3-15: The Prince

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I

The moment the horror came back to earth, so to speak, it all happened lightning fast.

The Prince was spirited away to a private clinic where his parents were already waiting, along with certain personages who were clearly neither medical staff nor family, and yet carried themselves upright, in great seriousness, even within the operating theatre.

Two men of maybe sixty five to seventy years of age and a woman of indeterminate age attended on the Prince, Nicolette and Hugh, along with two others in light green uniforms, face masks and gloves, ran here and there as general dogsbodies.

Three attending surgeons were ordered from the theatre and only the august personages were left in attendance. Now they surrounded the trolley, which meant Nikki could not get a good view but it appeared as if the taller and elder of the two men had leaned across the naked torso and reached for the Prince’s chest.

The doctors were now admitted, stunned to find the Prince breathing. They immediately called for cardiac equipment but the woman rested a hand on the surgeon’s forearm; the surgeon gave the order to desist, something was injected and now the orderlies were called again.

Nikki and two others came into the theatre – no one seemed to question a six-month pregnant woman on duty as an orderly. Then again, she had no MAT B1.

The Prince was wide awake, staring at the ceiling of the operating theatre and appearing none the worse for wear. He was spoken to by the elder man for some considerable time and then the three old people did something surprising.

They went down on one knee in front of him, before taking their leave.

That brought to an end the proximity of Nikki to the action, she slipped away with Hugh, he took her to a nearby grove beside a field and again, something strange was happening – parturient Nikki never once questioned she’d be sleeping for some time in that grove, nor did he, nor did she need any sustenance, nor did she have trouble half sitting on the grass, back against an inclined tree stump, nor was it harsh on her back, nor were there derelicts, marauders or animals about.

They slept five hours before the morning sun pierced their eyes.

.o0o.

‘Your task after 08:00 will require you to believe he cannot hurt you,’ said Gabriella. ‘He can certainly not harm your child – I saw to that yesterday. If you do not believe that, if you do not truly believe it, he will hurt you but not your child. If you believe he cannot, then he will not hurt you, not in reality, only in appearance.’

‘But on what basis can we believe that?’

‘I will be there for a start.’

II

Gabriella appeared at the scheduled time and the three of them, as orderlies, brought a change of bed linen in to the Prince. Hugh advanced on him and laid a hand on his forehead, Nicolette advanced and laid a hand on his chest.

The young man did not react in any negative way to that but followed the whole thing with watchful eyes and a sardonic grin, he turned to Gabriella and addressed her. ‘What do you want of me?’

‘You know. To return whence you came.’

Suddenly, Hugh could feel his tongue receding all the way back down his throat, choking him. Nikki went into convulsions and grabbed her stomach. Gabriella, unaffected, uttered a few words, Nikki and Hugh collapsed on the floor.

‘So,’ came the Prince’s voice, the cold voice of reason and persuasion, ‘What did you possibly hope to achieve?’

‘I’ve achieved it,’ answered Gabriella.

The briefest look of alarm crossed his face. He looked at her, an immense wave of force was directed at her whole being but it seemed to wash around her like smoke in a wind tunnel … until it ceased.

He watched with fear as all three departed the room, Nikki almost floating along the corridors, they took the lift down and stepped out onto the front lawn. They bent over and approached the helicopter, even Gabriella bent down. Nikki was helped on, Hugh climbed on, Gabriella had her own locomotion.

The helicopter rose, the tail swung round and they were soon over the row of trees and heading for their collection point. At precisely that moment, the machine was held back from any forward motion and slowly began to be forced down to the trees, then whatever had done that ceased and they flew on.

The Prince laughed to himself.

Nikki and Hugh now took some food and drink from a military ration pack, offering to share it with Gabriella, but she said she’d ‘had sustenance’. Hugh helped remove Nikki’s uniform, they put on their eastern robes again and looked at one another.

‘Do you think it will stop him?’ Hugh asked Gabriella.

‘No, of course not.’

‘Then what was the purpose of us being there?’

‘To distract him long enough for me to do my part.’

‘Distract?’

‘He knows you are Albus and he knows Nicolette but cannot quite place her. He knows that Albus is a myth of his father’s making but he is uneasy about Nicolette and about her child. This was our deception.’

‘Why were we released?’ asked Nikki. ‘Is he going to crash our helicopter into the ocean?’

