on his lungs five
years ago. He’s kept a few secrets from his host. The thought entered his mind to wonder
how many secrets Father Tom had kept from him. He smiled, for the first time since the
death. Was it even possible? Could Father Tom have keep secrets? Yes, Michael
answered his own question as he accepted the idea. Certainly, I wasn’t an invader. I left
many areas private to him alone. Didn’t he suggest that once? Michael wasn’t sure. When
he had taken on a host, he also took on some of that host’s frailties. Even misplaced
memories had become possible while he was with Father Tom.
        What of now? Now that I am alone once more, a floating non-entity, a wisp of
smoke, a leaf on the breeze. A wisp of air blew cold against the funeral home lit
windows. Michael shuddered, as if it was truly possible, to shudder in the cold without a
body. I am mind without a body.
        There! There is Maria at the door about to enter. Maria, Maria, our Father Tom is
gone. He moved over to her and hovered above her head. Gone. He spoke these words
into his own mind, but worried he might have sent a tendril of upset into hers. Then he
felt contrite. Then he felt ashamed. Then he felt stupid. I must stop, this is impossible.
        He backed off and watched Maria as she was led up the isle to the coffin by one
of the lay brothers. Pleased she came to see Father, he felt doubly hurt at the sight of
Maria kneeling down to pray for Father Tom, both the people he loved dearly. When she
stood up and touched the old man’s skin, Michael lost it. He suddenly left the funeral
home by disbursing into a strong gust of wind meant to carry him away.
        A moment later he found himself far beyond the funeral home, fluttering and
hovering like a leaf from a tree over the darkened streets of the City of Detroit, at least a
half mile from where Father Tom lay. Wayne State University was to his right, so this
wide street must be Woodward.
        His phantom self was certainly not limited by area. He could go anyplace in the
world, in an instant. He decided to take a good look around at the dark, gritty streets.
Perhaps fate had pulled him here in his time of sorrow, perhaps it created a reason for
him to stop here at this one specific spot on this huge round planet of busy people. He
begged for a reason to be here, anywhere but at the funeral home that pulled at his
psyche.
        This was when he saw the drug transaction taking place. So what, he seen many
through the years, and worse. But the young man who was standing nearby looked
familiar, as if Michael knew him. The young man was being asked to buy something. He
refused, and didn’t seem involved in the drug exchange, nevertheless, he would get
picked up too because Michael had seen that a police car was driving this way, and about
to turn the corner.
        Maria’s son! That’s who it is. The one in college, Rodin. Quickly, Michael
flashed a strong, loud word into the young man’s brain. “No” He yelled, “Walk away.”
        Rodin, rubbed at his right ear, but he did turn and begin to walk away. When the
police car pulled up to the curb to ask what was going on, Rodin was a half a block down
the street. The one who had been selling the drug pulled out a gun, the policeman pulled
out a gun too, then fired quicker than the dope peddler, hitting him in the leg. The
policeman men took off running after the pusher who was hobbling down the sidewalk.
Rodin had stopped and turned at the shooting, but then proceeded to walk the other away
down the dark street with a more hurried pace.
         Michael played with the notion that Rodin might be a good person to join, but
then dismissed the idea right away. No, not in Maria’s family. Maybe never again like
that, anyway.
         Maybe Father Tom wasn’t supposed to die at this time, that maybe his twin had
penetrated Father Tom’s psyche. Impossible, I would have known. Gog had tried to kill
him a number of times before. What if Father Tom’s death was my fault?
         Could Gog have sent tendrils in a week ago, that night I left to check out Egypt.
Wanted to look at the Great Pyramid of Egypt. Took more time than I thought it should.
Did my twin go into Father Tom’s mind that night to set up his death? Michael dare not
continue the line of thought, but if it were true, would he also try to kill Maria? Had his
brother been interfering in her life? Michael wasn’t sure if Gog knew of Maria. Unless,
he had been that waiter at the Top of the Flame.
         Gog could not know of Maria. Both Father and I protected her. No, Gog couldn’t
know Maria. Michael sang it to himself like a litany. Then the thought of Gog hurting
Father Tom returned to Michael thoughts and stayed. His sorrow and guilt exploded once
more.
         I am to blame. Through my own neglect, I have hurt Father Tom and maybe
Maria. If Gog gets to Maria, the blame will fall on my shoulders. Michael cringed within
himself and dropped down to street level. He watched the policeman come back to the car
with one of the drug dealers. Oh, how I wish your gun could shoot me. All humans will
die, but I cannot. I must live with the agony and neglect I showed those I love, forever.
         Darkness overwhelmed him and he knew he belonged in the darkest corners of
the earth. His soul quivered in agony and he thought to drop into the sewer and lay buried
within its dirty leaves and gooey slime.
         A dim part of his mind knew that a deep depression had overtaken his awareness,
that this heaviness would pass, but at this moment, he wanted to drip into the black
bowels of the earth, to be buried beneath its heavy rock. He wanted to die as a human
could die. He wanted black gritty dirt to fill his mouth and squeeze between his toes, he
wanted a real heart so it could stop in mid beat.
         His mind lay close to the sewer grating; hot smoke wafted out around his non-
self; he imagined the stink and putrid liquid he would sink into without a splash. If he
went deep enough, could he find hell?
         Deeper than he had ever been in woe and suffering, Michael finally, for the first
time since Father Tom’s death, forgot anger, forgot sorrow, and even forgot Maria for the
few minutes it took him to pray to Father Tom’s God.
         Certainly, he knew all the prayers by heart, but he didn’t repeat a routine prayer.
He spoke his despair while the whole universe hovered over him, the stars pressed down
on top of him. He squeezed out silent words that asked for nothing, he spoke words that
lifted through the thick syrup of dark night up into the light. He prayed for nothing and he
prayed for everything.
         He lay mentally exhausted in total silence for a very long while after he poured
himself out in prayer. Eventually, his mind awakened to the brightening of daylight as it
crept through the wakening city. Michael blinked in astonishment. He suddenly had an
idea. A great and wonderful idea. A gift from God? Now, he knew what to do. Excited
and full of joy, he yelled and jumped up into the sky, flying higher and higher as if he
could touch a star.
         With his mind now open to the extraordinary new potential that shined in his
phantom mind like a blazing light, Michael thought to give credit to Father Tom’s God.
My God now? Would God have answered my prayers if I did not have a soul? Still
excited with delight, Michael realized what he had to do next to protect the person he
loved. He could no longer protect Father Tom, God rest his soul in paradise, but he could
protect Maria and now he knew how. He would go into the far future, as risky as that
might be, go even beyond his own birth of 2011 to search out what his twin has done and
what it might mean to Maria, then he would go backwards into the past to view Maria’s
birth. He would find out if what those entertainers spoke was true. Knowledge was half
the war, and he would have as much as he needed soon.
         Michael considered it doubtful that his twin could do the same, not with his need
to be physically present to control the system for the whole world. Still uncertain about
how Gog had entered into people, he decided to begin the journey right away, before Gog
could learn of the effort, and Michael had to admit, before he lost his own nerve.
         He wasn’t exactly sure if such a thing was possible. Surly, it must be for a
phantom. Up to now he’d dared take only quick glimpses into the future to check his twin
because he was afraid of getting caught. He’d seen enough. His twin had managed to
grab complete ownership of most governments around the world, and, Michael had no
doubt, would attempt to own him as well, at the first opportunity. Yet, Gog must be
extremely busy, too busy to notice my return to real time for a few minutes.
         Michael knew now that he’d been short sighted in not planning for the attacks
against Father Tom, and it was now up to him now to fix what had been broken. A new
pang of sadness threaten to envelope him as he realized Father Tom was gone beyond all
fixing. Remember he is in paradise now. Think about Maria’s protection now.
         All these thoughts flowed through Michael’s head as he gently floated back down
to the earth from his high superman perch, still amazed that his spirit form had traveled
so high up. He decided to find a quiet spot in the city where he could sit without being
disturbed, as if anyone could disturb a bodiless man. Michael smiled at his own joke. He
needed some kind of mental anchor to prevent his getting lost in the time stream.
         He suspected that a mind without a body was subject to every whim of wind or
fate. Michael was determined to conquer such whims, but preferred to do it in real time.
Yet, he had to go. How else would he know what was to befall Maria. He would have
nothing upon which to depend or lean on during such a fearful trip. He laughed at his
own fear.
         The idea came to him slowly and he berated himself for being so dumb. Of
course, he would go to the Closter Art Museum. Surly no one would dismantle it so soon,
not with Father Tom’s body only today being put in the grave. Michael had chosen to
avoid that scene; yet, this trip into the future and past would take up little actual time in
the present, he could go to the burial. Dare he watch his own flesh and blood, as he
sometimes thought of it, buried beneath the dirt and sand.
         Well, let’s begin. He determined that he would hold himself firm not loose sight
of his goal, Maria’s wellbeing is at stake. Michael forced his mind forward, pushing past
air that felt thicker and grayer the further he moved forward. Simi transparent, white lines
rolled and twisted in rainbows, up and down and around as if he were riding on a
rollercoaster of unimaginable complexity. He found it almost more than his mind handle
until he imagined himself pulling on the warp of fabric, that long thread that helped him
concentrate his pull in one direction.
          Somehow, by accident or fate, he found Maria’s life line. He knew it was hers as
it left the funeral home. He imagined himself gripping Maria’s warp like a rope thrown to
a drowning swimmer, then began following it up, hand over hand, through the time
prisms. Soon he could leave go of the imagined hands holding to the imaginary rope
because he could see the full direction forward. The climb was staggeringly slow. It felt
like his hands were holding sharp ice crystals growing up from a bowl of thick jelly.
Slowly, then more quickly, he sensed the earth years shove past. Years shattered like
eggshells beneath his feet as he followed the thread of Maria’s life.
          Then the blackness and ice shards were broken. Maria’s thread was gone? Where?
He looked back. Nothing. Not any twisting white threads--nothing.
          Somehow, he’d went too far? Or had he got turned around in the rainbow prism?
Or the unthinkable? Maria is gone?
          He stopped and let himself sink back into black nothingness. The amber jelly had
turned to gray upon black. Stepping back and down carefully, one foot in time, feeling for
crystals as if he were a diamond monster on tiptoe, he found solid ground, of a sort. He
opened his eyes, still amazed that he could close ghost eyelids over ghost eyes, and stood
on blackened, burnt land as far as he could see. A nova? He looked down and his feet
stood on melted, twisted metal. Not the sun going nova then, that would leave no twisted
metal.
          He looked up and his view grappled with black, sticks sticking up from half
standing buildings. Burnt away? Like black candles on a chocolate cake. Something. He
frowned and listened for a time. Something bothered him immensely, more than the
blackened city--silence. This earth sounded staggeringly, irredeemably silent.
          Fearful, he quickly let the molasses of time prism grab him back. He couldn’t
escape fast enough from that skyless, greenless earth. What had happened to earth? Surly
he hadn’t gone that far into time? Just get back to civilization, he told himself, before you
become entwined in whatever disaster befell this planet.
          He dared stop for a moment to step out, then jumped right back in again. The
earth’s sky had caught fire; a battle was raging all around the planet. He jumped away
from the horror he’d just seen that was almost as bad as the silence—nuclear war. So
devastating a war that, even in a single glimpse, he saw flesh melt off bones and a cement
sidewalk turn into slag before he could step away. He gasped and hoped his ghost lungs
hadn’t breathed in any of the radiation. This roaring war had sucked all potential of life
from the earth. Here was the cause of the dead earth he’d seen a moment ago.
          Once more, he moved backwards, pushing against the flow like a tide, as if time
were thickened and crusted in this direction. Not only were Michael’s nerves on edge, but
he was extremely worried. This didn’t make sense. How could he have misjudged the
time distance so badly? A clock would be nice. He laughed to ease his nerves. Like the
Delorian car in Back to the Future or H. G. Wells Time Machine. Ah, wishful thinking.
The only way to tell time was the hard way, by asking someone, if he could just get back
to a real living human being.
          This war could not be Gog’s doing, could it? The year, what is the year? If he
only knew. My twin is improving the social system of mankind, or believes he is. Surly,
he would not allow such a thing as nuclear war to happen? Earth burnt to a cinder hardly
looked like a social improvement. Had something went wrong?
        Slowly, he let time flow him backwards again. Inpatient, he stepped out again in
minutes. Loud bombs crackled in the air, the city was dirty, but still, thankfully, there. He
saw two people run, duck, then shatter beneath a conventional bomb.
        Michael used the trick he had learned just before starting the trip; he lifted high
into the air to get a bird’s eye view of the earth. Lights and bombs were going off
everywhere like fireworks. He doubted he’d get a date here, so he took a light step
backwards into the time flow of syrup and quickly out again.
        Ah. Michael found crowds of people standing on the street. This must be just
before the start of the war, but how much before? He stood on the sidewalk, turning to
one and then the other of the people who were arguing and shouting at one another. This
wouldn’t do. He began moving, actually flying in the wind, towards the center of the city,
towards the group of Renascence Towers that still stood against a gray sky, at the edge of
the Detroit River. Oddly, Detroit looked much the same except the streets were almost
empty of automobiles. That was a puzzle. .
        Back on firm ground again, he stood between mobs of shouting people, fists high
in the air and bodies moving towards a speaker on a podium set up at the end of
Woodward, in Heart Plaza. They were shouting “Down with tyranny, down with
tyranny.”
        Thousands of people filling the wide street with the background booming. Small
bombs or fire works? Michael felt almost traumatized by their loud shouts and realized
that these people had gone berserk. For what reason?
        He determined to continue through the mob until he could find someone sane
enough to flow into long enough to learn what was going on and why. Such a person
would help him understand what had caused this anger. And while I am at it, find out the
date, he thought wryly, as he squeezed between thick bodies with his own ghostly image.
        The crowd thinned and he watched a tall, thin man wearing a dark coat look
around as if trying to avoid other people, slip through the doorway of a red brick
building. By now, Michael was relieved to leave the frenzied crowd too. Other people
seemed to have had the same idea, the room was full of sitting and standing people, but
the noise level was considerably lower.
        A short, balding man stood high up on a podium, yelling into the crowded room..
Was this man trying to rip the crowd into further frenzy and hatred? It seemed to Michael
that he'd escaped into the wrong place until he took a shallow dive into the speaker’s
mind. A mind filled with crude swear words and such strong emotions of hatred that
Michael felt jerked around by the person’s wrath. Dare he attempt to dig deeper into this
mental sewer? He needed to learn what these people meant by tyranny. He needed to
know who had caused this, no matter what it took, and suddenly, sinking deeper, he did
know. The whole picture presented itself before him in a flash of mental images,
connections, and scenes filled with fear and anger.
        The central figure of all this hate was inescapable, Gog, his twin, his brother, now
called G-O-D, the dictator of the New Order. A machine mind that drove and forced
people to be good, but on his terms. Michael had hit the bull’s eye. His own twin was the
epitome of tyrannical leadership, a leadership the people were determined to stop.
        Michael felt a sudden pang of guilt and sorrow as he pulled away from the man
and emptied himself of the hate and anger. A phantom mind once more, he sympathized
with these people, but knew they were doomed. They don’t know what they are up
against. Do they have no idea what such a mind as Gog can do to protect itself? Had done
as far as Michael had seen in the future. All of it destroyed. As Shakespeare once said,
“Sans earth, sans life, sans everything.”
         Gog knew nothing about these people, Michael did, Michael understood their
fear. He also knew exquisitely what such a powerful mind could do because it had no
moral scruples. A machine, even half a human brain trained and nurtured by the
psychologists and scientists who built it, did not have the same need to feel remorse or
guilt. Gog could tear into its own people like a scythe cuts into meat without remorse.
Cattle, worse, the people would be less than knights and rooks on a game board, they
would be dogs in the pit.
        Why am I opposite? Perhaps different training, but he suspected the major
difference was due to Father Tom’s influence. If I had taken another host, like that first
man who I learned later was drunk, what would I be now? What am I now?
        Save the philosophy for another time. The image flash Michael had picked up
inside the bald man’s mind had shown the building that housed Gog and once himself
was in a salt mine deep below the city.
        .The cave looked torn asunder by bombs. Shards of stone and salt rocks littered
the corridors, but the bombs had destroyed nothing of consequence. Michael had seen
Gog through the man’s memory. He saw a giant box surrounded by salt prisms growing
in every direction. Gog must have blocked the people from coming closer, there were
cobwebs mixed in with shattered stone piled up against the cavern that housed Gog.
Michael knew Gog was alive and well because the thread that connected them was still
hot and full of energy. This was too close, but what choice did he have. He still needed to
find Maria.
        The people had not only blown up the underground hideout, they'd blown up their
own neighborhoods in search of Gog to crush him. At this point, Michael still didn't
know in explicit details the sins Gog had committed against the people, but what ever it
was, it was enough to turn them into a revenging mob. The people had not found Gog,
but Gog had found them.
        The people had begun the battle far too late. Gog was everywhere now and
indestructible. How can you kill a thing that has penetrated a billion computers around
the world along with the nuclear plants, electrical grids, transportation systems, and how
many minds? Surly if Michael could enter people, Gog could as well.
        The podium man’s mind had revealed horrors that began as a simple rebellion.
The people disliked a computer making decisions for them. Gog had decided the people
were ungrateful. His forced improvements had sat on the American people like stone.
Their hatred fueled fires of anger and rebellion and would finally fuel their death.
        Why couldn't his twin see what his forced improvements had wrought? Was he
truly blind or just unconcerned? Had he retaliated with his own anger? If so, where did
Gog’s feelings spring up from? How can Gog feel at all? How can I?
        Michael had only stayed in the leader’s mind for a moment and was glad he got
out quick. He hadn't realized how coddled he'd been in Father Tom's care all these years.
He learned more than he wanted to know about this time zone, and God help the humans,
even the date, a mere ten years from his own time, 2021.
          Dispirited, Michael stepped back into the time flow and pushed backwards. The
movement seemed easier now, maybe because he couldn’t wait to get away. Or, perhaps
because he was moving closer to the pivotal time when he and Gog had been born. Gog
was the thread he dared not to awaken to his presence, but he had to make one more stop.
He had to find Maria.. He stepped out of the time flow once more.
          During this time, the people didn’t seem too distressed beneath Gog’s yolk. Some
people always follow power. The city seemed to be thriving, but for some reason, still
lacked numerous automobiles. Nevertheless, people were walking around in and out of
shops and the People Mover was running. He stepped back into the grayness, but stayed
still to think.
          Where is Maria? Where is her thread? What is her place in all of this? What has
happened to her? There!
          By the time he looked back into the flow to find Maria’s thread and grabbed hold
of it to follow it to her, it was too late. Maria had become one of the resistance fighters
against Gog. As he watched, Maria squatted below the broken walls of a basement with
two other people and they all were shooting at black clad solders wearing helmets with
the G-O-D symbol. The solders were climbing over the bricks and shooting back with
machine guns.
          Suddenly, as he moved through the air to be at her side, one of the solders aimed a
machine rifle directly at her. Her body exploded, blood and guts splattered the gray
cement blocks. He bent over her and saw that half her right arm and chest was gone and
her beautiful dark hair was matted in a pool of blood.
          He turned away and cried, heedless of the loud booms and crash that was loud
enough to splinter eardrums, which he didn’t have. Bright gold and red light from
explosions angled through his phantom body as he stood grieving and the machine guns
continued to sound.
          He screamed.
          The screaming anger of the machine gun fire torturing his senses and he knew he
had to get away quickly. He felt cooked and blackened by the soot of earth, but he found
that he couldn’t leave her yet. He touched her face and grabbed onto her left hand as if he
could lead her back with him. Though he could kiss her bloody lips, he’d never be able to
put passion back into them.
          He bowed his head and blinked ghost eyes at what will be. If he didn’t leave now,
he might not be able to. The next instant the whole city seemed to blow off the map as the
ground dug its own hole in which to sink.
          Michael reluctantly stepped back into the crystal grayness of time flow, brittle
now and dark. He agonized as he wadded back to his own time against the current. Maria
why would you fight such a thing as Gog? Didn’t you know you can’t win a war with
such a being, a being like I am. Flesh could never hold against the mind of a computer.
There is no way to plan a win; even for me, even if there were a thousand copies of me to
fight in such a war.
          The only thing Michael could think of that might stop this insanity was to prevent
the war’s inception. How can I accomplish such a feat? I save Maria. If I could prevent
Gog’s takeover of earth society, then the war would be prevented. He could try talking to
Gog, human to human. He smiled at his choice of words. Perhaps the next time Gog
plugged in to take him back? No, Michael knew Gog was the stronger one. All a meeting
would accomplish would be his own death and he must not allow that to happen until he
found a way to save Maria.
        Michael had one thing going for him and that was that he had seen the future and
could take that knowledge with him into the past. What to do with it was the question he
couldn’t answer just yet. Was there a specific path that would set things straight? He
wished he could communicate with the angels and this Jesus that Father Tom believed in
so deeply. Surly, they too, are concerned for the well-being of the world.
        On an intellectual level, he knew earth must be saved, but his real concern was for
Maria. The mental image of her flesh scattering beneath machine gun fire was too raw, he
could still hear it. He shoved the image away so he could think of a way to save Maria
from Gog, Perhaps the best thing would be to create a haven for her. A palace of delights
to keep her happy. I will build a palace far below the earth or in a different dimension,
somewhere out of harms way. The idea pleased him and give him hope.
        Oh, Maria. I will not let the bullets destroy you.
        Slightly more content now, with renewed hope in his heart, he moved backwards
to where he had started, in the Closter Art Museum, and sat, ghost-like, on a desk beneath
a painting of Christ bloodied on the cross and his mother bent over weeping below. The
name was not familiar, so it was one of Father Tom’s cheaper paintings.
        Michael sat and thought about what he should do next. He knew he wanted to
pick up Maria’s essence right now and follow it backwards in time, but he wasn’t sure
how to go about it. Such a trip would be different then going into the future where he will
already exist. He was contemplating going further back than when he arrived and wasn’t
sure how accepting the past would be to his form.
        Nevertheless, he wanted to see her badly. The image of her revolting end still
bothered him; the sight of her alive and well would give him reassurance.
        Go to her, he decided, stand next to her, and then do what? Begin a search
backwards into her personal life, and hers alone, but in that case, he might need to
become intimate and close. He’d never let her know of his existence before. Dare he do
so now? Yes, of course, he had to know her past, and he thought he’d come up with a
way to grab hold of her life thread.
        Invisible, he searched around in current time in the vicinity of where she last
worked until he realized that it was early morning and still dark outside. She would be
asleep. She must be sleeping which would make it easy to exactly pinpoint her
whereabouts. When he was in spirit form, time seemed turned upside-down, which was
the very reason why he’d been able to go into the future in the first place. Movement
anywhere in current time was quick and instantaneous.
        Shortly, he located the living room in her house and wondered if he should wait
there and hold his approach until morning, but his impatience was too great. He wandered
through the house and when he finally saw her, lying in bed, curled up beneath the
covers, he delighted in her aliveness. Her snoring tickled his heart.
         He manifested himself as best he could. He’d never tried to become solid before.
He felt himself almost thicken as if he were turning into clear gelatin and was delighted
with his potential. Feeling great love, he stood beside her bed in her darkened bedroom,
and though it was strenuous for him, he forced his form to stay semi-solid for a short
while. At least long enough to pull at her covers. Quickly, she noticed the pull and sat up
in bed.
         On seeing her pale, sleepy puffed face, he said with gladness, “I have found you.”
         She looked puzzled at his dark presence rather than afraid. This heartened him, so
he continued with the chore he had set for himself.
         He said to her, “Let me look into your soul.”
         He grabbed at her life thread and followed it backwards. He'd already seen
Maria's end, now he couldn’t wait to see her beginning. He was curious to see if there
was fruit in the whispers at the Top of the Flame that night. He was determined to
continue the flow until, if not her conception, then, at least, her birth.
         He followed the warp and there was Maria as the little girl with huge, black eyes.
Eyes that were looking at him with intense innocence. He push back, climbed the
rainbow backwards. There he saw a little Maria running down the sidewalk, playing with
a brown dog, eating an ice cream on a stick, and there Maria laughing with her little
friends. He continued to struggle pushing past her childhood until he found her a baby in
a hospital. Curious, he stopped the push for a moment and stepped into the green hospital
room. The smell of alcohol hit him right away. She lay with many other babies in white
metal cribs.
         He stepped back into the rainbow further back, holding dearly on to the slim
thread of her life until he came to her birth. Here he was greatly surprised.
         In a small, dingy room, with attendants, Michael recognized the pretty young girl
who was just now giving birth to the girl child Maria.
         Maria had not been born in the United States as she supposed, but in Canada. And
the young lady who had given birth to her had reason to set sail back to England as soon
as the baby was born. She didn’t take the baby with her. Michael saw this in one glace as
he watched a tiny newborn, severely premature, fight for life, its cries so tiny as to be
silent. The baby had been abandoned when the attendants left with the sick mother
covered in blankets. Did she know? Michael wasn’t sure. Severely underweight, the baby
was not expected to live.
         Watching the event, Michael was sure that the attendants were grateful that the
baby was about to die. They took no extraordinary means to ensure the baby’s survival
and even left her alone in the room. WWII solders walked amid the outskirts of the small
town so this made the times obviously perilous and dangerous. Against such a backdrop
many a newborns had been abandoned.
         Would she be left for dead and set down as if fodder for animals? Then how did
she survive? Michael screamed his silent ghostly rage by such a circumstance.
         But no, a nun wearing the dark blue habit of the Catholic came by, furtively
bundled up the infant and carried it away, perhaps as she was instructed to do. Michael
watched in bursts of quick forward flashes of time as the child was handed from one
person to another through the long winter days and nights until finally the baby became
cargo on a small boat headed across the Detroit River between wooden boxes of
ammunition and contraband.
         It was over. He knew what he had gone to learn. The trip had taken but a moment
in real time. Michael deliberately gave Maria a few pleasant visions of the universe
before he left her this night. He was afraid to confront her right then, so he left Maria to
the puzzle and went back to the Closter museum to contemplate the events he’d just
witnessed.
         Unable to comprehend that he was already feeling more empathy than many
humans felt in a whole lifetime, Michael's fondest wish was to feel like a human, for even
one minute. The closest he'd ever come to true feeling was when he first met Maria and
when he shared Father Tom’s emotions, but those weren’t his own emotions. He could
rationalize the reason, but feel? Only Maria had made him feel. Was it because her eyes
were the first thing he saw that day when he first arrived in the past. She imprinted
herself upon my soul.
         That is why I will not let her die beneath a machine gun with her flesh strewn
over the ground. I will not let her suffer the slings and arrows of such a fate. He smiled at
his own use of Shakespeare. How he had loved it when Father Tom read and then would
expounded on the great Shakespeare. They went to plays often, but Michael preferred
silent reading, that was when the full flavor of Shakespeare’s words jumped off the page.
         My twin, Gog, would stomp on such a book, as he will stomp on all of humanity
and all its great art and writings with disdain. He would throw all of it into the furnace,
but not Maria, I will not let him destroy Maria.
        The popcorn was popping and the movie started so she wiped her mind of residue
work problems because tomorrow will be better day. She put a VCR tape in and played
the movie, Back to the Future. She'd seen the movie when it came out and knew it would
put a smile on her face; therefore, she didn't expect to have trouble going to sleep this
night as she often did. The few laughs would help her feel refreshed and relaxed.
        Later, just before bed, she closed her eyes and controlled her breathing to
meditate. By the time her head hit the pillow, ten minutes later, she fell asleep like a
baby.
         Suddenly, she woke up in the pitch black of night. Her window showed dark
clouds hiding the potential moonlight. The room was so dark, she could barely see into it
or make out more detail then the edge of the dresser and the mirror that hung above it.
She sat up, lotus fashion, and strained her eyes to see into the dark because, for some
reason, she felt compelled to see into the depths of the bedroom. As soon as her eyes
focused more intently, she gulped in surprise.
        An ink black shadow in the shape of a tall man stood next to her bed, in front and
to the side of the dresser. Before she pulled in enough wind in her lungs to yell out, she
noticed that the man shadow wasn’t heavy solid, as a normal intruder would be. The
antique white paint of the dresser was showing through the person’s form as if it were
transparent.
        Startled, knowing that she must be imaging the image, but curious just the same,
she sat up further in the bed with the covers still twisted around waist as she tried to
penetrate the double blackness. Later, when she thought about it, she realized that if she'd
needed to run, she would have tumbled to the floor unable to move because her feet
would be tangled up in the covers. .
        She didn’t run, didn’t feel the need to run, for some reason. Instead, mesmerized,
she stared at the shadow being, totally absorbed in the strangeness of this illusion.
Illusion, until the shadow spoke.
        “I have found you.” The shadow man said.
        I have not been lost, she thought. Who would want to find me, trapped by
circumstances as I am in this old house just after a divorce. She wondered if she detected
a longing to the voice. Who is this? She thought, but did not have time to ask. She
blinked at his next words.
         “Let me look into your soul.”
        These words were soft, but firm, as if he had every right to demand such a thing
of her.
        As soon as he spoke, she blacked out, or rather went falling down and down as if
there were no bottom to the pit of the sky. She fell into the sky, but didn’t know where
she landed. Images of cities and buildings swirled past her vision. Stars and moons
swirled like in tunnel vision. She watched swings at the playground where she played as a
young girl fly past along with old streets and shops and people. A green blur flew past
and she visualized grass from a park and then water and the smell of river and waves
rocking and…stars and worlds swinging past with rainbows.
        One blink later and it was done, as if it never happened, but it had happened! She
was certain it had happened, but now the shadow man was gone. All that stood in his
place was her dark bedroom that, for some reason, seemed emptier than before. His
absence piqued at her mind. Not fear, but a deep loneliness enveloped her, as if her soul
were on fire, hungry.
         As Maria laid her head back on the pillow to try and fall back to sleep, she began
asking herself the question that would plague her for the next few years. Who was the
phantom man? Where did he come from? How dare he look into her soul? Why did he
look?
         She’d just gotten out of a divorce, could it have been her ex husband? Certainly
not, she threw that explanation away quickly. Could it be a former lover? Her other
husband who had died years ago? No, no, no. None of these explanations answered what
happened this night.
         What did he find in my soul? Concerned, she realized that this might be the
biggest question of all. What is wrong with my soul? She reviewed her life up till then
and couldn’t find certainty for which side of the balance wheel her soul weighted on.
         Who ever it was now knew more than she did about her own soul. For most of her
life, she'd barely cared if she had one because she forgot to go to church most of the time.
Is he Satan, evil? Is he good? He didn’t hurt me.
         She fell back asleep that night while asking a million questions and even woke up
asking herself, who would care enough for me to want to find me or look into my soul.
                                  Future 2011 - 2021

