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December 16 2009

6 months later

Justin rolled over and foggily looked at Jennah who was vigorously writing something. She had just put the paper aside, and laid back down. A few minutes later, she set up again, looking around the loft of the 5th wheel. “What’s wrong?” He asked. “Oh, nothing, just a dream, I guess. I thought I heard my sister, Carolyn calling my name. It sounded like she was right outside.” Jennah lifted the curtain and starred into the emptiness of the night. “That must’ve been one helluva dream. Your sister lives 1800 miles away. I’m going back to sleep”, Justin said as he rolled over.
Jennah glanced outside once more and decided to go sit in the fresh air for awhile. After their Sedona get away a few months ago, they had decided to come and stay for a month or two at the campground near Slide Rock Park. It would be the perfect retreat where Jennah could concentrate on her newest poetry book. It had been awhile since they had taken a sabbatical trip, and they were both in bad need of it. When the neighbors had put their fifth wheel up for sale, they had grabbed it. It was the perfect size and they were actually tired of the large home they were in. The dog and cat loved traveling also. Since it was spring, Sedona was beautiful and if they played their cards right, they could even make it to Texas and see the family, before returning to their home. They had sublet the place to a couple from New York, who wanted to spend the summer in Arizona, so it had worked out perfectly. Jennah never made concrete plans, she just jumped on opportunity when she saw it. To Jennah, it was an omen. Had she planned the trip in advance, it wouldn’t have worked out. She had learned that lesson a long time ago. Her lifestyle was too erratic for that. Jennah looked down at Mustang, who was by her side. “You want to go out for a while boy?” The dogged whined and then proceeded to lay by the door. He was named for the 1967 classic car that Jennah loved so much. One day she would own one, if they ever got enough money ahead. The 5th wheel had set them back a pretty penny, even tho it was an older one. They had also sold their car and bought a used Ford diesel to pull it with. They weren’t really the type to go in for the fancy stuff. The only reason they had the big house, which was a fixer-upper, was because Jennah’s editor thought they should have a base instead of being on the move all the time. It seemed more logical to have one near to where the editor lived. Besides, Jennah had been traveling for a long time. At one time, she even had held a class A commercial license and driven for a trucking company and a couple of tour companies. She had worked in several National Parks and when she and Justin met, he started traveling with her. A few years later they decided to tie the knot, so now she was once again, a married woman. She had taken her time in deciding to marry Justin, mainly because of the age difference. She wanted to make sure he understood just exactly where she was coming from.
As she sat at the picnic table with her diet drink, Jennah thought that one must be able to reach out and touch the stars. They seemed so close, and the full moon lit up the surrounding red rocks. The early morning hours were so peaceful that she felt her soul escaping to the heavens. She turned just as someone rounded the corner and headed her way. It was Rebekah, the owner of the R.V. park. She and her husband were from the far East, but had been in the states for over 20 years. They were very intelligent and extremely fun people. Rebekah had formed her own spiritual beliefs over the years and knew there was more to this world than met the eye. She also taught meditation classes, as well as senior exercise classes in the heated pool.
“Hi Rebekah, what are you doing up at this time of the morning.? By the way, did you come by our place about 45 minutes ago?” Rebekah took a seat opposite of Jennah. “No I didn’t Jennah, and you may want to check your cell phone, it doesn’t seem to be working”. “I put it on the charger just before going to bed, so it is off. It was a dream that woke me up, or something akin to one anyway. It was so peaceful and warm that I couldn't resist coming out to gaze at the stars. There's a huge new one up there, do you see it? Of course, I guess it could be a new satellite.” Something in Rebekah’s eyes gave Jennah a strange feeling.
“Ah, well, you need to call your mother or brother. We just got a call a few minutes ago. It must be of an emergency level, because they said for you to call them immediately. Why did you ask if I came by earlier, was someone out roaming around?” Rebekah looked around. “All seems quiet.” “No, I thought I heard someone calling my name. Well, I guess I had better make that call. Let me grab the phone. I see you rented Cassie’s old spot. You want a soda?”