‘No, he’s demonstrating his disdain by ignoring us. That was just a little demonstration, that’s all, a childish tantrum.’

‘Where is home for you?’ Hugh asked her.

‘Europe is my theatre. The holy land is yours. But I shall come with you both for some time now.’

‘What’s your real name? asked Nikki.

‘Gabriella.’

‘I see,’ murmured Hugh.

She now went up to the front of the plane and Nikki asked, ‘Who is she anyway? I mean, who is she really?’

‘Did you see when that force was flowing over her? She never flinched.’

‘What did she do to him?’

‘I have absolutely no clue. Maybe passed a message on to him from her Boss.’

‘How did people like him get to be in charge of things anyway?’

‘You want a short, glib answer or a real answer, using my notes from my organiser?’

‘Go on.’

He went and got them.

‘In 1980, the UN report on the environment quoted Alice Bailey who comes into this again later. In 1982, the UN tried to get religious leaders to come into the environmental issue, using committees and meetings.

From this came the UN Global Committee of Parliamentarians on Population and Development ‘to provide information on global survival issues to parliamentarians, spiritual leaders and the media.’

This committee joined the Temple of Understanding which was at the church of St. John the Divine in New York and now made the committee a global forum.’

‘A Christian Church?’

‘Looked like it on the surface. This forum had meetings in Oxford and Moscow. At Oxford, the main speaker was James Lovelock, from the Lindisfarne Association and he said, ‘Orthodox Christianity, properly understood, is a distortion of the pure forms of religious truth … we must immediately return to the worship of the Earth goddess.’

Also connected with this forum was World Goodwill, whose occasional papers were published by the Lucis Trust. This trust was founded by Alice Bailey under another name – the Lucifer Trust.

Now came Global Education Associates with its Earth Covenant, Citizens’ Treaty, sustainable development and systems of responsible global governance . . .’

‘What’s it mean then?’

‘It means that behind all the fine words about sustainable development, goodwill, balance and harmony, behind all these vague feelgood sentiments is a slick media campaign with millions of dollars behind it with some clear objectives, including killing off Christianity and depopulating the world.’

Her jaw dropped. ‘So what we were doing in Paris, exposing the corruption -’

‘Was the tip of the iceberg,’ he answered. ‘The corruption is global, perpetrated by agents, witting and unwitting, of the entity you just heard about. It’s everywhere, at all levels. The UN is riddled with these people. Education, law, medicine, the media – at any significant level, these people are in place. It’s been going on for years, bit by bit, establishing people in positions of power, sympathetic to all this. It’s all sewn up.’

‘I feel ill.’

‘Not as ill as Sophie felt when she was in their power. There are two prime motivations for ordinary people who fall in with this evil. The first is personal aggrandisement – wanting to feel a big person, special, someone of substance, someone who makes a difference or has power -’

‘We all do that more or less.’

‘Yes but it’s what we do with it, where a person draws the line. When the power of the position starts outweighing the good of others in that person’s head, when she or he starts to feel ‘important’ – then he or she is now inside. And the other is the way altruism is played on. There’s a type of person who loves everyone, will help anyone and their innocent loving is manipulated and everything bad they’re asked to do is presented as if it is achieving good. Eventually, that person is enabling terrible things but thinks she or he is actually doing good.’

‘Aren’t there any good people?’

‘Who is ‘good’? If you mean people like SSF, they’ve all been either marginalized, condemned or rounded up, betrayed by the do-gooders themselves quite often.’

‘So,’ said she, ‘everything we’ve been doing is all for nothing.’

‘Do you remember what’s written over the gates of hell?’

‘Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.’

‘Their whole game plan involves planting in people’s heads the notion that there is no hope. People either go along with and join them or else they die or starve to death. We represent one tiny glimmer of hope and no doubt there are many others like us, scattered around the world, uncoordinated. But the dnger is when we start to think we’re important, when we’re really only agents.’

‘People should have shouted it from the rooftops.’

‘Pundits did. The vast majority didn’t, until they started to feel the pinch and then didn’t know who to blame – they started with the traditional, visible blame-takers – the government – but the genuine government had actually moved offshore by then.’

She paused, then asked, ‘Can’t anything be done?’

‘You tell me. You know as much as I do.’

‘Hugh, we’re in the most terrible danger. I never realized what we were actually fighting.’

‘We’ve been fighting it since the start. Its agents have tried to snuff us out many times. You’ll notice we’re still living. Why would you say that is?’