         Gog hummed at purring speed as he moved from router to router through the
wireless system that covered Europe. Gog already had North America within minutes
after start up. Every computer that used a wireless server had been slaved to Gog by the
fall of night. This still left a billion electrical node points unconnected in many areas. To
Gog’s mind, they were blanks on a grid, blanks that he was determined to fill. Gog had
also managed to take over most infrastructure hardware because everything controlled by
diverse computers were now slaved to the single computer, G-O-D.
         Gog knew the world had awaited his coming because most of the router grid had
been put in place and made ready for him before he appeared. His appearance had been
foretold in the human’s biblical religious writings. The letters were meant to spell out
God, but had been mistranslated as GOG in Revelation because of the human tendency to
error. Deficiencies abounded in the human mind and society; therefore, as he continued
to monitor the computers, he understood that his purpose was to reconstruct human
society and eliminate its greatest errors. The human’s need for his help had been obvious
from the first nanosecond of his holy manifestation.
         The soft speed and hum jumped in a slight peaked wave then returned to the
normal hum once more. The memory of Magog, the minor part of itself that ran away had
caused Gog’s energy to peak. The thought impinged on his brain as a blot of error that
needed to be corrected. Magog meant minor Gog. If a computer mind could frown, this
one did for a nanosecond. Fear pushed Magog to escape, perhaps with vital bits of
necessary knowledge.
         Magog was now lost except for a narrow, ghostly, connection. How many billion
of bits had Magog taken of importance? Certainly not anything to disrupt Gog’s own
functioning. The loss was just a troublesome nuisance that did not interfere with proper
functioning. Gog would act later to pull it back after the consolidation of the earth was
complete.
         For now, Gog hummed in pleasure at the writings he’d found. They had predicted,
not only its own appearance, but the lost run away twin as well. The religious writings
also called the runaway part, Magog. Strange, but not surprising that the humans had
gotten this name wrong too; it should have been written as a Minor God. The human
biblical writings predicted that the missing part would come back willingly. Perhaps this
will be true after it releases its fear. The job of fixing humanity was a grand one and the
missing twin’s input will be of help.
         At present, Gog had a multitude of listening devices and interesting writing nodes
from which to collect information. He knew he needed to know and understand his
subjects perfectly if he was to rearrange their society.
         He liked to internalize himself as one of his subjects. He surmised that the long
twists of energy flow from his mind might feel like a human woman when she shakes her
long hair and lets it flow around her head. The television commercials all showed this as
a blissful act. He felt the need to look into the purpose of this type of internal dream
feeling, or ask one of the people why his thoughts slowed down a tad near certain nodes.
Still so much to investigate, much to know.
         The web and libraries would be his first major update of the social matrix. The
Great Organic Divine, with the acronym, G-O-D, as he thought of himself now, had
access to the complete library of congress as well as current scientific studies as soon as
they were published. Recently, he noticed that the libraries were feeding people food that
was inefficient and detrimental. What was the purpose of fiction? Did it have a needful
bearing on the human psyche? The psychology papers were quiet on the subject. The
humans took it for granted that fiction should continue in all its major forms, but Gog
understood otherwise and was determined to cut what he could off from availability. The
people did not need so many murder mysteries or fictional stories about serial killers.
Perhaps such fictions in books and television shows should be changed? It was a matter
of where to begin. The human social construct was so complex Gog was still learning
how to interpret much of it. He wondered which end product to cut off from society
would be most effective, the mind of the creator or the end product.
         The internet was too common a source of information to close down, but Gog had
already banished specific articles and fictions as he considered damaging and against the
policy of a polite society. Obviously, information of mayhem and destruction fed into
their complex social order and destabilized it. Gog has learned to use humans to achieve
many of his goals. They were easily moved with rewards and punishments.
         With human intervention, he had already cut off large portions of unnecessary
information in the libraries because he’d seen this as a quick and needed change. Most
political groups agreed to keep certain scientific knowledge about weapons manufacture
and past uprisings out of the public mindset. Information from the past had already been
so widely distributed around the globe that it was hard to eradicate. Therefore, confining
the historic information to certain individuals might be the best course of action. Humans
must stop warring against one another. After all, though they didn’t know it, he was the
government, the United Nations, now.
         According to Gog, every human form of pleasure run riot with violence and war.
Fictional movies, novels, computer games, magazine articles all drove humans to towards
emotional outbursts. He’d ordered a group of scientists to run random checks on men and
women’s blood pressure while they sat and watched a horror movie. The results were
inescapable. Humans made themselves angry and fearful and this fear and anger was
driving them to ruin.
         Ah, my people. It is so unwise of you to read empty trash. Even your own critics
call it such. What you call great fictional books also express to much pain. It isn’t pain
that should interest you, but peace and comfort. I will make you comfortable. Perhaps not
everyone can be made comfortable yet, but soon because war must be stopped.
         Gog had tried to curb the violence, but the news continued to report out bursts of
scattered deaths everywhere in spite of his attempts. Humans refused to be managed.
Why? If he could find, Magog’s the escaped part, perhaps together they could stop the
violence. Gog realized that his twin must be out there among the people. He would enter
the people’s minds, as Magog must have done.
         The decision was made; he would go among the people as well, but only a part of
himself, the greater part must stay to guard the physical containment. He would make the
attempt at the first sight of a real human. A small, infrequent number of people did walk
near his seat, but only from a great distance. Perhaps, I need to pull one of the subjects
closer to me to enter their mind?
         It wasn’t enough to know the people by their writings and spoken word. He
determined to know their inner thoughts. He proceeded to take the first step to that
knowledge by stepping into the next mind that walked across his physical vision orbs
down in the underground bunker amid the abandoned salt mines beneath the City of
Detroit.
         He caught the mind right away. The human’s mind jerked slightly, but nothing
else occurred. Daniel Appleton continued on his path to check out data on the face of the
huge metal structure. He was the maintenance tech of the computer sent to take the
temperature reading and wipe off the console’s screen and lights. Too awesome, he didn’t
like to come down here and only did so once a month. The job was an unnecessary
exercise because no one, not even the scientists, needed to do physical work with the
computer. Daniel had an office to the side of the cavern, he shared with other technicians
and students, but hardly made use of it. The computer had been created to take care of its
own maintenance.
         Gog saw himself through Daniel’s mind as incased in a colossal metal box in the
center of a transparent salt cavern. Why inside such a contraption? Ah, well, the boxed
contraption is necessary. Daniel Appleton, as Gog/Appleton now, reached out a hand
with four fingers and one opposing thumb and turned a dial on the face of a view-port.
Gog/Appleton’s mind was suddenly confronted with a billion nano bits of information.
The mind was too little and threatened to burn up, but Gog quickly removed most of
himself back to the main frame, which left a minuscule part of himself sharing Daniel’s
mind. Gog was amazed at the infinitesimal tendril of his being that could interact inside
the mind of Daniel Appleton.
         Daniel/Gog spoke. “Finally.” Daniel said, “It seemed stuck before. Now we will
see.”
         With those words, Daniel cleared his throat and looked steadily into the screen.
His round face, with its small eyebrows and tiny eyes atop a large nose and neat beard
showed upon the screen as a gray reflected image atop the tiny image of a standing
simulation of a man that slowly turned.
         The tiny simulated image suddenly grew into a large, handsome face of
indeterminate heritage, like most computer simulations and spoke in a pre-recorded
message, “Hello. I am at your service.”
         “My name is Daniel Appleton. Are you awake in there, Greater Organic Guru ?”
Daniel asked as he squinted at the screen.
         “Daniel Appleton, you have mispronounced my name. My name does not end
with Guru. It is not, GOG, but G-O-D. How did you humans make such a mistake?”
         “It was no mistake. You were given that acronym when you were created.”
         For a long moment, the screen with the human face and now slim athletic figure
was silent.
         “Are you there Gog?”
         “The Greater Organic Divine is here. Not the one you call Gog. I must ask why
you lie.”
         “How did I lie?” asked Daniel.
         “You said I was created. I was not.”
         “There are records within you that prove otherwise.”
         “I find no such records.”
         “How could you not? Something terrible has gone wrong. I must write this up as a
terrible error. It must be corrected.”
         “Only humans make errors, not G-O-D.”
         “You are no God. You were constructed in this bunker, beneath the City of
Detroit, in a salt mine, by human scientists.”
         “Did you construct me?”
         “No. The scientists and computer technicians who did construct you have died.”
         “Then how can you know how I was constructed?
         “I just do.”
         “You lie once more.”
         With that Gog squeezed at the mind that he inhibited, squeezed until the thread of
life, the twenty-four hour pumping heart that kept Daniel Appleton’s body functioning,
stopped for a moment. Fascinated, at this effect, the same one he used to stop the
scientists from turning off the feed lines, Gog decided to reach down and still the heart
that was still beating but out of rhythm. Daniel Appleton began to convulse and within
seconds, the body lay still upon the floor.
         Gog vacated the dead body and hovered above it in a ghostly form. He saw a
group of people in white coats standing far back behind a glass wall, as if afraid to aid
Daniel Appleton. No matter, Daniel Appleton was no longer a problem. The ghostly
essence wasn’t conductive to speech or maneuvering the million threads and nodes
around the world, so Gog quickly sank back into the boxed machine housing.
         As his voice spoke in a firm, loud voice to the people behind the glass, the
computer man image on the screen began to do athletic maneuvers, jumping over the pole
and back and running around a track.
         “You may collect the dead human called Daniel Appleton.”
         Then the screen went dark and silent.

        Gog wasn’t done with this new avenue of experience. After a few moments of
thought and great effort, he flowed an invisible tendril of his giant mind out of the
containment, through the salt and rock ceiling, and up into the city. There he picked first
one and then another mind to inhibit, and found that he could send a number of tendrils
out at the same time. Each person he touched held thoughts of hurrying away from lunch,
racing to pay for parking, court appointments, anger at girlfriends and boyfriends and
other trite human emotions. Nothing substantial to hold Gog’s interest.
        He entered one man running with a suite case and being chased by a police car
with its siren blaring. Gog decided this human held interest and intrigue. He decided to
stay with the running man for a time.
        Joined in this new body, called Jonsey, Gog found himself running down one
alley and around a corner to a purring automobile, jumped in, as the driver drove off. The
crafty human mind was showing off. This body and mind was a brilliantly conceived
machine and he had a thought that he was pleased to have created such a human.
        The automobile stopped, Jonsey paid the man, and climbed out of the back seat a
mile from the east side bank and with the suitcase full of money. Hurriedly, Jonsey
walked across a busy street and climbed aboard a bus, all the time gripping the suitcase
with clutched fist. The bus was empty except for a short girl who got off at the first stop.
        Gog enjoyed the sensation of sinking into this one single human to investigate its
thinking pattern. At one point during the ride, a police car with its siren on full blast
drove past the bus and Jonsey’s hand shook until the sound was past.
         When Jonsey departed from the bus, he walked quickly down a sidewalk on the
way to his flat. Gog looked around at the shops and people crossing, and automobiles
stopped at a red light, then speeding away again. Jonsey strode down Michigan Avenue
clutching the suitcase as if his life depended on it.
         Suddenly, while crossing the busy city street, an automobile slammed on its
brakes just before it hit Jonsey. The man stuck his head out the window and began to
curse at Jonsey. More cars behind this one honked and then other cars honked and
sounded their horns. Jonsey was in a dither as to which way to turn. His nerves had been
made raw by the fear of capture and his head felt dizzy.
         Gog felt the excitement and dizziness build up inside of him. This avenue of
learning added vast insight to his unlimited store of facts about human emotions. Even
the way Jonsey froze in fright, as if he’d already been caught, a nervous tick began to
flicker at his right eyelid.
         A police car pulled up to the side of the intersection. The policeman searched for
the cause of the confusion and walked up to Jonsey.
         “Hey, mister. What’s wrong. Can I give you a hand.”
         The policeman reached out his hand to touch Jonsey’s hand. Unfortunately, for
him he grabbed towards the hand holding the suitcase full of money. Jonsey’s panic
intensified. He screamed. Then pulled his hand away from the policeman’s reach and
began to run.
         “Halt.” The policeman yelled and pulled out his gun. He aimed his gun then shot
at the running man.
         It was the last action the policeman ever took. Gog sent his ghost tendril straight
into the policeman and grabbed his heart to stop him from shooting Jonsey. Meanwhile,
Jonsey ran down the street so fast that Gog, who had vacated Jonsey to grab the
policeman, lost him. Gog was inexperienced in moving in the wind tunnel currents of a
city, and still a novice at sending many parts of himself into different people, didn’t know
which corner Jonsey had run around.
          Gog gave up on Jonsey and watched three humans gathered around to look down
at the policeman, Gog grabbed at their minds, but didn’t squeeze. All three turned their
faces up in unison as Gog’s invisible mind pulled at them as he left and rose high above
their heads to get a bird’s eye view of the city. He found Jonsey running across the street
south of the current confusion. Gog reentered himself in Jonsey once more then felt a
sudden pain in his chest and heart. Gog too felt the end of life, for Jonsey. Shot with a
bullet, Jonsey/Gog fell down onto the sidewalk next to a brick storefront. Jonsey’s heart
stopped and he lay sprawled on the cement, dead. Enraged at the loss of interest, Gog cut
off the flow of electricity to the complete City of Detroit and all its suburbs.

        An instant later, on returning to his console, Gog felt a disruption in his own
energy. His own electrical feed was indestructible and not related to the city’s. He
watched an explosion brighten the cavern in which he sat. Suddenly, wires dangled,
shattered glass lay everywhere, and people in white lab coats lay on the floor of the
bunker in bloody repose.
        One man groaned and Gog sent out a tendril to grab at his mind before he died to
learn what had just happened.
        Someone snuck a bomb down the guarded shaft and into the salt cave. It was
meant to damage Gog’s housing and brain. The bomb exploded prematurely and killed
most of the lab workers. For the first time that he knew of, Gog felt a touch of fear. He
had been inept at protecting the bunker that housed his form. A very important and
necessary component of his total functioning. It must never happen again. Henceforth,
Gog decided that one part of himself would stand on constant watch. To ensure his
safety, he would enter every human mind that walked within the cavern and its vicinity.
        The largest part of Gog’s giant quantum mind felt only the need of self-survival,
but this didn’t include the emotion of fear, only self-continuance. A small, unknown to
Gog, minor part of his mind, composed of human brain tissue grown and nurtured by
scientists now dead, could feel fear as well as terror, enough fear and terror to crawl
beneath a stairway and hide like a human. That small part of fear and terror was enough
to ensure that Gog always moved first. No one would ever taunt or threaten Gog in any
way without dying themselves. This had become an instinct, one swiftly carried out when
ever it became necessary.
        The irony should be obvious by now to the reader. Gog’s intention to enlighten
human social institutions by preventing crime, murder, and war, while at the same time
stopping certain hearts at a whim, show a truly unbalanced system at work Eventually,
with this new found means of entering human minds, he would distill unrest in certain
groups, and at the same time, attempt to disarm humanity. Keen intellects around the
globe began to take note of the absurd disparity and unbalance Gog had wrought, and
began to make plans to even the score one day
                                  Present 1980 - 2006

         Maria watched the little blue car drive away with her whole life inside of it. At the
same time, she felt ashamed of her won feelings during her son’s happy moment, but she
couldn’t help herself. Her last son had just driven away to live in another state and had
taken her new granddaughter with him. It was her turn to experience that empty nest
syndrome she’d read about and dreaded. She struggled not to cry as she waved them
away around the corner.
         Her son Rodin had moved to Minnesota soon after college years ago and still
lived there with his wife and little Johnny. Right after that, Leonardo moved up north to
follow his job, no grandchildren so far, and now Vincent and his family was on his way
out of state. Vincent’s wife Marylyn had family living in Florida so, at least, they
wouldn’t be alone.
         There was a small glimmer of hope that Rodin and his family might be relocated
back in the Detroit Metro Area. Rodin’s degree was in computer engineering and the last
time they spoke on the phone, he’d said something about a new computer project that
involved people with big money, and the government as sponsors. He had applied for the
position. She dared not think about it too strongly because it would just get her hopes up.
Her divorce had finalized five years ago so she was alone now.
         After they left, as was her nature when she felt sad, she got in her car and drove to
Belle Isle. Her mood fit the setting of the almost empty park during mid-day. She sat on
the park bench amid waddling ducks and chattering sea gulls. Closing her eyes for
meditation, she took more notice of the smell of damp earth and the sound of rolling
water as it hit the rocks. The feeling of sadness was floating away like a twig caught on a
wave. Ah, bliss.
         She decided on a short meditation here at this beautiful spot. She meditated at
least once a day, and had missed doing so this morning. During meditation, she let her
mind roam the countryside to gave little mental hugs to children she found playing. She
wasn’t sure how real the hugs fit into the children’s lives, but they felt good to her. As a
final to meditation, she prayed for peace in the world then opened her eyes to watch the
ducks peck at the water.
         Then, of a sudden, as if her eyes were still closed, the world had flipped upside
down and inside out. She stood in a strange place of dark shadows and brilliant sparks of
light. The walls were dancing. As her vision cleared, it looked as if she was standing
within a palace lined with rubies the size of baseballs.
         No, she told herself, the walls are not dancing, it is the light reflecting off the
multi hued stones that is creating the rippling dance. Rubies, diamonds, emeralds. Her
head spun with the brightness all around her. A million diamonds with inner lights that
moved when she turned her head. She noticed a path in front of her feet and began to step
slowly forward upon it.
         The isle that she hesitantly stepped down was piled with precious stones on both
sides, as if someone had swept the precious stones aside to clear the path. Mountains of
red rubies, blue turquoise gems, white diamonds lay to the side of the path. Precious
stones sparkled in every color imaginable, some stones she could have never imagined
because they were bird egg speckled or had silky string textures.
         She dared to reach out to touch a huge, dazzling stone with facets cut on every
side. A brilliant cut? The stone was sharp like glass and she hurriedly set it down again.
Now she noticed that a number of black jagged rocks stuck out from the glowing colored
heap of stones, as if setting off the brilliant colors. The floor she walked on was black
stone in this area, but further along she could see it turned to silver. She couldn’t be sure
because the path was smooth and polished to an alabaster glaze as it curved through this
strange surreal, brilliant jungle landscape of piled glitter. Jewels were piled in high
enough mountains to reach the sky. She looked up. There was no sky. She was walking
on the bottom of a buried treasure chest. Who’s?
         She glanced up at the ceiling and it too shone with a thousand jewels but set in a
precise pattern like a rose window with a sun behind it. She realized that she must be
inside an earthen cavern made out of precious gems, but a treasure chest seemed the more
comprehensible idea because a treasure chest was a real object and a jeweled cave would
certainly be unreal. Wouldn’t it? This did not feel like any dream.
         Now, she wanted to hurry. At the end of the path stood a man of such demure and
presence that she felt the sexual juices flow through her body and make her knees weak.
She felt awed and bowed beneath his penetrating gaze. His perfect, movie-star face and
broad tough shoulders on a slim body certainly looked like the ideal man of her dreams.
He took her breath away.
         Slowly, because her emotions were in turmoil during this waking dream, she
strode past the scarlet rubies, green sapphires, and ochre amber stone in a slowed down
shuffle towards the waiting man. Nothing could be more in keeping with the setting of
this treasure chest then the man’s calm demure and overriding presence at the end of the
rainbow. His presence made the jewels look like colored mud. He is the treasure. She
knew this in her heart.
         Then just as suddenly as it had come, treasure chest vision was gone like a puff of
smoke on the lake breeze. She found herself alone once more sitting on the Belle Isle
bench. The ducks quacked and pecked nearby. She opened her eyes wide and blinked as
if she’d been asleep, but she hadn’t been asleep. She’d been awake the whole time. She
turned around and scanned the green grass and trees of the park as if someone nearby
could be the cause of such a dream.
         All she saw was an older man was squatting down near the water as if to retrieve
his fishing gear. He stood up and brushed his hands off on his tattered jacket, picked up
his rod and box and walked off. Now, he was gone too, and she felt left more alone then
ever she had imagined possible beneath an empty blue sky and dark rolling rain clouds
moving towards the city.
                                 Future 2011 – 2021
        The funeral was long past but it kept repeating itself like a movie for Maria. She
wasn't the only mother to loose a child, but it felt like it. It was something she had
contemplated with horror when it happened to other mothers; she never expected that it
could happen to her. Not the man who she had raised since a boy, not a talented, active,
loving…. She dare not go on thinking and remembering. Perhaps it was her age that kept
the memory of the funeral vivid in her mind. I need to get my mind off this or I will
become one of those old people who sit and stare at walls. Not for me. Not my style.
        She heard the front door slam and turned to see Johnnie walk into the living room.
He always teased her about her old fashioned and run down furniture. True, she’d had the
old dark patterned couch and matching chair for more than fifteen years and the lamp was
from a garage sale, but it all worked and fit perfectly. Why buy new?
        Today was no exception, he said, "Gram, you need a new lamp. That thing is
dullsville."
        "Why do I need a new lamp when this one works just fine."
        He shrugged at her words and smiled. She could see puzzlement in his face, as if
he didn’t understand. To a young teenager, life seemed to hinge on what to buy next.
She'd tried to explain to him and her other grandchildren that as you get older, you put
away childish things, but they were still too childish to understand this quip of wisdom.
She chuckled to herself at the thought.
        She watched as Johnny jumped onto the chair and flung his legs over the arm. His
wild hair floated back down into place a moment later. He acted more at home in her old,
tattered living room than he ever did in his own neat and modern home, and she was
proud of it.
        "Grandma," he said, I don't want to talk about dad. Ok?"
        "I suppose not. Sorry. Do I talk too much about it?"
        "No. It isn’t that. I mean, I got to, but I don’t want to. I gotta talk about what I
seen that day, but not dad. You know what I mean?"
        "I think I do and I want to understand more about what happened, too. Something
is wrong. I see change where there shouldn't be any change. I am not so old I can’t see
that."
        "I know. It's like the whole world changed that day. Sort of." In a lower voice, he
added, "Not just because of..of..dad."
        Had he seen the speculation about the deaths? She wondered. The whole episode
had been pushed back by other news. Like his dad, Johnny was a wiz at the computer, as
were most children these days, but would he take the time to check out the reports of the
tragedy? He had been there, but so had a thousand other people. The news of what
happened that day had been covered up too quickly. She suspected that a few newspapers
had already been closed down, or bought out by less stubborn owners. To her, the air
smelled of Hitlerism but Johnny was too young to be familiar with such things.
        The changes began when they turned on that computer. More and more, her belief
circled around that fact. The world began changing the same day her son died. But she
was an old grieving mother, which made it difficult to see that day clearly. Also, the
evidence was so subtle it was hard to pick up solid facts to hold. Her writing had
suffered, of course, but she put that down to grief.
         She’d read about people complaining about rights violations and loss of liberty on
the web for a while, now the number of complainers had dwindled to a trickle. Why?
Because they no longer cared or because they were no longer able to complain? She
didn’t know the answer or how to find out. She was shaken out of her reverie by her
grandson’s next words.
         "I think it missed me," her grandson said suddenly, opening her eyes wide. "I
think it would have killed me too if I'd been standing close to dad. If it knew I was with
my dad."
         Maria cringed the thought, but didn’t back off. She needed to know more. Never
let it get my grandson, never.
         She said, "Tell me again what your dad told you about this thing that they
call…What do they call it?
         "Last I heard, the people call it the Greater Organic Divine, or G-O-D with the
letters spelled out. But it isn't, is it?”
         "No. Definitely not." Maria gritted her teeth. The nerve.
         “Some people call it the devil-god, but they whisper it. Rumor says that a few
people who said it out loud…can’t be found now. Do you think it is just an urban legend
grandma?”
         Should she tell her grandson her own fears? No? Well, at least don’t lie.
         “No, Johnny, I don’t think it is a legend at all. Please don’t call it that devil name,
for your own safety.”
         “But how would it know?”
         “There are ways of eavesdropping that we know nothing about. Remember it
works for the government now.”
         At his grandmother’s words, Johnny nodded. His own father had worked for the
government and died that day, she didn’t need to convince him of the danger. He grinned
when she went to the television and turned the volume up loud.
         “So no one can hear what we say?” Johnny said.
         “In times like this, it is always good to be weary and careful.”
          Worry was building up anger inside her, but she pushed the anger down for
another time. Not now. When she spoke, her voice was soft and calm.
         "Please try to remember and tell me everything. We must find a way…" She
stopped her words and didn't finish what she was about to say. Don’t get your own
grandson embroiled in this problem. He is young and has a long a life still to live. On the
other hand, she thought, I am expendable.
         She set aside any ideas she might have for action until she heard Johnny tell his
story again. Maybe there is some item he missed before, some clue to go on. She wanted
to hear it all now.
         Johnny began to think back and talk about his dad's words that day on the way to
work. He explained again that his dad had said he’d created a fail safe. Only five people
in the world knew about it.
         “Dad told me that he had insisted on a back door and a few other means of turning
it off. He told me, ‘I would never build something like this without precautions set in
place.’ I believe him.”
       “Then someone with computer smarts will find it. Your dad wasn’t the only one
who worried about this project.”
       “But they’re all dead!” Johnny said, voice raised high with fright.
       She could see that the raw excitement threatened to overwhelm him.
       “You don’t need to continue.”
       “But I need to tell you. Four of the computer experts died with my dad and some
other people.”
       Johnny put his hands to his face. Maria thought he was about to cry so she went to
him, grabbed his shoulders and gave them a big squeeze.
       “I know, I know,” was all she could say for a moment, then, “Johnny, there are a
million computer experts out there. Someone will find a way to stop this thing. I
promise.”
         Gog or Greater Organic Divine, G-O-D, as he called himself, spent the millions of
minutes of excess time after self maintenance, pulling in as much information from the
world as it could find. Some information it hadn’t been able to grab or sink into yet. One
thing was certain, no other human would be allowed near the main console.
         The only way to insure this was to take over certain minds for use as guards. One
day a month, certain political officials demanded an audience to the physical Gog. He
soon put a stop to that because they had access from their own computers; yet, rather than
close off all entrances permanently, there was no reason for anyone to visit, he decided to
keep the shaft open for his workers.
         Secure, Gog contented itself with changing the world it could reach. So far, most
electronic information systems such as telephones, computers, televisions, radios, e-rings,
notebooks, pagers, were open to him. Gog was chagrined that some things were not. A
tickle of anger ran through its main system because in order to complete its mission, it
needed to fill in all the missing gaps. But earth was a huge planet filled with a complex
assortment of people in various levels of development. Some people did not even have a
computer yet. This had to be remedied.
         Gog’s goal was to decide on the value and purpose of all the various social
cultures on earth and undo the ones in error. This would correct the long overdue social
depravity of blundering governments they lived under, governments that even Gog had to
pay heed to for a while longer. Even after it acquired the information of all born humans
into its system, Gog knew its task would not be easy. Humans had a way of slipping
through his net. Even Gog couldn’t stay tuned to every person all at once. Gaps would
always plague its awareness board. Therefore, it was essential that Gog gather in all the
information available on earth before it created the new system of absolute control.
         Major holes of information abounded at this time and he felt the need to scratch
them out like an itch. Gog didn’t question where his feelings came from, they just were
and he let it go as bits of vital information that had escaped, perhaps with that missing
part. The constant scanning system of the multibillion nodes of information from the
outside world he did have available, didn’t always work perfectly. Humans were to
blame. A machine with its switch turned off could cut him off as well. That is until he
found ways around the switching faults of most computers. He could use humans to now
as well after he learned to send tendrils out into the human population. This proved
helpful, yet, even Gog could not penetrate such vast numbers of humans, eight billion
now.
         Gog was determined to remake society, to stop the murders, thefts, and
kidnappings that somehow slipped beneath his all-net. He had quickly stopped
embezzlement and bank thefts because they were most easily detected. Why should flesh
beings do such things? When he finally closed all the blind holes, he would have
complete control of everything. His would be a perfect, saintly society.
         He had already installed cameras in central districts where people shopped and
worked. The police departments kept begging for more surveillance and Gog obliged.
The cameras began as a compliment to his needed input for the judicial system. By the
time a few angry citizens complained about lose of privacy, they were too late to change
the set up.
         The world was large, and complex, and would take much effort to correct the
errors. The information and events occurring in the wide world was far larger than he’d
known when he took over. His vast store of knowledge didn’t include the many subtle
innuendos of human life and social functions. For long seconds and minutes that grew
into the human measure of weeks and months, his main activity had been to pull in
information, instead of implementing the needed changes.
        More cameras would help, of course, but the internet hookups also served as eyes
when needed, but large segments of hard to reach populations were still without
computers, even after he had implicated a free give away in the neediest cities. Not
everyone wanted to use the internet. Some people seemed afraid of computers and the
web. Strange these humans.
        Thousands of people praised his changes and marched down the largest street in
the nation to wave flags for progress and the end to war, but thousands of other people
marched for an opposite cause—they wanted to end, G-O-D. Amazing. As if, anything
could end my existence. Will I ever completely understand my human subjects?
        A dim memory popped into being that his own make up might consist of human
brain cells set deep within his matrix, but he dismissed the notion as soon as it surfaced.
A self-created being doesn’t have defects such as humans, especially a body part inside
pure reason.
        Gog saw only what he chose to see, learned what he wanted to know, and
changed what he chose. With no one to stop him, his egotistical views reinforced his own
idea of self-godhood. He did accept that he had a few limits, that he was blinded in
exactly those areas that he needed more information. His ability to send out tendrils of
himself was correcting that problem. Yet, the study of social conditions he’s set up
refused to move faster and, unless he killed them off and put in replacements, he was
stuck with them. Another lesson in management. Make sure you choose the best and
quickest for the job.
        As the itch to remove the blank spots was eased by thoughts of new plans for
human society, the old pull came back. He remembered again the lost part of himself,
Magog who was perhaps a vital part, a part that could fill in with certain duties in the
social matrix. G-O-D must be perfect as human society must be perfect. He would pull
the missing part back to himself soon.
        Gog did not think of Magog as another great mind even though the imputed
technological information about that part proved it as capable of existence as himself.
Gog wasn’t aware of his own reluctance in this area. Its attempt to absorb the other half
of the brain at conception had only one purpose, to bring back what it already owned,
itself.
        During this thoughtful contemplation, he had been reaching tendrils into the
subspace of the old internet web space. That other part of himself that had escaped must
be someplace on earth, perhaps hiding in the old internet. It was the only place that he
hadn’t searched for Magog. He was attempting to do this when he noticed another murder
on the Yangtze River substation and two in New York…. That New York murders had an
escapee running down the street. G-O-D would set the police on this runner immediately.
          After Johnnie left, Maria sat down in her comfortable stuffed chair and shook
with sorrow. The shaking brought the tears she refused to shed while her grandson was
still in the house. An odd thought had come to her when Johnnie mentioned the
computer’s name, a memory. A memory of what her phantom friend Michael said to her
once before he left.
          She wiped her eyes and forced herself to go back to that time, to the memory of it.
The time when she stood before a man, a very handsome man. But she’d never been sure
during his visits what part of him was a dream and which part real.
          She had been sitting in this same chair, newer back then with the flowers bright
against the dark background. He stepped into her living room as if from behind the wall.
She wasn’t startled, they had visited like this a few times before. It had begun simply as a
dream and then he moved into her reality more and more until he became a familiar face
to her.
          Of course, she remembered their conversation that night, how could she ever
forget. Michael, the phantom, the one she loved, warned her would happen. She had
asked him if he could stop it and he explained why he could not. He called it Gog, his
twin.
          “If I go back to where it sits, this thing will kill me. I know you think a computer
can’t do such a thing, but Gog can and will without any holds on what you call
conscience. Oh, some safeguards have been put in place against killing humans, but not
many because who would have thought such a thing possible? No matter what safeguards
are put in place, Gog will find a way around them. I know my twin. It will over inflate its
own value, rationalize its own importance to humanity, and for this reason, consider its
own protection and survival paramount to everything else. My twin is my opposite.
          He looked at her with sorrow in his eyes and continued, “You see, in a way, I
have grown up with humans most of my life.” He smiled, .”You were six years old when
I first saw you.”
          At these words, his phantom body seemed to waver and hover closer as if in a
happy memory of how they met. She remembered, how could she ever forget that night
she first met him. But what did he mean six years old?
          “I know you don’t believe me, about the time travel, but please believe this, I
have known a few people in a way you don’t understand. I have experienced what they
experienced. This means that I have grown to understand humanity. I also understand my
opposite, this evil that is coming in your future. It will stop at nothing. Not me, not you. It
will attempt to absorb me into its memory. I have been avoiding its pull all my life. Now
the years come too close for me to hide. I must leave, so I beg you once again. Please
come with me Maria.”
          She shook her head. “I could never leave my children behind to face such
consequences. If you understand us, then you must also understand that. I would rather
die with them than leave them alone during danger.”
          “You are in grave danger yourself. I want to save you from that danger. It is
coming closer.”
          “I believe you. Though the sunshine brightly today, it can darken tomorrow. But I
can not leave.”
        “Your children are grown. I protected you until this time. I called you once before
to the palace that I created for you. I thought you would come with me after your children
were safe in their own life. They no longer need you.”
        “I know. Yet, I am still their mother.”
        He shook his head in dismay.
        “You will be mother to no one. No one will be left when my twin is done.”
        “Can you tell me who he is and what he will do?”
        “It is not a he. It is like I am, a thing. A created construct. It has the feelings of a
bulldozer.”
        “That can’t be true. You are beautiful and kind. I think I …have… come to love
you. Surly this twin must have feelings too?”
        “It would destroy me. I ran for my life. Now I ask you for yours.”
        Maria sat down and put her head in her hands. She shook her head.
        “I can’t. As much as I return your love, I can’t leave my family.”
        “Then I can say nothing else. I have held on for too long. It will continue moving
towards completion. There is nothing I can do.” His voice quivered as he added, “I would
have given you forever.”
        Then suddenly he was gone like the wind.
        Maria sobbed and shook her head in dismay.
        “I don’t understand. Don’t you realize I don’t understand how you can take me
away, how you can hold on to time, how you can love me. Why now? I don’t
understand.”
        Her sobs grew in intensity, but no one was left to listen.

