© 2007 By C. J. Wells
Disclaimers: See Chapter One. Since I started writing this story back in 2003‚ it continues to take place in 2003. Thus‚ the Super Bowl referenced in this Chapter is Super Bowl XXXVII‚ which took place on Sunday‚ January 26‚ 2003.
NEO‚ MORPHEUS AND TRINITY
Rejeanne and Lindsay climbed the steps up and onto the small porch of Jo Clark’s brick north side Chicago bungalow. Lindsay could hear the faint sound of laughter coming from inside the home. "I guess the party’s already started‚" she remarked as Rejeanne rang the doorbell.
"Hey‚ Jeannie!" Jo exclaimed as she opened her screen door to let in the couple. Rejeanne stepped in and gave her old friend a warm hug before pulling back and giving Jo a concentrated look. Bahri‚ she thought. Lindsay was likewise staring in amazement.
Jo looked up at Lindsay. "Hi‚ you must be Lindsay Alastair‚" she said.
"Yes… yes‚ I’m Lindsay."
"Jeannie P’s told me a lot about you‚" Jo said. "I’m glad to finally meet you. Please‚ come in and join the party."
The twosome followed Jo into the living room where eighteen women were lounging in front of a widescreen television set‚ most of them eating various snacks and drinking beer out of plastic cups. "Hey everyone‚ look who’s here!" Jo announced.
"Jeannie P!" some of the women said in unison as eyes fell upon the stunningly beautiful couple. "Hey everyone‚" Rejeanne replied. "This is my boo‚ Lin."
Lindsay handed over to Jo two shopping bags full of snack food and liters of soda as she nodded in greeting to the women. "Thanks‚" Jo said to the twosome. "There’s plenty of food in the dining room‚ and the keg’s on the sun porch. Plenty of pop‚ wine and coolers in the fridge."
Rejeanne and Lindsay followed Jo into the kitchen where she placed the two bags on the counter. Rejeanne placed her hand on her friend’s shoulder. "Can we talk for a moment?" she asked.
"Sure‚ what’s up?" Jo queried.
"Could we maybe go into your guest room?"
Jo was perturbed. "Okay‚" she said tentatively.
After entering Jo’s guest bedroom‚ Lindsay shut the door and she and Rejeanne sat in wicker chairs that faced a futon couch where Jo sat. "Okay Jo‚" Rejeanne said. "I need to ask you something important."
"Okay‚" Rejeanne stated‚ "first off‚ do I look somehow different to you now?" she asked.
"You haven’t changed your hair since the last time that I saw you‚ so no‚" Jo replied.
"Well‚ do you recognize something about Lindsay?"
"I just met her five minutes ago‚ Jeannie."
"Alright‚ alright‚" Rejeanne remarked. "So‚ um‚ have you ever had a really strange dream?"
"Uh‚ yeah‚" Jo replied. "Dreams by their very nature are strange."
"Right‚ but have you ever had a dream where you felt like you were in ‘The Matrix‚’ but instead of‚ like‚ Neo‚ Morpheus and Trinity‚ you were in this ancient Roman coliseum and you were‚ like‚ a gladiator or an ancient Greek army guy or something?"
Jo smirked. "Have you been smoking your dad’s blueberry blunts again?"
Lindsay shot Rejeanne a look‚ which didn’t go unnoticed by Jo. "Oh‚ you didn’t know that Jeannie gets her pot from her father?"
"Thanks‚ Jo‚" Rejeanne slithered.
"Your father supplies you marijuana?" Lindsay asked crossly.
"Hey‚ I told you that he was a farmer‚" Rejeanne replied.
"He grows it?"
"In his basement‚" Jo injected. "Jeannie P’s a real tight-wad‚ Lindsay. Why spend twenty-five bucks on a quarter bag off the street when pops will supply her unlimited weed free of charge."
Lindsay folded her arms in disapproval as she continued to eye Rejeanne contemptuously.
"That’s not entirely true‚ Jo‚" Rejeanne retorted. "It so happens that the last bag that I got I bought from the stepson of the managing editor at my job. Anyway‚ I’m not high‚ Jo. I haven’t smoked a joint since…" She stopped herself.