‘There’s an equal and opposite force.’

‘Not equal. Superior in straightout firepower but woefully inferior in the world of intrigue.’

‘I don’t want to speak of these things again today.’

.o0o.

Gabriella returned from the front of the plane and he asked, ‘Why are you coming to the village with us?’

‘To accompany the four, to protect the children, to attend to the dead.’

Nikki and Hugh just looked at each other. Did angels always speak this way?

II

May 3rd, 2012

They knew something was wrong the moment they arrived at the rooms under Har Megiddon.

For a start, there were signs all around that something had happened, something cataclysmic and when Sophie rushed out of her room straight into his arms, feverishly, they sat her down.

She outlined the horror, the aftermath, the funerals, the reaction of the community.

As Nikki listened, she gradually sank to her knees on the floor, emitting a low moan, knocking her head against the mattress, inconsolable. Hugh had slumped to the floor as well, as white as a sheet.

‘Where’s Sam?’ he asked suddenly.

Sophie indicated Sam’s room with her head. Hugh went to him and Sophie took his place with Nikki.

The man was rocking on the bed, hands between his knees and Hugh put an arm around him. He took Hugh’s wrist and squeezed it. By his face, there’d been a considerable amount of tears and that was a good thing in Hugh’s book.

‘Have you been sitting here since the ceremony?’

‘Sophie brought food.’

‘Any sleep?’ He gave a short ironic laugh.

‘Will you walk with me to the spring?’ asked Hugh.

He was about to refuse but knew it might be best. The Druze attitude to death meant that their own deceased, Samih, had now been reincarnated as an even better man but Sam was to be pitied for the fate of the two women and two babies.

‘It’s the children most, Hugh.’

‘Yes. My Ksenia, south of Paris – she’d been carrying our child.’

‘So you’d understand.’

‘Yes. Sam, tell us as and when you need. ’

‘Just some company during the day and leave me to my thoughts at night.’

‘Don’t start down the ‘what if’ road, Sam.’

‘Hard not to.’

Hugh went on. ‘Keep the food up. You won’t want it but keep it up – here’s me telling a doctor his business. Do you believe in the 9th day and 40th day? It’s the Orthodox way.’

‘Don’t know much about it.’

‘If you’ll permit, we’ll do something on those days. I’ve come to believe in it. They might visit you on those nights. I’m not sure. Ksenia seemed to visit me but I couldn’t be sure. Sorry to talk about that.’

‘No, fine. Brings it back, I suppose. Can you remember things now?’

‘Much of it. A lot has come back. Let’s walk to the spring.’

.o0o.

Gabriella was there at the internal spring, he might have known. She came over and rested one hand on Sam’s shoulder, which had the effect of calming him immediately.

‘Who are you?’ he asked.

‘Sam,’ said Hugh, ‘This is Gabriella. She was with us in Britain and saved our lives. She’s here to look after us.’

‘Well, you might have got here just a little bit sooner, don’t you think?’

‘I’m not omnipotent, Samuel,’ said Gabriella. ‘I go where I’m sent and I was sent to Britain. Then I was sent here.’

‘I’m sorry. Who are you? What do you do?’

‘I’m a courier. I run messages and help people.’

‘Can’t you prevent tragedy?’

‘No. I have not the power.’

‘Well, who does?’

‘No one visible to you.’

‘Sounds bloody stupid to me. So you come in after the event and offer people comfort?’

‘Those who’ll accept it.’

He faltered. ‘Will you, will you come tonight when it gets bad?’

‘I’ll be here seven more days. I’ll visit this evening, of course.’

Hugh looked at him and said, ‘Don’t fight her. She makes it better.’

‘But who is she?’

‘She’s an angel.’

He looked at Hugh as if the man had cracked. Hugh turned to Gabriella. ‘Can the Druze see you, hear you? Is the Oracle aware?’

‘The Oracle, as you call her, is well aware. No one else knows of me.’

.o0o.

Next morning, all four of them went for a wander to the spring under the mountain, hoping to catch Gabriella again. She’d appeared to Sam the previous night and it was clear he was taken with her. There she was, sitting on the low wall on the far side, feet dangling, hands clasped in her lap.

‘Lailah, Albus, Magdalena, Samuel,’ she greeted them.

‘Don’t think me impertinent -’ began Hugh.

‘But you were wondering why I’m here.’

