Innerworld: A Grand Lights Story

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Ten years later, Peter and Bev and Clement had an opportunity to take some college courses in Hawaii, so they flew out to California where they would take a cruise ship to the island.

They arrived at a port near San Diego and a huge, beautiful cruise ship awaited them, but Peter wanted some time alone. Bev and Clement had gone on ahead to the boat, while Peter walked along the beach. He could remember very little about what had happened, but what he did remember was that it happened, because Bev and Clement had their own adventures as well, and no one outside of Grand Lights ever knew, but he knew, and they knew, and so did Mrs. Newcastle, who was now Mrs. Flanagan, Bert’s wife.

As Peter walked out a bit to the water he saw someone sitting on the beach, watching the waves. She was a woman of unusual beauty, in a very white sweatshirt and sweatpants, for the afternoon air was cool. Peter was not mistaken; it was her all right. It had to be. He ran up to her and startled her. He took her hand and she pulled it away.

“Don’t you recognize me?”

“I’m sorry, mister, I don’t.”

“It’s me. It’s Peter Harrison, and you’re the Beautiful Woman All dressed in White.”

She frowned. A man approached her from up the beach. She got up and ran to him and said something. Peter walked slowly up to them. The man was dressed like the woman only in blue.

“I’m sorry,” said Peter, “you looked so familiar. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“She gets that a lot,” said the man. “She’s a famous model, after all.”

Bucky had told Peter all about their adventures in Grand Lights with the Beautiful Woman and the floating things and the rain and the kukyz and the fact that the Beautiful Woman had died at some time. It must be, thought Peter, sometime yet to come. For in Heaven, there is no time, and Heaven’s children are unaware of tomorrow or yesterday.

“Sorry again,” said Peter.

She smiled. “Where are you off to?”

“Hawaii,” said Peter, “my friends and I are going to study there. How about you? Do you live in San Diego?”

“I’m off to Grand Lights Illinois, to do a fashion show.”

“Careful of the modeling runway, you wouldn’t want to hurt yourself.”

She frowned again but shook his hand and he walked on.

He got to the pier and headed for the cruise ship, to go up the gangplank and join his friends. As he walked and passed some of the shops that were on the pier, he saw some children running to a stand where it looked like there was a puppet show going on. Peter slowly walked up, and noticed a very old, yes, very old Ray the Taller and Ray the Shorter, doing a spectacular production of “Peter and the Schlurgg.” That was the title posted on the makeshift marquee above their little booth. Ray the Taller looked out and saw Peter. It took a minute, but there was recognition. Ray the Shorter couldn’t stand up anymore, but was still very good at telling the stories to the children from his chair, and he saw Peter as well.

“I was right,” he said.

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