Gordon Slade expertly kicked the heels of his Italian shoes against the curb and slid his six-foot frame into his Oldsmobile. He was careful of course – as he was about everything – not to scratch the expensive leather.
At one time, before Detroit went south, his Olds was a car that didn’t stand out, and therefore suited his profession. He sat for a moment before starting the car. One of the skills he had developed over his twenty-five years as a private detective was being able to calm himself and intuit via bodily sensation if something was going wrong. Now he felt that vibration in his gut. But in spite of it, he turned the key. The Olds startled to attention.
Slade pulled the shift lever into Drive and pointed the car north. It would take at least two hours to drive from his home near Fenway Park in Boston to the address he had been given in Maine. He was still unsure how that lawyer had convinced him to come. Maybe in an odd way it was his candor. Directness was not usually the way he was approached, and it was through indirectness that he usually got his job done.
Over the years he had done a good job of building his business as a private detective. These days when the highflying surgeons at Mass General allowed their narcissism to move them into blatant indiscretion, he was usually the first one to get the call. Those were the bread-and-butter cases. The easy hefty fees from the naïve spouses. Usually two or three nights of stakeouts, the glossy pictures.
The tension in his stomach told him this would be different. Before Slade had told the lawyer he would come, he had googled Peter Wagner. He was an industrialist from the old school. Wagner’s father had become wealthy back in the days when Maine thrived on the shipping industry. The family’s fortune must have started back in the late 1800s since Peter Wagner was probably at least in his early eighties. The family business had prospered well into the 1950s, but as often happens when the third generation takes over, business gradually began to dry up. Since the company had remained private, there was no hard financial data on the net. But the most recent article he had found on Wagner Enterprises described it as a relatively small operation making exclusive sailboats at one facility in Maine and another in Taiwan.
Slade had grown up in an Irish neighborhood in South Boston, the son of a cop. He was never bothered when the rich fell on hard times. Still, they were the people who usually paid his bills, and so his feelings toward them could be complicated. Maybe that was the reason he had felt the uneasy tug as he left on this trip to Maine. Or, was it something else.
Blaine Astrid loved her new college life. Where else could she have found such cheap housing? Of course there were rats and roaches, but because the housing was not up to code there was little the landlord could do to evict people like Blaine, who knew how to drop the name of the housing inspector when the landlord got pushy. Plus, there were the old strip malls with cheap Asian food, and stores selling used CDs and old computers. The Food Pro was not too far from her house, where everything for sale was cheap and way past the sell-by dates. She had once lived for two-and-a-half months on nothing but Ramen noodles and Honey Nut Cheerios.
Those first few months after she got out of the state mental hospital might have been the best time of her whole life. She had been able to live completely by herself. For the most part, nobody had bothered her. She had cobbled together the first really powerful computer she had ever had and spent days on end working on her de-encryption program. De-encryption had not been that hard to do. There was a sense in which she saw the world backwards anyway. Hate instead of love. Evil instead of good. If the mind works that skewed way, it intuitively understands how to work things backwards.
Thank goodness for the push to have all medical files stored electronically. One of her first thrills had been to download and read her psychiatric file. The state mental system had been one of the early recipients of recovery stimulus funds to do the job digitizing medical records. By the time she had been able to look at her records, not only had she been able to read them, her program was sophisticated enough that she had also been able to revise them. At least the version in the clouds.
How she hated shrinks! They were all a bunch of perverts. All she had to do was act out just a little, and the head shrink would have four of the matron orderlies take her to his office and strip her to search for drugs. He was a large heavyset man with a huge paunch and a bald head. He sweated profusely, smelled of alcohol and stale tobacco, and would glare at her body from behind his horn-rimmed glasses. He seemed unable to take his eyes off of her private parts.
She had been a cutter since adolescence. It was only in her late teens that she had begun to cut the soft sensitive skin in her pubic region. The first time she had cut there, she felt the most relief she had ever felt in her entire life. Soon she had run out of ever-more sensitive places to use the razor.
If you are reading this, something has gone terribly wrong. So much has happened since we first met that day in the Kabul marketplace. And something most important has stayed constant. I knew when I first met you, even before we went to St. Issa’s pond, through the immediate experience of your energy field, that we had connected at some deep soul level. I know if you are reading this, that with your background, you are one of the only people who are able to help me.
I know that it has been a long time since I had to leave you and Afghanistan because of the Russian invasion, and you had to go to wherever you went to do your work. You have remained with me in my heart. As I told you in my letters, after I got back to the United States I had a period of difficult adjustment, but after a while I got back to my life’s work of exploring how best to develop my consciousness. I went to work for an environmental organization. At first I was just sort of a go-fer. This suited me because I felt that the real work was on myself. And while the organization was getting deeper and deeper into trying to understand what to do about global warming, I was getting deeper and deeper into my ability to understand energy fields not only of other people but of other animals and the natural world itself. I didn’t tell anybody at work what I was doing in my personal life. But I got an assignment to read all of this documentation about the government’s secret new plan to store nuclear waste, and—even crazier—develop a new generation of small nuclear weapons, out on the Navajo reservation in the Four Corners region. They sent me out to the reservation so I could actually see the terrain and better understand more the physical geography of what was proposed in the plan.
