Nearly a week had passed since the funeral and the next day was Halloween. The Group of Three – Oona, KC, and Louis – was seated downstairs in the séance room. The evening fast approached midnight: the start of Halloween, or All Souls’ Day; a good time for outreach to the other side. On cue all Three took their seats at the table and things got underway: hands on the table, palms up. Just two days past the last one, the Group of Three was ready for another séance.
“The dead speak at midnight,” Oona began, “and we shall all give this a good try.” The Three were joined around the table, their hands remained palms up. There followed total silence in the candle lit room until the old mirror came to life with sound and images as before. Quickly Drew was cast as a philandering businessman, and slowly and deliberately Oona enhanced the images to further discredit him in the company of his widow. She recalled the pain she had caused KC the last séance, and whether the stories were real or imagined, Oona drew great strength to steer the story and move on to other things. Oona struggled and the Chain stayed unbroken.
Soft and mostly silent images of Drew edged onto the old mirror. The Three were joined and Charley sat quietly on the couch. They saw Drew, who stood alone at a graveside, his head was bowed in silent prayer. He was solemn and respectful. And he prayed for those he loved and he prayed for himself. KC and Louis, their hands joined with Oona’s, their eyes fixed on the mirror, while Oona invisibly glided the crystal ball from the center of the white-covered table, nearer to herself. Charley watched quietly from the couch, as commanded by Oona; the price of his attendance at the séance.
Anton and Drew were fully engaged in undisturbed discussion. They had talked about all kinds of unfinished business on Earth; things that were left undone or unfulfilled by either of them; or dreams not realized or not yet proven when their time expired.
“There were good reasons for these solutions,” Anton said at one point. “There are also reasons for love and forgiveness, and for compassion for those of us who are otherwise good persons.”
“I’ve had my share of mishaps – missteps,” Drew conceded to that, easily.
“Yes, Lieb.” Opa had agreed. “And with your Annals yet to be written, we must carefully focus now on that and moving you on toward The Light.”
“I told you, Anton. I’m still not ready. Stories are just stories and I don’t want to go into The Light anyway.” Drew sounded like a stubborn child and his folded arms gave him the appearance of one too.
Opa’s voice rose noticeably. “Not this again!” he exclaimed.
“At least not now,” Drew rejoined. “No way!”
“Please, Lieb, do not talk like this. This – these words – are not good for your future, here.”
“I told you. I’m not ready. What are you gonna do? Send me back?”
Then something changed dramatically. Anton jumped to his feet and yowled, “That bitch!”
“What bitch?” asked Drew as he also got up from his chair. “And you have to watch your tongue too, Anton!”
“A séance has encroached upon our space; your space, Andrew!”
“The witch Oona has managed to reach your Annals – Annals which are yet to be written! This is remarkable! She has touched into your very soul! Of this I now have no doubt! She scoffs at the firewall and skirts me in the process! Mediums should pass through me; it is the rule here! Your status prohibits this, Andrew. This is strictly forbidden!” And as he returned to his seat, Anton repeated the words, “It is the rule here.”
“Uh, what can we do? Can I talk down to her; to KC; to the kids?” Drew looked pleadingly into Anton’s eyes, and whose gray bushy moustache was distractingly disheveled.
“Oona is a slave to your wife and seeks to take your place in your house and in your bed. She intrudes now, with your own son’s assistance, and with your wife at her side.”
“Opa: you’re scaring me. I’ve never seen you like this. What can we do?”
“We must begin writing your Annals before she does. If that happens, you will be doomed. Come now and walk with me, Andrew, out of doors and we shall begin to cobble together your past, your true past, your whole story, unfiltered, both the good and the not-so-good. You must not leave this to this prying sex goddess who seeks to discredit you to your former wife. This woman follows one God, a false God called Erzulie. She who would damn you to Oblivion and not care a whit about your destiny or your soul.”
Once they had walked for a while, surrounded by God’s great heavenly glory, Anton calmed down enough to recognize the inherent good in all of God’s children. Opa solemnly confided in his still unnerved descendant:
“Prayers are always heard, Drew’s sponsor said. “And your son Louis prays quite often.”
“How do you know that,” Drew stammered.
“As I said, Lieb, I hear your son Louis through carefully guarded paranormal pipelines. As your sponsor, I may not directly comment on your status or your condition, and you seem unresponsive to your son; he who seeks you most.” Anton waved his pipe and picked at his massive moustache. “And where our firewall is designed to protect our new entrants from all: those with good intentions and those mischief makers who would do you harm, Lieb, I was shocked by Oona’s intrusion. I am the gatekeeper here and that witch passed right into your soul.”
Drew took everything in as best as he could. He knew that something had happened, but he didn’t really get any sense of actually connecting with his loved ones. And from what Opa had said, Drew’s soul was bared pretty shoddily. So that sounded like he should have been embarrassed, but he wasn’t. What does it matter now?
“So Louis has been trying to reach me?” he suddenly shot out.
