Weather: Will the rain ever end?
Encounters: One long awaited meeting.
The Healer was in the abandoned shore market talking plans for the hysterical outbreak with the appointed leaders of the government faction and the village of Purl. Bullet crossed through all the puddles and smoke toward the meeting.
Jasper called as he made his way to the market, “You coming, Janey?”
“I will be right behind ya!” I called out. “I’m going to check on Senelala!”
Beta stood beside Senelala, watching the crowd disperse.
This was my moment. It’s risky, but I have to take it.
The air was thick with smoke as I grabbed Beta’s hand and pulled him away from the scene. I motioned for Senelala to stay put by the entrance to the shore market. “Don’t move!” I ordered and Senelala plopped to the ground, pulled each limb into its hole, and rested his head on the wet ground. I saw his eyelids close slowly as he drew his head into his cozy space.
I whispered to Beta, “We have to talk!” We made our way over to a shield wall on the far side of the port. It was difficult for Beta to keep up, so I kept my hand in his gently leading. We climbed up the side and ducked beside the gargantuan metal pylon, out of view from the rest of the team if they were to exit the meeting (I hoped it would be extensive).
My hands trembled as I unzipped my pack and reached for the small spirit candle. I held it out in front of me, balancing it on the lid of a jar to catch the dripping wax. I whispered the ancient words the Candlemaker taught me and waited for the sputter and spark of a flame.
Time passed and I felt the familiar whoosh of air that meant Beta’s spirit was with me.
Standing in front of me was the misty Beta, his eyes creased in the corners with his wide smile. I wanted to throw my arms around him and hug him, but I knew I would pass straight through.
“Hello Sarah Jane.” he said so calmly despite the chaos around us, “It’s been a wild night. I know you have some questions for me.”
My heart started to hurt. I didn’t want him to think I was using him, but he was right. I had so many questions.
I blurted out, “Beta, what do you know about home?”
He smiled, “Sarah Jane, you know so much about home. Tell me, what do you know about home?”
I was not in the mood to play games. Beta was so much like his brother. Leave it to him to string me along while we are crouched on a smoking shield wall.
I responded, “I know I’ve been trying to find home, but I don’t know where it is.”
“I think you know a lot more than that.” Beta smiled.
I lifted my hand to my temple, “I know it’s a place I’m drawn to. I know it’s more than a dwelling. I know you know where home is. I know a woman in this village knows where home is.”
“I don’t know of any current village named Home.” Beta’s spirit said and crossed his legs to sit and hover over his physical form.
I asked appalled, “Then what about the newspaper clipping I showed you?”
“I remember the living units from your newspaper, but they aren’t in a village called Home. Those units are a few miles outside of Aviarium, a village on the northern part of the moon. I think those units were left over from some of the first people on our moon.”
“Who lives there now?” I asked feeling hopeful for real answers.
“No one, they are worn down now. Pretty much skeletons of what they were.” Both forms of Beta glanced toward the sky. Rain drops were starting to fall again.
My eyes closed. What was the point of all this? Then, my mind snapped back to what Beta had said, “What do you mean current village? Was there a village before?”
Beta lifted a finger into the air and pointed toward the sky. My eyes followed and caught the sight of the satellite hanging above us. From this height I could directly see the words written upon the ancient satellite dish.
HOME BASE COMMUNICATIONS.
I heard a rustling from beneath us, so I jumped up and peered down through the clearing smoke. I couldn’t see much, but it didn’t seem like we had been caught. I willed my heart to slow down, to stop beating so fast.
When I settled back into my seated position Beta’s spirit pointed out toward Purl and asked, “Do you know what this place was called before Purl? Before the textiles industry took over?”
I shook my head no and Beta pointed toward the satellite, “Home Base. This was the starting place of all Juniper Vale. Our ancestors started here. And, this was the place where we communicated with Earth until our ties were severed.”