“Sure, I’ll take one, mind if I grab one of your smokes, I forgot mine.” “Not at all, I’ll be right back.”
“I don’t really want to make this call. I think I know what it is.” Jennah said as she handed her friend the Dr. Pepper”. “You know, that poem you wrote for Cassie’s memorial service was beautiful. She was such a sad person. Your gift of dreams, of delivering messages like that one, has helped a lot of people. Don’t be afraid, make your call. In the few weeks that you have been here, we have become really special friends. I know what your gifts are, and I love having you in my meditation class. It will be okay, it really will. Now if we could only harness our meditation to help us get rid of this nasty habit we both have.” Jennah laughed, “I have tried so many times to quit these things, but cigarettes just keep drifting back. It’s like the proverbial monkey on your back.” “Yeah, I know, mine too, but I try to look at it for what it is. You would think that if we had enough willpower to meditate, and climb these hills, that we could get rid of one bad earthly physical habit.”
“Yeah, you would think so. I don't understand tho, why I didn’t pick up on what was about to happen with Cassie,” Jennah had drifted the conversation back to the woman.
“I knew, we all knew she had those problems, I feel guilty for not being able to help her more" Rebekah looked up at the stars. There are several that are really bright this morning.. For some reason, I don’t think they are satellites”.
" Justin understood her better. He was raised in the environment, she found herself in. They talked about it, and she just couldn’t grasp the beliefs her husband had come to accept. You know, Janice still says she saw her come home from the store carrying a bag. She even waved at her as she past coming to her place,
just like she waved at everyone when she left to go anywhere. We all knew she had problems, and that he had driven her to the brink several times before. That friend of hers that showed up from Phoenix the next day asked if he had beaten her to death this time. Makes one wonder if she were maybe drugged and put on
those tracks, instead of just walking out there and standing there. IT was almost like she was just existing
waiting for the Angel of Death to come and get her. She talked a lot about going home. I wonder if that was the home she meant”. Jennah and Rebekah sat silently for a few minutes and then Rebekah started to speak softly.
“You know Jennah, I think she must have already been gone, before the train even hit her. I think her soul had already departed. It wasn’t meant for you or any of us to help her. All things happen for a reason, you know that”.
“Yeah, I know. It’s unbelievable in this day and age that these cults still exist. The need to control ones life like that is horrendous. It comes in all forms. My own mother is a control freak too, but in a different way. It’s hard to believe that so many people can be conned and manipulated to believe that way. As it turned out that bastard of a husband of hers couldn’t have children after all. It wasn’t her, it was him. He should have at least had the decency to divorce her before he married that young thing. I hope he gets in trouble for marrying someone underage. Too bad it can’t be proven that he drove her to suicide by doing that to her”
Both women were skirting around the issue, they knew what was coming. Jennah's brother had told Rebekah that the woman’s younger sister had died. She hated that word. To her and Jennah death was just another journey, one across a wide river. “Who called your name?” Rebekah looked her friend straight in the eyes.
“It was my sister, but she is 1800 miles away. They live in Texas. It was her though, I know it was. Funny thing is she sounded so serene. That’s not her normal mode, she can go off in a Dallas second. She is a very high strung individual. If things aren’t going her way she gets highly upset, and she plans everything. She was raised amidst so much abuse, and that abuse just filtered down into the next generations. I am totally opposite. Nothing is ever planned, and it usually ends up okay, but not without some kind of havoc.. She is actually the one who settled down, worked the same job for over 20 years, tried to live a decent life, yet the abuse, and web of lies followed her around. I guess in one way or the other, it has followed all of us around. It doesn’t seem to matter where we are, where we go, it’s still there. She was married 3 times, and each time the abuse was present” Jennah took a drink of her soda and lit another cigarette. “Well, I guess it’s time, isn’t it”?