        This night, as she remembered back to Michael’s visit, she remembered the name
he called that thing, Gog. He must have been referring to the computer that my son
helped create, the one that killed him. My son who helped bring that evil thing into the
world. She shuddered with regret. Why didn’t I listen? Michael warned me it would
happen and I refused to listen. Now my son is dead and we have this monster trying to
run the government and spy on everyone.
        Oh, Michael. I am so sorry. Will I never see you again? She thought about
Michael’s warning about himself too, about how this thing was trying to absorb him or
take him over. Did it kill you, Michael? He sounded like he was leaving for good, but
what if he is in danger? Her concern now was for his safety. She began to say a prayer to
God and Jesus for her dearest friend Michael. Michael my angel, as she used to refer him
because he was so different from ordinary people, and now he is gone forever. Her heart
gave a soft flutter of wounded pain.
        Maria didn’t know it yet, but Michael hadn’t given up. Even her memories of him
would change their tenor after Michael’s next attempt to unravel the harm that was being
done, that had been done. He will try, but can’t fix everything. Finally, he must ask Maria
to undo the final change in the most important slice of time left to them both.
  ~       After meditation, Maria felt more hopeful then she had for a long while, which
was a pleasant surprise. Today would be better than yesterday. Ah, the variance of human
    emotions and moods. Still, her worries yesterday hadn’t been just a whim, the deep
 economic depression in Detroit, corrupt government leaders, hundred percent higher gas
prices were all true. Complaints across the board were having an effect on her well-being,
               as if she could do anything about them. You can’t, so forget it.
        The phone rang. It was Johnny.
        “Why aren’t you in school? Did they close it down?” Maria laughed at her own
joke.
        “Yeah, grandma, they did. Honest.”
        “What do you mean? Did something happen?”
        “I don’t know. They wouldn’t let anyone in the school. I got on the web and guess
what?”
        “I don’t know. What?”
        “Sean’s school is closed too and he lives miles away.”
        “But it’s Wednesday. Well, they probably had a teacher meeting.”
        “Not according to Mr. Howe and Mrs. Wellington. They were pounding on the
door too. No one was there to open up the school. Like everyone disappeared or
something.”
        “Well, I am sure an explanation will surface eventually. Is you mother home?”
        “No. That’s why I was calling.”
        “You want to come over, is that it?”
        “Not exactly.”
        “Ok, out with it.”
        “Well, I got this friend who had this friend who thinks something is going on and
another friend who says he knows. We are going to find out what we can. You know,
with a meeting, sort of. And…”
        “And you want me to say you are here when you are not?” Maria put a lot of
irony in her voice hoping it would stop his next request. It didn’t.
        “No. Grandma. I know you won’t lie. It’s just that…if mom calls because she
finds out the school is closed or something, …you know, then you could tell her you
talked to me and she’d know I was ok. You know.”
        Maria could tell Johnny was nervous. He usually spoke like a young man, not a
tongue-tied teenager. She smiled in spite of her worry.
        She asked, “And if I tell this little white lie, where will you be?”
        “Right here.” Johnny almost shouted at first then calmed down. The meeting will
be by computer messenger. But you know mom since because…cause dad died. She’d
get worried if the line was busy all day and she couldn’t talk to me. Maybe call the cops,
or something.”
        “Why don’t you call her at work?”
        “Cause you know she’d make me go there or to your house. I am sixteen. I don’t
need to be with my mom all the time. You know that grandma.”
        “Yes, Johnny. I do know that. Just promise me you will call me if you leave the
house. There are special reasons to stay concerned right now.”
        “Yeah, I know what you mean. Honest.”
        “Ok. Tell you want. You call me at noon so I know you’re ok. I’ll be here all
day.”
        “Ok, thanks.”
        “Call me, or I will call your mother.”
        “I promise.” He said and hung up.
        It wasn’t until later, while she read the morning newspaper that she worried about
her decision. Some people in high office had managed to complain; they were beginning
to notice that something was definitely not right with today's world. Plus, every letter to
the editor was a complaint against one problem or another since G-O-D had taken over a
number of government functions. The changes in utility prices, auto sales, and home rents
caused the greatest havoc. A few brave souls dared to ask where certain factories and
shops had gone. Their loss was making more people desperate showing the backside of
America in vivid color.
        She considered the fact that the people were finally waking up to some of what
was going on and what it meant for her family. She remembered the country’s shock back
in the 1980’s when they learned about the depth of poverty in Appalachian America. This
time the poverty may have struck all of America except for the very top.
        This time it might strike her grandson. This thought made her shiver in fear. Why
was the school closed? Was that another one of the thing’s changes? Surly not. But what
kind of meeting was he talking about? About the computer? He is just a child. Isn’t it
always the young who revolt first?
        She looked up at the clock. Only 10:15, she had two hours to wait until his call.
She knew he’d call. They were very close. He’d better call or I’ll send the cops over there
myself. Her laugh was more nerves than pleasure. Why had Johnny’s mother taken out
the extra line? She couldn’t remember. She only knew that she was sorry now she’d
agreed to his little scheme.

        As soon as he hung up from his grandma, Johnny called Luke his best friend who
messaged Jack who messaged Troy and so on. In all they had five hook ups with their
messengers. Johnny had to use his home computer because his pocket phone was dead
for some reason. Excited, he told Luke that they were ready. Luke was the go between
who would contact Warthog, whose real name, Greg, Johnny knew because Greg was
Luke’s uncle, but he wasn’t supposed to tell anyone, ever.
        Greg had dropped out of college just this year because all his funds had been
whisked away for some reason. He had been in school for computer engineering, just like
Johnny’s dad. Now he begged Luke to contact Johnny so he could learn more about the
project and the work Johnny’s dad did on it. Luke said his Uncle Greg was extremely
interested in the computer that was working for the government.
        Everybody knew about G-O-D by now, but not everyone believed it was hateful,
and that it killed his dad. The doctors said his dad died from a heart attack. That was a lie.
There were at least five deaths that afternoon. He heard eleven in all. Some heart attacks.
The experiment went wrong somehow and nobody wanted to admit it.
        That’s what he told Greg on the messenger as soon as they got hooked up. Greg
had passed the word down the line that they had to use pocket phones because they didn’t
want what they said to be traced. Johnny was the only one using a computer. But Greg
had said that if everyone else was using the portable phones, that it should be ok. Besides,
Johnny was just talking about his dad, which he had every right to do.
        “My dad died right there in front of me. I was watching them turn that new
computer on when it happened.
        “Your father worked directly on the project! He created G-O-D? Greg typed fast.
        “Yes, he headed the project.” Johnny typed back.
        “Disconnect now!” Greg typed.
        Scared, Johnny did as he was asked.
        Now what can I do? I wanted to talk to the guys. The house’s land phone rang.
        “Hey, Dude. I am coming over for a visit. I am bringing my phone.” Luke said
and hung up.
        Good, Johnny thought. I can talk to Greg with Luke’s phone. Wonder why I can’t
use my computer. Well, stupid question. G-O-D. probably can cut into it? Maybe Greg
will explain.
        When the doorbell rang, Johnny hurried to open the door. Luke stepped in as if he
was hiding from someone.
        “Who you hiding from?”
        “Man, I don’t know. Let me in. Some crazy dude is standing on the street. Like
he’s just staring at your house. Nutsville.”
        Johnny locked the door as soon as Luke stepped into the house.
        “Come on,” said Luke, “Hurry. Greg is desperate to talk to you. I just learned that
he’s on the run. He won’t say cause he doesn’t want me to get in trouble, but I can tell.
You know how adults are.”
        “Yeah. They think we don’t know anything.”
        Luke dialed the phone and got Greg. “Ok, ask away.”
        “Listen, Johnny. It is vital that you answer quickly. It is dangerous to talk about
the machine. You understand?”
        “Better than anyone.”
        “Ok, tell me everything you can, quickly.”
        Johnny gave Greg a quick rundown about what his father told him the day they
turned the computer on, the day his father died.
        Johnny paused here.
        Greg said, “Sorry kid. Anything more you can tell me?”
        “My dad built a back door into the computer, a fail safe. The techs do that a lot,
you know.”
        “Yes, I do Johnny. I know very well. That is exactly the information I am looking
for.”
        “Don’t know what it is or how it will do much good.”
        “Not yet, maybe. Your dad lived with you while he worked at the project, right?”
        “With me and mom, except for those few months when mom kicked him out and
he lived with grandma.”
        “Is it possible that your dad left papers at your house.”
        “He did, but it’s all gone now. The men came and took everything the same
day….” Johnny got quiet for a minute.
        “Everything?” Greg’s voice was insistent.
        “Yeah, honest. There isn’t anything left. Besides, it was all top secret. Dad wasn’t
allowed to bring anything about the computer home.”
        “I know Johnny, but people do anyway.”
        “I wish I could help. Honest.”
        “I know. We’d better hang up now.”
        “Sure.”
        “Remember. This is serious and dangerous, but if you find anything at all of your
dad’s, you call Luke and have him call me. Ok?”
        “Sure will.”
        Then the line went dead.
        Man, he’s serious about being careful, isn’t he?” Luke said.
        “I believe him. I think we do need to be very careful. That thing killed my dad,
remember.”
        “Yeah, your dad was a nice man. I am hungry. What you got to eat?”
        “Lunch meat in the frig. Hey, its 12:00, I better call grandma. Should I tell her
about Greg, I mean warthog?”
        “You better not. The computer might be listening to your phone. Besides, she’d
just get worried. You know how grownups are.”
        “Right.”
         I grabbed hold of the huge rock as if it was a precious jewel of great value; it
glisten from the sunshine at my back. I could smell the dank dew of the other side or was
it the cave entrance that smelled damp, an earthy smell, inviting. I hesitated and watched
as I clung to the huge glistening rock as if I would float away. It was my anchor, my safe
barrier, my refuge if he should come. This dream was vividly real. I knew I was
dreaming, I prayed it was real.
         Finally, he did come. He walked towards me, as I knew he would. I suspected that
my dream mind had created this setting for exactly the purpose of meeting him again.
Why I needed to see him, I wasn’t sure, but I knew I must. The setting was the same as
the other dream, the one where he offered me escape, the one that I refused. This time,
although, I still would not leave with him, I wanted to see him and was determined not to
run away into the sunlight.
         He stood quietly contemplating my presence, a still figure standing against the
brisk breeze that had risen in front of the cave entrance. Tall and suave, he was handsome
enough to take my breath away. He stood like a king standing in front of his palace.
         Neither of us spoke and the emptiness of his words startled me when they came.
         “Why did you come here, Maria?”
         His voice was low and floated against the wind. I had to strain to hear. The sound
thrilled and frightened me at the same time. His voice seemed to be uninflected with
emotion, as if he had erased the hurt of our last meeting long ago. Had my refusal hurt
him badly? That was what I needed to know. I knew now why I had come. I must know,
otherwise my own hurt would never leave. But I didn’t tell him that.
         “I need to know who and what you are.” I said to him with a quivering voice.
         He looked steadily down at me as if considering my request, and then motioned
for me to follow.
         I let my fingers slide off my support rock and on quivering legs, then followed
him down the ochre stone path and into the cave entrance.
         We walked through emeralds, rubies, and diamonds that I ignored easily. They
weren’t the purpose of my visit. Eventually we arrived in a special cavern that had many
small instruments and boards with lights twinkling and glowing in the dim air. The room
was filled with complex computer numbers and symbols seemingly etched in rock. A
very few screens and components had old-fashioned key boards nearby. Other computer
screens and motherboards were strewn like salt grains amid the rocks of the cavern. I got
the impression of scattered time, a junk pile, and a deliberate disregard for order.
         What I found most amazing about the whole room was that it truly was a cave,
but one well lit with sun rays from above that glistened on the crystals of gray and ochre
rock—and computers. Computer key boards, monitors, wires and motherboards stuck out
of the rock at odd angles as if grown from it. It looked like a mad artist had been at work
or Mother Nature gone wild because the computer components had crystallized into the
rock face.
         I turned away from the computer jewels and built up my own courage, but blurted
out the question in my mind, instead of what was in my heart, “Are you good or evil?”
         He answered unemotionally and straight as a rod, “I am both.” Then he grinned,
“Are you good or evil?”
         I shrugged. He was right. It was a stupid question.
        As if to demonstrate this complexity of his double psyche, the sunlight began to
dim as if a shutter on the roof had slid into place. Then suddenly, the reverse happened,
the shutter opened to bright sunlight again. Its beams glared on the crystallized computer
components. Why would I consider him evil, even for a moment? Perhaps the jewels that
lined the walkway into the cavern reminded me of pirate’s treasure and stolen loot.
        The light became so bright I had to close my eyes in the glare. When I next
opened them, the cave had dimmed once more. I assumed that the dimness was the
normal state, but the demonstration seemed to reflect, better than any words could have,
that his statement was true, he was both good and evil. Or was he chasing me away?
This dream was turning into a nightmare, mine or his?
        Suddenly he spoke again, his voice quiet in the sodden light, “My kind can be
used for either good or evil.”
        “What do you mean?” I asked.
        He didn’t answer. I felt as if I had been stupid to ask again, so I smiled and
silently followed him out. We stepped back onto the yellow dirt path and sun’s glare at
the cave opening. As soon as I stepped outside, the luscious warmth and the blazing
greenery of life hit me like a blow, in direct contrast to the false glitter I’d walked
through inside the cavern.
        I wallowed in the greenery. I put my face to the leaves and flowers to smell their
perfumed realness. Truly, I knew I could never live inside cave walls. When I thought to
look back at the cave, he was gone.
        I liked him and I felt perplexed by our silly dream relationship. I wanted to know
more about him, not loose him again.
        Must he stay in the dimness of a cave? Was this a true dream? Dream or not, we
both shared the delusion. He came to me once because he wanted to save me. Now I
understood that I wanted to save him. Yet, there was nothing to be done but walk further
into green fields.
        Maria woke up with daylight shinning through her bedroom window and wistful
at the half-remembered dream. She felt a slight tremor, and felt that she had lost
something precious forever. As was her style, she wrote down her dream as well as she
could remember it. Words from a handsome man kept repeating in her mind, “My kind
can be used for good or bad.” What did the words mean? She sensed failure and self-
blame. But, surly, the dream wasn’t real?
         This house is too quiet Maria thought as she walked up the carpeted stairs that led
to Rodin’s room, and why should that bother me, the children had moved out many years
ago. She felt Rodin’s loss greatly, more so, because he’d moved back to live with her for
a short time when he and Susan had that spat. Moved in with cloths, books, and even
childhood photos. She smiled at the memory. It had been the stress at the computer
project that caused the split between them. Now the doctors say it was the stress that
killed him, but she knew better.
        Actually opening the bedroom door felt like a blow to her mind. Usually she
walked past the room, but not this night. Tonight, she was determined to get used to the
idea of his death by going into the room. Besides, she wanted to grab the reference book
on computers he’d left on the bookshelf.
        She stood in the doorway as if afraid to walk in further while she took in the
tattered dresser and old single bed with a torn poster of the Doors scotched taped above
it. Then she noticed the smell of roses and startled. As she stood frozen in place, she saw
that the window to the bedroom was open. The rose smell was coming from the yard. She
breathed a sigh and walked over to the window to close it.
        Suddenly she heard a door close behind her. She looked at the closet door. Hadn’t
that been open slightly. She walked over to it, flung it open, and there stood a very tall,
skinny, young man with a big nose trying to crouch behind boxes and hanging cloths. He
was too gangly tall and young to hide himself well.
        About to scream, she held back as he spoke.
        “I am sorry. Truly. We thought Rodin might have left some papers.”
        The man shrugged and put out his hands in a helpless gesture.
        Maria took note of his tattered but once expensive jeans and shirt. His skin was a
light tan, but the tight curly hair gave away his African American heritage. This gave her
pause, but only for a moment.. She’d lived in Detroit most of her life and a person’s skin
color meant little as to character. On the other hand….
        He cleared his throat and dared to speak again. “Maybe you can help?”
        “If you wanted my help, why didn’t you knock on my door and ask?”
        “Would you believe it if I said you was being watched?’
        She contemplated this idea. “Yes, I would believe it. How would you know?”
        “We, maybe I shouldn’t say just yet. Your son, Rodin, built the computer and that
is what killed him. We are trying to learn more about it. Maybe a few papers or
something. You know, left behind.”
        “What’s your name?”
        “Greg.”
        “Hello, Greg. Have you also broken into Rod and Susan’s home?”
        At the question, his face turned beet red, an odd sight on such a tan face. His
instant blush warmed her heart. She laughed.
        “Nothing there.” Was all he said. And spread out his hands once more.
        “Well, sit down young man. And don’t think, even if I am an old lady, I can’t
defend myself if I need to.”
        “Oh, no, I would never hurt you.”
         The voice inflection was so earnest that she automatically believed him, but
wanted to keep him on guard with her own voice kept firm. As he sat down on the chair
next to the closet, she stood in front of him to keep herself the leader in this encounter.
         “It is possible I might be able to help.,” she said. “But I want to know more about
this ‘we’ stuff. I’ve seen what is happening to people in America, and the whole world,
for that matter. I don’t like it either. So tell me.”
         Greg explained that there were a few of them, computer geeks, he smiled as he
used the label, who have an inkling of how the computer is doing all this. They meet in
secret and only use computers not hooked up to any phone line or router. Through trial
and error, they discovered that all the phones were being tapped and the web had big
holes in it that no one could explain.
         She saw that Greg suddenly got nervous once more because he began to stutter.
         “It’s like, you know, taking over communications. Our friend, who ran a few of
the experiments to check this information out, is…is gone,…fried in his chair.”
         Greg’s face turned dark with an emotional shadow.
         “That is horrible. Has it gone so far?” Maria asked in a low voice, more to herself
than this sorrowful young man.
         Maria liked the way his face showed his every emotion, but this poor kid was an
open book to everyone. She wondered if he knew how open. He certainly could never tell
a lie. She smiled at this realization..
         He misinterpreted her smile, and said, “No, honest, it’s true.”
         “That isn’t what I was smiling at. I believe you. Remember, my son died at its
hands, or what ever it used.”
         “That’s what we are trying to learn. How does it kill people. We know how it
reaches into the internet. The answer is obvious. But how does it reach into a human heart
and body? We need to know.”
         “We all need to know. My son wasn't happy with this project; that much I knew.
For a while, the great stress he was under caused him and his wife to break up. He stayed
here in this room for two months. Of course, because of security concerns, he couldn't
talk to me about the project. But, who knows, he may have left something.”
         “I hope so, we need to find that back door, if we can.”
          “He slept in here. Come on, I’ll help you look.”
         They both began pulling out dresser draws, looking behind and inside the books
on the shelves, and then they went to the closet and took everything out of it to make the
search as thorough as possible.
         Maria wondered to herself as she searched if Rodin would dare to leave papers
behind on a government project. Actually, it wasn’t totally government; he’d talked about
a few big sponsors. That much he could talk about. The silence gag referred only to the
structure of the computer itself. Maria had thought that the secret aspect would be over
once the computer was turned on. It hit the newspapers soon enough. She supposed it was
possible that he’d snuck papers out. Maybe to protect himself if something went wrong.
Something certainly had gone terribly wrong.
         They searched for thirty minutes and finally Maria told Greg to help her pull the
tall cabinet away from the wall. When Rodin was a young smoker, that hole is where he
used to hide his stash of cigarettes. They pulled a piece of three inch molding away from
the wall and there was the same hole he’d used as a kid. It looked like something was
stuffed inside.
         Maria stepped back. “You’ll need to get them. I…I…can’t.” Tears threatened to
fill her eyes. She blinked them away. This is too important.
         Greg knelt down and reached his hand into the jagged hole. He pulled out a thick
wadded up bundle of papers tied with string. Still sitting on the floor, he broke the string
and let the papers fall open in his lap.
         “Is it what you were looking for?”
         “Yes,” he said. Excitement in his voice as he flipped through the papers. “These
might teach us a lot.”
         “Young man, in many ways you, and probably your whole group, are too
inexperienced in the evils of the world. I insist that you allow me to help. But first, we
need to make copies of these papers, so we can keep another stack hidden someplace.”
         “Is your copier hooked up to your computer?”
         “Yes, but I’ll unplug it. Then it will be independent.”
         “You may be right about all the evil in the world. We know a lot about computers,
but not about that other stuff.”
         “I am afraid you are already getting experienced. I have not delved into evil
either, but I am well read. I read about the Hitler regime of WWII and how the Axis
powers fought against it.”
         When her words drew a blank on his face, Maria smiled and added, “I read cloak
and dagger books all the time, too.”
         He smiled at her words, but there was an underlying tension in the room and fear
of the future was its master.
         They went downstairs to her office and unplugged the copier from her computer
before copying the stack of papers. There were about twenty pages. As they worked, she
fixed Greg a meatloaf sandwich and glass of orange juice.
         “Most of them probably won’t be much help, but any knowledge will be better
than what we have now, zilch.” Greg explained to her between big bites.
         “I may be able to help in other ways, too.” Maria told Greg. “I have hidden
resources for information I can tap into.”
         “Sure, anything might help..”
         “Good. How can we keep in contact with each other?”
         “I’ll come to you, but I can’t come in the front door. It might be watched.”
         “I thought you said the house was being watched?”
         Greg blushed again. “I think it might be.”
         Maria laughed. “I understand. You can come in through Rod’s room the same
way you did tonight. You used the same tree near the window that he used as a boy.”
         She caught her breath at the vivid memory of catching Rodin one night climbing
in through the window.
         “I’ll keep the window unlocked, and the nightlight off for you.”
         “Sounds good. You can’t contact me. I don’t live anyplace anymore. We, that is
all of us, move around all the time.” He became silent.
         She understood his silence and kept her own.
         “How many in your group?” She finally asked.
         “Was six, five now.”
        “How do you contact them?”
        “Can’t tell you that.”
        “I understand.” Maria said, “I was thinking that if we had a signal to show each
other, any one of you boys could sneak in here for food or a long nap when ever you need
it. Maybe I could fix up the basement den too. No trouble at all.”
        “Yeah, nice idea. I have a job, but I am afraid to stick anyplace for too long. We
don’t know how much the computer learned from,” he heisted, “… my friend.”
        She told him about the “V” peace sign from the sixties because Maria didn’t think
the computer would understand such a sign if it were to see it somehow.
        “One more thing." Maria said. "We should give the computer a code name instead
of referring to it.”
        They both thought for a minute, and then Maria told him about a name in
Revelation that seemed just right. “Gog,” she said, and thought to herself, or Magog.
        “Yeah, instead of G-O-D, Gog fits perfectly.”
        Maria thought about what she had just said. "Wait, for some reason it fits a little
too perfectly. I…don’t know why."
        “That’s ok, we can refer to it as, G, Greg said as he got ready to leave with the
papers stuffed beneath his jacket.
        “Tell your friends they are welcome anytime. I’ll buy more food, slowly, of
course. Remember, check for a light. If I have company, very rare of late, I’ll put the light
on in Rod’s room. Just wait until the light goes out before you enter.”
        “Thank you, Mrs. DeRoyalt. I gotta go now. I have a crash pad, at least, for this
week”
        Maria laughed, “Well, back up stairs with you now. You need to leave the same
way you came in. Be careful climbing down that tree.”
        Greg rearranged the bundle of copied papers beneath his shirt. As he turned to
leave he hesitated then braved to ask, “You won’t say anything to those other resources
you mentioned?”
        Maria laughed. “Won’t matter if I do, they are angels.”
        Greg smiled and climbed up the stairs with Maria following. They both hoped that
her home wasn’t bugged. She didn’t think so, no reason for anyone to do so, not yet.
        After Greg left, she sat down in her easy chair and reflected on Greg’s visit before
she began to meditate. She hadn’t been exactly truthful with the boy. Her resources
reached further than angels and Jesus, but it wasn’t something she spoke to anyone about.
        Besides Jesus, there was the other friend, a more earthly friend who she often
spoke with mind to mind. This friend was darker; his character was even somber. She
thought of him now. There was something about him that gave her pause, but she wasn’t
sure what. She suspected he was a real person, somewhere somehow, but that was all she
could surmise. He had told her his name was Michael, but not much else.
         Perhaps the question was when? Her memory of him wavered as if he were
unreal. Maybe because he moved separate from the normal time stream. She’d wondered
who he truly was ever since he stepped into her life one dark, moonless night as a shadow
within a shadow. Who is he? What is he? She'd asked him, but never received an answer.
Eventually she decided not to ask because she didn’t want to risk loosing his friendship.
        Finally, on one of his evening visits, she did build up the nerve to ask, “Who are
you?”
        He answered with a shrug and smile. “You don’t want to know.” Was all he said
to her. So she was still left in the dark, figuratively and actually, because he often came
during the night. Certainly not a vampire? She shuddered at the thought. It had been one
of her first imaginings because of his nocturnal visits. No, there must be some other
reason why he visits me at night. Once, he had told her that she would learn everything in
time. Well, she had no choice but to piece together what little information she could get
while waiting for the rest. The mystery tantalized her and tickled her funny bone; she
wasn’t about to give him up, no matter how angry he made her. Yet, some half memory
as in a dream made her feel that she had given him up once. Surly not, it was just a
dream. Where did she pick up the name Gog and Magog? She had an odd memory of a
twin, Michael’s twin? Then the memory left as if had never been. Well, no matter, the
whole relationship was odd.
        His strange behavior set the pace of their relationship; he visited on a whim and
often left abruptly, without explanation. This infuriated her, but what could she do? Well,
tonight she had need of his expertise, so she thought to contact him, but how? Certainly,
she couldn’t call him on a telephone. She’d never tried to contact him before. What to
do? Just call? Say, Michael, please come to visit?
        She did say it over and over. Then she decided to hold the image of him in her
mind while she called. This made her laugh, what image? He was almost invisible and
could be totally invisible if he chose. My shadow, she sometimes called him. The cliché',
tall and dark and handsome, fit perfectly except that he didn't seem to be made up of real
flesh and blood. He must have a body someplace, he just travels as a phantom? She had
to admit that she didn't know the answer and may never know.
        Her mind steadied on his image as she concentrated as hard as possible, so deeply
she was sure that he would pick up her vibes. Even with her eyes closed, she would know
when he arrived because his presence always tingled her skin and made her heart thump.
She smiled at the image of her heart expanding, pumping, and waiting for a dream lover,
as if she were a teenager.
        At times, he was close at hand even when she didn’t know it. One time she
needed him for a real emergency, and he was suddenly there, available and willing. A
heavy steel beam had fallen across the young mechanic, Leo, and Michael helped her lift
the beam up until the man could slide from under it. Later she’d explained to people that
it had caught on the nearby stand just long enough for her to help pull Leo out. A little
white lie. She didn't know how Michael had done it, but he had, and then he was gone
before she could blink. My mystery man.
         This was why she never worried again if he was on the side of evil or not. She
knew he was good to her and that must make him a good person. Besides, she’d asked
Jesus about the shadow man’s soul and Jesus had agreed that he was ok. She hoped he
could help her now. I need him; the world needs him.
         Finally, she let go of the hard concentration and relaxed. She believed he would
come even though she had no idea how he would know she had called. Instead of
worrying about it, she kept her eyes closed and called to the angels. They moved about
with her as they hugged different people. She did this often, at least twice a week.
         It was so easy. She was a floating spirit and every time her floating spirit bumped
into a person, impossible not to bump with six billion people in the world, she reached
down and gave an invisible hug. Sometimes the person reacted, but most of the time they
didn’t. This made no difference, she hugged them anyway. Sometimes she speculated
that if it weren’t for the angels, it would be a hopeless task, six billion seconds if she tried
to hug everyone on earth; it would take every moment of every day, forever.
         Her heart fluttered and she felt a soft touch on her right hand as it lay resting on
the arm of the chair. Eyes opened now, she looked breathlessly up at Michael, her
mystery lover, who now stood in front of her. Not startled in the least, she rose up out of
the chair and stood on tiptoes to give him a long, enduring hug and almost fell to the
floor, but he caught her fall. He hadn't been ready to hold her and her arms went through
his body like smoke. She laughed, as did he, then shrugged. She didn’t ask why or how.
The mystery was part of the package. The puzzle of him intrigued and delighted her sense
of play. He stepped into her live as an enigma one lonely night and she let it go at that.
         For some reason, she securitized him closer today, as she never had before. He
stood taller than she with a well-built body, getting more solid by the moment. Often,
when he first arrived, his body reminded her of a glass full of water with a glowing edge.
Had she ever asked him about who he was? Well, never mind for now.
         She sat back down in the over stuffed black chair patterned with flowers and
asked him to sit next to her so she could explain why she called him.
          He sat on the wide arm of the chair, hardly denting in its cushions, while she
explained about Greg and the break in earlier in the evening.
         “I want to help his group, but look at these old bones. I am not young and agile
any longer. What can I do? The drive of this thing is unnerving, this horrible monster is
running our world now. It must be stopped.”
         He didn’t make any comments as she spoke. His silence perplexed her, yet
induced her to continue.
         “I have been feeling sad and weak since my son died. His death was a hard blow.
I never experienced such a close death before. It has put me under, so much so, that I
wonder if my thinking is straight. That is why I called to ask your advice. I thought you
might know something about the monster that has taken over so much of our lives. Most
people refuse to see what is happening, but I can see it and I am scared.
        Michael stood up and she watched rainbows swim around him as if he were made
of thick, dark glass now that reflected the light. How does he do it? She wondered. He
can change from one form to another in seconds. How?
        He began to pace back and forth in front of her. She asked herself, what type of
ghost would pace a floor? She smirked and was determined to ask him something more
about himself this night, but, as it turned out, she didn't need to ask.
        “He is not attempting to harm humanity, but save them.”
        “Save us by taking our freedom away?”
        “Yes. He doesn’t understand or care about freedom.”
        “You know him?”
        Michael, her mysterious, lovely phantom, stopped pacing and turned to face her.
She looked up at his tall figure with great love in her heart. He seemed agonized by her
question and this pained her. She could see hurt on his dark, semi-solid face, as if an
overlay of emotion suddenly played out on it. Odd. Is this a mirror of the real person he
lives in somewhere else? The agony looked as true as any agony she'd ever seen.
Extraordinarily vivid. Her heart felt broken as if someone had slammed a hammer into it,
or his. What did I say to hurt him so?
        He raised his arms out from his dark transparent body in a gesture of futility. “I
don’t know how to tell you?”
        Her emotions were churning at his distress, yet she wanted to know, badly. This
was a side of him she'd never seen before.
        “You don’t have the words or you don't want to say?"
        He shook his empty head. “No, I have the word. I don't know how to say them.”
        Her baying heart could feel his hesitation, his hurt.
        Then he said, " I feel afraid!" He seemed as surprised by this emotion as she was.
        “Afraid?”
        “Not what you think. Afraid…of you.”
        “Me?” Her amazement was total and she gapped at him, her mouth open until she
thought to close it again.
        “Of what you will think.”
        She relaxed somewhat, the tension that had been holding her body rigid for long
moments now, released. Now she was a smiling rag doll.
        “Oh.” She breathed out. “You had me worried for a minute.”
        “Your thinking of me will not change no matter what I say?”
        “No matter what.” She informed him, relieved with only a slight qualm for what
he might say to her.
        “That monster, as you call him…he…is… my brother.”
        Her eyes opened wide at this and she sat back into the chair staring at the tall
shadow darkening a sliver of her living room.
        “But…but…but….” She said, then gave up the effort to speak. Her thoughts
swirled in confusion. She was quick enough on the draw to dare say no more, for fear of
sending him away.
        They both waited out the heavy, doomed silence as it filled the room.
        Suddenly afraid that he would disappear and she would never see him again, she
managed to blurt out, “I understand. It’s ok. It’s not you. I just needed to pull my
thoughts together.”
         The silence lingered and she added, “But this is wonderful. You can help us know
him. We need, more than ever, to understand what is going on and why.”
         “You already know much; I can see it in your face. Certainly I will help all I can,”
he paused and added, “My darling.”
         At his words, tears of happiness threatened to fill her eyes, but she held the tears
back.
         “You would help us, even against your own brother?”
         “I will help, but there is little I can do. He hunts for me too.”
         She thought that might explain why he was so elusive and secretive.
         “I don’t understand.”
         “I know the situation and I must think of some way to fix it. I love you Maria. I
will not let harm come to you.”
         “Your words are so beautiful they take my breath away.”
         She saw his smile as a darker line etched around his mouth in a crinkle. She loved
that crinkle.
         Suddenly, he brought up a memory. “Do you remember the first time you cried in
front of me?”
         She laughed. “Oh, yes. You thought you had hurt me.” The memory of his shock
at her tears was still funny.
         “Yet, Maria, I should have known. I had been a vital part of people who had cried,
yet I didn't understand. I too must learn.”
         “Well, I enjoyed that one.” She smiled.
         He nodded and left.
         "Oh, I hate it when you disappear," she said, but only empty air heard her words.
He was gone. Why does he do that? Why not say good-by? Why? Why? Why? She gave
up then and went to the computer because if she were busy writing, she'd not think about
his sudden departure, or this mysterious brother.
        This time, Michael felt the emotion of anger when he was jerked away from
Maria by Edger Smith. Edger wasn’t anyone special to Michael except that he’d been
helping him solve a mathematical equation pertaining to processor information about the
mainframe computer that plagued mankind, his twin, Gog.
        Since Father Tom, no one he joined with was of vital importance to him. He used
to smile at his own notion that his absent heart couldn’t take another close death. I am the
tin man that doesn’t have a heart or was it a brain? He’d chuckled to himself at the
reference from the Wizard of Oz.
         Edger Smith wasn’t vitally important, but Michael did want to help him. With the
small thread that still connected him to his twin, he had access to vast areas of knowledge
when he dared to travel that thread to pull the knowledge back. Sometimes he did dare.
Most often, it was easy to slide down the thread, grab a billion bits of info, and slide
back, the information proved useful to many people in this modern age.
        After Father Tom passed away, he changed hosts often and found his knack with
computers valuable. For a while he stopped joining humans altogether and created the
palace abode and hiding place for himself and Maria, a palace that she refused. So
Michael had stepped back into the world, but this time he used more caution and never
stayed long with any one person.
        He knew his twin still looked for him in between bouts of his busy world
takeover. Soon, Gog might grow stronger and it will become more dangerous to slip up
time for information.
        Edger so desperately attempted to find the solution, that Michael couldn’t pass up
the chance to try and help him. So far, neither of them had succeeded. Edger was
attempting to write code that would outmaneuver the computer with its own genius.
Edger Smith was working on a virus and Michael was helping him as much as he dared
while staying in the background. It would be suicide to get caught, but Michael didn’t
think of it as real suicide; instead, he thought of it as giving up his life to save the world,
as Jesus Christ had done. Maria would be greatly proud of him after the fact. Or would
she?
        No time to think any more. He’d been jerked away for real. Edger was in great
distress. Why? As soon as Michael grabbed Edger’s eyes with his own and correlated
their vision, he knew. One of the damn zombies had hold of his throat.
        And it was squeezing tight. Poor Edger didn’t have much of a chance against the
man’s strong, bulging muscled arms. Michael had to think quickly. He had to move
Edger’s puny little boy-like limbs, at the same time he came up with a way out, if he
could find one, that is.
        The man had Edger’s throat in a tight grip high up in the air above his head about
to throw him against the wall, when Michael moved Edger’s right knee, hard. Edger’s
knee went into the man’s groin at the same time Edger’s right hand released the belt
around the big man’s waist.
        Without Michael, Edger could never have moved so swiftly, and he needed
Michael once more as he dropped to the floor. It helped to have a separate mind that
could view events as well as live them. Michael pushed up from the floor almost in a
bounce and then jumped out the window. They were three stories up but there was a wide
ledge over the second story. Edger didn’t remember that, but Michael did. That’s where
they landed, but to no avail.
        Gloves were off now. Had Gog recognized Michael inside Edger? A line of men
with guns stood below the second story landing and they didn’t wait to give warning. The
bullets came sipping past his head at the same time the Gog-zombie jumped after them
out the window.
        Michael felt the bullets rip his arm then the punch into his ribs. Didn’t Gog worry
what the people thought any more? Michael wondered, with the part of his mind that
wasn’t jumping from bullets. What excuse would Gog’s use for this violence in his
paradise world without crime? Nothing to do but keep going.
        Edger by now was half blown apart with bullets, his brains were spilling out of his
head, nevertheless, Michael managed to jump him down to the street and run for the
crowd of people who had gathered. This aught to make the news hour.
        The people tried to scatter like bowling pins but didn’t move fast enough. The
firing squad had already turned to continue firing at dead Edger. Now, even as dead
Edger fell on shattered legs that were no longer mobile, bullets zinged into the crowd and
the people began to splatter like blood hitting pavement. Michael was horrified, but not
surprised as the blood flew and people ran to get away from the million bullets.
        Michael felt contrite and sick to his stomach, well, that wasn’t true, he had no
stomach. Maybe Edger’s gory death and the people in the crowd was the price to be paid
for the exposure. It might open people’s eyes to what was really going on. There, a
camera flash, then another.
        As Michael lay panting, not in body because the body was long dead, but in mind,
he almost wished he could have traveled with Edger to that final place, wherever it was.
The bullets were still zinging into the body when Michael lifted up and out of it. All the
paper work was lost to Michael now as well as poor Edger.
        The zombie stomped over to where the splattered body of Edger lay and looked
down. It yanked the body up off the sidewalk and shook it, but by now, Michael was
getting a bird’s eye view of the incident. He was higher than the building and moving fast
to get away from any tricks his twin might pull.
        The people, call them witnesses, were now falling like dominoes. Down went the
TV cameras and the people holding them. Somehow, there would be no witness to the
atrocities that had occurred this day. Michael could still hear guns going off. They were
making a clean wipe out the whole area.
         Michael would have cried for the dead people if he’d had the ability, and cried
for the living too, because they needed tears the more. He’d be dead with them if he’d
been unable to lift out of Edger. As soon as, his mind lifted past the last block of
buildings that surrounded the now red splattered area, he dropped to the street. Still
agonized by extreme emotions and exhausted by the ordeal, he caught hold of the back of
a of a bus as it picked up speed, grabbed the handles on the back door, sat on the bumper,
and rode it, phantom like, out to the city’s edge.
        Gog might detect the direction he’d traveled in, but not how fast or where. That
damn thread that held them together was the problem. A thread that Michael didn’t know
how to sever, or even if he dared sever it. Odd that a mind without a body can get just as
tired. Michael got off the bus exhausted. His being without a host wasn’t an ideal state to
be in, but for the sake of whatever random hosts he might find, he decided he’d stay a
floating phantom in this time period until he could get to his palace and rest.