"Since when?" Lindsay inquired.
Rejeanne looked down at her shoes while Jo’s eyebrow rose. "Since when?" Lindsay repeated.
Rejeanne sighed. "Were you stoned when I met you at the fundraiser?" Lindsay shot.
"No‚" Rejeanne replied. "I mean‚ not really. Look‚ I took one hit off Doug Linton’s phillies blunt. His weak-assed shit wasn’t enough to get me that buzzed‚ okay?"
"Weak as compared to the potent stuff your dad grows?" Lindsay asked cynically.
"Yes‚ actually‚" Rejeanne replied with equal cynicism.
"Maybe I should leave the room so that you two can sort things out‚" Jo stated.
"No‚ no‚" both women said to Jo. "Please‚" Lindsay continued‚ "let me try."
Rejeanne threw up her arms in defeat as Lindsay addressed Jo. "What Jeannie was trying to ask is have you ever had a dream that felt as though it was more than just a dream? Did you ever have a dream that took you to a different place and time‚ or made you feel like you were not you? I know that this doesn’t make much sense but… "
Jo’s eyebrows rose. "Actually‚ yes‚ I did have a couple of dreams that felt different‚ weird‚ even epic‚" she responded.
"Was it recently?" Lindsay asked.
"No‚" Jo replied. "I had these dreams right after I met Jeannie."
"What all do you remember about them that made them stand out?" Lindsay asked.
"Well‚ first off‚ I wasn’t me in the dreams‚" Jo started. "I was‚ like‚ an older version of myself‚ if that makes any sense. And I was in a different time. I think it was‚ like‚ the 1880s or something. The dream started out in this military compound controlled by the Italians. I was speaking Italian a lot in the dream‚ and I could actually understand what I was saying‚ which is weird because the only Italian I know is the mob-talk that I hear on ‘The Sopranos.’"
"Anyway‚ there were two women with me in these dreams."
"Do you remember what they looked like?" Rejeanne spoke up.
"Kinda‚" Jo replied. "One of them was tall‚ like you‚" she said‚ referencing Lindsay. "Same intense blue eyes‚ but she was much older‚ like about sixty. She wore men’s clothes and she was really intimidating. Oh‚ and she spoke with a southern accent."
"Maggie‚" Lindsay whispered to Rejeanne.
"What about the other woman?" Rejeanne asked.
"The other woman was very sophisticated and cultured‚" Jo replied "She wore one of those poofy late 19th Century dresses and spoke with a British accent. She was really refined and charming and I remember that she reminded me of Princess Di‚ since I had the two dreams when Diana was still alive and in the media a lot."
"Do you remember what she looked like?" Lindsay asked.
"She was somewhat tall‚ but not as tall as the butchy southern woman. She was older as well‚ with white hair that she wore in a tight bun. That’s about all I could remember."
Lindsay leaned in closer to Jo. "Did she smile a lot‚ even when there wasn’t anything to smile about? A wicked smile?"
Jo’s eyebrows rose again. "Interesting way of describing her‚ but yeah‚ she did have this sexy sinister little smile."
Lindsay looked at Rejeanne. "Callisto‚" she whispered.
"What else do you remember about these dreams?" Lindsay asked.
"Like I said‚ they were very detailed and epic‚" Jo replied. "I had the first dream one night and the second dream picked up where the first one left off the next night‚ and then that was that. I hadn’t dreamt anything like them before or since."
"It would really help if you could tell us all that you remember‚" Lindsay said.
"Why?" Jo asked. "What’s this about?"
"It’s kind of a long story‚" Lindsay said‚ "and it would take some time to explain and a lot of openness on your part to understand but…"
"Jo‚" Rejeanne interrupted‚ "We’re looking for something and we think that you can help us find it."
Jo could not fathom what her old friend was asking of her‚ but she saw the sincerity in Rejeanne’s eyes. "Okay‚" she said. "The one thing that stood out was that the person that I was in the dream was helping the two white women find some transcripts."
"Transcripts?" Lindsay and Rejeanne asked in unison.