‘And I’m wondering why you people keep calling me Lailah,’ said Nikki.

‘Which question would you like answered first?’

‘Nikki’s first.’

‘Lailah is an angel of the night who also presides over conception, ensures and protects it when it needs to be.’

‘Do you believe in angels?’ asked Nikki.

‘You ask this of me?’ Gabriella was most amused. ‘You are Lailah, or you will be. Your parents named you that and it was always your destiny.’

‘You never told me that, Nikki.’

‘They were crazy, they loved a song by Eric Clapton but didn’t spell the name that way.’

‘No,’ said Gabriella, ‘but they still named you after the angel of conception. You ensure women conceive when it is important they do. You come to them at night, touch them and it happens.’

‘But they must have done that first.’

‘Of course. Yours is not the power to conceive from nothing.’

‘Thank goodness for that,’ said Hugh.

‘Have I that power now?’ asked Nikki.

‘Not yet – everything in its time and place. You asked, Albus, why I am here. I am doing Lailah’s work for now until she comes into her own. Plus other tasks which I told you about before.’

To Sophie, she now said, ‘You have a fine girl inside you, you’ve recovered well, they will not take you again. Your son will bring you great joy but you will keep him from his half-sister.’

‘Now let me get this straight. You’re saying that I’m to have Hugh’s baby girl and then he gives me a son as well? Nikki’s going to really love that.’

‘Your son will not be from Albus.’

‘Ah … Sam. Well, I can’t argue with that.’ She smiled across at him and he was by no means averse now. ‘And how do you know all this?’

Gabriella just smiled.

‘And my son?’ asked Nikki.

‘Will be with you both at the end.’

‘Just as a matter of interest,’ said Nikki. ‘Where was our son conceived?’

‘He was conceived by water but shall be born in Israel.’

‘And mine?’ asked Sophie.

‘Your daughter to Albus was conceived in water, not by hill, nor by field, also to be born in Israel. To be born first, actually, but not conceived first.’

Addressing Nikki and Hugh, Gabriella said, ‘You have confessed almost all … but not all. Knowing what you knew was happening on the island, there are still things to be told.’

Gabriella stepped down and drifted out of sight before they could work out whether to thank her, curse her or what.

‘In water?’ mused Sophie. ‘The Pool? Nikki’s is clear enough – their bower. Hugh, the only time we were in water after your bower was after our bower – so what we did up there, also those days and nights in the Pool and the field – they came to nothing. But then we washed and made love that one last time, we never confessed that to Nikki because I think there was too much else going on – I mean that it just seemed more of the same. So, that was the one, yes? I’m sure it was because it was done differently. It was one last time, for maybe a few minutes, quite a sad parting, but then the first missile hit.’

Nicolette felt vindicated in one way but she was still going to quiz Hugh about it when she got the chance.

III

The 9th day arrived and Sam, who’d been visited by Gabriella every night, was, all the same, in shaky condition. Hugh attended to him and the women took care of the other matters.

They had a low key ceremony at which they’d hoped Gabriella would appear and officiate but it ended up being Hugh.

After the others had returned to their rooms and Hugh was tidying up, Gabriella appeared. She’d anticipated Hugh’s question and answered, ‘It was your affair, your ceremony.’

‘Are the 9th and 40th day remembrances efficacious?’

‘They’re … useful … for those who believe, yes. It was meet so to do.’

‘Then to what do we owe the pleasure of this visit?’

‘Do you love your wife?’

‘You know that.’

‘Then now is the time to release Sophie Magdalena who has just walked down to the spring, even as we speak.’

.o0o.

Hugh found her at the water’s edge, she spun round and they both grinned when they saw each other. ‘Sophie, my ex-lover.’

‘Hugh, my ex-lover.’

‘It’s for the best – if we were completely free, who knows? The things which passed between us – je regrette rien.’

She laughed. ‘O Hugh, moi aussi. We will be inside each other forever. I’m so happy our child was conceived in love, not in striving for conception.’

‘Yes.’

They caressed for a time, then she gave a short laugh. ‘Funny how things work out, isn’t it? Hugh, you know you take my embrace, my kiss as a matter of course. Sophie loves you, so you accept her kiss. I’d like you to understand something – have you ever met a woman who was repeatedly raped, day after day after day?’

‘No.’

