A Dark, And Other Tales

Posted in 1 on December 1, 2008 by Beverly

Part 1 (”Fine, Don’t Tell Me!”)

Part 2 (”What Linnea Found”)

Part 3 (”Inside”)

Part 4 (”Something I Can’t Put My Finger On”)

Part 5 (”The Paladins”)

Part 6 (”Sleeping and Waking”)

Part 7 (”Naked To The Eye”)

Part 8 (”Dark and Light”)

Part 9 (”Saddle Up!”)

Part 10 (”Halloween”)

Part 11 (”What Did We Learn?”)

Part 12 (”Music and Memory”)

Part 13 (”Linnea’s Plan”)

Part 14 (”The Sealed Archives”)

Part 15 (“What Paul Never Found”)

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What Paul Never Found

Posted in The Conclusion on December 1, 2008 by Beverly

ATTENTION:  Regular readers should be sure to read my comment at the end of this update.  Thank you!  – Bev.

“I’m glad that you’re speaking to me again, Paul.  It’s been four days.”

“I owed you at least four more days of the silent treatment, after you got me stuck in the library over night.  But, I can never stay mad at you.  Besides, I didn’t spend four days alone solely because of our library mishap.  I was dreaming again of my past life, and doing a great deal of thinking about it.”

“Oh?  Have you reached any interesting conclusions?”

“Well, yes.  Before I tell you about that, though, I’ll tell you about the dreams I had.”

“You remember I kept dreaming about looking at the ocean.  I had that dream again, only this time, the Card Shark was there, going swimming.  I felt so angry at him, Linnea, the hate was just overpowering . . . and I think that I . . . .”

“Something must have gone wrong, Linnea.  I think he must have gotten a cramp or something while he was swimming.   And I think that I . . . .”

“I think that I . . . .”

“I think that I let him drown.  On purpose.”

“Oh, Paul.”

“I know.”

“But, Paul, that wasn’t really you.  I mean, yes, it was you, but it wasn’t who you are now.”

“That’s the problem, Linnea.  I don’t think anymore that it was me at all.  I think that it’s all a bit too convenient, don’t you?  I start having these dreams and jumping to conclusions and everything ties in together so nicely – I assume that I loved the Mysterious Blonde, I assumed that she loved the Card Shark, I dream about him drowning, and I assume that I allowed it to happen out of jealousy.  It does seem a bit contrived, doesn’t it?”

“I have warned you before about the power of suggestion, but, Paul, are you saying that you’re giving up on the idea that these memories are from a past life?”

“I don’t know.  Maybe I am.  I guess I just need a break for a while.  I’ve been thinking about past lives and the Palandins every waking moment for months now.  Maybe dwelling on those thoughts has caused random images to pop into my head.  Maybe this last dream doesn’t really mean anything.”

“If you need a break, Paul, we’ll take a break.  How about we start right now?  We can go down to Sullivan’s and get some ice cream.  I’ll buy!  Just let me have a few minutes to get these boxes put away.  Unless you’d like to help me carry them into the outside storage area?”

“I don’t mind.  What is all this, anyway?”

“You remember I told you a couple of months ago that my grandmother died.  That was right before I took you to see the Paladins’ Castle.  These are some of her things, mostly old photographs and papers.  My mother sent them to me.  She thought that I’d like to have them, since I’m so interested in history.”

“You know, when you decide that you’re done with your ‘break’ from past life research, you should have a look through some of these boxes.  Did you know that my grandmother was a student here at Coates in the late 20th century?  There should be lots of material related to your time period.  And I mean lots!  I have several more boxes piled up in my bedroom.  My grandmother never threw anything away, and my mother sent me practically all the photos and documents.”

“Thanks, Linnea.  That’s nice of you, but right now, I think I’m more interested in ice cream.  Let’s go.  We can take these boxes to the storage room on the way out.”

“Alright.  I’m not sure I want to invite you into my bedroom just yet, anyway.  Maybe later . . . .”

“Maybe later.”

Music And Memory

Posted in Part 12 on November 25, 2008 by Beverly

For she took her love for to gaze awhile

Among the fields of barley

In his arms she fell

As her hair came down

Among the fields of gold

I watch you there through the window

As you wear nothing

But you wear it so well

Tied up and twisted

The way I’d like to be

For you, for me

Come crash into me

It must be your skin

I’m sinking in

It must be for real

‘Cause now I can feel

I don’t wanna be held in your debt

I’ll pay it up in blood and I’ll be wed

I’m already cut up and half dead

I’ll end up alone like I began

I’ve taken all and I have endured

One day it’ll all fade, I’m sure

I don’t owe you anything

I don’t owe you anything

Head like a hole

Black as your soul

I’d rather die

Than give you control

Bow down before the one you serve

You’re going to get what you deserve

Part 13


The Sealed Archives

Posted in Part 14 on November 25, 2008 by Beverly

“Paul!  I think I heard something!”