"Yeah‚ transcripts‚" Jo replied. "Apparently‚ I was a mediator between the two women and the Italian militiamen. I was trying to get the Italians to reveal where these transcripts were."
Excitedly‚ Lindsay and Rejeanne began talking over each other as they fielded questions to Jo. After a few seconds of this‚ Jo waved her hands‚ silencing the couple. "Time out‚" she implored. "Look‚ I had these dreams at the time that I was taking a course in analytical psychology at DePaul. My prof was having us write dream journals. I can go dig them up and find the entries for those two dreams if that’ll help."
Both Lindsay and Rejeanne clasped Jo’s hands. "That would be great!" Rejeanne exclaimed.
"Not a problem‚ but would you guys mind if I look for that journal after the coin toss and kick off?"
"Oh‚ sure‚" "Rejeanne said as Jo stood and left the guest room‚ not sure of exactly what had just transpired between her‚ Rejeanne and Lindsay.
Lindsay turned to Rejeanne. "We are not done with this marijuana discussion‚ Rejeanne‚" she said.
"I’m sure that we’re not‚ my Liege‚" Rejeanne retorted.
* * * *
Lindsay and Rejeanne stepped out onto Jo’s sun porch and poured themselves beer out of the keg before joining the other women to watch the beginning of the game. Rejeanne sat down on the couch next to Jo’s partner Shawn. Lindsay sat down next to Rejeanne and immediately wrapped her arm around Rejeanne’s shoulder.
"Hey Shawnie‚" Rejeanne said as she took notice of her partner’s possessive gesture. "This is Lindsay."
"Hi there‚" Shawn said to Lindsay.
"So‚ Jeannie P‚ who do you want to win?" Shawn asked.
"I’m not a fan of either Tampa Bay or the Raiders‚" Rejeanne said‚ "but since Tampa Bay’s never won a Super Bowl before‚ it’d be kind of nice to see them win."
"I think they will‚" Shawn said. "They had a better record than Oakland overall this season and they have the better offensive line."
"Yeah‚" Jo added‚ "and Johnson and McCardell have been on fire all year."
"We shall see‚" Rejeanne said.
"What about you‚ Lindsay?" Shawn asked. "Who are you rooting for?"
"Which ever company has the most entertaining two-point-one million-dollar-thirty-second commercial‚ of course‚" Lindsay replied‚ sending everyone in the room into a fit of laughter.
Despite her cynicism‚ Lindsay found herself getting into the game. It was not until the half-time special that Jo excused herself and went to look for her old dream journals. Once she located the one that she needed‚ she motioned for Rejeanne and Lindsay to rejoin her in the guest bedroom.
"This is it‚" Jo said as she handed the marked pages of the journal to Rejeanne. "I hope that it helps with whatever you two are doing."
"Thanks‚" Rejeanne replied as Jo left the twosome alone with the journal.
Dream Journal of Josephine Clark
Monday‚ October 14‚ 1996:
Last night‚ I had one long‚ strange and vivid dream. What’s even more remarkable is that I remember so much of it. This dream was like no other that I had ever had before because it seemed so real‚ as though I was a part of an epic narrative taking place.
I am not me in this dream. I am much older‚ perhaps an ancestor‚ because I go by the name of Alemnesh‚ which is clearly to me an Ethiopian name. It is also not the present time in the dream. It seems to be somewhere around 1890‚ because of the way Alemnesh and the other people in the dream are dressed‚ the absence of automobiles and how everything looks like vintage late 1800s. /P>
The dream starts out with Alemnesh inside of an Italian military compound in the Eritrean province of Ethiopia. I know this because of my knowledge of Ethiopian history. The Italians were there because King Menelik II allowed it for a time. Alemnesh is in a bunker speaking Italian with this army colonel. I don’t speak Italian‚ but as Alemnesh‚ I speak it and understand it. Alemnesh is telling this colonel that she has been hired by Lady Harry‚ wife of the Earl of Addington‚ to find the lost transcripts of Cella Erasmus. I have no idea what that is‚ but Alemnesh apparently does‚ and she tells this colonel that her employer‚ Lady Harry‚ will pay top British pound sterling for the location of these transcripts. The colonel insists on meeting Lady Harry personally‚ so Alemnesh leaves his bunker and returns with her and another woman who appears to be Lady Harry’s bodyguard and friend.
