Soul Shard Chronicles: Houses of the Holy; Episode 1, Chapter 2

2.

 

John was paralyzed by the scene playing out in his head. It felt so real that he thought he was literally there! It was so dark! So frightening!

Santa appeared. Not the traditional Santa, though the creature was dressed in the same red, white, and black suit, but a Santa that had fiery red skin and a hideously demonic visage. Instead of a bag, this Santa wielded a sword and a club.

“You will bow to me!” It demanded. “I rule the world! I am your god! You will observe my day! You will speak of no other! You will bow to me!”

“I bow to no one,” he heard himself say.

“Then prepare to die!” the Santa cried.

It seemed to take him forever to come to the realization that he didn’t need to run. After all, the dream had begun the moment he had gone to bed and fell asleep. How long he had been asleep was anyone’s guess. One hour? Two? Three? All night?

Then, he turned and faced the monstrosity. Suddenly, it stopped chasing him and became indecisive.

“You hold no power over me,” he stated, “be away with you.”

And then, it was gone. A wisp of smoke marking its passing. He opened his eyes and looked at the clock. It was 4:30 AM. he had been asleep most of the night.

Again he had been shown something. But what? What had been revealed to him? And why?

As with his vision of the headless bodies, he could tell no one. Not one soul. Otherwise, they would think him crazy. Or merely seeking attention.

He knew he wasn’t crazy. Nor did he really want attention for such things. They frightened him. Confused him.

He didn’t like the idea of having those kinds of dreams. Nightmares. Nightmares that he couldn’t wake from until they were over. Nightmares that held messages.

No, he would rather gain attention from things he did right. Not dreams he had. Or visions. Or anything that could be misused.

He rolled over and went back to sleep. Maybe he would have better dreams from this point on. Darkness consumed him and he drifted back to dreamland. This time, there were no Santas. Only dark worlds filled with war. Destruction. Like an old war movie.

But at least it was less frightening. Less abrasive. He could handle war scenes.

Perhaps it was because home was a warzone. Or because it was a break from the religious crap his parents believed. Whatever it was, he was willing to watch it play out.

Bombs were exploding everywhere. And yet, he was oddly unafraid. It was as if he was in the lead of those around him. They seemed to follow him into the thick of battle without question.

But who were they fighting against? And why? What had happened to the world?

***

He hated dreams. But here he was, in the middle of yet another terrifying dream. Mystery of mysteries. And all mysteries seemed to be shown in dreams. And nightmares.

This time, he was being chased by a giant horned ram’s head. Or was it a goat’s head? Or a mixture of both?

There was no body. Just a head. A living, bodiless ram’s head. Or goat head. First black, then changing color constantly. And that grin!

It was almost human! And extremely evil! As if the head meant him harm.

No words. No warning. It simply appeared and began chasing him in his room. Then up and down the stairs.

Again, it took him seemingly forever to realize that all he had to do was turn and stand his ground. Maybe hours. And even when he did, he hesitated.

When he finally turned to face it, it shrank and disappeared. He was getting tired of the cryptic dreams. The strange, otherworldly visions. He wanted a peaceful night’s sleep.

Something he had not had for a while. When he wasn’t having dreams that scared the shit out of him, he was dreaming of wars in places he had never been. Ruined cities. And yet they all felt so familiar. So normal.

It unnerved him. He was a child. He wasn’t supposed to have these kinds of dreams.

And yet, here he was. Being given clues. But to what? And why?

***

He loved hearing the coyotes howl just outside his window. It was one of the plusses, for him anyway, of living in the country. Another was being around animals. Playing hide and seek with the goats. Having a safe haven from his sister in the old barn near the lower pastures.

For some reason, the spirits there defended him. Hid him. There was no other way to explain it.

The old tack room was a great place to find solitude. And John loved to be alone at times. Especially after being threatened by Leanne.

There, he could ponder the meanings of his dreams and visions. Not that he would have any revelations, but he pondered them anyway. But because they haunted him on a daily basis.

And the coyotes put him to sleep. So soothing. So serene.

Thunder had the same effect. It was soothing, especially when it was distant. Even the sound of rain soothed him.

But there were dangers out here as well. Lightning. Tornadoes. His sister.

But he had friends. Billy Marliss and his sister, Nicki. Their sister Regan was too young to hang out with them on the bus. Nicki, though seemed to have a crush on him. Billy, though, watched his back.