“Yes, it is time. You can do this Jennah, you are a strong person. Do you want me to wake Justin up first”?
“I am already awake,” Justin pronounced as he opened up the door. “What’s going on, this about your dream, Jennah”? As Justin sat down, he opened a sprite and laid down the notebook he was carrying. Then he lit a cigarette and looked over at the two ladies. “WOW, is that a new satellite or a planet up there? It sure is bright.”
“It’s Carolyn’s star’, Jennah said sadly.
“ You sure about that? Because maybe you should read your notebook.” Justin put his arm around her.
. “Yeah, I’m sure, I just don’t have the confirmation, but I would bet Rebekah does.” “Make the call, you know you have to make the call.” Rebekah closed her eyes and took a long sigh.
As Jennah reached for the phone Justin took it from her shaky fingers and dialed the number to Dorrie’s house. When she answered, he handed it back to her.
“Hello, mother,” Jennah said with a lump in her throat, the words just didn’t want to come out.
She closed her eyes as Dorrie cried out, “ we lost Carolyn, she is dead. It happened around midnight, but with all the confusion, Jennah what am I gonna do, my baby girl is dead. That’s 3 dead kids within 40 years. First Ashe Jr, and then Jimmy, 5 years ago and now Carolyn. It’s just you and Bobby left. The neighbor caused a ruckus and now they have Darrell at the police station. The neighbor said they were fighting again. They are sending her to Dallas for a special autopsy, I didn’t even get to see her before they took her away. Here is Bobby, I can’t talk anymore.” As soon as she heard Bobby's voice Jennah froze. Her youngest brother, hated her with a passion. He blamed her for all the hell the three of them had been raised in, even more than the other two had. Bobby was the baby of the family, the one everyone is supposed to love because he is the baby. He told her more than once how she should never have survived birth. He had also threatened to kill her, more than once, and Jennah was terrified of him.
He had the gift also, but unfortunately he had drifted to the dark side. Their great-grandmother on Ashe’s side, as well as his mother, were known for the curse. While Jennah endured the dreams and used her gifts to write beautiful poetry, Bobby used his to get whatever he could from whomever he could get it from. His writing was of a very dark nature. Jennah tried very hard to keep hers on an inspirational level, and use it to help others. “You better come on home. IF you don’t it’s gonna kill your poor momma, and you done enough damage already in this lifetime.” After that the phone went dead. He had hung it up before giving her a chance to even ask about Carolyn’s kids. “Well?” Asked Justin. “Like I told you, it’s Carolyn’s star.” Jennah laid her head on Justins shoulder and Rebekah reached across and took her hand.
“I guess it’s time to head to Texas.” Jennah spoke softly and sighed heavily.
“No, it isn’t, she not only called your name, when I woke up you were writing something, as you sometimes do.” Justin couldn’t count the many times he had caught Jennah writing in her sleep. Automatic writing they called it. He opened the notebook and held it up in the advancing light of the dawn and softly started reading it. Simply stated, it read in no uncertain terms, "DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES COME TO TEXAS, SHISTER". “SHISTER”, isn’t that what Carolyn called you, when she would get mad at you? You told me she called you Shister, for shitty sister, when she would get mad at you. It was her little way of letting you know that you shouldn’t come to Texas at this time, no matter what the reason. I don’t trust your brother and I don’t even know him, but I’ve heard enough about him to know how much he hates you. Carolyn and everyone else knows also. She was warning you not to come. We aren’t going.”
“I agree with him, Jennah, and even tho I know it’s not my decision to make, or even his, I completely agree.” Rebekah was still holding her hand. “Do you mind if I go in and make a pot of coffee?” Rebekah looked over at Justin. “No not at all, I think we could all use some.” He smiled at Rebekah. She and her husband were the best people in this world, and they had all become very close since they had been visiting. Perhaps they ought to think about relocating here on a permanent basis. Jennah's editor wasn’t that far away. It was only about a three hour drive, besides he loved this place.