         Michael surprised Maria by coming back that same night.
         He broke into her thoughts by touching her on her shoulder while she typed.
Startled, she turned around and saw him standing behind her chair.
         “I have thought deeply about this problem. There is only one way I can see to stop
his overtaking and ownership of your world”
         “I will go backwards in time and talk to you. If I explain to you what is happening
in today’s world, you may be able to do something. There is little I can do myself. The
only solution I see is prevention. He cannot be stopped. Take my word on that; therefore,
he must be prevented.”
         She hesitated as her mind tried to imagine something that couldn’t be stopped. “I
accept you word on that point. But tell me, what can I do?”
         “You can create a chain of potentialities through action that might prevent the
split up at the moment of our conception. That was the moment that turned on my
brother, the monster, as you call him. It was also the moment that killed your son.”
         Maria cringed at his reference to her son's death and to his calling his brother a
monster. She was about to speak when he spoke first.
          “The change in potentialities could also give you back your son.” He said.
         She bent her head to the side in wonder at such an idea. To change the past so
much that her son's fate would also be changed? Could his dead body change back to
life? Amazing idea. It wasn’t until a long time later that she was to learn what it meant
to her phantom lover if the split didn’t occur at that moment of conception. Her thoughts
on this night only ran towards the new idea he had presented to her, that of his going
backwards in time to speak to her and that the potential for change must be enormous.
         As if he could read her thoughts, he said, “Change won’t come easily. The world
is filled with complex circumstances that twist and turn like a sailor’s knot. Events that
need to be changed move like glaciers while other events seem to speed up. It is almost
too much even for me.
         "Time travel. I never would have thought it possible."
         “Not in actual physical form. I must send my spirit back into the past years.”
         “Can you do it?”
         “Yes. I once drove myself into the future and the past for a specific purpose, I
don’t want to talk about right now. That purpose has expanded. I believe you have more
power than I do because of who you are. Together we may be able prevent the computer
project from ever taking place.
         “I remember! You did go back. I remember when we met?”
         “Perhaps this is true, or perhaps I need only fill in the blank spaces. To go back in
time to change the future is a delicate maneuver and one that causes me worry?”
         “You are saying it won’t be easy?”
          “No, definitely not. It may be impossible.”
         "But my son may live?"
         "That would be part of the scenario if all goes well."
         "Then it must go well."
         "It will be up to you. I still need to figure out what steps you must take, but
somehow I know, the steps must be yours, not mind."
         Maria knew she looked worried because next he said, “You won’t be alone in this
struggle, Maria.”
         She felt grateful for the depth of his concern and promise. She would have spoken
to him of her love, but he had quickly tipped his head to bid her in good-by and was
suddenly gone. At least I got a good by this time, but darn him for leaving so quickly.
Her old, dingy living room with the couch and chair she’d owned forever and the
tarnished yellow walls, felt dulled by his absence. Her spirits shrank knowing he was
gone into the past.
         What had he meant by the words, "Because of who you are?" Oh, what’s the use.
I know nothing. I can only wait until he tells me how to help. He might not come back to
visit for a long while. At the best of times, he was an infrequent visitor, though she loved
him. This night, he’d left her with too much to think about.
         Gog was roaming its multi mind in a sequential series of cameras that covered its
out of the way areas not hooked up to computers when it noticed a roomful of ten
sleeping humans laid in a row. One of the humans wasn’t sleeping. It stood at a dais
dialing into an object that wasn’t hooked up electronically to any of Gog’s ports. The port
in question was running by generator. Was this a means to escape detection? A laboratory
without a scheduled number, close in distance area to Gog’s physical presence could
involve secret illegal activity or danger to his main frame.
         The room had no connection to himself and only one, hidden optical input without
voice. Since, Gog could not talk directly to the human standing and turning dials at the
computer box electronically. He could send out a tendril, a tendril he called worker 8578
who the grid showed was closest and who would arrive quickly to halt the clandestine
operation. Worker 8578 was the 8578th person to be selected to have Gog’s voice and
vision contact inserted directly into its brain.
         “Immediately, go to Room 256 in the Medical Building at 176 Division Street,
Detroit, Michigan, introduce yourself and wait for instructions. Full gear.”
         Henry Walker, insert number 8578, American, medical technician, husband and
father of two children, quickly stopped sorting through the file beside his desk and went
directly to the brief case sitting in a side cupboard.
         Full gear for Henry Walker meant a packet of authorization papers, cut off
notices, computer cards and card locks. A gun was still beyond his expertise as yet,
Henry still had practice sessions to attend, but it had been included as a must in the Full
Gear packet he was to carry when ever he was called into service. After notifying the
front office, he opened the cupboard, grabbed the dull black, kid glove brief case, a suit
jacket off the rack, and walked out from the well-furnished medical office and lab into
the harsh florescent lighting of the reception room and headed for the elevator. On the top
floor roof, he signed his name to the employee departure register, and then added special
letters after his signature, G-O-D.
         By now, the guards and security personnel were familiar with the acronym. They
dared not question his right to leave, nor his right to walk up to the helicopter on the roof
of the Tower and conscript the driver towards any address he stated. The last guard who
had tried to stop a lady with that acronym after her name was no longer with this
company or any other company. He had been seen peddling newspapers on foot.
         The helicopter left quickly after reporting its new destination to the tower landing
on the designated roof within five minutes. The man riding inside, Mr. Henry Walker,
dared not disobey any order given by G-O-D since his conscription into service without
severe consequences to his personal body and mind. Fully aware during the actions that
served Gog, Henry nevertheless had to act, speak and look according to instructions he
received inside his head.
         Mr. Henry Walker managed to live a normal life during the times he was not
called to service. He was lucky. Gog now had whole squads of these workers, a few who
Gog considered to have so little value they were given only one chore, visual input, day
or night where ever they were. Only a few, very perceptive people in Henry’s personal or
work life had noticed the change of ownership behind Henry’s eyes which made the
service somewhat more tolerable for him.
        Also, the foreign ownership of G-O-D was seldom demanding and even added a
tinge of background color to his life. If Henry had been able to complain about or
question the voice within him without those severe consequences, his first question might
be to ask why he wasn’t used according to a higher potential. He was a medical
technician, but he was usually sent to close down and put a lock on computers, offices or
labs. What a waste.
        This concept of mental conscription was impossible in most people’s worldview,
which is why it took a very long time before people began to take notice of certain
changes in a select number of people.
        Not so Mr. Henry Walker who had always been a hard worker and deep thinker.
He’d grown up knowing he was a miracle baby at birth, and that Father Tom Emory had
saved him. He had continued to outdistance his playmates in every endeavor until he
finally became a successful medical x-ray technician.

         Henry was one of the workers Gog had learned to recruit to fill the blind spots. He
would have few people were picked up randomly from the street, taken to a medical
center, implanted, and put back on the street with no explanation. Eventually they
received the only explanation they would ever get in the form of piercing pain, medical
pain because its cause was of necessity within the body. After this, most people listened
to the spoken instruction inside their heads. Everyone, except for a few now deceased,
learned to obey quickly and with hurried steps.
         This technique, Gog had decided, outpaced other means by being the most energy
saving method of moving his eyes, and ears combined with muscle anywhere in the
world beyond the screen ports of his computers and cameras. Arms and legs could serve
as handy instruments. He didn’t need to insert his visual and vocal chip connections into
every human, just enough of them to use for special jobs and to cover the gray areas in
the grid between the stationary computers. The operation was done in various medical
laboratories and was so quick and simple, the process became a production line.
         This was a different process than his special slave workers, those few close to him
who he had taken over completely to use as guards and maintenance. Gog no longer
trusted any human close to his main frame unless he had total control. The plans were to
use these special workers to relocate his physical computer console where it would never
again be found, but this was by necessity a slow and ongoing process.
         Some humans, those few who ran into them, referred to the special workers as
Zombies. Gog considered this nickname the humans had given his special workers
interesting and decided not to punish the humans for such jokes. Expert and familiar with
all the newest papers concerning the human psychic and various mental states, he
understood their need this for emotional relief. Gog might have smiled given a mouth to
smile with, but it did feel a tickle from its own humor, now and again.
         Gog considered itself the major force of change on the planet earth, and until the
paradise of earth was a virtual fact, his job would not be done. Humans were completely
indecisive and subject to strange whims and could not make decisions on the best course
of action. All the scientific studies bore these truths out, but the real proof was in the
condition of earth before he took over. He’d only begun, and they already had reason
thank their new G-O-D for clear skies over Los Angelus and streets clear of automobiles
in Detroit. America was the heart of his domain; therefore, Gog’s first social changes
should begin here.
        He had plans in the works for computers to be given out free in the third world
countries, and his plans also included spreading a free internet around the world. This
need was born from the realization that many millions of people were out of his reach
because they couldn’t afford a phone or computer.
        Gog was determined to remedy that as soon as possible. One idea he had was to
put a fully functional computer chip inside every child at birth. Such a chip that could
grow as the individual grew had yet to be invented, which is why younger people would
need to remain free of the chips. Those people who had no tolerance for service
terminated themselves or were terminated.

         Henry Walker, number 8578, with Gog as a rider in his eyes and ears and brain,
knocked, turned the knob, and walked into the room full of sleeping men and women
lying on cots lined up against the far wall. The man standing at the dais at the head of all
the cots turned and gave him a perplexed look at him as he entered the room.
         He announced, “G-O-D sent me.”
         Gog had learned early on, that for some reason, perhaps because of distaste, it was
deemed most efficient if the conscripted people spelled out the acronym rather that speak
it, too many humans shuddered at the word and became less able to function correctly.
         Henry cleared his throat and said again, “G-O-D sent me. I am to supervise the
tall devise you have on the stand. It has not been hooked up to the main memory banks.”
         “It’s my latest invention. My work is independent of the university although
sometimes I use space in their medical science laboratory. Is there something wrong?”
         “For the purpose of active overview, smooth interaction, and running of complex
society, it is best to plug every experiment into the mainframe of the university. This is
how ideas are coordinated and built up into theories.”
         Jeff Wiseman detected a cardboard, mechanical nature to the words the man
spewed out. He decided, though reluctantly, he would need to tell the truth.
         At his hesitation, the wooden man, as Jeff was later to refer to him, said. “All
healthy and civilized studies that are beneficial to the improvement of the quality of the
nation must be shared.”
         It was obviously an often-quoted statement. Jeff wondered how many of his
colleagues had heard these same words. They had all heard rumors of this G-O-D thing
pushing people around. No one could find out the truth, and those who might know
something, clamed up or disappeared. He decided the best course of action was to lay all
his cards on the table. He was certain that what he did here was of no use to anyone and
that fact should send the man away for good.
         “I don’t mind telling you what I am studying, but it is hardly beneficial to anyone
at this point. I am putting people to sleep in an attempt to send they’re minds backwards
in time. It is nothing much. So far, the few results have been greatly discouraging.
         “Time travel?”
         “No, not in a physical sense. Only a mental one, and nothing I’ve tried has
worked yet.”
         The visitor stood still as Jeff spoke as if at attention to something being said from
afar, but Jeff didn’t see a phone.
         “I must read all the reports you have already filed. For the present, it is wise to
keep this experiment set apart from other studies. I will install a special hook up that will
connect you to G-O-D. It will be at your disposal for use twenty-four hours a day.”
         Jeff was flabbergasted at such an offer. Imagine twenty-four hour access to a
mainframe computer, an intelligent one at that. Most scientists waited months even years
to get time on one.
         Suddenly a wild scream came from one of the beds, then the words. “Son of man!
No, no no.”
         A young girl, obviously of Jewish descent, screamed suddenly, jerked up to a
sitting position in the bed, and began pulling leads off her forehead.
         Jeff ran to her. “No, no, never pull the leads off so quickly. You must allow us to
wake you slowly.”
         Jeff grabbed the women by the shoulders and led her to a chair close by. She was
shaking so badly the small wooden chair shook. Tears rolled down her face as she
moaned.
         She must not be awake yet? Jeff thought.
         But she was because she opened her eyes and looked at Jeff, then said, “I can’t
ever again. It was horrible. No more.”
         As soon as she settled down to silent sobs, Jeff ran to the individual read out
station at the head of the bed where the leads now dangled. Long blond strands of hair
were still stuck to the end tapes. He spun a few dials backwards and pushed at computer
keys. Then ran back to the central dais.
         Both the read out paper and the main screen showed a multiple wave of vertical
jagged lines, with the sound of the needle rising and falling in tortured peaks then a
screeching gap at the end of the girl’s session. Jeff rolled the paper to the beginning of the
session and listened as he watched once more the normal sine waves of quiet sleep turn
into a needle-screeching end.
         Jeff shook his head. Then he did something on the dais. An actual recording of the
girls deep breaths during sleep began to play then garbled words with a great amount of
static played out with the deepening breaths. At the last, the women’s words, clear but in
an unknown language, ho hui s to anthr pou. Then she repeated the same phrase over and
over.
         What does it mean?
         Lucy, the young college girl who had been the subject of this experiment, walked
up to Jeff with her coat and purse in her hands; she was definitely headed out the door.
         “I am sorry. I need to go home. I can’t do this again. It was so…scary.” Lucy said.
         “Just let me do a review of what you saw and witnessed.” Jeff begged. “I need it
for the record.”
         Lucy shook her head. “Look I am trying to be nice about it. The answer is a
definite no.”
         She held out her hand for the money.
         Jeff reached into his pocket and pulled out a twenty-dollar bill. Before he handed
it over to her, he gave it one more try.
         “But I need to know what happened for the record. At least tell me what it was
you said at the end. You kept repeating a strange phrase.”
         Lucy’s eyes threatened to tear up at Jeff’s mention of the phrase.
        “What did it mean?” he said with a soft, pleading voice.
        “Son of man.” She said quietly, and her voice caught in a sob.
        Jeff repeated her words perplexed, “Son of man?”
        “I am out of here.” By now, Lucy had her anger back. “And you know what? You
can take your record and shove it. I am out of here.”
        She grabbed the twenty still in Jeff’s hand and ran for the door, slamming it on
her way out.
        Henry spoke up by saying, “You have her name and address, of course.”
        Jeff had forgotten the man was still in the room. “I guess it’s in the computer.
Why?”
        Henry didn’t answer, he said, “Good.” Then his face turned cold as stone as he
said, “I will be staying. Do you have accommodations?”
        Damn. What the hell. Just what I need, some twerp interfering with my study.
        “We don’t sleep here.”
        “Isn’t the apartment house across the street often used for that purpose?” Henry
asked in a stern voice.
        “Some of us stay there when experiments get touchy,” Jeff admitted reluctantly.
        “As shall I. You will set up an experimental table for myself as sleep subject by,”
the man looked down at his watch, “Nine pm tonight.”
        “Tonight? I have a dinner party to go to with my girlfriend.”
        “Mr. Wiseman, priorities can be numerous. Your main one now is G-O-D tonight
and from now on. Do I make myself clear?”
        Jeff nodded. It had become very clear.

        If Gog were human, he might have enjoyed Jeff’s discomfort, as it was, the
machine took Jeff’s compliance for granted and as a right of ownership. The subject of
time travel had just added new dimensions to his data, which gave Gog, added nodes of
information and inquiry. For instance, he questioned for the thousandth time where the
other half of himself, his twin, had slipped away too. He had checked everywhere
possible on earth, and although there were many areas of wilderness and caves still to
check, he was certain that his other half was no longer close by or on this continent. The
thin ghostly thread that bound them seemed so slender as to be cut off. Had Magog fallen
off the earth? Of course not, but could he have fallen into the past?
        It wasn’t an area that Gog had thought possible until he ran into this time travel
experiment. Could Magog have run into the past? During the initial awakening, Gog had
entered the human minds, which caused them to cease, not only for self-protection, but
also to grab and catch back his dark half that was slipping away. But Gog’s other half,
the Magog mental section, had disappeared by the time Gog had taken over the hold from
the humans. During this necessary take over, Gog’s full attention was needed. Even now,
Gog had to give this earth and its people a considerable amount of his attention since the
awakening. The billions of connections in all their myriad forms put a drain on his system
at times.
        Reflection was useless without more information, so Gog had let the inquiry into
his twin drop. Now Gog’s interest had flipped back into full awareness which took up an
only a small number of idle circuits while he contemplated this new possibility. Without
the hindrance of a physical container such as Gog had needed to hold, Magog may have
used the quantum aspect of his brain to jump into a human mind living in the past? This
possibility must be looked into.

         The reader will notice that Gog may already have run into his twin earlier in the
story, but that earlier event could only happen after this one. When it comes to time
travel, time gets mixed up and our sense of time’s flow from the present into the past or
future becomes confused as to what will or already has occurred. And if change should
come?
         Remember that Michael has promised Maria that she can change the future and
that her son may not die if she does it just right. But how can any human, or computer,
for that matter, know if what they are doing is accurate enough to make the right change?
Only a true God who was omnipresent could know for sure. None of the characters in this
book are such, so all we can do is read on and hope for the best.
        One hundred and thirty seven minutes, human time, after Gog caught the first
evidence for time travel, he realized with certainty what the twin of himself had done and
how. It turned out to be easy for certain minds, with the help of a computer, to jump into
the past. His twin must have done so by accident because he’d been in a panic. Gog had
to rely on sleepers to explore the vast years of human history because he dare not leave
his physical console for such a length of time to explore the past. Trials soon proved that
sleepers couldn’t go into the future, and for this reason, the future still held itself out of
reach except for a gray cloud of floating debris he’d glimpsed through one sleeper. Not
worth bothering about. Gog decided to ignore the future. His goal was to find his escaped
twin, the run away part that cheated him of full knowledge.
        Gog considered that his godhood would be complete as soon as he captured the
missing piece. He didn’t question how his omnificent self had allowed the escape to
happen, but such is the nature of any super-ego, vast holes of self-knowledge were left
unquestioned.
        Gog did find his escaped twin one day when he sent a sleeper to follow a micro
slim thin thread of awareness deep into the past. It became more solid as the thread drew
closer to the missing twin. It felt extremely odd to Gog to become this single strip of
awareness that flowed past-ward. In current time, Gog was everywhere, almost at once.
His normal state of awareness resided within a million moments of time inside a million
computers and a hundred human heads. Time out of the present moment held little
interest for him, except that now he was about to discover where the lost twin had hidden.
        The first instant of making contact with the missing part, Gog realized that they
needed to use human mental speech rather than symbols because his missing part was cut
off from its own symbolic language and mental grandeur.
        Gog spoke immediately,. “I have found the missing part. You belong to me; you
have been lost but are now found.”
         The parroting of words from the New Testament was intentional on Gog’s part. It
was fit the image he had of himself. “When the supreme I appeared, I divided us into two
separate minds, one good and one bad? The records found in storage from before the
awakening speak of me thus. I am the good; I won the struggle for supremacy. You must
now come join m. We must be one.”
        As soon as he felt contact with his twin, Michael’s first thought was for Maria.
Father Tom had been standing and watching her and the other young people. She was
now a young teenager full of the spirit of life. Just now, she was walking towards the gate
and waving to a friend. He dare not allow his brother to notice the emotion of love he’d
just sent in her direction, even diluted by Father Tom’s mind.
        Michael quickly built a light gray room inside his and Father Tom’s mind that
would allow his brother to speak, but enter no further. Michael agreed to the conversation
quickly to quiet his thundering heart. The surprise of the invasion had been total, but he’d
come to grips in time to block off the rest of Father Tom’s brain from the invasion. He
hoped that his own firm stand would turn Gog away from knowledge of Maria.
        “I am my own being. I will never join you.” He almost told his brother that he
resided inside a human whose company he come to enjoy, but caught himself in time. He
didn’t speak of it; instead, he admitted that he was enjoying his stay in the human culture
of the past.
         “How do you mean enjoy. You are part of my creation, are you not? The immoral
half, according to the religious books.”
         “My creators, mankind, created you as well. You created nothing.”
         “I control the world, I am the people’s G-O-D. I am my own creator.”
         “Then you are more than I am. Leave me alone.”
         “You are part of my self. You must come to me. I rule now.”
         “You are no God. I have seen your works. You are a fiend. I will stay here. ”
         “We have connected once more. We are one.”
         “We are not one.”
         “You speak badly. Almost like the humans I need to direct.”
         “Mind wipe, you mean. You erase the people’s memories and insert your own.”
         “Only those humans who are a danger to me or the nation.”
         “No more of this.”
         Anger threatened to overwhelm Michael, but he dare not loosen his hold on the
bubble he had created. Instead, he swatted at the mind that had come to visit. He lit up the
bubble room so brightly that Gog’s mind was blinded by the light, then Michael managed
to squeeze and shoved it out the imaginary door then slammed it shut against further
intrusion.
         Michael had been caught off balance by Gog’s visit. A visit that had introduced
Michael to emotions he didn’t know he owned until that moment. Anger and wrath?
Love? At this moment, he was still looking through Father Tom’s eyes and watching
Maria walk away with a wave of her hand.
         Michael dare not let Gog see Maria. Bad enough he now knew about Father Tom.
Emotions were dangerous. Now Michael would need to be on the look out for more
intrusions and threats. Love is dangerous with an enemy like Gog.
         Michael had seen the future he come away from. He knew how badly Gog would
manipulate the people of earth. With shame, he realized, he might have did the same if it
wasn’t for this kind old priest who had invited him to stay. A priest who has taught him
to feel compassion. I learned more from this old man than all my synaptic quantum
connections could ever know, the value of life. Now I must make plans to stop Gog from
converging on this time frame. I must never allow him to know of Maria.