“Ah, the lights are out!  It’s time!  Where do we go?”

“The archives are organized according to an old-fashioned scheme called the Dewey Decimal System.  It’s rather baffling, but if my research is correct, the Paladins’ records should be located in the southeast corner of this floor.”

“They should be in this general area.  Try those shelves over there.”

“Oh, wait, Paul!  I think I’ve found them!  Bring the flashlight over here.”

“I was right, Paul!  Here they are!”

“Let’s start getting these papers out.”

“Let’s see what we have here.  Records of donations to various charities . . . A menu from a Christmas dinner held at the Paladin Castle . . . Oh, here’s a list of Paladins who served in the Third Gulf War.”

“That would be after my time.  Let me know if you find anything dating from the 1990s.”

“Ask and ye shall receive!  Look!  A list of members, 1985-2000!  Here, do any of these names seem familiar?”

“Not really, but then, I’ve never heard anyone use specific names in my flashbacks.”

“Well, let’s keep looking.  Maybe we’ll come across something that jogs your memory.”

“See anything useful yet?

“No.  This is discouraging.  I supposed I hoped that something here that would explain everything I don’t know about my memories.  It working out that way, though.  We’ve been through every record at least twice and we’ve found nothing.  I hate to admit it, but I think it’s time to give up and go home.  How do we get out of here?”

“Oh, no.  Linnea?”

“Oh, Paul.  I . . . I don’t know how I could have been so stupid!  I’m really sorry!”

“Are you trying to tell me that you FORGOT to come up with a plan to get us out of here?  How could you have forgotten something that important!?!”

Linnea’s Plan

Posted in Part 13 on October 20, 2008 by Beverly

“Aerosmith, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails . . . Paul, would you like to explain to me why you felt the need to spend half your savings on an antique CD player and a bunch of grandma music?”

“I’ve been researching past life recall, and I’ve read that listening to music from the era of your past life can be a trigger of sorts – bringing forgotten memories to the surface.”

“Have you had any success?”

“Yes!  Well, in a way.  The memories themselves are just flashes . . . “

” . . . I’m at a party, watching the Mysterious Blonde and the Card Shark . . . “

” . . . I see the Card Shark in a Paladin’s robe . . . “

” . . . And there’s that one strange memory that I keep having – I’m sitting on the beach at night, looking at the ocean.”

“None of these memories make any sense by themselves, but then I thought about the kinds of music that called them up.  Love songs brought up the Mysterious Blonde.  Bitter, angry songs made me think of the Card Shark.  When I put it all together, I see a pattern.”

“The Card Shark and I were Paladins.  We were both in love with the Mysterious Blonde, but she chose him.”

“Paul, that is pure speculation.”

“Music is an extremely powerful and emotional medium.  You must consider the possibility that these ‘memories’ were brought into your mind by the power of suggestion, rather than by a past life trigger of some sort.”

“That’s why I need . . .”

“I know.  You need empirical evidence.  And I’ve figured out how to get it.  I know how we can gain access to the Paladin’s sealed archives in the Coates Historical Collection.”

“Linnea!  That is the best news I’ve heard in weeks!  What do we do?”

“It’s simple.  The Coates Historical Collection is housed in the Wilson-Davis Library, which, as you know, is an eight story structure built in the 1980s.  Until the 2030s, it was used as the main research library on campus.”

“I don’t need a lecture on university history, Linnea.  I need a plan.”

“Paul, without this lecture, you won’t be able to understand my plan.  Just listen!”

“Think about what the inside of this library must look like.  It was built when hard copy books were the primary research tools for university students.  The library has meeting rooms, study lounges, administrative spaces, and so on, but the vast majority of the interior would have been taken up with row after row of bookshelves.  The students would have needed easy access to these shelves, so elevators were installed.  In front of each elevator is a foyer area from which people could enter the area with the shelves.  They called that area ‘the stacks’.   Of course, now that access to the old books in the library is restricted, these foyer entrances have been blocked off with desks staffed by library personnel.”

“Why is that important?”