‘Every time you had me, you know, even in the Pool and in the field, I had to tell myself that it was not another rape. All sexual penetration of me was rape – all of it. This is the thing that I shall be grateful to you for forever, M. Jensen – you let me decide and when I handed that power back to you, I felt I’d moved forward. It was always healing.’

He nodded. ‘I just remembered – I was once with a woman who’d been raped.’

‘Tell me.’

‘I didn’t witness it, I met her next day, I was due to take her out. I knew her when we were both students at university, she was a keen hiker and I liked walking too. We arranged that on the Saturday morning, I’d pick her up about 09:00 in my car – she didn’t drive – and we’d go to the forest.’

‘What was her name?’

‘I seriously can’t remember.’ He thought for a minute. ‘No, it’s gone. It might come back. Anyway, she was ready with her pack and we went to the forest, parking at the foot of the hill and climbing to the peak. Then we stopped for lunch.’

‘Was she pretty?’

‘I think so. I really can’t remember. You see, I saw her as a hiker, as a new mate. So, we were on the second sandwich, I think, when she said to me, ‘I was raped last night.’

To a boy, those words were terrifying. I’d been brought up to believe it was the ultimate crime to do that. What I couldn’t get over was that she was still willing to go to the forest with me after that. I never understood how she could stand it.’

‘Did you end up making love?’

‘I never tried to be honest. And after she told me, that was the last thing I would have done – it seemed wrong.’

‘Well did you at least let her talk about it?’

‘We just hiked and picnicked.’

Sophie sighed. ‘You were too young. You needed to take her hand and tell her it was all right, that not all men are like that. I think it was very important to her, to go with you I mean.’

‘How do you know?’

‘Look, she took you to the forest the morning after a rape. You didn’t take her. She was extending to you great trust, great faith. Hugh, don’t take this the wrong way but go away from this pool right now or we’ll have to make love.’

He kissed her, knelt and kissed the child.

She breathed, ‘Go now. Please go.’

IV

They were in audience with the Oracle and she left them in no doubt as to the situation out there.

‘The troubles are almost upon us. We, the Druze people, the Sons of Grace, are destined to lead the struggle of humanity against the Destroyer, to take the lead in these final battles. The armies will gather on this vast plain. The battle for this hill is militarily strategic but also for the mysteries.

The uqqal are here and unto us are given the mysteries of the origins of life. We are the obstacle to the Destroyer because we know what resides beneath the Temple in Jerusalem and we know where that which he seeks actually is. There is not just one ark. The Great Ark, the ark of Moses, is the greatest of these.’

‘Do you know where it is?’ asked Hugh. ‘I heard it’s in America.’

‘One is there but not the Great Ark.’

Suddenly, Hugh knew the answer, at least according to the Druze. ‘Then it has never been where they all seek?’

‘All has been taqiyya, dissimulation as you might say, most necessary to protect the mysteries against the unbeliever, the Destroyer and his legion.’

‘Tell us about al-Muqtana and the Book of Wisdom.’

‘To Lailah will be revealed some – this must wait until later. For now, we are discussing the exact arrangements of your flight.

Samuel, you are here as you will have charge of Magdalena and her child.  It shall be far better for you with us now than unprotected in the secular world.

Albus, you have one task only – to protect your child. The Destroyer will send many to seek but you will not be there. After he is born, there is a time and then he is safe. In your remaining time, you will protect mother and child.’

‘So,’ asked Hugh, ‘we’re not the two crying in the streets and then we get cut down?’

She smiled. ‘You are gentile.’

‘Carry on. We’re listening.’

She smiled again. ‘Lailah and Albus must flee with the child when he is born – there is danger for some time.’

‘What about Gabriella?’

‘She plays her part.’

‘And you?’

‘We play our part. It is fitting that Laila and the child should be under our protection for this duration. We are the Sons of Grace, روز, we are the cornerstone. We always were and we are today. The end though, is not far away. Our knowledge is contained in the Rasa’il al-Hikmah, the Epistles of Wisdom and if you were to know our language and know this wisdom, you would know the origins of the universe and whence mankind sprang.

Your own Bible is a book of wisdom but it is a summary of knowledge, the Anagoge, somehow given to the Juhhal and we find that an interesting act of faith for it to be given into the hands of those who cannot possibly interpret nor use it. The illumined know whence life sprang and to where it will return. It is contained within the point of conception, the point of birth and the point of death.’