“I think I will lay back down you guys. Enjoy your coffee, but I am very tired.” Jennah reached over and kissed Justin on the cheek and got up and rounded the table. “Thanks Rebekah, I don’t think I could have made it without you this morning. She reached down and hugged Rebekah. The lady returned the hug and smiled. “You get some sleep.”
“She is always so tired after these episodes. I worry a lot about her. Her health has deteriorated something awful in the last couple of years.
Ever since the accident and then that girl assaulting her, the heart attack, it’s been really hard on her.” Justin smiled, “thanks for asking her to help you occasionally in the office. Losing her driving was even harder. This makes her feel special.” “Well, she is special, she just doesn’t realize how special. SO, you think you can keep her from going to Texas?” “I am going to try, but if she insists on going I will take her. Will you keep a spot open for us? I was thinking, maybe we might try to move here. She is a much calmer person
out in the woods like this. She loves this type of atmosphere.” “You guys would always have a home here. Thanks for the coffee Justin, but I need to get back to the office. It’s almost time to open.” “Okay, thank you Rebekah, you have been a tremendous help.” As Rebekah prepared to leave the phone rang again. This time it was Jennah's momma. She and Poppa, were worried about Jennah. Dorrie had called and woke them up around 2 am. Justin wondered why she would do that, when they were not close enough to go at that time of the morning. Besides, Momma was on oxygen 24-7 and a trip like that would be hard on her. Justin had begun to think of them as his parents also. They were so good to Jennah and she loved them immensely. Dorrie was so jealous of the love that Jennah had for them. She just couldn’t grasp why Jennah
thought of them as parental figures. But then Dorrie, from what he had heard, was the type of person who wanted everyone in the world to cry when she cried. To be miserable when she was miserable. He could hear Jennah softly sobbing in the bedroom. He decided that maybe she just needed to be alone. She was scared, he could see it in her eyes. She was scared to go back because of Bobby. She knew that he wasn’t going to let Bobby hurt her, but that didn’t ward off the fright. Jennah didn’t trust anyone. She had lost trust so long ago it had become a foreign concept to her. After all, as she often said, ‘she would rather face a wild bear or cougar in the woods than a human on a crowded street anywhere. Animals only killed for food or in self defense. Humans destroyed life and happiness just for the hell of it, getting some kind of perverse pleasure from that act. It was an attempt to soothe wounded egos.’ “Well Mustang, what do you say we go on back in and get some more sleep.” Mustang had been whining at the door ever since Jennah had gone back in. When he opened the door, he noticed that she had drifted off to sleep, her pillow still wet from the tears. He didn’t know if she had been crying because Carolyn had crossed over, or from fear. Probably a little of both.
The one thing that Justin had found out about her was how she handled fear and she only had two methods for that particular emotion. She would either cried while singing hymns, or go to the extreme of total freezing as if made of ice, then a few seconds later she would go completely off the wall. Once when they had been hiking on the High Sierra trail and a snake crossed in front of her the second form of fright took over. A couple of minutes later, the poor little grass snake, which had simply taken shade under a bush retreated hastily out of fear for its life. Justin almost joined it. After the ice dissolved, Jennah became a 5 foot tornado, hurling and destroying whatever was in her path. She flung rocks, sticks, her backpack and pine cones, screaming violently at the poor snake. Then suddenly her vocals gave out, she turned pale as a ghost, and passed out. It scared the living hell out of Justin, and probably every creature within a 10 mile radius. He knew that if they went to Texas that all hell would break loose and nothing would ever be the same in that state. Jennah, while she loved her family very much, did not want to live in the state of Texas, or even visit it for more than a few days at a time. Jennah's eyes flew open, fear embedded deep within them. and looked up at Justin.
“What am I going to do? I can’t go, I just can’t. I don’t understand why she contacted me either. We were never very close.” She closed her eyes again. Justin looked at her and sat gently down on the bed. He gathered her up in his arms and began to softly speak.