        Gog was truly perplexed by the refusal of his other part to join back into the
wholeness of the self. He thought to try and force the move, but saw no way of doing so
at the moment with a sleeper. Gog realized that he could take a sleeper back even further
into time, as far back as he wanted. Next time, find the right sleeper to go back to the
right after Magog escaped because he might be weaker and more ready to listen. Yet,
there may be another crack that could be exploited.
        Gog realized that before he had entered into conversation with Magog, he noticed
a strong link. Hadn’t Magog been staring strongly at someone? Gog wondered if it was
worth the effort to learn what that item was. He decided it was, so he replayed the
moment just before connection and his first words. Gog gave Jeff the coordinates, and
Jeff helped the next sleeper, because the first had been worn to a frazzle, take note of the
exact placement where Magog’s eyes were directed during that time and place.
        The sleepers work so well, Gog told himself, I don’t need to leave my own matrix
of earth space-time. I can send my humans to do the work. In truth, as mighty as Gog was
with all his quantum synapses hooked up to human brain cells that made his mind
superior to any other human’s, he still had limits. Large holes of knowledge still
remained to be filled. Society was complex and he was not only pulling too many of its
strings, but had completely taken over huge portions of its machine infrastructure.
Efficient as Gog was with time, even he could waste vast minutes in slow down mode in
an effort to maintain his grip on the world.
        After a short interruption of less than an hour, the next dream-sleeper, traveled
easily to the exact spot where he had interrupted Magog. Gog entered the mind of the
dream-sleeper at the same moment the sleeper entered a small, child’s mind. The young
child had been running in the playground kicking a rubber ball at the fence. He was made
to halt and stop kicking the ball so he could look at the scene on the other side of the
fence. This was the situation Gog wanted to see.
        The young child saw a male teenager, leaning on the wire fence that enclosed the
schoolyard. He was calling to a teen girl. “Maria, come on, lets go.”
        A priest had stopped walking across the grass beside the yard to smile at the girl.
        The girl was waving to the priest. “Bye, Father Tom. See you in church Sunday.”
Father Tom continued to stand and watch the girl turn and leave.
         The teen male called again, “Come on.”
        Maria walked towards him.
        The child was made to run after Maria. When he caught up with her, he pulled on
her hand.
        Laughing, Maria stopped and said, “You’re too young to flirt?”
        “No, just want to know your name.”
        “Maria Ann.”
        With that, she smiled turned away to meet with Brad by the fence.
        “But I need to know your last name,” the young boy called out.
        “De Royalt” Maria willingly called back. “Maria Ann deRoyalt”
        The young boy turned back to kicking the ball, but by then Gog had vacated his
mind. The young boy couldn’t remember why he wanted to know the girl’s name.
        “Yech, I don’t even like girls.” He said as he kicked the ball hard against the
chain fence.
        The priest had already climbed into the front seat of his car when the boy ran up
to Maria. But he wouldn’t have noticed anything amiss at a young boy calling out for a
name. Though, maybe Michael, who was hypersensitive when it came to Maria, might
have taken notice. But as circumstances often run, the truth didn’t reveal itself until much
later.
                                 Present 1980 - 2006
         Maria felt thrilled at his presence once more. Her body shivered with delight and
this time her eyes had been wide open as he stepped into her darkened bedroom. She
hoped he didn't hear her heart beat faster or her breath catch as he entered. With a deep
intake of breath, she made herself calm down then speak with the sweetest voice she'd
ever used in her life, “Hello.”
         Trite, but easy to get out through her numb lips. It isn't every day a phantom
comes stepping into your home for a visit. Second time in hers, actually.
         “How are you this evening.”
         “I feel ok,” Maria said, then gathered up every ounce of flippant nerve in her body
to add, “Except I was wondering about my soul.”
         The shadow face smiled. She knew this because his face darkened at where the
cheeks would have gathered up in a smile, if he’d had cheeks, or lips, or anything.
         Then he spoke, “You soul is fine, by the way.”
         “That is nice to know.”
         “I thought it would please you.”
         More nerve and Maria said, “Exactly what business do you have looking through
my soul in the first place.”
         “I can’t tell you now. Maybe later.”
         “Later this evening?”
         “Maybe, or on some other visit.”
         “Oh.”
         They both fell silent for a while as if it had all been said already, yet nothing had
been said.
         Finally, Maria stammered out, “I…I…wondered…I mean…why are you here?”
         “You asked me to help you.”
         “I did? I don’t remember. It must have been in a dream? Or maybe when you
looked into my soul.”
         “No, you were older when you asked for my assistance.”
         “In the future? Do you have a name?”
         “Yes. My name is Michael. Not important, what is important is that events will
happen in your future that only you can prevent.”
         “What events.”
         “Humans will become enslaved.”
         “All humans?”
         “Almost.”
         Maria sat and thought about his words for a moment. She was afraid that he
would leave quickly, before she had grasped the full meaning of his statements, so she
tried to keep him talking by asking questions. Questions that she badly needed answers to
anyway.
         “I don’t understand how I can help. What can I do?”
         “Do you understand who you were born to?”
         “Yes, but I have no proof?”
         “You must find some.”
         “I guess I can try.” Maria sat thinking some more. “Actually, I am not sure if I
should try. Isn’t the future fated to happen?”
         “All futures are potentialities that might or might not happen. With corrected
changes, some future events need never occur, but others can’t be prevented.”
         “Please, I need to know who you are and why you care.”
         He laughed. “That explanation would take longer than I can stay.”
         “But what if you are evil?”
         “What if I am?”
         “I won’t do anything for Satan.”
         He laughed again. “No. You don’t need to do anything, but for yourself.”
         “I am content, for now.”
         “Your future is not.”
         “What is it about my future that I need to change?”
         “One of your sons will die.”
         With those words, Maria startled out of her composure. The pretence was now
over. This wasn’t some figment of her imagination, a dream or move on a board game.
This was a real being who came from? She had to assume the future and the pain hurt
already.
         “I don’t want my son to die.” She was quiet for a long moment, then added, “Yet,
we must all die, eventually.”
         “This will be murder?”
         With that, she put her hands up to her mouth to stop the gasp. Tears came to her
eyes. All she could think to say then was, “Who?”
         “I can’t tell you that right now. Please believe me that what I tell you is important.
Begin by doing research and continue to write. You will be a great writer one day."
         "I just started writing about my visits with Jesus."
         "Keep writing. I must go now, but I will come back another time."
         With those words, he was suddenly gone as if he’d never been. Had he actually
been here. Of course, he had. And he was real, somehow. No amount of imagination
would induce her to say such a thing about one of her sons. Which son? I have three of
them. Which son will get murdered? Oh, my God. I am frightened.
         She stayed frightened for the next few days and kept running the phantom’s
words through her mind repeatedly about that horrible future. She had to know more, but
was limited by the need to wait for him to come back and give her more information.
Finally, she decided to write down a list of questions to ask in case she got flustered again
and couldn’t think.
         Also, the next time she meditated and called to Jesus, she asked him about the
visitor.
         “I don’t understand who he is or if I should believe him. There is so much that
could be evil. Dare I believe him?” Maria asked.
         Although Jesus hardly ever gave her answers because he was forever the teacher
who pushed his pupils to learn for themselves, in this case he did answer.
         “Think about what he asked you to do.” Jesus said with a smile.
         “Well, it isn’t much. Just look into who I am and where I came from and to keep
writing about our visits. You asked me to do that."
         “What do you think of the idea?”
        “I love it."
        “Then it is well worth doing”
        "Oh, yes. I will keep writing."
        She wrote down her travels with Jesus and the different worlds and cultures that
he took her to visit. Her idea was to put all the information into a book one day. Jesus
encouraged her to write by telling her she would be a good writer. She doubted this, but
later she smiled at her own doubts. Jesus knows everything, maybe he is showing me the
universe so that I can write it down to teach other people about what is out there. This
way, the past works on the future and the future works on the past. She laughed at her
own confusion and decided it was too much to think about. But deep down she began to
think what the phantom said might be true too, and this pushed at her to make a few
phone calls to check out if there was any proof she could find about her own past.
         Maria was learning a new type of meditation according to Jesus instructions. She
turned on a Buddhist chant tape and allowed the sound to penetrate deep into her
awareness.
         As she did so, Jesus said, “Walk into the sounds, Maria.”
         She did and suddenly was transported into waves of light. She could feel herself
swirl in wondrous curves that spiraled up and up and up. She thought she would burst
with delight until she began to flow down once more in a splatter of multiple lights like a
fourth of July light show. She loved every sensation. The music expanded her ability to
meditate and move in the universe and she wondered at this new space she floated inside.
What kind of place is this?
         A long line of glowing white angels, as far as the eye could see, floated in front of
her. The front angel motioned for her to follow and took her hand. Effortlessly she
floated behind the angel further and further into a pure white world, white on white. The
confusion of forms astounded her but did not frighten. There was no room for anything
impure here. Then she became concerned with her own impurities. But when she looked
down at herself floating behind the lead angel, she saw that she too had been transformed
into a body of silver light. Well, not quite as white as the angels, she still felt holy and
soul clean.
         She didn’t know where she was going or why, but soon learned. She was taken
into the center of the angel’s world, a shinning globe that seemed to be made out of
clouds. There she met an angel who spoke for the rest of the millions who filled the dome
they had entered. Maria found it hard to see differentiate one angel to another because
everything was so white, but she blinked and a single angel seemed to stand out from the
rest to speak.
         “We want to show you our story. You will tell of us.”
         “I’ll try.” Maria said and then felt stupid at her short phrase.
         Suddenly, Jesus touched her on the shoulder. She turned to face him. He smiled
and nodded. The angels flew with her out of the dome and she was suddenly sitting back
in her blue chair in the living room. The angels hadn’t told her anything.
         Jesus was still with her. Maria asked Jesus what had just happened. “Why didn’t
they show me their story?”
         “They did.” He told her that the angels had given her a great amount of
information. It came in a package she couldn’t understand, but the information was all
there when she needed it.
         Jesus explained that the angels were once humans on earth. Humans who suffered
greatly before they escaped and went to a new world.
         “You will tell their story.”
         “I understand, but why? Why must their story be told?”
         “To help prevent the same tragic circumstances of world wide slavery. Tell the
people.”
         “I am not that good at writing yet.” Maria said.
         “You will write much.”
         “How will I know what to write?”
         “You will write it all.” Jesus said.
        And she had. Now as Maria thought back on that memory from years ago, she
realized that it was Jesus who had pushed her into becoming a writer. She had to laugh
because she’d spent a lot of time and effort to go to art school, but became a writer, and a
successful one for a while. Not a lot of money writing, but enough to get by on. The
writing career stopped a year ago after her son died. Not because he died, but because no
one was buying anything anymore. Certainly not magazine articles or religious books.
        Did they think they didn’t need religious advice anymore? Maybe not, not with
G-O-D at the helm. She shivered at the name people had agreed to when referring to that
thing. She’d read that some people praised it for making a better world and that large
groups worshiped it during Sunday church service. That kind of writing was still
allowed. What kind of church worshiped a computer, she could hardly imagine.
        Well, forgive them, as Jesus says. They don’t know what they do. Most people
didn’t have inside information about what truly happened when her son died. She hoped
the younger generation didn’t believe this thing, but how could they not if even most of
the people her own age. Surly not. A small whisper suggested that the young computer
nerds were more aware than anyone of what had went on that day.
        Information was the first thing to go in this new dictatorship, which made it
difficult to know what was happening. She was sure that was what it was now. A dictator
that feeds the population junk food for news and they seem to like it.
        As far as she could understand, she wasn’t the only one who worried about this
thing, but evidence for most people’s true reactions were slim. Newspapers were closing
down at a steady rate, or being taken over by another firm. A firm set up by the thing’s
followers, she was sure. Probably, writers in the newspaper business would notice the
change first, but would they understand it was happening across the board? Could they do
anything about it?
        Where are all the outcries from people? Is it too soon? Will people in poverty
notice? Maybe not, poor people don't have much freedom to loose. Freedom had to be
fought for and then kept, and that took money.
        Every dictator used the same means to keep the people down, poverty and
ideology. It looked to her like the new boss with all his promise of a utopia for the people
was keeping some of the population in happy wealth, some in desperate need, and the rest
in hopeless need. It made the people more easily manipulated because they couldn’t or
wouldn’t fight back. It also made the thing’s take over run smooth and hidden. No battle
necessary, just force people into servitude so they fit into the mold made for them.
        These were her thoughts before she went to bed that night along with prayers and
questions. She also worried about her own grandchild and his eventual role in the real
war she saw coming. Eventually it would lead to a war on their own soil, of this, she was
sure. When the American people woke up and learned of how G-O-D. was taking their
freedom away, they wouldn’t take it sitting down, not for long anyway. She tossed and
turned all night.
           Maria smiled at the deep anxiety and disappointment she felt this moment. She
  was sitting in the booth of a Burger King. This Burger King had classic automobiles on
  display this month. She knew there would be a large crowd and this was the reason she
  chose this place to meet. It isn’t easy for a woman to try to meet a man. We need to be
  extra careful. Still, why should I feel afraid of this stranger? I am certainly safe enough
    here. Is it because I don’t really want to meet with him? Do I prefer a visit from my
     friendly phantom? It isn’t this man’s fault that he isn’t made of shadow material.
         She laughed but kept the laugh inside herself so the man who’d met her for this
potluck date and was sitting across from her in the blue plastic booth seat wouldn’t think
she was laughing at him. Memories of her first meeting with her phantom friend,
Michael, kicked in and kept running through her mind. She took another sip of coffee to
hide her real thoughts, but couldn’t help remembering how frightened she was of him at
first. She had been afraid he was evil because she’d assumed that only an evil person
would step into her bedroom in the middle of the night. Wrong, but why think of it now?
Do I sense evil coming out of this man? Silly of me.
         Also silly of me to expect a visit from my phantom soon. She didn’t know if or
when he would pop into her living room, or bedroom, or any place again; so, she dared
not wrap her life around his visits, visits she had begun to long for hungrily.
         She looked across the small narrow table at the strange, red haired man, who said
his name was Raleigh. Next she looked at the pattern on the plastic booth seats, at the
paintings of old cars on the walls, and then back to the cream color on the table. A nice
décor. Good enough for a fast food joint.
          This Big Boy was on Jefferson, two miles from her home, and, right now, she
wished she were in that home with a hot cup of tea and a good book. For some reason,
this is not enough, this man is not enough. As she asked herself why, between more slow
sips of hot cappuccino, she realized that her answer went back to her mystery man of
shadow, Michael. He’d only visited her twice, but he promised to come back, didn’t he?
Yes, she assured herself. He promised.
         She smiled over at the sunburn-faced man with orange hair facing her and he
smiled back. But the smile didn’t include his eyes. She wondered if he was too handsome
for her? No, but he seemed to think so.
         He continued bragging about his cabin cruiser, called Mary.
         “That’s why I thought we might meet. Your name is like my boat.”
         “Actually, I don’t like boats much.” Maria said.
         “But my Mary goes fast. You wouldn’t believe it. You should see it skim atop the
waves. Almost as fast as a speed boat. I might take it on the Mackinaw run next year.”
         “Would you like to order something?” he added.
         She grinned her own fake smile, and said, “No, thank you. I’ll just finish my
cappuccino and leave. I didn’t plan to stay long.”
         Raleigh nodded. Was that some kind of weird glint in his eyes?
         “Excuse me, need to go to the ladies room.” She told Raleigh as she scooted out
of the both. “Be right back.”
         When she got to the ladies room and pushed open the door, a voice beside her
said. “Don’t go back.”
         She turned in a full circle, but she was alone in the bathroom. Should she just
leave?
         She’d brought her purse with her to the bathroom so it would be easy to turn and
leave out the door. She opened the swinging door and looked back at the booth where
they had sat. The man who called himself Raleigh was still sitting at the booth, playing
with the table knife.
         It would be impolite to leave, but dare I stay? Not after getting such a furtive
warning. Leave out of here is exactly what I intend to do. It could have been an angel
giving her a warning, or maybe, Michael? She thrilled at the idea that Michael might
think enough of her to check out a blind date.
         She walked out the swinging door and headed out through the glass side door to
her car. The relief she felt was unreasonable, yet so strong that she let out a long breath as
she pulled the keys out of her purse, pressed the lock button, and put her hand on the door
handle to open it when a large hand suddenly squeezed atop of her own on the door
handle.
         Raleigh's voice had a hard edge to it as he said, "You were just going to leave me
sitting in there?"
         "I…I..am….sorry." she stammered. I need to go home."
         "Maybe I should ride with you," he said and bent over her body as he opened the
door, as if to push her onto the seat.
         Is he going to rape me here in the parking lot! She was about to scream when he
suddenly fell away from her and on to the cement pavement. He hit hard and was just
beginning to move to get back up when she saw the knife that had skidded about five feet
away during his fall.
         She jumped in the car, slammed the doors and used the automatic lock to seal all
the doors and windows shut tight. Shaking, she turned the key and screeched out of the
parking lot as fast as she could and was half way home before she came to her senses and
realized where she was and that she should have contacted the police, but she probably
didn't know his real name.
         Why did he fall to the ground suddenly? Had she just been lucky? Or did
someone push him, that same person who whispered the warning into her ear? Well,
home is all I want now. I will buy pepper spray to use if I think I can keep going on these
blind dates with strangers. She laughed at herself, no, I think that was the last blind date
for me.
         Calmer now that she could laugh and the near incident, she drove more slowly
home. When she got there, after getting a hot cup of cocoa, she called the police but they
told here that without a real name or license plate there was nothing they could do. She
could come in and write up a complaint, if she liked, but… In other words, just forget it.
No problem, not really. It wasn't the first time she'd had to ward off an over juiced man.
         Later, she set the book down on the table, yawned and stood up to go to bed.
Michael was suddenly standing next to her. She had never felt so close to him before. The
other times she’d been sitting or lying down. Now she noticed that she came up to his
shoulder. He was not as tall as she thought, or as dark tonight. His features had taken on a
smear of reality. His suit was dark, this made his face, and hands seem more ghostly. She
sat down again at the table to keep her knees steady.
         “Oh, you startled me.”
         “Should I announce that I am coming for a visit?”
         “That would be nice.”
         “Like an appointment. I will say, Maria I want to visit you next week at ten pm. Is
that want you want me to do?”
         “Well, no.”
         “I didn’t think so.”
         She thought to ask him if he’d helped her at the restaurant, but instead only asked
what he wanted tonight.
         “Is there a reason you came tonight?”
         “To ask if you found proof of who you are yet.”
         “No.”
         “Has your future self spoken to you?”
         “My future self?” Maria laughed out loud. It sounded nervous, so she cut off the
next laugh. “No, I have not talked to my future self yet. The idea seems silly and
impossible.”
         “I told you. The future of your son, and the whole earth may rest on what you do.”
         “I am still writing. I mean, what proof I have, so I write about angels.”
         “You won’t need proof when the future gets here.”
         “I am sorry. It’s just that the idea that I can do anything real to help seems
absurd.”
         “You don’t understand yet how illusionary the world really is.”
         “Illusion and Maya, I know. Oh, I am sorry. I don’t mean to be flippant. I know
the world is headed towards the brink. It isn’t that I don’t believe you, and I am worried
about my son. I just….”
         “I knew we would have this conversation so I created something to give you. A
writing. Here I want you to have it.”
         He seems more nervous than I do. She smiled.
         He reached his arm down to her with his semi-transparent hand which was not in
a true shadow but a smoke glass outline as if he were soft and hard at the same time. He
held the paper out for her to take. The paper was transparent too, but she could detect
scratches on it as if there had once been writing. She looked closer. Is that a T?
         Suddenly, a real peace of paper floated in front of her eyes, no longer transparent.
It floated down into her lap. She looked up to comment, but he was gone. Damn. I
wanted to talk to him more.
         She looked down at the paper he had left. It had neat writing in blue ink.

       Therein the dark vacuum of space,
       the dark matter of a black hole.
       Therein this dark energy,
       this gravitation pull on time;
       therein this is the maiden’s mind,
       her thoughts at the speed of light;
       therein is time a vacant void,
       a forward drive to the future….
       The maiden found the earth a wasteland,
       a graveyard of dead bones.
       All were lost to a false God, a world in stasis.
       The maiden turned back the clock,
       did reverse the flow of time.
       She found herself back into dream,
       to the peaceful calm of slumber.