“More than that, mein Lieb; he already has.” Anton took a long puff on his aromatic pipe. “You just did not know it, and neither did Louis.” He winked at Drew. “And what Louis and those around him see of you through this séance is your past, not your present, Lieb.” And that they cannot have until you are in.”
“Where does Oona fit in? I have to admit, Opa, I always had a thing for Oona and for Oona with my wife. You know: fantasies.”
“Yes, yes. It is time, however, to think of other matters.” Anton spoke with authority and had the air of a teacher. “In your place – in place of your present self – witnesses see images of what will be the Annals of your past, and hardly endearing glimpses at that.” He looked most solemnly to his charge. “But by reaching directly into your soul, Lieb, to reveal very private material, this takes great power and assistance. Oona’s purposes here seem selfish and uncaring. However, I think that Oona loves KC and wants to love your family as well. You know I am indebted to Oona myself, as you full know, for my own redemption from that earthly purgatory down south in Virginia. And understand, Lieb, Oona, as with everyone else on Earth, is an imperfect individual. There is much to be learned about that woman, but have no doubt of her powers and her abilities. Oona is a powerful witch and enchantress.”
Drew responded to his own thoughts of Oona: the twenty something doctor of metaphysics, crazy beautiful in more than one way. “Hey,” he thought, “If I’m stuck Here, I’d rather KC be with a girl than with another guy, I guess.” And before that notion faded, Drew reflected on whether it was best that he move toward Heaven, as Anton phrased it, though he still had many doubts and deep feelings against moving on. Still in a bit of a quandary. “What other options do I really have?”
Anton looked directly to Drew, then added, “We must begin writing your Annals. We shall start with the first chapter, Humanity, one true slice of time; something to start, some segment of your life’s story: one piece at a time.”
“Are you kidding; that’ll take forever.”
Anton looked at Andrew and remained silent for longer than Drew hoped, then he replied, “It moves along, Lieb.” We will pull together those moments of memory and your thoughts and words will freely flow onto the pages: Andrew’s –”
“Can you please call me Drew; just Drew, Opa?”
“Drew’s Redemption: ’The Annals of Drew’s Past’,” Opa stated, as if it were not his preference.
“I can’t believe it’s just lights out when you die and lights on again in this…place.” Drew looked exasperated. “What am I supposed to do for the rest of Eternity, Anton?”
“It gets better Lieb. Believe me. And be grateful you are Here and not somewhere else.” Things get much better as you approach The Light of Eternity.”
Drew imagined there are those who are rewarded for a commendable past life with a better new life on Earth; that the cycle continued forever from bad to good lives and good to bad and so on. A totally different concept of Eternity.
They sat in a morning-light kind of setting, surrounded by different songbirds, scampering deer, and hopping rabbits. They passed the time and the stories flowed, just as Anton had said. They were unfiltered and free and brought a welcomed measure of relief to his tired mind. The stories poured forth. Midstream, Drew asked Opa to reveal more news from home.
“Mein Lieb. I will tell you what I will do. I will pass down your Family Tree to your son to further genealogical work in school and at home, quite probably through Oona’s séancing.” In recording his Annals, Drew collected notable and heretofore unknown family lives from Anton who promised to pass the lives of those people (and in some cases, their Annals) down to Charley on Earth.
“So what if anything is there once I do go on to Heaven?” he asked.
“All things are possible, Lieb. You shall have greater knowledge of your kin and may even communicate directly with them. One you are in, you shall find there are ways to assist those you love most.”
“I honestly don’t know what to say,” said Drew. And he honestly did not know what to say.
“Let me continue, Lieb.” Anton lifted a pilsner, as if it appeared out of nowhere. “I am afraid that something quite serious may be afoot; there is some threat to those you left behind in Westbridge. Lieb, if you cooperate with me now, our chances of helping them improve.”
“Anton, let me just go down there. I’ll fix whatever it is that’s going on.” Drew’s imploring eyes bled with pity. “What is going on Anton?” he asked.
“This is out of the question!”
“Anton! If it’s Oona, tell me. Let me at her! I’ll kill the bitch and make it look like an accident.”
“Andrew! Enough of this! I regret I said these things. And I do not believe Oona is an enemy. Oona may be a narcissistic and avaricious woman, but I think she is more good than bad.” Opa winked and took a long sip of his beer. “And remember, Lieb, you married into a family tree full of witches.” And he took another sip. “Your young daughter is a witch; your son is a seer and a powerful medium. They live now with the great witch, Oona, and I do believe this trio will directly confront whatever foul wretchedness it may be.
“Look. This thing, whatever it is, cannot be good. It has to be something bad, right?” Drew was animated more than he had been since he arrived.
“And if we can assist, now is the time to act.”
Suddenly Drew was filled with adrenaline and hyper with pent-up emotions.
“I do not know what it is exactly, but there are powerful signs. An evil presence may be standing beside Oona, or behind her, or somewhere else in the shadows. Oona’s presence may be attracting uninvited powers to their home in Westbridge. I do not know.”
“Huh, can’t you get that stuff from the Messengers, the Heavenly Scribes?”
“Yes, from time to time ‘intelligence’ is shared with me.”