‘Ah, that explains a lot. What worries me is that you mention the illumined and I know you have a five pointed star. Forgive me but that is symbolic of the Destroyer.’

‘Albus, don’t you yet know that with the Destroyer, black is white and white is black? Even his white is many coloured. He apes everything. He speaks of bearing light when he conceals it. He speaks of the cosmic balance and prevents it in the same breath. He says that light and dark are two equal and opposed forces. They are not. Light is a direction and darkness is whence we came. It can consume the light from below. This is taqiyya from the Destroyer, the father of lies. You surely know this, Albus.’

‘I’ve written of it many times.’

‘To answer your question of why the Destroyer destroys,’ spoke the Oracle, ‘jealousy, envy. That’s all it ever was. Ever. He was the lightbearer and the future of the universe was deposited in the conception of a baby and in its departure from the world. This is the soul. Souls confer power in this universe and he dearly wished to possess that power because it is the power to make Kings.’

‘Are you referring to the three Juwes?’

She laughed. ‘That was a poor attempt by two of the tribes who had been deluded by the liar. The power to make Kings is the power to make gods. God is only a technical term for one from an area of space and time that your brain is not constructed to comprehend.’

‘You mean wormholes and all that sort of thing? Stargate?’

‘It all refers to the same thing. The priestly class have only ever been one thing – keepers and preservers of the knowledge. The Destroyer has debased that through popular fiction, legends, myths. He creates new ones in the film industry each year.’

‘So there is no truth in any of that?’ asked Nikki.

‘It is all true but not in the way it is presented to the Juhhal of the west. We are indeed of another dimension, both geographically and in terms of our fundamental construction.’

‘You’ve lost me there,’ said Hugh.

‘It is perfectly possible for the metaphysical and the physical laws to coexist. Do you accept a non-physical world, Lailah?’

‘You mean ghosts, angels, that sort of thing?’

‘Yes.’

‘Well … I don’t think about it much but after Gabriella -’

‘It’s as well.’

Nikki asked, ‘Are you human?’

‘Me?’ She laughed. ‘The greater part of me, yes.’

‘Can mankind, under your guidance, meet and destroy the Destroyer?’

‘No. You do not understand the nature of these principalities – they are beyond any of us.’

‘Why won’t the one you call the power, the force, why won’t He protect His people from this monster?’

‘He does. Through faith, hope and charity.’

‘That’s Catholic dogma,’ said Nikki.

‘You are in error, Lailah. It is the basis of the soul ascended.’

‘But so much horror goes on, so much mutilation, prostitution of children, terrible things.’

‘And they will end. But with their end comes the end of this world.’

‘Why?’

‘Every man, woman and child has the god-essence inside.’

‘You mean,’ asked Hugh, ‘that every person, at the moment of birth, has elements passed to him which are godlike?’

‘At the moment of conception. That is why the prostitution of womanhood is one key to the Destroyer’s revenge. All perversion is spittle on the divinity of man. That is why our women are so chaste. The womb is, if you like to apply a secular term, the sepulchre of the new soul, the new god and the Destroyer wishes to show that this means nothing.’

‘So the humanists are right,’ asked Nicolette, ‘that man can control his own destiny?’

‘Not at all. Look how Man has done throughout history.’

‘Yes,’ said Hugh, ‘but that’s because the Destroyer has laid traps, blocked his progress.’

‘Exactly. Man has no natural defences.’

‘So how can he be termed a god?’

‘No, he is not in himself – he has an essence of divinity imparted to him at conception. Have you ever heard, in your own faith, that every sperm is sacred? Each human is a unique design, absolutely without replication. The Destroyer wishes to possess this secret.’

‘The secret of Kingmaking.’

‘Yes and no. Anu and Ea thought that mating with humankind would produce a race of Kings, Lilith thought so too. The design of each human is unique. There are key components which cannot be replicated. Every sacrifice at a ritual of Ea is a vain attempt to capture this essence, the code, the DNA if you like. Science has isolated much of the design but it will never find the whole solution. That is locked up in the mind of the Almighty.’

‘Hence He is Almighty according to the major religions.’

‘Yes. You can use the analogy of many worldly things to understand it. The secret ingredients of Coca-Cola, the microchip, the uniqueness of a particular perfume. These can all be discovered one day by industrial espionage but the secret of the soul cannot. Hence He remains the Almighty.