"Because somewhere deep down inside of her she knew, and she loved you. Just as you loved her.”
“Yeah”, she said groggily, “but we were never allowed to know, really know that love.” Justin just set there and held her while she drifted once again back off to sleep. Mustang and Missy were both on the bed curled up as close to Jennah as they could get. Their animals were protective of Jennah and would do anything they could do to ease her pain. They were also spoiled rotten and virtually went everywhere with them. Eventually Justin also drifted off to sleep and it was getting close to dark when a knock came on the door.
“Hey, anyone in there?” The neighbor, Mickey was banging on the door. “Open up, we got food out here.” Justin got up and went to the door.
“You guys still got to eat, Buddy, you still got to eat. How is she? Sorry to hear about her sister.” By now of course, it was all over the campground. The section they were in at least. This campground had been divided into two sections. There were the locals who sort of lived there, and there was the over nighters. Anyone who stayed longer than a week was parked in the locals area. It was more like a tight-knit cul-de-sac, where everyone watched out for each other. They even had their own little fire pit, and nightly drum sessions. The age range was from 18 to 98. There was actually one couple, and the woman was 98. Her husband was 76. She could talk a hind leg off a dog. She was considered the life of the party, and had been dubbed Lucy, because of her ability to keep everyone in laughter. Over nighters often asked what her secret to such a long life was, “I married someone younger than me, so I could continue having great sex,” she would tell them with a straight face, often lighting up a cigar as she talked to them. Their eyes would get huge and they were awed into silence. It was great. However, everyone listened when she spoke.
Anyone who had the spunk to make it to 98 years of age, deserved respect, and she certainly had gained everyone’s that she ever met. . That in itself was something to be had, thought Justin. Jennah thought that the majority of humans were just plain stupid, and didn’t have a lot of respect, especially for those who didn’t enjoy natures gifts, or portrayed any signs of abusive behavior, but she adored Lucy. She and Lucy had one thing in common. and that seemed to be the bond that held them so close. They thought all snakes should be banished from the earth, that humans probably as closely related to the snake as one could get. “Look, we figured you guys wouldn’t feel much like cooking, so we got this thing going, you know. Besides, ya’ll need to rejoin the living. You’ve been holed up all day, and while we all understand, hiding behind closed doors won’t help.” Mickey told Justin. Justin glanced over at Jennah who was now up and sitting at the table. She smiled and nodded. "I guess he's right. Tell him I will be out in a minute or two, after all, we are the ones left behind to cope with this." Jennah sighed deeply and got up. "Geez, I look like hell. My eyes are all swollen, this doesn't make any sense to me. Maybe Lucy will have some good advice or be able to help me understand a little better". Oh to hell with it, I don't care what I look like, she thought as she started out the door.
While Jennah believed in a higher power, she didn’t believe you went straight to heaven or hell exactly. She thought of heaven as a resting place, a place where you reviewed your life and the lessons you learned. She thought of hell as being here on earth. IF a person was pushed into hell after death, it was because of earthly experiences from their life. To her, there just wasn’t a fire pit, hell was the next lifetime. Hell was living a life of torture, and that torture was related to whatever lesson hadn’t been handled correctly or learned during the previous lifetime. Hell was getting small rewards and then having them yanked out from underneath you. Almost like handing a baby a peppermint candy cane, giving it a few tastes, and then taking it forever away. One couldn’t miss what they never had, but once the taste was given and then taken away, they would miss it forever. That was HELL. She also believed that hell was unavoidable. That every human, during one or more lifetimes, endured hell. She didn’t believe there was some entity sitting on a big throne, with streets of gold to walk on, pointing a staff and saying “today you win the lottery, or today you break an arm.” Winning the lotto could be as much hell as breaking a bone. She believed that each time a soul was born, it was already aware of what was coming and that each child born knew all the secrets of the universe, until he or she started their earthly learning. Then they would slowly forget, starting all over again. She believed we had a hand in picking our own birth parents, and she believed that each person had 4 soul mates, one for each season of their life. What she couldn’t figure out was why she had chosen to come into such a violent world. She knew tho, that her main achievement for this lifetime would be to learn to take care of herself, in any given situation, from the elite in fun, to the intensity of horror. She knew, deep in her soul, survival was her lesson.
