The guy spun his eyes to the clouds.
“I’m a wee fellow, and I know the pain I suffered because of my physical body. But I, eventually, accepted it, and the pain went.”
He stopped his frantic pacing, and went over to rough grass. He pulled a blade. It cut his forefinger. He stared at the bead of blood. Again, he thought of that soiled sanitary pad of Birdie’s. Why did he fear blood? Was it because he feared dames, and they bled monthly in tune with some moon-time?
“Believe in God?” he said.
The guy wiggled a finger.
“I believe in Him. What his son, Jesus Christ, said was, “The kingdom of Heaven is within”. The pattern in the sky, when a human takes in that first breath, is where it’s at.”
This was challenging.
“I represent one frozen moment in time, some sky pattern? I doubt it, but what you’re saying is what Carl Jung, the psychologist, called ‘the collective unconscious’. It’s zilch to do with a sky pattern.”
The guy swung his legs back and forth like a kid on a swing.
“Why do you give belief to some psychologist, and you don’t to astrology? The collective unconscious? Such a scientific name for what’s so simple. You’re blinkered.”
He faltered. He was narrow-minded. But was he being drawn in because the guy had what might only be a smattering of knowledge gleaned from books for the purpose of getting a few bucks from gullible folk? But maybe this guy could give him a handle on his nightmares.
“Been having the freakiest dreams.”
The guy stared into middle distance.
“Aye, dreams, well, that’s Neptune’s domain.”
“Can you interpret a dream?” he said.
“Dreams are highly personal messages from yourself to yourself. I’d only impose my own experiences on your dreams.”
“Throw in a few more bucks if you take a stab at it.”
The guy nodded. Which one of his nightmares was chief? He, now, saw the desperate parrot in his first nightmare on the flight to London as himself trying to get out of the mess of his life, but the deserted house and the Italian widow, not to mention the black ballerinas, were puzzling. He would relate the second nightmare about the wood, cave, and the stalker. It was the one in which he had been most frightened.
The guy listened, intently.
“It may be your deep mind’s telling you you’re seeking safety where it doesn’t exist. You thought it would be safer in the cave than in the fir gloom, but it wasn’t. You ended up back in the same danger, despite seeming help from an old man. Someone will give you, or already has given you, deliberately useless advice”
The guy paused.
“Now, the stalker, well, that might mean you’ve a false friend. That may be why you saw no-one. You might be blind to this person.”
“As for the black ballerina, she’s coming to you in this life from a past one. She’s the most important woman, but whether she approaches you for good or ill, I don’t know. She may be a woman you’ve wronged. A gift of an apple, well, that’s temptation.”
The guy mimed smoking a cigarette.
“You a smoker?”
He felt in his pockets.
“Occasionally, but I don’t have smokes on me.”
The guy pulled out a butt from a trouser pocket, and lit it.
“Do you know your problem, Mr. Skeptic?”
“Fill me in.”
“You’ve no true belief. Reason is your God.”
He thought of his belief in ghosts. Reason was not his God.
“If I see a ghost, would it be the astral body of a living person trying to get in touch with me?”
The guy cocked his head.
“Ghosts and astral travelers are not the same thing. If it’s a traveler, you might see a cord attached to the back of the head. The nearer the physical shell the projection is, the thicker the cord. Some folk think eight feet’s where the cord ceases to be seen.”
“What’s this cord like?”
“Shining and stretchy.”
The long-ago boy ghost had had no cord, but the weird guy he had seen, recently, through his windscreen had had a thick one at the back of his head. Had the guy been as close as eight feet? Was it Lachlan Taylor?
The guy was rambling on.
“Most astral travel when asleep. But they reject the flying and falling dreams as just dreams.”
“Some adepts can project at will, when fully awake.”
He could take no more on board.
He fished in his shirt pocket to pull out another two quid, but, when he put out his hand with the notes in it, the guy was gone. On the empty seat, lay the first two quid. He went to the gate, and looked up and down the track, but it was empty. He went to the back of the cottage. No-one. How could the guy have vanished in a few seconds? It was the same way Sadie had disappeared, and that strange dame had been in her place.
He shrugged. It was like trying to find direction in mist. He went into the cottage. He would do more research on The Web, rather than go to Kelman Hill. As he switched on the laptop, he thought on the continental drift theory that said there had, once, been one vast continent, and that segments of land had split and drifted away. Maybe Atlantis did lie frozen under miles of ice in the Antarctic.
Hamish had told him that a break-up of land had occurred after Noah’s Floods. Had a fragment of land drifted from Atlantis? Was the British Isles part of Atlantis, and had never been connected to Europe as everyone thought just because it fitted into some physical jigsaw?
He drummed his fingers. Oceans had, for eons, existed, but none of the current ones held sediments more than one hundred and fifty million years old. If ancient seas could vanish, so could continents. He was as fired up, at this minute, as he had been when Hamish had talked to him about archaeology.
Nothing new came up on The Web. He glanced out the window. It was dark. Where had the day gone? He went into the garden. It was moonless because of bulky clouds, but, now, and then, he glimpsed lights on Kelman Hill. They were strong lights, yellow and penetrating. Four strobes were visible.
As they appeared and disappeared, they seemed like lightning bolts.