There are those who know and those who don’t. There are leaders and followers. There are men and women, adults and children. The distinctions are fine. The Destroyer though – he wants to turn this on its head.’

‘How much danger are we in? Can the Destroyer’s agents destroy Nik- … er … Lailah’s child?’

‘But, of course. The child is mortal, just as you are. It’s just that his very existence conveys power, as I mentioned once before.’

‘So we, Lailah and I, are actually quite mortal at this moment and all could still be lost?’

‘That is so. It was your job to get yourself here, knowing what you knew was happening on the island. It is our job to guard you.’

‘What about Dan Brown’s book? Was it true?’

‘It was a perversion of many truths, woven into fiction. There are many signs in that work, however and much of it was based on fact.’

‘Which parts?’

‘The parts people did not understand … and yes I do.’

‘You like speaking in riddles, don’t you?’

.o0o.

In their room, he knew Nikki would ask him.

‘Knowing what you knew was happening on the island – what did that mean, Hugh?’

‘She meant I knew we were to be hit at the island.’

‘Well, we knew that anyway, didn’t we? You were running around getting everyone to practise, practise, practise.’

‘And I left it at that at the time and I could leave it at that now and you would remain loving towards me, which I desperately want … or I could now tell you the truth and you would be angry and upset with me. Which should I do?’

‘I don’t think I like this. Well, as we’ve told each other so much already, you need to tell me.’

‘Even though you will be upset with me and won’t speak to me?’

‘You must be brave and bold.’

‘The situation we needed on that island was for everyone to be ready, with the pods stocked up and primed. While that was true, there was also treachery going on.’

‘Yes, we’ve spoken of that. Go on.’

‘Miri came to the island in a staged shipwreck – she admitted that but she turned and became for us later – and she came with a microfiche, yes? Who was the microfiche for?’

‘Anyone – but you mean someone on the island, don’t you? When we look back, it’s so obvious.’

‘It had to be for someone, it was not just a deception. She distracted everyone by introducing the sex issue with the nakedness and played up to it well but her purpose was always to deliver the microfiche. Who to? First thought was Sophie but Miri realized it was not for her.’

‘I suspected Sophie.’

‘I did too because Miri said, ‘Microfiche not for you,’ because she felt there were ears listening and eyes watching. She’d hand it over to Sophie later. Or else it really was for someone else on the island.’

‘Yes but you need a scanner thing -’

‘A Seidell scanner would do fine. A battery powered microscanner, based on the Seidell, would go into a pack and if it was never used until something happened, such as the coming of Miri, then, as long as the battery was looked after and hardly used, it would be ready. Dead easy to secrete it in the hut. Did we ever search people’s huts?’

‘No – what for? All right, let me do this. The person or persons who were the enemy on the island – they had to be safe from the eyes of others. So, the best way to do that was for them to throw everyone’s attention onto others.’

‘Precisely.’

‘And which huts would we be least likely to search? Nick’s and Susannah’s? No – they were always elsewhere – anyone could have gone in there to search. Who combined being stay-at-homes with being the most vehemently down on us, the moral arbiters of the island’s behaviour and therefore they’d be the last ones we’d think to search the huts of, even if we suspected, which we didn’t? Remember, the microfiche story just died away, did it not, once all the other things started.’

‘Well, Adam and Mandy. But they weren’t a unit – Adam and Lisa were and Ray and Mandy were. Also, there is still Sophie. Ah no – we could have searched at any time while she was in the field.’

‘It could have been her and she roamed the island, she could have been moving it around all the time.’

Nikki was shocked. ‘But she didn’t.’

‘I suspect she didn’t, mainly because I think there are better candidates. ‘Which hut was the scanner in?’

‘Ah, let me see … I know, it wasn’t in a hut. It was in Moran’s. And Mandy was in charge of Moran’s – she took that on. And when everyone went to bed, the Seidell could be brought out.’

‘It only needed an hour or so and the whole microfiche could be viewed. And where was the microfiche all that time?’

‘With Mandy who had turned Ray. What of Laurence?’

‘I often wondered because of his position on the walkway, observing everyone coming and going. Perhaps he just suspected someone himself and never said. Perhaps he thought our act was a bit over the top and covering something else. Perhaps he had a down on Sophie and suspected her.’

‘Who do you think it was?’

‘Oh definitely Mandy and Adam, no question, with Mandy the main villain.’

