Saddle Up!

Posted in Part 9 on August 29, 2008 by Beverly

“Good morning!”

“Paul?  Where are you?”

“I’m in the bedroom, but I’m undressed.  Don’t come back here!”

“Don’t worry about that!”

“Any new dreams to report?”

“No, nothing.”

“I don’t understand.  For two weeks, you were positively swamped with dreams and visions – about the Mysterious Blonde, the Card Shark, the Paladins’ Castle – then, three weeks ago, you have a dream about an albino banshee woman . . . .”

“I prefer to think of her as a guide.”

“Fine, a guide.  Who tells you that these are past life memories, and that you’ll have more of them – but then everything stops.”

“That’s because we lost our focus, Linnea.  The Paladins are the key to this mystery, and that’s why we’ve got to continue our research on them.  Have you had any success in gaining access to their files in the Coates Historical Collection?”

“No.  I made some discrete inquiries regarding access to restricted files.  It seems the library staff use retina scans to verify the identity of anyone requesting to see the archives.  Presumably, they also report unauthorized access attempts to the owners of the files.  I couldn’t confirm that, but it makes sense.”

“Well, then, you’ll just have to find another way to get to the files.”

“Paul, I . . . .”

“Wha . . .?”

“It’s only four days to Halloween, Linnea!”

“That’s so.  And you’re going to be attending Cessya’s party dressed as a deranged soldier.  Very clever.”

“We aren’t going to Cessya’s party.  We’re going to the campus cemetery to watch the Paladins’ midnight conclave.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!  I’ll thank you to stop using the word ‘we’!  There are so many problems with that idea, I can’t even begin to count them!”

“What problems?”

“First of all, we don’t even know for certain that  the Paladins actually HAVE a midnight conclave.  Secondly, we DO know for certain that  they have a tendency to ask the police to arrest people they catch spying on them.  Thirdly . . . thirdly . . . it’s just a stupid idea all around!”

“Linnea, I’ll say it again.  The Paladins are the key to all this.  We must find out more about them, and this is the only plan I have at the moment.”

“For five weeks now, I’ve barely slept, my studies are suffering . . . I’ve been questioning my own sanity.  Please.  You’re my best friend.  I need to be able to count on your help.”

“Alright, Colonel.  I’ll start looking for some size 4 cammos.”

Part 10

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Dark and Light

Posted in Part 8 on August 27, 2008 by Beverly

“Am I asleep or awake?”

“What is this place?”

“Who are you?”

“This is the place you have created, and you have summoned me here.”

“Why?  Are you the woman from my dreams?”

“No.  I am here to tell you a thing.”

“You have been through a dark.”

“All are born into the light.  Upon death, all pass into a dark, there to wait until being born again into the light.  Most are not meant to remember the other lights.”

“But I am?”

“Do you seek to remember?”

“Do you dare to remember?”

“I . . . I don’t . . . “

“Yes.  Yes, I want to remember.”

“Then remember you shall!”

Part 9

Naked To The Eye

Posted in Part 7 on August 25, 2008 by Beverly

“Paul, you look exhausted.  Have you been getting any sleep at all?”

“I sleep plenty.  But the dreams . . . they’re so draining.  Sleep just isn’t refreshing me these days.”

“Still dreaming about the Mysterious Blonde?”

“Yes.  And sometimes . . . .”

” . . . sometimes I see her when I’m awake.”

“Paul, I . . . .”

“Linnea, do you think I’m losing my mind?”

“You do think so.  And I think so, too.”

“I’ve heard it said that if a person is sane enough to ask if he’s losing his mind, the answer is usually no.”

“I used to believe that, but this . . . this . . . thing that’s happening to me . . . . “

“Did you ever stop to think that there could be a much more mundane reason for these dreams?”

“Such as?”

“Well, you do have a certain . . . marked fascination with blondes.  Maybe you’re simply  . . . .”

“Fantasizing?  No.  It isn’t like that.  Yes, sometimes if I see an attractive woman, I do dream and even daydream about her, but this is different.”

“How so?”

“I have feelings for this woman.”

“Wait a minute.  Are you trying to tell me you’re falling in love with a woman who isn’t even real?”

“No, it’s more like . . . it’s more like . . . I was ALREADY in love with her before I even dreamed about her.”

Part 8

Sleeping and Waking

Posted in Part 6 on August 22, 2008 by Beverly

Part 7

The Paladins

Posted in Part 5 on August 6, 2008 by Beverly

“Alright Paul, I’ve sent you the property tax records confirming that the castle is owned by the Paladins. Now I’m doing a basic search for additional information. I’ll upload the files for you as I locate them. If you can also search and let me know what you find, that will be helpful.”

