Chapter Twenty Three, a closer look at darkness
The week before Halloween, Tyler came home from work and said he had to take a business trip. He would be gone over Halloween and working in Sedona, Arizona. Apparently one of their potential clients had an office there and wanted him to quote updating their computer operating system. “Did you want to go with me, Pauline?” he asked.
“Hmm. I don’t really know how safe that would be at Halloween. It’s known as a spiritual/psychic center. There will be some weird things going on that you might witness. I think I will stay here and cover you in prayer!”
“Couldn’t you cover me better if you were with me?” pointed out Tyler.
“Prayer has no limits,” responded Pauline firmly. “And if I am not in the middle of it with you, I may have more discernment to pray rightly for you. You don’t know what it’s like out there. I would rather neither of us had to be there. Stay with your customers and when they want to take you out for dinner, go. What I mean is don’t go around on your own, beautiful as it may seem. Just be careful.”
“I still think you are overreacting, but I will appreciate the prayer,” he said. He was to leave the next day so they packed his bag and prepared to head to the airport the next morning.
When the two of them got up in the morning, it was still dark as he had an early flight. It was the day before Halloween. With the time difference he could be at the client’s by noon, make his presentation to the board on the 31st, they would probably take him to dinner, or more likely he would take them since they were the customer, and then he would fly home November 1. It would be just a quick trip.
They stopped at The Way and got a coffee since they were rushed and didn’t make coffee at home.
“Hey, do you have a minute?” asked Carol.
“Not really right now, I’m taking Tyler to the airport.”
“OK, stop back when you get a chance. I might have something for you.”
“Thank you Carol,” said Pauline. “I’m dying of curiosity but I can’t stay now. I’ll try to come back this afternoon.”
“What was that all about,” asked Tyler.
“Oh, remember that woman in the black van? I asked Carol about her.”
“You didn’t! Didn’t that sound crazy or stalker-ish?”
“Well, I just went for it. It’s ok, she’s a Christian.”
They drove on and when they got inside the airport they said good bye at the gate and Tyler boarded the plane. He carried his laptop bag, and his clothes in another carry-on. Since 9/11 it had become such a pain to fly and they started charging extra for checked luggage a few years after that. Most experienced travelers now flew with just their carry-ons, for speed and cost reasons, and they pushed the limit as to the size of their bags. You could not carry more than a few ounces of liquid, so that eliminated more than a day or two supply of shampoo and cologne. Wonder what the airlines would do if everyone decided it was too much trouble and quit flying? He was tempted. That would effectively reduce his reach to a few hundred miles for work, though. That might be too limiting, but on the other hand we would all patronize more local businesses if airfare got out of hand.
He would solve that problem much later. Right now he had to go over his notes for the meeting.
Alas, the work was not stimulating enough, and he dozed off. Suddenly he heard a “ding, ding, ding” sound, like some kind of alert message. He looked around him to get his bearings, and he was in some kind of ornate garden. This is peaceful, he thought to himself. When did I get to Arizona? I don’t remember the landing. Weird.
The flowers were fragrant and soothing. But what was that dinging noise? He kept walking and saw a comical sight. A giant gnome was backing up and just like a truck backing up he was making that backup noise. Tyler laughed. The giant gnome turned and looked, and when he saw Tyler he stopped what he was doing.
“Hello, my good man!” said the giant gnome.
“Do I know you?” asked Tyler .
“No, not likely, but I have heard a lot about you. All good, I assure you.”
“I’m perplexed. How do you know me?
“I am acquainted with your wife, Pauline . In fact, we were quite close. I’m sorry to say I have not heard from her in quite some time.”
Then Tyler remembered. She had had that strange episode in her life when she kept telling him she was vividly dreaming about a giant gnome. He seemed benign, but had turned out to be malicious. In fact, Pauline had been in a coma at one time because of the gnome and Tyler had almost lost her. Jesus had told her she would not remember the giant gnome, but the gnome just transferred his harassment to Tyler .