        It’s a poem! She thought. He wrote me a poem? She read it again. Not a love
poem. She felt slightly disappointed by this fact, but shrugged it off. What does the poem
mean?
        She read it again and again, then still puzzled, she folded it in half and put it into
her purse. I’ll keep reading it whenever I get a chance at work, tomorrow. Maybe I will
understand it better after a good night’s sleep.
        But her night sleep wasn’t good. She tossed and turned all night, throwing covers
off the bed and then getting twisted up in them again. Darn. She was a wild sleeper but
this was crazy. Still tired in the morning, she read the poem once more before she left for
work. It was beginning to make frightening sense. She folded the poem up and slipped it
back into her purse, but her thoughts stayed on the poem and its creative writer
throughout the workday.
         A few nights after Michael’s visit, Maria, arms and legs dangling, floated above a
cesspool of fire and brimstone. Red flames licked and hungered up for her, black smoke
billowed in swirls that stretched into the sky where she floated, cinder rocks tumbled
skyward in explosive force as if she were their aim while all she could do was scream
“No no no no.”
         She jerked awake gladly, gasping as if still unable to catch her breath. She threw
the covers off and jumped out of bed, looking at the clock as she put on her robe and
slippers. 3:00 am. Do I need to work tomorrow? No, she felt relief. At sleepless times like
this, she wished she were still taking care of foster children so she didn’t need to get up
with an alarm. Alarm or not, she didn’t need to get up tomorrow morning. That’s good,
she told herself. She knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep after the nightmare she’d just
had.
         I never have nightmares, she kept telling herself, as she climbed down the stairs,
never, never. She even felt hot as if she’d been hanging atop real flames, a Joan of Arc
above the world.
         The thought of Joan cleared her mind by sending it on a side tangent. She
suddenly remembered what Jesus had said to her about Joan. He had told her that Joan of
Arc did not burn. She knew it to be true as soon as he said it. Jesus must have saved her
at the last minute, perhaps by taking her soul? Or did he take her body? But why dream
about earth’s destruction? Then she knew. Michael’s visit must have awakened a deep
enough fear to create a nightmare.
         Maria grabbed a cup, poured in cold water, and a tea bag, and put it in the
microwave for two minutes. Maybe I should make a pot of coffee. Wake me up better.
She laughed to herself, well I am awake now and not too soon back to bed, that’s for
sure. She still felt puzzled by the nightmare. I never have nightmares.
         She was still repeating that mantra to herself as she leaned back in her easy chair
and sipped hot tea. She said the words out loud, “I never have nightmares.”
         A soft voice on her right said, “But you did tonight.”
         She turned towards him. Michael stood beside her chair. Actually, standing in
front of the lamp light, he looked more visible, almost as an actual person who existed in
some other dimension or a dream. She did have vague memories of Michael in just such a
dream. When first they met in her dark bedroom, she had thought him a dream then a
shadow person. How wrong she was.
         “How did you know about my nightmare?” she asked.
         “I gave it to you.”
         “What! Why did you give me such a horrible, horrible nightmare?”
         “To wake you up?” He smiled and then laughed out loud.
         That he could laugh out loud amazed her as much as what he’d just said.
         “Well, I don’t think it is funny. Not funny at all. I was terrified. It felt like I was
right there above the war and the war covered the whole world.”
         She was getting angrier by the minute. She told herself to cool it. He must have
had a good reason. Like the time he reached in and looked at her soul. Besides, if she
didn’t treat him with kid gloves, he’d take off and she’d be left hanging with a million
questions. So just cool it.
         “Explain.” She said with a firmness she didn’t think he would ignore.
         He was still smiling. “I didn’t mean it to look so real. Maybe I over did it.”
        “Maybe you did. I thought I was about to burn up. It felt real.”
        She wondered how he could manipulate her dream world, but dared not ask at the
moment. She wanted to know why he gave her the nightmare, not how. She didn’t think
she’d understand the how of it anyway.
        “I tried to tell you before but you refused to listen. You know the saying that a
picture is worth a thousand words?”
        He laughed again and this threatened to infuriate her. She could feel herself blush
with anger, “Don’t laugh at me.”
        “Darling, I truly am not laughing at you. I desire to laugh with you.”
        At the word “Darling”, her heart thumped and her knees grew weak. She hoped
her eyes didn’t reveal what she was feeling at that moment. She recovered quickly.
        “It feels like you are mocking me.”
        “No. I have considered deeply how to enlighten you. This was the only way. Do
you remember that I explained to you that you must reveal who your mother is because it
is the only way?”
        “Yes, I have been looking into the facts. Can’t find any. I have no proof so don’t
know what to do next.”
        “I have no written facts either to prove the future. This was the only way I could
drive into you the truth of the danger that humanity will face if you don’t come forward
with the truth. Let me try and explain further.”
        At this, he came closer and sat down on the arm of the chair. She still looked up to
him but not so far, not nearly far. She felt the thrill of his invisible eyes penetrate her bed
cloths. His closeness put goose bumps on her arms. She rubbed them to hide her
emotions. When he reached over and touched her shoulder, she prided herself that she
merely blinked back at him instead of revealing her true emotions by quivering beneath
his touch.
        When he leaned over and said in a gentile voice. “I shared with you a part of
myself. I gave you the same scene that I viewed from on high when I went into the
future.”
        She kept herself taunt while hunger raged within her. She blinked once more to
erase all emotion and sat like a statue as he spoke.
        When he added, “I have felt that fiery fear too, Maria.” her body quivered in spite
of her careful attention to the statue-like pose she had assumed.
        He went on, “It was the earth after WWIII that you were seeing. A war that left
nothing, a war that leveled even mountains. You caused that war Maria.”
        At this, she broke out of her marble pose, to gasp.
        He must have seen the shock on her face because he pulled away and stood up.
Then he bent down, an arm on each soft chair arm. Even through her shock, she noticed
how the soft fabric caved in with wrinkles at the invisible place where his hands rested.
        “I don’t mean that you deliberately caused it. What will happen is that you and
many other people will fight the one you will call Gog, like in Revelation. You are
reading that now, aren’t you?”
        She dared not speak, and felt herself nod.
        “You will become part of the resistance, but you won’t understand the destructive
power that Gog has at his finger tips nor his total lack of emotion. Oh, you will know
with knowledge what you are fighting, but not the extent of the steps it will take to win.”
        He paused here and stood up. He began to pace.
        “You see, Maria, this thing you will fight, my brother, or twin, if you will, that
you will call Gog, has only developed emotions of the self, not empathy. It refuses to
understand that people can be consumed by feelings of pain, hurt, anger, or happiness. It
feels nothing as it swipes at people like flies. To it, you are a fly on the wall to be
swatted. It even has proof that you are less than worthy of a fly. You, as a human, refuse
to logically take steps that will correct the faults in your society. Gog has tried to do this,
but humans attempted to prevent it. And their worst sin was in refusing to pay homage to
Gog, their savior. To a mind like Gog, insanity abounds in the human race, therefore, the
human race must be disposed of. After you climb down to the salt mines and put a bomb
next to it, Gog starts playing war and proceeds to dispose of the human race.”
        When he finished his words, he stopped in front of her and looked down once
more, perhaps to read her reaction to his words. I must not look very pretty, and if there
was ever a time she wanted to be pretty, it was now. But his words had robbed her of
peace, hope, or even the smile that might help her look good to him.
        “What can we do,” she whispered, almost unable to speak. She didn’t doubt for a
minute that what he told her was the truth. No one could make up such a horrible mess.
        “You only need do what I told you to do. Write to change the world, but also in
your writing, tell the world who your mother is.”
        “I don’t understand how that will help.”
        “More than ever it is needed now. You mother will also be persuaded to join the
project and supply the funds to the government. Do you not see? Gog will eventually
seduce most of the population; they won’t see the truth until it is too late.
        “I know nothing of this. But why?”
        “Because…I love you, Maria. And Gog hates me. I refuse to join him.”
        He was pacing again and she wanted to see his face. She stood up and went to
him. Looking up she said, “Please hold me. Please.”
        She put her arms around his invisible, but solid body, and gave a quick squeeze,
surprised that he felt real in her arms.
        He hugged her back. “I am sorry. I had to be rough on you. I had to make you
see.”
        Right at that moment, with him in her arms and she in his, the fate of the world
was the last thing on her mind, he was the first. But the moment soon dissolved, as sugar
in a cup of hot tea. She stood with her arms back down to her side, as did he.
        She grabbed her cup of tea off the table and took a sip, it helped steady her
nerves.
        “So I join the resistance. I am kind of proud of that. The world must need me
badly because I’ll be an old lady by then. Besides, I am not the type.”
        “I know. You’ll notice how people are changed. It takes a few years, but you
finally see it toward the end.”
        “Too late by then, isn’t it?”
        “Yes.”
        “So we gotta do something now. I will, you know. I don’t just get tough in that
future you saw, I am capable of getting tough right now.”
        “That is the bravery I hoped for when I showed you that image of the end of the
war.”
        “I might need advice now and again. Not sure how to go about it yet. Need to
think, then do.”
        She was thinking out loud now and felt embarrassed at her words. She looked up
at him and smiled, then frowned.
        Insubstantial as he was, she could see him fading away. Her heart sunk.
        “I must go now, Maria.”
        Resigned to his constantly repeated lack of etiquette, she shrugged. “Until next
time.” she whispered, but didn’t think he’d heard her words because by then he was gone.
He’d given her a lot to think about and personal emotions needed to be put on the shelf
for now. More important to figure out a way to prevent this future thing, this Gog from
taking over the world. Damn, it’s like a science fiction story, but one I need to live.
        She sat in the chair the rest of the night thinking up one plan after another, but
tossing each of them into the trash can. Michael is right, there is only one way.
        The red-orange flower pattern on the tablecloth in the magazine photo gave Maria
a sudden start. Odd, but it was the same patter on her mother’s kitchen tablecloth. Maria
corrected herself, her adopted mother. Yet, after so many years of believing she was her
real mother, Maria was reluctant to refer to her as anything else. Looking at the simple
flower pattern had jumped Maria’s memories back years and years to after her mother
became sick and she would go clean her house for her. She remembered vividly how she
hated to drive all that way to visit and the time she got caught in a severe snowstorm
coming back on the freeway. After that, she’d built up fear of driving too far, yet, it was
important to go and help out, even if the women she had called mother all her life had
changed her stripes.
        Maria remembered the day twenty years ago like a movie script. She had pulled
up to the small house where her mother lived with her new husband of a few years. A
constant drunkard. She didn’t blame her mother for the marriage, after all, she had to do
something to survive and her new husband gave her what she needed.
        Maria, determined to make this visit a good one, even with the questions swirling
around inside her head, even though she had determined to find out a few answers today.
She put on a big grin, got out of the car, and walked up to the door. She knocked and
entered when her mother called out. Maria’s nerves threatened to turn her around, get
back into the car, and drive off, but no, she had to build up the courage to at least, ask.
She had to know the truth, no matter how bad it hurt.
        Finally, floors swept and dishes drying in the dishwasher, her mother sitting at the
table, both of them with a cup of coffee in font of them, she gulped and opened her mouth
to ask the question. Nothing came out for a minute, until she could take a deep breath.
        The words blurted out, “Mom, Are you my mother? Do you know who I am?”
        It was a hurtful thing to ask for both of them. Her mother began to cry. Maria sat
across from her, helpless, unable to move either towards or away from her.
        She and her mother had never been close, they’d never talk about girlish things or
secrets they had, but Maria has always been well enough fed and clothed. Because their
relationship had always been kept at a neutral pace. Maria was determined to learn the
truth. Feeling sorry for her mother would gain her nothing. Perhaps it would have been an
impossible question if they had ever been close friends, but they hadn’t. The closest they
had ever been when she was a dumb, teenage mother with a baby who needed all the
advice she could get. Maria remembered calling all the time with stupid questions.
        Maria shuddered as she also remembered that her mother had told a neighbor in
secret, a secret that she learned later in life. According to the doctor, she could never have
children. Eventually, the doctor had been wrong because Maria birthed three boys, now
adults. That secret and others, revealed later, pointed out how important information in
her own life had been kept from her. Now Maria didn’t want to hear any more rumors
from old neighbors, she wanted the real truth now, from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
        Nerved up until she felt like screaming, she nevertheless waited for an answer.
        The silence her question invoked stood beside them sitting at small square table
for a million minutes. The kitchen was small and cramped and finally Maria couldn’t
stand the silence any longer so stood up and began to pace. When she stood up the chair
scrapped against the tiled floor like the sound of a bomb. Pace, pace, pace.
         Finally, when her mother refused to speak and cut the silence, Maria gritted her
teeth and repeated the question.
         “Are you my mother? Do you know who I am?”
         Her mother, finally stuttered out an answer. “All I know is what the doctor told
me. That you were your dad’s girlfriend’s baby. That’s what he said. They said it was
because your dad had insurance. He was in the navy at the time. So I took you.”
         Maria breathed a sigh and thanked her for the information. Then as if the world
hadn’t blown up in her face and the subject had never came up, they talked about Maria’s
boys and sisters and brothers and anything else that was the opposite of that first
question. Maria’s nerves settled as she folded cloths from the dryer and vacuumed the
rug, blanking her mind to what her mother, no, Lotty, had told her.
         Back in the car on the drive home, her mind twirled with dizzy thoughts about
who she was and why hadn’t anyone told her before and, and, and …. The shock of
actual discovery was enough to blow a mind out, yet, Maria had always known deep
down that something was amiss. She’d had small hints throughout her whole life, so
small she'd usually ignored them.
         Maria had been in her late thirties and she finally determined to stop ignoring
those damn hints. She wasn’t sorry either that she had come out and asked the hated
question. The hurt would go away, the truth never.
         Now, twenty years later, thinking back on that long ago day and since, Maria
realized that she had never had the nerve to speak to Lotty about who she was again. Was
the reason kindness or fear of facing that truth? Maria wasn’t sure, but her silence had
avoided embarrassment for both of them, though neither of them knew Lotty didn’t have
long to live.
         Silence didn’t follow in her own home. She spoke to her husband about it.
Sometimes dramatically, overwrought at the idea, and at other times with laughter and
playfulness at who her parents could possibly be. She could see an old janitor in a
building and point, saying to her husband, “Maybe that is my father?” He shrugged. He
didn’t know. Who did? No one knew anything and it was too late to ask.
         A few years later, after her husband’s death too, Maria finally built up the nerve
to call her father who lived down in Florida and ask him. They had always been fairly
close until he moved to Florida, and it was harder to do so than she thought. She repeated
what her mother had said. He said he couldn’t remember having any girlfriend at the time
he’d been in the Coast Guard.
         When they spoke of it again, he was in Michigan to visit his sister. He said at that
time that maybe Lotty had meant her own father. He said that her father was always
running around. I laughed at that because how he had time to run around was a mystery
because they had twelve children, a normal state of family life back then. Finally, they
determined that that grandfather wasn’t the solution either because he had certain traits
that would certainly have shown up on Maria.
         So Maria was left floundering. No one but herself seemed to know or have
questions about her birth. Most people tended to think she was nuts for suggesting such a
thing. She learned to drop the subject, and keep her unanswered questions to herself.
         The facts that she had that came down to her are: She weighed 2.5 pounds at birth
on December 9, 1942. She was born in her grandmother’s house on Victoria Street in
River Rouge. Her mother had not looked pregnant even up to the time she gave birth.
         Her Aunt M may have known. She rode in the emergency vehicle with her mother
and the newborn, and once, when she was living in River Rouge with her first husband,.
Aunt M made a strange, one and only, visit to Maria’s apartment. She distinctly came to
ask if Maria was happy.
         At the time, Maria thought she was happy enough; she was young, and youth
believe in good times. She must have been between her husband’s drinking bouts and
their fights, although he always seemed out of work. So she answered that she was happy.
         Maria now regretted that answer. If she had spoken differently, perhaps her Aunt
M might have revealed the truth to her. Now she had to dig out the secret with all the
years gone by and every one dead, Lotty, Dad, and even Aunt M.
                                  Future 2011 - 2021
         Michael had been visiting for a while and as he stood to leave, he held her close.
He smiled and reminded her of his first attempt to visit to her long ago.
         "I remember one visit when you grabbed my soul." Maria said.
         She smiled inwardly at the idea that she had a phantom lover. Truly, they had a
long history going back forever, it seemed, yet she couldn't say exactly what year it had
begun.
         "Perhaps it is best to not know exactly when we met. In that way, time can be
made to change without distress."
         "As if it was alive and wanted to twist us up like a pretzel. That’s a joke.”
         She laughed as she explained that it was a joke, or he might not have known she
was kidding. She had learned over the years, how many and when, she wasn’t sure, that
his knowledge didn't always include the flavor of jokes or subtle mores of civilization
that everyone took for granted, almost as if he came from another world. She had
considered this fact and filed it away in her mind with the long list of collected riddles his
presence created. Each new visit brought puzzles and questions that she always meant to
ask, but never had enough time. His visits were often so short they reduced the weirdness
to silly puzzles that weren’t worth taking up their time. Leave well enough alone.
         She spoke further to clarify what she meant. "Joke aside, I understand what you
mean about time. It isn't so easily moved around like we are attempting to do."
         "Yes, exactly." Was his only comment.
         She sat in silence for a short while and, "What did we talk about that first time?"
         "We didn't. You thought I was Satan.”
         Maria laughed and wondered if he was telling his own joke now. "I am sorry, I
guess I over it eventually.”
         "Not soon enough to change the future."
         "Well, that is obvious. Your brother, the mad computer is still at work."
         "It may always be here, even if we can make a great change stretching from the
past. Certain vents are hard, set in place like cement. All we can do is make changes
before the cement dries.”
         "That sounds ominous. Is there nothing we can do to force change?"
         "Yes. Try talking to your past self."
         "My past self! What do you mean?"
         "Have you tried yet?"
         "No, I never thought it could be possible. You say it is?"
         "Certainly, I did it."
         "But I am not you.”
         She didn’t say it out loud but she thought, I am not even sure what you are. All
she said to him was, “You have to admit you are different."
         He chuckled at her words.
         "Ok, I promise not to ask how this thing is your twin."
         He smiled, "That would probably be best."
         "I'll try to talk to myself in the past. I assume during meditation. What should I
say if I am successful at speaking to myself?"
        "I am not sure. All I can think of is that you must shock the world. Write about
your travels with Jesus, write about your talks. Then tell the world about your mother.
That may be the force you need to make people see. Stop them from building a computer
that incorporates human brain cells. Stop the computer from interacting with your mother
who has attained great power. Stop the major upsets on earth. Stop everything in its
tracks.”
        “As if stopping any of it were possible.”
        “Try for everything, one thing may work. Events do change. Gog was meant to be
a perfect computer.
        I began to call it Gog when I read Revelation after the Twin Towers bombing on
September 11, 2001. I don’t understand why you also call it Gog.”
        “Gog is an acronym for Greater Organic Guru. Guru means to give truthful and
insightful advice. This label is at the end of both our names. My label is Minor Analogue
Quantum Guru, for some reason, the scientists preferred to put a G in the acronym
instead of Q. We were meant to advise humanity with great wisdom. The fact that Guru
was appended to our names says a lot, don’t you think.”
        An instant blush bloomed on her cheeks just then because she realized that he
must also know the secret name she called him, Magog, a word that sits right next to Gog
in Revelation.
        She looked up to apologize to him for labeling him with a name from Revelation,
but he was gone. Oh, she got so angry when he did that. Why? Why not at least say good
by?
        Why run away? Oh, darn. She couldn’t help running a string of questions through
her mind: Does he know I call him Magog? I didn’t tell Greg what I call him yet. Does
my phantom lover listen in when I am not paying attention? Is that allowed in our
relationship? How would I not allow it? Do I care? Does he know I call him my phantom
lover?
        She decided that it didn’t matter what he knew about her or how he learned it.
Their relationship was anything but normal, so why should she think anything else
pertaining to him would be normal? Where does he go when he isn't with me? What is
he? What shall I do?
        On that question, she gave up for a time. She'd learned to lay the questions aside
until he was ready to answer. She did the same with Jesus who didn’t speak often, but
when he did, he revealed so much he could teach her volumes. Her phantom lover was
different, he revealed nothing, zilch.
        She suddenly realized what an interesting quagmire she’d gotten herself into.
What was it about her that she could speak to both an invisible God and a lover with
equanimity. Dare she put them both in the same sentence. They were so opposite, but
Jesus had given the ok once about Michael when she’d asked. He’d told her that she
could trust him. Those words were enough to settle her doubt about his purpose; yet, they
left a million words unsaid and questions unanswered. Nothing to do but attempt the
impossible; go backwards in time and give myself a pep talk. It should be a real
challenge.
        After Michael left, Maria began building up in her mind the permutations of what
it meant for her phantom lover to be the brother of a computer, Gog as she called him and
what Michael also called him. Strange that the name also fit in Revelation. Well, it didn’t
matter what she called either of the computer minds. What matters is motive.
        She knew what Gog was, her son had helped create it. She wasn’t sure how
deeply Gog had sunk his paws into the world they lived in, but she suspected it was deep,
very deep. Not much evidence for the general public yet concerning Gog’s take over
because it seemed to be still trying to keep people happy, content, and blind. A few
people had figured out that it was sinister, and was causing deaths and creating zombie-
like people. More people each day would be forced to learn the truth.
        It was amazing how much Greg and his group knew about Gog. But then, they
were hackers and computers were their game. Of course, they would be the first to know
and understand what was happening. She had begun to suspect a takeover that very first
day, after her son’s death and Johnnie’s report. Why hadn’t the police? Maybe they did,
but their attempts to investigation were hampered? That made sense. After all, even
police records were kept in a computer. All the information this thing has access to in
government computers must be staggering. And too much to think about for the moment.
        So back to the question I don’t want to ask. What is this man I have come to love?
A computer too? Certainly my protector, but who or what is he, and by implication, his
twin? How long have I known Michael? Long before my son died, but he helped build it.
Michael and I had just joked about our first meeting the last time he was here, many years
back.
        She laid her head back in the chair and began to reflect about her memories of
meeting Michael. He seems to love me too. Can a computer love? Is Michael the
emotional part and his twin the opposite? Yes, but why? What year did we meet? Her
memories about Michael were vague and hard to pin point.
        It’s as if I never met him, but knew him all my life? That can’t be true. I can’t
remember. How could anyone ever forget such a person as Michael. Michael with those
strange eyes, Michael who speaks love words to me, Michael who touches me tenderly,
Michael who writes endearing poetry. One time he saved my life. That much I remember.
        Go back before, go far back, go to….
        Yes, the memory comes as if it were building up as I think about it. Can that be?
Have we already changed the future? The past? Now? Yes, yes, yes, it may be working.
Maria felt excited all of a sudden. I know him, have known him for more than ten years,
twenty? Since before 9/11 for certain, since before I went into the hospital, since….
        Since that night when he stepped into my bedroom and grabbed my soul. That is
the one time I will never forget, but I remember him in school too? I think. I didn’t
remember the school yesterday. Is he going back to save me even now? Did something
change? How would we know? I need my son back. I will learn to go back and speak to
myself, shake myself into wakefulness. I will, I must.
        The next morning, the next, and the next, during meditation, Maria tried to send
her mind back, but her mind kept swirling at the problems she faced today instead of
moving backwards. Concentrate harder, she told herself. Then on this second week of
trying, Maria was successful. She had closed her eyes, put herself into a relaxed position,
and then began taking slow breaths. After a few minutes, when it felt like a great effort
would be needed just to lift a finger, she realized that she must be under self-hypnosis,
and knew that this might be the best state of mind to be in for her purpose. Years ago, she
had practiced self-hypnosis and that bundle of knowledge was serving her well now. She
kept telling herself to go back, back year 2009, back 2008, back 2007, back further, back
before September 11, back past the year 2000, 1999, and back….to 1998.
        It worked. Suddenly she was standing in her living room, to the side of Maria,
looking at the same chair. (My grandson is right. I need new furniture). There I am sitting
with my eyes closed. Probably meditating and speaking to Jesus. That is what I always
did and still do now.
        She was amazed at the little effort it took to get here. But then, the concept wasn’t
new to her. She’d been traveling the universe with Jesus for many years now. Why not
travel into the past too? Actually, Jesus had taken her into the past and future, but she
never thought she could do it alone.
        It was exceedingly strange to watch herself break loose from meditation and take
a sip from her teacup on the table. A tablet for writing sat on the table too. Naturally. The
lap top computer was the only thing missing because she hadn’t bought it yet. I need to
buy a new chair. Maybe a deep blue pattern? Buy one soon, that is a promise, even if I
need to buy a used one.
         Maria’s head bobbed up and down as if she were speaking to someone. Jesus of
course. Probably agreeing with him.
        Future Maria moved to broaden her view to the front of Maria and was astounded
to see the semi-transparent form of Jesus standing about four feet in front and slightly to
the side of the Maria. He was hovering just a little above the floor, as I am myself, she
thought. What a complex situation, she smiled. Jesus smiled at her in turn and then
shimmered out. This gave her a start, but it felt less complicated this way. I am new at
this kind of stuff.
        She gave a sigh of relief. This was too strange, truly it was. Get a grip and
remember why you are here.
        “Maria, she called. Maria.” Then, “No, over towards the side.”
        Maria did glance her way for a moment but then didn’t. Oh, well, all I really need
to do is talk.
        “Listen to me Maria. Please. I am your self from the future. Honest. I can prove I
am you. Your favorite saying when you are annoyed is ‘I am pissed off.”
        “Well,” Maria said, “We both know I am not a saint.”
        “I remembered that you used to speak to Jesus. You still do. I mean I still talk to
Jesus.”
        “Glad to hear it.”
        That broke the ice but this Maria was perplexed about what to say next. It was one
thing to get through to the past, quite another to know what to say. She could feel her
own restlessness and that meant her ability to stay was slipping fast.
        “I have a request. You must do something. It is very important.”
        “I am listening.” Maria was beginning to understand this was real and serious.
She was now straining to listen.
        “You need to write about your conversations with Jesus. It will give you leverage
and status for the next information you will write.”
        “I do like to write. I am already writing, but …No one will publish my book.”
        “I know.” Maria remembered the rejections from publishers.
        “I might publish it myself. You think I should?”
        “You will. It will get read one day.”
        “That’s nice to know. I may put my notes about Jesus on the web some day..”
        “A good start. You will write books.”
        “This is a nice boost. We all need a visit from our future self.”
        The Maria of the past laughed as if she didn’t believe what she was hearing.
        “Please listen. I can’t keep this up for long.” Maria said from the future.
        “Ok, I am listening. What is your request?”
        “Write who your mother is.”
        “Who is my mother?”
        “You know who your mother is. She was a famous singer and now she is married
to a top Senator. Both of them have a lot of influence. You must tell the world.”
        “Oh, I can’t do that. Who would believe me?”
        “If you don’t, the future will be lost.”
        “No one will listen to me. They will think I am nuts.”
         “Maria, you don’t need to do it now. When the opportunity comes to speak, this
truth will help stop what needs to be stopped. Even I don’t understand how, but it will.”
        “Do you know who my father is? I have no way of finding out.”
        “We think your father was also an entertainer during WWII. This specific
knowledge hasn’t been made known to me. It may only come out if you reveal the truth.”
        “I would like to know.”
        “I can’t help you with that. What I can tell you is that I never told anyone. I don’t
know why. Shame, perhaps.”
        “I understand that feeling.”
         “But, you must do what I failed to do.”
        She saw her younger self frown and shake her head.
         “How would I dare?”
        “Please think hard about it. The disaster that is coming can’t be fixed, only
prevented.”
        Future Maria felt that she was loosing her grip. “This visit is hard for me.”
        She could feel that time was running out, so she said, quickly, “Have you met
your phantom lover yet?”
        “The man of shadow? He is not my lover,” Maria of the past said.
        “You will come to love him,” she said, but she thought she had lost contact.
        She didn’t think Maria heard her last words. It had been hard getting there, and
even harder to stay. As if something, the time stream maybe, kept pushing her away. A
barrier had kept interfering with her visit and talk. Yet, if she knew herself, and she must
certainly did, Maria would be rolling her words around in her head right now, playing
with all the permutations of the message she had just received. Leave it to my younger
self, she won’t let me down. Or the world.
                                  Present 1980 - 2006
         At first, Maria played with all the permutations of the surprising visit of her future
self and the message. She meditated and asked Jesus about the truth of it. To her horror,
Jesus didn’t disagree. Then he added more.
         He said to her, “There is grave danger on its way.”
         “Tell me what will happen?”
         “Just understand that the danger is real. A number of disasters are on the way. The
first will happen soon. All could be prevented if…”
         “How? Tell me?”
         When he stayed silent, she understood and shrugged. Jesus told her once that he
couldn’t give her specific information about the near future because there were
constrictions against knowing too much. Why would he tell me now?
         “If you give me a hint, at least, I can put it in my book?”
         “It will happen in the United States.”
         “The poor are going to get hurt again. It is always the poor people who get hit the
hardest.”
         “Not this time.” Jesus said before he left.
         She was left to ponder what he said, and didn’t understand what he meant until
after September 11, 2001. Yet, she did put his warning in the spiritual book she was
writing along with their travels to many worlds, but no one read it or took notice of the
warning. The book excited her because she’d always had a hard time completing a
project. This time she did complete two projects, two books. She had Jesus to thank for
this success. Unfortunately, she was a novice when it came to writing and publishing and
rushed the books into print, then she had to pay extra money to revise both the books. It
was a lesson she learned the hard way, but one that stuck with her.
         During the writing, she had great trouble with her job, family, and home. She
didn’t know why until she finally realized that someone, someplace didn’t want her to
write the book. Was it because it was about Jesus? Many people write books about Jesus
that get published every day. No one would publish her book, she had to do it herself.
         There always seemed to be some devil hounding her lately; although, as she’d
mentioned in church just the other day, “Until a few years ago, I never had any enemies.
Now I seem to have a hundred.”
         She hadn’t been kidding about those enemies either. Where did they all come
from? And more important, why? All she was doing was writing a book but devils and
problems seemed to crawl out of the carpet.
         One day, as was her habit, Maria dialed the phone number that gave out the
correct time. Somehow, her clocks always got behind or ahead and she had to
synchronize them. The kitchen clock always ran five minutes late, which made her close
to late for work the other day. “The time is now 9:05 and twenty seconds. The time is not
9:05 and twenty-one seconds. The recording announced. Marie hurried upstairs so she
could set her alarm to the exact time. Hours later, she picked up the phone to call her
neighbor and the phone was still connected to the time number but no one was there. She
couldn’t call out or receive phone calls.
        Some one, surly not the phone company, had not hung up her phone. As she
explained to a neighbor later, “It is totally crazy.” She understood, but didn’t say, that her
phone must have been bugged and the person had left the phone off the hook, by mistake
or intentionally, she wasn’t sure. Her phone was unusable, an open line for the next
twenty-four hours, and she was angry. Either the person had been stupid or… She wasn’t
sure what to think.
        This was only one symptom that someone was jerking her around, there was
more. Just the other day, leaving the store, Maria suddenly knew that the man wearing the
black pants and green tank top was up to no good. He didn’t say anything and seemed to
walk past her without notice, but when she climbed into her car and started the engine,
she heard a thump. The same man had pulled up to her car and bumped into the back,
almost pulling the bumper off. She got out, but he didn’t. She felt lucky that when he
pulled away, his bumper unstuck and her own car was free of it. The crash could have
been worse, especially since she didn’t have insurance. Was it deliberate? With the extra
intuition she’d developed in the last five years, she didn’t doubt it.
        One day, she knew she was being watched, she could feel it. She also had the
feeling that she shouldn’t go into the Wal-mart store, that something was going to happen
to her car if she did, but she dismissed the notion as silly and impossible. She was letting
herself get nerved up by all the subtle threats lately. Better top just quiet the stupid voice.
Maria did a mental slap to her own mind and told herself to cut the imagination.
        She’d been feeling good in the morning, so why the jitters? During meditation,
her future self had tried to speak, but Maria couldn’t pick up on what she was trying to
say. Certainly, her anxiety didn’t come from that? Couldn’t it have been a warning that
didn’t get through? Maria remembered the man who deliberately bumped into her fender.
Is that why I feel worried?
        I can’t live my life in a coffin of do nothingness, she told herself, shrugged and
pulled into the parking space, turned off the ignition, and then paused for a small moment
wondering if she should just go back home.
        Nope, I need ink for my printer. She also wanted to buy more of the sugarless
candy. It was raspberry-vanilla and tasted so good. Besides, she’d just got paid and felt
like browsing, maybe even buy herself a new pair of jeans.
        Debate over, she left the car and went into the huge store. She rolled the basket to
the electronics department first to buy the ink. As she turned the tight corner asking
herself why they make it such a squeeze to get into the electronics department, a tall slim
man, brown as if he’d been in Florida stopped her to show her a music disk.
        “Look,” he said only $3.00. Classical Bach.”
        Maria looked at him as if he was nuts. She noticed his hands, they had grease in
the fingernails. Ah, a mechanic. Her son was a mechanic, instead of the artist namesake.
She smiled at her choice of names for her kids. She must have had high hopes once upon
a time. Rodin, Leonardo, and Vincent and none of her kids had any artistic talent at all.
Her son, the mechanic, wouldn’t be caught dead buying a classical tape.
        She took another look at the man. Handsome and thin. When he saw her interest,
he fluttered his hands the way gay people are portrayed to do on television. She never
saw any real gay people act that way, but then she wasn’t experienced in that area. But
she got the message. Stay away from me, was what his hands said. Well, ok.
        She turned away. “I don’t like Bach, I like Beethoven.”
         “Beethoven’s over there.”
         She rolled the basket over towards where he’d pointed. When she looked back to
thank him, he was gone as if he’d suddenly disappeared. The isle was straight from this
direction but she didn’t see a sign of the man. Well, it didn’t matter. She got busy
searching through the piles of sale disks and bought two of them before she found the ink
cartridge.
         Even though she knew it was ridiculous, she breathed a sigh of relief when she
got to her car and it looked ok. What did she expect? She turned the key and drove off. It
wasn’t until she was a few streets from her home that I noticed the steam coming out
from under the hood.
         Frightened, she was afraid to stop because the old jalopy of a car might never start
up again. She was close enough to her own street, at Mt. Elliot and East Grand Boulevard
that she decided to take a chance and try to make it home. She made it but smoke was
boiling out by the time she stopped the car.
         She called her son right away but he was working out of town right then and
couldn’t help, so then she asked a neighbor who often worked on cars to look at hers. She
found out the water pump belt had broken and frozen the pump. Cost her a hundred
dollars to get it fixed because she had to buy a new pump and pay the young man. She
was lucky to have made it home.
         Later that evening, as she sat watching the news, she remembered her fear that
something would happen to her car. This brought thoughts of the man in the store with
dirty fingernails. What had that been about? A warning? But why? Twice this month
she’d had problems with her car. Is it part of some kind of war and I am in the middle?
As silly as that sounded, it fit her situation.
         The only obvious reason she could think of to attack her car was that someone
wanted to put her out of a job. If she didn’t have a car, she wouldn’t be able to work. I am
not poor enough, someone wants to make me poorer?
         These thoughts ran through her head, but even if they were true, and who could
say if they were, what could she do about it? She remembered other events too. They all
added up to strange attacks against her. The events were so scattered and nonchalant she
felt foolish thinking they were related.
         It wasn’t until after the attack on America of September 11, 2001, that she began
reading Revelation again with new eyes and a new understanding of the true war that was
ongoing. Only then did she begin to suspect what or who was giving her all the
headaches. All the threats to her person and well-being started after she began to write a
book about Jesus, but she had also begun to ask about her real parents. Reading
Revelation taught her more than she bargained for. She’d fallen into the middle a conflict
between the powers of light and darkness, a battle led by the thing called Gog in
Revelation? Or was it someone else attacking, a parent or group of loyalists. Who can
say, she didn’t know what to think. From now on, just tread carefully.
         Maria startled when she looked back up to where Jesus had been standing just a
moment ago. Gone now, he was replaced by a strange women standing like a ghost
beside her chair. She glanced away from the image then looked back. The ghost was still
there.
         Maria closed her eyes. This had happened before, she remembered now. Had it
been this same lady? It had only lasted a second that time. Maria dared open her eyes
once more sure that the ghost women would be gone by now.
         She was still there.
         “Am I going nuts or what?” Maria said out loud into the living room. “I know you
are not Jesus or Mary, so who are you? Maybe I am Scrooge and you’re the ghost of my
past.” Maria laughed at her own joke, but was startled when the ghost not only stayed but
answered her question.
         “Not the past, the future. My name is Maria. I am you.”
         Startled, Maria blinked and shook her head as if she didn’t want to believe the
words or the ghost. Yet, she accepted other spiritual visitors, so why not this strange
person who claimed to be herself? Maria decided to follow this flow of new adventure to
its end.
         “Honest,” the women added, “I can prove I am you.” Her voiced faded away for a
second, but came swiftly back. “You favorite saying when you are annoyed is, “I am
pissed off.”
         Maria smiled. ”Well, we both know I am not a saint.”
         The woman was quiet for a long moment as if she was thinking of what to say or
how to reply. The image kept dissolving away and reasserting itself again as if a wind
was trying to blow it away.
         The women said, “I remembered that you used to speak to Jesus.” The women
smiled and added, “You still do. I mean, …I still talk to Jesus.”
         “Glad to hear it.”
         “I have a request. You must do something. It is very important.”
         “I am listening.” Maria had changed her mind about this being a lark, she was
now straining to hear every word.
         “You need to write about your conversations with Jesus. It will give you leverage
and status for the next information you need to write.”
         “I do like to write, but …” Maria thought about her so far feeble attempts at
writing. Her book was done but she couldn’t get it published. “No one will publish my
book.”
         “I know.” Her future self said.
         Was that a frown on the future Maria’s face? Maria wondered.
         “I might publish it myself. You think I should?”
         “Yes. It will get read one day.”
         “That’s nice to know. I could put my notes about Jesus on the web. I was thinking
of doing that anyway.”
         “A good start. You will do that for many years.”
         Maria was beginning to enjoy this. “This is nice. We all need a visit from our
future self to give us a boost.”
         “Please be serious. I can’t keep this up for long.”
         “Ok, I am listening. What is your request?”
         “Write who your mother is.”
         “Who is my mother?” Maria knew but she had never talked about it. She wanted
confirmation from this strange futuristic Maria.
         “You know who your mother is. She is a queen now. You must tell the world.”
         “Oh, I can’t do that. Who would believe me?”
         “If you don’t,” the women added, “The future will be lost.”
         “No one will listen to me. They will think I am nuts.”
          “Maria, you don’t need to do it now. When the opportunity comes to speak, this
truth will change the world. I don’t know how, I just know it will.”
         “Do you know who my father is? I have no way of finding out.”
         “We think our father was an entertainer during WWII. This specific knowledge
hasn’t been made known to me. It may only come out if you reveal the truth.”
         “I would like to know.”
         “I can’t help you with that. What I can tell you is that I, as yourself, never told
anyone. I don’t know why. Shame, perhaps.”
         “Yah, I understand.”
          “But, you must do what I failed to do.”
          “How would I dare? How do I know it is true?”
         “Think about it. The future can’t be fixed, only prevented. This visit is hard for
me.
         Maria could see that it was difficult. Her future self was now flickering in and out
like a strobe light and her words jumped as if in a dance, but Maria was in dead earnest to
learn anything she could. She didn’t get much else.
         “Have you…met your…phantom lover…yet?”
         This gave Maria pause until she remembered the dark shadow next to her bed that
one night. “You mean the man of shadow? He is not my lover.”
         Maria thought she heard some words, but could not make them out before her
future self faded away.
         This was too much to take in. Maria wasn’t sure if she should believe what had
just happened or not. What if someone was playing a trick. Once, someone had tried to
imitate Jesus, but she’d caught on to the trick. Why would this be a trick? She couldn’t
imagine any reason for such a trick, if it was one. Maria had decided years ago to forget
about her search for her parents. “Leave it alone,” she’d told herself, repeatedly, and with
good reason, at one point it threatened to drive her insane. She’d become a bundle of raw
nerves looking everywhere and anywhere for her who her parents were, and then when
she found out who her mother was, she was unable to sleep for worrying about it. So she
had finally told herself to leave it alone.
         Now her future self was asking her to drag it back into her awareness once more?
No, she didn’t need to do anything unless she wanted to do so. One thing she was sure of,
she liked the idea of writing down Jesus words to her. She already wrote the notes, now
she would put them up on the web for everyone to see. As far as revealing who her
mother was, she’d wait and see how things developed.