‘I always thought Adam’s rage was a bit forced. And Mandy talking to you about religion.’

‘Yep, religion is never far from these people’s minds. They’re very quick to mock that way.’

‘Hugh – did you have them killed?’

‘Indirectly. The night Sophie and I went up to the clifftop, I did warn Laurence and Janine to watch out for any strange move, like someone going to the pods while we were up there because that was a sign we were about to be hit. And Sophie being up there with me took her out of calculations as the enemy.

In fact, it was Sam who saw Adam and Mandy heading for the clifftop which led to the pods – they said they were taking in the moonlight and the moon was up that night. He wasn’t suspicious.

You, Nikki, were being watched the whole time and if you’d suspected them, you’d have watched them, plus I still had memory loss … but Janine didn’t.’

‘She was part of it?’

‘I asked her to check their whereabouts while Sophie and I were up there, check everyone was in their normal place – I asked Laurence in general, without naming anyone. With Janine, I named the two miscreants. Then came the incident at the pods as we departed.’

‘So why did they not make the break, Adam and Mandy?’

‘They tried all right but people were always in the way – partly by luck and partly by arrangement. Their plan was to split the three of them into three pods – Lisa was innocent as far as I can see – and maybe murder the others once out there, then take the pods back to the enemy.’

‘And our pod?’

‘We were meant to have the faulty one. They wanted to call a meeting where we discussed who was in which pod but Laurence didn’t get to do it – it was Mandy who asked him. I think they didn’t push it because we may have been getting suspicious as to why they wanted this. At least they couldn’t afford to take that risk.

The other way was make sure they were first at the rope ladder, they’d go one to each good pod and act all rushed and, ‘Come on, you two, inside now, never mind who should be here, we’ll fix it out there.’

‘Just as they actually did try.’

‘Yep, that was the final straw, you were quick, you saw me put a gun to Adam’s head and then you put one to hers.’

‘I saw her suddenly give herself away, her body language, once Adam was in trouble. And then Ray made his move, Sophie saw it and the rest we know. Once they knew they were headed for the faulty pod, they knew they were in trouble.’

‘More than they thought. The day before, I asked Sam to disable the missiles in that pod, jam the chute. They stayed way behind us, I believe intending to fire at us but it didn’t work.’

‘But why the whole thing? Why were they even there on the island?’

‘I think the enemy wanted two things – reports on what was happening with all of us and for Adam and Mandy to sow unrest, which they did – although we handed that to them. They’d always known we were there, they were just awaiting intelligence from the island, hence the microfiche.’

‘Again – was Laurence part of it?’

‘What’s your opinion?’

She thought it through. ‘I can’t see it.’

‘Nor can I – seems to me he was the dupe for them. That night at the bower on the hill, I decided to bring you into it next morning but I needed that night for others to be looking, with Sophie unable to roam around. See, while she and Miri were roaming freely, it was far more dangerous for them. With those two tied up, the coast was clear. Next morning, the enemy struck early, earlier than I thought they would.’

‘Miri was roaming that last night.’

‘Er no. I suspect she watched the whole show, not for bad reasons but somehow to make sure – for ‘ferteeity’. Now it seems Sophie conceived when we went to the Pool after that.’

‘And you never told your wife.’

‘Nikki, I knew you’d do this, I just knew it. I tell you everything else but with that, my darling, you were too centrally placed – you’re too transparent.’

‘It’s been said. All right. I don’t have to like it though.’

‘I know you don’t and that’s why this moment of telling you was always going to be difficult. I looked for the microfiche and the machine when Adam and Mandy were elsewhere, which was not often but I never found it until the day of our own bower – yours and mine. It was in our hut later, under the bed. Next day it was gone.’

Nikki’s jaw dropped open. ‘And as you knew you weren’t the traitor -’

‘Nothing to do with that, darling heart, I’ve said that already. That type of gall on the part of Mandy, that arrogant, disdainful manner, showed she was right in with them – I think they were worried about the spot checks but even then, there was no way to pin it on them. All I could do was warn Laurence and Janine on that last evening, each in his and her own way. And there’s one last thing I must say – I was still without much of my memory, how could I know you were all right?’

‘It’s horrible – all of it.’ As usual, she’d moved on.

————

The most moving part of this song below for me comes between 04:30 and 05:50, which relates to something with Sam and Gabriella in the next chapter [from memory].

Chapter 3-14 hereChapter 3-16 here

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