Lady Harry is really charming and personable. She’s an older lady‚ about 55 or 60. She’s about 5’7" in height and is rather thin‚ only about 110 pounds. She has big brown eyes and pure white hair tied in a bun and she speaks with an aristocratic British accent. She’s a lot like Princess Di‚ only older and far more confident in her demeanor. She smiles a lot and her voice is both perky and seductive at the same time. She cannot speak Italian‚ however‚ thus her need for Alemnesh as a translator.
The other woman goes by the name of Stretch. It’s a fitting name for her. Also approximately 60 years of age‚ Stretch is about 6 feet tall‚ is dressed like Rudyard Kipling and is packing a piece the size of a small cannon. Unlike Lady Harry‚ Stretch has zero charm. She’s all business. Also‚ Stretch is obviously an American because she speaks with a thick southern drawl. Although she should be‚ Alemnesh isn’t the least bit intimidated by Stretch‚ probably because Alemnesh is very comfortable with Lady Harry. Despite her menacing appearance‚ however‚ Stretch is a strikingly beautiful older woman with gem-like bright blue eyes. She reminds me of that actress who played Wonder Woman‚ only older and meaner.
So‚ Alemnesh is negotiating finding these lost transcripts with the Italian colonel. He is telling her to tell Lady Harry that for 500‚000 British pounds‚ he will guarantee the location where these transcripts are buried. I don’t know why‚ but Alemnesh knows that the colonel is full of shit and she tells Lady Harry that he’s trying to rip her off. This dream goes on with Lady Harry‚ through Alemnesh‚ trying diplomacy with this colonel. Lady Harry believes that‚ even if he doesn’t know where the transcripts are buried‚ he can point her in the direction of someone who does.
Diplomacy is not working with this guy‚ as he continues to demand an outrageous amount of money for his help. At one point‚ Stretch stands up‚ and in her Scarlett O’Hara accent tells Alemnesh and Lady Harry to leave the bunker. The two women wait outside until they hear the sound of Stretch’s gigantic revolver go off. They‚ along with a dozen or so Italian soldiers‚ run back into the bunker to see what happened. What everyone sees is the colonel standing in the middle of the room‚ as white as a ghost and with wet trousers from where he had obviously pissed his pants. He hands Alemnesh a piece of paper with the name of an Ethiopian Orthodox priest written on it. Stretch puts her gun back in her holster and casually walks out of the bunker. The bullet from that revolver leaves a crater in the wall behind the colonel’s head.
Alemnesh‚ Lady Harry and Stretch mount three horses near the bunker. Lady Harry asks Stretch what happened between her and the colonel. Stretch tells Lady Harry that she was basically tired of his bullshit and conveys to the colonel that she wants the name of whoever on the African continent can get her to those transcripts. In broken English‚ he calls her a hedge-on-the-tart‚ which I guess is a 19th Century epithet for lesbian‚ and then tells her to go to hell. She pulls her gun‚ shoots at his head‚ purposefully missing him‚ and advises him that the next shot is going to separate the air under his skull from his body if he doesn’t tell her what she wants to know. He pees his pants and tells her. She tells him to write it down‚ so he does.
The three women ride out of the military compound. I wake up.
Tuesday‚ October 15‚ 1996.
Last night‚ I had another long dream. This dream seems to have picked up where the dream from yesterday left off. This is truly incredible.
I‚ as Alemnesh‚ am on horseback riding with Lady Harry‚ Stretch and an entourage of armed Tigrayan mercenaries. The mercenaries are guiding them over the border from colonized Eritrea into Ethiopia. They are riding toward Gondar‚ where it is believed the Orthodox priest can be found. Alemnesh has some knowledge about the origin of the transcripts‚ but desires to know more. Curious‚ she begins asking questions about them. Lady Harry is eager to tell Alemnesh everything‚ but Stretch interrupts Lady Harry‚ saying in her thick southern accent‚ "Let’s just find the things first."