Will, I know this sounds like I’m wandering all over the place but be patient with me, I think this is background that you need. While I was out on the reservation I had the opportunity to meet with several elderly medicine men and women. We did several extended sweat lodges together in which I was allowed to come with them to see into the thought field of the future, about what would happen. Unknown to me, within their tradition they had the learning of how to access certain energy fields which would allow them to see the future, and of course they were much better at it than I was. But I learned from them quickly.
Here is the bottom line. The planet Earth is an organism. Like everything in the universe it constantly evolves. Modern science thinks that evolution occurs in a Darwinian sense of competition, that is one species survives because it out competes another for food or habitat, and the other species lose ground or become extinct. This is what you might call cause-and-effect, or Newtonian, evolution. Just like Newtonian mechanics it appears to be true on a small scale. But on the micro or macro levels Darwinian evolution does not work. The real underlying principle of evolution is cooperation, not competition. All great leaps of progress in human history have occurred through cooperation within diversity.
Man has become a parasite on the Earth organism, and the earth is preparing to rid itself of the parasite. We can see that this is going to occur in the future if humans do not change their backwards trend toward competition based on fear. We are failing to heed the message that St. Issa gave us 2000 years ago.
Normally I do not think I would talk about my personal journey of consciousness with those at work. But when I got back to Washington, DC from the Southwest I was so moved by what I experienced that I talked with the director of the organization. In fact I was able to tell him with detailed precision what problems would be caused by the secret government nuclear plans and I gave him a long written report. I know that he felt that the document that contained all this information was scary, and he had no interest in using it simply to shock and agitate the public, so it was kept very secret. However, somehow a copy of it must’ve gotten out. For not long after the report had been written, strange things begin to happen to people in the office. The director became ill with a sudden, serious illness. The doctors were unable to diagnose the cause. The next most senior member of the organization was struck by a car in a bizarre hit-and-run incident and was almost killed. Now you are aware from my mother that I am not on the same plane of existence that you are.
Will, I deeply believe that you are the only one who can reach me where I am. And maybe by the time you are able to reach me I will know what must be done so that man can continue to exist on the planet Earth. Or, if it’s too late, the parasite will be destroyed.
I am sorry you are reading this letter, but I know you will feel my love for you. Help me if you can.
Dawson’s first thought was to get back on the Company’s computer. He knew that long ago the Company had moved from simply monitoring the activities of foreign nationals in the United States and collecting information from abroad, to keeping close tabs on its own citizenry. There had been no discussion of this in Congress, or even in the press. Somehow the collective consciousness of the country had simply moved to an unstated assent that this was necessary.
On second thought, Dawson knew this was not the right way to go. At least not until all other avenues failed. The Company might not be that good at figuring out what was going on in the rest of the world, but the one place their software was sophisticated was in being able to track who was accessing and reviewing information within the Company’s own data bank. Still, he had all the same Internet skills that he had been using for the past twenty years and all he needed was a computer with a fair amount of RAM. Unlike the old days when he first started, when CIA officers were actually out in the field running informants, much of the work of the Company today was done in offices with guys like him staring for hours at a computer monitor.
The first thing he did was pull up the Racine Wisconsin newspaper and check for news stories about Melissa’s death. It took less than fifteen seconds to find a detailed story that talked about her disappearance while hiking in the Rockies. Next, the gathering of volunteers and the search in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado. Three days later a story of the discovery of her hiking gear, but not her body, at the bottom of a steep ravine. The journalist had developed several angles about what might have been the cause of her death. Slipping on the trail above the ravine? Not likely, it was known that Melissa was a very experienced hiker. She was familiar with hiking in this area. She had relatives in Estes Park and visited them often. Some foul play? There were no signs, but evidently the Sheriff’s office had opened an investigation. The newspaper article even hinted at the angle of possible suicide, but that seemed to be dismissed by all from the glowing comments by friends about the kind of extraordinary person she was, especially her ability to have insights into the needs of others.
Dawson chuckled. One friend described Melissa as knowing what was happening emotionally with another person before even that person was self-aware of his or her feelings. If they only knew, he thought.
If Melissa was right, and her death was the result of some high stakes industrial-complex/government cloak and dagger operation, he knew that it was not likely that her body would be found.
He got up and went to the messy kitchen in his apartment to fix a cup of coffee. Immediately as the cup touched his lips, he had the sense of being back in his old job. Those days would stretch forth in endlessly searching for a needle in a haystack. But that was what one had to do. He returned to the computer. Eight hours later he knew about everything one could know about the environmental organization where Melissa had worked.