He asked, “Where did you find that news clipping?” He seemed to be sensing my frustration, but I let him continue leading me through the conversation. He was moving toward something, I hoped.
I mumbled, “I picked it up off the street in Urban Center.” I was hoping to get answers, but I was just flooded with more questions.
Beta’s misty eyebrows pulled together, “How do you think that is possible? That piece of paper must be hundreds of years old.”
“What? How?” I asked.
“I think you were meant to find it, and things have a way of making themselves known on this moon.” Beta said.
“Well, it’s not a very clear message.” I sighed. “Why was I supposed to find the paper?” Looking at both of them was too much for me in that moment, I looked toward the woods. That’s when my eye caught a familiar sight.
I was cut off as The Hearing slowly descended from the wilderness and gathered at the edge of the shield wall. The rustling I heard was their advance through the woods behind us. The men were completely silent and seemed unable to cross through the shield wall standing before them.
Beta’s misty form stood and walked as far away from his physical connection as he could, about three feet before he started to crackle and fade. His face was filled with longing as he looked out at the men.
“Sarah Jane, there’s so much more at work here than you realize. You feel it, deep within you. Just like the Hearing. You are learning everyday what home is.”
“What are you talking about? What are The Hearing doing here?” I stood too and looked out at the blinded men, all standing robed in the rain. Their hands were at their sides, the wind whipped at the edges of their robes...they just stood.
Beta turned to me, looked me directly in the eyes. I could see The Hearing through him, goosebumps prickled on my skin. “When I was seperated I started to feel it- the pull of the moon. I think you feel it too.”
“You mean like The Hearing? Their inner song?”
“I mean like The Hearing, or my brother, or the Candlemaker. We all feel it. Maybe we all are following the pull of Juniper Vale, you just happened to be handed a sign.”
“You think Juniper Vale sent me that newspaper?” I was feeling a little dazed. Home was more than a house, more than a living unit . . . I knew that in the deepest part of myself. Then, why did it hurt to learn the houses in the newspaper clippings were ruins? Why did I follow this feeling across the moon? What was I trying to even find?
Beta looked like he might jump up and down. He was surging with energy, his misty form was practically crackling, “Sarah Jane! Piece it together! You are brilliant, it’s all within you. You knew my spirit was still here.”
“I think I felt you. Just like the feeling I’ve been following.” I said.
Beta lifted his hands into the air, “You found the newspaper clipping, you received a candle from the Candlemaker, you joined my brother on his journey, you found me, and you ended up here! You ended up at home base! It’s all connected.”
“What do I do now?” I asked. My head was swimming. Of course I saw the connections, but I didn’t understand them. What was I being led to all this time?
“I think that’s up to you. You need to decide what home is to you.” Beta smiled, “And in the meantime help heal the people of this village.”
I watched the unmoving men of The Hearing standing in the smoke and rain below us.
“Janey!” I heard Jasper’s voice come up from behind me. My pulse quickened as he quickly approached. “I saw The Hearing through my ‘scope! What’s happenin’....”
Jasper’s eyes took in the scene, saw Beta standing with both his forms. “Hello, Jasper.” His spirit stood and shined bright at the sight of his friend.
“Beta.” Jasper croaked and walked as close to the spirit as he could without touching him. They stood with their foreheads close together. After a moment he turned and looked at me with a face so grave my heart felt it might catch fire. “How long you been doin’ this, Janey?”
Beta intervened, “I asked her not to tell anyone. I didn’t want to hurt my brother. Sit for a moment, let’s talk.”
Jasper’s mouth hung open for a moment as he looked between us, but he crossed his legs and sat in front of Beta. Beta’s spirit lowered itself onto his physical form.
Jasper looked back to me, “Janey, I’m gonna talk with ol’ Beta alone for a while. Meet ya back at the meetin’.” I could see the glimmer of tears pooling in the corners of his eyes.
I nodded, sat the flickering candle beside Jasper, and walked away down the shield wall.
What would happen now?
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