It is obvious that although Lady Harry is providing all of the capital and manpower for this operation‚ Stretch is actually running the show.
The ride through the mountainous terrain of northern Ethiopia is hard on the group and their horses‚ but they finally reach Gondar. As I am dreaming this‚ I can actually physically feel the taxation that the ride is having on Alemnesh’s older body. So very weird.
Alemnesh begins asking villagers they encounter if anyone knows where to find this particular priest. She is now speaking both Amharic and Tigrinya‚ two more languages that I cannot speak. But once again‚ as Alemnesh‚ I can both speak and understand each language.
Anyway‚ the group is finally able to track down the priest‚ one Abba Yordanos‚ who is the clergyman for a small Ethiopian Orthodox church on the west end of Gondar. Telling the mercenary bodyguards to remain outside‚ the three women enter the church and are met by two adolescent boys. The boys direct the women to a small room behind the sanctuary. The priest is sitting in a chair with his back to the women. He has his face in his hands‚ as if he’s in deep thought or prayer. He then muffles the words in Amharic‚ "I’ve been waiting for you."
Abba Yordanos stands‚ turns and faces the three women. He only looks at Alemnesh and Lady Harry momentarily. It is Stretch who has his complete attention. He approaches the threatening old white woman wearing men’s clothes and carrying a loaded revolver‚ gently cups his hands on her cheeks and speaks to her.
"The priest said‚ ‘you are the one‚’" Alemnesh translates to Stretch. She continues. "He says that many years ago‚ when he was just a boy‚ a guardian angel named Delia came to him in a dream and told him about the scrolls‚ what they are and where they are hidden. The angel told him that one day‚ the spirit of Cella Erasmus‚ the protector of the scrolls‚ would return to reclaim them." The priest tells Stretch that it is she. /P>
Again‚ I have no idea what any of this means. Neither do Alemnesh and Lady Harry apparently‚ because they begin to snicker at what they believe are the ranting of a nut job priest‚ until something totally unexpected happens. The usually stoic and hardened Stretch begins crying like a baby as she wraps her arms around the priest. They hug for a very long time. Stretch eventually releases Abba Yordanos‚ turns to Alemnesh and Lady Harry and simply says‚ "Finally."
Abba Yordanos leads the three women down a secret darkened passageway behind the chapel to an underground cavern. Once there‚ he points to a spot marked by a round painted symbol on the clay wall.
Alemnesh translates. "He says that they are there‚ behind the painted chakram." Whatever that is.
I wake up. Was this really a dream or was this something more?
Lindsay and Rejeanne looked at each other and began crying as the guest bedroom door opened and an excited Jo entered. "The Bucks just scored another touchdown‚ you guys!" she exclaimed before noticing the tears in the eyes of couple. "Are you two okay?" she asked.
Somewhat embarrassed‚ Lindsay wiped her eyes. "We’re fine‚" she replied.
"Jo‚ can we use your scanner to copy these pages in your journal?" Rejeanne asked as she too wiped her eyes.
"Oh‚ hell‚ take the damn thing‚" Jo replied. "My fucking prof that year almost flunked me because he believed that I was making this shit up. Thankfully‚ he didn’t flunk me. Just get it back to me whenever you’re done with it. I know you’re good for it."
"Thank you so very much‚ Jo‚" Lindsay said.
"Yeah‚ thanks‚ buddy‚" Rejeanne added. "Totally."
"Not a problem." Jo replied.
Rejeanne approached her old friend. "You know‚ I know that this seems really weird to you‚" she said. "But I want you to know something. What you had those two nights were not dreams. You were right when you wrote that they made you feel like you ‘were part of an epic narrative taking place.’ That’s exactly what you were experiencing‚ Jo. They were a piece of your soul‚ giving you a key to your past."
"When we find what we’re looking for‚" Lindsay chimed in‚ "we’ll return and share everything with you. You’re a part of this epic‚ so you’re entitled."
"These transcripts‚ are you two saying that they really exist?" Jo asked.
"Yes‚ they do‚" Rejeanne replied.
"Holy shit‚" Jo stated‚ "Well then‚ I hope that you find them."
CONTINUED IN CHAPTER FIFTEEN
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