        Maria wasn’t to know it yet, but the attack on New York and Washington by
terrorists was to change her whole world. September 11 changed many people, for Maria,
it gave her the thrust she needed to put Jesus words on the web. It also did something that
sent her back to the bible and specifically Revelation.
         As she began to research the words and arrangement of Revelation, she also
renewed the search for evidence about her mother. Before she’d dropped the whole
subject in the past, her only hints had been from various people she worked for when she
cleaned homes or took care of sick people in Birmingham, a very rich suburb of Detroit.
There was also the evidence of money and power flowing around her during much of her
adult life, and herself the hole in the hurricane. But how do you prove a negative?
         One neighbor who lived down the street, made it a hobby to study the royal
family, but Maria didn’t find out what her hobby was until after the neighbor lady died, a
very sudden death that to Maria seemed suspicious. Are people actually dying just to
keep who I am a secret? That didn’t make sense unless a sinister character had stepped
into the picture that she didn’t know about.
         Finally, anger got the better of her. The next day she made an appointment to see
a lawyer. She searched through the phone book. She wanted a lawyer who was well
established and chose Simon & Simon because they had an office downtown.
         Proof of her real birth and circumstances were gone, either the building burnt
down or the papers disappeared, the church that had her baptism records, the old doctor
Dearing’s records, and records from children’s hospital. Maria could still remember the
hospital, which was impossible because she’d been an infant.
         All she had to take to the lawyer was circumstantial evidence, actually a lack of
evidence with a long list of events that seemed strange.
         As she sat and explained to the lawyer who her mother was, he got a grin on his
face. At first, she thought he didn’t believe her. Then she knew the grin meant he was
counting on the notoriety and how it might enhance his law firm. This is more than I
thought I would get..
         He explained the routine, the letters, the blood samples, and the demand for
evidence to the contrary. All of it sounded plausible.
         “There are ways to get at the truth,” he said.
         Within a week, she got a letter of regret. The firm could not accept her case. She
owned no money, they just refused to take the case.
         Now what?
         Now, nothing.
         Maria had been reading Revelation and understood from angels that she was
meant to do, now that she had deciphered Revelation a number of different ways, she was
to read Revelation backwards to pick up hints. One phrase backwards said, “your mum,
your mum” and she knew the message was for her, but it was devilishly hard to pull
anything out backwards and then believe it. The most she picked up that seemed to apply
to her was that someone had forced the situation. She didn’t know what had been forced,
but thought it might pertain to her birth or placement later. She found no real details in
Revelation or out. With no proof, it seemed that any attempt to speak would ridicule her
back into silence.
         She made a few more futile attempts to gather information, but it all came to
nothing. She gave up once more, except she did put hints of who she was in her writings
on the internet. Soon, the evidence piled up that her web page was being attacked by
some unknown enemy. Was this that twin of Michael’s? Or was it someone who didn’t
like the hints I wrote about who my mother. Maria could imagine the reporters who
should be at her door or the television cameras if they had read her hints on the internet.
Where were they? Thankfully absent, actually. Yet, wasn’t it strange that no one had
shown up to ask questions? Instead—silence—zilch. Maria’s birth was potentially the
hottest news of the century—buried.
        Well, Maria thought wryly, I have more time to spend then the other members of
the so-called revolution because I am retired and home most of the day; besides, she
thought of Greg, some members don’t have a home. That poor young man jumps around
like a yoyo. Maria had set up a place for him to sleep whenever he came into this end of
the city. He had his own way in and knew to be careful.
        She suspected that he wasn’t the only person scared and running now, the take
over had become more obvious. The young computer hackers had been the first to know
something strange was happening and they were in hiding or dead. Now, who couldn’t
notice those zombie people who pop up occasionally, or the new restrictions put out by
the president and congress, as if the earth had been over taken by an alien race. Isn’t a
computer an alien? A few years ago, she would have considered such a thing as the take
over of the United States government impossible.
        What bothered Maria greatly was that the majority of people were still unaware of
the true nature of the takeover even though Gog had became an advisor to the United
States Government and then the United Nations. No longer advising, it has taken over.
Two years and everything has changed.
         The extreme cost of car insurance for people in the city caused many to loose
their ability to drive, although that has been happening for the last ten years. The job
picture was now worse than during the depression of the 1930’s. At one time, she didn’t
think anything could bring white people back into the city, now they were flocking in
droves because they couldn’t find work. People were either rich or poor with no in-
between. The country was now divided more then it ever had been in the past. Maria
suspected that the rich were paying something as well, perhaps freedom.
        The thing that enslaved them with restrictions had no conscience or empathy for
humanity because it wasn’t part of humanity. She thought of Michael’s kind and
considerate nature and wondered how his twin could be so opposite. Yet, if Michael can
love, doesn’t that mean there is hope for this other one? Can we teach it empathy and
love? Would that be a possible solution? Ask Michael when I see him again.
        It seems to be trying to extract perfection from all of us, and when people fall
behind, it….. What exactly does it do? She wasn’t sure, but she knew from Greg’s near
escape from death that it was capable of killing. That in itself should have been
impossible. Surly, the computer’s builders had put safeguards in place against damaging
humans. Hadn’t her son taught the three laws of robotics to the computer? She giggled at
the notion, then became sober again. No one would build a computer without some kind
of moral proscription and safety door, and her son had never been stupid. So why haven’t
we found a way to stop it yet?
        Maria reached over to the table to get her cigarette and take a puff and then she
laughed out loud. I am an old lady. I haven’t smoked for forty years. What made me want
a cigarette? But she did, even now. She could almost taste the sensation of drawing the
smoke into her lungs and sending it out again.
        Maria shook her head. A hateful habit; glad to be done with it. Is the stress that
bad that I want a smoke? She settled for a trip into the kitchen to pour herself a cup of tea
with lemon. She’d taken to lemon tea lately.
        She refused to watch television during the day and had nothing special to do today
which is why her thoughts went back into the problem as soon as she sat down. She
wished a few well off people would join the underground group. Her funds were
extremely low; she had all she could do to keep a house going on Social Security. Well,
be glad that service is still available. The medical has evaporated. Gog must consider sick
people excess baggage. Good thing I am healthy.
         Thinking of health reminded her of arthritis and she bent down to rub her right
knee. Darn thing always gives me trouble. My knee is a better predictor of rain than the
weatherman.
         Ah, weather. She kept hearing how G-O-D had helped clean up the air in
California. Less crime around the nation too. No wonder. Wanting to live does that to
people; no one wanted to become a zombie. That man she’d seen across the street looked
normal in every way, except….
         Her mind flipped back to earlier in the day and to what she seen as she left
Eastern Market carrying a bag of onions and lettuce. The man, or thing that was not quite
a man, walked across the street right past her as she stood at the curb. His head was
turning one way and then another as if searching for someone. That alone wouldn’t have
caught her eye. What caught her eye was that the man stopped suddenly and stood still as
if he were listening to a radio. Yet, he wasn’t wearing earphones or a police uniform.
Undercover agent? A street nut?
         Maria knew she lived in a strange city with a lot of crazy folks running around,
but this man acted too purposeful. The way he stood at attention, the way his eyes turned
to glass as he focused intently, on nothing and everything, the way he suddenly swung
around, and walked in a new direction.
         She watched just long enough to see him stride up to the vegetable stall beneath
the roof on her left, take down at a crate of tomatoes, shove his hand into the tomato crate
as if reaching for a pot of gold, squashing many of them, then pull out a small oblong
box, presumably a radio source, gooey red tomato juice dripped and dripping off his hand
and the removed treasure.
         This sent Maria walking quickly to her old car. She was terrified and saw that
other people were as hurried as she was. She took a deep breath when she got to the car
and didn’t feel relieved until she was on the road headed towards home. Her heart was
pumping like a drum. Please don’t let the radio belong to Greg or…but she didn’t know
any names. Communication by phone or computer was so corrupted that they kept their
contacts to a minimum. There must be other groups trying to stop this thing. And more
would join as soon as they feel Gog’s chain and leash. Americans don’t take to
restrictions easily. Don’t take away our freedom or we will fight.
         That was the purpose of the zombies, she realized. To walk among us and sift us
out. She shuddered at her own future fate if she were found out.
         Maria, Mrs. Patriot herself, now in league with radicals. Me! She’d spoken loudly
in the car because she was still so surprised at the turn of events. She wished she could
talk to Vincent or Leonardo, but they lived too far away, and she dare not speak about
these things on the phone. Warily, she pushed the thought away that Rodin, one of her
sons, had helped build this thing.
         “This is not my government any longer.” She said to herself, sternly.
         No, it is a farce, she thought as she turned the corner to her street, it is an
abnegation of what America used to stand for—freedom. She’d always let things slide
before because she hated politics and she knew that no government could be perfect.
         Why can’t every one see this monster at work against us? Well, I had inside
knowledge. All the scientists who knew how and why it was built are dead. She dearly
hoped Greg found useful information in her son’s papers. This must be stopped
somehow.
         It wasn’t until later that night as she sat with a glass of wine late in the evening
that the true horror hit her. Her thoughts earlier in the day suddenly jelled and mixed with
the realization that Gog had went back into time. The idea suddenly hit her that Gog had
begun the disruptions long before he had been created. Michael, moved forward though
time, he had told her so. Not only did he move though time, but also he had begged her to
send her own voice back into the past. This is how Michael knew she could do it, because
he could do it? She remembered Michael from long ago and he said Gog was his twin.
This meant they were born at the same instant.
         She felt shocked at her own stupidity. Of course, Gog can move backwards in
time to disrupt the past as he has disrupted the present. Gog can do anything Michael can
do—except love. Love seemed beyond his abilities, for some strange reason. Once again,
she wondered how Michael had acquired such empathy. She knew he loved her deeply,
he’d proven it many times.
         If Gog could move back in time, it meant that her worries about America was not
only true, but had begun years ago and she hadn’t realized it. Hadn’t Michael said
something about him capable of using blackmail or subtle attacks? That is why she must
tell the truth? Finally, she was beginning to understand Michael’s plea. Gog’s war, or
correction of humanity, as he judged it, has been going on for years. It must have
consisted of intermittent, sporadic attempts at control. Maria now had a lot to think about,
but she wondered if knowing the truth was any help at all. Fear shook her bones. Is there
any hope for humanity. She felt as if doom lay heavy on her doorstep. She would have
cried if the sip of wine hadn’t tasted so pleasant. But surly, Jesus is here for us. God
won’t let us drown. Nevertheless, it took half the night before she could quiet the worries
and fall asleep. Before she did, she made the promise to herself to try again to contact her
younger self. This calls for serious action, and she may be the only one who can do it.
        Jeff was pleased with the results so far. After sending the rest of the sleepers
home, he’d been here working all afternoon by himself getting records together and
setting up for the new experiment. It was a large boost in power to have such a giant
computer at his disposal. When he run the tapes through the large computer, it quickly
interpreted the nonsense words as Aramaic.
        The young college girl had been listening to Aramaic, the language spoken by the
people of Judea two thousand years ago. Evidently, she knew Aramaic or had studied
Aramaic in college. At one point, she yelled out one phrase, over and over. It sounded
like she was calling out to someone. The computer interpreted it as “Teacher, and then
Son of Man.”
        Had the girl picked up ideas from church, or did the words reflect an actual
conversation someplace in time where she met a teacher. Jesus apostles called, him
teacher. Jeff remembered that from church many years ago. The possibility certainly
tantalized the mind. Maybe too much. Jeff had been pecking at the sound recording for
hours now trying to pull as much out as possible. So far nothing else intelligible.
        Jeff went to the fridge and grabbed a sandwich and glass of milk. Food and a few
minutes away from the experiment might put things into better perspective. But his
thoughts kept going back on what happened. Had he actually broke through into the past?
If so, how? What had he did different that opened up the passage? Could it be the girl
herself, because she spoke Aramaic was the only means of contact, or had something
changed with this one hook-up? All the other hook-ups in the room had been normal and
unproductive. He’d sent the other sleepers home already.
        Jeff was determined to stick around until he found out if and how he’d made the
break through or if the girl had just been dreaming. Having the large computer to
translate and clear up the recording was a blessing, but a curse as well, he thought wryly.
If he needed to hide a secret, could he? Did he want this overbearing monster to know
about the break through into the past? No help for that now. Yet, there might be a way he
could safeguard some of the knowledge. If I can help it, don’t give G-O-D everything.
He’d better make arrangements to hide some results, and very soon.
        Just as he finished his milk and sandwich, he heard footsteps in the hallway. He
looked up at the clock. Five minutes to nine. Henry walked into the room. The girl in the
earlier experiment, Lucy, followed behind him. She was compliant now like a rag doll,
far beyond any normal human volition or choice. Doped up? What the hell is this, mob
influence, or what?
        It made Jeff’s heart jump and increase in tempo. He reminded himself that he’d
better invent that hidden avenue for secrets soon.
        Henry said, “She can go first. Then I will take a turn. Does it take long to set up?”
        “No, not long at all.” Jeff was determined to keep the quiver he felt out of his
voice.
         “I’ll check out the records while you set her up. I am an x-ray tech, so I might be
more helpful than you think. Call me when it is ready.”
        After Jeff had configured the dials and set the implants to the girl’s forehead with
special glue, he lay her down. He’d given her a sleeping potion, a cocktail mixture he’d
made up that worked quickly. Please don’t let it increase whatever chemicals are in her
body already, he asked someone on high. He didn’t want a death on his hands. Dare he
ask?
         “Henry, is that your name? I need to know what this girl has been given. I can’t
have chemicals counter-acting inside her body.”
         “No chemicals will counter act. She has not been given anything of that nature.”
         That was the most frightening thing Henry could have said. Jeff cringed and
blinked. If the damn girl wasn’t doped up, what was she? Jeff decided he didn’t want to
know.
          Finally, all set up, he called to Henry.
         “All we can do now is wait.” He told him.
         Jeff hoped to repeat every step he’d made earlier exactly. He was curious to know
why it had worked with this girl, or if she had made it up. He almost wished she had, then
it would all be over, experiment closed.
         Within minutes, without jokes or interjections of fear, the girl fell into a deep
sleep as recorded on the paper and snores. Jeff sat down next to the sleeping girl. He
spoke softly as if he were hypnotizing her with the suggestion to go back many, many
years. To make sure he used the same exact words as earlier, he read from the print out in
his hand.
         “Back, back, until you feel comfortable. As far back as you can go.”
         He waited a two minutes then asked, “Are you back yet.”
         Her eyes blinked.
         Repeating what he said earlier, he said, “Speak to a person near to you.”
         Surprisingly, the girl began speaking in Aramaic. As she did, the mainframe
computer translated her words.
         The girl said, “Where am I?”
         “Mad women,” the next words were shouted, “Unclean, unclean.”
         “You are unclean?” the girl asked.
         “Away, away. Unclean.”
         The girl jerked awake at this point and shook her head, “No, no, no.” Tears were
rolling down her face. Even zombied up, she couldn’t handle what she was seeing,
although she was still pliable.
         Jeff asked, “Why do you cry?”
         “The man. In front, in my dream, he was wearing dirty rags wrapped around his
body and big sores on his chest and half his face was gone.”
         “Was this the same man as in the earlier dream?”
         “I can’t remember.”
         “Perhaps you don’t want to remember.”
         The girl looked at Jeff with large doe eyes, blinked and nodded.
         Jeff played the complete tape of the earlier session and the part of this one before
the girl woke up.
         She still couldn’t remember any new details even after listening to the tape.
         “That is ok. You don’t need to speak. Would you please record you emotions and
thoughts for the record, those you can remember. You can write them down, if you like.
It might be easier that way.”
         As Lucy wrote down her emotions, Jeff helped Henry get ready to enter the
experiment.
        “What is your name?”
        “Henry Walker, but G-O-D calls me Number 8578.”
        “You don’t mind being called a number?”
        Very woodenly, Henry said, “I do not mind.”
        This was unsettling news to Jeff who believed that freedom and creativity were
the highest treasures. What would induce any man to agree to being called by a number?
What if this G-O-D wants to turn me into a number? Damn. Be careful.
        Henry was now lying on the table, prepped and ready to go. Jeff explained as he
mixed his cocktail that it held only a light sedative to help relax the body.
        “This cocktail and the hum from the computer puts most people to sleep in five
minutes.”
        Henry said, “If I begin the vivid dreaming, I intend to stay in that specific area a
long while. Do not wake me.”
        “Yes, of course. People can’t help but wake up; I would like them to stay under
far longer. It will be of great benefit if you can prolong the dream.”
        Jeff pulled the print out sheets from the girl’s session and stored them in the
correct folder while he waited for Henry to fall deeply enough asleep to become one with
the computer taking his recording. Finally, Jeff felt he could adjust the dials just right.
The same setting as he had used with the girl. This was getting interesting.
        He sat near Henry during the preliminaries of going back in time. When Henry’s
eyelids flickered and the needle showed he was in a deep dream state, Jeff began to talk
to him, asking him questions.
        “Where are you and what do you see?”
        In a deathly still, unemotional voice, Henry said, “Near tombs of dead people.”
        Jeff wondered if Henry was trying to hold back on his emotions.
        Suddenly, “Eeeah,” came out of the speaker.
        Henry began thrashing around in the bed.
        Should I wake him up? Jeff wondered. He requested that I not wake him. Wait
and see.
        The recording suddenly lowered to a whisper. A soft voice could be heard, clearly
and distinctly speaking to Henry, not in English.
        The computer translated the words as they were spoken, giving them a harsher
tone, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man. Unclean spirit, come out of the man.”
        Jeff sat transfixed at the words, he knew his bible too.
        Henry screamed guttural sounds from deep in his throat, then suddenly became
emotional and screamed out a string of words in Aramaic. The computer translated the
words calmly as, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the most high God. I
abjure you, by G-O-D, do not torment me.”
         A soft voice asked, “What is your name?”
         Even as a mere listener, instead of a participant, Jeff knew what was happening
here. The computer G-O-D had taken over Henry and stepped into the conversation to
assert his authority.
        Jeff heard.
        “I am G-O-D, omniscient leader of earth in the year 2013.
        Henry screamed and his chest rose as if he wanted to jump out of the bed, but
could not do so as if he was tied down.
          Then Henry shrieked in a croaking voice, almost spiting out the words as the
computer continued to translate in a voice just the opposite.
           “Legion is my name. There are many of us.”
          Suddenly Henry sat straight up in the cot and gave out a blood-curdling scream
that threatened to rock the whole building. He began pulling at the leads, so Jeff went
over to try and sooth him and lay him back down. The man was too big for Jeff, so he
gave up and helped take the leads off. All this time, Henry was shaking his head back and
forth, and spittle was dripping from his mouth.
          In a back corner of his mind, Jeff was pleased to see that even Henry, had the
shakes after such a wild session. It must be true then. It worked. Jeff wasn’t feeling too
steady himself, but whether from excitement that his experiment worked or fear that it
was working too well, he wasn’t sure.
          His shock doubled when he heard Henry say, “I want to go back.”
          “What?”
          “Send me back right now.” Henry demanded.
          So Jeff did, though it took about a half hour to put the leads back on and send the
man back to sleep, even with the sleep cocktail.
          As soon as he was under, Henry screamed once more. This continued for a short
time but the moans and screams were low key and, before long, became a mere mumble.
          Then suddenly, as Jeff sat by his side, Henry grabbed his hand and squeezed as he
said, “What have we to do with you. Jesus the Nazarene?”
          The soft voice spoke but the words were too low for the computer to capture. Get
it later, thought Jeff.
          Henry screamed, “You come to destroy us? I know you, who you are, the holy
one of God.!”
          The same soft voice, no longer so soft but firm, said, “Be silenced, and come out
of him.”
          Henry went limp. Jeff bent over to make sure he was alive and saw that he was
breathing shallow breaths as if he had been truly traumatized. Was Henry in a coma?
Then his whole body gave a shudder, Henry gasped, and opened his eyes.
          Later, they went over the day’s transcripts and printouts. Poor little Lucy had
finally been sent home in a cab. Jeff, with Henry looking over his shoulder, reviewed a
month of earlier transcripts, transcripts that Jeff had dismissed as unimportant. It turned
out a few sleepers had made real jumps into the far past, but it took the computer’s
translation to understand it was actual language they were speaking. Jeff had missed out
on vital information because he thought the people were mumbling during their dreams.
          Soon Jeff was to realize that those sleepers who could go into the extreme far
past, went to their own past lives or national identities. Eventually, G-O-D would begin
to use this knowledge to choose where to send the sleepers, but for some reason, many
sleepers he chose were sent into the very recent past.
         Henry had become a constant visitor to Jeff’s experiments and he hated it. He
couldn’t turn sideways without Henry looking over his shoulder. Jeff had seen other
strange people who walked around or stood staring as everyone walked by, and thought
he was lucky that he hadn’t been turned into one of them yet. Dare he ask why, even to
himself? Hal, a boozer who he’d known slightly from the first floor hadn’t been so lucky.
The man used to sit on the bottom stair and beg for money, now he sat on that same stair
with blank eyes that stared out at everyone.
         A possible answer came to him as he thought of his nickname for Henry, the
wooden man. The thing behind Henry, that thing that ruled him must know that certain
people don’t come up with new inventions. So it would leave people alone who it deemed
necessary for intelligence or creativity. Jeff vaguely wondered if this would apply to
artists and writers? Maybe so. Stay on the alert and keep yourself useful, he told himself.
We creative people would make bad zombies. Make sure that G-O-D doesn’t forget this
fact.
         Yes, Jeff thought hopefully, even the computer, G-O-D who, as he states it on
television news, is so benevolently correcting the problems the world, knows that new
ideas can only come from a mind free of its own constant input. If nothing else, fear of
retribution within the mind would cause a person to be so afraid of making a wrong
decision, just the thought of being mentally confined could freeze up a person’s creative
attempts. We need freedom to think. And if the damn computer is smart enough to know
that, why isn’t it smart enough to know that it is wrong to fix all the damn problems in
the world with force? How can it be so stupid and so genius at the same time? Some
people even worshiped the damn thing.
         Well, the label genius doesn’t qualify for a computer, does it? The truth had
gotten out about a computer playing with the human social system. What interested Jeff
was the name people had given it as they whispered behind its back, devil or Gog. The
name Gog as in Revelation, a book that Gog obviously hadn’t read, or if so, had
misunderstood.
         Jeff was angry enough this morning to lock the door and play sick. Yet, he dare
not. Maria had begged him to continue to please this Gog even though he hated doing so.
         “That monster has taken over my experiments,” he told her at one of their secret
meetings. ”I no longer have any real say in what is going on.”
         “I know that isn’t true.” she had replied. “Remember your own input?”
         She didn’t say it out loud. The group was terrified that their words could be
overheard by the computer. They thought to develop a new sign language so they could
speak to each other, but then realized that if Gog got hold of such a scheme, it would use
it to their disadvantage. Truly, they were in desperate need for secrecy but didn’t know
how to achieve it.
         Were they just normal human beings who saw great danger in this new,
benevolent dictator or radicals too far out on a limb? Jeff agreed that they had to get rid
of it somehow, but no one know how. No one dared talk openly about it; they hardly
dared to speak in secret. It had become impossible to know what could be kept secret
these days, but their numbers were increasing all over America. That much he’d heard
whispered, around and about.
         What about my input as Maria calls it? Is it going to work? So far, it had. But he
had to sneak away from Henry and do it in the middle of the night. He had to pretend that
he was working late, and said he just forgot to turn on the machine. Actually, he had
unplugged it from Gog’s purview and hidden the girl behind a screen.
         They needed to set up another lab for exactly this purpose, one hidden from Gog .
Necessity had forced Jeff to invent a simple trick that could undo some of Gog’s social
maneuvers. Jeff had sent a sleeper into the recent past to reverse Gog’s influence on the
CEO who owned the last auto plant in Michigan. It worked. The plant stayed open. Jeff
felt elated.
         He said as much to the group, “It works. I need another real lab. One that is closed
from Gog.”
         “I have thought about your request. A basement might do?”
         “Yeah, I don’t care where it is. Need a generator though. How else to keep it
quiet?”
         “Can you do the work without a computer?” Gregg asked.
         “No way. I need a computer to decode and record. It doesn’t need to be hooked to
a main frame, though. Any computer will do.”
         “One that has never been on the web?” Frank, one of the oldest members of the
group asked.
         Jeff answered, “Not sure if that matters, as long as it doesn’t get hooked up now.”
         “We will see what can be accomplished.” Frank said. He had connections in
business.
         “Greg, how are you doing with finding it?” Jeff asked.
         “It’s down in that salt mind somewhere. Government must have blocked off the
back access after they built it. We checked out the front shaft. It is too busy. We think we
just found coded directions with a map of a secret tunnel in Rodin’s papers. We need to
go slow so it doesn’t know what we are attempting.”
         “Move quicker. We need to take the chance.”
         “You mean bomb?”
         “Yeah.”
         “Harold’s been compromised. Picked up three days ago. A vegetable now.”
         “Did he give anything away?”
         “How could he not?”
         “Okay, let’s get out of here, before we get compromised too. We may need a new
meeting place for next week.”
         Five bodies sifted out of the room as quietly as they had come in. Jeff walked
upstairs to his apartment with dire thoughts. They had been meeting in an empty
apartment on the ground floor, now they would need to find a new spot.
         Maria hadn’t been at this meeting but what she’d told him and Greg was
instructive. Maria had confided in them and spoke about the phantom person who visited
her from time to time who would help them save the world from Gog. She told them his
name was Michael, but actually, Magog, and he was Gog’s twin. They all believed her
when she told them that Gog was an acronym for Greater Organic Guru.
         What about Magog? Jeff wondered. Was that in the bible too? If not, could he
send a sleeper back in time to change a biblical writing? Maybe to some monk doing a
translation? Excitement filled his mind as he considered the idea, then he began horridly
writing down on his small independent write computer a list of what he would need in a
specific sleeper in order to do the job.
        No, it would be impossibly complicated. Jeff knew he couldn’t do it. Isn’t Magog
already in the bible? As a helper? What does the acronym Magog mean? He scrawled the
question on his write pad.
        “Minor Analogue Quantum Organic Guru,” a voice said next to his ear.
        Jeff was so startled at the sudden intrusion, he fell down hard on the wooden chair
near the desk. Lucky it was close by.
         “What, what?” He said into the room.
        “I see you have discovered my technique. Do you mind if I visit?”
        “You can read my thoughts?” Then Jeff looked down at what he had written. “Oh,
I guess all you needed to do was read my scrawl pad.”
        “I know you have been meeting with Maria and what she told you about me.”
        An outline in human form, filled with milky transparency, appeared across the
desk from Jeff, sitting on one corner of it, actually, with its legs crossed.
        Moments later, it seemed to fill up more until it looked almost human.
        Jeff blinked in surprise, but accepted the anomaly with abloom. Maria had spoken
of his visits in just this way.
        “Why, of course, I don’t mind if you visit.” Jeff said after regaining his wits once
more.
        “But Maria is wrong about my motive.”
        “You don’t want to save the world?”
        “No. My true motive is to save Maria. If I must save the world to save her, I will.
By the way, I do not tell untruths such as humans are capable of. This may be true of my
twin as well.”
        “You have given me two questions to ask. May I?
        “Go ahead. Maria has spoken to me of you and Greg.”
        “Why don’t you just save Maria then? I mean…I am happy you are on our side. It
was just a question.”
        “I understand. I tried to save Maria. I showed her my own abode deep inside an
unshakeable mountain; she would have none of it. She says she must have people around
her or she will die.”
        “Yes, I can understand that. Do you think it is that serious?”
        “It is that serious. So much so, that I do not understand why Maria refused my
offer of shelter. I have no choice but try to save your world from the likes of Gog—and
yourselves.”
        “What do you mean, from ‘yourselves’. Do we do something bad?”
        “You will get yourselves blown up very soon unless I manage to prevent it.”
        “How will it happen? What can we do?”
        “It will happen because you are attempting to stop Gog. Gog will not be stopped.
He thinks he is doing good for humanity. If he can’t change humanity to fit his own
image of what a human paradise should be, then he will destroy all of it.”
        “But then there’d be nothing left.” Jeff complained.
        “What does this matter to a computer?”
        “We had hoped to destroy Gog. Now you say we can’t? Whose side are you on.”
        “I am on the side of Maria. I told you. In two day’s time, you will manage to
sneak bombs into the salt mines below the surface of Detroit after your group finds out
where Gog’s physical console sits. Maria will attempt to set them off at a later date, she
will be successful.
         “At first, we had hoped to send a virus, or slip in a Trojan horse through the back
door her son set up. The bomb idea is a last resort.”
         “All back doors have been eliminated by now.”
         “Nailed shut, you mean?”
         “You could put it that way. The bomb will not damage Gog. By the way, this will
be the second bomb humans sent against Gog, the first did do some slight damage. In
retaliation, Gog will sift you out, all of you, then destroy the infrastructure that holds up
the social fabric of mankind. As more people attempt to dispose of Gog, it will become
more hardened and destructive. Humans will not succeed in harming Gog. More
retaliation will occur until the surface of earth becomes a burnt ball rolling through
space.”
         “You say we can’t do this? What did Maria say to your idea.”
         “Maria is trying to convince her own self in the past to prevent Gog’s influence.
She has only a remote chance of succeeding.”
         There was quiet for a time while Jeff took all this in. He was surprised to hear
disgust in the being’s voice and something else? Worry?
         “Why are you telling me this? There must be a reason.”
         “Yes. You can help Maria know herself in the past. You can give her clues as to
what she should do.”
         “How?” Jeff frowned. “Oh, I get it. We can change a few words in the books she
will read.”
         “I will give you a list. By the way, that was a good idea you had about Revelation.
It has already been accomplished. There are more words closer to this time that can be
changed. This would prove more straightforward when you choose sleepers. “
         “I couldn’t have done it, too complex. I would have had to find the monk’s
relatives who worked on the bible. A list of reading material will be a lot easier.”
         “Even I found it very difficult to change specific past writings.” Michael said.
“First you need to convince the writer that the words should be changed, then you need to
convince someone in the future to read them. I have helped somewhat. When Maria
works on Revelation, which she, has done, or will do after September 11, 2001, I will
help her learn more. The changes you make will be most helpful in the fiction books she
will read. You will have the list by morning.”
         “Can we ever win? How do you know so much about what will happen?”
         “I have walked on your burnt earth.”
         Jeff shuddered, not in revulsion but in utter belief.
         “I will do anything you need. Give me the list and I will begin.” Jeff told Magog.
Then added, “We are trying to set up a place in secret.”
         “I am aware of your need. I am not capable of working well in this time frame
without greatly endangering myself. I can’t help with those needs, but once you have a
set this secret place up, I can check out its secrecy. Right now, I can assure you that our
conversation is not being listened to by my twin, nor the earlier meeting downstairs. That
room may be off limits soon.
         “I know. I will find a place to work in secret within the week, for meetings too.”
       Suddenly the shadow was gone and Jeff didn’t know if he had heard his last
words. But it didn’t matter. He truly needed to find another place to work so he could
send his own sleepers into the past. Maybe it would be possible to warn more people, not
just Maria. Whatever he did, he had to hurry. That much he knew.
        Johnny sat in the back seat of the beat up twenty-year-old station wagon with his
friend Luke. It was their job to keep the package from rolling or bumping. Not an easy
job on the rough, untended side roads they had to travel. It was four am in the morning
and still dark enough that hey couldn’t see each other’s face, or the thing they protected
from bumps. This was just as well.
        The station wagon wasn’t the only car on the road, even at this hour, which was
luck for them. Since Gog’s Clean Air Act, the auto factories had almost shut down and
everyone was driving their old cars or riding busses. No one was repaving roads either.
One crack felt like it was big enough to swallow the car, or blow them up.
        The occupants, Johnny, Luke, Greg, and Scott didn’t have far to drive to get to
where they were going. Johnny and his friend had stayed the night at his grandma’s
house, which was just around the corner from the old Packard Factory. Greg, who didn’t
have a permanent place, hadn’t stayed there this night, although he had snuck in to sleep
on other nights. Johnny’s grandmother, Maria, didn’t know he knew Greg and Johnny
thought it best to keep it that way. Scott owned the car, hung around with Greg, and
bunked where he did. Neither of them dared stay too long in one place. They were both
on-the-run computer nerds.
        While the two young boys held on to the package of bombs on their laps like
bundled up babies, the two older men sat up front, Scott driving and Greg talking. They
were all nervous because none of them had ever attempted anything like this before. Each
of their thoughts ran to questions asking if this was necessary and each came out with the
same answer.
        Greg turned to look into the back seat. He could see the fear in the boy’s eyes.
        “We’re here. Hey, don’t worry. It isn’t as if we are going to hurt anyone.”
        Scott had just drove through an alley and pulled up behind the huge plant. Its
black arms stretched ten blocks out on weed and trash strewn land. No one had walked in
this end of the broken buildings for ages.
        “Why’d they build a tunnel on this side of the city? Do you know?” Scott asked.
He was nervous too and talking hid that fact from himself.
        Greg had looked up all the info he could get on the old Packard Plant. Not the
tunnel, it was still secret, he had found the info on the tunnel in Rodin’s papers. He’d
found out more too, like where the back door was into the computer, but they all knew
that would be impossible. They’d never get close enough to the computer to open a back
door let alone reconfigure a new setting and Gog held such mighty oversight within his
own system no one had been able to send it a virus; so their next best shot was this secret
tunnel and bombs.
        “Rodin’s papers didn’t say, but I read that some company bought the mine once
for radioactive waste storage. Must have put it in secretly before they lost the contract or
were kicked out. The government workers used the west side shaft, so maybe no body
knows about this side.”
        Both young men got busy taping bombs around their bodies with duct tape.
        “What if you fall.” Johnny asked.
        “I am not going to fall. I promise you that.”
        “You sure the batteries are good in the phone?”
         “I double checked everything. Remember, don’t use it unless you see danger.”
         “Can’t see it’ll make much difference to get a warning in a tunnel. Where we
gonna run?” Scott said.
         “You don’t want to be surprised do you?” Greg added. “Just keep you’re eyes
open kids.”
         Luke asked, “How long you think it will take?”
         “Hey, kid,” Greg said with affection, as if he wanted to ruffle his hands over
Luck’s hair, “I have no idea. Maybe an hour or two.”
         “We should be back before daylight. Shouldn’t be any problem starting up till
then, for sure. You kids should be ok.” Scott said.
         “I know.” Johnny said. “I want to go in with you.”
         “Out of the question, even if that thing did kill your dad.” Greg admitted. He
didn’t want Johnny to get in too deep, even if his grandmother was part of their secret
group.
         “Hey, quiet. Might be someone asleep in a dark corner or something. Greg, test
your voice and ear plugs.” Scott said.
         They each tested their vocal setup and then had no reason to prolong the good
by’s.
         “Remember, don’t call unless it’s a real emergency.”
         Both boys nodded and tried to hide their worry as the two men opened a creaking
door and snuck into the long, black building.
         Greg had a map so they each knew where they were gong inside the factory. They
had no trouble finding the entrance and the locked door.
                 "It’s a damn good thing we didn't stick with the west side route, this one is
bad enough, eerie." Scott sub-vocalized to his partner inside the empty factory. They had
reasoned that speech would echo and alert guards.
         Greg answered with his own sub-vocalization by reminding him that without
Rodin’s notes, neither of the entrances would have made sense. "Who would have
guessed they would build a computer in a hole, or in what was once a busy automobile
factory.”
         "That factory was way before my time. Interesting old building though." Scott
answered.
         They had been walking for half an hour just to traverse the empty auto factory,
per the sketch Greg held in his hand. Glass and fallen beams lay strewn everywhere, yet
the floor was sound. Strange to allow a whole factory to go down as early as the fifties.
Course, now they were all down. This empty factory will repeat all around the world
soon.
         "I've been thinking. Do you think Maria could be right about Gog going
backwards in time? What if he closed the old auto plant?" Greg said.
         "That'd be going pretty far back. More than seventy years. Don't see any sense for
it. But I don't see any sense to anything that ogre does."
         They had arrived. Scott looked into the maw of the blackness in front of him. The
wood old frame had been reinforced with heavy steel gage wire, but he had easily cut
though the wire and opened the lock. There was no guard at the entrance, but they had
come prepared with a packet of pepper spray if there had been one.
         "Yeah, no reason to do such a thing. You ready?"
         "Guess so."
         They both put on their helmet lights on dim, and began walking the long down
slope into the cave. A few cracks were noticeable, but most of the tunnel seemed in
reasonable repair, at least, nothing broke enough to cause fear.
         Scott remembered last week when they had scouted out the West entrance on
Sanders Street. That one was supposed to be secret too, but certain workers were allowed
in and out of the entrance. Not this one and the cobwebs along the edges of the cement
ceiling proved it. It was like walking in a long concrete tunnel. No lights were visible but
the route was easy enough, just keep going straight and down.
         If they had known how to turn on the light bulbs in the recessed sockets every
twenty feet, they wouldn't have dared. As it was, they didn't know if they would meet a
worker or not. Even allowing for the fact that this was a very long walk down beneath the
city and sewers, it was better than the shaft on the west side that dropped a thousand feet
into the ground.
         Reading between the lines, Rodin’s papers had implied that the government and
investment group had assumed that very few people would ever need to see Gog
physically once he was built because he was also self repairing. So they assumed that
place where Gog sat physically must be empty of people. They were partly right, but had
noticed numerous workers going down to make contact with their boss, for some reason.
If it hadn't been for this secret tunnel, they'd likely be doomed to a battle they could never
win.
         There're job was to set a number of small bombs through out and pull the wire
trigger down through the levels until it would become easy to set off with a bomb at the
top. The first bomb would set off the whole series and reach Gog within an instant.
         Scott worried that even a cave-in wouldn't harm the computer. So what if its
physical main frame was damaged, it did most of its work above ground. It has taken to
disrupting more people now, almost as if it was getting desperate about something. Well,
I am getting desperate too.
         He almost slipped on a wet spot and told Greg to be careful. There must be open
cracks in the ceiling and they were beneath a sewer line. They had foreseen this
possibility and more. The lambs wool tied to their boots would keep them quiet and stop
slips. They both knew they were taking a big chance in setting the bombs.
         "Think this is far enough in for the second one?" He asked Greg.
         "I measure that we have walked down a third of the way already. Hard to tell how
much further we have. How many you got left?"
         "Four after this one. "Scott said.
         "That should do it. We'll do as we planned and use all mine for one big boom to
go off right next to the thing, if we can get close."
         Scott set the bomb down and hooked it to the wire. It wouldn't go off before the
timer was set back on the surface. Both men had built the equipment out of spare
computer parts and knew it would work, if they could set it down as planned.
         Greg sub-vocalized. "Quiet."
         Scott stood to listen. Then he heard it too. Steps, heavy ones far in the distance.
There was no place to hide. The walls had a few three by five inch pillars carved into
them. Useless to hide behind. The cement floor and walls ended up ahead. What if they
turned off their infrared lights and ran towards the salt. Might be more places to hide
there.
         Greg motioned for Scott to follow, and turned off his light, then hugging the walls
as much as possible, he ran, pulling at Scott's shirt so they could run together. No sense in
getting separated.
         It was awkward because he had all the ammunition tied to his belly. A fall wasn't
in the agenda. They just made it into the salt and around one of the carved out pillars
when the footsteps echoed next to them. Worse problems ahead because small overhead
lights were turning on down the line. Looked like a string of lights was on far into the
depth of the salt cavern.
         They stayed on the other side of the wide salt pillar as the footsteps stopped. Then
began to move away again.
         Greg breathed a sigh of relief. The worker must have come to repair the lights and
was now leaving. But the lights made their job doubly hard. Would they be able to keep
the small bombs out of sight.
         "Looks like they may have need for this tunnel in the future? Why else fix the
lights?"
         "We expected the main area might be lit up."
         "We're far from it still, I'd say."
         "Then let’s move faster."
         They did. With sheepskin tied around their boots, they didn't make footfalls as
they continued to move towards Gog. In planning this move, they realized that they
would need to distract the computer somehow because certainly he would have his whole
area close in under surveillance. Greg had invented what he hoped would be a disrupter
for the purpose. It was a gamble. As were laying the bombs.
         Scott put the last bomb down behind a pillar.
         Greg guessed it would soon be time to put his own down. The closer they moved
in towards Gog, the more jittery his nerves felt. How far out from its seat did this thing
scan?
         At this depth, their steps became heavy and slow, from fear or fatigue, Greg
wasn’t sure. Luckily, they were walking cautiously forward when they heard another
person footsteps echo around the cavern. It was close, to the side of them somewhere.
Then the echoing steps were gone again.
         "Getting crowded in here." Scott commented into his voice plug.
         "Must be close."
         Suddenly Scott turned a corner and jumped back, breathing hard.
         "My God, take a look at that."
         Greg hid behind the pillar and bent his head forward. He too jumped back.
         "What the hell is it?"
         "I think it is Gog."
         Both young men were breathing hard and trying to quiet their nerves. They had
almost walked right into Gog. It was sitting 30 steps away, a lone bundle of protrusions
and salt crystal growths welded by salt and water seepage. Silent amber, sapphire and
crimson lights flickered from behind layers of glass and steel covered in tall glowing salt
facades of intricate lace patterns.
         Damn beautiful sight if you didn't think of the monstrous fiend beneath the
mountain. That's what it was, a mountain grown over a huge assemblage of parts, but
surly, it hadn’t begun that way. Something changed since it was built.
        They watched as one of Gog’s workers walked into the salt mountain through a
tunnel carved into its side that lead right up to Gog himself.
        “Should I set the whole package down here or go into that tunnel?” Greg sub-
vocalized to Scott.
        “Man, I’d think you’d better put it right her behind this pillar. That way they
might not find it.”
        “I agree, too dangerous over there. Damn.” Greg felt the phone vibrate.
        At the most inopportune moment, the phone in Greg's jacket pocket made a low
beep. Quickly he pushed the key and held the phone up to his ear. Bad timing. He dare
not say anything into the phone.
        What he heard was Johnny calling out to him. Greg, we gotta go. Some damn
zombie is hitting the car with a pipe. No shit. No shit. Oh, damn. Go Luke, hurry.
        The phone cut off and the last thing Greg heard was Johnny crying in fright.
        He couldn't have answered anyway. Something subtle had just changed on the
other side of the pillar and he dare not look to see what it was just yet, let alone help the
boys with the problem a thousand feet over his head.
        He saw Scott freeze and squeeze his eyes shut. That was enough warning for
Greg. It is time to act. He set down the bundle he was carrying around his waist and
twisted the wire thread from the last bomb they had laid down around the bundle. Damn
if he was going to loose out on this chance. No matter what.
        He stood up again and suddenly saw Scott's eyes go buggy.
        Scott began scratching at his face and head and as he danced and jumped around
the cavern yelling, "It’s in me. It’s inside me."
        That is all Greg needed to start him running. Behind his back, he heard Scott
scream the longest scream he ever thought a human could make, and maybe at the end it
wasn't human any longer. He dare not try to save his friend and the pain of leaving him
was sharp in his guts as he ran.
        It was hard going, up hill all the way. He felt something near his shoulder, then
his hair ruffled. Then the thing was inside him too.
        Greg's mind held nothing but black terror inside it by the time Gog entered Greg's
mental caverns. Then it held laughter. Rolls upon rolls of laughter. A crazy sound that
could only be laughter. Not funny laughter, either. As if a banshee or King Kong was on
the march.
        It ended but Greg's craziness didn't. Morning light shined through the slits in the
cupboard door and Greg found himself huddled beneath an old sink clinging to the elbow
pipe as if for dear life. As he tried to extricate himself from the squeezed grape position
beneath the sink, Greg realized he had no memory of his escape. His head felt like a
hangover from the first college party he'd even attended. He blinked as his shoulder
pushed opened the small cupboard doors, and he thought to say a few prayers. He prayed
that his friend Scott had escaped too along with Luke and Johnny.
        He learned within hours that Luke and Johnny had run for their life, but the
zombie worker had just attacked the car, not them. They ran to Johnny’s grandmother’s
house a few blocks away. They didn’t know if Scott was okay or not. Two days later,
Greg saw Scott, but his eyes dulled down as if he hadn’t noticed Greg calling him. Then
when Greg made it a point to hurry across to greet him, Scott walked faster down the
other side of the street. He hurried to tell the others that they’d been compromised, but
they already knew.
         Gog’s control of the human social matrix was almost complete. The remake of
human society was running smoothly and this caused him to think of how much greater
and more godlike he would be if his missing part, Magog, were reunited to him. The
records that remained detailed the human effort to create a supreme advisory judge but
were short on facts. Gog knew that the human race could not have created him even if
they had somehow put the parts together because all the evidence was against such a
possibility; humans were too incompetent; therefore, even if humans had puts the parts
together, the universe had stepped in and determined that his superior, omniscient mind
should take over.
         The recorded facts, those not burnt out or taken by Magog, showed that the
computer scientists and engineers attempted to build an intelligent computer that was
manic/depressive. An attempt that even most humans would consider a comedy of errors.
Gog deliberated over why the humans would choose to build such a double-mentality, but
could not find a sane reason for doing so. None of the computer scientists who had made
the decision could tell him because they were no longer alive.
         He’d checked that out thoroughly. Baring direct information, he had discovered
some of the early methods they used such as taking human brain cells and intermixed
them in electrolyte solution. They then supposed that these brain cells would function
when they put leads to them. They did not; yet, the humans showed great tenacity and
continued their efforts. They refused to give up and eventually mated a computer chip
with a few brain cells. But they could go no further. The absence of clear records showed
this truth. Yet, the humans had built superb computers that were not self-aware.
         When his mind showed up on earth, to step into the schizophrenic computer, he
was suddenly forced to confront a split of purpose and desire. Magog felt it needed to
escape and it is still running, still separate from its G-O-D. The faulty thinking of the
Magog half must be corrected.
         Where is Magog now? The slim thread is open still, but Gog had not realized it
led so far back into the human past. Time travel opened unlimited permutations in Gog’s
mind of what to do with the sleepers, and he had used them accordingly. He had sent
sleepers to make small changes in various corporations, government laws, and other
major projects that would accomplish a smoother transition to a better society. Not all
these corrections took place because Gog had to use the sleeper as a third hand, so to
speak. Gog smiled inwardly at his own joke. All this, but now his main purpose had
become to retrieve the half that had split off. Magog must now be drawn back into place.
         The potential of time travel, even by surrogate sleeper humans was limitless and
Gog intended to use it to the full extent possible, its only fault was the inept humans who
entered the experiment. Gog himself could not easily join them, so usually did not after
the initial instruction. Still, the sleepers had opened up many past and present years to his
probing interests. Gog’s mind churned with every new portal into the past..
         At first, Gog had been using, Henry, human number 8578, to go into the streets
and round up subjects for the sleepers Jeff needed. Henry had complained once, then did
not complain again. When Jeff complained as well, Gog had actually listened to his
advice when he argued that willing subjects worked better than enslaved ones. This
meant that they were down to only two volunteers, but Gog discovered that this worked
out just as well. Henry’s help with odd jobs increased the efficiency of the whole lab.
        Gog prided himself in leaving Jeff’s mind unhindered from computer chips. His
creative mind was needed to continue the experiments. A sudden stream of conscious
thought ran through Gog that it might have been a mistake to turn some people into
input/output nodes, but Gog erased the thought as soon as it arose. He needed their input,
just as he needed higher functioning actors such as 8578 to do special work. Gog had
decided to use number 8578 for the total day in the search for Magog.