“You need to not harass her anymore,” said Tyler .
“Agreed!” said the giant gnome. “But that does not stop me from getting to know you.”
“Not interested,” said Tyler. “You caused me a lot of trouble before and I have no interest in getting to know you.”
The giant gnome sniffed and half turned away. “But I . . .” and just then the plane lurched and Tyler woke up.
“We are now preparing for landing. Please return your seat backs and tray tables to the locked and upright position. Andlet me just say that we know you have several airlines to choose from when making your travel choices and we’d like to thank you for flying Interlude Airlines.”
Tyler shook his head and sat up straight. That was strange, he thought to himself. I cannot believe after all this time that thing is back to bother us.
He was distracted as he got off the plane and caught his cab to the business he was to visit. The meeting went well, then he took a cab to his beautiful hotel where they were to pick him up for dinner. Over dinner, they seemed to be very approving of him and his skills. They agreed to meet the next day for the presentation to the board and then dropped him back at his hotel.
Back in his room, he went over his presentation for the next day, and when he was finished it was still daylight, so he decided to take a walk. Forgetting Pauline’s admonishment not to go out alone in Sedona, especially the day before Halloween, he walked into town.
“Reading? Would you like a card reading?” practitioner after practitioner cajoled him as he walked briskly by their store.
“Take home a souvenir for your wife!” another said, holding up jewelry.
“Are you Jewish?” another asked him, holding up a book.
“Do you ever wonder if you’ve lived before?” said another.
Tyler grew so annoyed that he walked into a bar and sat down for a glass of wine.
“What’ll you have?” asked the bartender.
“Peace and quiet!” exclaimed Tyler . “What is it with people around here?”
“Oh, you know, with the holiday tomorrow. I would just go with the flow.”
“Easy for you to say,” said Tyler. “Anyway I’ll have a Pinot Noir.
“You got it,” said the bartender. “Are you here on business? You don’t seem to be into the tourist thing.”
“Yeah. I have a presentation tomorrow and then fly home the next day, back to Michigan and my wife.”
“Oh, why didn’t she come with you?”
“She . . . she had things to do at home,” said Tyler .
“Oh, too bad. Women usually love Sedona. Maybe next time, if you come back.”
“Here’s your Pinot,” said the bartender.
Tyler took a long sip of the deep red wine. What was with the vivid dream on the plane, he thought to himself. What could that giant dream gnome want now? He wondered how Pauline was today and whether she was encountering the giant gnome as well.
When he got back to the beautiful hotel he called Pauline. It was late at home but he needed to hear her voice. “How’s it going,” she asked him.
“Great,” he said. “Need to talk to you though. It’s great to hear your voice.”
“Yours too,” she said. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “I had a weird dream on the plane and then the psychic mediums here are really bugging me. I feel like they were targeting me.”
“I thought so,” said Pauline. “I had some weird feelings. I’m glad to hear you are ok.”
“I am--but do you remember that vivid dream giant gnome you were seeing a while back?”
“No, did I?”
“Yes! It was right before you went into that coma and you never mentioned it after you got better.”
“Ok, but what does that have to do with your day?”
“I saw a big giant gnome in my dream, when I fell asleep on the plane.”
“Oh, what else happened in the vivid dream?”
“He said you and he were very close,” said Tyler.
Pauline laughed. “Right, I would have a giant gnome for a boyfriend. What did you have to drink on the plane?”
“Not a thing. Trust me. Maybe it’s nothing. Anyway, I miss you. Keep up the prayers, ok?”
Tyler hung up the phone and sat on the bed. He prayed before getting ready for bed. He asked God to protect Pauline especially, but to protect him too as he traveled, and to give him a restful night.
Tyler woke up the next morning and felt great. He had received the great sleep he had prayed for. He went to breakfast and enjoyed his toast. He did not dare eat anything too heavy before his presentation. His appointment was at 11:00.