And then, there was Nicole Arlington, who also seemed to have a crush on him. She would sit with him when Billy was not on the bus and want to play house. Not one of John’s favorite games, but it passed the time.

Then there were Craig Wills, Danny Harolds, Wynn Paldry, Jonnie Pensley,  and Stan Johnson. Chuck Fields and Jeff Upheldt didn’t really count. They weren’t as close as ‘the gang’. Penn Dringer had moved in Kindergarten, so he had long since faded from importance.

But even ‘the gang’ was not as close as Billy and Nicki. Or Charles and Nikki. Those were John’s closest friends.

Billy and Nicki lived just up the road. John could go visit them any time. Charles and Nikki were family friends and he could visit them whenever his mother went to visit theirs.

And then, there was Ellie, Donnie, and Daria. The Morrisons. John’s father was a friend of their father, his mother a friend of their mother.

Finally, there were the Walstons and the Maldwells. The Maldwells were also old friends of John’s parents. But the Walstons were ‘church friends’.

The Maldwells had seven children. John had become friends with the two youngest, John and Terri. Leanne was friends with the others as they were too old for John to get close to.

The Walstons were a whole different matter altogether. All of the Walston children were too old for John to be friends with and their parents made him uncomfortable. Robert Walston was a braggart and Mindy was a prude. A snob.

All the boys were too old to be too friendly with. The girls as well. John was too young to enjoy cars or girls. Nor was he interested in racing, football, or wrestling.  

 

RTZ: Act 2, Scene 6

Scene 6: The preset date of departure. John’s office. John is sitting in front of his computer, reviewing something.

 

John’s Voice

(narrating)

To date, we have brought down many of the smaller threats that has brought this country to its knees. We have also brought down many of the top threats as well. I have intimidated dignitaries and world leaders…and even a President. I don’t scare anymore and that scares everyone. Threats of death have no effect on me. In essence, I have nothing to lose.

 

Jennie enters John’s office and sits on the desk.

 

Jennie

Whater you watching?

 

John

Eepisode three of “Pennies”. I’m reviewing it for inconsistencies.

 

Jennie

Is there?

 

John

No. Looks pretty good so far. Pennies From Heaven is going to be an amazing series. Too bad I won’t be around to see the last episodes.

 

Jennie

I am pretty sure that whoever you get to take it over will do fine.

 

John

Yeh, Me too.

 

Jennie

Have anyone in mind?

 

John

For the entertainment business?

 

Jennie

Yes.

 

John

Sure do. And I believe I have also found who will be training her.

 

Jennie

(confused)

Oh? Who?

 

John

Tawnie Lee. And you are going to train her.

 

Jennie

child?

 

John

teenager. One I can identify with. She is bullied and teased. I was done the same way when in school. That was why her mother asked me to mentor her.

 

Jennie

So you are handing her your entertainment business.

 

John

(nodding)

Yes. But you get both this business and the incubator. After all, I have been training my replacement for the past month. I figured that you and your sister could handle this operation. That was why I recommended her for the London office.

 

Jennie

Did you look at the last files?

 

John

Sure did. 

 

Jennie

(curious)

And?

 

John

(smiles)

Everything looks good. I think it’s time for the takedown.

 

Jennie

I’ll go inform the board.

 

John

This is your baby. Go wow them.

(looks up at her)

I taught you well.

 

She gets up and goes around to where he is sitting. She puts her arms around him from behind. He leans back and they kiss. He watches her leave, then returns to what he is doing. A few minutes later, the phone rings.

 

John

(picking up the phone and putting it to his ear)

Hello?

(listens for a few seconds)

Yes Todd? Yes you can come in and talk to me. Ok. See you in a few.

(hangs up the phone. sits back for a minute and looks at the time)

Almost time. Just a few more minutes.

 

time seems to pass rather quickly as a pain hits. Todd appears in his office doorway. 

 

Todd

Hey, dad. Are we ready?

 

John

(a tear coming to his eye)

One more minute.

(types a quick reply email and hits send.)

Now, I am ready.

(stops in apprehension momentarily)

You called me dad.

 

Todd

(nods)

Mom would’ve wanted it that way.  Besides. I stopped in here while you were out earlier. Jennie told me about you and mom’s plan to get me back. Only a dad would fight for a child.

(looks at John questioningly)

Why aren’t you taking Jennie with you?

 

John

She belongs here. In this time. Not with us in the past.

 

Todd

Oh.

 

John

Besides. I can find us someone to complete the family when we get to where we’re going. It’s more practical that way.