“I’m sorry.  Please, continue.”

“Think about what the stacks must look like.  There must be back stairways so that students could move between floors without having to trek all the way back to the elevators.  And, most importantly, because students would often have spent hours at a time working in the library, there would have been public bathrooms on each floor.”

“Why are the bathrooms important?”

“I’ve been visiting the library and observing the staff who work at the desks blocking off access to the stacks.  On the fourth floor, the young woman who works the morning shift is not overly keen on her job.  I’ve seen her asleep at the desk on more than one occasion.  So, our plan is simple.  We wait for her to fall asleep, then we sneak past her and hide in the old, unused bathroom until the library closes for the day.  Then, we have all night to locate and study the Paladin’s records.”

“And you thought my stake out in the cemetary was a crazy idea.”

“It’ll work, Paul.  Just meet me outside the Wilson-Davis library at 0800 tomorrow.”

“Oh, and bring along some bottled water and some snacks.  And a flashlight.”

Part 14

What Did We Learn?

Posted in Part 11 on September 24, 2008 by Beverly

“Well, Paul, I must say this has been one of the most harrowing evenings I’ve ever spent in your company.”

“It wasn’t that bad.  Besides, we made a very important discovery.”

“What?  That you’re a lousy kisser?”

“I’m a lousy kisser?  Really?”

“Never mind.  Tell me what you think we discovered that’s so important.”

“Linnea!  We confirmed that I was a Paladin in my past life!  That’s important!”

“What makes you so sure we confirmed that?”

“How else would I have known they would go to Dey Hall after the cemetary?  I must have gone with them on that trip in another lifetime!”

“Linnea, what?  Why do you keep making that face?”

“It’s just strange for me to know you’re thinking this way.  You’re a scientist, Paul.  Why are you basing so much of this investigation on hunches and funny feelings?”

“Because I don’t have anything to go on besides hunches and funny feelings.  The only empirical evidence I can think of is in the sealed archives in the Coates Historical Collection.  Have you come up with a plan to get us access to those yet?”

“Possibly.”

“Excellent!  Tell me!”

“Not yet.  Not until I know for certain whether my idea will work.”

“Why can’t you just tell me now?”

“Because you’ll just go charging into the Historical Collection, completely unprepared, and get us both into serious trouble.  Trouble that cannot be avoided by grabbing me and giving me a big slobbery kiss!”

“So that was the problem with my kissing?  I slobbered too much?”

“Paul, I am going home.  Right now.  Get some sleep.”

“Hmmm.  Yeah.  I will.  Hmmmm.”

“Should I start trying something different with my tongue?  Why is it that Linnea is the only one to ever mention this?”

Part 12

Halloween

Posted in Part 10 on September 23, 2008 by Beverly

“Paul, are you sure we’ll be able to see from here?”

“Yes, we have a good view of that path over there, and I have a feeling that’s important.  But why the concern?  I thought you were confident that the Paladins aren’t coming here.”

“Now that we’re actually out here, I find my confidence slipping a little.  I wish there were more bushes between us and that fence.”

“I hear something!  Someone’s coming!”

“I don’t believe it! It really is the Paladins!”

“Paul?  Why aren’t they stopping?  They seem to be moving on toward Main Campus.”

“Dey Hall!  They’re going to Dey Hall.  Come on, if we take a short cut through the tennis courts, we should be able to beat them there!”

“Paul, I still don’t understand why you’re so sure the Paladins are headed here.  They could be en route to any of two dozen places on Main Campus.  Why Dey Hall?”

“Just a feeling I have, Linnea.  Come on, we can hide in these bushes.”

“Great.  More bushes.”

“I can’t see a thing.  Can you?”

“OH, NO!”

“Quick, Linnea, come here!”

“Paul, what the . . . . ?!?!”

“Alright, you two.  Out of the bushes, now!  And keep your hands where I can see them!”

“Ma’am, is this . . . gentleman . . . bothering you?”

“Not in any way that’s against the law.”

“Well, then, I would suggest that you two . . . get a room.  Go on, get on out of here.”

“Paul, as soon as we are out of that police officer’s sight, I am going to kick you directly in the groin with all of the strength I can muster.”

“Oh, lighten up.  If he’d seen us lurking in the bushes, he would have arrested us for spying on the Paladins.  I had to think of another, legitmate, reason for us to be hiding behind a hedge, and kissing was all I could come up with on short notice.”

“Besides, it worked.  Look behind you.”

“I was right!”

Part 11