“I’ve located some general information on the group. Listen to this. The Paladins are a collegiate secret society established in 1833 at Coates University. They are headquartered in the Paladin Castle, located approximately 2.5 kilometers from the campus. The Paladins are a closed society. Membership is offered to ‘leading men’ in the junior and senior classes and among the faculty. The identity of the members is a closely guarded secret, revealed only upon the death of a member. The society is described as social in nature, and has no political agenda or affiliation.”

“I’ve found something! It’s about the castle. It mentions that the castle is protected by a system of force fields. We knew that already. But it also says that other security measures are in place and that while the Paladins do not object to visitors taking an occasional quick look at the castle in daylight, habitual trespassers and those who try to visit at night are subject to criminal prosecution. I guess that’s not too surprising. How else could a secret society remain secret?”

“Oh, excellent! Here is a list of rumors about the Paladins. They are unsubstantiated, of course, but interesting. According to these rumors, the Paladins have wild parties at which they partake of illicit drugs . . . another source reports they have dull parties at which they view holocasts of sporting events . . . Here it says that the Paladins can only be contacted by means of a handwritten letter placed between the feet of the statue of Andrew Coates on Founder’s Plaza . . . but here it says the Paladins can’t be contacted at all . . . This person claims that when a member is initiated, the Paladins place their mark upon the outside of his residence . . . Here’s a story about them holding mysterious midnight concleves in the old campus cemetery, on Halloween night, naturally . . . Here are a few people claiming to have seen ghosts in the woods surrounding the castle . . . others say they’ve witnessed torchlight processions . . . Paul, I wouldn’t put too much faith in any of these rumors. They’re the standard sort of misinformation that people spread about all secret societies.”

“I can’t find any other references. No! Wait! Here, access this file. It’s a list of documents stored in the Coates History Collection in the campus library. It seems that the Paladins only maintain hand written records, nothing computerized, and that they’re stored in a sealed archive. The only information available to the public is this list. Not that it gives much information, since it’s only a series of document titles.”

“Do you see any documents on that list that might reference the 20th or early 21st centuries?”

“Not offhand. Why do you ask?”

“Well, I had a – that is to say, I – I – sort of had a vision when we were at the castle the other day. There were cars in it.”

“WHAT?!?”

“You know, old fashioned personal transport vehicles. They had wheels with rubber tires and . . . “

“Paul! I know what a car is! Just tell me about your vision.”

“I was looking at the castle. And it was daylight and I could see the sun and the blue sky.”

“And then I was still looking at the castle, but suddenly it was night. And there were cars in front of it.”

“And then it was daylight again and you were grabbing me and yelling at me about staying away from the force field.”

“I wonder if somehow you’ve developed a sort of psychic connection with the Paladin’s Castle.”

“You know I don’t believe in all that psychic mumbo jumbo. I’m a scientist.”

“I’m not talking about Ouija boards and old ladies with bandanas on their heads peering into crystal balls and telling you you’ll meeting a dark, handsome stranger! I’m talking about true psychic connections, in which a unknown or misunderstood stimulus causes reactions in your brain that are so unique as to be nearly impossible to interpret. That’s what I think happened to you, and you’d better start subscribing to that hypothesis, as well.”

“Because the only other feasible explanation is that you’re going crazy!”

Part 6

Something I Can’t Put My Finger On

Posted in Part 4 on August 5, 2008 by Beverly

“Good morning, Paul!”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Do you have anything for breakfast besides cold cereal?”

“No, Linnea, I don’t. I guess that’s a risk you take when you stop by without notice.”

“Paul, is something troubling you? You seem . . . upset.”

“I’m fine. I just haven’t been sleeping well the past few nights. I keep having this bizarre dream.”

“Tell Auntie Linnea all about it. It’ll make you feel better.”

“Every night since you showed me the Paladins’ Castle, I’ve dreamed that I was there. I go inside and there is a group of men – young men, about our age. They’re getting ready to start a poker game. And I know I’m supposed to join them. And then I wake up.”

“A dream about playing poker is keeping you from sleeping at night?”

“No, it isn’t what happens in the dream that bothers me. It’s . . . I guess it’s the people. Or the way they make me feel. They aren’t people I know in real life. But they aren’t the ordinary sort of strangers that appear in dreams. It’s as if I really do know them somehow. There’s one man in particular that gives me an odd feeling.”

“I don’t want to play cards with this man. I know that he’ll take all my money. He’s smart and he’s good at the strategy of the game. But there’s something more than that. Something I can’t put my finger on. Some reason I really just don’t want to be around him.”

“That’s why this dream bothers me. I feel like I know these people, and I know that place. But how could that be possible?”

“I think it’s time that we did some serious research on the Paladins.”

Part 5

Inside

Posted in Part 3 on August 4, 2008 by Beverly

Part 4