 

Todd

Won’t you miss her?

 

John

(nodding)

Sure I will. She’s been wonderful. But she also made the sacrifice so that we could go do things to make sure that things turn out different.

 

Todd

In other words, she gave you up so we could go get you and mom together before you met this round.

 

John

(nods)

Pretty much.

(looks at Todd)

But we have other things to do as well.

 

Todd

Like set up the organization.

 

John

Exactly.

 

Todd

(smiles, looks at John)

Then let’s do this.

(he grabs John’s hand)

 

The room around them vanishes. End of scene. 

 

End of Act 2

 

 

 

Dreams, Part 3

I have always been plagued by dreams. Not the dreams that everyone else has, but the type that tell something, that warn about something.  At eight, I had a particularly nasty one of a blood red murderous Santa figure. He was killing innocent people, good people. While I reserve what I have come to understand about this particular dream for myself, I will tell you I now understand it without mistake. The same where the bodiless goat head is concerned.

I am slowly growing aware of the meanings of all my dreams. I am swiftly learning how to decipher them. What I am learning is alarming me. Things I thought were only possibilities are now realities.

As I have stated before, my more recent dreams have health with those around me. At first, they dealt with Kelly. Now, they deal with me. Back then, they dealt with society in general. Or religion in general.

All I know is Now, I want no more. But I guess it isn’t up to me what I am shown or what I have seen. It is, however, up to me to finish what has been started before it is too late.

Dreams, part 2

The dreams have started again. same deserted town, almost the same scenario…only this time, I am absent–in person, that is. Well, mostly absent. Instead of the dream being centered around me, now it is centered around a child and a mother. I am merely a picture behind the crying woman.

Let me go back a bit. Every dream I have ever had has had me in them. At some point. In some capacity. Last night’s dream was no different.

It started out with me moving to a town, the same town that was in the dreams that plagued me before Kelly died. With the same empty center. And the same strange shops and same strange people. And I was accompanied by a woman and her son, who called me dad.

I started out as being alive. I went out to begin looking for a way to sell my lyrics, my songs. Hell. I was even singing. Somewhere in the middle of my search, it became apparent that I was no longer the one searching, but that the boy had taken my place after a scene with the woman standing in a kitchen, looking at my picture, crying as if she had received some really horrible news.

Even worse was the fact that a voice in the dream told the boy that he needed to go home, that his mother had a message for him. From there, he started to get lost in the empty part of the town as he searched for his way back home.

At this point, I awoke to go to the restroom. I know, most people do not put stock in dreams. But I do. I know that I am being told that my time is running out and that I need to get things done.

I understand that the woman represents projects done. The child represents a project yet to be started and one that may not reach completion before I die. Perhaps the groundwork will be laid and the project under way, I don’t know the complete interpretation. All I know is that it will still be young and incomplete when I die.

The town is my life. Something is wrong at the core, the heart. Something no one has found. Something I have not been told is wrong with me. Something that shortens my time.

This is how it started before Kelly died. I had a dream of the same town. The same empty town center. The same sense of being lost. Only I was the one who found themselves alone. and I was the one who found themselves lost.

I am just wondering how long it will be before I begin having the reams of the haunted mansion and its tunnels, cellars, and attic rooms that have some unspeakable horror residing in them that I cannot see. I wonder when the child of last night’s dream replaces me as the one facing those evils.

When will the youth be the one lost in the seaside fishing village and I be the one who gets separated from him? When do I begin dreaming of the child being lost in a dying, decaying community where it looks familiar but it isn’t?

 

 

Realizations, Part 2

After last night, I now realize that I was right yesterday. I realize that I am only given a small bit of time. I had a dream last night where she came to me and wanted me to take her hand. Unlike most, I know that this is a sign it is almost time.

I know many would see this as a crazy, almost deluded idea, but I understand much more than I once did. Yes, I am tired. My strength is waning. And I haven’t had the best of health for a long time.

In fact, before my second marriage self-destructed, I was told by a doctor that he did not see how I had lived as long as I had. My gall bladder had literally died and had been making me extremely sick. In fact, it was so bad that I should have been dead.

I have never bounced back from this. It has been more than three years since (actually, it has been over five) and I have never gotten to a point where I was well enough to consider myself in good health. I still suffer from the side effects.

I know I still have to finish what I started. I know I still have to make a difference. I have to effect a change. Somehow. But my race is almost run. Peace is within sight for this reluctant warrior. I just hope that I can touch just one life before it is said and done.