After a few hours with the gang, Jennah felt much better so she decided to give Dorrie a call the next day and let her know that she couldn’t make it to Texas. She was being a bit on the deceitful side about it, and felt extremely guilty, but she just didn’t have the heart to tell her the truth. Her one defense mechanism was not letting Bobby know just how scared she was of him. Jennah told Dorrie that her doctor didn’t want her making such a long trip. She was about to have a procedure done, and it was time for her to have another MRI done. The procedure had been planned for over a month. It really wasn’t anything to worry about, she was just having oral surgery , but it definitely needed to be done. In the end, Dorrie had said that it was probably best anyway and that was the end of it. Bobby called a few minutes after she hung up, just to let her know that it was horrible of her to do such a thing, that if nothing else she should show more respect for the dead. Carolyn’s body still hadn’t been returned from Dallas. They were doing an extensive autopsy on it. The cause of death was still unknown but they suspected a brain aneurysm.
Carolyn wasn’t even 50 years old. She didn’t smoke nor did she drink much. She had recently joined a church, and her husband didn’t like it. Bobby told her that was what the fight was about. He also said he knew what killed her. The state had just taken two of her grandchildren away, and refused to let the daughter have them back, due to an abusive home. Carolyn had tried to get custody of them, but the state refused on the basis of her home life and the abusiveness that had long reigned in the family. “The state killed her, and they will pay”, he stated flatly in no uncertain terms. He would make sure of it. Jennah hung up, glad more than ever that she wasn’t going. She would send flowers, but Bobby had asked her to send money. A lot of money. He wanted her to send 5000 dollars to help with the burial, and to buy a really nice headstone. They didn’t have that kind of money, but said she would try to send something. She knew that Bobby was just trying to get money. After he hung up Jennah crawled back into bed and covered her head with her pillow, but the body jerking caused by the nerve damage was so intense that she got back up and took 2 of the pills the doctor had given her. She decided that come hell or high water she was going to sleep without any disturbances that night, and taking 2 of those pills would knock her out completely, to the point where she didn’t even dream.
The next morning when she awoke, the first thing she did was grab her laptop. As she pulled up the newspaper from Lyons, she found out that the company Carolyn had worked for were footing the bill for everything. She knew what was going on, and that indeed Bobby had just been trying to squeeze her for money. She also knew that Darrell, her brother-in-law was indeed under investigation for murder, and probably wanted the money to run like hell. Somehow, she felt that he might have just killed her. She wasn’t sure, but she did feel it was possible there might even be a chance that other members of the family was in on it. Bobby didn't hate Carolyn, but he had been extremely jealous of her relationship with their mother and there was bad feelings between Carolyn and a couple of her daughters. She had a feeling that this just might be the beginning of something, she just didn't know what that something would be. However, she wasn't going to disobey the words from beyond. The message had been plain and clear. "Justin, wake up sleepy head. As Justin turned over and looked at his wife he could see some kind of plan forming in her head. Can we drive over to the reservation tomorrow instead of waiting for Nahani’s wedding? I would like to see Grandfather, and I know that Katrina will be showing up for Nahani’s wedding. I know we were going to go later in the week, but I want to go now. I need to get away for awhile anyway.
"Sure, I don't mind, sounds like fun." Justin smiled. Maybe a trip to the reservation would make the fright disappear from her mind and her eyes.
He had seen nothing but sadness and fright for the previous hours, with the exception of last nights gathering of friends. Even thru that she had been unusually quiet, but tried to keep a light hearted appearance.

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