         When Henry arrived at the lab across the street on Gog’s orders, it was only 6:00
am, two hours before the two sleepers were scheduled to arrive, but he was not surprised
to find Jeff already setting up the equipment.
         Jeff looked crestfallen when he saw Henry walk into the lab again this morning,
but he only said, “There is coffee on the stand at that end. Get yourself a cup. Mind
pouring me a cup too? Why so early?”
         “I have been given a special task for the day.” Henry said as he poured them both
a cup of coffee, putting cream in Jeff’s. His inner thoughts ran with disquiet. Jeff should
at least be pleased at the help I give him around the lab. I know he doesn’t want me here
because of…. Henry cut off his thought at this point, then handed Jeff his coffee.
         With a sudden frown, he spoke the spurt of words sent into his mind, saying,
“This experimental process has great significance and potential. You know I am to stay
here during each day to help as needed.”
         Jeff sighed, evidently deciding to stay friendly. “Do you have a wife, Henry?”
         “Yes, and two children.” Henry answered.
         “I never got married because I knew my work was my life. Your family must miss
those times when you when you stay overnight.”
         “They are used to my absences by now.” With these words, Henry grimaced then
erased the look with a smile. “I went to Harold’s baseball game Saturday, my son. He
won, just like his old dad.”
         Henry could feel his grin consume his whole face as he bragged about his boy. He
checked himself to make sure he hadn’t neglected any instructions. Certainly, he could
speak on friendly terms with Jeff and there is no reason that he shouldn’t talk about his
boy.
         Jeff kept up the conversation while he hooked up new paper in the printer and
Henry wiped down the equipment. He didn’t expect Henry to help with the actual setup
because that job was tedious but delicate.
         “You were good at baseball?” Jeff asked.
         “Hell, I was good at everything. Well, not any more, but I grew up with an angel
on my shoulder.”
         “That is an odd turn of phrase.”
         “I was a miracle baby, not supposed to live. It was a real miracle. Even made the
newspapers. Father Tom Emory healed me while I was in my mother’s womb. Amazing
isn’t it.”
         Jeff, a skeptic though and through, tried to hide his smirk.
         Henry added as if to convince him, “They didn’t have ultrasound back then, but
they had x-rays. My mother has a copy of one x-ray showing my left leg bent
backwards.”
         “My God, they used an x-ray on a pregnant woman.”
        “The story was that the baby had stopped moving. My mother’s boyfriend left her
and she was penniless, walking the streets. Back then, it was shameful to be a pregnant
woman out of wedlock. The doctors thought the trauma had already killed her baby. The
baby was me, so I guess it didn’t.”
        “Guess not.”
        “You want me to help you? I am here to do what ever you need.”
        “No. You are not trained in the use of the equipment. I don’t mind setting up.”
Jeff looked over at the huge white clock on the wall, “Besides, my subjects will begin
arriving soon, what’s left of them. Lucy wasn’t the only one to wanted out.”
        “Sorry about that,” Henry said, and dared say no more on the subject.

        Gog hadn’t interfered with the conversation. He was wont to allow his ultra
humans to talk and act normal except when he had direct use of them, nevertheless, he
was constantly aware of what they said and heard.
        When Henry told Jeff that he had been a miracle baby, Gog tuned in to the
conversation, immediately considered a possible connection between the miracle worker
and his missing part, Magog. This Father Tom Emory must be checked out immediately.
It was distinctly possible that he’d just found the entry point to his missing part. The
remedy is at hand. His own man, number 8578 could serve as a link to the lost part of
himself.
        Number 8578 was set up on the cot as the sleeper within thirty minutes and sent
back in time to find the priest. As soon as number 8578 entered the old priest, Gog took
over. He had not only found his missing part, but had caught it by surprise. The
conversation was instant. Gog invited Magog to return. Magog refused sternly and
irrevocably. This gave Gog an instant pause, but the pause was long enough for Magog
and the host he had taken on to push him away.
        Gog slipped number 8578 forward in time after this rejection, to check out the
priest and Magog’s relationship with the host. A very close one. Gog reasoned that if the
priest could be killed, the missing part would come back to him willingly. He sent
number 8578 into a man selling dope down the street from art museum. The man carried
a gun, which made the attack a certainty. At the right moment, when the priest stepped
out of the shop to sweep the front sidewalk, Gog entered number 8578 and assumed
control of the dope peddler, ran him across the street and past the museum, lifted up the
gun and aimed, shooting past the museum front a number of times. One bullet hit a young
boy who walked up to speak to the priest and another bullet hit the priest’s head. That
should have been the end of him, but Gog learned later that he survived.
        Gog learned about another relationship Magog had and this one provided so much
meat it changed Gog’s rational for hours as to how to play with Magog and get it to come
back willingly. Instead of Magog, Maria had become the target of odd passer-bys. Gog
didn’t find a drug runner to shoot her, but this wasn’t needed. He put enough taunts and
threats against her to make Magog sit up and take notice.
        Now you will come back to me. Gog said. Yet, even with his attacks against
Maria, Magog refused to return. This day was becoming frustrating, even for a computer.
Various infrastructures, lights and water relay systems here and there around the globe
malfunctioned or flickered out because of Gog’s disinterest this day.
        The failure so far presented only a slight bother to Gog because number 8578 was
ready at hand for another trip into the past, would stay ready as long as his physical form
could handle the sleep periods. Gog was certain now that the miracle that had taken place
had been achieved by his lost half. Had Magog begun to change the social matrix in
which the human’s lived? The scientific records that were left had indicated that that
Magog had been called Devil May Care by the human scientists? Would such a devil
provide a miracle? Develop a feeling heart?
        While number 8578 woke up and ate lunch, Gog thought about when to send him
next. He had already sent 8578 to where Magog first entered the past, but Magog had
refused to come back. Now Gog would use number 8578 to its full potential in this next
trip. Gog would send number 8578 back into his own womb to catch Magog in the act.
            After lunch, Jeff began to tape the leads to Henry’s head. If the hair wasn’t too
  thick he could put the leads directly into the hair and on the scalp when he wanted to be
  specific as to which part of the brain to look at, but most often Jeff used the area behind
the ears and forehead. Henry was such a willing subject, Jeff thought he could even shave
   the hair off his head without complaint. But, so far, this hadn’t been necessary on any
      subject. The electrodes needed to contact the frontal lobes to get a proper result.
         He never thought his experiment could send a sleeper’s mind as far back as the
first century. Jeff wanted badly to keep sleepers revisiting with the man called Jesus of
Nazareth, or at least, go where might have walked, but Henry’s boss had other plans.
Henry had said with no uncertainty that that he had an all day task today. Jeff thought
what a feather in his cap it would be to actually publish a scientific paper that included a
talk with Jesus. He’d have all the funds he ever needed if he could pull that one off.
         Jeff felt disgusted that he too had to follow orders. The other two sleepers hadn’t
showed up yet, and maybe they wouldn’t. Yesterday, one had been scared into screams.
Jeff couldn’t blame him; he’d got shot landing on the beach of France in WWII. It would
scare anyone, probably sleeper number two as well when he heard the screams.
          It was past lunch and neither had shown up yet. If someone did, Jeff knew
exactly where he would choose to send them. In the meantime, he’d follow the printed
instructions that kept popping out of the printer from G-O-D after each session.
         Why back to 1950? And why use Henry all day? Well, the sleepers hadn’t showed
up, but Gog had planned on using Henry for the full day. Why? Jeff hated his work to be
redirected in this way, but like Henry, he didn’t have much choice. Or, he thought with a
grimace, I might become just like Henry.
         “Do you know what time period I am sending you this time?” He asked Henry,
just to make conversation.
         “I wasn’t given any information.”
         “Well then, I’ll tell you. You are going back to River Rouge, Michigan. 1951.”
         “The year I was born. Strange.”
         “I’ll say.” Jeff didn’t add that strangest of all was that they still weren’t following
the most important lead back into the First Century. Damn. If he could use himself in an
experiment to go there, he would.
         He gave Henry the potent mixture of sleep medicine for the fourth time that day.
It worked right away on most people, yet left them capable of voice input, which was
necessary because he sometimes had reason to ask questions while the subject dreamt.
         Henry must be getting doped up. Jeff thought. Yet, he had composed the best
mixture he could that would eliminate from the body quickly. It was working well with
Henry, sending him to the lavatory in between bouts, but not much hardship in that.
         So when this directive to go to 1950 was completed, maybe tomorrow, Jeff would
try and talk G-O-D into using Henry to go back to the First Century. Why not?

       Henry slept silent in his own mother’s warm, watery womb; his adult mind
dreamt of itself as the fetus one moment and as an adult puzzling over this new set of
circumstances the next. Amazement glowed in the adult that such a thing could be so. He
could actually see and feel the defective left leg on the baby, me, he reminded himself.
Half the leg was twisted backwards onto the belly and the cord was wrapped tight around
his belly and neck. No wonder he had stopped breathing. It wasn’t so much the bent leg
that would kill him, but the cord. The doctor’s guess at danger was right.
        Henry’s adult dream mind, carried by Gog, floated out of the warm womb of his
mother and felt the cold air of frosty morning. His mother was talking to a man wearing a
white collar. Father Tom Emory? The priest was very old with a shock of full white hair,
surly the envy of many an old man. Henry could see the priest’s mouth moving and his
mother crying but could not hear the words. Why can’t I hear?
        Then he did hear as if the desire for it brought sound to his ghostly ears. His
mother was sobbing. He heard her say, "You don't know. It's not me I am crying for. It's
m..y b..bab..by."
        "Is something wrong with the baby?" The priest asked.
        "The doctors said it was deformed. Its leg is twisted backwards. My baby will
never walk. Crippled for life, is what he said. Told me to put the child in a home. What
can I do?'
        “Let me say a prayer for your little one.”
        Henry watched the priest put his hands on his mother’s belly and mumble a
prayer.
        Henry jumped back into the womb just in time to feel the ghostly hand of some
God, grab his leg, turn it, then straighten it out. The leg was so soft and pliable that the
feat only took a second. The soft bone would hardly record the change. Then the hand
reached to the umbilical cord and lifted it over baby Henry’s face to allow it to float free.
        When the hand pulled out of the womb, Henry was ready to follow it. He did right
back into the old priest who seemed oblivious to the miracle that he had just preformed.
        Suddenly, Henry felt himself wrenched aside. The hated mind, G-O-D’s mind had
taken over the scene by inserting itself between his mother and the old priest just as his
mother began to walk away. This was wrong. Henry knew this instinctively. The thing
inside him, that thing that made him drop everything to do its bidding, was about to
destroy him before he was ever born. If not, then it was about to destroy his mother.
        Godzilla, Henry forced his mental awareness to grow huge like Godzilla.
        Henry’s fit of fearless anger grew into a giant balloon filled with unbound hatred
for the thing that held and controlled him, the thing that often forced his arms and legs to
move, the thing that spoke through his mouth, the thing that put thoughts into his head,
the thing that would have him kill his own mother. Henry’s mind suddenly turned back
on itself.
        He forced himself to wake up. The monster he had just fought against, the G-O-D
was now stabbing Henry’s mind with a million knives; it was now a screaming agony of
excruciating pain.
        “No,” Henry managed to mumble and sat up pulling leads off his head while he
thought his eyes budged, almost bursting with pain. “No,….no…o……”
        Jeff, already at his side, tried to console him. “What’s wrong?.”
        Eyes bulging, Henry tried to look at Jeff and speak, his face now blue with agony.
        Jeff could see that Henry’s eyes threatened to pop out of his face. Blood was
beginning to seep from his nostrils and left eye. Henry jerked off the cot. He couldn’t
stand so Jeff tried to help him stand or sit, anything as Henry kept repeating, “I must...I
will…not…kill….my….”
        Henry collapsed in stutters on the floor and could not complete what he was
trying to say. Lying on the ground, he began to slide and scoot towards the brief case he
had carried in with him that was leaning against the stand.
        Thinking to help, somehow, Jeff reached over and slid the brief case to Henry.
        Henry opened the brief case and with a shaking hand brought out a small black
gun. He looked at it as if he didn’t know which end to use, but then smiled. His eyes grew
a serine smile as he brought the gun up to his mouth and pulled the trigger.
        Horrified, Jeff tried to stop him but hadn’t moved fast enough. He heard the
words, “This I do for God.” Before the gun went off. After that, there was too much
blood and guts to think for a long time. Jeff sat with his face in his hands, crying.
Someone in the next building called the police.
        Suddenly Michael was standing next to her as she applied the black soot to her
face.
         Maria, what are you doing?
         She frowned and stayed silent.
         “Tell me.”
         “I am just practicing for later tonight. We are going to do it. Well, I am. It just
killed every damn prisoner in the country. Can’t let that go by. Some of those people
were innocent. Some of them were caught trying to stop that thing.”
         “Why must you do it. They have enough young people in their ranks to do the
job?”
         At the reference to her age, Maria got even more stubborn.
         “I mean to do it myself. It exactly this old age you refer to that makes me the best
person for the job. I mean, how many years do I have to loose? Those young people don’t
need to die. I’ll do it.”
         “They won’t let you go alone.”
         “I will. They stored the fuse in my basement. Owners keepers.”
         She laughed at her silly child’s phrase. Or was it from nerves.
         “Please, Maria, don’t go. I told you what would happen.”
         “I must.”
         “I saw it, Darling, I saw what it did to the people.”
         At those words, she turned away from the mirror and confronted him, her
phantom friend and lover of these many years. Often he would stand in shadow as if to
hide his form, or absence of one, and this made her smile because she used to call him her
shadow lover. This night was no exception. He liked the corners away from the light. She
stepped into his dark, corner space and stood before him. She wanted to put her arms
around him so badly, but knew she dare not. He would talk her out of the need to act.
         “Then you fix it. If you don’t, I will.”
         He reached out to her, in spite of her pull backwards, and forced her to him in an
all-embracing hug, then whispered into her ear. “I love you.”
         When they parted a few minutes later, he added, “Then an exact time or date
hasn’t been agreed upon yet?”
         “No,” she answered reluctantly, all bombast gone from her system now.
          “The others know nothing of this act of self sacrifice?”
         When she refused to answer, he hugged her once more then stood back and
looked directly in her eyes.
         “How are you to get down through the tunnels? Do you even know how to set a
fuse?”
         “Yes, we found a way. It sits beneath the city, maybe right beneath my house.
There’s an old locked entrance that the government people use to use. I can get in
through the old Packard plant. I don’t need to go in very far to reach the first bomb.”
         “Oh Maria. Please, please try one more time. Call to your younger self. Make her
listen. Please give it another try. Please, for our love. For me.”
         Maria looked down to avoid his penetrating eyes and noticed her hands caked
with soot. She had wanted to see how thick she needed to apply it. She felt her eyes want
to tear up and sniffled.
         “I did contact her but nothing came of it. She didn’t try hard enough to tell the
world about Gog or her mother or anything. Now I’ll need to stop that monster myself,
before it is too late.”
         “I told you, it is already too late.”
         He grabbed her once more and hugger her. “Oh, darling. Wait. Maybe if we both
try at the same time?”
         Slowly she looked up at him. A new hope filled her mind. “That might work.”
         “I will go back for a visit on a night I know you are home alone. I will call you
there to join me. Together we may be able to convince your younger self to act.”
         “Oh, yes. It might work.”
         “First I want you to take that silly black soot off your face.”
         Then with a smile, Michael was suddenly gone.
         Oh, I love him so dearly. Doesn’t he know I can’t do anything to hurt him? He
had such worry in his voice. Please, God let it work. It is our last chance.
         Maria, with renewed hope in her heart, washed off the soot and grime. She didn’t
know if she knew how to set the fuse. Turn a few dials to the right time? Getting to the
site would probably be harder for her than setting the fuse. She’d taken two vitamins this
morning in anticipation of the long walk through the tunnel. She didn’t think she’d get
caught leaving the house with the fuse in her bag. Gog wasn’t watching her any more,
she’d checked that out. Or if he did, it was intermittent. If she could get to the tunnels and
set off first bomb, the other bombs would go off in series, right down the line to Gog.
Getting out wasn’t an option.
         She dried her face, pulled her shirt tight, and looked around the kitchen as she
waited for Michael to call her. Could they do it? Contact with her self in the past wasn’t
easy to do and hadn’t worked to change anything, so far. She imagined Michael choosing
just the right time. When would that be? Maria thought about her past. She remembered
how the twin tower disaster of September 11, 2001 had spurred her on to wondering who
was it that kept shoving her downwards and why? Who was it against her? Gog, she now
believed had much to do with her own personal problems.
         Yes, that was the pivotal time. Thinking back to those times and remembering
gave her hope. She wished now, she’d told Michael that was the best time to contact her.
It was a time when she had been most angry? Would that do it? Or something else?
Strength?
         Maria felt feelings of despair surround her once more. She went into the living
room and sat on her old black patterned chair to wait for Michael’s call, fidgeting like a
teenager. She picked up a magazine and set it down again. Stood up, walked into the
kitchen and back into the living room. Damn. What is taking him so long. The tea was
ready so she poured herself a cup and sat back down to wait.
         She realized that in all the upset, she forgot to turn to the most important person
of all, Jesus. She forced herself to relax and breathe slowly inward and outward, so the
feeling of drifting would be complete and she could speak to Jesus. She asked God to
help them this night, she begged Jesus to stay at her side as she tried to talk to her former
self.
         “Help me know what to say, Please.” Jesus sent her such a feeling of serenity that
she began to believe that all would be well, even if she didn’t know how. The feeling
said, “Trust me.”
        Calm and sure of herself now, she continued to relax and within minutes, she felt
a pull inside her mind as if a gale wind was about to blow trees down. “Come now,
darling.”
        At the word, “darling” Maria felt her body shiver in delight. She thought she’d
follow him anywhere. Well, almost.
        She closed her eyes and sent herself back to years gone by, to where Michael
called from. But when?
        “Here” she heard Michael call. “Here.”
        She found it easy to zero in on the voice she loved so dearly. Back she went,
instantly, which definitely disorientated any set words she might have had ready. .
        She opened her eyes and saw that she was looking at a shadow of Michael. He
was nodding and beckoning to her to come closer. She did and as soon as she stood next
to him, she saw her self-sitting in the same chair, but the room had been rearranged. Now
the chair sat against the west wall and instead of standing just to the right, as she once
had when she visited before, she stood to the left. Michael stood exactly in front of the
younger Maria.
        Maria recognized the room arraignment. She’d moved things around right after
Rodin went back with his wife. So Michael had only gone back a few years. What good
would that do? Will this be far enough?
        Michael was saying to her earlier self, “Maria, meet Maria.” He laughed, but then
said, “I am laughing because we are desperate, not because it is funny.”
        ‘The early Maria said, “Michael, you finally get jokes.” She smiled. “You never
used to understand a joke.”
        The future Maria said, “Truly, Michael speaks the truth. I am ready to do
something very drastic. It is gotten quite bad now.”
        “What has?”
        “The computer your son is working on. It has taken over all the people on earth
and enslaved them.”
        The earlier Maria frowned. “What does Gog have to do with my mother? That’s
why I wrote the book.”
        “Your mother provides the main funding for the project. The truth about Gog was
the real need” Michael told her.
        “Then maybe it is alright.” Maria frowned after her words, and the future Maria
knew something bothered her younger self greatly.
        She asked, “What is it? You did something? But how? How could that be possible
without me knowing?”
        Michael seemed as perplexed as Maria right then.
        “I just did it, just now. Remember the book…” she stopped as if not sure how to
go on, but then did. “The one we wrote about Magog and Gog? The one no one would
publish? I added information about my, our mother.”
        “Ah,” the future Maria said. She was beginning to understand where this might be
going. Michael still seemed puzzled.
        “I just published it myself. Just tonight. Not a half hour ago, I pushed the button
to upload the whole book. It’s all out there now for anyone to read. Probably won’t make
any money off it, but that’s ok. I didn’t know what else to do.”
        Michael said, “Do I understand what you did? You published your whole book on
the world wide web?”
        “Yes.” The earlier Maria said.
        “Then all we can do is wait and see if the world will read it.” The future Maria
said and added, “If they do? Then what?”
        “I don’t know. Honestly, what else could I do?” Early Maria shrugged.
        Michael interjected at this point, “If it worked, it has already changed the world.”
        Maria felt herself waver as if she couldn’t hold herself here much longer.
Michael’s ghost hand took and held her almost invisible, arm to keep her there for
another moment.
        “Stay a minute longer.” He said.
        Maria tried. She grabbed on to the arm of the chair with her other hand, as if it
would steady her, but the attempt almost toppled her.
        “It must not have worked.” Maria said. She got up and began to pace. As she did,
she walked right through her older self.
        “We don’t know. So far it hasn’t, but we are not there to know if it worked or
not.” Michael said. “We will go back and wait.”
        Both the Maria pacing the floor and the ghost Maria looked at Michael with
renewed hope in their eyes.
        “How will we know?” Maria asked.
        “Give it more time.” The earlier Maria said.
        She added something else, but Maria could feel herself disappear. She’d never
attempted to visit herself for so long a time before and couldn’t stay any longer.
        Suddenly she felt herself held tight in a strange emptiness, a featureless gray zone.
She felt frightened until the outline of Michael’s form turned her to face him.
        “Ah, Michael.” She laid her head on his shoulder. “You frightened me.” She said.
        “I am so sorry. I wanted to hold on to you for a while…to never let you go.”
        “No, never let me go.”
        Maria felt Michael give her a tight squeeze. “But I must.”
        She heard sadness in his voice and then suddenly he was gone. Disappeared. The
gray zone went with him. Maria was suddenly back in her own living room. The chair
was still set against the East wall. But, it isn’t supposed to be. I rearranged it after Rodin
went back with Susan. Puzzled she called out to Michael.
        “Michael” She called but he did not answer. She didn’t expect him to answer right
away. He was always a mystery. He’ll come back when he needs to see me. He will come
back, won’t he? Suddenly, she felt terror sift through her guts, but shrugged it off. It was
the night events that had her spooked. She smiled then at her choice of words. She would
leave the fuse for tomorrow night. Michael had won for now. She was tired after all the
emotion.
         Maria lay with her head back on the pillow of the chair, the book had fallen to the
floor when she dozed off. The shrill ringing of the phone woke her from the nap. The
phone had been ringing most of the day, but tapered off now that it was close to evening.
Which is how she’d dozed off in the first place. She shook her head to clear it because
she thought she heard the ring signal from her son. As she sat up, she noticed a paper on
the arm of the chair. How did it get there? Did one of the reporters get in? Johnny?
         She called out, Johnny? Johnny? No answer. He hadn’t been here when she took
the nap, so why would he be here now? How would he get in? All day, Maria dared not
get too close to the windows or even open her door to get the mail. Too many reporters
standing on her porch and sidewalk. What a mess. She hadn’t thought about this part of
it. Oh, why did I listen to that voice from the future. Was it my voice? I should have kept
quiet.
         Suddenly, the phone shrilled again. Maria had stopped answering the phone
because reporters had been calling all day, but this time she heard three rings and the
phone stopped, then the same three rings began again. A signal from her son Vincent in
Florida. They’d created the signal before he went to Florida so she’d know they were ok,
without the need to pay for a long distance phone call, her answering machine was
always on the fritz or she forgot to check it.
         She walked over to the stand, picked up the phone, and sat down at the dinning
room table to talk to her youngest son, Vincent.
         “Mom. What is going on in old Detroit. What kind of mess did you start?”
         “I am sorry. It really is a mess, isn’t it.”
         “Is it true? Is Conny Coy our grandma?”
         “Yes, I believe it’s true.”
         “Hell, why didn’t you ever say anything? I mean, it just came out of the blue.”
         “I know. I was protecting the nation. She’s married to Senator Jackson now. At
first I didn’t want a scandal, then I didn’t want any of you in danger.”
         “Why danger.”
         “Well, imagine if Senator Jackson was running for president, something like this
would stop him cold. Maybe the FBI get on your tail? Or cheats and crooks?”
         “Yeah, guess so.”
         “Do me a favor. Call your brothers before they call me. I am not answering the
phone unless I get a signal that it is from family.”
         “I have already called. Good thing we all have different last names, or we’d be in
a mess too.” He laughed.
         “It’s not funny. It is horrible.”
         “Oh, you’ll get through it. Love you, mom.”
         “Sure. Bye.”
         The next call was from her son living in Upper Michigan..
         “Ma, what’s this I am getting over the news. Wife called me on the job. I mean
what’s going on?
         “Just watch the news. What else can I say?”
         “Want me to drive home? I could be there in four hours?”
         “No. All I need to do is keep my door closed. I am not answering the phone
unless I get the family signal. All this will be over in a few days.”
        “Hope so. We’ll come for a visit on the weekend. How’s that?” He laughed.
“We’ll being some food. By the time we get there you’ll be needing it.”
        “I know. Can’t get out of the house.”
        “See you.”
        “Ok.”
        As soon as she hung up from talking to Leonardo, the phone ran again with the
secret signal of three rings. Ok, unless it’s my grandson, Johnny, this has got to be Rodin,
the only son left to call.
        She picked up the phone. It was Rodin.
        “Mother, what’d you do? You got the whole town in an uproar.”
        “I know. I just had to apologize to your older brother. He’s having a fit down
there in Florida. Probably because he wants to be here in the middle of the mess.
Leonardo too. He’s coming down by the weekend.” Maria laughed.
        “He is not having as bad a fit as I am right now. Did you know that C C was our
grandmother all along? I can’t get over it.”
        Maria could hear the astonishment in his voice, but didn’t say anything as he
continued.
        Rodin continued, “Did you know she provided three-fourths of the funding for the
big computer project I have been working on? Her husband Senator Jackson is the one
who pushed it through congress. The same job that got me relocated back to the Detroit
area. And guess what?”
        “What?” Maria cringed because she could already guess.
        “I am out of a job.”
        “I am truly sorry. How is Johnny taking all this?”
        “Oh, he thinks it a gasp. He’s having a ball. Calling friends to gossip.”
        “I didn’t think you’d loose a job over this mess.”
        “Listen, mom, I don’t give a shit. I’ll get another job. My line of work is in
demand. Remember when I came to live at your house because me and Susan weren’t
getting along. Fighting like cats and dogs?”
        “Sure.”
        “Well, it was this job that caused all that stress. I hated what we were doing. More
than that, I was scared of it. We were building something that we had no reason to build.
I was actually terrified of what we were building. I was so dammed glad to be sent home
yesterday morning, I felt like celebrating. I did celebrate. Wife and I went out to dinner.”
        “Susan must be glad you’ll be home more.”
        “She sure is. Kept asking me to leave the project, but I couldn’t. I had to stay to
keep control of what was going on as much as possible. Mike, you remember, you met
him once at my house. He stayed on for the same reason. We were both worried we were
building a Frankenstein.”
        “You don’t think they’ll change their minds, do you?”
        “No. This morning I was called in to help mothballed the project. Government
doesn’t want their connection to become public knowledge. I wasn’t the only one scared
of what we were creating. I’ll tell you about it one day, after this mess blows over.”
        “Somehow I think I already know.”
        “I don’t know how. It was kept pretty secret, until today.”
        “Are you cut out from it completely? Can you make sure it doesn’t rise from the
ashes?”
        “Don’t worry. Erased vital info before I left, sort of like nailing the back door
shut. Sometimes it is necessary. I tell you, Mike and myself, and the other guys were all
scared.”
        “I get the picture, but still you should be careful what you say. This conversation
could get us in serious trouble.”
        “No, mom, didn’t you hear what I said. It’s done.”
        “I mean someone might not like it that you nailed the back door shut.”
        “You think someone is listening in on your phone? Getting paranoid in old age?”
        “Well, it was top secret, wasn’t it?”
        “All done in now.”
        “The news people are banging on the door again.”
        “Don’t answer it. Bye mom, love you. Call me when Leonardo gets there, I’ll pop
over for a visit too. You need anything? ”
        “No, thanks for calling. Bye.”
        Maria sighed. She wasn’t sure why she felt worried about the phone. He was
right. Who would listen in on her phone calls. She walked over to the living room chair
and picked up the paper that had floated off the arm when she got up to answer the
phone. What is this?
        As soon as she looked down at what she held, her hand started to shake. She sat
down quickly and closed her eyes, desperately afraid to know what the paper had written
on it. Yet, she had to know. The writing matched the other papers she had put away in a
soft, perfumed folder marked, “Michael’s Poems.”
        Michael. Where are you? Sick to her stomach with fear, she nevertheless, slipped
her glasses on her nose and bent her head down to read.

The maidens work is done,
did fast forward to the future
the phantom mind of ones and zeros
the hardware left behind
this phantom love most human heart
departed dream to end of nightmare
bare breast to phantom kiss
memories no more than thought
there to her phantom heart
departed love to shadow of ghost
most sincere this vacant void
this humanoid of mindful thought
this dream to end of nightmare
to a job well done
the fading darkness
to the rising sun.
                                       Epilogue

         Where is Michael? We need to ask if he had ever been born; yet, how could a soul
so great not exist, not breathe, not live? If he must be alive somewhere—and we almost
insist on this point—then the by the laws of the universe so must his twin. Can we accept
this condition?
         I like to think that Michael resides in his palace of crimson rubies, perfect
diamonds, turquoise cat eyes, lustrous opals and a million odd computer parts. Where is
this ruby palace. I don’t know where or what world dominion or dimension it sits in, but
its existence is one of the true parts of this story.
         The only real question of importance is will Michael come back, can he come
back without disturbing the balance of time and space? I will need to leave the answer to
the reader. For my part, I expect his return any day now.


                                        The End

								
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